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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Stillness?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Stillness

Being is a Living, Seething, Dynamic, Energetic Presence, Whose Dynamism and Movement Never Detract from Its Stillness

Through the sixth way of experiencing Holy Law, we gain a more complete understanding of it. Here, we experience Being as an inherently dynamic presence. The dynamism is completely inseparable from Being, so it is not as though there is Being and it has a creative quality. From the beginning, Being is constantly dynamic. So it is not only pure presence, but this presence by its very nature is dynamic, energetic, and in a constant state of aliveness and renewal. It is always transforming its appearance, without there being a transformed one and a transforming one. So Being is a living, seething, dynamic, energetic presence, whose dynamism and movement never detract from its stillness. To see the aspect of self-revelation of Being is to appreciate intimately the depth of awareness that appears as the forms of manifestation, to perceive that the Divine Awareness is never left as form arises.

Facets of Unity, pg. 265

Being is Alive and Still at the Same Time

So what is Being? Being is alive and still at the same time. In Being, you know that you are alive, that you are, but there is no movement; there is just complete stillness. There is stillness through and through. Even though the deepest level of the body is full of movement—the blood circulation and movement within all the cells and even the movement of the atoms—Being is deeper than all of that. Being has no agitation whatsoever. Being is new, always new, and the personality is old, because it is always generated from the past. Personality always feels somewhat stale compared to Being. It is a leftover. Personality is the remains of the past that have not been completely digested, metabolized and eliminated; it would have been eliminated long ago if it had been completely understood, and could therefore dissolve. Personality is always getting older, fermenting, while Being is always fresh, always new, it is nowness itself.

Discovering that We are in the State that the Ego Wanted to Achieve but Could Never Reach

That is why this teaching keeps emphasizing just being there, not doing anything, and simply being vulnerable to and present with immediacy of feeling. If we are being there with immediacy of feeling and not doing anything, at some point that not doing reveals its power. This power is not just that we refrain from taking action, but that we experience the presence of total stillness. This is the essence of nondoing, which is peace. Just the fact of stillness, the presence of peace, annihilates ignorance. But this annihilation is the action of appreciation and love in pure nondoing and stillness. Hatred wants to annihilate, but it annihilates by destroying, by making our awareness dull, by suppressing, by dividing. True Nature does not really annihilate, because something is not wiping out something else—there is no duality. The kind of annihilation that True Nature makes possible is more of a recognition, a precise understanding that Being reveals in us. We have no inner agitation in our attitude; we see and understand whatever impediment is arising, but we do not give it energy in the form of reaction, and thus it becomes still on its own and does not reappear. We experience this as a dissolving or a melting, but what is actually happening is that the energy fueling the obstacle disappears, the obstacle loses its dynamism, and it simply stops arising. What happens at this point is that we recognize that the stillness or quieting of the ego, of the self, is not separate from the stillness of our Being. And we discover that we are in the state that the ego wanted to achieve but could never reach because its method of pushing things away and trying to destroy them doesn’t work. What works is just simply being with a clear awareness of what is happening.

Sometimes, Seeing, Hearing and Tasting or Touching at Subtle Depths is All One Act

Therefore, the more accustomed we are to the inner stillness and peacefulness, the more perceptive we become on the subtle dimensions. This can take our inquiry to deeper levels, to a newer kind of knowledge, to a different kind of experience. Our spacecruiser can now travel to other galaxies of experience, where perception is different and unfamiliar. It is amazing to be able to experience at such subtle levels, to feel a state and see it and taste it, all at the same time. Sometimes you can’t tell whether you are seeing, hearing, tasting, or touching—at these subtle depths, it is all one act. Then your whole soul is ablaze. It is as though each atom of the soul were capable of all of the capacities. For although these capacities initially operate through particular centers, just like the lataif do, ultimately they are not limited to certain locations or particular organs. The whole soul becomes an organ of perception, and all the capacities can operate in any part of the body.

Stillness and Silence are the First Properties of the Unmanifest that the Soul Normally Encounters on Her Inner Journey

The unfoldment of the logos is an outflow, a cosmic articulation, a speaking of the Word. All movement must occur against a background of stillness, and all speaking against a background of silence. Stillness and silence are the first properties of the unmanifest that the soul normally encounters in her inner journey. By simply witnessing the process of manifestation, and not going along with the normal enmeshment in the forms it assumes, the soul may find herself outside of her individual form, as the background against which all change and movement occur. She is then simply a silent witness, unmoving and immovable, a vast expanse underlying the process of continual creation. In this process we discover a deeper dimension than the logos, deeper than all other boundless dimensions, a dimension of true nature that forms the ultimate ground of the other dimensions and the ultimate ground of all things. We discover where the unfoldment happens, which turns out not to be a place; we discover the source of all manifestation, which is also its ultimate and absolute nature. We experience a stillness beyond all stillness, an absolute and total stillness, a condition prior to all manifestation, movement, and change. We experience a stupendous silence, empty of all noise, whether outer chatter or inner rumination, whether outer manifestation or inner movement; for it is the condition before all expression, prior to thinking and speaking, prior to the Word. We become aware of being a field that cannot be called a space; for it includes all space and time as an unfoldment within it, but does not touch its pristine stillness and silence. We are the prior, prior to all. We are the immovable, the unchanging, the mysterious ground of all movement and change. Movement and change are the manifestation that arises within it without ever disturbing its stillness and peace, without ever touching its silence and emptiness. We are prior to all manifestation, the source from which creation emerges, and the mystery to which it returns. We are the beginning and the end of everything, the truth without which there will be no awareness, and no experience.

Stillness is Not Static

It is true that in your first encounters with it, the Black Essence arises mostly as peace, but when you further investigate this peace, you might recognize that the peacefulness is related to an exquisite, calm stillness. When you experience this stillness, you may think of it as peacefulness, but the concept of peacefulness doesn’t exactly capture the flavor of the experience. Stillness as the direct inner experience of the Black Essence is slightly, subtly different from peacefulness. And when you contemplate the stillness and explore it, you might find out that stillness is not static. This is difficult for the mind to grasp. Usually you think that stillness means stillness—nothing moving—which your mind understands as static, so that is generally how it is remembered when the experience of stillness is stored in your mind. Now when Black returns and you bring back the remembered experience, which has become a concept of stillness, you don’t recognize that stillness has a dynamic effect; you think of it as static and unchanging. In actuality, there is nothing static about the Black Essence. The dynamic effect—which is felt at the moment stillness comes in contact with the mind—is to erase the mind. It destroys its content, annihilates it, and makes the mind still like itself.

Stillness is One Flavor of Essential Peace

We find out here that one of the most important characteristics of essential presence is that it is self-aware consciousness. So if I am experiencing the presence of stillness, which is one flavor of essential Peace, nobody needs to be outside the stillness to be aware of the stillness. I and the stillness become one thing. My familiar sense of being a separate observer dissolves. There is no observer and no observed. The stillness itself, Essence itself, is awareness, but awareness with a quality of stillness and peace. And the awareness is pervasive throughout the presence of the stillness. The presence is completely aware—a medium of consciousness characterized by the quality of stillness.

Stillness Leads to Insight

In order to recognize true liberation you must have this capacity for stillness or peacefulness, because liberation is so fleeting. If you are thinking and worrying and planning and carrying on your normal fast-paced activities, you are precluding this experience from your life. As you develop and appreciate the stillness that leads to the absence of agitation, you allow a state of restfulness that leads to intuition, to insight, and to the subtle perceptions.

Stillness of the Peace Essence

The darkness of the night expresses the depth, stillness, and mystery of the black peace essence; the redness of blood and fire reflects the vitality and vigorous energy of the red strength essence; the yellow of the sun and of flowers embodies the lightness and delight of the yellow joy essence, and so on. In such experience the two levels of differentiated forms appear as a unified gestalt, unified by the boundless presence of basic knowledge.

The Energy that Transports and Transforms Us is the Radiance of the Silent Stillness

The energy that transports and transforms us is the radiance of the silent stillness, which enables our life to take new form. We are born anew each moment, coming forward as radiance and purity, void of the reactive self based on the past. We are free in such a condition. This is a process that continues infinitely—individual consciousness in a continual, alive embrace with presence and emptiness, looping and spiraling as one living vortex, continually clarifying and purifying, learning and emptying, wanting and loving, blending and disappearing and rising again. This process is not a matter of getting to an ultimate end or any particular state, where you say, “Okay, I get to my stillness or the dynamism and I’m done.” No, over and over again, we’re taken in and are birthed into Being once more in novel ways. This potential is true and present within all experience. Whatever your experience is, whatever is happening, there is freedom to be discovered within it. This is the discovery of the life of a real human being.

The Experience of the Self Experiencing Itself as the Infinity of Peaceful Space

In black space we are aware of the absence of the sense of self; however, we experience it not as a deficiency but rather as freedom and release. There is a sense of newness and coolness, of lightness and lightheartedness, of the absence of burden and suffering, and the presence of purity and peace. It is a nothingness, but it is a nothingness that is rich, that is satisfying precisely because of its emptiness. It is a direct sense of endless stillness, of pure peacefulness, of an infinity of blackness that is so black that it is luminous. It is a transparent blackness that is radiant because of its purity. This is not the experience of a self, an observer beholding the endlessness of space; rather, it is the experience of the self experiencing itself as the infinity of peaceful space. It is an infinite field of a conscious medium, aware at all points of it. The medium is totally at rest, with a stillness that is the same thing as the awareness of stillness.

There Can be Inquiry, Even with Stillness when the Mind is Completely Gone

There can be inquiry even with stillness, when the mind is completely gone. We assume that there is no possibility of inquiry in this state, but that is not true, because inquiry does not have to be verbal. You may think that you have to ask questions with words, but if you say that, you have already put a boundary on how inquiry can proceed. Maybe inquiry can proceed in other ways. Maybe there is curiosity without words, without mind. So even the state of stillness, where there is no mind, can have an inquiring quality to it. There are no limitations.

Unity of Stillness

I recognize the state as a luminous black spaciousness, which is the unity of stillness and space. There is immaculate, glistening emptiness, but the emptiness has a sense of depth. The depth seems to be the felt aspect of the blackness of space. It is like looking into, and feeling into, starless deep space.

Utter Stillness Experienced as the Nature of the Mind

The nature of mind is seen as space, but even the notion of space must be transcended to deeply understand the nature of mind. As long as there is space, there is someone there experiencing something and calling it space. But completely experiencing the nature of the mind involves complete openness, or complete nothingness; when you really experience the nature of the mind, there is utter stillness with no observer observing anything, no experience, thought or label. Any experiencer would be just one of those contents, just a thought or feeling or constellation of thoughts or feelings. You continue finding nothing, you don’t even find space; there will be space but no one to find it. This is sometimes called the ground of existence. In this perspective, then, the mind is taken to be everything, and the ground for everything. Everything is the mind because the mind is known in its most absolute nature as nothingness, as the absence of anything, which is seen as the ground for everything.

When I and the Stillness Become One Thing

At some point, however, you come to the recognition of what we call “essential truth.” Essential truth is not an insight about something but the apprehending of the immediate reality of the moment. This immediate reality is presence—the quality of beingness—as when one is experiencing an essential aspect, such as Compassion or Strength. We find out here that one of the most important characteristics of essential presence is that it is self-aware consciousness. So if I am experiencing the presence of stillness, which is one flavor of essential Peace, nobody needs to be outside the stillness to be aware of the stillness. I and the stillness become one thing. My familiar sense of being a separate observer dissolves. There is no observer and no observed. The stillness itself, Essence itself, is awareness, but awareness with a quality of stillness and peace. And the awareness is pervasive throughout the presence of the stillness. The presence is completely aware—a medium of consciousness characterized by the quality of stillness.

When Peace and Stillness Arise then it is Possible to Understand What Being Is

When you really see that the nature of the personality is reactivity, a cyclic reactivity, when you see the whole cycle of ego activity based on hope, desire and rejection, it is possible that the activity will cease, and peace and stillness will arise. Then it is possible to understand what Being is. When this happens, you’ll discover that even if there is action and activity, where you come from is peace and stillness. This peace and stillness that you are coming from is exactly what your ego resists most of all. In fact, the first experience of peace is what the ego is trying to cover up with its reactivity. It is a kind of death experience, because you experience nothing there, just complete, absolute silence and blackness. That is peace, complete peace. There is no action, no reaction, no nothing. Just complete silence, complete peace. You might actually be engaged in some activity, but where you are coming from, your fundamental attitude, is that there is no reaction to anything, no rejection of anything. If you allow this to happen, then it is possible to know what Being is.

When Your Center Becomes a Stillness

By stillness I don't mean that there is no movement, physical or mental movement. I'll explain more. When I say that there is no stillness, I mean that when you observe any object of your perception, you are looking at it from a place that is either going toward or way from what you are looking at. You are either saying, "I want it" or "I don't want it." So the place that you are coming from is in constant movement; it is not still. Real stillness penetrates all the way through to the place that you are coming from, or rather, it emanates from there. It doesn't mean that there is no movement in the field of perception. It has nothing to do with whether the body is moving or not. It is your center that becomes a stillness.

Without Trust We Can't Let Ourselves be Still

So basic trust means trusting enough to let your mind stop, to be silent within, knowing that if there is something you need to know, the knowing will come. It means trusting that if you need to do something, you will be able to do it. It means accepting and trusting the silence, the stillness, the Beingness. If we don’t trust, we can’t let our minds be silent and we can’t let ourselves be still. We think we always have to be on the go, always making one thing or another happen or not happen, so we don’t let our minds or our bodies rest. We believe that if our minds are quiet, when we need certain information, it is not going to be there. We believe that if our bodies are still, when we need to act, we won’t be able to.

Facets of Unity, pg. 30

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