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Red Essence/Aspect

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Red Essence/Aspect?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Red Essence/Aspect

Challenge, Confrontation and Discrimination

Confrontation is also a support for discrimination. When we don’t confront our positions, our experience will often remain vague, unclear, and indeterminate, and we won’t get the significance of what’s happening. Confrontation means that we are committed to seeing things exactly as they are, to calling a spade a spade. So challenge, confrontation, and discrimination go together; they operate as a unified functioning of the Red Essence in inquiry. We tend to think of confrontation and challenge in terms of standing up to other people, but you can confront yourself, you can challenge yourself and your assumptions. Let’s say you have discovered that you’re always scared because your father used to beat you up. Perhaps after three years of firmly believing this, you begin to challenge yourself: “Wait a minute—what is this business? I’m scared because my father beat me up? That was forty years ago! Nobody has beaten me up for the last forty years, so why do I keep saying I’m scared because my father beat me up?” This is a confrontation; it makes you look at your assumptions more closely: “Oh, I see, what is happening is that I still believe I am the person that my father beat up.” Perhaps you are able to go even further and recognize that your fear is connected to identifying with a particular self-image: “Oh, I see—the reason I keep feeling scared is because I keep holding on to this victim role, because I want this self-image to give me a sense of identity. How will I be me if I am not scared?” Confrontation can be seen as the strength to stay open to your experience, which means questioning the attitudes, beliefs, and assumptions of the past. But this challenge of openness does not have to be only in relation to your own experience; you can question anything in your life. This can include whatever you encounter while reading books or the newspaper, watching TV, listening to and observing other people, and so on. If Strength is present, you’re not going to take things at face value, because you want to know the truth and you’re strong enough to handle the truth exactly as it is.

Eliminating Obscurations by Becoming Precise

We eliminate unclarity and obscuration by becoming precise. Precision means a specific, exact, sharp delineation . . .. Inquiry continues in its quest for more precision: “What does it feel like to be feisty?” “Sort of feel energetic, sort of alive.” “What do you mean by ‘energetic and alive’?” “The feeling of the presence of alive energy.” “What do you mean, ‘the presence of alive energy’?” “There is this presence, a sense of being, that makes me feel alive, energetic, and strong. I can feel I’m hot too. I thought I was angry, but I am simply experiencing a presence of strength.” You realize finally that you are experiencing the Red Essence, the Strength aspect. Now it’s clear that there is a heat to it, a strength to it, an energy to it, an aliveness, and it is a palpable presence of fullness. So how did we go from some vague sense of energy we thought was anger to experiencing the Red Essence? Simply by becoming exact about the nature of the experience. We say now that we have become clear about what the experience is, and that happened by working toward more precision in understanding it. If we had stayed with our original sense of what was happening, understanding would not have developed, and a possible unfoldment would have been aborted through lack of recognition. Being satisfied with a general concept of experience, we don’t get precise understanding. So the process of inquiry is guided by the movement of greater precision, and precision means that we want to be more exact about what the experience is. And we want to be exact because we love to behold the truth just as it is, completely.

Experiencing the Red Essence on the Diamond Dimension

However, if the Red Essence arises in this new dimension, which I call the Diamond Dimension, then any conventional knowledge that is trying to impose itself on the true, direct knowledge of the aspect will be exposed. The Diamond Guidance manifests at this point because this capacity of knowing can withstand and transcend the dullness of our conventional knowledge and manifest the truth about the Red Essence. Independent of our subjective mind, it can show us what is objective and what is not. It can let us know what is and what is not completely precise. That’s why we say that the aspect is arising on the diamond level: It has clarity, precision, and indestructibility. On the diamond level, we don’t experience the Red Essence in the usual way, as a red fullness, flow, or fire. If it occurred in this way, our knowledge of the Red Essence would be susceptible to our conventional mind, to our beliefs and reactions. Instead we experience a red diamond, a faceted ruby. There is a precision in the experience of a red diamond, an exactness and definiteness. These characteristics simply reflect the fact that we are experiencing the aspect in such a way that its meaning is inseparable from the direct experience of it. We know precisely what the Red Essence is because we are experiencing the Red diamond, which is experience and knowledge as one. So, without the diamond level of experience, there would be no possibility of precise knowing, and hence of Diamond Guidance. Only people who have experienced the diamond level know its reality. People who have not experienced it cannot know it. This is true about any form of deep spiritual knowledge, for this kind of knowingness does not exist in the conventional dimension. That’s why when one knows, one seems certain and definite, for one is in touch with the source that is the knowledge itself. It is only then that a person can function well as a guide, not before.

The Fullness of the Red Essence Arises in Many Flavors to Support the Openness of Our Inquiry

The courage of the Red latifa is what we need in all these situations. This willingness to feel our fear and continue our inquiry appears as a natural resilience—nothing strange or unusual, just a natural sense of how we can experience ourselves. This strength that we feel in our hearts infuses the soul with a boldness that allows her to be open to seeing things she has never seen before—even things she considers to be threatening or terrifying. From this perspective, you can see that self-realization or spiritual maturity is not for the squeamish, and not for the dilettante. You need to be serious about the journey in the sense of being willing to risk your life for it. If you’re going to complain or retreat every time something difficult happens to you along the way, then you are interested in something else; you’re not a true spiritual inquirer. The path of inquiry is a path of challenge and adventure always leading us into the unknown. Such is the fullness of the Red Essence that it arises in many flavors to support the openness of our inquiry: strength, energy, expansion, and the capacities to discriminate and confront our experience as we discover what is true. When this fullness of flavors fills our heart, it gives us the courage to welcome whatever the adventure of life brings us.

The More Active the Red Essence, the More Powerful, Precise, and Real Our Capacity for Discrimination Becomes

So there is a very intimate relationship between discrimination and strength. To be able to separate, I need to be strong. But separation is based on discrimination. Hence, if I’m not strong enough, I won’t be able to discriminate. I won’t be able to—and I won’t want to—know how I am different from you. Then there will be no separation. More often than not, we tend to be mushy and undifferentiated in our experience—relating to it with vagueness and in generalities. We cannot tell one thing from another. When there is no precision, it means there is no clarity, and then it’s not possible to know the truth for what it is. This brings us back to the function of the Red latifa. The Strength Essence is useful for inquiry in giving us the strength to begin to discriminate. The more active the Red Essence, the more powerful, precise, and real our capacity for discrimination becomes. The more we discriminate, the more we separate from our reactions and self-images, and the more we know ourselves for who we are, which lets us open up to true nature. Discrimination is the very heart of inquiry, the heart of the revelation of truth. So now we see the interconnections between inquiry, the Diamond Guidance, and the Red Essence. We understand how the Red latifa functions in the Guidance and thereby supports our inquiry.

When You Experience the Red Essence You Can Experience It on Many Levels of Refinement

Essence manifests as many elements, many aspects, but it also manifests on many dimensions or levels of those aspects. For example, when you experience the Strength Essence—the Red Essence—you can experience it on many levels of refinement, subtlety, or depth. At the beginning of essential revelation, it’s just the Red Essence. You feel the redness, the heat, and the strength, but your understanding and knowledge of the aspect is not precise. Your understanding can still be influenced by your conventional knowledge—by your reactions and beliefs. However, in another dimension of Essence, the experience of the aspect itself and the comprehension of what it is are inseparable. In this dimension, the experience of the Red Essence and the understanding of what it is arise as the same experience, so our comprehension is free of the influence of our mental concepts, free from the conventional dimension of experience. The insight about the Red Essence is now protected by the new level of manifestation of the aspect. This means that as the Red Essence arises, there is inherent in the very experience of it an exact understanding of what it is. This kind of knowledge is not available in the conventional dimension; it is not conventional wisdom. In some sense it is a magical property, because there is no rational explanation for it. So this knowledge of the Red Essence does not arise from our storehouse of acquired knowledge, it arises independent of our mind. It is real knowledge, authentic knowledge, because you didn’t get it from someone or something or arrive at it through logical analysis or deduction. It is a direct knowingness, a new basic knowledge. It’s an insight that comes from the very depths of the Red Essence itself. The Red Essence is stating what it is. Not, of course, through one word, one sentence, or one insight, but through an entire gestalt of understanding.

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