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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Transcendence?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Transcendence

An Absurdity

We see that it is possible to live a transcendent, impersonal and universal life. But what does this mean about being a human being? What is a human life then, from this perspective? Is it just a way station, a meaningless gap full of suffering between our origin as the absolute reality and the final realization of the same reality? This is exactly the import of many of the teachings. But what an absurdity to think that we come from an absolute reality of impersonal truth, live a personal human life of suffering, and then go back to the selfsame absolute reality.

Dimensions that Make Up the True Potential of the Human Being

From the vantage point of each dimension of Being, the more differentiated dimensions appear to be less real. Each dimension both includes the more differentiated dimensions and transcends them. This is experienced from the first dimension of Essence, going through its various levels, to the dimension of the Supreme Reality, and then to that of the Transcendent Absolute. However, all these dimensions make up the true potential of the human being. The human being is incomplete if he identifies with one dimension, regardless of how “high,” to the exclusion of others. The complete man is the integration of all dimensions of reality. We will see in subsequent chapters that this integration is possible only with the Personal Essence. We will see that the Personal Essence undergoes a development which is equivalent to the integration of all dimensions of reality. It is still not the highest experience; nevertheless, it is the highest development. One who has integrated the Personal Essence completely is able to experience any dimension of reality, depending on the requirement of the moment. One who is identified with a particular dimension may be realized on the Being level, but is still not complete in his development, for he is unable to move to different dimensions.

Recognition of One's Identity as Beyond Time and Space

We now have some idea of what is meant by transcendence. It is the experiential recognition of one's identity as beyond time and space, as timeless and spaceless. The soul experiences the luminous intensity of true nature, a formless sense of consciousness aware of the self without the self-awareness consisting of shape, size, location, or duration. Since there is no concept of space there is no sense of being small or large, finite or infinite, bounded or boundless; and since there is no concept of time there is no sense of time or timelessness, of being old or young, or of time passing or standing still. There is only an ineffable freedom.

The Experience of True Nature Nondual with Its Manifestations

Because of this difficulty, many wisdom teachings take the view that the transcendent true nature is unknowable.4 In our view this is both true and false. We can definitely know and experience true nature, fully and completely. We can experience ourselves as timeless and spaceless infinity, and respond with wonder. We are then the ground of everything, the source of all manifestation, the essence of reality. We are total freedom and bliss, with no conceptual limitations. We are what makes anything exist, the source of all that appears, and the very substance and nature of everything. At the same time we are totally autonomous, absolutely independent of any form or quality. Yet this is not the experience of true nature in its absolute transcendence. It is the experience of true nature nondual with its manifestations. Here we are experiencing ourselves as true nature; we are recognizing true nature in its fullness and completeness. Yet we are experiencing it with the forms and colors that it manifests. We can discriminate true nature from its manifestations, yet in reality we do not know whether true nature will be like this when there is no manifestation. So, in actuality, we cannot know true nature in its absolute transcendence. This is so because there is no such thing as experience of true nature without some manifest form. The form might be empty space, but this is still not true nature. In fact, as we will see shortly, when there is no form manifesting there is no awareness at all, for awareness requires some differentiation, and hence the presence of forms.

The State of Transcendence

The state of transcendence can be experienced on many dimensions, not only on the plane of Pure Being, We have seen it in all the formless dimensions of Being, But it always involves a transcendence of the body. It is not only a matter of not identifying with the body, but also of not locating one’s presence or consciousness in it. The consciousness, presence or beingness is experienced as larger than the body, usually infinite, containing the body, but never excluding it. One then knows oneself as beyond the body, transcendent to it, and of a nature that is not physical. Oneness always includes the body, but unity does not; for there is no differentiation in unity. Unity can be considered a condition of transcendence, but it is not in relation to anything, while oneness is a transcendence of the body. As a person one is not exactly the body, but one’s presence and consciousness are located within it, or more accurately, coexistent with it, and inseparable from it. However, one’s nature is still that of Being, just as in transcendence. So the person is nothing but the embodiment of Being. It is being Being but acting through the body. One is Being, in all of its dimensions and aspects, but one is living in time and space. The person is the presence of Being in the world, as a human being.

The Way Transcendent True Nature is Able to Experience Its Manifestations

The personal essence is not a well-known manifestation of true nature, but it is a major potential of our soul. It is the only essential aspect that makes ego development understandable as a stage of the soul’s development. In fact, the individuation of the soul is the way true nature, in its transcendent ground, is able to experience its manifestations in the various ways available to lifeforms. Here, true nature, transcendent to all manifestation, appears in the form of a human person who can walk, talk, and think, but is still the presence of this nature. Normal ego development is a stage toward this essential individuation, necessary for the personal development of her potential just as the grain of sand is necessary for the development of the pearl. The individuation of the soul, which happens through metabolizing ego structures and everyday experience, is not only a matter of the arising in the soul of an essential aspect. This essential aspect becomes the structuring form, the essential prototype, for the soul to develop in such a way that she can be the personal embodiment of all dimensions of true nature, all the way to its absolute depth and subtlety. (See The Pearl Beyond Price, chapters 35–39, for a more complete discussion of how the soul individuates on the boundless and transcendent dimensions of true nature.)

Transcendence Knowing Itself is Simply Absolutely Being Itself – without a Hint of Self-Reflection

What do we expect transcendence to be? It is absolute nonmanifestation, and true nature requires the mirror of forms in order for it to reflect and know itself the way we understand knowing. Transcendence knowing itself is simply absolutely being itself, where the beingness of itself is completely absolute, and hence there is no hint of self-reflection, not even self-awareness. Self-awareness is already the beginning of manifestation. We might view this pure experience of transcendence as indicating that the source of awareness is inherently not aware of itself, that it is aware of itself only when it manifests the world with its light of consciousness. Another view is that true nature is inherently a mystery, a pure black light where there is nothing but light, this light preceding not only what we usually know as light, but also Being itself. Since its nature is mystery and indetermination, increased intimacy with this dark light will not produce more knowledge; it will instead produce more mystery. To experience mystery is to know the mystery as mystery. It is absolutely empty of any determination, devoid of any quality or form, and so to know it is to have no experience. This total absence of experience is not darkness, but rather total and absolute knowledge. It is the absence of all obscuration, but also the absence of all manifestation. Since there is no obscuration, no obstacles, not even the distraction of the forms of manifestation, why would we think of it as ignorance or darkness? Why think of it as not knowing or unknowing? Since the transcendent true nature is inherently mysterious and indeterminable, this is the absolute limit of mystery and indetermination. It is absolute knowing. It is the mode of knowledge of transcendent true nature, Being without mirrors, not even the mirror of awareness.

Transcendent Being is Not Differentiated Into Qualities

Pure being is complete being because it is transcendent being, the source of all. It is the original and primordial presence of true nature, before it manifests through the display of its qualities, qualities that it possesses totally but implicitly in its completeness. As transcendent being, it is not differentiated into qualities. Pure being is nondifferentiated presence, presence before differentiation. Pure presence is simply true nature before it differentiates into its discriminated aspects of presence. The central insight here is that pure presence is nondifferentiated presence.

Understanding is the Last Step Toward Transcendence

As long as we can conceive what it is we realize, as long as we can remember it, as long as we have a relationship to it, even if it is a deep realization, it is a distraction. That still is not the Secret. And anything we realize, anything we understand, will stop being a distraction and the attachment to it will fall away the moment the relationship to it disappears. When there is no duality of subject and object, when you and what you realize become one, only then is it sacrificed, only then is it gone. In that very second of complete understanding and realization, you go beyond it. Understanding is the last step toward transcendence. You cannot hold on to something unless you don’t completely understand it. Because of this we can say that the search, or the work, is a process of continual disappointment. You find something, and then you realize you haven’t found anything. You get something, and then you realize you haven’t gotten anything. Whatever we find is not it, whatever we have is not it, whatever we get is not it, and whatever we love is not it. As long as the subject remains separate from the object, it’s not it. And we know it’s not it because deep in our heart remains some kind of emptiness and longing for its true owner. The heart isn’t made for all these other things, for anything we can know or hold on to. On this path the heart is divested of its attachments, one by one. The path of the heart is a process of breaking all idols, of sacrificing all loves and desires, until the true love of the heart shines forth, pure and undivided, faithful to its only Beloved. The Guest is the complete annihilation of the lover, of the subject.

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