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Process of . . . (i)

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Process of . . . (i)?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Process of . . . (i)


Integration: The feeling of the Personal Essence is a sense of being integrated, together, whole and complete. So its presence is itself experienced as an integration. From the understanding we have developed so far, it is clear it is the integration of all that the individual has experienced and learned. At the beginning, as we have described, it is a definite sense of a personal presence that feels whole, balanced and able to make contact. Then this personal presence is seen to integrate into itself the other aspects of Essence. At the beginning these aspects of Essence, such as love, compassion, clarity, understanding, intelligence, will, joy, pleasure, empathy, truth, intuition, strength and many others, exist as Platonic forms, as absolute aspects of true existence. After the Personal Essence is realized, they become integrated into it through a process of absorption, in which they become personalized. They continue to exist in their original forms, but now they also exist in another form, as a part of the very substance of the Personal Essence. We will discuss this process in more detail in the section on the development of Essence.

Actualizing the Concepts of the Mind

When a person knows love completely and embodies it, the next step is to let go of it. That is the natural process. It is the same thing when you realize that the various levels of realization are nothing but a process of actualizing the concepts of the mind. You actualize love; you actualize success; you actualize happiness; you actualize this and that. Every time you actualize something completely, when you really have it, that’s when you realize that it is really an idea in your mind. You cannot tell before that; only when you have it completely can you see that it is an idea. The moment you know that it is an idea—pop—it is gone. Then the next one comes and you seek it and you actualize it, and when it is completely there—pop—it is gone. The need for love goes, but you continue to be a source of love, without even thinking about it. The process of development is the same thing as the process of unveiling or shedding at the same time. The development and the actualization of a state is what is needed to go beyond it. They are not two separate things. You cannot go beyond self until you actualize self.

Arising; Forms Arising Out of Formlessness

Yet it is all one appearance, one image, one picture, that keeps appearing with modified patterns and colors. We come close here to our metaphor of the movie screen, where the scene simply appears, and continues to appear. In fact, the question of disappearing is irrelevant. We do not say the picture appears and disappears on the screen. We simply witness a picture that appears, and continues to appear but with modified shapes and colors. We may see this appearing as a process of arising. The form arises out of formlessness. In this way of perceiving there is more of a perception of process, of an object that gradually arises and takes form. Such perception is closer to our normal way of experiencing, where we experience emotions, for instance, as arising and taking form gradually, not forming totally instantaneously. It is a gradual process of formation, where the object gradually comes into perception, the way we perceive a person emerging from water after being submerged into it. We can perceive our thoughts in this way, especially our ideas.

Ascent of Energy; Descent

It should be noted here that the experience of the column of space and of the mind as boundless space is usually the crown of the process of development of what some systems call the Kundalini. In this process, energy ascends up the spine into the head, causing all kinds of unusual experiences. However, when the process is successful, it culminates in the experience of boundless space. This experience is sometimes called the void, or “akash,” a Sanskrit term. We will see later that this realization is not really the apex of human development. The void is the emptiness which in time will allow the unfolding of the fullness and richness of Being. Just as the void is the culmination point of the process of the ascent of energy, it will become the beginning point of a process of descent that will bring the fullness of Being.

The Void, pg. 58

Attachment; Labeling; Thought that Involves Concepts; Thinking; Holding on

When you attach your sense of identity to something in particular, how are you doing it? What is really happening? When you feel that you are the body, penetrate the feeling. What are you doing that causes you to take the body to be you? Why not simply feel that there is a body? Why say “I am my body”? What is happening when you say. “I am sitting and talking,” instead of “I am aware of a body sitting and talking.” What is happening there? And you do the same thing with your personal history, with your psychological sense of identity. Why not say, “Yes, there is a perception or there is a memory,” instead of saying, “That’s me”? How is the identification happening? We need to observe the process of attachment; we need to observe the process of labeling. When we explore these questions, we find a process of thought that involves concepts. There is a concept of self, of identity, that we feel we need. There are also tensions in the body that accompany that thinking process. And the tensions in the body, the thinking process, and the sense of attachment to our identity go together; they are inseparable. Now, it is possible to be aware of that process of thinking and the process of holding on, and thus the pattern of tensions in the body without having to change any of it. Instead of defining ourselves with these thoughts, tensions, and sensations, why not look at them as a totality, as an awareness, rather than as a limitation or self-definition? So that there is an awareness watching the thought processes and associations, physical and emotional, but not necessarily involved with them. What can look at the totality of our thinking processes, the tensions in the body, the emotions, the body itself, the body image, the self-image, the personal history, everything? What is it that can look? What can hold all of that?

Becoming Aware; Refinement and Clarification of Consciousness

It takes several days of contemplation, with curiosity and openness of mind, before I begin to understand the crystal structure, the crystal heart. This inquiry takes me through a process of becoming aware of a region of my soul that I have never seen so completely or so graphically. I become aware at some point of a certain unclarity in my consciousness that reveals, upon inquiry, a thick and opaque part of my soul. I feel, mostly in my belly and pelvis, some kind of a blobby structure of soul that appears polluted, dirty, almost nauseating. The first reaction is disgust and repulsion, but because of the presence of the crystal heart, and my true desire to see the truth of the situation, I am able to hold this arising manifestation of my soul with an open and inquiring mind. It becomes clear that the turbidity and obscuration in this soul structure is due to a constellation of desires, impulses, needs and wants. This is a particular manifestation of the soul, the individual consciousness, that is structured by the patterns of identification originating from the oral stage of development, in the first few months of life. Some of the sources of this manifestation of the soul might be inherent to the soul, due to its physical orientation, and because of its lack of development and refinement. The consciousness arises here as an animal organism, ruled by instinctual desires and dominated by animal cravings. This manifestation of the soul is exposed fully only after a long process of refinement and clarification of consciousness

Child’s Learning to Use what he Already Has

In the understanding we are working with, we see that the child has all of the qualities and capacities in potential as part of his own Brilliancy. He cannot, however, utilize or express them because of the immaturity of his physical and psychic apparatuses. So he needs to have them reflected in his environment until he is able to fully embody them. This embodiment occurs partially through the process of internalization and identification. However, this is not a matter of getting from outside something he did not have to start with, but rather a process of learning to use what he already has by seeing it reflected outside himself in his parents. In other words, he discovers and develops what he already has by seeing his parents utilizing and expressing the same qualities and capacities he innately possesses.

Brilliancy, pg. 179

Clarification (of Images and Object Relations); Essential Metabolism

The next step is for the soul to continue this journey of individuation by including more dimensions of the soul’s potential. This happens by integrating her ego achievements into the essential ground of the soul. The sense of being an individual, which is based on identification systems of images and object relations, can now go through a transformation. The structures that constitute it can go through a process of clarification in which they are consciously understood. The soul can inquire into her ego structures, recognize them as structuring through mental impressions, and metabolize them into her essential presence. The structures are based on memories and impressions that constitute the history of the life of the soul. By becoming aware of this history, recognizing its content as it actually was, and understanding instead of identifying with it, the soul can metabolize the important experiences in this personal history. The soul digests the truth and learning in this history rather than using it to define herself. This metabolism, which can happen only if the process of inquiry occurs in the presence of essence, integrates one’s personal history and learning into the ground of the soul. The structures lose their structuring power and the learning and skills synthesized in them now become integrated into the soul directly, instead of indirectly through images and identifications. This process of essential metabolism develops the soul into an individual of essence. The sense of being an individual with unique qualities and skills does not disappear, but appears in the soul now as an essential presence that has a personal quality. (See The Pearl Beyond Price, chapters 11–15, for a detailed discussion of this process of metabolism.) 

Clarification of Inner Seeing

The capacity for inner seeing goes through a process of clarification as it develops. Whether you see visions or experiential states, inner seeing can be contaminated and distorted, just as our regular vision can be. Projections and beliefs can make us see something different from what actually is present in our experience. Or it can cause us to interpret its meaning according to our subjective biases and positions. In fact, all of the inner subtle capacities have to go through the process of clarification so that you don’t deceive yourself. The fact that subtle capacities exist indicates that perception can extend inwardly to subtler dimensions, which is necessary for our inquiry to go beyond the conventional dimension of experience. The inner realm has many kinds of miraculous dimensions, and inquiry is an adventure into these new dimensions and universes. This is part of the excitement of the journey, and it is a valid excitement because it is our life and our possibility.

Clarifying Any Dullness or Muffled Edge in Our Experience

So inquiry is a process of clarifying any dullness or muffled edge in our experience. We do this by seeing and experiencing things in a more precise and specific way. Clarity of particulars, of details and patterns, means precision. When the discrimination is precise and exact, the clarity of the patterns and the meaning in these patterns become understanding. In fact, this precision and exactness of experience is itself the recognition of objective truth. In other words, understanding is the intimate discrimination of experience, and discrimination is nothing but clarity and precision. So understanding is nothing but clear, exact, and precise direct knowing of the dynamics of the situation.

Confronting Unpleasant Truths

Another category of action connected to inner development is that of discipline. Discipline is a basic ingredient in almost all schools of inner development. This is for several reasons. One reason is that the emotional, false personality tends to act and behave in a haphazard way, mainly in whatever way seems to help avoid any unpleasant truth. So without discipline it will tend not to do the work necessary for inner development because this work is largely a process of confronting unpleasant truths, at least at the initial stages. Discipline will force one to confront, and not avoid, the unpleasant truths and sensations necessary for the work of inner development. Discipline is necessary for developing certain attitudes and capacities needed for the work on inner development. For example, it is needed to develop the capacity for paying concentrated attention. In addition, discipline is necessary to carry out the practices that a particular school or system prescribes. Many systems require the discipline of regular meditation. 

Constant Dynamic Creativity

You may remember the saying that goes like this: "I was a hidden treasure and I wanted to be known, so I created the world." This creation is a process of constant dynamic creativity, and when we experience it, we call it life. And this process of continual creativity, which is revealing more and more of the reality of what we are, of what the universe is, is what we have called the development and the maturation of the soul. When we say, as Rumi put it in the poem, that love is flying heavenwards and is rending the veils, we do not mean that we are rending the veils only when we experience the spiritual power of love. Life is always rending the veils, because every minute of every day, you are having a new experience. What else is your life but a continuous progression of one perception after another, one sensation after another, one experience after another? But when life happens in repeating patterns, we don't see it as the self-revelation of reality. It has become stale, so we don't see the creativity in it. That’s when we can call it the life of the ego. This simply means that the dynamism of the universe is caught in a loop, turning over the same pattern again and again. But even when that is the case, there is a general progression; it is just too slow for us to see this. 

Love Unveiled, pg. 51

Constant Transformation Happening Within

I am not the body, not the personality, not the mind, not the Essence, not even God. I am nothing that is a content of experience or awareness.

But all experience happens within me. Everything, at all levels, from the physical to the spiritual, all happens within me. I see the personal life as a drama that I am not involved in. It is like a movie that has a beginning and an end. But I am untouched and untouchable by any of it. I am beyond anything and everything—the person, and his whole universe.

I am the Beyond, absolutely transcendent. I am a silent witness, that contains all there is. I am unchanging.

I am the deathless, the unborn, the uncaused. I was never born, will never die. I have no beginning and no end, but all beginnings and all ends are within me. The concepts of life and death do not apply to me.

I do not need to be freed or enlightened. I am always free, always have been, and will always be free. I see life and death as nothing but a process of constant transformation happening within me. All existence, from the lowest to the highest, is always in a state of flux, but I am the unchanging witness, where all transformation and change happen. I am the background against which this flux is seen.

I am static, unchanging, unreacting, unresponsive, but singularly and purely aware.

I am beyond time and space. I am beyond timelessness and spacelessness. All time is a movement within me. I see it as the movement of the timeless within the immensity that is me. This movement creates time, which is the axis of personal history. But all of personal history, all of time, and all of space is a time-space continuum that is a small and insignificant thing within me.

I see mind, the totality of it, as a small process, like a little storm, within me. It is always busy with itself, trying to grasp me. But how can it grasp what transcends it absolutely!

Time and mind are not contrary to me, are not a disturbance in my silence. They are little happenings within my vastness. I am beyond, but contain, all time, space, and mind. 

Continual Disappointment; Breaking All Idols; Sacrificing All Loves and Desires

You cannot hold on to something unless you don’t completely understand it. Because of this we can say that the search, or the work, is a process of continual disappointment. You find something, and then you realize you haven’t found anything. You get something, and then you realize you haven’t gotten anything. Whatever we find is not it, whatever we have is not it, whatever we get is not it, and whatever we love is not it. As long as the subject remains separate from the object, it’s not it. And we know it’s not it because deep in our heart remains some kind of emptiness and longing for its true owner. The heart isn’t made for all these other things, for anything we can know or hold on to. On this path the heart is divested of its attachments, one by one. The path of the heart is a process of breaking all idols, of sacrificing all loves and desires, until the true love of the heart shines forth, pure and undivided, faithful to its only Beloved. The Guest is the complete annihilation of the lover, of the subject. As the heart is divested of its attachments, we become more and more aware of its empty chamber, a process that is identical to the soul’s realizing her poverty. We realize with full feeling and cognition that we truly do not have anything, that we never had anything, not only objects of attachment, but also spiritual qualities or realization, attainments or accomplishments. We do not even possess existence on our own. In other words, when we quit filling ourselves with false loves, we realize we are totally empty, totally lacking, totally indigent.

Continual Shedding; All Forms and Dimensions are Shed

She recognizes that her inner journey to the absolute has been a journey of ascent, of moving from the lowest and grossest dimensions of experience to the summit of subtlety and truth. In this journey of ascent, the process has been primarily that of discrimination, separation, purification, and resolution. Her nature reveals itself as simpler, more subtle, and increasingly devoid of forms, qualities, determinations, and concepts. The journey moves toward absolute simplicity, through a process of continual shedding. All forms and dimensions are shed, to reveal the perfect simplicity and emptiness of the absolute. Absolute simplicity turns out to be absolute transcendence, the transcendence of all forms and dimensions of manifestation. Her journey has taken her deeper and deeper, steadily leaving behind more superficial dimensions, until she has arrived at the absolute depth of all experience, as the dimension of depth itself, which is simultaneously the transcendent summit of all dimensions and manifest forms. 

Continually Opening and Learning About the Universe Within

How I see it is that to be a complete human being means that we are in a process of continually opening and learning more and more about the universe within, and this process continues in our relational experience with others. We learn about the other and ourselves in the interaction and, even more than that, new universes are created by that unique relationship. No two are alike. Like two galaxies colliding and spinning out new patterns painted with stardust, we can enhance and bring out parts of this universe that wouldn’t be touched or manifest otherwise. Realization is a very alone kind of process, where inner aloneness is necessary to realize our true being. Realization adds to the field in terms of knowing Being as your nature and not depending on the other for that knowing. A profound ground for a relationship is created when there are two who know themselves in this way.  

Creation and Destruction of Knowledge

What I am saying is that for inquiry to happen, we first need to see and acknowledge what we do not know. This requires investigating what we believe we do know. And that means we need to be courageous enough to be open to the possibility of questioning everything we believe we know. The more we are willing to accept not-knowing, and the more this not-knowing pervades our experience, the more our inquiry embodies courage and openness, which will make it more effective. In other words, we need the courage and openness to embody, to embrace, the not-knowing all the time. The moment we rest, having concluded that what we know about something is final, we close the door to knowledge and we inhibit Being from disclosing its further and infinite possibilities. We lose the sense of adventure in our experience. To be an adventurer of Being requires that we stay always on the edge of knowledge, where knowledge appears and disappears, where it is created and destroyed. This is the nature of revelation: It is a process of the creation and destruction of knowledge because not-knowing is the ground from which knowledge arises. 

Creative Discovery

The discovery of essence is the beginning of the true life. Essence, as we have seen, is not a state experienced once and then always experienced in the same way afterward. Essence is rich and endless in its aspects, qualities, dimensions, capacities, and possibilities. All of this richness starts unfolding, bringing surprise, delight, beauty, value, and fulfillment. Life stops being the life of strife and frustration, the wish for success and the fear of failure. More than anything else, life becomes a process of creative discovery. Discovery itself becomes the heart of life. Life becomes a continual creation because essence is the creative element in us. Suffering and problems become less important, and creative discovery becomes the actual process of living. The unfolding of essence becomes the process of living. Life is no longer a string of disconnected experiences of pleasure and pain but a flow, a stream of aliveness. One aspect manifests after another, one dimension after another, one capacity after another. There is a constant flow of understanding, insight, knowledge, and states of being.

Crystallization; Replication

The Personal Essence, then, becomes the integration of all aspects and dimensions of Being, and is clearly experienced as the integration of one’s experience and learning. It is not only an integration, but it is also a capacity for integration. The fact that it is an integration gives it this capacity. This is like the function of crystals. If one drops a small crystalline structure in an appropriate chemical solution it acts as a kind of seed, starting a process of crystallization, replicating itself. The Personal Essence is the presence of an integrating consciousness which brings about more integration like itself, and into itself. It also affects the organism in a more general way by exerting an activating and developing influence on the integrative functions at all dimensions of the organism. For instance, the effect of the Personal Essence on the mind is that it brings out its integrative capacity. One’s mind becomes spontaneously better able to integrate, and more inclined towards integration. Integrative ideas and insights become a matter of course, whatever field or situation one puts one’s mind to.

Cutting Through Obscurations

Objectivity is only one element needed for objective understanding, as we will see by considering the process of inquiry. First we are aware of an experience, perception, or situation. Understanding begins when we realize that we do not understand something about it. Since we love to see the truth, this absence or incompleteness of our knowingness of the objective truth of the situation begins the process of inquiry and understanding. At this point, our lack or incompleteness of understanding usually reflects our lack of objectivity. So our love of finding the truth begins the process of becoming more and more objective in our attitude. Acquiring an increasing objectivity regarding the situation is a matter of clarifying our experience, in terms of both our attitudes and the object of inquiry. This clarifying is a process of cutting through obscurations—the clouds of prejudice, opinions, reactions, defenses, and so on. So we experience the lack or incompleteness of understanding as not being clear about the situation. The movement toward clarification is the process of inquiry. We may ask questions, explore, or study certain things. We may observe more and correlate our observations. All of this is guided by the movement toward clarifying the situation. In other words, understanding commences as the opaqueness in the experience—the various levels of obscurations and unclarities—is dispelled through inquiry.

Ego Development; Bounding Space, Building Static Boundaries

Given our understanding of mind as space, we can see then that the separation-individuation process that Mahler speaks of not only builds the psychic structure and gives the individual his sense of identity, but more fundamentally, it accomplishes this by erecting boundaries and fixing them in space. In other words, the process of ego development is a process of bounding space, of building static boundaries in the openness of the mind. It is the carving of structure out of space, and the resulting psychic structure then is simply a structuralized space. This explains very clearly why when self- boundaries are dissolved, space appears. What happens is that the structuralization is dissolved, the boundaries are “melted.” When the structure is melted, the nature of the mind with no structure is revealed, and this is space. 

The Void, pg. 35

Penetration of Veils; Becoming More and More Naked

You have to let go of the flower to have the fruit; you have to leave the flower of actualization before you can have the fruit. It is possible to understand this process of penetration of veils if you look at it from the perspective of reality. If you are looking at it from the other side, from the perspective of the world, it is not possible to see because things are only seen as gains and losses. It will look as if you are always either gaining something or losing something. From the perspective of no mind, you will see it is not a gain or loss, but a matter of unveiling, a matter of discovery, and that is the process that happens. The unveiling, the discovery and penetration, is a process of becoming more and more naked until your bare bottom hits ice. Then you get stung directly—not through the mind, through your bottom. That’s when you really know. As long as you know it with your mind, it is an old idea. When you really sit on it with your bare bottom, it stings and burns you; then you know something. You know it without having to look back at it, without self-reflection—it just stings. Losing your mind means losing direction, inner direction. It means being completely lost. You do not know what is happening and you do not know what is supposed to happen. You do not know what you need to do or how to go about it, and you accept it completely. If you have any direction, any preference of one thing over another in your experience, it is still the realm of the mind and there is no innocence. Innocence means innocence—you really do not know what it is. You are completely open. Nothing has happened yet. 

Personalization; Being, Finally Emerging as a Person, a Human Being; Embodiment of Being

We agree with Winnicott in taking the cathexis of the body to be a process of personalization. But we also understand that this process of personalization must continue through the realization of the Personal Essence, when Being is embodied. Now it is possible to talk about human beings and human life, The understanding that is arising here is that ego development is part of the process of embodiment of Being. It is part of the process of Being finally learning to manifest and live in embodied existence. At birth the infant lives as Being, in a state of undifferentiation that is not linked to the body. A process then starts, of consciousness gradually cathecting the body and physical reality. This process of embodiment of Being is a process of personalization, of Being finally emerging as a person, a Human Being. This process of embodiment includes the process we have described, the personalization of Essence, in which the various essential aspects become integrated in the presence of the Personal Essence. Now we see that this process also involves embodiment of these essential aspects; for the Personal Essence is the embodiment of Being.

Time Seen as the Movement of the Timeless Within

The experience of the universal witness unfolds more than it did few days ago, revealing further implications of recognizing my identity as this unchanging background of awareness. The insights, which arise as perceptions, roll effortlessly, the more I am this witnessing: “I am not the body, not the personality, not the essence, not the mind, not god. I am nothing that is a content of experience. Yet, all experience happens within me. Everything, at all levels, from the spiritual to the physical, happens within me. I am not touched by any of it. I am untouched and untouchable. I am unchanging. I am deathless. I am unborn. I am uncaused, unoriginated. I was never born, will never die. The concepts of life and death do not apply to me. Life and death are nothing but a process of constant transformation within me. All existence, from the lowest to the highest, is always in a state of flux, but I am the background against which this flux is seen. I am static, unchanging, nonreactive and nonresponsive. I am beyond space and time; both space and time are within me. All of time is a movement within me. Personality, or more accurately, the personal consciousness or soul, is time. Time is the flux of this personal consciousness. Essence is timelessness. I see time as the movement of the timeless in me. All of time, the time of the body and of all of physical existence, is a small process within me. I am beyond time and timelessness. I am the beyond, beyond all and everything. Mind is within me, small and always trying to grasp me.”

Transformation; Attraction that is Felt as Love

Now, on the path of inquiry we start work from where we are and we allow that to unfold. That’s what we always do in our work, because it’s useful and efficient for the process of transformation to start from where we are. And since where you are at the start is in the entrenched belief that you are an independent, separate person, then we take that. We say OK, if that’s what you believe, let’s start from there. Let’s take it as if it’s true and go with it. And if that’s what you believe, then when you recognize that there is a sacred reality, it’s natural that you will relate to it in a devotional, humble, surrendering way. Taking this religious attitude, with its personal element, means that the spiritual impulse will appear from within the entity of the personality as a devoted and loving attitude toward the truth, toward reality. And this also then makes it possible for the belief in being a person to begin to dissolve. It makes it easier for the individual identification to come nearer to the unity through a process of attraction that is felt as love, until it eventually self-destructs through the intense love that comes from within it. The realization of true nature appears then as the individual soul giving itself up, surrendering to or dissolving into a bigger reality that is pure and divine.

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