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Presence (Nondifferentiated Presence)

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Presence (Nondifferentiated Presence)?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Presence (Nondifferentiated Presence)

Nondifferentiated Being is True Nature with one Concept, the Concept of Being

Recalling our discussion in chapter 3, it would seem that pure presence is nonconceptual awareness, the ground of experience and perception. This conclusion is true but partial. Pure presence is undifferentiated, so it has no discriminated conceptual categories. However, one discrimination remains: nondifferentiated presence is conceptualized as presence. Thus this dimension of true nature retains one concept, the concept of being. The fact that we experience it as presence means we recognize it as beingness. It has no other recognition, but still the recognition of being is a recognition. Being free from all determinations, and hence from all existents and beings, it is true nature with the self-recognition of its own presence. True nature knows one thing here, only one thing. It knows it is. And it knows it is by being. More precisely, nondifferentiated Being is true nature with one concept, the concept of being. This lack of differentiation in pure presence divulges that Being is the original concept, the root of mind and knowing. The first thing that true nature knows is its being, its presence. This knowing is knowing of its being, a knowing not differentiated from its being. Being, in this dimension, is knowing of being. In other words, in this dimension, manifest true nature is being, which is knowing of being. More accurately, in this dimension of true nature, knowing is being and being is knowing. Being and knowing are both present in pure presence, but undifferentiated. We can say that being is the original knowing, before which there is no knowing

Presence, Awareness and Knowingness are the Same Thing in Pure Nondifferentiated Essence

Essence as fundamental ground of the soul is basically pure nondifferentiated presence, colorless and without qualities. Thus it is the manifestation of the true nature of everything in the soul. But essence rarely manifests in our individual experience in its pure and nondifferentiated mode; or more precisely, it is difficult for most individuals to recognize essence in its nondifferentiated state. However, essence manifests in other ways, by differentiating into presence with recognizable qualities. We have discussed how essence is a presence of pure consciousness that also possesses the capacity to recognize itself as presence. This is the inherent coemergence and coextensiveness of the dimension of nonconceptual mirror like awareness responsible for bare perception, and the dimension of basic knowledge responsible for cognition and recognition. So essence is presence that is inseparable from awareness of this presence, and is also inseparable from the knowingness of this presence. The presence, the awareness, and the knowingness are the same thing in the experience of pure nondifferentiated essence.

Pure Being, Nondifferentiated Presence

The realization of the various differentiated aspects of Being leaves the door open to the manifestation of pure Being, nondifferentiated presence. Manifestation and realization of this basic and supreme aspect is a long and difficult one, but it is a natural process that spontaneously occurs at some point of personal development. We will discuss this supreme aspect of Being only enough to explore its relationship to the Personal Essence. Nondifferentiated Being is simply the nature of everything, including all aspects of Being, and all of physical existence. One realizes that everything, on any level of perception, is nothing but a differentiation of this nondifferentiated sense of Being. This is different from the Cosmic Consciousness, which is the soul of all existence. Pure Being is not only the soul and Essence of the universe, it is the universe itself, and beyond. So it is a deeper and much more basic reality. It is seen to be the nature of Cosmic Consciousness, its being-ness, the beingness of all aspects of Essence, and the nature and beingness of everything perceivable. It is difficult to conceptually see the difference between Pure Being and Cosmic Consciousness, but experientially the difference is significant and clear.

Pure Nondifferentiated Presence is True Nature in Its Transcendence Appearing Clothed and Embodied with Its Own Inherent Knowingness

Pure being is true nature inseparable from its basic knowingness, which is itself a cognitive dimension. More precisely, pure nondifferentiated presence is true nature in its transcendence appearing clothed and embodied with its own inherent knowingness. This inherent knowingness is initially simply the knowingness of its presence, but here it differentiates into the explicit knowingness of the inherent perfections of this presence. 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 subconcepts. 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.

Pure Presence is Nondifferentiated Presence Complete with the Totality of Implicit Perfections of True Nature

Since pure presence is nondifferentiated presence, complete with the totality of implicit perfections of true nature, all essential potentials are present in it undifferentiated from each other. Before the advent of the boundless dimensions the soul experiences these essential potentials in two primary categories. One is the presence of fullness, the other the presence of emptiness. The soul experiences essential aspects in forms like nectars and diamonds, for example, but they normally appear in empty spaciousness. The empty spaciousness is one way that essence manifests, as inner space, of various colors and grades, forming the clearing where the various forms and substances of essence emerge. (See The Void, part four, for a detailed discussion of this point.) We can think of space as a particular essential aspect because it is possible to differentiate it clearly. However, it is not only differentiated from each other aspect, it is also clearly differentiated from all other aspects, making it fundamental in a way that no other aspect is. It functions as the essential clearing or medium where all aspects arise. It functions as a spacious emptiness where the fullness of Being emerges. Its special status becomes objectively clear in the boundless dimensions, especially in that of pure presence.

Qualities that are Usually Implicit in Pure Nondifferentiated Presence

We have seen that consciousness is to the soul as protoplasm is to the body. Hence, essence is the substance of protoplasm, a medium of pure consciousness. However, as discussed in previous publications, essence manifests in various qualities we have termed aspects. These aspects are particular differentiations out of the basic presence, pure consciousness. They are differentiations only in quality, so they always remain as presence. Each aspect is a presence capable of being self-aware, and the only difference from the protoplasmic presence is that this awareness is also an awareness of the particular quality. These qualities are usually implicit in pure nondifferentiated presence, but manifest explicitly in the soul as aspects like love, compassion, joy, peace, truth, strength, impeccability, sincerity, and so on. They are the perfections of our true nature, whose presence is necessary for the soul to develop and function fully and completely. In terms of our body analogy, the aspects correspond to the essential fluids and organic compounds of the body. They are like the complex proteins, amino acids, fatty acids, hormones, enzymes, neurotransmitters, and the like, which are all necessary for the growth, health, and full functioning of the body

The Simplest Possible Concept is the Experience of Nondifferentiated Presence

What do we mean here by knowing? Knowing is recognition, apprehension, which implies some kind of concept. On this dimension, the concept is the simplest possible, the bare possibility of concept. The simplest concept is that of being, which experientially appears as presence. The simplest concept is not a mental concept, not an ordinary representational concept. The concept is presence itself, for concept has not differentiated from consciousness. It is a kind of protoconcept, but even simpler and more fundamental. When there is concept and concept is not differentiated from pure consciousness or awareness, we experience such concept as being, which is consciousness coemergent with the concept. The simplest possible concept, in other words, is the experience of nondifferentiated presence. It is not a thought, not a representational concept, but a direct discriminating awareness of presence, inseparable from the presence. This is pure basic knowledge, basic knowledge before any differentiation. We actually see here the origin of basic knowledge, and its objective nature. Basic knowledge is a capacity that exists in its simplest and hence most direct and immediate form in the realization of pure presence. Pure presence is actually basic knowledge before any content, for any content will be a differentiated content.

When One is the Supreme Aspect of Being, Pure Nondifferentiated Presence

At some point one perceives—usually suddenly—that one is the formless oneness of Being. The supreme, pure aspect of Being is now experienced in its aloneness, without the presence of ego structures and identifications. For this reason, the issue of aloneness sometimes resurfaces just before this experience of pure oneness. This state of oneness is in contrast to that of the Personal Essence, but without any contradiction. One feels that one is everything; there are no personal boundaries, and no partitions between objects. One is the supreme aspect of Being, is pure nondifferentiated presence, that is the nature of everything, that is also everything. Pure Being is experienced as both everything and beyond everything. As beyond everything it is experienced in its suchness as a pure sense of Beingness. This is referred to usually as the state of unity. As everything, it is experienced as the nature of everything, and this is usually referred to as the state of oneness.

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