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Spiritual Realization

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Spiritual Realization?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Spiritual Realization

Any Aspect of Essence Becomes Less Obvious and is Taken for Granted the Longer One Experiences It

It is likely that some individuals who come to a radical spiritual realization in early adulthood were already realized on the personal level. Any aspect of Essence becomes less obvious and is taken for granted the longer one experiences it. It is also understandable that such individuals will experience their realization as letting go of being a person, because for them it is a movement from the Personal Essence to the nonpersonal aspects. The realization of the essential person will develop naturally into the experience of the nonpersonal realm, but not if one holds on to personal realization.

Daily Life Itself Can Become Spiritual Realization

In our work, we address both sides of human evolution: the realization of true nature and the integration of everyday life into that true nature. For the Far Eastern religions, the integration of the world of appearance into true nature results in nondual experience. This is still an impersonal and universal perspective, where all that appears to perception is experienced as inseparable from true nature. This is not what we mean by integration of life into true nature. The Diamond Approach supports living a personal life in relationship to other human beings and engaging in other human activities besides spiritual practice. Integration of appearance into true nature functions as the ground of this personal integration; it does not stand on its own as the only value. Being manifests not only in the transcendental, but also in down-to-earth, practical, and personal forms that are relevant to everyday life. And daily life itself can become spiritual realization.

Illuminating the Nature of Spiritual Realization

It is our understanding that spiritual states, in general, require disidentification from psychic structures, normal or neurotic, and that self-realization, in particular, means the absence of these structures, at least in the duration of the experience, as we have discussed in very specific details. Full self-realization—enlightenment—requires the complete and final dissolution of all psychic structures. There cannot be neurotic manifestations in full self-realization, because any neurotic manifestation must be the expression of some psychic structures, which, by their representational nature, will limit the realization. So what is called a “sick guru” must be an individual who is spiritually developed but not fully realized or enlightened. This understanding, besides illuminating the nature of spiritual realization and protecting its purity, may help us to see the imperfections in a spiritual teacher’s realization without having to rationalize them away or to devalue him or her completely. This way, we may retain the objectivity that we need to help us appreciate what we can learn from a particular teacher and what we cannot. The situation of spirituality in the world is not such that we need a fully realized and enlightened master—a Buddha, a Lao Tzu, or a Christ—for us to receive guidance in our spiritual quest. The situation is not unlike others, in most fields, where we find teachers of various degrees of competence and maturity, and the student needs to find the ones who can help him or her best.

Our Spiritual Realization is More Complete When We Bring Our Realization Into Interaction with Others

Our spiritual realization is more complete when we bring our realization, our presence, our compassion, our clarity and understanding into interaction with others. This includes how we talk with one another, how we respond, how we touch, how we allow ourselves to be touched, what we do and don’t do and how and when we do it, so that our life with other people can express the inner freedom we have attained. True inner freedom is not abstract. Freedom means the freedom to express the qualities of our nature, the freedom to express our love, our joy, our kindness, our strength, our intelligence, our sensitivity. Freedom does not mean just that we feel light, happy, and free. That is wonderful, but it is only the beginning of inner freedom, of enlightenment, of realization.

Spiritual Liberation is a Matter of One’s Experience and Perception Moving to Another Dimension of Existence that has Its Own Perspective

Most of us believe that spiritual realization is a matter of becoming happier, freer, and more noble, while retaining the basic outlines and categories of experience of our familiar view of reality. This attitude underlies the popular conviction that “growth work,” including psychological work, can lead to spiritual transformation. That conviction reflects a lack of understanding that the basic paradigms of our world view, which determine our everyday experience, are an intrinsic part of the web of ignorance that binds us tightly within egoic experience. Until we directly experience spiritual transformation, we do not truly understand that this transformation involves such radical changes in our experience of ourselves and our world that it is not a matter of becoming a transformed individual; we recognize, rather, that the reality that is realized is something that cannot be limited by such notions as “individual” and “world.” The very principles and categories of experience that we take to be incontrovertible truths are transformed. What goes through a radical transformation is specifically our view of what truly exists, and the mode of this existence. In other words, spiritual liberation is a matter of one’s experience and perception moving to another dimension of existence that has its own perspective, and further, of this dimension becoming the center and foundation of experience.

Facets of Unity, pg. ix (Introduction)

Spiritual Realization Also Means Experiencing Everything Immediately and Not Through the Intermediacy of Our Representations

We have said that spiritual realization is a matter of experiencing reality without representations. This experience is what we refer to then as Being; Being is contrasted to representing. So, in spiritual work we are basically working on seeing and penetrating representations to get to the reality underlying them. The point is to experience ourselves immediately, and not through the intermediacy of our representations of ourselves. Spiritual realization also means experiencing everything immediately, and not through the intermediacy of our representations. We experience everything then as Being, as thereness, as presence. More precisely, we use the term “Being” to refer to what is experienced when our awareness is not experiencing through the intermediacy of representations. Being is synonymous with true nature, which is the essence or ultimate nature. A discovery that we may come upon in the process of seeing through representations is that the reality we experience through representations tends to be fixed and rigidly structured. This rigid structure blocks the openness that allows the dynamic flow, the true change and transformation of our experience of reality. When we go through the representations things open up. We begin to see things more freely, in ways that are not determined by our previous experience, not determined by the representations in our minds. We become more open to experience, and our perception becomes lighter, clearer and more fluid. Things literally open up, meaning that when representations dissolve an open dimension of reality is revealed. This open dimension we call space. So it is not just that things become open in the psychological and metaphorical sense, but things are open in the sense that reality reveals a dimension of itself that is actually openness, that is actually spaciousness, that is literally space.

The Void, pg. 153

Spiritual Realization Can Contribute to Relationship and Relationship Can Contribute to Spiritual Realization

The spiritual dimension can manifest in our lives to enrich our relating and make it more real, and the reverse is also true. If we approach our relationships with openness and sincerity, with the true sense of who we are—if we are authentic and respect the authenticity of the other; if we listen to and are interested in one another just as we are interested in the truth—then any relationship can contribute to our spiritual experience. It can become a support for our spiritual journey, a crucible for inner work. Relationship can become a natural practice that deepens both our sense of who we are and our experience of reality. An understanding of divine eros brings those two aspects together in such a way that spiritual realization can contribute to relationship and relationship can contribute to spiritual realization. However, for that to happen, our relationships will need to become transparent to our spiritual qualities. By this we mean that it is not sufficient that the soul or consciousness is transparent to its spiritual qualities, which means these qualities can come through our consciousness and be expressed without obstruction. The relationship as a whole—which is both the contact between me and you and the energetic field created by our interaction—will need to manifest those qualities. So there needs to be not only enjoyment between the two people but also sincerity and authenticity—a real individual interacting with another real individual. What is a real individual? A person who is aware of who he or she is, and who is being that authentic presence in interaction with another person, while respecting that the other is also authentic presence. That is what I call a sense of being personal—what is personally me interacting with what is personally you. It is the uniqueness of my reality interacting with the uniqueness of your reality.

The Primary Understanding in Any Authentic Experience of Spiritual Realization is that Our Soul Possesses a True Nature - Its Essence

The awareness of the existence of the soul’s true nature constitutes the core understanding in all major spiritual teachings. The primary understanding in any authentic experience of spiritual realization is that our soul (our self, our consciousness) possesses a true nature—its essence. Being is the essence or true nature of the soul, as it is of all manifestation. In the Diamond Approach, we use the word Essence to refer to the specific experience of Being in its various aspects when it arises as the nature of the human soul. We experience ourselves as Essence if our experience is free, unfabricated, and spontaneously arising. If our experience of ourselves is not dictated or determined by any external influence—that is, by any influence extraneous to the simplicity of just being—we are the essence of who we are. True or essential nature, therefore, refers to how the soul experiences herself when she is not conditioned by the past or by any mental images or self-concepts. We experience our essence when we are simply being, instead of reacting or conceptualizing our experience or ourselves. Essence is not an object we find within ourselves; it is the true nature of who we are when we are relaxed and authentic, when we are not pretending to be one way or another, consciously or unconsciously. Essence is the truth of our very presence, the purity of our consciousness and awareness. It is what we are in our original and undefiled beingness, the ultimate core reality of our soul. Essence is the authentic presence of our Being; it is, in fact, Being in its thatness.

We Have to Recognize that Spirit is Paramount and the World is Only the Experiential Locus Where Spiritual Realization Can Happen

Before we can truly say that we are spiritual, we have to recognize that spirit is paramount and the world is only the experiential locus where the experience of spiritual realization can happen. Without this dimension of realization, the world is not only a place of suffering, it is a forsaken world. It is an empty world. It doesn’t truly have nourishment, only the illusion of nourishment. This is one important reason why our inquiry needs to be open and not oriented toward any goal set by the mind, for our mind is oriented toward achieving what the world promises. More than anything else, the seduction of the temptations of the world is what limits our openness. If we knew what is possible for us as human beings, if we just had a little taste of what it is like to behold the Guidance, we wouldn’t squander one minute of our life pursuing the promises of the world. The sense we get when we feel the presence of the Guidance is not only wonderful, not only a blessing; it feels right, it feels as if that is what is supposed to happen. We start to recognize our human birthright. We begin to understand what we are here for—why this world exists, why we are alive.

What is Called “Spiritual Realization” is the Same as Experiencing Reality

The way the conventional or ego self experiences things, the way we ordinarily perceive reality, the way we perceive each other, the way we feel, sense, touch, and see are generally speaking not objective. Our normal, everyday perception is filtered through a great many obscurations. An important part of spiritual work, in a sense the point of it—that which is sufficient to take us the whole way on any path—is to experience things objectively: to experience, feel, sense, taste and see objectively. When this happens we say we are experiencing Reality. So, what is called spiritual realization, which is the same as experiencing Reality, does not mean having supernatural experiences. The primary way we lose our objectivity has to do with representations. To experience reality as it is means to apprehend it without our representations of it. In other words, the main reason we don’t experience things objectively is that we look at reality through our representations of it. We take our ideas of it, beliefs about it, images of it, memories of it, etc. as describing it, and then look at reality through these filters. We are using the word “representation” in the general sense of the word, not in the technical, psychoanalytic sense like in self- or object representations.

The Void, pg. 151

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