Main Pages

By Region



Potential (Pure Potential)

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Potential (Pure Potential)?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Potential (Pure Potential)

Experiencing Ourselves as the Essence of Potential, as Pure Potential

We also have the sense that the awareness or aliveness of each of these atoms can develop and multiply in various and infinite ways. There is an exploding sense, an unfolding sense, for each little part of it, each infinitesimal region in the field. Yet the field is not composed of discrete atoms. It is a continuous unified medium. It is a very dynamic, seething, pulsing medium, with an endless possibility of unfoldment, expansion, and experience. It is like experiencing ourselves as the seed, rather than the tree. We experience the teeming aliveness inside the seed and recognize that this has the potential to become a tree. We do not experience the tree; we do not yet know what it is like to be a tree, or any particular kind of plant. We simply experience ourselves as the potential for something. We are full, full of potential, but more accurately we are the fullness of potential itself. In other words, we experience ourselves as the essence of potential, as pure potential. Experiencing our soul as potential, we recognize that we are, more than anything else, the potential for experience, and for whatever is possible in experience. Soul is at the root pure potential, potential for consciousness, knowledge, experience, life, growth, learning, expansion, and so on. We do not merely have the potential for all of these, we are rather potential itself, pure potential. This points to a profound possibility of freedom; for we are not the particulars of our potential—the experiences, forms, qualities, and capacities—we are potential itself, free from the particulars, for our nature precedes them and underlies them. We begin to recognize that the soul constitutes an unlimited possibility of development in all dimensions. The soul is actually a potentiality, free in all ways and containing all possibilities.

Human Potential is Infinite and Miraculously Free

We do not here experience ourselves as a particular manifest form, but as the unlimited possibility for all forms, teeming with inner reality that can manifest in endless ways. We feel rich with aliveness, with energy, with possibilities. It is almost like feeling oneself to be a fertilized egg with the strong sense that a lot can come out of this, a lot of life. We do not see the forms that manifest, we simply feel the raw potential itself. In fact, all the other properties, qualities, experiences, forms, capacities, and functions that we discuss in this book are nothing but the unfolding of this potential. Everything we experience is the forms this potential manifests, unfolding one after the other. All of our life is nothing but the unfoldment of this potential. Our potential is not only the gifts and special qualities and capacities that we have. This is the normal meaning of potential, but this is only part of our potential. Our potential is everything we have ever experienced, everything we will ever experience, everything we can ever experience. From the perspective of this pure potential we recognize that human potential is infinite, and miraculously free. We also can see that it is the potential of all human beings. Human beings are not different at this basic level of potentiality. We all have the same potential, which is the potential of humanity. Practically speaking, however, we are different in terms of how accessible it is to us. This depends on our environment, our circumstances, our history, our times and culture, our physical constitution, and many other factors. Our environment, including our bodies, may constrain us, not only by putting up barriers and difficulties in the way of our potential, but also in not eliciting our potential by providing the opportunities and the supports we need. Our potential arises mostly as a response to needs, and its unfoldment requires not only activation but also holding and support.

Our Soul is Not a Particular State or Condition; it is the Medium and Locus where All States and Conditions Arise

Our inner field is pure consciousness that is also pure potential for experience. How does this potential become actuality? How does the seed become a tree? To explore this we first need to remember that our soul is not a particular state or condition; it is the medium and locus where all states and conditions arise. The fact that all inner states and events are forms within and part of the soul means that the soul is in constant change. This is clear when we contemplate our experience. We notice that experience is in constant and continuous change and transformation. One thought follows another, one feeling leaves only to vacate the space for another. Inner sensations and movements are never still. Our inner space is like a multiple intersection at the center of a major city, where all streets and lanes are busy most of the time, with an incessant flow of traffic of various kinds and sizes of vehicles. Our inner space is not only busy with content, it is in incessant movement, transformation, development, evolution or devolution, expansion or contraction, and so on. These are the external forms of our soul’s field of consciousness; she is rarely at rest, rarely settled. And when she is settled, this is only a momentary state like all other states. This is why some see the soul as a chameleon, transforming from one condition to another. This points to an important property of the soul, related to its potential: its changeability.

Pointing to the Pure Potentiality of True Nature, from which Arises the Universe of Myriad Things

We have discussed how true nature is timeless and spaceless, but this does not say much about the actual experience of timelessness and spacelessness. Such an experience is so miraculous and magnificent that describing it in metaphysical language ends up sounding empty and drab, heavy and dull. We say that true nature is without qualities, but we also say it is infinite. Here, infinity is not the endlessness of time or space, but rather of lack of limitation. It points to the pure potentiality of true nature, from which arises the universe of myriad things. This infinity can be experienced, but it is very difficult to describe such experience except by giving its impact on body and mind. We can say it is stupendous, it is mind-blowing, it is amazing, it is bedazzling, and all this is true. But such descriptions simply express how we are impacted by the revelation of the infinity of true nature; they do not describe true nature itself. Because of this difficulty, many wisdom teachings take the view that the transcendent true nature is unknowable. In our view this is both true and false. We can definitely know and experience true nature, fully and completely. We can experience ourselves as timeless and spaceless infinity, and respond with wonder. We are then the ground of everything, the source of all manifestation, the essence of reality. We are total freedom and bliss, with no conceptual limitations. We are what makes anything exist, the source of all that appears, and the very substance and nature of everything. At the same time we are totally autonomous, absolutely independent of any form or quality. Yet this is not the experience of true nature in its absolute transcendence. It is the experience of true nature nondual with its manifestations. Here we are experiencing ourselves as true nature; we are recognizing true nature in its fullness and completeness. Yet we are experiencing it with the forms and colors that it manifests. We can discriminate true nature from its manifestations, yet in reality we do not know whether true nature will be like this when there is no manifestation. So, in actuality, we cannot know true nature in its absolute transcendence. This is so because there is no such thing as experience of true nature without some manifest form.

Soul is Potentiality that is Inherently Dynamic

The Soul is not only a conscious presence it is an unfolding dynamic organism of consciousness. She is pure potentiality, a potentiality that is inherently dynamic, whose dynamism unfolds the elements of her infinite potential through a process of morphing manifestation. The unfoldment of the soul produces not only constant change and transformation, but also movement toward a greater actualization of potential. The more potential manifests, the wider and the deeper is our experience, and the more expanded our sense of who we are and what we can do. A seed not only generates other seeds, or other kinds of seeds; it opens up and develops into a tree. The morphogenic transformation is not only a generation of forms, but also a generation of ever-expanding forms, forms of increasing complexity and organization. The mind expands not only in terms of the different functions it can exercise, but also in the development of these functions to greater and greater complexity and performance. Our emotional life develops and matures in intensity, depth, range, level, and kind. The way we experience ourselves evolves in an ever-increasing complexity and richness.

The Human Soul is Pure Potentiality, the Potentiality of Being

Being manifests itself to itself through us, as human beings. In us, Being beholds its beauty and celebrates its majesty. Our experience of ourselves in our totality and our tangibility is what in the Diamond Approach we mean by the term soul. The soul is what experiences, and it is the lived experience itself. It is the inner, psychic organism, the individual consciousness that is the site of all experience. The human soul is pure potentiality, the potentiality of Being. It is also the way that Being, in all its magnificence, opens up and manifests its richness. To experience the richness of our Being, the potential of our soul, we must allow our experience to become more and more open, and increasingly question what we assume we are. Usually, we identify with a very limited part of our potential, what we call the ego or personality. Some call it the small self. But this identity is actually a distortion of what we really are, which is a completely open flow out of the mystery of Being. A human being is a universe of experience, multifaceted and multidimensional. Each of us is a soul, a dynamic consciousness, a magical organ of experience and action. And each of us is in a constant state of transformation—of one experience opening up to another, one action leading to another, one perception multiplying into many others; of perception growing into knowledge, knowledge leading to action, and action creating more experience. This unfolding is constant, dynamic, and full of energy. This is the very nature of what we call life.

When We are the Potential for All Experience, All Perception, All Knowledge and More

The experience here is of the conscious presence characterized by potentiality. The presence is the presence of potential. Just as potential knowledge is the presence of pure knowledge, potential is the presence of pure potential, as a category on its own, as a fundamental quality that we experience here explicitly and directly. We experience ourselves as pure potentiality. We do not experience ourselves as having potential; we experience ourselves as potential. We are the potential for all experience, all perception, all knowledge, all qualities, all capacities, all functions, all processes, and all developments. In this experience we do not surmise that we are potential; we know we are potential by being potential. Our presence is the presence of potentiality. Here, presence and potential are the same thing. This shows that when we recognize that a particular individual has a great deal of potential, we are actually recognizing that person’s soul, seeing its potentiality. As in the experience of pure knowledge, we are not necessarily experiencing the specifics of potential. We cannot in this experience point to one thing or another, and say this is one of my potentials. We might be experiencing a particular element of our potential—we always are—but this is not what we mean here. The experience is more that the substance of the presence is made out of potential. We feel ourselves as a teeming fullness, recognizing that all this presence has implicit in it something that can grow and develop. We experience our consciousness as if composed of millions of living atoms, all in one space, with intuitive knowledge that each one of these atoms can become a million atoms, and each of these another million and so on, infinitely. Each one of these is an experience, an insight, a discovery, a function, a state, a form, and so on.

Subscribe to the Diamond Approach