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Process of Understanding

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Process of Understanding?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Process of Understanding

Clarity in the Soul During the Process of Understanding

That’s what I mean when I say that the soul becomes clearer. The soul herself begins to feel the quality of clarity and transparency. Of course, that will affect your physical experience. You will feel lighter, clearer, cleaner, and more lucid. There is more space and less obscuration, less thickness, less opaqueness, less vagueness, less unconsciousness, less sleepiness. There is an increasing quality of being awake and alert, a brightness and clarity. Clarity is actually nothing but the luminosity of our consciousness, the transparency of awareness. So as we get clearer in the process of understanding, our consciousness is revealing its inherent luminosity, its underlying nature. To put it differently, as we engage in clarifying our experience through inquiry, we invite and bring to bear the transparent luminosity of our essential nature. This clarifies the details of our experience by making them transparent. This means that we recognize them as they are, but also that they literally become transparent; it is not just a figure of speech. When we fully understand physical reality, for instance, it becomes transparent, literally.

Disintegration or the Erasing of Concepts is the Process of Understanding

Understanding is the expression of the ultimate reality in this world. The intelligence that is actually producing understanding is the unknowable, which, when it encounters concepts, disintegrates them one after another. This disintegration, or erasing of concepts as they come up against the unknowable, is the process of understanding. When mind and Being make contact, the particular concept at hand is integrated, or metabolized, into Being. That’s why you go to the next level, the next concept. It’s true that the world of the mind, of concepts, is not the truest reality. But understanding is the meeting of that unreal world with the completely real. Understanding itself is neither wholly real or unreal; it is a meeting of the two. The meeting is a transformation, and the transformation is understanding. So understanding happens only when what is completely real in you—the unknowable, your final identity—is in contact with your concepts, with your mind. The process is one of disintegration of concepts. Isn’t that what happens when you understand? You have a certain concept, see through it and then it dissolves. Being comes in contact with mind. This is what we experience as insight. Then there is completion of that level and you move on to the next. If Being doesn’t come in contact with the mind, there is no real insight, only mental knowledge. And because mental knowledge is not real understanding, there is no transformation. The concept is not burned up and dissolved into Being. The person simply goes from one part of the concept to another; it’s just a matter of mental rearrangement.

Harmony Among the Three Body Centers Needed for the Process of Understanding

For the process of understanding to happen, three elements need to be there at the same time. The element of disidentification is one of them, involvement is another. The third element is the quality of allowing. These elements can be there when there is harmony among the three centers -- the belly center, the chest center, and the head center. When there is this harmony, it is possible to experience fully, to allow, and to disidentify.

Looking at the Process of Love from Two Directions

We are seeing that we can look at the process of love from both directions—from the side of the lover or from the side of the Beloved. If you look at it from the side of the lover, love is arising in you, compelling you to follow your heart’s desire. The more you follow that desire, the more the love grows and the more you want to continue. And the more you continue, the more you realize that your heart’s desire is nothing but the desire to be at home with the Beloved. If you look at the relationship from the side of the Beloved, then the whole process is nothing but the Source revealing everything to itself until it sees itself in its completeness. So, although it looks quite different depending on whether you look from the position of the lover or of the Beloved, it is the same process.

Love Unveiled, pg. 32

The Process of Understanding in Inquiry

A key part of the process of understanding in inquiry involves uncovering relationships between things. To do that, you have to place them next to each other to see how they are related. You need to compare and contrast them: how are they the same or different, and if they are different, in what way are they different? In this process of interrelating by contrasting, a constant comparison is happening. You are comparing your experience yesterday with your teacher to your experience a week ago in your job, to your experience ten years ago in a previous job, to your experience fifty years ago with your father. Through contrast and comparison, at some point you arrive at a sense of what the similarity among them is or what they are all pointing to that is common to each experience. You can see from this that it is inherent in our discrimination, in our capacity to know, that we contrast, interrelate, and compare things. I might say, “Yesterday I was really terrified, and today I am just scared, so I can say that I was much more scared yesterday. And, a week ago with my teacher I was anxious, but I can see that anxiety is really related to that terror, and with my father I was really afraid.” So, not only can we compare, but we can also make objective assessments or judgments—the way a scientist would in comparing data from an experiment. We can make determinations such as, this is greater than that, that is smaller than this, this is more scary than that, this is more alive than that, that is more intense than this, and so on. All of this comparison is necessary for our understanding.

The Process of Understanding is the Process of Being Oneself, More and More

One of the influences which restricts our understanding is school conditioning. We learn that understanding is mental—figuring things out, deducing, connecting information, and so forth. But this is only the beginning, the most superficial kind of understanding. True understanding means there is Being, there is Essence. When there’s no Essence, there is no true understanding. I think most people here know the difference between mental understanding and true understanding. With true understanding, there’s an expansion, there’s depth, lightness and aliveness, arising from Being coming in contact with the mind, expanding and exploding it. Ultimately we are that Being. Understanding brings us closer to ourselves; we’re being ourselves because we are the Being that’s coming in contact with the concept, with the mind. So, the process of understanding is the process of Being oneself, more and more. It’s the process of actualization, the process of realization.

Two Threads in the Process of Inner Work

The process of inner work has two threads: seeing the negative causes of suffering, and seeing the positive causes of suffering. The negative causes of suffering involve the negative experiences, often from childhood, that created suffering. What I call the positive cause of suffering is the actual blockage of our potential, our essence. The positive cause is the alienation from true reality. After a while the process of understanding involves these two threads working together. You understand personality and you understand essence. You understand your history and you understand your nature. You understand your mind and you understand your beingness. These two threads are inherently intertwined in our work in the Diamond Approach. When the essential qualities of your being are cut off and your bodily energies are suppressed or distorted, the suffering caused by your past cannot be touched by the real potential of your beingness. This is why our work on the liberation of our essential nature is crucial to addressing our suffering. Our essential nature is the joy, the contentedness, the pleasure, and the peace of our soul necessary to resolve our suffering.

Understanding is Spontaneous and Effortless Insight

Understanding is actually a kind of meditation; it is not a seeking, not a figuring out, not an attempt to find information outside oneself. It is spontaneous, and effortless insight. To engage in the process of understanding does not involve doing anything. If there is anything to be done, it is a matter of attention – just being sure you are present. When you are present in your being, the insights will arise naturally and understanding will arise naturally.

Understanding the Personality

The material we have presented so far indicates clearly that in the psychodynamic process of understanding the personality, one undergoes a regression which proceeds through the following major steps:
1. Disidentifying with parts of the psychic structure leads to the experience of deficient emptiness.
2. The deficient emptiness leads to the experience of space.
3. Space leads to the awareness of Being.

The Void, pg. 129

We Don't Actually Do Anything in the Process of Understanding

All this means that we don’t actually do anything in the process of understanding. What needs to happen is just an awareness of the fact that you’re resisting, an understanding of the process of resistance. When you understand it, your interest in resistance stops. All you can do is allow that to happen; the rest is not up to you. The rest is up to Essence. That’s why it is sometimes called grace. Grace can descend and dissolve you. It can make you part of it. But you cannot let go, you cannot surrender, you cannot accept. You can only see that you are rejecting, that you’re not surrendering, that you’re not letting go. Then you are seeing the activity of the ego. When there is surrender and letting go, there is no activity and ego is not there. The cessation of resistance, the cessation of rejection, the cessation of defense, is also the dissolution of that part of the personality. It may bring fear because you believe that you will disappear. And you may be concerned about who will do what is required if you don’t do it. You need trust and confidence in Essence here. When you really see that the nature of the personality is reactivity, a cyclic reactivity, when you see the whole cycle of ego activity based on hope, desire and rejection, it is possible that the activity will cease, and peace and stillness will arise. Then it is possible to understand what Being is. When this happens, you’ll discover that even if there is action and activity, where you come from is peace and stillness.

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