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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Quiddity?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Quiddity

Quiddity – the Inherent Essence of Something

Most of the time, being and essence are seen as two things. The being of something reflects the fact that it is. The essence of something is its true character, what it truly is. The usual word for it is “quiddity”—the inherent essence of something. Sufis call it mahiya, a variant of the sacred syllable hu, which refers to true nature and literally means “that.” “Mahiya” means “what that is,” what true nature is, what its essence is. There is the beingness of an apple and what it is. An apple is different from an orange. It has quiddity, mahiya, essence. The fullness of primary awakening has two sides: You are both being yourself and knowing what being yourself is. There is the fullness of nonduality, in which you realize, “I am completely it. There is no me and no it. I and it are eliminated in the illuminating light that recognizes itself.” This is the fullness of nonduality and the totalness of immediacy, but there is also the fullness of knowing that this is the case. You not only experience “I am true nature,” but you know it. There is cognition and insight. So the illumination of primary awakening is not simply in the transformation of identity but also in the transformation of the knowing of identity. There is both a change of being and a change of knowing. The being of the self changes and the knowledge of the self changes. In other words, self-realization can happen in degrees. It can be complete or incomplete. As we work through this terrain, we might not even experience what it’s like to be true nature, or we might experience it in various degrees of completeness. So, for example, when one of the groups in this school does the work on the narcissism of the self, very few people in the group experience self-realization. Most students experience some of the processes related to self-realization, but they don’t complete the process. And the incompleteness of self-realization will appear as a limitation of the certainty that true nature is what you are, is that you are, and is knowing that and what you are. The more complete the primary realization is, the more certainty and knowledge we have of what we are, and this certainty relieves us of the mental need for assurance. It relieves us from self-doubt and from questioning the reality of our experience.

The Actual Quiddity – the Whatness and Essence – of Light is Recognizing Its Being and Recognizing that the Quiddity and Beingness are One Thing

Primary awakening is usually referred to as true nature waking up to itself. It is a shift from awakening to true nature to true nature awakening. We recognize “true nature is what I am,” where “I” is a figure of speech. There is no “I”; it is true nature recognizing itself. True nature sheds the garment of the self and recognizes itself with its own light, with its own luminosity. And by recognizing this, we see that not only does true nature make possible the existence of everything but that without true nature, there would be no experience, no awareness, no consciousness, because true nature is the source of pure light, pure awareness, and pure consciousness. We realize that without true nature there would be no life, no experience of life, no conscious experience, no perception, because all of those things come from the luminosity of true nature. In primary realization, we are recognizing that light; and that light is recognizing itself, not by self-reflection but by being itself, by being the fullness. The actual quiddity—the whatness and essence—of light is recognizing its being and recognizing that the quiddity and the beingness are one thing. Essence and being, which are still distinguished in necessary awakening, are identical in primary realization. It’s important to understand that primary awakening is not limited to the realization of any one particular way that our true nature manifests. The experience of primary realization can be of any form of true nature—absolute emptiness or pure presence or pure awareness or nondual awareness.

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