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Point of View

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Point of View?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Point of View

From Our Point of View, the Man of Spirit Has Half the Truth

Humanity is in a sense astray, but there is a pattern to this way of existence which, when understood, reveals the true nature of the human being. Only this understanding will heal the schism and resolve the contradiction. The true human being, what we will call the Personal Essence, is the resolution of the contradiction. It is the integration of both points of view. From our point of view, the man of spirit has half the truth, and the man of the world has the other half, concealed behind a reflection that is taken to be the truth. In our exploration we will discuss some of the eternal truths, which are known in some of the spiritual traditions, and are not revealed, but instead kept as precious secrets, given only to those who genuinely seek. However, we will sometimes use the modern language of psychology, and the findings of ego psychology and object relations theory, to convey these truths in a manner appropriate to our time. The approach we are giving here can be seen as radical from the above points of view. The Personal Essence, which is the subject of this book, is neither “spiritual” nor “worldly.” It is the true human being, the personal presence that is devoid of falsehood, without being impersonal. This is not envisioned as possible by many spiritual teachings, although it is not the personality of ego. However, it is what makes the nature of ego and its concerns intelligible.

Nuclear Energy is Not the Problem, the Problem is Our Point of View

Not having a point of view does not mean you don’t take action concerning things that happen in your life. It doesn’t mean being passive about what is happening around you. If there is openness, that openness can allow spontaneous and positive action. Someone asked the Dalai Lama—the religious and secular leader of the Tibetan people—about nuclear energy. He said there’s nothing necessarily positive or negative about nuclear energy. What’s important is the attitude we have toward it, and what we do with it, whether we take an ego point of view about it or an open view. The perspective will determine whether it’s positive or negative, like anything else—the mountain, sunlight, money, sex, anything that exists. Nuclear energy can be used for the best of purposes or the worst depending on the point of view of those using it. Nuclear energy has potential for helping humanity. But if it’s used from the point of view of ego which is protective, scared and greedy, that same energy can be used for power and destruction. Nuclear energy is not the problem. The problem is our point of view.

One’s Own Point of View is Necessarily Prejudiced by Personal History

Understanding an aspect of Being objectively means knowing it from its own perspective, and not from one’s own point of view, which is necessarily prejudiced by personal history. Objective understanding has the effect of altering the experience of the aspect, taking it to a new dimension of Essence. This dimension is that of objective understanding, which we have discussed as the Diamond Guidance. There are additional dimensions of Essence, in which each aspect becomes realized on a different dimension of objectivity. This is difficult to understand, but is easily grasped when there is direct experience. To put it differently, in the process of essential realization, it is found that not only are there many differentiated aspects of Being, but also several dimensions in which these aspects can be experienced. The first dimension is what we call the human realm, because the aspects are most easily recognized here, and are closest to the usual emotional affects. Then each one of these aspects can be experienced in several other ways, where the aspect retains its original sense, but is experienced from a different perspective, which gives it an added meaning and significance, or rather, a clearer and more objective meaning.

Only When You Don’t Have a Point of View Do You Perceive How Reality Is

The way you look at reality determines how you experience it. If you look at it from a subjective point of view, a mental construct, it will appear dark, and will for the most part feel painful. If you look at it with a fresh mind and a fresh heart, you see that it is good and feels wonderful. The sense of goodness is more real and fundamental since its existence is not dependent upon your point of view. It is only when you don’t have a point of view that you perceive that that’s how reality is. This is why the inherent goodness of reality is considered to be abiding and more real than any perspective. The sense of reality as filled with pain and suffering, on the other hand, is dependent upon your beliefs, and while they exist as part of reality, they are incidental to it. So we are differentiating between what is fundamental and what is incidental to the nature of reality. The perspective of Holy Love is that if you don’t try to see reality one way or another, you will discover that it is wonderful, and it will actually become wonderful. You don’t have to do anything to make it that way; it is like that on its own. All you need to do is relax. If we tighten up and get scared, things look negative and become painful. That’s how reality works. Eventually, we learn that it is more skillful to see reality as it is because doing so makes our lives easier.

Facets of Unity, pg. 213

Seeing Ego Development and Spiritual Transformation as Forming One Unified Process of Human Evolution

In contrast, object relations theory, and developmental psychology in general, consider ego development a complete process on its own, and spiritual teachings consider ego development either as a wrong development, or as a development that should be superceded by spiritual development. In our understanding it is more accurate and certainly much more useful, to see ego development as an incomplete development. It is more correct, from our point of view, to consider ego development and spiritual transformation as forming one unified process of human evolution. A human being grows and develops by learning from experience. Difficulties can occur at any stage of this process, including getting “stuck” on the ego level. We have so far discussed personal inner evolution, from birth, through ego development, to the realization of the Personal Essence. We will develop this understanding further in subsequent chapters, and show that the realization of the Personal Essence is the step that leads to the realization of the more advanced spiritual states, such as those of oneness or the Absolute. So it is one process of evolution from the beginning of ego development to the final stages of spiritual enlightenment. We will explore this evolution as the process of the personalization of Being. It is how Being, impersonal and eternal, becomes a person, a human being on earth. So the process is a matter of Being, which is spirit, learning to live in physical embodiment.

The Point of View of Having a Self, an Ego, is the Same as the Activity of Reaction

We’re seeing some of the implications of the point of view of the ego believing in itself. This point of view is based on deficiency. Always. You may believe that you are open to new things, but are you really? The ego perspective is an insular and restricted point of view which doesn’t allow for any fundamental change or fresh experiences. It does not allow existence itself. As long as we relate experience to ourselves—even if the experience is a positive one—it will result in frustration and pain. If you believe you are a somebody having an experience, you will use that experience to enhance yourself, to make yourself feel better. This means that when you have a pleasurable experience, you’re afraid of losing it and you want to repeat it. When you have a painful experience, you want to reject it, change it. The point of view of having a self, an ego, is the same as the activity of reaction. Because of your past experiences, you are always reacting mentally and emotionally to your present experience. You don’t just experience what is there. When you look at a mountain, you do not see a mountain, you see what you think a mountain is and what you feel about the mountain. You do not let the mountain act on you; you act on it.

The Point of View of the Ego is What Stops Love

You are basically an openness and a sensitivity which has no point of view, which is not restricted by any boundary of any kind—emotional, essential, physical or mental. When you allow yourself to be that openness and freedom, you will experience yourself as giving, as a flow of love. The point of view of the ego is what stops love and the true abundance that flows like a fountain. The fountain isn’t thinking of giving or not giving. The fountain is just there, flowing. A point of view, which is automatically a restriction, blocks the heart. The heart cannot pump its essential juices. As long as you believe you are a separate person with boundaries, with the attitude of getting things and protecting your self, you will block love. Love destroys boundaries. Love has nothing to do with you or me. Love is just the activity of that creativity in that openness. Love is the outcome of non-restriction, of freedom. When the body and the mind are not restricted by that point of view, the harmony of the body and the mind will be expressed in a lovingness, an abundance. The natural movement of our being is to be in love. The expression of that freedom is love, goodness, sweetness, contentment. When there is no point of view, there is complete and real love. When love is present, there is no movement toward getting or protecting. Your body exists as a channel for that flow of love. Love will flow by itself. The openness and the love flowing through it will allow everything to happen the best way it can happen.

The Suffering that We All Experience Comes from a Mistaken Point of View

The suffering that we all experience comes ultimately from a mistaken point of view, a mistaken perception. Your suffering is not only because your mother didn’t love you, or because your father punished you, or because you were abandoned in your childhood. It is something much more fundamental. Your suffering about the fact that your mother didn’t love you enough or that your father abandoned you, persists only as long as you take reality to be the way you think it is. Suffering persists as long as you take yourself to be a person who was a child, who is now a man or a woman, with this occupation, and this name, and so on. Your past affects you and determines your joy or your pain only if you take yourself to be the person that you have always thought you are. If you believe that you are your parents’ child, then obviously, everything that happened will affect your life and will continue affecting you until the end of your life. When you take yourself to be the child of your parents, you have already determined the character that you are; it cannot be changed. You can be free from that character only if you eliminate that history, and you can eliminate that history only if you realize that it is not your history, only if you begin to perceive beyond the appearance of things. As long as you continue to be the child of your parents, your history will continue to determine your experience. You will continue to be the particular child of your parents, with a particular history and character, and with particular traits, patterns, and problems.

The Time When it Becomes Possible for Consciousness to Discern the Personal Essence

We can see the situation more clearly by looking at the experience of the Personal Essence. The development of ego identifications involves processes which are equivalent to the process of metabolism of experience. When this development reaches a certain stage it becomes possible for the metabolism to be completed, and hence, for the Personal Essence to appear. This manifestation appears to be the final stage of a developmental process. However, the whole process can be seen from a different perspective. One can take the point of view that the Personal Essence is not the final stage of a development, but that it is a Platonic form that is always present in its usually experienced form, remaining part of one’s potential until certain conditions are satisfied and it can emerge into consciousness. These conditions are satisfied when the metabolic process reaches the stage of absorption. At this time it becomes possible for the consciousness to become aware of the Personal Essence. From this point of view the process is clearly a matter of discovery. This resembles the process of uncovering unconscious material in psychodynamic psychotherapy. The finally emerging emotional state (for instance anger that has been repressed) is not a development, but can be experienced when certain conditions are satisfied. From this point of view, the Personal Essence, and all other aspects of Being, are already present in final form, but repressed in the unconscious.



Two Contenders for Your Attention: Essence and Personality

The process of freeing oneself can be seen from two complementary and interconnected points of view. The first looks at the process as self-realization, which is called self-actualization or essential development. The other point of view sees the process as liberation or freedom. Which perspective you emphasize depends on what you are aware of in yourself. There are twocontenders for your attention: essence and personality, your true nature and your acquired identity. From the perspective of essence, self-realization means realizing or developing one’s essence. From the perspective of liberation, the process is seen as becoming free from the personality. In our work, these two developments go on simultaneously; they are actually one process. In the past, different systems have emphasized one or the other to the extent that at first glance they may appear contradictory.

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