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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Power?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Power

Experiencing the Soul's Dynamism

Our perception of the soul’s changeability and unfoldment helps us to recognize this dynamic dimension of the soul. All these manifestations of dynamism are nothing but the various ways it expresses itself. In other words, the pure conscious presence that constitutes the field of the soul is a dynamic presence, where dynamism is completely pervasive of, and absolutely inseparable from, this presence. The essential ground of the soul is not only her ontological dimension but also this pressure to manifest her potential. The potential of the soul, in other words, is a dynamic potential, similar to the potential of the seed. We can also experience this dynamism directly, as a pure quality, independent of its ways of expressing itself. This experience of the soul indicates that we are experiencing the soul herself, not only one of her forms. We can experience ourselves not only as a field of consciousness, but as an organism of consciousness, with an organismic sense of presence. We feel ourselves as a writhing, moving, pulsating, convulsing organism. The presence is full of pulsating energy, exploding power, dynamic momentum. The sense of writhing movement and convulsing activity is similar to how a healthy muscle feels when contracting and flexing. It is like the feeling of our body when it is full of life and vigor, and is moving in a robust, powerful way, as during intense exercise. The soul also feels both organismic and orgiastic the way genitals can feel during lovemaking, especially the pulsating movement and flow at the peak of orgasm. In the experience of dynamism there is fullness, robustness, power, energy, aliveness, movement, flow, but all as one integrated movement or action.

Exposing the First Arisings of the Ego Consciousness

So the Black diamond, when it functions as part of the Diamond Guidance, gives it the capacity to cut through all the way to the Absolute. Then our consciousness is that stillness and silence that is clear, objective, exquisitely precise, and sharp. There is a sense of silent knowledge and mysterious power, a settled sufficiency, and an unspeakable contentment. This diamond reminds us of the Absolute itself, as if the Absolute had condensed and formed itself into a diamond. The blackness is so black that it glimmers and shines. There is a sense of majesty, awe, and mystery. It is an exquisite consciousness of silence, which silences all chatter and stills it into its own beautiful stillness. With this diamond in the Diamond Guidance, inquiry becomes so sharp, so effective, and so powerful that it begins to expose the first arisings of the ego-consciousness—the background of all attitudes and positions. We become able to perceive the beginning movements of ego—the tendency to go someplace, the impulse to desire, the impulse to reject, the impulse to hope. And just the clear discernment of these impulses annihilates the ego, for by now we are very near the translucence of our true nature.

Hatred Seen as a Distortion of Power

Pure being is true nature inseparable from its basic knowingness, which is itself a cognitive dimension ....... Each aspect arises in this dimension as presence, but presence inseparable from a differentiated knowing. Each differentiated knowing is a differentiated concept, as if the original concept has differentiated into many sub-concepts. In this dimension of pure basic knowledge, knowing and concept are the same; cognition is simply the presence of a basic concept clothing presence. This concept is nothing but the expression of a cognitive dimension that structures the manifold of true nature, in parallel to the other dimensions, those of color, texture, affect, and so on. It is the differentiation of the cognitive dimension, while the simple knowingness of Being is the nondifferentiated cognitive dimension. Essential differentiations are discriminations; that is, they are differentiations that can be discriminated, cognized, recognized, known. Each essential discrimination is what we have termed an aspect of essence, where it is presence inseparable from the knowingness of the particular quality of perfection. When essential aspects arise in this dimension, they arise in a very clear and precise way, in sharply faceted diamonds of the aspects. In fact, one of the ways of connecting to this boundless dimension of pure presence is through the aspects, where a more complete and more precise understanding of the aspect takes the soul into the realization of this boundlessness. For instance, the soul might encounter a particular terror when dealing with this dimension and might recognize after some inquiry that her terror has to do with projecting her own hatred outside her. When she recognizes the projection, she owns up to her hatred. Upon further inquiry she is likely to find that this hatred is a distortion of her power, which then arises as the essential aspect of power. Here it arises as a large, faceted black diamond, with the full quality of presence characteristic of this dimension. She feels a full sense of presence, powerful and immense, yet clear and precise, with an exact understanding of power. She feels she is powerful enough to be herself, that nothing can scare her away from being herself.

The Black Essence is the Essence of Power

When you recognize this annihilating action of the Black Essence, you can begin to understand the relationship between peace, stillness, and annihilation. And if you stay open, without allowing the concepts of annihilation, stillness, or peacefulness to limit your contact with what you are experiencing, you might recognize that the Black Essence is also powerful, for it can quiet down the agitation of the mind easily and effortlessly. This might allow the Black Essence to arise as power, and you can then recognize that Black is the essence of power. Now we have gone from peace to power, though we wouldn’t initially have seen any connection between them. If we had remained bound to the memory of our original experience of Black as peace—filed it away in our computer as a bit of final knowledge and closed our mind to further possibilities—we might never have arrived at real power. But even power is not necessarily the end, because if you stay with your experience in an attitude of dynamic openness, the Black Essence can also manifest as the essence of magic and the essence of beauty. And if you continue to be open and curious, you might see, “Oh, it is some kind of unfathomable mystery.” And so it goes, as the unfoldment of the richness of Being continues endlessly. This doesn’t mean that the Black Essence is not truly peace, it doesn’t mean it’s not true stillness or true power. It is all of these, but we need to remember that the essence of Being cannot be finally determined—this is what I call the inexhaustible mystery of Being.

The Defense of Splitting Entails Splitting Away One's Power

The story of the defense of splitting in relation to Being is a long and complex one. Here we will note only that resolving the primary split in the ego, the split between the bad and good representations, involves integrating the essential aspect of Power. The defense of splitting entails splitting away one’s Power, because it is associated with the all-bad self-representation, and projecting it outside. The result is identification with a self-representation that is all-good but powerless. This all-good, innocent, and powerless sense of self is experienced as confronting a world that is all-bad, hateful, and powerful. In this situation of powerlessness one experiences an excruciating vulnerability in one’s contact with the world, vulnerability to powerful and destructive objects. So the individual resorts to the schizoid defense of isolation (no engagement in object relations) and withdrawal (regression to primitive ego identifications). The defense of schizoid isolation is seen then to be related to the defense of splitting. Working through this defense of isolation, or defensive detachment, is involved in the process of personalization of the Human aspect of Essence, which is related to vulnerability.

The Immense and Silent Power to Be

Learn to hold your hatred, be with it, feel it as much as possible from the inside and from the outside. Seek to know hatred, to feel the energy of it, to feel the power of it, and recognize all the associations that come up in relation to it. See into the history that created it and understand that, too. Continue in your inquiry until you are finally able to feel that hatred completely, in its full energy and power. If you do not obstruct it through judgment or rejection, the hatred will—just like anything else that arises in your experience—naturally reveal its own nature. It will dissolve, leaving what is true. And that truth turns out to be essential power—it is the power of truth and peace and stillness. This is the immense and silent power to be—to be undisturbed and unruffled by the ignorance and reactivity of the familiar self. It is simply the power to be who you are, without domination or control, the power of True Nature that brings a love and a freedom in simply being yourself.

The More an Inquiry is Open-Ended the More Its Power is Released

Through inquiry, you learn how to navigate through your not-knowing. You will find out where you are going through the unfoldment of your own dynamism: “Where is it taking me? Am I going to become a monk? Am I going to become a householder? Am I going to be a computer analyst, a soldier, a teacher, a lover, a husband or a wife?” The more any inquiry is open ended, the more its power is released. That power is the power of the dynamism of Being itself. This is quite different from the restricted and limited way of using inquiry, which is directed toward a particular result and is determined by an idea in your mind or by something you or somebody else already knows. When I say that inquiry needs to be open ended, I don’t mean that you should never take a perspective. But whatever perspective you take, inquiry can move to open it up and reveal what you are inquiring into. And if you inquire into a particular way of looking at things, you might realize, “Oh, this perspective is good for this, but not good for that. ”We are discussing inquiry in a very general way, laying the groundwork for looking more extensively into this fascinating part of our work. But the moment you start understanding inquiry, you forget that it is work. Inquiry brings in a love and a joyfulness; it brings in the very dynamism of Being that is needed for transformation.

The Penetrating Power of Intelligence

Intelligence can penetrate, support, and open up any capacity and any endeavor in any situation. There is no limitation on the amount of intelligence that can be present, on how much light can be shed, on how many alternatives can be revealed. Another sign of the presence of intelligence has to do with a sense of brilliance. If your mind is operating in an intelligent way, after a while you notice that there is pleasure in your brain, as though the cells themselves were having orgasms. They are illuminating from within, bursting with living intelligence and brightness. And using the intelligence of your mind will feel smooth and pleasurable. Things start to happen easily, and your thoughts, ideas, and perceptions begin to have the smoothness and the freedom of movement through a fluid medium. The operation of intelligence becomes like the flow of mercury. Such smoothness is the basis of the penetrating power of intelligence. This penetrating power has to do with the fluidity and delicacy of the movement and physiognomic properties of intelligence. The capacity to pierce to the heart of the matter is seldom as evident in other aspects as it is in Brilliancy. The presence of intelligence has a delicacy and smoothness that is so refined, so exquisite, and of such gentleness that there is nothing it cannot pierce and penetrate.

Brilliancy, pg. 99

The Power and Potential of Psychodynamic Understanding

Psychodynamic understanding has, then, an extraordinary power and potential far beyond its therapeutic uses. The existing body of knowledge in the field of psychology, and especially in psychoanalysis, can be very effectively used for essential development. And the nature of psychodynamic understanding allows us to work directly with the present experience of the student without following any particular progression or gradation. We can simply understand what is there in the moment, and this will lead us naturally to a particular aspect of essence: space, the personal aspect, the universal aspect, or any of several others. Using understanding in this way, we can avoid the awkwardness and inefficiency of many traditional techniques, such as giving all students the same meditations, the same physical exercises, or the same advice on the value of surrender regardless of the specific situation or state of the student. Psychodynamic understanding deals exactly with whatever situation the student presents, with what is actually of vital interest to him and his life. And from this real situation, understanding will lead him to the particular aspect of essence that is actually relevant to him at the time. As he continues the process of self-understanding, now with awareness of his own essence, the other aspects will appear and develop. This will happen naturally and spontaneously if the person looks at the truth in his experience. The essence is gradually freed from the grip of the unconscious and assumes its rightful place as the conscious center of one’s life.

The Void, pg. 77

The Power of Our Being Reveals that Ego Attitudes and Positions Don't Truly Exist

Power gives all the essential qualities an added force, efficiency, and speed. But what actually is the power of Being? The power of Being is just an active manifestation of peace, a dynamic application of stillness. It is not a pushing, it is not a destructiveness. When peace touches the soul, it simply stills it. All of her activities, agitation, and reactions simply dissolve the moment the presence of stillness touches them. They are annihilated. That is the power of stillness, the Peace aspect of Essence. So the power of our Being is an annihilating force, which annihilates ego attitudes and positions by revealing that they don’t truly exist. The power of Peace takes everything back to its original source, which is total stillness. All of the qualities of Essence color the field of the soul in their own likeness when they touch it. In fact, the soul transforms into the very quality that touches her. So when the Black Essence touches the manifestations of the soul, it brings them back to its own nature, which is peacefulness, and the Peace of true nature is a sense of stillness in which nothing stirs. It is total stillness, which, when precisely understood, turns out to be one hundred percent annihilation. It is an intense sensitivity, but the sensitivity has become so intense that it is absolute, for absolutely nothing stirs.

The Power of the Primal Self of the Oral Stage

What we find is a group of object relations centered around powerful aggression, rage, and hatred on the one hand, and intense instinctual and animal-like devouring desire and wanting on the other. The student experiences herself as an instinctual animal organism, sometimes as an intensely emotional infant, and sometimes as a more primitive structure like a powerful and primitive animal—a leopard or panther. She feels either rageful and hateful, wanting to destroy the self-objects that failed her, or she experiences a deep, lustful, powerful, and devouring hunger and wanting. The self-object she perceives is either a person, a group, or the whole world. The hateful-destructive object relation is usually reversed at the beginning; so she first projects her power and hatred onto the object, feeling that she is small, weak, helpless, generally good, but paranoid and terrified of the all-bad powerful looming object. Transformation of this object relation through precise understanding of its meaning and etiology leads to the integration of the aspect of essential personal Power. One then experiences oneself imbued with natural power, an amazing fullness that feels both alive and forbidding. This is the power of the primal self of the oral stage, which was distorted by frustration of the attempt to gain the orally fulfilling narcissistic support and enhancement in early childhood.

When the Arising of Power Assumes a Palpable Presence

Another example: A person might feel justified in feeling angry and indignant about being insulted or unjustly treated. The anger becomes so powerful that at some point, if he goes goes unreservedly with the feeling, the person will experience in the anger some kind of force powering it. This force or power is so clearly manifest that it assumes a palpable presence. It is as if the mounting power of the unrestricted emotion evokes more of the person. He feels himself so present in the emotion, so at its center, that a clearly sensed and substantial presence seems to infuse the emotion and fill the body. His body feels packed with power, so densely that power becomes a presence. This presence seems to be the source of the emotion and power, both in it and behind or under it. At such times, the person experiences intense contact with the body, along with an astonishing capacity to use and direct it. It is as if at that moment the individual actually exists in his arms, for instance, and hence can use them with an unusual amount of control, efficiency, and immediacy.

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