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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Unconsciousness?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Unconsciousness

Accumulations of what Has Been Swept Under the Rug of Unconsciousness

What stops you from being, from being present, is nothing but your hope for the future. Hoping for something to be different keeps you looking for some future fantasy. But it is a mirage; you’ll never get there. The mirage stops you from seeing the obvious, the preciousness of Being. It is a great distortion, a great misunderstanding of what will fulfill you. When you follow the mirage you are rejecting yourself. Of course, when you let yourself be, as you let yourself sink into reality, you might experience unpleasant things; but these are simply the barriers that stop you from being. In time, with presence, they will dissolve. You might experience discomfort, fear, hurt, various negative feelings. These are the things that you’re trying to avoid by not being here. But they are just accumulations of what has been swept under the rug of unconsciousness; they are not you. They are what you confront on the way to beingness. When we acknowledge and understand these feelings while being present, they dissolve, because the idea of ourselves that they are based on is not real. When the illusions dissolve, what is real, your nature, will surface and remain. You go through a process of purification, not because Being itself is sullied, but because you have so many accumulated assumptions and beliefs about reality. If you continue to hope, and tell yourself stories, you will remain asleep, because reality is still the way it is whether you like it or not. The mirage hasn’t worked for you yet and it will not work with more persistence. Would you want it any other way? Would you want your happiness to depend on something other than your nature?

Awareness is Necessary For All Aspects of the Work of Inner Development

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. The ordinary person has awareness, but it is very restricted, confined, and selective. In awareness training, the individual learns to expand his awareness, to let it not be confined by his habitual and compulsive patterns. As awareness is freed more and more, the powers of observation expand, and the material for understanding becomes more available. Awareness is necessary not just for collecting observations for the process of understanding but really for all aspects of the work of inner development. It is also, of course, necessary for everyday practical living. Awareness is a characteristic of life itself, of all living matter. The cultivation of awareness is necessary also for its own sake Ultimately, awareness itself is an aspect of essence, necessary in its own right, as a part of our very being. Awareness is a basic characteristic of all aspects of essence. Essence is spontaneously self-aware. However, awareness can exist on its own. In other words, an individual can experience himself as awareness, as just pure, naked awareness.

Most People’s Experience of Themselves is Dull and Thick

Holy Love is not just a perception; it imbues all of one’s experience with sweetness, delight, lightness, blissfulness, and ecstasy. This quality of consciousness is something most people are not even aware of as a possibility. Most people’s experience of themselves is dull and thick, filled with the insensitivity and darkness of the sleep of unconsciousness, and they are not even aware of this. They don’t realize how thick-skinned they are, how primitive, undeveloped, and unrefined their nervous systems are. Because of this, it is not possible to understand how feeling can be so fine, so delicate, so exquisite, so fresh and clean, so wonderfully uplifting, as though there were sunsets and sunrises in one’s very atoms. Most of the time, the feel of ego in the soul is like drab, gray, cold, winter days. It has a depressed quality, because its consciousness of itself is depressed or muted. This depressiveness or thickness is the antithesis of the awake soul, and, as I have said, most of us can’t imagine what awakeness would feel like. Even when we have an experience of it, we don’t let ourselves realize that this is actually the natural state for a human being and that it is possible to live in it most, if not all, of the time. The exquisiteness, refinement, beauty, warmth, and aliveness of consciousness is the Holy Love quality of our true nature. The moment you really let yourself know that this quality of consciousness is possible for you and is, in fact, your natural state, why would you strive for anything else? What does it mean to have a “good life,” if you’re not working on allowing that wonderful exquisiteness to inform your consciousness?

Facets of Unity, pg. 226

Our Unconsciousness, Our Inability to See Things as they Are is Mainly Because We Don’t Want to Grow Up

When you relate to another human being, you aren’t really relating to another human being. Instead, you are constantly relating to that person as if he or she were your father or your mother. The main reason you continue relating to other people as father or mother is that you want to continue being a baby. You want to look at other people as if they were adults and you were a child. This becomes clear if you look at how you feel most of the time. You feel that everybody else is an adult and you are sort of a kid. So you expect certain things, you’re angry when you don’t like something, you want things to be your way. You see mommies and daddies everywhere, and you hope you’ll get what you want if you are just good. This applies to how you feel about the Work. You feel that maybe if you do this Work, you’ll be lovable and wonderful, not like you were when you were a little kid. You hope that finally, Mommy and Daddy will find out you’re really a lovable kid and will take care of you. They’ll comfort you whenever you want it, and every time you want a lollipop, someone will hand you one to suck on. That is one of the main reasons people come to the Work. They think it’s the way to be a successful kid. “How nice it would be,” they think, “to understand more and expand more so people will think I’m wonderful and want to be around me and do things for me and give me what I want.” Our unconsciousness, our inability to see things as they are, is mainly because we don’t want to grow up. Our unconsciousness is the unconsciousness of a child. It is nothing but continuing to see things the way you saw them when you were about a year old. To become aware, to become conscious, means to grow up. It means seeing things as they are. When you see things as they are, you’ll see there are certain things you need to do. There are certain things you can get from external reality, and there are things you can’t get. There are basic laws about how the universe works, and an adult is one who is aware of these basic laws and acts accordingly, not like a child protesting and complaining.

Repression and Defenses of the Ego are Not Just Mental Attitudes

A major necessary part of awareness training is the sensitization of the body. The tendency toward insensitivity needed to support unconsciousness has to be reversed. Repression and the defenses of the ego are not just mental attitudes. They are, more than anything else, tensions and tension patterns in the body. These physical blocks and tensions are what keep emotions and ideas unconscious. This point was emphasized by Wilhelm Reich in his formulation of the concept of character armor and muscular armor. His main insight was that the defensive functions of the character are identical with muscular rigidities in the body: “In character-analytic practice, we discover the armor functioning in the form of a chronic, frozen, muscular-like bearing. First and foremost, the identity of these various functions stands out; they can be comprehended on the basis of one principle only, namely of the armoring of the periphery of the biopsychic system.” Emotions and feelings are primarily sensations, and these are sensations of the body. If the body is insensitive, there will be no awareness of these sensations and hence no awareness of feelings. This will preclude the possibility of understanding. So, sensitization of the body is required via the dissolution of muscular armor and its tension patterns.

The Very Existence of the Personality Depends on Unconsciousness

This great service which essence performs for us is difficult to appreciate. Neither Kundalini nor any teaching, nor any teacher can do what essence can do. Essence makes us face parts of ourselves that we usually do not face, that we do not choose to face. When an aspect of essence begins to manifest, it changes our perception of the related sector of the personality from ego-syntonic to ego-alien. Sectors of the personality that were never questioned before, start being experienced as an imbalance in our equilibrium, as suffering or causing suffering. As an aspect of essence pushes forward toward consciousness, it acts on the personality. Essence is a force, and the sector of the personality related to the emerging aspect of essence becomes stronger and more forceful in order to be able to resist the emerging essence and to keep it out of consciousness. The very existence of the personality depends on unconsciousness, on maintaining its established patterns and conditioning. The personality does not want to change. As essence emerges, the conflict between essence and personality will be magnified and become more obvious. The conflict between the unconditioned part and the conditioned part becomes the focus of attention. The relevant sector of the personality will manifest more and more strongly now in consciousness, until it becomes imperative for us to look at it and deal with it in a real and effective way. It becomes necessary for us to understand and resolve the issues related to this part of the personality. To avoid or ignore the issues becomes more difficult than to face them.

Unconsciousness is Ultimately Unconsciousness of Death

The personality's fear and avoidance of death creates a gap (a hole) in awareness around which the personality is structured. This gap is the kernel of the unconscious. Unconsciousness develops as the personality develops and is structured around this hole. Unconsciousness is ultimately unconsciousness of death, which is necessitated by the lack of understanding of what death is. So we can say that inner development is the expansion of awareness. Complete awareness is just that. It excludes nothing, not even the direct awareness of nonexistence (death). The Work is the expansion of awareness until the personality becomes aware of its most hidden secret, death. When this is revealed, there will be no fear in the personality; fears start dropping away. And then the deepest contraction and tension in the personality, which is the avoidance of the awareness of death, is loosened. This leads to the loosening of identification with the personality, because the identification is based on this deepest contraction within the personality. This in turn helps the essence to attain its true position as master.

What Does Inquiry Do? It Reveals the Truth

What does inquiry do? It reveals the truth. The truth is already in the experience; we are just not seeing it. In the process of the truth emerging and our discriminating it, experience becomes clearer. Or we can say that we become clearer about our experience. So, as in the example discussed earlier, when that person recognizes that the reason he is angry at me is that I remind him of his mother, whom he is angry at, he becomes clearer about his relationship to me. The process of arriving at the new discrimination is one of clarification. Before that, he feels unclear; there is a dullness, a thickness, a vagueness. There is an unknowingness, an unconsciousness. Now he is clear; the situation is transparent and his experience is more lucid. In other words, understanding is a matter of clarity shining through the various manifestations, clarifying and dispelling obscurations and illuminating the truth. What is happening as we are clarifying is a rise in clarity. What is this rise in clarity? The whole field of experience, the whole soul, begins to become clearer. We become aware of the resistances and blockages, the wrong beliefs and fixed positions that cause such obscuration, dullness, and unclarity. And as we see them, we become clear about what they are and what they are about. As we become clear about them, we understand them and they are dispelled. Obscurations dissipate like clouds as clarity shines through. We discover more and more of the truth, and experience is illuminated. The truth begins to stand out and become manifest. This is the process we go through when we inquire.

When One is Unconscious of What Is there is a Rejection of 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. If there is any attempt to get something else, to change what is there in your inner experience, then there is conflict. It is a certain understanding, which is simply the perception of how things work. It is not getting anything, not trying to go somewhere. It is just the perception of how things actually operate. All the work is needed in all its levels, all its aspects. Essence is needed in all its aspects for us in time to be able to tolerate seeing and accepting what is there. But there is no point in starting at the wrong end. Why not start from the correct perspective at the beginning so there will be fewer illusions, less resistance, less discord, and so that there will be the attitude of sincerely exploring truth?

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