Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom
Excerpts about Quintessence
Appearance of the Absolute in Manifestation
I usually think of Quintessence as the nature of manifest phenomena. Just as the nowness is how timelessness appears in time, and the spaciousness is how emptiness appears in space, Quintessence is how the Absolute appears in manifestation. So we can consider it the manifest Absolute, and the Absolute in itself can be considered the unmanifest.
Diamond Heart Book Five, pg. 358
Experience of the Quintessential Dimension
From this place (the quintessential dimension) we experience the world as luminous appearance, crystalline and rich with qualities, but whose nature is the coemergence of clear presence and black emptiness. It is a jeweled universe, glittering and radiant, but the jeweled forms are formations that the luminous emptiness assumes. More precisely, the universe is nothing but self-luminous emptiness, where this self-luminosity assumes the forms of manifestation. It is as if the empty vastness, which is simply total absence, differentiates itself into the forms of the world by its own self-radiance. The glowing radiance is not only at the surface, but pervades the vast emptiness. The radiance is awareness, but is felt also as pure presence.
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 436
We can experience Quintessence as the body of reality, as the medium that manifests everything. Enlightened awareness is a medium that explicitly is, where the feeling of “isness” is singularly clear. At the same instant as the singularly clear isness, we can experience singularly clear “it is not.” Mind and no-mind are seamlessly together. This paradoxical nature of reality becomes playful delight. Enlightened awareness completely confounds the conceptual categories, easily pushes them to their utmost possibilities, plays with them so clearly, so fully, and with utter abandon.
Diamond Heart Book Five, pg. 358
Kernal of the Kernal (Quintessence)
The Kernel of the Kernel has the clarity and the freshness of pure awareness, the nowness and fullness of presence, and the depth of the intimacy of emptiness. They are all present distinctly, explicitly, and yet there is absolutely no separation between them. They are completely one, completely indivisible, and nevertheless explicitly discernible. Even though they are all one explicit thereness, we can feel it as complete absence, completely nothing there and everything there at the same time, in the same shot, in the same perception. This is the paradox of enlightened awareness.
Diamond Heart Book Five, pg. 356
The Inner of the Inner
Quintessence is the Inner of the Inner, totally inner, totally private. The absolute intimacy of Quintessence is emptiness that lacks distance between one thing and another, between awareness and experience. Between our awareness and what we experience is complete non-being, so we are completely our aware experience. Quintessence is total intimacy, which we experience as an utter silence, stillness, and imperturbability. At the same time, it also has a sense of fullness, of gracefulness, of presence, a sense of beingness explicitly there as we experience its total absence. Quintessence is at once an inscrutable mystery and a bright clarity.
Diamond Heart Book Five, pg. 356
The Quintessence Does Not Need Seven Days
Recognizing the spontaneous happening of reality, we see the pulsing creativity that instantly manifests the entire world that we see from moment to moment. The world emerges, appears, disappears, emerges newly, appears, disappears—all instantly, all constantly. We can see this in our own experience. Our experience is always a creative emergence of various forms of feelings, thoughts, and sensations constantly changing. In the complete view, our experience, the outer world—everything, including our body—is constantly generated, created, and formed. Only when we see this dynamic creativity do we understand movement and action and change. Each form, including us, is created newly and differently each instant; these slight differences, when seen through the continuum of time, appear as movement—just as the still frames of a movie projected quickly, one after the other, give the sense of movement and change when actually it’s instant-to-instant creation. So even in the still, silent quietness, even in the total, relaxed ease, the all-creating monarch is always creating the totality of all the universes, creating them in an instant and destroying them in an instant. The all-creating Quintessence does not need seven days. In an instant the whole universe is there completely, everywhere distinct. Just as in an instant you can create an entire world in your mind, the Quintessence creates you and that entire world in its mind; and it creates far more than that too. The Quintessence creates all that we experience.
Diamond Heart Book Five, pg. 361
The Utmost Elegance of Manifestation
The Kernel of the Kernel can be seen in various ways. As the Essence of the Essence, it is the underlying nature of all the qualities of Essence we experience. And if we see the Kernel as the manifest world, then the Kernel of the Kernel is the Quintessence. The Kernel is the manifest world in its clarity, in its unobstructedness, without the accumulation of learned and innate ignorance. Quintessence is the nature, the essence of this manifest world of clarity. Quintessence is the utmost elegance of manifestation, a beauty that is wholly clear, which clarity is utmost because it is totally empty. The whole perception has an exquisite elegance—the emptiness is elegant, the awareness is elegant, the beingness is elegant. The absolute nature of all manifest phenomena is a seamless coincidence of freshness and intimacy, of a fresh winter day and the deep, dark night.
Diamond Heart Book Five, pg. 359
When Nonbeing Cannot be Differentiated from Being
We refer to the nature of this dimension as quintessential presence, or simply quintessence. Quintessence reveals the most true and objective relation the absolute has to the other dimensions of true nature. It is so integrated with them that there is no hint of separation or even differentiation. Complete coemergence means that the absolute so interpenetrates the field of the other dimensions that we cannot differentiate it from them. If we look at it in terms of its coemergence with the dimension of pure presence, for example, we see that quintessence is presence and absence undifferentiated from each other, clarity and emptiness undifferentiated from each other, being and nonbeing absolutely undifferentiated from each other. It is a clear medium, colorless and transparent, yet it is totally black and mysterious… it is as if each point of this expanse is so empty that it is absolute clarity, a radiance. At the same time this radiance is not only light, but also presence and being. Its ontological nature is so absolutely absence that the absence glimmers with presence. In other words, when true nature reaches the extreme of nonbeing it cannot be differentiated from being.