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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Seeking?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Seeking

Understanding Arises when Seeking is Stopped

Understanding, itself, is very simple. Understanding is there when you are not searching. You do not need to look for understanding; it is not something to pursue. You do not have to make efforts to have insights. Your efforts are not rewarded with realizations. Understandings, realizations, and insights appear when you are relaxed, when for a moment you have stopped your seeking.

Do Not Ever Let Yourself Feel You've Arrived

Student: My mind has a searching quality, it wants to know what that other would be like. And I know there is no way that it can conceive it.
Almaas: So let it seek. Just watch your mind seeking, day and night. You are not going to be able to stop it, so let it happen. Ultimately, it is not a matter of seeking, it is ceasing the seeking. Seeking indicates going in a certain direction, towards something you want, something you can get. There isn’t anything like that. Whatever you want is part of your mind anyway. If you seek nothingness, nothingness is part of your mind. Reality is not nothingness, but it is also not a thingness. It is prior to nothingness and thingness. But you will experience nothingness sometimes. That’s part of the deeper layer of the mind, and it is fine to go through each layer. Do not ever let yourself feel you’ve arrived. The moment you feel you’ve arrived, penetrate deeper, until there comes a time when you do not care whether you’ve arrived or not. Then you have arrived, but you do not think you have arrived. You just do not care. You haven’t the slightest interest in whether you have arrived somewhere or not. That means the mind is finally quiet. As long as you care whether you have arrived or not, you haven’t. You might have had some experience, but the experience is not complete unless there is complete innocence, the way a baby is innocent—without the vaguest idea about reality or enlightenment. What’s that? I do not know—nothing, as far as I know. Innocence is before the whole thing developed: pre-mind.

Frantically Seeking Happiness in Many Ways

We are always looking for pleasure, frantically seeking happiness in many ways, and totally missing the simplest, most fundamental pleasure, which actually is also the greatest pleasure: just being here. When we are really present, the presence itself is made out of fullness, contentment, and blissful pleasure. Our habits and conditioning lead us to forget the greatest treasure we have, our birthright—the pleasure and lightness of existence. We think that we will have pleasure or delight if we fulfill a certain plan, if a certain dream comes true, if someone we care for likes us, if we take a wonderful trip. This attitude is an insult to who we are. We are the pleasure, we are the joy, we are the most profound significance and the highest value. When we understand this, we see that it’s ridiculous to think that we will get pleasure and joy through these external things—by doing this or that, or receiving approval or love from this or that person. We see then that we have been misinformed; we have been barking up the wrong tree. Happiness, value, and pleasure are not the result of anything. These qualities are part of our fundamental nature. If we simply allow ourselves to be, this is our natural experience. You are the most precious thing in the universe, but you behave as if you are the poorest, most trivial thing there is. It doesn’t really take much to see this. Just stop the whirlwind that goes on. Let yourself relax and be there. You can allow yourself to do it wherever you are. You don’t have to be in the Canary Island to be happy. You don’t have to be with someone you are in love with, and who loves you, to be happy. Putting these conditions on your happiness is a degrading way of looking at yourself. Sure, you can be happy in the Canaries or with someone you love, but how about the rest of the time?

Loving the Truth is Not Exactly Seeking the Truth

I say loving the truth instead of seeking it, because if you are seeking truth you might seek to avoid feeling pain. You might seek truth for another purpose, which will then make you not see the truth. But if you really love truth, then you will automatically want to see all of it, not for any particular reason but because you like seeing the truth. So loving the truth is not exactly seeking the truth, even though it might include seeking the truth sometimes. Loving the truth is the attitude of the heart. The heart falls in love. It falls in love with the truth, with an aspect of reality. The heart falling in love with the truth is one of the most important realizations, the most important change, that can happen in a human being. The heart really turning toward the truth is the most far-reaching realization because if you really love the truth, you’ll realize everything. However, if you love one particular state, then you might realize that state and not others. The truth is not just one thing. The truth is all that there is, whether or not you know it. Loving the truth does not mean you love the truth because it is going to help you realize everything. That is an ulterior motive. That is not included in loving the truth. You don’t care if it is going to lead you to this or that. You just like it. You can’t help it.

Reality Can’t be Reached by Seeking

To the extent that we live from the perspective of trying to find fulfillment, or from trying to get better, we live in an empty world. However, if we just rest, forget all the searching and give up the seeking, the world becomes beautiful and full. When you are seeking, you separate your consciousness, your soul, from your being, from your source, so that your whole perception then is perception devoid of being. Regardless of what you acquire or achieve, you are poverty-stricken because you are operating from an impoverished perspective. In this situation, you can only perpetuate your impoverished point of view. That seeking, by its nature, is a movement away from the fullness of reality and the source of pleasure, peace, or whatever is so feverishly being sought. Reality can’t be reached by seeking; you do not see it because you are seeking for something else. Whatever you are seeking, it could seem more and more refined, or closer to the truth, or closer to fulfillment, but none of this will make a difference. It is the activity of seeking that matters; no matter what you seek, this activity is the same. You might be seeking your father’s approval, or a lover, or success in your work, or enlightenment. It is all seeking, so it is all the same.

Seeking Something Other than Essence

Let us look at the nature of ignoble suffering from the perspective of Essence. Suffering always arises when you are out of contact with Essence or seeking something other than Essence. If you value anything—husbands, wives, children, girlfriends, parents, jobs, money, sports, cars, anything at all —over what is true in you, there is suffering. Automatically, that movement outwards (seeking satisfaction from external reality) wounds you. It is a wound to your heart. It is not that the factors of our external lives or our human desires are antithetical to our Work. Like everything else, they can be respected and understood for what they are. But if they come before Essence, there will be suffering, pain, frustration, and anger. It is important to understand this; it is not easy to see things this way. When we begin to work on ourselves and to know our essence, we are usually not doing it for the sake of Essence itself, but with hopes for getting this or that—to become more beautiful, more loving, more “spiritual,” to get people to like us. You might believe that if you develop your essence, you’ll get a better mate or have more money. If you’re working from that perspective, who’s doing it? Who’s acting? It’s not Essence. It’s your unconscious, so it will automatically bring suffering. The posture itself is a posture of deficiency, which is always a posture of pain. The body will automatically contract, be wounded. It will lose its joy and happiness.

Seeking to Fill Emptiness

The world is full of seekers whose identity is wrapped up in seeking wisdom, truth, or enlightenment. This is basically the same as seeking riches, beauty, fame, love, or recognition. The purpose of all of these identifications is to fill emptiness. But if you could look at the situation with complete sincerity, if you could just see what is really there without the props, you would give yourself a little chance of finding true intrinsic meaning.

What Most People are Seeking in their Personal Life

We will see that this truth that ego tries to emulate is what most people are seeking in their personal life, and that realizing this truth of what it is to be a human being is the aim of humanity. Humanity is in a sense astray, but there is a pattern to this way of existence which, when understood, reveals the true nature of the human being. Only this understanding will heal the schism and resolve the contradiction. The true human being, what we will call the Personal Essence, is the resolution of the contradiction. It is the integration of both points of view. From our point of view, the man of spirit has half the truth, and the man of the world has the other half, concealed behind a reflection that is taken to be the truth. In our exploration we will discuss some of the eternal truths, which are known in some of the spiritual traditions, and are not revealed, but instead kept as precious secrets, given only to those who genuinely seek. However, we will sometimes use the modern language of psychology, and the findings of ego psychology and object relations theory, to convey these truths in a manner appropriate to our time. The approach we are giving here can be seen as radical from the above points of view. The Personal Essence, which is the subject of this book, is neither “spiritual” nor “worldly.” It is the true human being, the personal presence that is devoid of falsehood, without being impersonal. This is not envisioned as possible by many spiritual teachings, although it is not the personality of ego. However, it is what makes the nature of ego and its concerns intelligible.

When Essential Activation is Foreground, Reality is Chasing You

At the beginning of any path, you are in hot pursuit of reality. If you are really into it, and the enlightenment drive is turned on, you are seeking and you are practicing and you are passionate and you are loving whatever is happening. Your experience of reality is that you are in hot pursuit of God. You can’t rest because there is something you are aspiring to, whether it appears as a seeking or as a natural impulse. But when this essential activation is foreground, God is after you. Reality is chasing you, and it is not going to leave you alone. When this occurs, it happens regardless of you, regardless of your resistances and delusions. It can’t help but confront and challenge whatever obstructs the way. This quickening has its own momentum independent of your mind, your resistances, your history, your influences, and even your practices. It is independent of position and view, regardless of whether the view is owned by a self or not owned at all. It doesn’t matter what you do. Even if you try to forget, it knocks on the door, and it keeps waking you up and keeps showing you what it is. It can’t help but keep revealing itself, keep stripping itself right in front of you, over and over again.

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