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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Sacrifice?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Sacrifice

A True Human Being Experiences Himself as Doing Something that Needs to be Done

So, there is no place for morality here. You do not say that it’s good to give. Yes, it is good to give, but it is also good to receive. You need to serve and serve humanity, but if everybody is just serving humanity, who is living it? If you sacrifice your life for your children and your children for their children, whoever gets to live a life? There has to be a balance between the two. And the balance will be the natural thing. When a true human being is giving, he does not feel he is giving. When he is taking, he does not feel he is taking. A true human being simply experiences himself as doing something that needs to be done. When the situation requires that such and such a thing be done, the integrated human being does it. Who it is for isn’t important because that action takes into consideration all levels, all dimensions, physical, emotional, personality, Essence, Being, the present, the future, all these things. However, that kind of action does not happen by calculation. It needs a balanced consciousness to do it. In action, the being flows and the flow of being is the doing. The intelligence of Being is functioning at all dimensions, all in the same act. Its intelligence is beyond the mind, beyond the awareness. But as I said, although it is the ideal thing and it is possible, a lot of work is needed to realize it. It might take all your life to do it. It is not a matter of getting from here to there. It is a matter of continual development. It does not have an end. You can grow and grow and grow and grow. There is no end to human maturing.

Each Time We Understand Something New We Need to Sacrifice It

We need to see that all of our inner work, all the understanding and insight we gain, is a matter of recognizing what distracts us. Each time we understand something new, we need to sacrifice it, to let it go. We need to learn not to be attached to any object, any form, any insight we can know in our minds. We need to learn not to be attached to anything we can remember, whether it’s an issue we’re exploring, part of our personality, or an essential state. Everything is to be explored, to be understood objectively, and, at the moment it is understood, to be sacrificed completely, absolutely, and willingly at the door of the heart. That is exactly what understanding something means. To understand something means ultimately to sacrifice it, to let it go, to be done with it. If we do not let it go, if we keep holding on to it, we have not fully understood it. When we thoroughly understand something, it’s gone—whether it’s an aspect of the personality or an aspect of essence. We’re attached to it only when we haven’t completely understood it.

It is a Joyful Thing to Sacrifice Yourself to the Truth

It is difficult for us to understand how self-sacrifice is the right way because in our cultural environment, self-sacrifice is typically understood as a way to be exploited or victimized. If someone engages in self-sacrifice, it is assumed that the person has a martyr complex, or is manipulative. It is not easy to understand how self-sacrifice can be serving the truth. Self-sacrifice is not only a matter of serving the truth. In some sense, it is the perception of the truth. To truly perceive the truth, there must be some kind of self-sacrifice, because perceiving the truth is realizing that the truth is something bigger than the self, beyond the self, which ultimately abolishes the self. To see the truth is to see that the self does not exist in the way we think that it exists. Then we see also that a true life is not the life we have conceived of. Self-sacrifice is not a matter of suffering. In fact, if we see self-sacrifice as painful, we are still not seeing the truth completely. It is bound to be painful for a long time. It will become less painful. After a while, self-sacrifice is an impulse that arises out of love for reality. When it becomes truly understood, it is a joyful thing to sacrifice yourself to the truth. To give up your life for the truth means to live life the way it is supposed to be for a human being. In that sense, if you give up your life, you save it.

Sacrificing Life Means to Take Real Action

Two factors contribute to our ability to live according to the truth: perception of the truth, and willingness to sacrifice when we are aware that we do not yet perceive the whole truth. First of all, to see the truth about the self is to recognize that the self as we know it, is not as fundamental, is not as real, is not as important, as we take it to be. The self, the way we think of it, is ultimately a construct. It is a self-image based fundamentally on the body. The self-image is the most superficial part of us, the skin of who we are. When we see the truth, we recognize that our nature, the depth of our reality, is the truth itself. So to live for the truth is in some sense living for the self, but not what we think of as the self, which is the worldly self. If you see the truth, to live for self and for the truth is not two things, but one. My true self is not separate from the nature of the universe and also is not separate from your true self. It is the nature of existence. If I take an action that is real, it will serve me and you at the same time without my thinking about me or you, because the reality is the reality of all of us. So to sacrifice your life means to take real action, to do what is correct and objective. It is to do the right thing at the moment, which has nothing to do with serving you or me. It is to serve the truth that is the nature of you and me and beyond.

To Be Constantly Sacrificed to the Truth is the Meaning of Carrying Your Cross Daily

It is not easy, of course, to see that what we call the self, that what we think of as our own selfhood, our own personality, does not really exist in the way we believe it does, and that what we call our life is not exactly our life. The concept that we have a life is not exactly accurate. In his statement, Christ does not simply say the self is a falsehood, is not the truth. He conveys it in a way that is characteristic of Christ, a way that can give us more insight about the resolution of this situation. Do I live for the truth, do I live for God, do I live for Christ, or do I live for myself? The way he actually says it is, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever will save his life will lose it. Whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it.” The idea here is to be a follower of the truth, so much so that what I call my life is to be constantly sacrificed to the truth. To be constantly sacrificed to the truth is the meaning of carrying your cross daily Daily, it is sacrifice: It is given away It is given away to the truth, to the way of truth. We find this assertion in many places in religious and spiritual traditions. Today I am introducing it as part of our Work. This Work does not work if you want to save yourself. If your work is self-seeking, if it is for the benefit of what you consider to be yourself, it won’t work. It’s as simple as that—it simply won’t happen. The process of the Work is a way of giving away the self, surrendering the self, giving up the self, sacrificing the self; and sacrificing it to the truth.

To Truly Live in the Spirit of the Work Means to Sacrifice Everything For It

To truly do the Work and to live in the spirit of the Work means to sacrifice everything for it. If you do not have that spirit, you need to acquire it, because there is no other way. The Work is not for people to learn a career, to be successful in the world, to have more money. These things might happen as a result of doing the Work, but that is not its purpose. The Work might even take these things away from you. But if you really love the truth, you won’t mind. The Work has always been like this, not only in this school. This part of the Work that we are embarking on will basically take things away from you. There is nothing for you to gain. We will continue to explore other elements of the Work in the weekends and other meetings, where we will deal more with some of the essential aspects and their related psychological issues. This element we’re working with today, however, is important for helping us to remember the spirit of the truth.

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