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Platonic Form

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Platonic Form?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Platonic Form

Brilliance Exists Independently as a Pure Platonic Form

Physical perception of the natural world reveals no thing, no color, that is just brilliance. Brilliance is always a quality of something. On the essential level, however, brilliance exists independently; it exists as a pure Platonic form, as pure presence, as the actual substance of intelligence. It is like a medium, or a liquid, that is made out of brilliance. If you can imagine taking a mirror and holding it in the sun until you see the brilliance of the reflection, and then taking that brilliant reflection and liquefying it, you would have some idea of what the flow of the presence of Brilliancy looks like. It is like a liquid mirror.

Brilliancy, pg. 16

Essence is Eternally and Primordially Itself

Each of the aspects of Essence is a Platonic form, eternally and primordially itself. Love is always and eternally love, so is peace, so is joy, so is intelligence, and so on. Each cannot be anything else, cannot evolve and cannot devolve. It cannot be contaminated and cannot be improved upon. Each aspect is aware of itself, and only of itself. It is the presence of a particular quality, and only this quality. It is a pure consciousness, a consciousness aware of its presence, but its knowledge is different from that of the soul. The soul can be aware of herself as pure consciousness, and then she is like essence, for she is then essence. The soul, however, can know herself as any of the aspects of essence, for all of these aspects are elements of her potential.

Life, a Platonic Form Independent from Bodies

We have discussed life by exploring things around it, by addressing evolution, self-organization, manifestations of aliveness, dying, and so on, in order to demonstrate that life is a property of soul. What is the direct experience of this property? If it is a property of the soul we can experience it as a type of consciousness, as a presence with particular characteristics. This is actually the case; for just as forms of experience turn out to be manifestations of basic knowledge, which is in turn an expression of pure knowledge, the content and characteristics of life are also forms and manifestations of the life of the soul, as a flowing current, which is in turn an expression of pure life. We can experience our soul as the presence of life, as a conscious field characterized by life. The manifestations of aliveness we have discussed are the experiential qualities of this mode of presence. The soul is not only conscious, it is also alive; it is pulsing with life and vigor. When we experience the quality of aliveness we feel a pulsation, a teeming vitality, robustness, and vigor. The robust feeling of life characterizes the conscious presence of the soul, and appears now as a distinct quality or property. We discover that life, or aliveness, is a particular dimension of the soul, a basic property of its presence. It is actually a Platonic form, independent from bodies and from matter in general. It is always inherent and present in the soul, but we can experience it explicitly.

The Diamond Guidance is the Prototype, the Platonic Form of the Capacity for Discrimination

To effectively and fully operate using the Diamond Guidance, we need to be able to function on all levels of discrimination. It is important to have intellectual discrimination, for example, not because we are primarily intellectual, but because intellectual discrimination is necessary for describing a feeling, a sensed discrimination, or a perceived one. It is also necessary to have emotional and sensate discrimination to appreciate the subtleties in our lived experience. The Diamond Guidance, in the arising of basic knowledge, gives us the discrimination on the essential level—the spiritual level—but it also sharpens our discrimination on all the other levels, because it is the prototype, the Platonic form, of the capacity for discrimination in general.

The Direct Experience of the Quality of Life

Under normal circumstances it is difficult to experience life directly, because we are always experiencing it in association with the body, inseparable from the biological functioning of the physical organism. We might come close to the experience of this Platonic form when we are feeling especially alive, vigorous, robust, and dynamic. This can happen during intense exercise, sexual orgasm, or when we are confronted with a life-threatening situation or graced with wonderful news or a great occasion. We then can experience ourselves as more alive, excited about life, full of passion and vigor, strong and ready to take on the world. However, these experiences pale when contrasted with the direct and full experience of the soul in her property of life. In the direct experience of the quality of life, the aliveness and vigor are pure, distilled, and complete, without being related to a particular situation or even to the body. Life feels like the dynamism of animals, just as growth feels like the dynamism of plants . . . . . But the sense of aliveness feels much bigger than the body, not defined by it, and more fundamental than the physical mode of existence. Directly in touch with our aliveness, we feel like a river of life, a dynamic and pulsing consciousness. We experience ourselves as a fountain bubbling with aliveness, energy, fullness, excitation, passion, vigor. We sense ourselves as the presence of life, as life, as life outside of time. Our soul is life eternal, not in the sense of everlasting linear time, but outside of time, prior to time, independent of time.

The Essential Identity is a Platonic Form

When we say that the Essential Identity gives the self the feeling of identity, we do not mean that it is the usual kind of feeling, like an emotion or sensation. The feeling of an essential presence is part of its very substance; it is a quality of consciousness, a felt knowingness, a state with a recognizable quality. The closest we can come to describing the present quality is to call it a feeling of identity. We believe that this quality is the prototype of the feeling of identity. This pure feeling of identity is a basic self-existing category of experience. It is not a combination of feelings or images, or the result of such a combination. It is elemental; thus, we call it a Platonic form. The self’s feeling of identity in the presence of the Essential Identity is simple and immediate, unlike the normal sense of identity which is an affect based on past experience. Although this affect does differentiate each person’s sense of self from others, it is not as clear and definite as the sense of identity in the Essential Identity. The normal sense of identity is usually somewhat vague, and we do not generally become aware of it unless we experience its absence.

The Person is a Platonic Form, a Pure Aspect of Being

From the perspective of Essence, the person is a Platonic form, a pure aspect of Being. It is as much a definite reality as love, compassion, will, consciousness and awareness. These aspects of Essence are universal, in the sense that all human beings have the capacity to experience and know them. They are like the Jungian archetypes, except that they are states of presence and Being. They are independent of one’s personal mind and its creations. They are experienced the same by all human beings. Love is love, whether one is American or Chinese, man or woman, old or young. This universality is also true of the aspect of the person, the Personal Essence. And the Personal Essence is the personal element in the human form, as a person.

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