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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Recognition?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Recognition

It is Possible to Live with Absolute Fearless Spontaneity

To be truly a mature human being you have to go beyond all content of mind, yours and others’. Reality is what is, not what we call it, not what we think about it, not what we say about it. Reality is beyond all creations of mind, regardless how sublime and spiritual. There will be more creations in the future. Our mind will not stop creating concepts, and we will never stop hearing stories. But we can now, with maturity, know how things work, and take stories and thoughts as such, for we are directly living reality as it is. One thing I am implying here is that we can experience and know reality beyond concepts and history, independent of concepts and history. Recognition of this radical maturity indicates that it is possible for us to live with absolute fearless spontaneity. The fearless spontaneity will manifest as love, truth, confidence, and goodness. We are usually afraid that if we are spontaneous and fearless we will do bad things, we will make mistakes. But we need to learn why we think this way. What are you afraid of doing? What do you think is going to happen? All these doubts need to be thoroughly looked into and understood, for such fear and uncertainty only point to some undigested material in our mind. We probably have not seen and understood something about our motivation even though we might dimly intuit it. This lack of understanding appears as uncertainty, as fear of spontaneity. As I’ve said, we need both to learn and to mature on the path. There is no end to it.

Our Essential Nature is More Fundamental than Body, Heart and Mind

Recognizing presence teaches us a great deal about consciousness, soul and essence of soul. In this recognition, we can know ourselves in our fundamental mode of existence. We begin to see, perhaps for the first time, that what we are is more fundamental than all the content of our experience. We are more fundamental than our sensations, feelings, emotions, thoughts, images, symbols, ideas, concepts, and so on. We awaken to our essential nature, which is more fundamental and more basic than our body, heart, and mind. We experience the fabric that is ontologically fundamental, necessary for the existence of all that we have taken to be ourselves. We begin to recognize our real self, our soul. More precisely, by recognizing presence we become aware of the fundamental ground of the soul; we discover the inner fabric that holds all of our experience; we are enlightened to what we are beyond time and space.

Recognition of Presence as the Presence of Awakened Awareness

This recognition is an explosive insight, a momentous awakening. Pure presence is now revealed, felt, and known as the very presence of awakened awareness, the very reality of awakeness. Soul awakens to her true nature, and experiences her presence as the presence of awakened awareness. She is now awake, bright, clear, lucent, and transparent. She is also full of bliss and delight, beyond mind and reflection. She is drunk with awakeness, delighted with lucidity, and free beyond bounds. The primary awakening is the recognition of her ordinary awareness, which has always been familiar to her, as her true nature. Such recognition intensifies ordinary awareness to a phenomenological and psychological experience of awakeness. Ordinary awareness becomes awakened awareness, which now reveals itself to be the true nature of all phenomenal appearance. She recognizes that her ordinary awareness is actually both presence and openness, fullness and nothingness, inseparable and undifferentiated. She also wakes up to the fact that she has never lost her true nature, that her nature has always been with her, in all her conscious experiences, and that she can never lose it. True nature is so near to her that it does not make sense to lose it, an insight that intensifies her joy and delight, and shows her that she has always been free, always herself. She can lose touch with many of the differentiated qualities of her true nature; but its undifferentiated ground is always what she is.

Recognition of the Soul as the Container of All Experience

Under normal circumstances the body and soul are coextensive and hence function together to locate awareness. The more important meaning of locus—related to the first—is the second one, which is that the soul is the site where all of our experiences, of everything and on all levels, happen. So my experience happens within my soul; it does not happen in someone else’s soul. Although this observation is the basis of the notion of an individual soul, its relevance is that the soul is our personal inner field of experience, the matrix where all inner events and processes happen. In other words, the recognition of soul as individual locus not only leads to differentiating one soul from another, but also to the important insight that soul functions as the container of all experiences. The soul is literally the vessel that contains and holds all of our inner events. Our normal experience does not generally include the perception of the soul as a vessel. Most of us tend to think of ourselves as a self that has experiences, thoughts, feelings, sensations, actions, perceptions, and so on, but we are not necessarily aware of a unified field or vessel that holds all these. The content of our experience seems to us to consist of events—thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and sensations—that come and go, like clouds passing through some obscure medium. We are not aware of this medium, and most of the time do not think that there is such a thing. In this way most of us most of the time are products of our times; we rarely even contemplate this question, because we believe we already know what is happening . . . . . . If we are pressed to consider the question of where our experiences happen, we sometimes think of them happening in our mind, sometimes in our body, or both. We are not clear that we are each a field of sensitivity, a matrix of awareness, and that differentiating this inner matrix into body and mind is experientially arbitrary. Both physical sensations and mental images arise within the same matrix of awareness, the soul.

Recognizing Change, Transformation and Morphing

To be where we are, then, we need to recognize the changeable, slippery, transforming, morphing quality of our being and of reality. That means we have to recognize our attachments, our identifications, the ways we try to hold on, which requires appreciating what we have taken to be permanent features of reality. Have you ever thought about what things you believe to be permanent? For example, don’t you think that you are always going to be you? Almost everyone believes, “I can change, but it is always going to be me who is experiencing those changes.” We can’t imagine waking up one morning and discovering that somebody else is experiencing them! But if, instead of our usual self, we experience pure awareness as that which is experiencing things, it feels as though it is not us. That’s because we have been accustomed to experiencing everything through our usual self-identity. But now it is just experience happening without that usual self; it is just the light, and because that light is luminous, it is aware of what is happening.

Recognizing that Essence is a Real Factor Operating in You

There is another important aspect of being “in the world but not of it” that I want to point out here. It is the recognition of what Essence is and what it is not. This involves recognizing and acknowledging that Essence is working in you, that it is a real factor operating in you. Essence develops very quickly the moment it is seen and recognized. It thrives on recognition. If you don’t recognize it, it stays dormant. The moment you recognize it, it starts growing. It feeds on light. This is very important for certain aspects of our Work here. We must recognize what factors actually contribute to our change and development. Let’s say you’ve been working on yourself for a year or two, coming to this group and dealing with issues in your life, and some changes start happening. It could be that your heart opens, or you get clearer. You might say, “Oh, my heart opened because I met this wonderful woman; she’s so marvelous. My heart just opened to her, and it’s been open ever since.” In this case, you don’t give recognition to your essential work; you give it to something else. You give credit where it is not due. When you do that, you invalidate your work. You’ve done two years of work on understanding yourself, but you’re saying it didn’t do a thing. You think your openness, your expansiveness, the fullness happened because you met this wonderful woman. Or you say your kundalini opened because somebody gave you this massage, somebody worked on your sacrum in a particular way. You completely ignore the fact that for five years you’ve dealt with all kinds of emotions and that if you hadn’t done this work, somebody could have rubbed your sacrum with sandpaper and you wouldn’t have felt a thing.

Recognizing that “This is What I Am in the Moment”

Identification most often happens in relation to events, structures, images, and beliefs from the past, but we can also identify with present-moment manifestations that are not reifications. Suppose you experience your True Nature and feel the presence of it as clarity and lightness. Simply being that spacious, clear presence is not the same as identifying with it. That’s because being your True Nature does not involve a mental operation; there is just the recognition that “this is what I am in the moment.” Now, you could identify with that presence once you recognized it, but identification adds something onto it. The mind comes in and holds on to the experience and becomes stuck in it. The mind wants to grasp it, to use it to identify who you are. So even when we are being ourselves, experiencing the presence of our True Nature, identification is still possible. To identify with that pure presence implies a reifying process, that is, turning the experience into an “object” that can be identified with in some way. Our mind recognizes True Nature, but it doesn’t stop there. It wants to put True Nature in some kind of package. Then it attaches itself to that experience in a particular way that enables us to form an idea of who we are. From this, we can see that: Identification always implies reification. If we don’t reify our experience, the mind can’t identify with it. Identification can occur whether the reifying process is the result of something from the past or of a new experience happening in the present moment. Identification happens because we believe that we need to have a self and an identity for the self.

Recognizing the Fact of Our "Isness"

The experience of Being is not an idea we have of our experience of ourselves; neither is it a conclusion we draw from it. It is the concrete, direct and present experience of ourselves as we are being ourselves. What we are is now, a spontaneity of being, an absolute given. We perceive ourselves, then, by being ourselves, by being. We recognize ourselves by being ourselves, by being. We know ourselves by being ourselves, by being. More concretely, we recognize in the experience of self-realization that to be ourselves is to be aware of ourselves as the presence of Being. It is the direct recognition of the very beingness of our existence, the fact of our “isness.” This facticity is not a thought or idea, not a feeling or an intuition, but a very concrete and palpable thereness. It is not the thereness of one object or another, like that of one’s body, or of a thought. This thereness is a new category of experience. In philosophical and spiritual language it is usually termed “presence.” Coming upon the recognition of one’s presence as Being is surprising in two ways: first, it is so completely, astonishingly outside the normal identity; second, ironically, it almost always feels familiar, as if one is remembering something, or coming home after being gone for a long time.

Recognizing the Truth

Sincerity is an attitude, a capacity, of the heart that orients us to recognize the truth and love the truth for its own sake. We have talked in the past about the orientation of loving the truth for its own sake. But loving the truth for its own sake does not simply mean feeling the love for the truth. Although that is a part of it, feeling the love for the truth will not actualize a real life. To love the truth for its own sake means also to live according to the truth. If we really love the truth, we gladly live according to the truth regardless of how difficult the situation might get. We actively choose truth as our priority, not in terms of what we experience but in terms of what we do. Our love of the truth determines how we interact with people, how we run our life, how we conduct ourselves, how we maintain our living environment.

The Recognition that the Personal Essence is Oneself as a Person

So the recognition that Personal Essence is oneself as a person is a definite, clear, profound and unassailable knowingness. There is confidence and certainty. One experiences oneself as a human being, as an ongoing-personal beingness. One is real for one exists absolutely, irrespective of the past and of the environment. One is an ongoing sense-of-beingness that is made out of alive consciousness, consciousness that is a palpable presence and not merely the capacity to be conscious. To be is not just to know in one’s mind that one is. To be is to be Being, as existence, and as a substantial presence that is experienced as concretely as physical reality. So to be the Personal Essence is to be a substantial presence, a fullness, a compact consciousness that feels personal. We must remark again that this attempt to describe the sense of being a person on the Being level is not an attempt to communicate the experience to the reader. That would be a futile effort. However, the individual who has already had some experience of it might gain a greater recognition and understanding from this discussion; or the individual who is close to the experience might get closer to it. Even those who have perhaps done no explicit work on these states have probably had some experiences in their lives which give a flavor of the Personal Essence, and looking at these experiences from the perspective introduced here might enable them to see these experiences in a new light. Beyond that, our words will probably sound like abstractions. These descriptions, however, are useful for continuing with our exploration.

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