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Thread of . . . .

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Thread of . . . . ?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Thread of . . . .

Thread of Absolute Truth

There is an absolute truth that makes relative truth true. You know that the relative truth—that I am disappointed because I lost my job, that I don’t like the fact that there’s no snow today—is true because there is a scent of absolute truth in it. It is what gives you the conviction, the certainty. When you follow the thread of absolute truth, you come to the whole truth, which is nothing but the truth of you. It is Essence. That’s why you feel closer to yourself. That’s why you feel more satisfaction, more intimate with yourself. So the truth will set you free. There is a simple reason why seeing the truth, especially the truth about ourselves, leads us to this intimacy and satisfaction. We are generally kept apart from our true selves by false ideas about ourselves. Seeing the truth often involves seeing through these false ideas, allowing us to recognize the deeper reality which we are. Thus knowing the facts will free you from your emotional reactions, and being free from your emotional reactions will free that part of you that is truth. When you seek truth, you seek yourself. The truth will set you free by allowing you to be yourself. In the search for truth, you have to start with reality. Reality is what is here at this particular moment. It’s Sunday, and I’m talking to you. This is the reality. It is also the truth, but it is a certain aspect of the truth. If you feel loving as you listen to me talk about truth, that is the reality of you at this moment. The truth is more what makes you feel loving right now. It’s not enough just to see that you feel loving; to get to the truth, you must see what makes you feel loving at this moment. This distinction between reality and truth is very important. We need to see the reality in order to proceed to truth. Reality is the fragrance of truth, the result of the truth. The relationship of reality to truth is like the relationship of gold dust to solid gold.

Thread of Aliveness

As you have experienced in opening to this teaching, strength and aliveness arise within anger; tenderness and gentleness are awakened through sadness, and so on. Being in a field of spiritual inquiry, you can open to new levels of experience with only a small amount of encouragement and guidance. Approaching your experience in a different way than usual—by suspending your ideas and beliefs—opens up new potentials. And through understanding what the emotional charge was about and staying with it, you can see how it deepens your experience and releases the energy that was held inside the emotions. Ideas, history, associations, and beliefs will all arise, but if we stay present and allow ourselves to continue to question and discriminate what is happening in the moment, then the content of what we are hurt by, feeling angry about, or disappointed in becomes clarified. Through understanding, we distill consciousness, in a sense, and are left with a purity, presence, energy. Sometimes we may recognize the loss of our connection to our nature, which can arise as a feeling of emptiness or of something lacking. In allowing this loss and the attendant feelings of grief and longing, we might discover and reconnect to the quality of Being that the emotion was cloaking, along with the liberated energetic dynamism of our aliveness. The charge in our emotional experience is part of that thread of aliveness. Distortion of our true aliveness becomes emotional energy. If you clarify that emotion and you feel the energy of it, it becomes an energetic propulsion that drives you deeper into the real. This is the tantric way—don’t express, don’t suppress, just be with it. We are saying neither yes nor no to it; we are simply interested in understanding our experience: What is it? What does it mean? We want to discern the meaning and penetrate to the very last detail. As we discern and understand, the unshackled energy allows the process to unfold and take new forms. In this way, through practice, we deepen back to the source and become a conduit for its expression. What begins as the release of emotional charge at the surface level of our existence becomes the entry into the freedom of continuous energetic renewal of our nature into manifestation. The ebb and flow of our consciousness is the expression of the pulse of life. The more you sense your belly and the more present you can be when you’re having reactions or experiences of any kind, the more any experience can be an opening to the underlying stillness with its intelligent, creative dynamism.

Thread of Being Aware and Present

This is a practice that requires a sustained meditative, focused exploration apart from the activities of daily life. It takes quiet times of attention and reflection to develop the subtle attunement in our soul to our inner whereabouts. Only after continued regular practice with concentrated attention to our ongoing experience can our contact with presence withstand the constant distractions of our own busyness. However, if we follow the thread of being aware and present as our practice of learning to be where we are, we might be able to increase the time or the space where we can be ourselves in an open way, extending it beyond the quiet, secluded moments. The more we remember to practice awareness of ourselves, and the stronger the awareness in our presence, the more we are able to stay open and attuned to what is arising in our consciousness even as we live our lives. Of course, it also means that we need to consider the life we live and how we are living it. What takes us away from just being where we are? What do we value instead of valuing the truth of the moment? Where does our attention go? How much of our resources of time and energy are actually needed for taking care of the necessities of daily life? What do we lose by turning away from where we are now? Exploring these questions becomes a process of integrating presence into the rest of our life. So, our practice is a process of settling deeper into the moment and learning more about what takes us away from it. The mirror of our awareness gradually becomes less obscured and more luminous as it reveals to us the preciousness of what we truly are. The capacity of this teaching to transform your own life can extend out to affect your environment, changing the way that you relate to other people and the world at large. As you come to appreciate and value True Nature and know it for the mysterious and limitless source of life that it is, it impacts and transforms your own manifestation as a person. True Nature can express itself through you more directly, touching others and opening up the richness and possibility of what it means to be human. That is one way that the flame is passed on, that the light is spread. In my experience, this is the most effective way to support a deeper change in the condition of consciousness in our world.

Thread of Each Person

As human beings, we ask, “What is the meaning of life?” From the perspective of the spiritual journey, the answer can only come from where we are. Thus the meaning of life is revealed in the unfolding thread of each person. Because of that, the meaning changes as each of us moves through life. If you ask yourself, “What was the meaning of my life ten years ago?” you can easily recognize that what it was then is different from what it is now. Did it make a quantum jump? It might feel that way, but in fact, the meaning has been continuous. Even when there are quantum jumps in our experience, they still follow Einsteinian law, which is based on continuity. Einstein believed that the notion of quantum jumps is just an approximation of what happens. We assume quantum changes because we’re not paying close enough attention, and our theories are not precise enough, to see the continuity of change. Reality is actually a seamless, self-existing field. We say that it is light, but this light is not composed of particles. It’s a fluid that is not particularized; it is constantly flowing and unfolding. That is how reality is all the time. Why don’t we recognize our experience in that way? Because we’re not being real, we’re not being ourselves. We are not where we are. We’re not present where we are. The more we are present where we are, the greater the sense of flow, the sense that there is a meaning to our experience, that a continuum, an unfolding, is at play. So our life becomes meaningful because not only are we in touch with the meaning of our life, we are being the meaning of our life. We are at the place where this meaning is unfolding. Sometimes there might be gaps in your understanding of your experience that you haven’t even noticed. When you recognize one, that in itself begins the process of understanding. If we don’t recognize that there is a gap, we would believe in a continuity that isn’t real. Even to identify a gap before you understand what it is about is immensely helpful. Through personal inquiry, perhaps the gap will be filled in, and perhaps not. So the meaning might include times of not knowing, times of emptiness or blankness. And as we inquire into that emptiness or blankness, at some point it becomes meaningful and helps us understand the whole picture. We discover that our personal thread wasn’t cut—it just was invisible for a while.

Thread of Essence Continually Becoming Brighter

Inquiry in the second journey is a matter of following the thread, which means that you are aware of the presence and understand its qualities, and you understand how the presence is affecting the rest of your experience. You see your issues in relationship to whatever essential quality is manifesting, and you also see and understand how your life experience is limiting or affecting the essential presence. The essential presence becomes the guidance. It is a thread of Essence continually becoming brighter, more luminous, and that thread of brightness can move through our experience. In contrast, there is no thread of brightness in the first journey. It just blips once in a while. So in effect, the optimizing thrust and the thread and the guidance are all one; they are different manifestations of the same thing. And being in alignment with the optimizing thrust means that you are in contact with the guidance and are moving in the direction that allows the presence to manifest more and more. However, for that to happen, you will need to have realized the Point to some degree, the Essential Identity. To recognize Essence as your center, you have to have some identification with essential presence; you have to have recognized, “Oh, that’s me.” This is the experience of the Point: Experiencing that you yourself are the purity of Being. However, you won’t know that this is you if you have not worked on the Point and the narcissistic issues surrounding it. But when we are discussing the possibilities of the second journey, we are not just talking about a discrete experience of recognizing that your essence is you. We are talking about a continuity of recognition, a current of realization that stays at the center of your experience. That’s what you want to actualize in the second journey. When you really have actualized the second journey, you are always aware of presence, regardless of what happens. Other things might be going on that are not presence, but there is always presence. Before this stage, you go back and forth between the second and the first journey.

Thread of Experience (1)

The awareness of the phenomenon of an imitative quality reflects the understanding that the ego cannot be original. Whatever quality it develops is bound to be a reflection of an essential quality. Its strength reflects essential strength, its intelligence essential intelligence, and so on. These reflections can be seen as imitations, when we know the essential qualities. They are similar to the essential qualities in some ways, but lack the aliveness and luminosity of the real ones. This recognition clarifies the significance of a passing feeling that I have had in the past few days, that there is something in my experience of myself that never changes. I did not know at the time how true this feeling was, and whether it had any significance, partly because the inquiry has been focused on a different line of investigation, the trap of involvement in the content of personal life. Now I see that my concern with the limitations inherent in the involvement in the content of the personal life was a first glimpse of this thread of experience. As the nous radiates more intensely, I begin to realize that I am perceiving another facet of the situation of being trapped in the particulars of personal life. The realization dawns on me now that in spite of all the deep knowledge, understanding and realization I have attained so far, which has radically transformed my experience, there is something in me that never changes, is never affected by these realizations, something in me that never moves. I recognize the leaden heaviness as an imitation of the will to exist, along with awareness of something that does not change in relation to the involvement in personal life. The nous synthesizes these observations into the unexpected insight that it is the totality of the personality which does not change. So it is not a part of the ego-self that does not change, but the totality of this self, the familiar self. Until now, my investigation has involved exploring various sectors of the personality, as part of the realization of particular qualities of Being. My inquiry now involves awareness of the totality of the self underlying this experience. Nous illuminates the situation by revealing that what has not changed so far is the totality of the personality. I continue to be the same person, with the same characteristics and preferences, even though there has been an amazing expansion of experience, to include many new dimensions of Being.

Thread of Experience (2)

The recognition of my mortality keeps returning: I will not remain the way I am now. This deepening contemplation mingles with another thread of experiences. I have been noticing various experiences of loss of support. I keep feeling this loss of support in relation to people I have depended on for various things. Situations seem to conspire for me to experience the loss of one support after another, from one person after another. I do not feel any recrimination about these losses; in some sense I am relieved, for I am learning more deeply how I have unnecessarily depended on others for various things. I am aware that these losses are inevitable, for my sense of identity is now with something no one can support. Being is its own support, and the more I recognize it as my very self and identity, the more the supports for the old self fall away. Vulnerability arises, along with a sense that there is no ground to stand on. This becomes quickly a loss of the sense of self; of feeling lost, not grounded, not centered. These perceptions seem to relate to the confrontation with mortality. This contemplation makes these experiences of loss of support less important. I realize that the issues regarding support feel important only when I think I will be around for some time. The contemplation of death exposes the familiar sense of self, and dissolves its habitual supports. This contemplation begins also to highlight awareness of my sensual attachments: to physical and sexual contact, food, entertainment and comfort. I feel unable to break such attachments. Sometimes I feel unwilling to break them, because I still love such things. It seems to me there is something behind such attachments that I do not yet understand, something real.

Thread of Experience (3)

Furthermore, as our practice deepens, we might also observe that sometimes we don’t actually have as much control as we think we do over the thread of our experience. Usually, we believe that we are following the thread of what’s happening and that the thread unfolds because we are actively doing something. We believe that things are developing because we are inquiring. And we end up believing that we are in charge, that we are steering what’s happening. But if we look deeper, we may realize that is not the complete story, that is not exactly what happens. When we examine the deep processes we find ourselves in, and see how true nature arises in its aspects and dimensions, we sometimes can see that the thread of experience has not been under our control, that something has been happening beyond our conscious volition and beyond our capacity. I remember one particular sequence of events that illustrated this understanding for me. It was when I was first dealing with the empty shell of egoic identity, before I knew the experience of essential realization. I was dealing with narcissism, hurt, and the need for mirroring, and feeling that my sense of self was empty, that there was nothing to me and I was unreal. I recognized my whole sense of identity as a sort of construct, a mental thing—which, of course, is not a theoretical experience when it is happening to you. I felt as if I were a figment of the imagination, as if what I believed to be me for all these years was not real. I understood the principles of inquiry and was looking into and feeling the emptiness and the spaciousness and, before I knew it, the feeling of losing myself and being empty and not knowing who I was revealed this brightness and simplicity and timelessness. The recognition of that simplicity as what I was, in a much more profound way than I had understood before, is what I call the experience of the condition of self-realization; it was for me the beginning of recognizing true nature as what I am. I was this point of light and presence recognizing itself.

Thread of Focus

So staying with the thread means maintaining a thread of focus. But it’s not a mental focus, it’s a focus of the consciousness of the soul itself, where the soul is focused on the point: “What is the meaning of what’s going on?” What’s happening is that the Point is going through your unfolding experience and revealing what’s going on. And that going through, that path of significance in your experience, we call the thread. This capacity for focus comes from the presence of the Essential Identity—the Point—in our experience, as part of the Diamond Guidance. The way I see it is that the Diamond Guidance is a structure of many different colorful diamond qualities, in the center of which is the Point. The Point goes through the consciousness, and the diamond structure focuses there. It is not that you’re following the Point; the Point is going through and revealing what is going on. So your consciousness is focused on what is being revealed. That’s actually what’s happening, although we don’t always see it that way when we’re inquiring. It’s like a point of light that lights something up as it goes through it. This lighting up of the various experiences begins to compose a thread. As you follow the thread over time, the picture becomes revealed all the way to the essential aspect of Value. Experience becomes the experience of Value itself. That is the essential point, what the meaning is at the essential level. We may continue following the thread further if we don’t stop at the experience of Value. Value will take us to presence, and presence can continue as the central thread. This means that we are now in the second journey. Continuing to follow the essential thread, which is a luminous thread, will eventually take us to a recognition of the essential luminosity penetrating and underlying everything. This is the third journey.

Thread of Love

We are unfolding a story. As you fly, the thread of love weaves this story together. We have seen that love is basically the magnetism between the soul and its ultimate Beloved, between you and the mystery. That magnetism, that pull, we call love. And that magnetism is a sweet, pleasurable liking and appreciation. The magnetism is what we experience in our ordinary condition, which is the relative world where duality between the soul and the Beloved still exists. But love, of its own nature, of its very nature, tends to bring you nearer to the Beloved. That means its tendency is to eliminate the duality. More accurately, love opens us to the other world, the invisible world of spirit. The soul not only loves the ultimate nature—whether we call it God, the Absolute, the ultimate self, or something else—it loves it to the extent of dissolving into it, uniting with it.We have been recognizing love in the process of evolution, of unfoldment. The maturation of the soul is a loving process, which also means that the evolution of the whole universe is the action of love. It is the mystery loving to know itself. We have seen that this movement, this progression has love in it and that love is the motive, the driving force. It is natural that the soul develops as a movement of love toward the mystery, and is also driven by that love.

But there is another implication in recognizing that the soul is implicitly and naturally in love with the mystery. We said that it is not something that you learn—that it is already there. We just don't see it because of the veils. So there is a natural, appreciative magnetism between the soul and the Beloved. It's not like we say, "Let me learn to love the Beloved." We always love the Beloved, but we see the Beloved through one veil or another. Our love for these forms that veil the Beloved is actually our love for the mystery itself. At some point, we can recognize that directly. But what does that reveal? It reveals that it is in our nature to love the mystery. But the mystery is not only the ultimate mystery of reality; we do not call it “the Beloved” simply to mean that it is beloved by the soul. That mystery, that Beloved, is the ultimate nature of the soul. This has very deep, far-reaching implications. That the mystery, the Beloved, is the ultimate nature of the soul means that it is the ultimate identity of the soul. It is actually the true self, the true essence of the soul.

Love Unveiled, pg. 105

Thread of Luminosity

Recognizing our love for the truth is a very joyous feeling. The heart now has found itself. It knows what it feels. It knows why it feels it. It knows what it truly wants. There’s a melting excitement, and a wonderfulness. It has been said that people can’t live by bread alone. True. Bread is important, but the food for the soul is truth. The body needs food, security, and safety; we’re not saying these things aren’t important. But at some point, we need to attend to the nourishment of the soul. We need to go to the next stage of evolution, we must travel to another star system. And it’s the heart that leads the way. No matter how you feel about it, at some point you must face the fact that the process of inquiry, of investigation, of understanding your experience, is a heart involvement. It is an affair of the heart that represents the spiritual dimension of your life. It is the lifeline of the soul. This means that regardless of what is happening in your life, there can be a thread of luminosity, sweetness, and intimacy running through it. You can love what is true and life can be a love affair that goes on regardless of what is happening.

Thread of Meaning (1)

So as you see, there is always a continuity of meaning for each of us, if we’re really practicing being where we are. This continuity of meaning I call the personal thread. A lot is happening in the universe. The universe itself is flowing and moving and changing, and everybody and everything that composes it is moving and changing as well. Within that shared reality, each one of us is having our own personal experience in terms of where we are—our personal thread. Recognizing our personal experience, being with it, feeling it with immediacy and awareness and understanding—brings not only meaning but a thread of meaning, a continuity of meaning. And this thread of meaning is our own individual unfolding journey of truth. The significance of an individual life arises from this thread of meaning. Our practice of being where we are supports our lives becoming centered on our own personal thread. It becomes the core and the center of our life, because it is the core and center of our awareness, of our experience, of our being here. When we’re inquiring, when we’re practicing, what we’re doing is finding our personal thread, recognizing where it happens to be, and following it.

Thread of Meaning (2)

Sometimes our lifeline manifests new dimensions—dimensions of presence, dimensions of awareness, dimensions of emptiness, dimensions of love—that were not present to us before. And even the feeling or thinking dimensions can unfold possibilities we haven’t seen yet. For example, sometimes a deep sadness feels like it’s a million miles deep, as though our heart is going to the center of the universe. It doesn’t start at that depth, of course, but as we stay where we are and don’t resist that feeling, don’t try to constrain it, don’t stop it from changing, the dynamism of our own Being becomes a disclosure, a revelation of that kind of depth in the dimension of feeling. So you can look at all of your life as an unfolding thread in the experiential universe, a thread that moves within many dimensions simultaneously. And we are all related threads—sometimes interconnecting, sometimes intersecting —within the universe of experience. But none of that make sense if we’re not aware of our experience, if we’re not present in it, if we don’t have some kind of understanding or recognition of what it is, of its meaning. Remember that this is an unfolding thread of meaning as well as of experience. And even the word “meaning” changes meaning, as we have seen. It becomes deeper. At the beginning of our journey, maybe meaning is an intellectual meaning; then it becomes more of a felt, emotional meaningfulness; and after that an essential meaning. This continues until it becomes a pure presence, a pure awareness that is meaningful.

Thread of Meaning (3)

As we become more and more attuned to what is happening in our experience, our capacity to understand ourselves at increasingly subtler levels continues to develop. The more we continue to recognize and work with the different primary and secondary elements of our experience that we have discussed so far, the more we feel what it is like to be where we are, to be ourselves. However, this capacity to know and be who we are is not based on what we understand conceptually about manifestations and how they all fit together. Being ourselves is not the outcome of mentally arranging all the pieces of a puzzle correctly to get the complete picture. It arises—or you could say it is evoked—by seeing through the beliefs we have about who we are and letting go of all the ways we stop ourselves from being who we are. And as this being who we are is revealed, we simultaneously come to know it directly without relying on our mind. In this chapter, we will be exploring a new dimension of Being that is the ground for this nonconceptual self-knowing. We have been working with the practice of nondoing by learning how to be where we are without doing anything to be where we are. We have seen how by simply being aware, we are able to recognize at some point what is happening in our experience, to understand it, see the meaning of it. We have seen that this meaning over time becomes a thread of meaning, our personal thread, which transforms into essential meaning, which is the presence of True Nature itself. We have seen how our mind recognizes our experience, reifies it, and then identifies with those reifications. We have explored how the reification process makes objects out of the elements in our experience and how, through identification, our mind constrains the flow of that experience. And we have noticed how our mind blocks the natural unfoldment of our experience by attempting to hold on to some parts of it and reject or change others, thus creating a fixed sense of self.

Thread of Not-Knowing

So not-knowing is an important manifestation of the openness of our Being. In recognizing that we do not know, we realize that not only do we know it is time to inquire, but we also know where to direct our inquiry so that knowledge can emerge. In fact, inquiry is guided by the thread of not-knowing. The pattern of unknowing is, in some sense, the guidance of our inquiry. When you recognize that there is something you don’t understand while investigating your experience, what you are actually following is the thread of not-knowing. That is what guides you. What is it that makes you ask a question when you recognize that there’s something you don’t know? The moment you feel, “Oh, this I know,” inquiry in that direction stops. It’s a dead end. However, when you feel, “Oh, I don’t know this,” inquiry moves in that direction. So we can say that not-knowing is a knowingness necessary for inquiry. Inquiry invites basic knowledge to speak—for instance, in disclosing the limitations in our knowledge and experience. It investigates the possibility that knowingness can appear within what we do not know. Inquiry involves a not-knowing, but it also involves investigating what you do not know, which allows knowledge to emerge. In inquiry, there is an interplay between knowing and not-knowing, but the ground is not-knowing. This ground of not-knowing is what expresses the necessary openness. And as you investigate, this openness allows Being to disclose the truth of the situation. Finally you arrive at new knowledge, but this knowledge emerges within not-knowing and continues to be surrounded by it.

Thread of One’s Unfoldment

The wisdom of the point diamond is not only a matter of finding where one is and abiding in it, but of continuing to be where one is. In other words, it is the wisdom of abiding in the flow of one’s experience. It is first the recognition of the thread of one’s unfoldment, as the thread of where one is. This is the clear discriminated experience and understanding of the flow of one’s experience. And it happens that when we do not manipulate our experience, consciously or unconsciously, it simply unfolds and reveals the mysteries of our Being. Since the optimizing intelligence is free to unfold the form of the experience of the soul, it reveals her nature in its various aspects and dimensions, all the way to the absolute, and further into the journey of descent. So the surrender to where we are quickly unfolds our experience into a continuity of being, which becomes a continuing self-revelation of true nature. The important realization and wisdom in this diamond vehicle, which makes it quite helpful as a preparation for the journey of descent, is that we learn not to be attached to any particular state or condition, not even that of the absolute. We learn to flow with whatever the logos of our true nature manifests in our experience, and learn to respect and appreciate any arising state without a preference, comparative judgment, or view of an end state of realization. We become free from our conceptualizing mind and the ideals it uses to constrain and channel the flow of our experience. We become contented with whatever state into which the logos manifests our experience. Our experience becomes the clear, precise, and discriminated awareness of the flow of where we are, as the continuity of self-realization.

Thread of Our Meaning

As we begin to recognize how knowing and labeling can both help and entrap us, we can experience the underlying ground of more immediate and direct knowing, which occurs prior to labeling and reification. Our knowingness can shift from the discursive kind of reified knowing into a more immediate knowing in which we recognize that knowingness is part of what we are. If we become more secure in this implicit knowingness, we don’t need to name things because the knowingness is inherent by now; the cognitive potential of the awareness has been actualized. In other words, we can move, by following the thread of our meaning, from the normal knowing, which is mediated and representational, to the immediate knowing of presence, where knowing and being are the same thing. This is what is traditionally known as gnosis—knowing by being what we know. When we are secure in this more basic level of knowing, we feel relaxed about knowing. We feel that we do not need to hold on to knowing in order to be ourselves, for knowing is part of our inherent potential, a facet of our being. Then it becomes possible to relax to the point where the knowing capacity itself dissolves. It is not only the labeling that becomes unnecessary; the recognition itself at some point might not be necessary—at least not always. After sitting and meditating for a while, when we are quiet, in presence and in clarity, there is no need to label and no need to know anything in particular. We can be in a place where we don’t recognize anything in particular, but still we have clarity, we have bright, clear, transparent awareness. It is very crisp, very sharp and clean, without our focusing on anything in particular or defining, “This is this” or “This is that.” We go back to our original, primordial condition before the cognitive capacity developed and took over. But it is not a going back in time, it is a “going back” ontologically, in the moment, in the sense that we have let go of one layer and now are perceiving from the underlying layer of perceptual awareness. And that layer has been and always is there; otherwise we could not perceive.

Thread of the Clarification of the Personality

It cannot be that there is one part of you that works on another part of you. That is artificial. Can you imagine a tiger working on himself? Really! A tiger is an integrated being. Integrated human beings don’t work on themselves either. It would be just as ridiculous as thinking that your dog is meditating, trying to understand his personality. Doesn’t it sound ridiculous? You don’t exist as a package of different things. Your mind makes these separations, and sets up all situations so that this part is always struggling with that part. But when you are unified, you see that your system functions naturally—what needs to be digested will be digested; what needs to be eliminated will be eliminated. When this happens naturally, there is no disharmony. This is health. It is the normal, ordinary state for a human being. In a state of health you don’t think about your health. You don’t dwell on it. Everything is fine. It’s the same when you are completely integrated—you don’t think about yourself. You just live in a healthy way. This understanding is a synthesis of all our work so far. Where has it been leading? What is the thread? We are trying to see the thread connecting all of it, the thread of the clarification of the personality. This is a good time to speak explicitly about this process, so that you realize that personality is not the culprit. Personality is not something to be eliminated. It is simply full of fear because it does not know its true nature. The personality needs to be completely and thoroughly understood and cherished. Only with that compassionate, accepting, objective love is it possible to understand the true reality of the personality. With clarification comes this understanding, and then your heart becomes completely nourished. Because of the fullness in the heart, love can flow. The heart is completely contented—the ultimate “eating and drinking to your heart’s content.” The heart spills over, and it’s no big deal. You don’t think about it; it is spontaneous and natural. If you are a truly normal, ordinary person, living your life in a healthy way, you cannot help but be loving; that lovingness is the source of, and the motivation for, your action. You live in joy and you relate through love, because you are taking no action that is divisive. So what is seen at the beginning as opaque, dull, and heavy, becomes light, clear, and timeless. By accepting and understanding the personality, by going through this process of clarification, you learn that understanding yourself allows you to love yourself.

Thread of the Path

We are learning the subtleties of practice, of how our inquiry can become continual and operate in dimensions of experience that we can’t predict. We saw in the previous chapter that as our practice becomes more subtle, we begin to consider questions of knowing and not knowing, of conceptuality and nonconceptuality. This is following the epistemological thread of the path, which is inseparable from the thread of the heart. The love that is needed for our inquiry to become continual is full of awake interest, full of the joy of discovery, and full of the softness and sweetness that help us feel held and safe. These qualities are all necessary as we explore unexpected places and expose sensitive parts of ourselves that are difficult or overwhelming to face. Even though we have not been focusing explicitly on the thread of the heart, it is an essential part of our practice, an essential part of what we need, an essential part of the human condition, and it is one way that Total Being presents itself in our experience. Total Being not only presents the total nonconceptuality needed for seeing through obscure structures and impediments but also provides the kindness, love, and gentleness that support opening to those places in ourselves. As we engage the investigation of Total Being, we might become concerned that our sense of being a person, of being a human being or an individual with heart, will disappear or be annulled. Although boundlessness or formlessness means going beyond personal boundaries, in our work on the nondual dimensions we see that the sense of being a person, of being an individual, can continue even though we are intimately connected to this formlessness. The individual consciousness with its personal metabolism and maturation is necessary for Total Being to experience itself consciously. It is in this sense that we explored the human individual as the organ of realization. We do not lose the sense of being a person; we simply gain many other ways of experiencing reality. Just as total nonconceptuality, in going beyond the conceptual polarities, does not dispose of concepts, neither does Total Being, in going beyond the sense of the individual, discard individual consciousness. Both possibilities are allowed. They don’t contradict each other or cancel each other out. It’s an entirely different kind of mathematics. A + (-A) not only = 0, but also A + (-A) = A + (-A). Both are true. Our various experiences of dissolution or cessation or death of the self are instances where the two experiences do cancel each other out. But we discover that there are also other possibilities of experience.

Thread of the Personal Element

We find that pursuing the thread of the personal element is the most certain way to discover the Personal Essence. We need only to genuinely investigate what it means in our experience to be personal, for the Personal Essence to emerge. In the section on beingness we discussed some of the perceptions that become possible when we see through ego identifications. We described the self-centeredness, the basic insecurity and the sense of separateness that characterize the individuality of ego. We saw how the identification with past object relations makes it almost impossible to see another person for who he is, but causes us to see instead a projected image, or to see things through a veil of images. How can one be truly personal in an interaction when the other is not seen for who he is? How can an image be personal? If one’s experience is restricted to the level of object constancy, which according to object relations theory is the culmination of ego development, then it is not possible to be personal in any way that is not purely mental. A self-image relating to an object image is not a true personal experience. The true capacity to be personal does in fact arise around the time object constancy is achieved, and even when there is ego present, it is possible to be personal. But the capacity to be personal cannot be the capacity of an individuality based on ego identifications. To be truly personal one must have achieved a development beyond that of a coherent self-image. In other words, one has to be a real person, and perceive the other as a real person, as who he actually is, for there to be a real personal interaction. Otherwise, the interaction, although it feels personal and even intimate, is but an approximation of real personal interaction. And when one sees through one’s identifications with past object relations one becomes acutely conscious that this approximation is fake. One is shocked into the realization that his personal contact and consideration have always been vacuous, constituting nothing but the replay of past object relations, or the replay of an organization of those object relations. One was not making contact with the other person, and was not really considering the other person. He was considering somebody else, in fact, only an image of a person, an image which is not even an accurate image of the person he is interacting with.

Thread of Truth (1)

But if I think about it a little bit, I can see that where I am and how I am feeling are connected to my True Nature. The fact that I am feeling a meaningless emptiness reflects the fact that I have a True Nature and that I am distant from it. This is because True Nature has implicit in it a sense of significance. If I had no True Nature, there would be no way to feel a meaningless emptiness. Why is that? Usually, I take meaninglessness to indicate a loss of some external source of meaning that I have been accustomed to. However, if I pay attention to the experience of meaninglessness itself, I can recognize that it actually feels like a loss of contact with my own sense of significance. In other words, I implicitly know what meaning feels like in my soul and that feeling is missing. So as we inquire into where we are, experience the truth, and follow the thread of truth, that thread eventually will connect us with the truth of what we are. That is why truth brings more reality. Truth and reality are related; they are two sides of the same thing. The more we see the truth of where we are in the moment, the more we recognize something about the relationship between where we are and what we are. That recognition makes the distance between them shorter, and we feel more real. And that is why when we are real, we tend to see more of the truth of the situation; it works both ways.

Thread of Truth (2)

When we are pushing against our experience, fighting it off, it doesn’t have the opportunity or the space to be itself. And if it doesn’t have the chance to be itself, it doesn’t have the chance to unfold. And if it doesn’t have the chance to unfold, it doesn’t have the opportunity to reveal its nature. So it continues to be whatever manifestation initially arose. In other words, resisting something is one good way to preserve it in the form that we experienced it to begin with. We resist, hoping to get rid of it, but what we are actually doing is encapsulating it and keeping it in its original form or expression. So, as you see, resistance is futile! Everything that initially appears to have its own identity, its own reality, at some point will be absorbed again into the indivisible unity of True Nature. Resistance implies a division inside of us. It signals that we are not recognizing that what is arising is a manifestation of our own consciousness, of our own awareness. When hatred arises in us, for example, or fear, it is our soul, our consciousness, taking that form at that time for a reason we perhaps don’t understand yet. If we are able to allow the fear or hate, embrace it, hold it, and feel it fully in its totality—in all its texture, color, and vividness—we will give it the space to be itself. And that will happen naturally because it is the nature of our True Nature to move, to unfold, to illuminate itself, and to reveal what it is about. And as our experience reveals what it is about, it will at some point reveal its True Nature because each experience we have is somehow related to our True Nature. And by understanding it, seeing the truth, and following the thread of truth, we are following that connection to True Nature.

Thread of Where We Are

Engaging in any activity—ego manipulation or spiritual technique—in order to put oneself in one state or another can only lead to disconnecting from where one is, which is bound to lead to alienation from presence, for presence is always now. So at this point we need to forget about the conceptualizations of whatever teaching or system we have been following. This is the meaning of the Zen koan, “If you meet the Buddha on the road kill him.” We also need, at this point, to cease any practice or method that includes any effort, orientation, aim, or position. Some theistic traditions call this stage “surrender to God’s will” (in contrast to surrender to God). Traditions which use meditation as the primary spiritual method call it “nonmeditation.” The approach becomes finding where one is—that is, what happens to be the manifestation of the soul at the moment—and inquiring into it. We simply follow the thread of where we are. This acceptance spontaneously reveals the various facets and dimensions of the soul as a result of the evolutionary optimizing force inherent in the dynamism of our Being. This is the process of spontaneous unfoldment of the potentials of the self naturally revealing its ultimate wholeness. This is a celebrative and appreciative participation in life as the revelation of the mysteries of Being. The insight that specifically invokes the manifestation of the new dimension is that of seeing, in one’s experience, that freedom from influence does not happen through control of one’s experience or circumstances, but by surrendering to where one is. Where we are is how Being is manifesting itself in the presentations of the self. We discover that what we want is to be truly where we are, whatever Being is presenting in our experience. Joy arises now, as the heart is fulfilled and brimming with the sweetness of love.

Thread of Where You Are

Our work in the Diamond Approach is to understand with appreciation, insight, and deep feeling exactly where we are in the moment as it unfolds. In fact, we need to be completely aware and understanding of where we are at this moment for the unfoldment to occur. You cannot go about this in a theoretical way. To allow your consciousness to unfold—and, by unfolding, to shed all the layers of unclarity—you have to understand where your consciousness is at this very moment.

Are you saying that the way we are eliminating time is by studying it?

Well, that is one way of saying it. I would prefer to say that the way we are eliminating time is by clearly understanding our experience at the moment, moment to moment. This discriminating awareness of our experience can become continuous, instead of being limited to peak experiences. To understand your experience in this way means to find the thread of where you are. When this understanding, this discriminating awareness, is complete, the thread will be a brilliant thread of presence. That is because you cannot have genuine understanding if you are not understanding what is happening in this moment; you can have only intellectual and vacuous understanding. True understanding is the understanding of what is happening now. Be aware that as we progress to deeper levels of understanding, more than just the content of experience changes; the nature of experience itself changes. Is this like a stream of consciousness, in contrast to a sense of what your mind may be telling you? Well, it would include that. A stream of consciousness is part of what is happening now. But the idea is more one of self-centering. The way we work is to find out what is happening right now: What are you experiencing right now? What are you feeling right now? And then to follow that. If you don’t focus on right now, you won’t really have understanding. This is true even if you want to understand your childhood. You can’t understand it by just thinking about it. The only way thinking about it would help is if that brought the childhood experience into the now so you could experience it. For example, if you were hurt by your father in childhood, you can’t just think of the hurt and have it remain a memory in your mind—that doesn’t do it. If you think, “I was hurt by my father in childhood,” and then you feel the hurt now, in this very moment, then understanding can happen. Otherwise there is no understanding, no transformation. What matters is the experience in the moment, the lived experience, what you are actually in touch with. If it happens that you are not in touch with anything, then that lack of in-touchness is what you need to be in touch with. We have to start where we are.

Brilliancy, pg. 49

Thread of Who One Truly Is

Just as we saw in the last section that following the thread of autonomy can lead to the experience of the Personal Essence, we will examine in this section our finding that following the thread of who one truly is can also lead us to the Personal Essence. This process involves becoming aware of the identifications used by the mind for identity. One also becomes aware that these identifications function to give one a sense of a continuous identity. Usually, one is so identified with the self-representations that it is difficult to achieve an objective awareness of them. One needs some distance, some disidentification from the self-images, for there to be clarity about their nature. Disidentification involves the awareness of both the identifications and the process of identifying with them. This is possible when one is not totally identified with a particular self-image, when one is already sensing that these images are just images, and they are not who one truly is. Thus, the process of seeing through identifications is one of becoming aware of them and then disidentifying from them. Most self-representations which make up the ego-identity are unconscious, so one must deal with both the absence of direct awareness of the self-representations, and with the presence of active unconscious identification with them. When a previously unconscious self-representation becomes conscious, one might still identify with it, but it does become possible to disidentify. Such awareness is seen by most traditional teaching schools to be of fundamental importance for liberation and inner realization. Some of these schools have emphasized the need for disidentification. Gurdjieff, for example, speaks in the following excerpt from a talk about identification and self-remembering: Identifying is the chief obstacle to self-remembering. A man who identifies with anything is unable to remember himself. In order to remember oneself it is necessary first of all not to identify. [P. D. Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous.

Thread of Why We Keep Doing It

The truth of our existence reveals itself only when we start to wonder why we are always moving toward solidity. If we inquire into this, we can follow the thread of why we keep doing it, as if something were pushing us toward reifying, objectifying, making things concrete. Why don’t we just relax and let things be whatever they are? Because if we really did that, we would discover that the whole universe is just an event horizon. We would sense the infinite nothingness “within” all of reality. All of our experience, everything that manifests, is existing just on the edge of a huge black void of absence. It is all a glimmering surface of an infinite black hole, meaning that all of existence is a hologram, an insubstantial hologram. What would happen if you didn’t try to squeeze yourself into something solid and just let yourself relax? Just by relaxing, you would realize that things start to feel lighter. If you continue, everything becomes so light, so free, so transparent, that it feels as though you could put your hand through it. You can see through everything—and behind everything there is nothing, absolutely nothing. That is why you cannot see anything—because there is nothing. You look and it is pitch dark, like the universe before the Big Bang—no stars, no light, nothing there. But that nothingness is really the back of everything we see; everything you see is just the front. In fact, it doesn’t really have a back at all. So all our attempts at conceptualization, reification, identification, rejection, are ways of trying to make the hologram solid because we think that is what reality is, and we think that is how we can exist. We are not yet comfortable being an emptiness. We are not comfortable living with nothingness. Our soul, our consciousness, still doesn’t know how to be settled without being settled on top of something. It doesn’t know how to be on nothing or how to just float. We always have to sit someplace. We haven’t recognized that if we feel our nature completely, we don’t need to sit anywhere, and we don’t need a ground of any kind.

Thread of Wisdom Informing the Methodology of the Diamond Approach

The central thread of wisdom informing the methodology of the Diamond Approach is that our normal human consciousness does not possess the knowledge or skill necessary for traversing the inner path of realization. However, the intelligence of our underlying spiritual ground tends to spontaneously guide our consciousness and experience toward liberation. This spiritual ground, which is the ultimate nature of reality, is unconditionally loving and compassionate in revealing its treasures of wisdom to whoever is willing to open to it. We simply need to recognize the truth about our present experience and learn the attitudes and skills that will invite the true nature of reality to reveal itself. Toward that end, this methodology brings together classical spiritual techniques and new practices that can help us be open and vulnerable to our true nature. The task of communicating the teaching and logos for this method is the central function of the Ridhwan School, its teachers, and all the literature of the Diamond Approach. Like any genuine spiritual teaching, the degree to which this logos reveals itself depends on how faithfully the method is applied. And the skill in applying the methodology develops over time as the experience and understanding of the teaching matures. However, since this method arises from a true logos of reality, and therefore is inherent to objective reality, it is available for anyone to learn regardless of whether they are in contact with the Ridhwan School—if they are able to recognize the truth of this view for themselves. This means that it is possible to connect to this logos and practice its particular method by seriously studying the teaching on one’s own. To do so, however, requires an unusual degree of sincerity, devotion, and intelligence. Such is the limitation of the printed word, in contrast to the direct transmission that can occur when one is in contact with an exemplar of the teaching. Hence, we can only hope for limited benefits when the method is practiced apart from the active guidance of the teaching and the teacher.

Thread of Your Evolution

Another name for the teaching of the Point Diamond could be the teaching of the freedom of movement of the assemblage point. The notion of the assemblage point is a central part of the teachings of Don Juan as related by Carlos Castaneda in his books. According to Don Juan, reality is composed of many bands, dimensions, or rays of manifestation. You experience yourself at any given moment in one or a cluster of these bands. The band where the ego normally crystallizes is where the assemblage point is fixed. The teaching is to discover how to free yourself from this fixation—how to move your assemblage point without constraint—so that your perception becomes liberated, thus allowing you to roam through the experiential bands and be open to experiencing the totality of your potential. We can also call the Point Diamond realization the teaching of the personal thread, in the sense that your lifeline can be seen as the thread of your evolution, of your unfoldment. If you really investigate, inquire into, and understand your situation fully, you can find out at any moment where your thread is, which is where you are experientially. A central issue that arises in finding and aligning with your personal thread is the nature of external influence. How is your relationship to your own unfolding experience affected (or controlled) by the books you read, the people you listen to, even the teaching you are following? How can you be true to exactly where you are at the present moment without being influenced by beliefs, suggestions, and ideas absorbed in the past? This issue helps us see that the personal thread’s being free from influence is ultimately the same thing as the freedom of movement of the assemblage point. The ability of your assemblage point to move freely is what allows your personal thread to be free from influence. Thus, this can also be seen as the teaching of freedom from influence. This teaching provides us with an understanding of influence and what it means to be free from its limitations. When you have this understanding, you are able to fully realize the uniqueness of your personal thread.

Thread of Your Understanding

This process is the same in all of the journeys. However, the thread in the first journey has no single element that consistently characterizes it. The thread can be: Now I’m angry . . . now nothing is happening . . . now I’m eating my dinner . . . now I am stuck. As a result, the thread in the first journey meanders over a large territory, without clear connections, though sometimes in hindsight you can see what they are. So even though you can find your thread, there is no inherent feeling of “Yes, here I am.” The moment you say, “Oh, here I am,” you are already in some sense entering the second journey, as you begin to recognize yourself independent of the content of any particular experience. Inquiry begins with the desire to find out what’s going on. You want to understand your experience in the moment. Inquiry leads you to greater and greater understanding of yourself in general, but it does this by helping you to understand yourself from moment to moment. In the first journey, this moment-to-moment understanding changes, transforms, becomes more, becomes less, moves in this direction, moves in that direction, and so on. We can say that in the first journey, your personal thread is the thread of understanding. The thread of your understanding is what tells you where you are in the first journey. This usually happens toward the end of it, when you can know where you are continuously, in the sense that you have an unbroken understanding of what is going on: what you are feeling, what you are experiencing, whether you are stuck or not, what kind of defense is going on, whether you are reactive or not reactive, what issues you are dealing with, and so on. This can never be done perfectly, but it is possible to do it more and more effectively as you move through the first journey. The whole thrust of the work on the first journey is to become aware of yourself to the point of knowing where you are at any given moment.

Thread of Your Unfolding

If our consciousness is hovering in a place that is not deep, then by knowing where it is—I mean, knowing exactly what our consciousness is experiencing—it will drop down. When it drops down, it will expand time and become more focused in the present. And when you know precisely where your consciousness is in this next moment, it will drop down even further. The further down it drops, the more present you are, until you recognize exactly where you are in your process at this moment. This is the way to find the thread of your unfolding, where you and presence come together. If the work we’re doing, the teaching you are receiving, is falling on some kind of a mental construct of who you are—a mental part of you that is not where you truly are at this moment—then it will not take root. You will not know the real response in your soul to what we are studying. You need to recognize where you are in your process in this moment in order to really understand yourself and to use the work we are doing here. Pure presence is the gift of Brilliancy to the soul. It opens the door to timelessness—but even more important, it is the doorway to the depths of our own true nature.

Brilliancy, pg. 50

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