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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Revelation?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Revelation

Christ’s Revelation

At the beginning of the spiritual path, the world is a big problem, being an individual is a big problem, the mind is a big problem. And from the perspective of beyond the conceptual mind, these are simply constructed concepts. Christ’s revelation teaches us not only to go beyond apparent reality to the knowledge of the Father, but to come back from and with that knowledge, resurrecting all that we had to drop in the course of discovering our fundamental nature. So the revelation shows the value and the truth of human life, of the human individual and of the human mind, which participates in the forms of the world. Thus our perception of the world goes through a series of transformations. At the beginning, in the naive view, the world is a neutral given, a particular reality full of discrete entities, including us. In the next stage, we come to see that this given world is ephemeral, an illusion of the mind constructed of concepts. In the perspective we are discussing today, we see that the world is made of concepts, but the concepts are felt and lived and known through our living presence. We now see a world of harmony, a world made of truth. We see that the forms are variations of the truth. We understand, for example, that “table” is a concept, but in the redeemed world that concept is filled with truth. The concept simply carves the truth into form, which produces a sense of beauty that is not there without the form. So all the human things that the ego-self was attached to, all the attachments that were revealed as imprisoning us and that had to be abandoned for the realization of our true nature, now return in their redeemed form. This is the resurrection and the redemption. This is why Christ is called the Redeemer. Christ redeems what we have had to give up in order to be real. This understanding shows us that the things of the world actually do not need to be given up in an absolute sense, but do need to be redeemed. That is, we need to realize the truth and reality of the world, which necessarily entails going beyond the naive mental view of it.

Essential Activation Has to do with the Unrestrained Revelation of Truth

So far, we have been focusing on essential activation and on the alchemical red sulfur, the unstoppable combustion of the self-creating dynamism of true nature. Essential activation is not simply a matter of the enlightenment drive being awakened or activated. It means, specifically, that the enlightenment drive is functioning in such a way that it is not only leading us to realization and enlightenment, but it is also leading us from one realization to another. When we feel longing and desire, yearning for liberation or true nature or God, that is not yet essential activation. That longing does mean that the enlightenment drive, the drive for liberation or union, is active. But essential activation has to do with the unrestrained revelation of truth that doesn’t have anything to do with our seeking. It has to do with reality expressing itself in an unfettered way, and in a way that makes it clear to us that it is reality expressing itself. So if we consider the path of realization from the perspective of the fourth turning, we can identify four important junctures. Some of these I have already discussed in detail as factors necessary for essential activation. I am now enlarging the context and seeing essential activation as one important juncture that makes possible an ongoing understanding of reality, a ceaselessly wider illumination.

Experiencing Fundamental States of Existence as Just One More Thing in Everyday Life

In my experience, the effects of certain experiences change from one person to another. Some people experience the state of Personal Essence and see their lives and consciousness becoming transformed in a big way. Some people experience it as if nothing at all has happened. This might seem surprising. You might think, “How can that be?” I was surprised too, but I learned that some people experience fundamental states of existence as just one more thing in their everyday life. Like another hamburger, or an entertaining movie. This is not detachment, but a lack of recognition of the true nature of such revelation. Experiencing an essential state affects some people in such a way that the experience deeply transforms their life, shifting their whole orientation and perspective. Whether this happens seems to have to do with expectations the person has, or what the person is already valuing and idealizing. It has to do with the person’s focus. Some people are looking for a certain thing; other people are looking for other things. Also, it depends on the depth of a person’s interest and love for the truth itself. Many people are not interested in the truth. Many people are interested in experiences of security, or simply the pleasure or the comfort of these realizations. In traditional schools, in some of the old schools, people are not allowed to have these experiences because it is seen as a waste. The least that could happen is that it could be a waste. The worst that can happen is an imbalanced development.

Living Being Manifesting as Dynamic Revelation

In inquiry, we are actively engaged—we’re experimenting, we’re exploring, we’re delving into things, we’re reading, we’re questioning—while, at the center of it, we are not doing anything to our experience and are only interested in understanding its truth. In the nondoing meditation, we are sitting still, being the condition of realization, and the revelation of reality is a spontaneous arising. Our focus is nondoing and inquiry simply erupts. When that spontaneously happens, we don’t say, “No, no, this is nondoing practice; I have to remain still,” because the arising is not our doing—it is Living Being manifesting as dynamic revelation. So if we insist on remaining in our meditative stillness, we are clamping down on the dynamism of Being. When the dynamism of Being is free, it freely reveals the understanding of the situation we are in and reveals further and further realization. I am clarifying the relationship between our central practices of inquiry and nondoing from the perspective of totality. How do we practice nondoing? Isn’t that doing something? How can inquiring be nondoing? Exploring the paradox of nondoing brings us closer to how reality actually works. Nondoing supports the practice of inquiry by emphasizing beingness, presence, and noninterference. Inquiry develops the discriminating intelligence of Being and integrates that into our process. At some point, our inquiry can engage our process without interfering with our experience, and our nondoing can attain the dynamic intelligence of Being in service of discerning what is true.

Love, by Its Very Nature, is a Matter of Revelation, of Unfoldment

However, when we are open to the creativity of Being, the dynamism engages its optimizing, enhancing, evolutionary force. Then there is not just a movement that is dynamic, but the dynamism moves in an evolutionary, expanding, deepening, life-enhancing, optimizing way. It’s a movement from the inside out. If we inquire into the energy of the optimizing force, we find that it is love. Love is the creative energy that disposes the dynamism to move in an optimizing way. This makes love the fuel of inquiry—and points to a very clear relationship between love and the revelation of truth: When we love truth for its own sake, we truly love. When our love is selfless and genuine, it is the love of what is real. This shows more specifically why it is the energy for the optimizing, energizing, evolutionary force. Love, by its very nature, is a matter of revelation, of unfoldment. It is a manifestation of Being whose very nature is a matter of opening up and unfolding, like the unfolding of a rose. Rumi once said in a poem, “This is love: to fly heavenward. To rend, every instant, a hundred veils.” To love is to rend the veils. What does it mean to rend the veils? To reveal. So love is Being in the process of revealing its truth. It is the dynamic, revealing energy of Being.

Self-Revelation of Being

More exactly, creation or the flow of Being is basically replacement: One unified appearance is replaced by another unified appearance. The word creation might make you think that something new and different is being created, but from the perspective of self-revelation, Being is simply revealing itself through the innumerable manifestations of objects, beings, and events that we experience. So by seeing this flow as a self-revelation, we see that there is no distinction between what is created and what is creating. Here, then, the continuity of Being is its self-revelation, through which we are able to perceive it. As long as there is perception of Being, it is always perceived through the forms it manifests. When you perceive Being without any form, there is no perception. This is the divine coma, the cessation of experience. The forms through which we perceive it are the manifestations of Being itself, so it is not as though Being is manifesting us. Being is manifesting itself, and we are part of that Being.

Facets of Unity, pg. 263

The Interdependence of Mind and Heart

The path of the Diamond Approach—sometimes referred to as Diamond Heart —is a love affair par excellence, where the mind and heart are bonded from the start, although this is not so apparent at the beginning of the journey. Both heart and mind are necessary for opening to truth—the deep desire to know the truth for its own sake and the love for the truth beyond all else. And as our practice of inquiry and meditation is refined over time, it becomes more obvious that the interdependence of mind and heart, and their integration through embodied experience, is vital for the revelation of our true being, for the wisdom of knowing and expressing its true nature. And with the wish to know and the desire to become one with that which we discover, the journey —the love affair—gathers momentum. We increasingly feel as though we were being taken over by a great brilliant force of energetic propulsion, with a direction and fortitude that we could not have imagined from our limited point of view at the start.

The Nature of Revelation: a Process of the Creation and Destruction of Knowledge

What I am saying is that for inquiry to happen, we first need to see and acknowledge what we do not know. This requires investigating what we believe we do know. And that means we need to be courageous enough to be open to the possibility of questioning everything we believe we know. The more we are willing to accept not-knowing, and the more this not-knowing pervades our experience, the more our inquiry embodies courage and openness, which will make it more effective. In other words, we need the courage and openness to embody, to embrace, the not-knowing all the time. The moment we rest, having concluded that what we know about something is final, we close the door to knowledge and we inhibit Being from disclosing its further and infinite possibilities. We lose the sense of adventure in our experience. To be an adventurer of Being requires that we stay always on the edge of knowledge, where knowledge appears and disappears, where it is created and destroyed. This is the nature of revelation: It is a process of the creation and destruction of knowledge because not-knowing is the ground from which knowledge arises.

The Revelation of Our True Nature is a Process

We need to remember that the revelation of our True Nature is a process, so that we can be more realistic and more kind to ourselves about where we are. Thus our practice is to just be aware of and present with whatever is arising, to let it be and not do anything to it except allow our natural curiosity to unfold it and reveal what it is about. That process will at some point reveal the ultimate nature of that emotion. As you notice, I didn’t only say, “Be aware.” I said, “Be aware and present.” Awareness and presence are not two things, really, but if I only say, “Be aware,” you might think of that in terms of normal awareness, that is, observing experience from a distance, with the detachment of a subject viewing an object. When I say, “aware and present,” I am saying, “present to what you are aware of,” which means that you are not only noticing it, but you are also in contact with it; you are touching it, feeling it, sensing its texture and quality. You are not only looking at it from the outside, you are aware of it from the inside as well and from all directions, from everywhere. So presence brings in the quality of immediacy of awareness, which means having no distance between the awareness and what we are aware of. Presence gives a sense of immediacy, of fullness, of hereness in the experience. It gives a sense of immediacy and directness that suffuses the experience, that pervades it and fills it, so that our awareness, our consciousness, is not only observing it from a removed place but also from within it. It is as though our nerve endings were inside the experience, outside the experience, and in between; they are everywhere and feeling the experience in all its possibilities. That’s when we really know the experience fully and completely. If we have that kind of awareness, then we recognize that to be aware of something is not just a function, and it is not just a capacity. The awareness, in fact, is our essential presence, our hereness, our substantiality.

The Revelation of the Nature of Spirit

The understanding reflected in this book is a result of a particular spiritual transformation that reveals the ground and nature of consciousness. This ground turns out to be the underlying nature of everything, even the physical universe—and hence the body and its brain. This spiritual ground, what we call Essence—the essence of consciousness and all of reality—reveals itself through many qualities, which are primordially inherent to it. These qualities may manifest undifferentiated from each other—as the presence of spiritual nature beyond mind and normal experience—or as differentiated and discriminated experiences of ontological presence. In the latter case, spiritual nature manifests itself through differentiated qualities, which we refer to as essential aspects. These essential aspects are intimately related to our various mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual faculties. One thing we discover in this revelation of the nature of spirit is that it is characterized not only by qualities such as Power, Love, and Truth, but also by a particular luminosity that appears to our mind to be intelligence. In other words, we realize that we can actually experience intelligence directly—not through an activity, as we normally do, but as a palpable presence, as a presence of pure consciousness characterized by intelligence. We find out that intelligence is an inherent quality of our spiritual nature, fundamentally inseparable from it. Yet in functional activities, it flows through our consciousness, and through its physiological supports—the brain and the nervous system—to give these functions a kind of efficiency and completeness we usually associate with intelligence. We discover our spirit as intelligence, intelligence that manifests in what we call intelligent functioning, yet is experienceable directly and apart from its functioning.

Brilliancy, pg. 2

The Revelation of Truth is what Being Presents in Our Experience

The question of whether the truth is going to feel overwhelming to us is sometimes a realistic concern. For some people, recognizing certain truths might be too much due to their lack of inner strength and development. And left to itself, the soul tends not to open up to such an overwhelming truth. Usually the soul has built-in defenses to prevent what is overwhelming from arising, unless life presents it with a situation where it can’t use these defenses. Sometimes the truth might arise as overwhelming, but that’s not generally the natural process of the unfoldment. Usually, if we are attuned to the truth in our own experience, our inquiry will tend to reveal things in a way that is exactly what we need and what we can handle in the moment. Guidance never reveals things to us that we don’t need. The revelation of truth is what Being presents in our experience, and Being is intelligent, compassionate, and loving. It will present exactly what is needed in the moment. That is why inquiry is generally a much safer approach than many other methods we can use. It follows what arises, it does not push, because it is not trying to get somewhere or achieve some goal.

True Nature Illuminates Itself and Liberates Itself by Revealing Itself

When we understand the discerning capacity of true nature, we come to see that it teaches not only as revelation but as self-revelation. It illuminates itself and liberates itself by revealing itself. In its operation, this penetrating intelligence teaches us the capacity to learn. But as it teaches, it learns. As it reveals, it realizes. As it illuminates, it is enlightened. As it transforms, it evolves. We see that true nature is behind the whole process of learning, unveiling, and transformation. True nature awakens itself by guiding itself as the individual consciousness that appears to be inquiring. In reality, the inquiry of the individual is nothing but the way that true nature is revealing itself. It is Total Being functioning as the student eager to learn and as the teacher, outer or inner, skillfully guiding the student. This is the picture that we see when the discriminating intelligence synthesizes the role of the individual practicing and the action of true nature. It is a picture that emerges when this intelligence utilizes both dual and nondual perceptions in the same insight. This understanding is one of its awakenings: The inner teacher learns in the form of teaching an other, which is a form of itself.

Two Kinds of Revelation

Many teachings postulate what the end of realization is and how to reach it. And in some sense, there are stages of realization that we could call some sort of an end. In the Diamond Approach, the view that I am presenting in this book is a view that does not need an end. Saying that true practice has no end is not the same as saying it is endless. It is simply a matter of not trying to reach any end. So no end means the transcendence of striving toward any goal. We don’t posit an end, because we are not motivated by the need for things to settle, to rest, to conclude. And it’s not that we have now sufficiently rested and so want to do other things. No, it’s more that reality itself is manifesting as practice, as practice that is greater revelation and illumination. Practice that is realization discloses two kinds of illumination and revelation. One of them is the revelation of development—the development of capacities and the discoveries of ways of being, ways of action and communication and expression. There is no end to that development. You can never exhaust it. The development of the soul itself, the particular vehicle through which realization happens, never concludes. The other kind of revelation is the discovery of what’s called the natural condition, the discovery of our true nature, of the enlightened condition. At some point, what becomes important in this condition is not what the nature of soul or reality is but the freedom of the soul and reality to manifest whatever it wants to manifest.

Understanding is the Revelation of the Mysteries of Being

So, while we could say that from an absolute perspective understanding is not real, it does have an order, a depth that can be explored. An alternative way of saying this is that understanding, especially on the essential level, is simply the true discrimination of the unfoldment of Being. So understanding is ultimately real, for it is the revelation of the mysteries of Being. The concepts get wider and bigger as you go deeper. Concepts, you have to understand, are not intrinsically bad. You need concepts to function. You need the concept of a table in order to use one. Right? You need the concept of a car if you want to drive one. Concepts are useful, but they trap you if you forget that they are concepts, if you take them to be the actual reality. And of course, the most difficult, ensnaring trap is to take your concepts of yourself to be who you really are. If you believe the concept of the car is the actual car, you won’t be seeing reality completely clearly, but it’s not going to hurt you. Right? But if you take your concept of yourself as you, that’s when your problems start. When you understand the unknowable, you can understand the nature of concepts and how they can be used. Concepts are seen as neutral. Like many other things, how concepts are used determines the nature of their effect. You can be restricted by concepts, or you can use them intelligently, expanding them from smaller to bigger and bigger ones, until the concept becomes so big that it has no boundaries, and ceases being a concept. That then is the unknowable.

Understanding Regarded as Actual New Structuring of the Soul

Revelation, insight, or direct knowledge is nothing but the impact of the essential diamond presence on the soul. The soul’s experience is affected and structured by the diamond presence, rather than being patterned by ordinary knowledge. The diamond presence also gives us a sense of precision, definiteness, and objectivity that we call understanding when we describe it. The understanding itself is not the words, rather it is the actual new structuring of the soul. In other words, the arising of Essence impacts our consciousness in such a way that an essential experience arises, a new unfoldment happens. The diamondness of the essential presence gives us the experience of a precise and sharp delineation, a knowingness, a discernment of what is arising. This is real understanding. Most people take the description of an experience to be the understanding. However, when we use the word “understanding,” we mean the actual impression in the soul created by the arising aspect. This is a felt experience, a tasted, touched knowledge, with a direct discrimination of different patterns, flavors, and textures. The discernment of the pattern—not the description or the communicated words—is the understanding. Communication is the use of words taken from the conventional dimension to try to express the already existing understanding. Understanding is experience, but experience with precision and clear discrimination.

Whatever is Being Revealed at any Moment is Realization, is Reality Manifesting Itself

True practice means letting ourselves explore what is happening in this moment. For a long time, we can’t help thinking that exploration will take us deeper and will reveal more. And it does reveal more and more until, at some point, we might recognize that the revelation is not headed in any particular direction or to any specific place. We might recognize that whatever is being revealed at any moment, from the very first moment we practice, is realization, is reality manifesting itself. What else could it be? Who else would be doing it? Practice fully realized is mature enough to accept the ordinary simplicity of whatever is happening as what realization is at the moment. But it takes a great deal of work to develop that kind of maturity. We have to fully exhaust all other possibilities for that simplicity to manifest. We have to experience and understand and embody all kinds of spiritual dimensions and all kinds of enlightenment in order to be free and to accept our everyday ordinariness without it having to be anything else. We cannot one day decide to be simple and ordinary. We need only to live each moment as it is, to live each moment fully and authentically without rejection or acceptance, without commentary or second guessing. With such total practice, we begin to live the mystery of the paradox of practice and grace.

Who We Truly are is Always Right Here, Hidden Within Our Experience, Waiting to Reveal Itself

Our relaxation into exactly who and where we are is what allows us to stop defending and hiding who we truly are. In the restfulness, we can simply be—be with awareness and awakeness and aliveness. This is something quite different from the passivity we feared. In simply being, we discover the implicit nature of Being, of our Being. We find that this Being is dynamic and intelligent. It becomes the agent of change—transforming our consciousness by revealing deeper and deeper truth. In this process, we begin to taste flavors and qualities of our True Nature, our essence. This is the perennial wisdom: who we truly are is always right here, hidden within our experience, waiting to reveal itself. And this revelation is available and will happen if we are willing to open to what it truly means to be where we are. If we give ourselves the gift of not going anywhere, not trying to do anything, and not looking elsewhere, we step into the very real possibility of knowing the essence of who we are. This core principle underlies the practice of inquiry, the primary method of the Diamond Approach.

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