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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Remembering?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Remembering

A Memory is Already Something Dead

You cannot go about looking for reality by looking for something you know, because what you know is a memory of what you perceived in the past. A memory is already something dead. And since you are remembering it, even if you are remembering some experience of reality, the memory is not the reality. The reality cannot be remembered because it cannot be put into words, images, or concepts. The reality itself is the very explosion, the very incineration of those ideas and concepts, so how could you remember it? You can only learn to forget. You can forget what you know, forget what you want, and continue forgetting until you have no mind whatsoever—until you become like a newborn baby. Only when your mind becomes as innocent as that of a newborn baby is it possible to see what is here, what you actually are, and what reality is. When you see it, you do not really know it; it is more like you smell it, you taste it, but you can never say what it is. The moment you are about to know it, it is old. So what we really know of the world we live in is a continuation of the past, which means it is in the mind. It is completely in the mind.

Our Inner Consciousness is a Whole Universe, a Magical Universe

Our inner consciousness is a whole universe, a magical universe. Our inner sensitivity operates in relation to the three spatial dimensions, but it also manifests in many other dimensions that we can experience directly. Our soul’s consciousness has perceptual capacities corresponding to our five physical senses. Our tactile sense appears as sensations and feelings; our visual sense appears as visions and images; our auditory sense appears as remembering sounds, hearing inner sounds, imagining or hallucinating sounds; our smell sense appears as remembering and imagining smells and aromas, but also as inner smells characterizing many inner states; our taste sense appears as remembering and imagining tastes, but also as inner tastes of our inner states, common in spiritual perception. Our kinesthetic sense is already felt as an inner experience, but can also reflect our memory and imagination, plus the inner movements of thought and feeling. The awareness of the movement of thoughts, and of changes of inner states, involves the capacity for awareness of the passage of time. Our consciousness is a universe of many dimensions.

Remembering Essential Aspects or Absolute Forms

So Socrates is right. Essential aspects or absolute forms can be known only by being remembered, by being dredged up from the deepest recesses of the unconscious and experienced consciously.

Remembering Oneself

The personal element is a specific and absolute aspect of Essence. Like other aspects of Essence, it is a Platonic form. When one experiences the personal aspect one is certain that one feels a personal consciousness, or a personal state of Being. Just as love, will or joy are readily recognized when they are experienced in the pure form of the essential aspect, so is the personal aspect readily recognized. There is always recognition of one's true nature when it is experienced. As Socrates said, one does not learn from anybody or from experience about the Platonic forms. One remembers them from one's own deeper resources. One merely remembers oneself.

Remembering Our Essence is the Process of Remembering Ourselves, of Returning to Our True Nature

Everyone has some memory of these essential forms. We have seen in our work that a consistent characteristic of essential states is the feeling that you have known it before, you have been here before, you are recalling a more fundamental reality that, in the process of living, you had forgotten. So we know that although we are generally unaware of it, this memory of Essence exists, and we know that the process of remembering our Essence is the process of remembering ourselves, of returning to our true nature. Another thing we need to know in order to understand how our method works is that Essence is not one big lump, not one state or experience or mode of being. Essence has (or is) many states or qualities. There is truth; there is love; there is compassion; there is objective consciousness; there is value; there is will; there is strength; there is joy. All these are different qualities of Essence. They are different facets of the diamond, reflecting different colors. Although it has always been known that Essence has many facets, most schools have emphasized one quality or cluster of qualities more than others. Some schools, for instance, emphasize Love. They use techniques to develop Love. They talk about Love. They pray. They chant. They worship the guru. They worship God. They surrender to Love. Other approaches emphasize service and work. They use the belly centers more. Others emphasize Truth or the search for Truth. Others—Gurdjieff, for example—emphasized Will, making supreme efforts. Whichever aspects of Essence are emphasized by a given method depends on the experience and character of the teacher or the originator of the method. Often a teacher will have had to work through a certain part of himself more deeply than other parts. The quality of Essence associated with that part may be very strong. Since it is through that quality that the teacher reached the understanding and embodiment of Essence, he develops his method of teaching around that quality.

Remembering What We Have Forgotten and Learning What We Still Don't Know

The inner journey is a matter of each of us coming into our own. What does it mean to come into our own? From the beginning, we must allow that we don’t know what it means. We are not necessarily going to be bigger or better persons than we are now. Growing up might be a completely different thing. A child cannot grasp what it is to be an adult until adulthood arrives. Even if the child witnesses adulthood all the time, which is what usually happens, it does not mean there will be understanding. Understanding and real knowing of what adulthood is will have to wait for adulthood. What we usually consider adulthood is not real adulthood; it is a case of arrested development. It is not easy to mature on our own. Our difficulty with maturation stems basically from two kinds of ignorance: what we have forgotten and what we don’t yet know. Inner work is a process of remembering what we have forgotten and learning what we still don’t know. We can’t do one without the other. If we only remember what we have forgotten, it won’t be enough. If we simply learn what we don’t know, it’s not enough. There has to be an interaction between the two. Remembering what we have forgotten largely means working with the personality, the ego structure of the soul. Knowing what we don’t know involves learning about essence, being, reality, and truth. Some teachings view knowing as a type of remembering, which in some way it is. For the purposes of this discussion, though, it is useful to distinguish knowing from remembering.


Remember that light from a distant star is not moving in time; that is, no passage of time is involved in its journey. As we are seeing it, it is the same light that was there billions of years ago. It hasn’t aged a minute, even a second. It is always now, and in this now-ness we can experience the past as much as we like—fully, completely—and really process it. Because that is true reliving; it is not just remembering. But we have to be in the moment, we have to be in touch with our presence. This is one reason the practice of presence is often referred to as self-remembering, or simply as remembering. We do not mean remembering in the ordinary, cerebral way that memory usually functions. We mean the remembering of our presence, remembering it in the sense of reliving the presence—which is reliving the now, which is the now of the present moment. In other words, self-remembering works as a practice of presence if and when we can do it in this fullness of being in the now, in the full experience of true reliving.

When You are Not Remembering

When there is no mind, you are not thinking, not conceptualizing, not remembering. When you are in the now, there is no feeling of a you separate from something else. There is no sense in the first place that there is a me. There is One. That feeling, that sense of boundary and separateness, is the personality itself. The presence of the personality is experienced as a boundary and that boundary is not different from ideas of the past. When the personality is gone, you feel alone, because the boundaries—your ideas and memories—are your father and mother. The separateness is your memories of your mother and father, your relationship with them and all your past experiences which you’re bringing into the present. Your past experience separates you from the now. That separation from the now is a boundary around you like an eggshell. To let the boundaries go means accepting aloneness. When aloneness is accepted, there are no boundaries. What you perceive then is just lack of boundaries. This will be experienced as a newness, a rebirth. You will see that there is an ocean with waves. You are a drop, but that drop does not have boundaries. It is a concentration of consciousness, and that consciousness is not separate from the rest. The whole of existence is a consciousness, and that consciousness is love. This love cannot be seen as long as there is a sense of boundary because that sense of boundary is a contradiction, a statement that this love does not exist.

Without the Capacity for Remembering there Would be No Suffering

The moment we have a mind, understanding becomes imperative, since without understanding suffering would simply continue. When you have a mind, it becomes natural to have ideas about things and about yourself. You take yourself to be a certain someone or a certain thing. You have memory, from which you create images of who you are, and because of this you develop fears and desires. Without memory, there would be no fears and no desires. So the mind makes possible many human attributes that other creatures on earth do not share. We have memory, we have conceptualization and thinking processes; along with these come emotional development, a sense of identity, a world view, a perspective on reality. These relate directly to the mind, which registers all our thoughts and experiences as memories. These memories then determine what we expect, how we look at reality, what we think we are and what we think we need. And you probably know from self-observation, this is the cause of our suffering. If you didn’t remember past bad times, you wouldn’t be frightened now; and if you didn’t recall the good times, you would have no desires and longings. Without the capacity for remembering, there would be no suffering. You’d be like a contented tree or animal.

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