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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Personal?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Personal

Being Lost in One's Personal Life

It finally dawns on the student that the totality of his personal experience still has the same old flavor, and because of this ego boundaries and self keep being reinstated. This unchanged quality begins to feel undesirable; one feels clearly, without any sense of condemnation, “I am the barrier.” The further exploration of this overall issue takes the student through the process of realization of the Essential Self, a subject we will discuss in detail in a future book. Part of this realization is the capacity to disengage from ego activity, which is now experienced as the activity of the person as a whole. One learns finally, then, that the realization of the Personal Essence is not final until one goes completely beyond the personal life. This is because ego boundaries and sense of self do not stand on their own but are supported by the personal life and personal history. This insight usually appears as a perception that one is lost in one’s personal life. One has the strong impression of being imprisoned by everything in one’s life, desirable and undesirable factors alike. The student is not usually aware that the impersonal aspect is approaching; he is simply experiencing more and more that the fact of being a person is a barrier to freedom and harmony. He perceives that the totality of his person, including his personal life and history, has not changed. This makes him aware that he is lost, enmeshed in his personal life, that he is so involved in his relationships, work interests, house, family, friends, projects, activities, plans, ideas, thoughts, preferences, prejudices, everything that is the content of his life, that he is trapped by it, and hopelessly limited within it.

Being Personal on the Being Level Means to be the Personal Essence

So on the level of Being, to be personal means to be the Personal Essence. Contact, communication or interaction is personal when one is personally present as the Personal Essence. One can be personal with another without saying or doing anything. It is a way of being with the other. One is actually being there, oneself. From the perspective of Being, the content of the communication is not what determines whether an interaction is personal or not. There might be emotional communication or even physical contact, but if one is not present as the Personal Essence then one is not personal. One can be interacting with a total stranger, discussing abstract ideas and still be personal. So to be personal is to be present in the interaction, to be present as who one really is, the Personal Essence. There is both presence and reality. There is genuineness. There is truth. There is immediate contact. The emotional genuineness most people feel as their most personal state is a far cry from the genuineness of Being. Emotional genuineness, in its very nature, expresses the past. The genuineness of Being expresses reality, for it is in the present. There are no defenses, no roles, no manipulations. One is, and one’s communications are real. The practice of being genuine in one’s communication is a good way to reach the Personal Essence. When one is genuine about oneself, expressing an authentic concern, then one is personal.

Essential Aspects Sometimes Feel Personal, Sometimes Not

It is important to note that when we refer to an essential aspect as personal, we are not implying that all other aspects are impersonal. Other aspects sometimes feel personal and sometimes not. The same is true of all the differentiated aspects; other aspects may include their qualities. For instance, the fact that there is an aspect of Peace does not mean that other aspects are not peaceful. All aspects of Essence have a peaceful and serene quality to them, but except for the aspect of Peace itself, peace is not their central, characteristic quality. However, the Personal Essence is different from other aspects, such as Peace and Love; it feels like a person. But the personal element in it is not restricted to it alone. Thus the Personal Essence is not the only quality that can feel personal. It is simply the aspect which is the personal element in a Platonic form, a quality of consciousness.

It is Possible to Contact Your Personal Aspect, to Become Aware of Who You are, Before Enlightenment and Loss of Ego

Personal is not in contradistinction to universal; personal is in contradistinction with impersonal. To be personal does not eliminate objectivity; you can be objective without the personality’s assumption that objective means cold and unfeeling. When you know yourself this way, you can go through all the levels of spiritual experience—universal included. Then you are truly living your life. You are actually in anything you experience, you are actually doing it. What comes out is a spontaneous response; it has nothing to do with the past. The qualities of essence are within you like your organs are within you—love, compassion, will, the universal, etc. So you see the mystery is not usually understood because personal is taken to mean personality. The solution is usually thought to be to go to the universal, which is not personal. The personality is in contradiction to the universal. The true personal is not in contradiction to the universal; it is, in fact, a child of the universal, the fruit of the universal. It is possible to contact your personal aspect, to become aware of who you are, before enlightenment and loss of ego. The moment you know who you are, it becomes easier to know what is not you, what is conditioned, and what is personality. The work is very clear then; there is a guidance. Before that, you don’t know where you are going. You don’t know what is you and what is not you, what is real, and what is not real—you have no idea. You have only your thoughts and some people’s ideas and instructions. But the moment you know who you are, what it is like to be you, once you can recognize this, then you can tell what is you and what is not you.

Neglect of the Personal Element

When we speak of the personal element, we do not mean only the knowledge that one is a person interacting with another person; we are referring to the actual state and feeling of being personal in an interaction. One can have object constancy, and know one is a person interacting with another person, but still interact impersonally. It is not only object relations theory that (with the slight exceptions described above) does not specifically study this personal element; we are not aware of any psychological school or scientific field that does so. It seems surprising that a phenomenon so central to human life psychologically and emotionally, and so prized by mature human beings, escapes psychological or even spiritual study and investigation. But again, this neglect becomes understandable when we realize that the personal element, the capacity to feel and be personal, is a characteristic of the Personal Essence, which is an aspect of Being. It cannot be truly understood, or even specifically conceptualized, until one experiences and understands the Personal Essence. In fact, to be personal is the unique quality of the Personal Essence, one that distinguishes it from other aspects of Essence and from the unqualified Essence, the impersonal aspect of Being.

Realizing One's Personal Relation to Cosmic Consciousness

As the individual is accepted, loved and welcomed by the universal Love one starts feeling oneself again as a person. One starts becoming conscious of a subtle sense of being an individual. It is similar to the ego sense of individuality, except that there is no contraction. It is a fullness that encompasses all the body, and more. One realizes that one’s whole body is suffused by the tender softness of the conscious presence. Here one realizes one’s personal relation to the Cosmic Consciousness. There is the definite experience of being an individual rooted in the loving presence. There is no sense of boundaries. One is a presence, a personal presence, but with the quality of the Loving Light. Not only does one feel and see the personal loving presence as directly connected to the boundless Cosmic Consciousness, but one also feels oneself to be a personal expression of the divine presence, and still part of it. When there is focus of attention on the personal presence one feels oneself to be an individual continuous with the cosmic presence. When the attention is focused on the cosmic presence one feels oneself to be the divine infinite presence. One is both the infinite and the individual. This is a very beautiful and fulfilled state. One feels oneself as a fullness grounded in the boundless presence. The mind is crystal clear, and one is a rounded fullness, bathed in the delicate tenderness of the conscious Cosmic Presence, and connected to it from one’s depth and center. One feels connected to the Cosmic Presence, supported by it and enveloped by its lovingness.

Remembering Oneself

The personal element is a specific and absolute aspect of Essence. Like other aspects of Essence, it is a Platonic form. When one experiences the personal aspect one is certain that one feels a personal consciousness, or a personal state of Being. Just as love, will or joy are readily recognized when they are experienced in the pure form of the essential aspect, so is the personal aspect readily recognized. There is always recognition of one's true nature when it is experienced. As Socrates said, one does not learn from anybody or from experience about the Platonic forms. One remembers them from one's own deeper resources. One merely remembers oneself.

Touching the Atoms of One's Being

So the sense of feeling personal is a sense of feeling close to, and intimate with, oneself in a personal way. One feels very close to oneself as a person, as a being, as a human being. One feels involved with oneself, immersed in one's unique beingness. One is intimately touching one's own depth, one's own substance, one's own soul. One is touching the atoms of one's being, in intimate contact, in an embrace where one is embracing one's own being. He who embraces and he who is embraced are the same being, the Personal Essence. The subject is the object. The perceiver is the perceived. The intimacy is so complete that there is no duality.

What is Not the Personal Essence

The sense or perception of being a person, here, is not a feeling about oneself, nor a thought or idea about oneself. It is not an inference from looking at one's body or one's behavior. It is not a reference from past perceptions, taken as a continuity in time. It is not an image in the mind. It is not a conclusion, mental or emotional, that results from an image in one's mind. It is not a feeling, thought or concept about oneself that results from memory or from interaction with the environment. The experience of the Personal Essence is independent from memories. This is because the Personal Essence, with its sense of being a person, is neither an image nor a feeling dependent on an image. It is independent from the mind and its structures, and hence it is independent from the memories of one's personal history. It is direct perceptual recognition of a state of Being, in the here and now. It is direct and immediate knowing of one's true personhood, that is inseparable from being the person.

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