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Ultimate (Particular Ultimates)

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Ultimate (Particular Ultimates)?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Ultimate (Particular Ultimates)

All Beloveds are Expressions of the Ultimate Beloved

All forms of human union are possible only because there is such a thing as essential union and ultimate union. And because they are reflections and manifestations of that fundamental union, they are not only valid in their own right but, more fundamentally, they are helpful for our work. Any relationship with another person can be used as a bridge, as a stepping stone, for us to recognize and move toward the ultimate, fundamental union.  That is what we mean when we say that our deep human connections are based on the prototype of ultimate union that makes all forms of union possible, and desirable. In other words, all beloveds are expressions of the ultimate Beloved. In our movement toward anything we are attracted to, there is a very deep primordial longing for that union. The heart gravitates toward experiences of many different types of union, but as we are beginning to recognize, it does so because the heart loves to be united with its true Beloved. 

Love Unveiled, pg. 144

Freedom Has Nothing to do With What State You Experience or Take to be Ultimate

In some traditions there is a debate about what the ultimate reality is: Is it the Absolute, or is it the state of total completeness? The Sufi and Kabbalistic traditions take the view that the Absolute is the ultimate reality. The Indian traditions are divided, with the Vedantists taking the Absolute to be ultimate, while some of the yogic paths take the state of total completeness to be ultimate. The Buddhists disagree: The Theravaden tradition believes  he Absolute is ultimate, while the Tibetan Buddhists are divided. The Nyingmapa sect believes that the state of total completeness is ultimate, while the Gelugpa believe the Absolute is ultimate. 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

If We are Going to Arrive at that Ultimate Fulfillment, We Don’t Want to get Stuck Forever at Any One Station on Our Journey

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

Love Unveiled, pg. 145

Love is Basically the Magnetism Between the Soul and Its Ultimate Beloved, Between You and the Mystery

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.

Love Unveiled, pg. 105

No Insight is an Ultimate Insight

Openness includes openness to the mind and its accumulated knowledge, but it is also open to the mind’s being wrong or incomplete. Furthermore, there is openness to going beyond the mind and its ordinary knowledge. Openness of inquiry also means that whatever knowledge or insight we get to, we do not wrap it up in a package and put it on a shelf. The moment you do that, you close the path of inquiry. No insight is an ultimate insight. As soon as you believe that you have arrived at the ultimate insight, you know you are stuck. Gurdjieff called that position Hasnamous, which means a crystallized ego. You can crystallize your ego around very divine ideas. The moment you know reality and then believe your knowledge is final, inquiry stops, the dynamism comes to a standstill, and the old repeats itself. But if our mind is always open, the revelation is endless. Then we are just there for the ride. We merely enjoy the journey itself as an adventure of discovery.

One of the Beauties of the Ultimate Mystery

That is one of the beauties of the ultimate mystery: You can never say, “Here it is” and describe it in detail. You could do that, but the more you do it, the more you create a veil. Even to say that the ultimate truth is the Absolute—what does that mean? It doesn't describe anything. Or when we say that the ultimate truth is emptiness, what does that mean? It doesn’t mean that nothing is there. “Mystery” is the word I like to use, and the other is “indeterminate”—not in the sense that you can't know anything about ultimate truth, but rather that the knowing is inexhaustible. The more you know, the more you are aware that your knowledge is still limited.  That mystery, that indeterminacy, does not become a problem; it becomes the way of love, because love loves it to be like that. You love the indeterminacy because it gives you so much nourishment, so many images; it always delights you. It's never-ending. It never gets stale. It reveals the nature of one mystery to you—and the next moment, that is completely broken down, dissolved. You think you've got it, and the next day: "Fat chance! Can't catch me that way.” Finally, you take your head and give it away. Because the head is what wants to fix the mystery into some form: “It is this . . .  It is that . . . Now I’ve got it: that's it!" The heart, on the other hand, is dynamic, is always moving.

Love Unveiled, pg. 92

One’s Ultimate Responsibility is to Be

Understanding ego activity brings about (among other things) the personalization of the Intelligence aspect. The Personal Essence becomes present in a precious, brilliant, exquisitely smooth and luminous form. The experience is to be, completely, with no concern or attempt to be anything. This seems to move emotional and instinctual libido towards Being. It is interesting that this state of the Personal Essence is connected to the sense of responsibility; one understands that one’s ultimate responsibility is to be. This also resolves the deep guilt that one experiences when one lets go of ego activity. One feels guilty just being, instead of doing things to help others. One feels just to be is selfish, and involves abandoning others, not caring for them. One then realizes that the best that one can do emotionally for another is to be, to be there, to be present for him. This is real responsibility. 

Presence is the Ultimate Ontological Ground and Reality of All the Dimensions

The experience of the body in the dimension of essential presence indicates that the core of the self is experientially deeper than the living body. This core is the very consciousness that allows us to experience the body as living. Our definition of the self includes the living body, but as we have made clear, also includes more fundamental dimensions. More accurately, it is not that the body is a more superficial reality than presence; it is more that the self is a wholeness that contains all dimensions, including the body, and this wholeness is disturbed when there is dissociation from presence, because it is presence which is responsible for this complete wholeness. Presence is the ultimate ontological ground and reality of all the dimensions. Awareness of essential presence does not negate or devalue the body; rather, it gives it, along with the other aspects and dimensions of the self, a greater sense of integration, wholeness, and lightness. 

Seeing that the Ultimate Nature of Things Cannot be Described, Cannot be Determined

There is no end to the adventure of Being—Being is infinite and its possibilities are endless. One reason why I prefer the path of inquiry to predetermined and goal-oriented spiritual practices is that it reflects a certain understanding of the nature of being human, which has to do with the essence of Being. The more I know the essence of my Being, the more I recognize that it is indeterminable, it is not knowable in an ultimate and complete way. You cannot say in any definite way that it is a such and such and such. It is the very nature of the essence of our Being that it is a mystery. It is a mysterious essence. Its mystery is not due to a limitation in our capacity to understand it; its mystery is intrinsic to its reality. This mystery, this sense of indeterminacy, has been explored by many people, and many teachings and formulations exist to describe it. One way of looking at it is that the ultimate nature of things cannot be described, cannot be determined. You cannot make any definite statement about it, you cannot take any position about it. Some equate ultimate nature with emptiness but are quick to say that there is no “something” there called emptiness. Emptiness is simply a way of referring to the indeterminacy of ultimate nature. This means that you cannot say it exists, you cannot say it does not exist, and you cannot say it neither exists nor doesn’t exist. This way is called the way of negation, in the sense that you negate everything you can say or determine about ultimate nature.

That Mystery, that Beloved, is the Ultimate Nature of the Soul

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. 106

The Heart Recognizes Its Ultimate Function as the Place, the Particular Abode, Where the Truth Resides

There is another reason why we need the heart for the process of inquiry, a reason we do not appreciate until we go very far in our journey. The heart is the specific abode of the truth. It is the particular place where the absolute truth will emerge and declare, “This is my place. I made this heart my throne, for me to dwell in.” This can happen when we recognize that the Absolute is one hundred percent what the heart wants. The heart recognizes its ultimate function as the place, the particular abode, where the truth resides. It has been said that to look for the Absolute, you cannot look in any temple or place, but must look for it in your own heart. There is an inherent reason why the heart loves the truth. More than any other expression or manifestation of the truth, the heart is designed so the truth can reveal itself there most fully. It’s just like when we make a ring for a particular stone. The ring is made for that stone to fit perfectly. That’s what the heart is—a particular setting for the precious stone that is the truth. This is a very subtle, deep perception that we can recognize at some point. We see its reflection when we feel that we love and want the truth.

The Knowledge that is Characteristic of Identifications and Concepts Does Not Exist in Any Fundamental or Ultimate Manner

Part of this power to cut through comes from the particular understanding of knowledge that the Black diamond provides. The knowledge that is characteristic of identifications and concepts does not exist in any fundamental or ultimate manner. So when we talk about the sharp edge as cutting, this cutting is merely understanding that, “Oh, what I have taken as truth is just a concept, a creation of my mind. I was identifying with something that isn’t real.” It is not that somebody comes and slashes through something. Annihilation doesn’t mean that something that is there ceases to be there. It is more accurate to say that what is there becomes seen in its true nature. Our mental fabrications are exposed as such, and true manifestations of reality are seen in their ultimate nature, neither existing nor not existing. They appear, but never really exist. This means that as things are displayed, they are never solidified. They just keep getting displayed, without ever really existing. So the insight is the sharp cut, but it has now become insight into ultimate reality, which is beyond existence and nonexistence. In this way, the annihilating quality of the Black brings everything back to reality. Annihilation is the first of the characteristics of our true nature in its total openness and freedom. In that openness and freedom, there is no solidity, no content. It is so open, so free, so light, that it is empty. Everything disappears into that stillness. That is why stillness and peace are connected with annihilation.

The Ultimate Fruit of the Universe is Nothing but the Soul that is United with Its Source

Nearness means that the soul is maturing. This maturing is like a cherry tree that is becoming a tree full of cherries. In bearing fruit, the tree is doing its thing, fulfilling its mission in life. A tree that is full of cherries is doing what it was meant to do (and if the tree had a heart, it would be very happy). Its purpose is to bear fruit—that is what it is for: to make cherries. If it doesn’t, it hasn’t completed or fulfilled itself.  Like the tree, the soul’s maturing means that it ripens and bears fruit. In fact, it becomes the ultimate fruit of the universe and the ultimate fruit of the universe is nothing but the soul that is united with its Source. Maturing means that the soul fulfills itself by uniting with its Source in a total and complete way. In other words, the universe has reproduced itself in you, and you become the fruit of the universe.

Love Unveiled, pg. 40

The Ultimate that is Beyond Personality, Mind, Time and Even Essence

Life becomes a process of creative discovery from the moment essence is recognized and experienced as one's true being. It continues to be an endless process of creative discovery when the identity shifts to essence; however, there is now the understanding that it is so. There is now the understanding and the trust that essence will bring about whatever needs to be brought about. The ego does not need to work any more. The creative process happens on its own. Ego can only obstruct it. This is true the moment essence is discovered. Living one's life and the work on oneself become one thing: It is “His Endlessness,” unfolding as a creative discovery. The shift of identity from personality to essence is nothing but the realization of the true self, the high self of essence. This experience of timelessness, spacelessness, and no-mind is also the entrance to the Beyond, to the Universal Impersonal, the Absolute that is the ground of all existence. This is the Ultimate that is beyond personality, mind, time, and even essence. Realization then becomes more and more expressed in living, in action. Practical action becomes the action of the true being. There is efficiency, economy, simplicity, directness. One fully lives in the world but is constantly connected to the Beyond, the Supreme Reality. 

Ultimate Identity

So this is one of the basic functions of the Essential Identity when it comes to the Diamond Guidance. It guides the inquiry to the Point by guiding us to see the point of all and any experience. That is easy to understand when we remember that the Point is true identity. What is our identity? It is who and what we are. And what are we but our true nature, which goes deeper and deeper and deeper until it gets to the ultimate identity, which is the Absolute? This means that getting to the point of any situation is the same thing as penetrating deeper. The moment we get to the point of any situation, we go deeper. Why? Because the point of the situation always has to do with the Point, which has to do with identity—and identity is depth, is penetration inward into ourselves. The ultimate identity is pure depth; that is why the Absolute is depth itself. 

Ultimate Service

This clarifies what the ultimate service is. You do not work on yourself to become enlightened; you work on yourself so that God can do what God wants to do, which is to reveal himself. So our delight in investigating reality is an adventure of consciousness, which is the human participation in God’s enjoyment of self-revelation. People often misunderstand the Diamond Approach to inquiry, thinking that it is a way to solve their problems. But we do the Work because it is a labor of love, a passion, a celebration. We work on personal issues because we need to work on them to be able to continue this exploration, not because we want to get rid of our personal difficulties.

When Physical Reality Itself is Experienced as the Ultimate Reality

In nonduality, the unification is complete. This is very different from one’s initial experiences of essential reality in which there is you and your body, and Essence is felt to be inside you. To understand the difference, let’s suppose that the state of Essence you are experiencing is the Pearl, the Personal Essence. In this case, you feel as though a full pearl is filling your belly or the whole of your body. Now, imagine that instead of the pearl filling your belly or your body, each one of your atoms is made out of that pearl. The sense of each atom as a pearl is still physical, but it feels like the fullness of the pearly existence. This is what I mean by unity. The physical and the essential become one. It is not that the physical is filled by the essential, but rather that the physical is the essential. In the same way that your muscles are composed of atoms, so the whole of your body is made out of Beingness. When this sense of unification is complete and there is no duality in your experience, physical reality itself is experienced as the ultimate reality. Then all of physical reality, including all its objects and all of its manifestations, is seen as that beautiful, substantial, and fundamental reality. It is not separate from it, it doesn’t come out of it, nor is it filled by it—it is it. Grace doesn’t happen to physical reality; physical reality itself is the grace, is the beauty, is God. This is what Buddhists refer to as the Great Seal, the Mahamudra, in which all that you feel and see are unified with true nature. It is the unity of appearance and emptiness. 

Facets of Unity, pg. 87

When You Reach the True Essence of the Truth, this Ultimate Reality Doesn’t Know itself

Without differentiations, there would be no experience, no knowledge, no action, no life, no universe—nothing but the unmanifest Absolute. This is why understanding the nature of boundaries is significant in terms of understanding reality. Someone who experiences only Holy Truth, only unity with no differentiations—without even the concepts of experience, unity, or differentiations—for all practical purposes is not alive. Such a person would be in a kind of coma, a divine coma. When you reach the true essence of the truth, this ultimate reality is in a coma in the sense that it doesn’t know itself. It is unconscious because it has no boundaries, no distinctions. Differentiation is completely gone, so there are no differences. Therefore, there is nothing to see, nothing to experience. This is what makes it the unmanifest Absolute. If you experience yourself exclusively as the Absolute with no concepts, you cannot function in the world. If you are in deep meditation, you can sink into it, but you can’t walk around that way since you wouldn’t be able to discriminate a truck heading your way, for instance. A truck is nothing but differentiating outlines and boundaries—the Universal Mind heading toward you with a certain density and at a certain speed! So it is important to perceive the Holy Truth because that is the ultimate nature of reality, but it is also important to know Holy Omniscience because without it, there would be no life, nor anyone to know the Holy Truth.

Facets of Unity, pg. 106

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