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Unconscious (the Unconscious)

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Unconscious (the Unconscious)?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Unconscious (the Unconscious)

Essence Can Take Our Consciousness to the Normally Inaccessible Places of the Unconscious

Here we find one of the greatest uses of essence. Essence can penetrate to these deep, dark corners of the personality. Essence can go all the way because it is the deep. And because essence is intrinsically characterized by awareness, it can take our consciousness to these deep and normally inaccessible places of the unconscious and expose them to observation and understanding. This will in turn expose more holes, so that new and deeper aspects of essence are retrieved. We see here a reciprocal process, in which understanding the personality brings out the essence, and then the essence brings out deeper layers of the personality and so on. This process continues, and awareness expands, until all of the personality is understood, all the way to the experience of its own death and nonexistence. In addition, all aspects of essence will be recognized and developed in the process. This naturally sets the ground for the spontaneous arising of the perception of enlightenment.

Inquiring Into Elements of Your Mind Allows You to Discover Unconscious Beliefs About Reality

The way to actualize the truth is to love it, which then becomes a process of learning and education. You discover then what you take yourself to be and why. You take yourself to be who you think you are because of the truth that you have forgotten. Your emotions, feelings, beliefs, patterns, and conflicts determine your experience and perception. You need to delve deeply into them and investigate them in order to discover what objectively exists. You can’t see the truth objectively as long as your mind is influenced by these things that have become part of the unconscious of your personality. Your fear, anger, hurt, hatred, vulnerability, and doubt all need to surface. Inquiring into these elements of your mind allows you to discover your unconscious beliefs about reality, enlightenment, God, yourself. What you believe is supposed to happen and what your dreams and hopes are need to emerge into the light of awareness and understanding in order for you to examine their truth. This is not easy to do. No one experience that you are going to have will get rid of all of these beliefs. No single experience of enlightenment will dissolve your unconscious. You will have to deal with and come to terms with the specific forms and content of your mind.

Making the Unconscious Conscious

This simple dictum, to make the unconscious conscious, is the most fundamental, basic, and necessary aspect of the Diamond Approach and of all other genuine methods of the Work. The individual begins with consciousness and ends with consciousness—consciousness is simply expanded further and further. We must point out here that by consciousness we mean awareness, because the word consciousness is sometimes used to denote other concepts. Some authors, in fact, use the word consciousness to refer to essence. Therefore, as in all systems of inner development, to apply the Diamond Approach, the individual cultivates awareness. The main method is to erase unconsciousness through psychodynamic techniques. However, even to start this process, the person must learn how to pay attention, how to be aware of inner and outer happenings. Awareness is needed to collect observations that can then be used for the psychodynamic understanding. Without awareness, the person will not know what thoughts go through his mind, what emotions fill his heart, or what sensations there are in his body. So there will be no impression, no material for understanding, if there is not enough awareness.

Recognizing the Unconscious in Inquiry

So the questioning in inquiry needs to be intelligent, needs to embody the openness of true nature that can use whatever we know. You know, for instance, that you have an unconscious. You do not have to discover it every time you inquire. So if you have an experience and you are seeing something about it, the fact that you know you have an unconscious makes you suspect that there may be more to what you see. If you say, “Let’s not use the knowledge of the mind at all,” and then begin to look at what is present in experience, you might have to go through a long process before recognizing that there is a psychodynamic cause for what is arising in your experience. But the fact that you know there is an unconscious, and that psychodynamics exist, opens the inquiry in a whole new way. At the same time, we need to be free from the mind, because the moment we see something, we think we know it. This is the tendency of the normal mind. Inquiry also uses the mind in formulating questions, in analysis and synthesis, and in using its various capacities, such as memory and correlation. The aim of inquiry, however, is not to arrive at conclusions but to enjoy the exploration and the thrill of discovery. This discovery is the unfoldment of the soul, and expresses the soul’s love of truth and reality, which itself is the expression of Being’s love of revealing itself.

Seriously Committing to the Work, it is Likely That Your Unconscious Will Raise Hell

Having a correct relationship to the teaching will create the correct relationship to your essence. The beautiful thing is that if you accomplish this, you are being what you are looking for! So even in giving to the Work, you are being given to. That is the situation, and it must eventually be understood and actualized. To do this, you need to look at your unconscious and understand everything in it that creates an ambiguity about the Work. Regardless of how much you believe otherwise—and especially during those times when you believe otherwise—the most important thing is to make a great effort to disidentify from the feelings when you are feeling judgmental, opposed to the Work, or preferring something else. You need to disidentify and understand what is happening because it is during those very times that you are trying to defend against something very important in your unconscious, and your unconscious is fighting like hell for it. It’s very rare when that is not the case when you are engaged in a real Work situation. When you approach a state of serious commitment to the Work—and therefore to yourself—it is very likely that your unconscious will raise hell because its job is to maintain the defenses that keep you away from your essence. So having these conflicts about the Work is a good opportunity to see what stands between you and your essence.

Space, by Erasing Self-Image, Brings Forth Unconscious Affects and Memories

We have shown so far how psychodynamic understanding of self-image leads to the experience of space, and how space, in turn, by modifying or erasing self-image, brings forth the unconscious affects and memories. However, this is not the main action or usefulness of space in this process. As we have seen, the main characteristics of space are openness and the absence of rigid boundaries. It is precisely these characteristics that make it most useful; for when space is present, it acts by challenging and exposing the unconscious self-boundaries of the individual. Since its nature is the absence of boundaries, it will naturally challenge any existing boundaries. This challenge usually manifests as anxiety, because the exposure of unconscious self-boundaries actually lifts certain repressions, and the possibility of lifting any repression arouses anxiety. This is because repression is a response to anxiety:

The Void, pg. 53

The Unconscious is Focused on Desires in the Mind

The unconscious is rarely focused on the being itself. It is focused on the desires in the mind, expectations, projections, and memories. But at the deepest level, what is actually there? Existence, Presence. Existence and Presence are not the focus of the unconscious, nor of the ego. But Essence knows what is there, knows what is real.

The Unconscious is Focused on the Mind's Desires, Expectations, Projections and Memories

Fulfilling desires that arise from the unconscious is not the same fulfillment as we experience in essential life. The unconscious believes that fulfillment has to do with what others give us, think of us, or feel toward us. The unconscious is rarely focused on being itself. It is focused on the mind’s desires, expectations, projections, and memories. When we look at the deepest level, what is actually there? Existence, presence. Existence and presence are not the focus of the unconscious or the ego. But Essence knows what is there; Essence knows what is real. When you feel happy, it has nothing to do with what others think of you or what you think of yourself, whether you’re good or bad, big or small, sexy, ugly, smart, stupid. If you’re happy, you’re happy—that’s it. If you’re valuable, you’re valuable. Your being is unconditional. The unconscious, on the other hand, works on the basis that in order to feel certain ways, certain things have to happen. “If you love me, then I’ll be happy. If you don’t love me, then I’ll be miserable.” Everything is conditional. When happiness is essential, it’s not like that. If you love me, I’ll feel one kind of happiness; if you don’t, I’ll feel a different kind. It’s just a variation. If I am by myself in my room reading my book, that’s a certain kind of happiness. If I am in bed with a woman, it’s another kind of happiness. If I am sleeping and not aware of any book or any woman, it’s yet another kind of happiness. If I’m working, it’s another kind of happiness still. They’re all wonderful, all good.

The Unconscious Remains Unconscious Out of Fear of the Superego

Originally, the anxiety was the fear of the coercive agencies in childhood, mostly represented by the parents. Whenever the parents disapprove of a certain action or feeling of the child—and this happens repeatedly—the child learns, out of fear of this disapproval and also out of love for the parents, to suppress and finally repress this particular action or feeling. However, the disapproval becomes internalized in time as part of the child's own superego. So eventually, whenever a situation provokes this particular action or emotional state, the child's own superego disapproves and, in fact, punishes the child with guilt, shame, and other painful affects. The fear becomes a fear of one's own superego. The child, out of this fear of the superego and the punishment, learns to defend himself the way he did with his parents. He represses the particular action or feeling. He cuts off his awareness from his own impulses, feelings, and actions. For this to be effective, the whole operation must become unconscious and automatic. The unconscious remains unconscious out of fear of the superego and to defend against its attacks. Thus, the superego becomes the inner coercive agency that guards the status quo of the personality.

Unconscious Beliefs About Commitment to the Work

To commit to the Work so that you can find yourself does not make sense to most people because of their unconscious beliefs about commitment. “What do you mean, commit myself?” asks the unconscious. “If I commit myself, what will be left of me?” We know from our Work how acute and compelling these anxieties are. We recognize that many of these anxieties are unconscious; at first we don’t even know they exist. They just influence us. We can see this in relationships. We know how hard it is to commit ourselves in relationships even when we feel that we have found the person we’ve been looking for and our troubles should now be over. The unconscious says, “Wait a minute! What’s going to happen to me now?” These same unconscious conflicts surface when you want to commit yourself to the Work. So we see that it has been difficult to do the Work because the commitment, the will, the understanding are generally not available due to repressed fears and resistances that are completely unconscious, that control our behavior, and that get stronger if we push against them.

Unconscious Elements of the Psyche are Not Impacted by Conscious Experience Directly

First, experience and recognition of true nature, regardless on what dimension of subtlety and completeness, do not automatically dissolve all ego structures. It is our observation that ego structures, and for that matter psychodynamic issues, are not affected directly by enlightenment experiences. This is due to the fact that these structures and issues have mostly unconscious underpinnings. Unconscious elements of the psyche are not impacted by conscious experience directly, except maybe in exposing them to consciousness in some occasions. These structures are impacted only by awareness of them and complete understanding of their content. The enlightenment experience may give the individual a greater detachment and presence that makes it easier for him or her to confront these structures and issues without becoming overwhelmed by them, and hence have a better opportunity to work through them. The greater presence that may result might make it easier for the individual to abide more in true nature, and this way have a greater detachment from the influence of the structures. But the structures will not self-destruct simply because the soul has seen the light. We understand that this view is counter to the claims of many individuals who profess enlightenment. The actions of many of these individuals should speak for themselves.

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