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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Specialness?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Specialness

An Exaggerated Belief in One’s Specialness

Specialness and uniqueness: The need for external mirroring feedback typically becomes focused on the need to be recognized as special and unique. This need reflects an exaggerated belief in one’s specialness, which in turn reflects an underlying feeling of being insignificant. So the student feels either an exaggerated sense of specialness, importance, and uniqueness, or painful feelings of insignificance and unworthiness; or the two sets of feelings might alternate, depending on the adequacy or absence of narcissistic supplies. These inner states may or may not manifest in overt attempts to appear special and important. Appearing special, more than being special, is what matters, because this is a specific manifestation of the need for mirroring.

Feeling One’s Own Preciousness and Specialness

It is interesting that in ego psychology the sense of self is the most difficult to understand, while in essential experience it is the most definite and singular. In no other area is it so clear that the absence of the concept of Being in object relations theory gives rise to ambiguity and incompleteness. As a result, the field of object relations theory contains much disagreement about, and many different definitions of the self; there is no agreement as to whether it is a representation, a process, a structure, within the ego or superordinate to it, and so on. In essential experience, however, the Self is not only definite and singular, but also feels like a sense of freedom, lightness, joy and delight, as we saw in the report above. There is a sense of excitement, playfulness and adventure. One suddenly feels interested in oneself, excited about one’s life, wanting to live and enjoy it. One feels one’s own preciousness and specialness, and the preciousness and delight of living. Life feels like an adventure, of unlimited potential and exciting possibilities.

Pure Being is Most Special Because It is the Precious Ground of Everything that is Special

Another discovery is that we see this unity and oneness as our very self and identity. We experience: “I am everything. I am everyone, the bodies, thoughts and feelings of everybody, inseparable from all objects. I am the ground, essence, and source of everything.” No wonder we have been longing for the dissolution of the separating boundaries; the self intuited that the arising manifestation of Being is boundless and infinite. And no wonder we need to be seen as the most special. Pure Being is the most precious thing in reality because it is the preciousness of everything in reality. It is most special because it is the precious ground of everything that is special. In fact, it is what ascribes specialness to anything. This is the reason some students experience the narcissistic need as to be seen as the most special person. The self knows unconsciously, or we could say intuitively, that its identity is the boundless pure Being, but it is still consciously identified with being a separate entity. So even at this level of work, there are often big issues. For example, when this manifestation is arising, and the student is feeling that she is the “most special” or the “only special” one, when anyone else is treated in a special way, she feels hurt and wounded. So she knows she is the most special because she is the purity of Being, but becomes grandiose when she attributes this specialness to her conscious identification of herself as a separate individual. Clearly, the way to work with the situation effectively is not to judge her narcissistic need as grandiose and unrealistic, but to discover in that need information about the true self from which she feels alienated. The narcissistic wound that arises here is for not being seen as the source of everything, of all knowledge, understanding, love, value, preciousness, meaning, and existence. We are hurt about not being recognized as this supreme manifestation of Being, the one most worthy of love and admiration. It also reflects our own incapacity to see our true pure nature, as we are not yet realized at this level.

The Child Needs Admiration for His True Nature, not for a Comparative “Specialness”

Many parents feel convinced that their own child is “unusually bright,” or “the most beautiful I’ve ever seen.” They feel, “I don’t want his purity to be seen, for he might be envied”; “He is going to be the best”; “I can’t help but see that he is the most precious thing that ever lived,” and so on. Because awareness of these intrinsic qualities of Essence is rare in adult experience, the parents cannot help but believe that their child is born with unusual and rare qualities. The parent does not see that these wonderful qualities are those of Essence in general, true about any human being who is being his essence. If she were seeing him as Essence, she would know that these wonderful qualities are not unusual, and are not particular to her child. This misunderstanding can manifest in having unusual expectations for her child, becoming disappointed when these qualities fade, feeling inflated and special herself, and so on. If the parent happens to be narcissistic and grandiose, she may attribute manifestations of her baby’s essence to some kind of divine or extraordinary gift. This lack of understanding again contributes to the child’s alienation from his essential nature, and hence contributes to his narcissism. This point is important because everyone, including depth psychologists, believe that this admiring attitude is appropriate and necessary for the child’s narcissistic health. They do not see that although the child does need this admiration, he needs it for his true nature, not for a comparative “specialness.” The parents’ failure to see that the source of these qualities is his actual true self wounds the child deeply, and makes him feel that their love is not really for him.

The Specialness of Christ is that He Recognized and Embodied the True Meaning of Being a Human Individual

Christmas is not the celebration of the birth and life of one individual; it is the celebration of the birth and life of the human individual, the true essential person. Christ represents all of humanity. He was not just a special person. His specialness is that he recognized and embodied the true meaning of being a human individual. He let himself be open. He had the courage to do that, and gave us a model. When he says, “I am the Son of God,” I understand him to mean that every human being is the Son of God, that every human being can know that he or she is the Son of God. When he talked about God as his father, he was saying what is true for all of us. If God is our father why do we go about our lives as if we are deficient and poor? Seeking for something is an undignified action for the human being. In seeking, we are not respecting who we are. If we are the children of God, we are rich to begin with. Why go about looking for things as if we’ve got nothing? We need to question that attitude of impoverishment, that attitude of seeking and searching. We need to look at it very objectively. We need to see how it is suffering and how it leads to suffering. We need to see how it is the source of suffering and how absolutely unnecessary and redundant it is. It is not a matter of resolving one issue or another. It is a matter of just letting yourself be, leaving yourself alone, settling into your nature.

The Specialness of the Soul is in Its Potentiality, Reflecting the Infinite Potential of Transcendent True Nature

The soul is a particular local form that has the potential to glow much more intensely than physical forms, and more completely than any essential form. It is a manifestation of true nature, embodying its potential and dynamism, but doing so in time and space, in the world of manifestation. It is a particular wave of the ocean of Being, but a special wave. Its specialness is in its potentiality, reflecting the infinite potential of transcendent true nature itself. Each boundless dimension reveals more of the nature of the soul and her objective relation to true nature on the one hand, and the world of manifestation on the other. We will discuss the contribution of each dimension in the following chapters, but reserve for the last chapters in the book a full discussion of the nature of the relation between true nature and the soul. Divine love reveals that the soul is an inseparable offspring of true nature, a child of the divine. The soul is a body of light, a drop of grace that embodies the total potential of the transcendent, but in a particular and individual manner. She is a potential necessary for the emergence of further possibilities within true nature. This dimension also reveals that the soul is the expression of the love and grace of true nature, and the carrier of this love in the world of manifestation. The soul is the manifestation that can consciously experience true nature in all of its fullness and splendor, contemplate its knowledge and mysteries, reflect on its miraculousness and majesty, and celebrate its beauty and magic. The soul is the organ of experience and expression of true nature and, hence, the organ of consciousness of Reality.

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