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Truth (Ultimate Truth)

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Truth (Ultimate Truth)?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Truth (Ultimate Truth)

Adhering to an Insight About “Ultimate Truth”

If I hold on to the insight that “I am a soul that has a body”—which was a truth, a new manifestation of knowledge that at one time transformed my experience—it becomes ordinary knowledge. And if I adhere to that insight as an ultimate truth, there will come a time when it will limit my openness, and the dynamism of my unfoldment will not flow into new dimensions of experience. So truth is something we recognize at the moment, but it is not something we need to adhere to forever. We need to take ordinary knowledge tentatively, and that includes whatever we think and experience as truth, for in the next moment it might not apply. The truth, then, is a moving point. The moment truth becomes knowledge, it quickly becomes what I call ordinary knowledge. The moment the elements of ordinary knowledge become positions, fixed views of self and reality, they become barriers to the inquiry. Knowledge then becomes a barrier to the openness that is the very heart of inquiry. We can say, then, that understanding and transformation are a matter of freeing our experience from old knowledge, from ordinary knowledge.

Deadening the World by Giving Everything a Name

The more we make the world concrete, the more dead our world is, and the more dead we become. But we usually don’t think of spiritual freedom as confronting what we call our world, or our minds. We think of it as something that will happen within that world. We don’t confront the whole question of what this world is. We don’t confront the most obvious thing. We want to find some mysterious something that brings us freshness, freedom, a sense of dynamism, not realizing that the dynamism is right here. We have deadened the world by giving everything a name and believing that the name is the ultimate truth. 

Defining “Ultimate Truth”

In my view, there is no need to decide, since freedom has nothing to do with what state you experience or take to be ultimate. So the question is largely a matter of how you define “ultimate truth.” If you define the ultimate truth as that which is left when everything that can be removed is removed, you are describing the Absolute. It is the state most devoid of any creation or concept, reality reduced to its simplest minimum. If you define ultimate truth as the actual state that is experienced if there is no manipulation or conceptualization of your experience, you recognize it as the state of total completeness, because there is no duality present in it. The state of total completeness is all-inclusive, with the manifest and the unmanifest existing in nonduality. Everything is present, including the Absolute, which is seen as its inner nature.

Facets of Unity, pg. 85

Not Accepting Either Experience or Analysis as the Final Arbiter of Ultimate Truth

Our view, which reflects our experience, is that Being is inherently a unity, a nondual presence that contains no levels, but that it can manifest itself in levels and dimensions experienced as true and objective in their own sphere of experience. In other words, experience indicates that Being manifests itself in various degrees of subtlety and completeness, and these manifestations appear as levels and dimensions of Being, objective and valid on their own levels. More accurately, experience indicates that Being can and does manifest in different levels and dimensions, but that upon analysis of these experiences, we can see they are merely different degrees of subtlety of the experience of the same nature. We do not take the position of accepting either experience or analysis as the final arbiter of ultimate truth, and hence, find no incentive to engage in this ancient debate. We find that each view has its own merits in terms of the work of self-realization, and thus we use them appropriately.

The Absolute is Not Only Ultimate Truth but Also Ultimate Identity

The Essential Identity functions similarly to other aspects, with the dual function of providing a capacity necessary for the life and development of the soul and connecting her to the Absolute in a specific way that reveals the nature of this connection. The essential aspect of Identity, the point of light and presence, provides the soul with a center and identity necessary for her life, which will at the same time ultimately connect her with the Absolute, as her final and absolute identity. The Essential Identity is the implicit perfection inherent in the Absolute that explicitly expresses in the individual soul that the Absolute is not only ultimate truth, but also ultimate identity. It is the Absolute as identity manifesting within the individual experience of the soul. Therefore, since full self-realization requires the realization of the Absolute as one’s ultimate identity, the realization of the Essential Identity becomes the primary and most important fulcrum towards the completion of the spiritual journey. Realization of the Essential Identity is the expression of the realization of the Absolute, as reflected in individual experience, within the world of space-time. The Essential Identity is the spark of the Absolute within the individual soul, and since the central process of spiritual development is self-realization, its realization begins the realization of the Absolute.

The Logos of a Particular Teaching Has Its Own Unique View of Ultimate Reality

It is possible to see that each teaching is an expression of a particular logos. The logos of a particular teaching has its own unique view of ultimate reality or truth, self or soul, and spiritual path. Each possesses a different and unique technical language, logic of experience and understanding, ideals of development or realization, phases of unfoldment of experience and understanding, and kinds of experience, perception, and knowledge. Furthermore, each possesses an approach to spiritual work or practice, determined by its view of ultimate truth and realization. This necessitates different methods and approaches, and varying spiritual technologies, that are often different in principle. Most important, this implies differing views of ultimate truth, final realization, and spiritual experience, which amounts also to different ways of conceptualizing spiritual dimensions and qualities. An obvious example is the difference of conceptualization in the view of ultimate reality between Buddhism, Vedanta, and Taoism on one hand, and the monotheistic traditions on the other. Buddhism and Taoism conceptualize the ultimate truth as an impersonal truth, a ground of existence, emptiness, or Tao, from which everything spontaneously arises. The monotheistic traditions think of the ultimate truth as not only a personal and personally responsive God, but as one who actively manages creation.

The Sense in Which Emptiness is the Ultimate Truth of the Soul

A question may arise here about the relation of pure consciousness to awareness, and whether the ultimate truth of the self is emptiness, as Buddhism teaches. This is a matter of subtlety in the experience of the presence of consciousness. Emptiness is the ultimate truth of the soul not in the sense that a soul does not appear to awareness, but that her mode of existence is beyond our normal concept and feeling of existence. This mode is called emptiness, and feels like spacious absence of any substance. Yet this emptiness is also inseparable from a transparent clarity—as formulated by Buddhist schools—both constituting a unity that characterizes both soul and universe. When we experience the coemergence of emptiness and clarity we recognize it as pure awareness, and feel it phenomenologically as presence. Awareness is then consciousness, but consciousness experienced inseparable from emptiness. 

The Ultimate Truth is “What Is”

Any rejection of what is there is suffering, even if that rejection is predicated on the hope of reaching God or freedom or enlightenment. Enlightenment or freedom will come as a result of doing this work, but that is not the issue. The issue is not enlightenment. The issue is not freedom. The issue is “what is.” If you experience certain essential aspects such as freedom or some kind of consciousness, and you want to hold on to it, work for it, what are you doing then? The factual truth, then, is the truth of “no hope.” The ultimate truth is “what is.” If there is any desire, there is a rejection of what is. If there is any wanting, there is a rejection of what is. This is how the personality started and is perpetuated: by a rejection of what is and by creating a division. The personality is a point of view. Enlightenment, or reality, is also a point of view—nothing else. It is not a certain state. Personality is the point of view that there is something we need to get, somewhere we need to go. Enlightenment or freedom or reality is a point of view, that “what is” is what is. That is what is there and there is no hope for anything else. When I say, “accepting what is,” I do not mean accepting unconsciousness in yourself. Accepting what is means complete consciousness, means complete awareness of what is. When one is unconscious of what is, there is a rejection of what is. The enlightened point of view, or the natural point of view, which is what I prefer to call it, is that there is what is, all the time. It can be personality, essence, heat or cold. “What is” is what is. Very simple.

The Ultimate Truth of All Reality is that It is One – One Beingness

What is oneness? Oneness is the supreme reality, the most fundamental characteristic of all reality. The ultimate truth of all reality is that it is one—one beingness. Without our vulnerability, we could not be aware of this. We cannot experience oneness if we are not vulnerable. And this is the larger implication of being vulnerable. Since vulnerability means permeability to the awareness of oneness, ultimately vulnerability means you’re not separate. When you are aware of oneness, when you see that you and everyone else and everything else are completely one, vulnerability will not be seen as a disadvantage at all. The moment your vulnerability is complete and you are aware of oneness, there is no fear. When you are completely vulnerable, completely not separating yourself from anyone or anything, when you know that you are the oneness, that your very nature is the unity, is the supreme reality, then you know that in your deepest, most intimate, absolute nature and identity you can’t die—nothing can happen to you. You’re one-hundred-percent invulnerable. 

True Nature is the Ultimate Truth

Truth is always an expression of our True Nature, which is the ultimate truth. To understand your experience, you need to see how it is related to your True Nature, how it is connected to who and what you really are. That is why every time you understand your experience and see the truth, you feel a little more real, you feel nearer to your True Nature—because you are beginning to see how the experience is related to who you really are. 

Ultimate Truth and Manifest Reality Seen as Completely One, Totally Coemergent

The perception transforms to a new clarity and transparency, eternity and spacelessness. We see the physical world as this nonconceptual presence, and nonconceptual presence as the physical world. Ultimate truth and manifest reality are completely one, totally coemergent. We cannot separate the spiritual presence from the physical forms; they are actually one when our mind is not in the way. It is true that nonconceptual presence is vast and boundless, but it is at the same time the rocks and the thoughts, the sky and the birds. All forms are nothing but formations that nonconceptual presence assumes, without them becoming anything else but this presence. The flower is ultimate Reality, so is my ear, so is your nose. 

Ultimate Truth is Impersonal and Transcendent

One thing we find is that ultimate truth is impersonal and transcendent—which means that it exists beyond the realm where the personal is relevant—but it can manifest and express itself in personal ways on various levels, including that of the soul. This possibility points to a different kind of completeness that is still totally real. 

Ultimate Truth is Revealed to be the Absolute

The aspect of Truth, for example, functions in helping the soul to discriminate between truth and falsehood, and hence guides her in her life and development towards greater and deeper truth. The deepening experience of Truth opens the soul to the ultimate truth, which is revealed to be the Absolute. In other words, the aspect of Truth reveals itself ultimately to be simply the manifestation of an implicit perfection inherent in the Absolute: The Absolute is absolute Truth. It is the absolute and final truth of the soul and everything else. Therefore, the aspect of Truth functions to provide the soul with the capacity of discrimination necessary for her life and development in the world, but also, and at the same time as it does that, it connects her with the Absolute, revealing it as her ultimate truth. 

Various Logoi are All Expressions of the Ultimate Truth of Existence

In this exploration, our intention has not been to elucidate the correspondences or differences between the wisdom traditions, for the correspondences and relationships we have discussed can be considered simplistic or at least incomplete; rather, our intention is to illustrate the fact of the existence of different logoi, and how they may overlap or not. We can learn from various logoi, for they are all the expression of the ultimate truth of existence. Each adds to the richness of humanity’s knowledge, experience, and appreciation of reality. Yet, for one’s personal fulfillment and liberation, one needs to delve into a particular logos as deeply as possible, and not desultorily skip around from one logos to another. Liberation is not an eclectic path, but always the fruit of a genuine logos.

We Don’t Need to Do Anything Special in Order to Reach the Ultimate Truth

Since our nature is self-revealing truth, then if we are not seeing or being our true nature, it is because we are stuck in what we think we know. We believe that we understand when we don’t. We believe that we see the truth when we are not seeing the truth. This not seeing the truth and believing we see it is the unconscious unclarity, the unconscious obscuration, the omnipresent dullness of the ego-personality. The ego-self constantly recites to itself: “Truth is whatever I happen to be thinking.” Inquiry is a way of actively challenging this smug comfort of believing that what we experience and know is the truth. In doing so, it opens up a space for Being to naturally reveal its truth. We can try to see the truth by doing a yogic practice, such as a concentration technique, because sharp concentration can penetrate to the truth. But that method is not based on the understanding that the truth is revealing itself in whatever is happening in our experience. We don’t need to do anything special in order to reach the ultimate truth; it’s not necessary to practice any particular technique that removes us from or transcends our daily life. We just need to recognize the truth in our ongoing experience. Inquiry is the path of discerning the truth already present in any perception or experience. 

Whatever We Say About Ultimate Truth Will Not Exhaust It

Our view is not that we cannot say anything about the ultimate truth, but rather that whatever we say, regardless of how accurate it may be, will not exhaust it. It cannot be described, not because no description can be found, but because whatever description we find will fail to give it justice. In fact, mystical poets are always describing it, but all the poetry possible is a paltry limitation of what it is. In other words, the absolute truth is indeterminable because of its inexhaustibility. This does not contradict the view of prasangika madhyamaka; rather, it complements it. It does not contradict it because the inexhaustibility of the absolute truth is a consequence of its utter simplicity, which is the essence of Nagarjuna’s view. Simplicity and inexhaustibility are the two paradoxical poles of this ultimate truth, just like emptiness and fullness. 

When Freedom Loses All Bounds

Each reality, each way we experience reality, is an experience of the manifestation of Total Being. We can say that Total Being is like a quantum wave. A quantum wave has infinite quantum states, and whatever we experience becomes reality because that is when the quantum curve collapses and  becomes what we call reality. When we make an observation, it fixes what reality is. Before this, we don’t know what reality is. This is how quantum theory in physics views reality. When we understand Total Being, we arrive at something like the quantum view of realization, in terms of what we experience as reality. So whatever we perceive, and the view through which we perceive it, becomes what we call reality. This means that reality, including spiritual or mystical truth, is not as set or determined as most of us would like, nor as fixed as most teachings theorize. Truth can lead us to freedom, which is altogether different from anything that we can call absolute or ultimate reality. Understanding Total Being, and the quantum character of its revelations, means freedom loses all bounds and is not dependent on or associated with any one particular realization or ultimate truth. The freedom of Total Being means that we can experience all available realities, can travel through all possible realizations, and not be constrained by any view.  

When We Don’t Have to Adhere to Any Ultimate Truth

This freedom of view—neither being beholden to any ultimate view nor being attached to any particular view—is vital for liberating the dynamism of Being to manifest the different possibilities of Total Being. We don’t have to adhere to any ultimate truth and can feel comfortable in whatever our experience is. We are at peace and we are free because we don’t have to say that anything is the ultimate truth. When we posit something as the ultimate truth, we lose our freedom. In fact, that is the story of the ego. The ego takes one thing or another and declares it the final truth. Freedom basically releases us from one structure after another, one position after another, one concept after another, until, at some point, we don’t need any of them. We experience this freedom as an imperturbable kind of peace.  

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