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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Sensation?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Sensation

A Sensation is Itself the Consciousness of the Sensation

But for the purpose of our discussion now, when I say “consciousness” I don’t refer to any refined state. I mean simply the fact of being conscious of something. For example, when you pay attention to yourself, you notice sensations in your body. These sensations are actually consciousness. The presence of sensation indicates consciousness. If you have sensations in your knee, you are conscious of your knee. If you shift your perspective from a consciousness that is conscious of the knee and consider the sensations themselves as consciousness, the experience undergoes a subtle change. You become aware that a sensation is itself the consciousness of the sensation. This is a glimpse of pure consciousness. The sensation of the knee, which is the consciousness of the knee, is the shape that consciousness takes in this location. If you suspend your differentiating mind, you will see there is no knee really. Only the sensation that we call knee exists, and that sensation is consciousness. You regard that lump of sensation and decide it is a knee. That is the name you call that part of consciousness. But really it is simply consciousness.

Being the Membrane of the Personality: when any Intense Sensation, like Pleasure or Love, Will be Felt as Too Much

One can possibly become conscious of a complete identification with this primitive state of personality. The state feels ordinary, simple, soft, somewhat warm and cozy. One is being the membrane of the personality, which we discussed previously. It is a simple warm feeling of being oneself. One becomes the feeling itself, that is not experienced to be directly connected to body, or mind, or boundaries. It is like a pure and undefended state of personality, like a simple but primitive individual consciousness. It is feeling the state of being the person that one is familiar with, with no defenses whatsoever, except for the separateness from Being. But then one realizes it is a state of deep withdrawal, because one feels disinterested in feeling anything, especially an intense affect. There is a subtle belief or feeling that any intense sensation, like pleasure or love, will be too much. One feels comfortable in one’s cozy defenselessness, not wanting any intrusion, even of aliveness or pleasure. There is no fear of judgment, exactly. It is more like an organismic response. Any feeling is experienced as too much, as when a sensation feels too much and the body shudders against it. It is like tasting something too sweet or hearing something too loud. Any feeling is experienced as too intense, disruptive and disintegrating. So this ego or personality state, although soft and comfortable, has the innate tendency to reject any intensity. This manifests as a simple lack of interest in any feeling or activity. If any intense sensation intrudes, a thickness or hardness manifests in the state of personality, to avoid feeling the sensation.

Essence is in the Sensations, Emotions and Mental Events but It’s not any of Them

Now, Essence is “in the world but not of it.” It’s not sensations, emotions, or mental events. Yet it is “in the world.” It is like the gold in the rock. It is not the rock; it’s in the rock. Essence is in the sensations, emotions, and mental events, but it’s not any of them. Precious stones are in the earth, but they are not the earth itself. They are something else. So is Essence in you. It’s not your flesh, not your emotions, not your thoughts. But it is embedded there. Essence is in you like the gold in the rock, like precious stones in the earth. Since this is the case, you can do some exploring, some mining, in order to find it. You can dig in the body, in the emotions, and in the mental events to find the precious substance. For example, you can do bodywork to develop the sensitivity of your body. Then you might discover what is there, what Essence is. You might explore your emotions and your sensations until you become so aware of them that you see subtle discriminations. You see that what you were sure was an emotion is not an emotion. You see that what you thought was a physical sensation is not a physical sensation. It is close, but not really a physical sensation. Essence is like a physical something that is not of the physical body. It is like a physical existence of a different level, a different dimension.

Frustration is Known Indirectly by the Sensation Translating Itself Into Restlessness, Impatience, Edginess and Irritability

Many individuals believe they are getting a rash when they first experience the frustration on their skin. They might even get a rash. We believe, in fact, that many skin irritations are due to this affect. It is like an inner itching. One wants to scratch but cannot reach it. The sensation is usually defended against by a kind of coating, or by numbness. In fact, all ego defenses are used to resist this feeling. One knows one is frustrated only indirectly, by the sensation translating itself into restlessness, impatience, edginess and irritability, The usual defense against it is a numbness in the nervous system, which feels like a dull, cushiony kind of coating. When this dullness is explored it turns out to be the effect of all kinds of beliefs and ideas that are false. It is the falsehood of the personality covering up the painful sensation. If one pays a sustained and meditative kind of attention to this sensation of frustration, one finds that it is basically a contraction in the nerve ends. Frustration turns out to be a state of contraction of the organism, mainly in the nervous system. One feels his nerves are dried up and parched. During a state of relaxation, especially in the state of the Merging Essence, the nerves feel soft, smooth, delicate, as if they are bathed in gentle fluids. They feel like gentle running brooks. But in the state of frustration they feel as if the gentle fluids have dried up, and the nerves feel dry, harsh and prickly. In this state they clearly cannot function well. It makes sense that the state of frustration is a contraction because it is the state of the organism when there is an undischarged tension.

In the Condition of Cessation, No Sensation of Anything and No Consciousness of Anything Can Endure

ALMAAS: I am getting to that; it is important to understand consciousness to appreciate what its absence means. Total absence of consciousness is much deeper. The cessation of consciousness means no knowing. It is the absolute darkness of consciousness. In this condition, no sensation of anything and no consciousness of anything can endure. If you are in the state of absence of consciousness, you are not aware of anything in yourself. The state of absence possesses no awareness of absence. You are simply absence. Since there is no consciousness, there can be no consciousness of its absence either.

Perception and Sensation Depend on Awareness of Distinctions

Nevertheless, there is a limit to this complete experience of true nature. Regardless of how dominant is the presence of true nature, there is always a manifest form in awareness, even if it is the slightest differentiation, the barest glimmer of light in darkness, the subtlest sense of a differentiated quality. We might have our eyes closed, so that we do not see external forms. There might be no sounds, and our mind might be completely still. Yet, there is bound to be a sliver of light, a nuance of a sensation, the barest outline of a form or hint of a quality. The fact is that when there is absolutely no differentiation, no difference in perception, there will be no distinctions to be aware of, and no movement to indicate change. The complete absence of distinctions and movement amounts to no perception, for perception requires some differentiation. If there is absolutely one thing with absolutely no differentiations within it, then there is no perception and no sensation. Perception and sensation depend on awareness of distinctions.

Presence is Mostly a Sensation of Being; the Absolute is Precisely the Absence of Such Sensation

We learn then that the absolute is quite a mysterious presence. Presence of true nature is normally coincident with the consciousness of its texture, density, and viscosity, namely, with the touch of the presence. Presence, in other words, is mostly a sensation of being.9 But when it comes to the absolute, it is precisely the absence of such sensation that characterizes its presence, and hence we cannot think of it as a presence similar to the presence of being. If we are going to refer to it as presence, we will have to say it is the presence of absence. But we will see as we continue in our exploration that this is not a completely accurate description. The absolute is more mysterious than even that.

Sensations Go Along with Thoughts

AHA: Sensations go along with thoughts. When there are absolutely no thoughts, there are no sensations. In your nature there are ultimately no thoughts, no feelings, no sensations. You’re mind is 100 percent still. You see no thoughts, no feelings, no sensations, and no you.

Somatic Manifestations that Accompany the Appearance of Space in Consciousness

We have described some of the somatic manifestations that accompany the appearance of space in consciousness, such as sensations on the top of the head and shaking in the body, specifically shaking of the spinal column. For most people the first sign that space is manifesting is the awareness of some definite sensation on the top of the head. It feels like a gentle tingling, or sometimes, as if something is brushing against one’s hair. If the person is ready for the experience, it will develop into more intense sensations at the top of the head which can sometimes feel painful. This will develop into the distinct physical impression of the presence of a hole on the top of the head, as if part of the cranium is missing. This is usually a gentle and pleasant impression, quite distinct and unmistakable.

The Void, pg. 55

The Experience of Being is Like Being a Certain Medium or Substance in which Each Point or Atom is Exquisitely and Clearly Aware of Itself as Pure Sensation or Consciousness

Since Being is pure consciousness capable of direct awareness of itself, it does not require thinking and deduction for it to know itself. This is what most distinguishes it from the personality of ego, which knows itself through reference to the past. One reason it is not easy to have a clear experience of Being is that the habit of ego is to know itself through reference to other perceptions, as in Descartes’ “I think, therefore I am.” But Being’s perception of itself is immediate and direct. The experience is more like “I exist,” felt with immediate, definite certainty. It is the feeling “I am.” “I am because I am.” The experience of Being is like being a certain medium or substance in which each point or atom is exquisitely and clearly aware of itself as pure sensation or consciousness. There is pure sensation, exquisite aliveness. The Personal Essence fullness is the presence of consciousness in a unique sensation of firmness, strength, smoothness, dense fluidity and flexibility. One experiences oneself as a full and rounded presence, like a firm, strong and well-developed muscle, vibrant with robust life and sensuous pleasure. One is truly full for one is the consciousness of fullness itself. There is no deficiency or lack. One is the sensuousness, the smoothness, the firmness, the robustness, the aliveness, which are not characteristics of some object, but are the actual constituents of the beingness and substance of the Personal Essence itself.

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