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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Stations?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Stations

A Station Reflects Maturity

A station means that a quality of Essence is present whenever there is a need. When you are yourself as a station, you are no longer being guided, you have matured. 

All Realizations are Way Stations

On this path, many of the realizations that we learn about seem similar to the realizations of other teachings. We might begin to compare: “This teaching is deeper; that teaching has a different understanding of this dimension; this teaching is a more complete expression of that state.” These discriminations may be true and may contain useful knowledge but, at some point, we understand that it is not up to the individual to choose where to land or where to abide or what realization should manifest. Reality is bigger than the individual. Reality is an immensity, is a mystery, is a Living Beingness that is constantly manifesting and revealing its possibilities. This is why in the view of totality we see the different realizations as way stations. Saying that they are way stations is also not entirely accurate. It’s a useful formulation but, after a while, it is deceptive because it implies going toward a finite end. We might assume that the different realizations are stations on the way to some final destination. But the destination itself turns out to be a way station. All realizations are in fact way stations. 

At Some Point on the Inner Journey the Soul Will Have to go From the Station of Servitude to the Station of Slavery

So the correct and balanced attitude means one based on the service of a higher principle. If our work is motivated or guided by a lower principle, a more selfish principle, then it will tend to move tangentially or not move at all. At some point on the inner journey, the soul will have to go from the station of servitude to the station of slavery. Now how is a servant different from a slave? A slave doesn’t own anything, doesn’t possess anything, not even his life, not even his existence. A servant still owns his own existence. Although he serves the master dutifully and correctly, a servant still has separate quarters. A slave has nothing of his own; he is owned by the master. So the station of slavery is a more exalted station than the station of servitude. We’re not only humble and truthful and serene and all of that, but we are completely owned by the truth. We are under the complete domination of the truth. We are at the whim of the truth, an absolute extension of the truth. We are completely inseparable from the truth, from the master.

Establishing a Realization or a Dimension of Awakening Means that It Becomes a Station

So establishing a realization or a dimension of awakening means that it becomes a station, it becomes permanently available to us. But this does not mean that we need to be in that condition all the time, or that any condition is the final abode. When we awaken in one or another of these conditions, it seems so miraculous, so pure, so real, and so comprehensive—explaining everything we’ve ever wondered about—that it is easy for us to feel that it is the ultimate truth. I have made that mistake too. At a number of points along the way, as different realizations became established and became stations, I thought, “Oh yes, this is it. This is the ultimate condition.” But because this teaching never adopted practices oriented toward realizing any particular condition, each realization always led to further openings and awakenings. We can see this progression from one realization to another as each subsequent realization transcending the previous one without negating it, but including it in a deeper or more subtle realization. This introduces a hierarchical view of understanding realization. When we consider one realization to be deeper and more subtle than another, this is true in a sense, but it is an observation made from the perspective of the self. It is not true from the perspective of true nature. True nature doesn’t make comparisons. For true nature, each realization is reality, each one is ultimate. But the self perceives a progression and a hierarchy of realization and, as the subtler aspects or positions or concepts of the self are seen, recognized, and understood, further realizations and different dimensions of reality will arise.

Every Veil is a Way Station

I said earlier that love provides the motivation for doing the work. But really, doing the work is love; it’s not just that love is the motivating force. Doing the work is actually a love affair. If it is not, then you’re not doing the work—it’s as simple as that. You are doing something else. You are stopping at one of the veils. Each veil is a way station. You could stop there and dally, you could set up camp for as many days or years as you like. But love means rending the veils. So, every time you reach a way station, love says, “Come on, let’s move on. We can’t stick around here. We haven’t arrived at our destination yet; this is just a resting place.” Some of us will say, “This resting place is all I want for the rest of my life.” In fact, that is what most people do. Then love means other things, such as having a family, loving your children, being with a spouse. But these are just way stations; they are on the way to the completion of love. You have removed some veils, but there are still more veils left.  You can stop at a way station if you want, but if your love is strong, you are naturally going to say, “I want to go farther. What is next?” 

Love Unveiled, pg. 16

Merging Gold is Important in Attaining the Station of Union with the Beloved

Taken together, all of these insights show us that in order to integrate the aspect of merging gold—which is important in attaining the station of union with the beloved—we need to disassociate that state from its connections with the various manifestations and relationships in our lives. This is especially true of the dual unity, the symbiotic relationship with mother. If the station of union itself doesn't get disassociated from the dual unity—from the belief, the conviction, that we can have that union only if we are in a certain relationship with a specific person—then we won't recognize it or integrate it as a manifestation of our own beingness.  In other words, we usually see that state of union as being conditional—dependent on a particular situation. But no aspect of essence can be conditioned by a specific relationship or set of circumstances. We need to be free from that conditionality in order to integrate the merging gold essence, and then we can experience things in a way that makes the state of union available naturally. Otherwise, union will always elude us; we will continue to look for it in various manifestations or relationships that are determined by the specific conditions of the dual unity we experienced when we were babies. 

Love Unveiled, pg. 189

The Process of Turning a State into a Station

This process of turning a state into a station can be seen in a way that sheds a different light on it. The process is that of working on having the essence, in whatever aspect it happens to be, present in all of an individual's life situations. He might experience essence in a certain situation but find it difficult to be essentially present when he is in a different situation. It is time then to turn one's attention to that situation to understand what exactly is causing the difficulty. The individual will then confront his anxiety and attempt to understand the unconscious material causing it, until it becomes possible for essence to be present in this situation. A person does not usually need to look for these situations; they are usually presented to him by his own personality functioning in his life. The culmination of this process is that the individual will be able to embody the essential aspect in all relevant situations; it becomes a station. 

The Station of Complete Mystical Poverty

It is here that the understanding of personalization reaches its peak. It is again a long and difficult process, in which one must pass through the dark night of the spirit, and attain the station of complete mystical poverty. This means divesting ego, and personal consciousness itself, of all existence. Then one realizes at some point that to be the Personal Essence here is to be a personal expression of the Absolute, a particular but pure manifestation of the ultimate mystery. As the Personal Essence at this dimension one is part of the very fabric of the ultimate mystery. In other words, to be a particular unique expression of the Absolute in ordinary life one must have realized the Personal Essence. But one realizes that only the Absolute has true existence. So, is one here the Absolute or the expression of the Absolute? This mystery, the relationship—which is not an object relation—between the lover (the individual expression) and the Beloved (He, the Absolute) is expressed by a Sufi poet:
Look close:

all is He—
but He is manifest through me,
All ME, no doubt—
but through Him.
[Fakhruddin ‘Iraqi, Divine Flashes, p. 79]

Functioning here is absolutely spontaneous, without any trace of self-consciousness. It is the Absolute functioning through the integrated human being, but not separate from it. It is a mystery, where one is both an individual personal expression of the Absolute and the immensity of the Absolute, in some indescribable dual unity, which is beyond any comprehension of the mind.

The Station of Realization of the Freedom Vehicle

To be an instrument of the absolute is to be its absolute servant, which is the same as being a complete, thoroughly ripened, and mature human adult. This is human happiness and fulfillment. This is the station of realization of the freedom vehicle, which is the reason we frequently refer to it as the body of service. We develop a new subtle body, which inherently recognizes its function as servicing the truth of Reality. It is a precise, clear, totally objective wisdom, completely free from subjective bias or reaction. This functioning may appear as a limitation when compared with the station of abiding in the absolute, and students tend to react to it in this manner, yet it is actually a deeper and higher realization. For in this station there is no preference at all; there is no need at all for any state or condition, not even for that of the absolute. Our freedom is that we are the absolute in its mystery, but at the same time we are also the individual soul with all of her development, life, and maturation. We are essence with all of its dimensions and aspects, but we are also the adult human being, a matured and completed person.

The Station of Slavery

We find our true position, our greatest fulfillment and joy, when we are at the whim of the master. In the station of slavery, the soul realizes that she is an absolute reflection, a pure expression, of the Absolute. The soul realizes that the Absolute is not separate from her, but is her master, her home, her nature. The soul’s relationship to the Absolute is analogous to the relationship of the face to the body. At some point in our development, the relationship of the soul to the Absolute is the relationship of who you are as an individual existence to your ground, to your source, to your creator.

The Station of the Objective Person

The realization of the Logos completes the process of personalization, which makes it possible to experience and understand the objective Personal Essence. To understand what this means we need to remember that the personalization of the various aspects of Essence leads at some point to the Integration of all these personalized aspects. We have called this overall synthesis of all aspects in the presence of the Personal Essence the “Complete Person,” and discussed the objective and formless dimensions of Essence just enough to see the main processes needed for this overall synthesis. Just as the personalization of the aspects of Essence leads to the synthesis of all such personalized aspects, the personalization of the various dimensions—the objective dimensions of Essence and the formless dimensions of Being—leads ultimately to the synthesis of all such personalized dimensions. This complete integration and synthesis of all aspects and dimensions into the presence of the Personal Essence, which is the same as the personalization of the Logos, makes the latter now objective in a very real sense of the word. This is the station of the objective person, who is not only complete but universal. One is a person, a personal presence, in all dimensions. The person is now the expression and embodiment of Reality, in all its aspects and dimensions. This objective realization, which is the fruit of the overall process of personalization, manifests in various ways and leads to many capacities.

The Station of the Vast Majority of Humanity

The wisdom traditions have recognized that a human being is mature and complete—that is, fully human—when the soul has integrated her essential nature fully and harmonized it with her animal potential. In other words, the struggle between the angelic and animal is characteristic of half-grown human beings, of incomplete human beings. This happens to be the station of the vast majority of humanity, but the complete human being, the being who is fully human, is one who has fully realized and integrated the two sides of the soul’s potential. The fully human being retains animal instincts, for instance, but these instincts are integrated into a perspective of selflessness and compassion. Even though the wisdom traditions have understood this and developed ways and methods for accomplishing it, the paths are so steep and difficult that many involved in these traditions settle for an unbalanced development that usually involves suppressing and splitting off the animal side. The rest of humanity continues the struggle, balanced on the side of the animal, which is the path of least resistance.

We Don’t Want to Get Stuck Forever at Any One Station

This is one way of understanding “being in the world but not of it.” We live a life of togetherness, social interaction, intimacy, connection, and union in the way humans experience these things, but living in this way is a direct expression, manifestation, and fulfillment of the union of the soul with its ultimate Beloved.  So we need to look at our life and our humanness from that perspective. We need to learn that if we are going to arrive at that ultimate fulfillment, we don't want to get stuck forever at any one station on our journey. We want to keep rending the veils until union is complete—because nothing else will truly fulfill the heart. No situation, no relationship with another person or group, no activity, no interest, no accomplishment, no knowledge, no understanding—nothing in the world—can take the place of that union. And if we recognize our heart's deepest desire for this union—our total yearning for it—and start to allow that longing, then it is possible for us to arrive at that union. It is possible for the heart to be fulfilled—and to be fulfilled in such a fundamental way that our life situations truly fulfill us—not as a substitute but as a manifestation of that complete union.

Love Unveiled, pg. 145

What it Means for a State to Become a Station

So understanding is a development which also brings loss. The moment you understand the state you have, you lose it. Because of this, many people aren’t attracted to the path of understanding. They like devotional methods and other such practices, because in them you get to develop love or compassion and keep it. You might be always feeling loving, but not know consciously what love is, what it does. When you understand love, you understand that losing it doesn’t mean you don’t experience it anymore, but rather that love will arise in your experience only if your environment needs it. For example, the experience of compassion or love is not something I feel all the time. But if I’m working with someone and that person needs love, I experience love. If the person doesn’t need love, I don’t experience love, I experience something else. That’s what it means for a state to become a station. It means you completely own that state. And it becomes like anything else that’s really yours. You don’t have to feel it all the time, because you know it is there whenever you need it.

Your Thread is a Process so Any State that Arises is Not Permanent

As we have seen, inquiry is, by nature, open ended if it is true inquiry. You cannot truly inquire if you choose to go in a predetermined direction, as when you say, “I want to accomplish such and such in my inquiry.” By definition, this is not inquiry, although some traditions call it that. What is frequently called inquiry in the East, for instance, is what we consider in the West to be proof of a theorem, such as a Euclidean proof: “This is the theory; investigate and find out that it is true.” As a specific example, in the Buddhist tradition, inquiry is the investigation of phenomena in order to discover that they are all ultimately empty. So emptiness as the ultimate nature of things is posited from the beginning. That is not what we do in the Diamond Approach. We merely inquire into phenomena so that the truth can reveal itself. This is a very important attitude for finding your thread, for your thread can be anywhere, anyplace. Further, your thread is a process, so any state that arises is not permanent, but keeps changing. Therefore, following your thread requires an open-ended inquiry, which is in direct conflict with any attitude or method that says, “Let’s develop such and such a condition, let’s move toward such and such a state.” This latter attitude asserts, “We know where we need to be, so let’s work to get to this realization.” This is not an open inquiry, and your personal thread will not be able to unfold your experience when you take that attitude.

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