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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Unfoldment?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Unfoldment

Approaching the Fullness of What We Can Be

When we discuss unfoldment, we add another element to the idea of the current of experience. We now have a current that is creative, unfolding, that is revealing new aspects, new possibilities, that is manifesting more elements of the inherent potential of Being. The potential that has always been possible is now becoming actual. When unfoldment is occurring, the current is more luminous, more radiant, more alive, revealing newer possibilities. The more the current that is our life reveals new possibilities, and the more it becomes creative and unfolds in an optimizing way, the closer we get to our true nature, the pure essence of our Being. In fact, you might even say that we are then approaching the source of the current. Which also means that we are approaching the fullness of what we can be.

Being Open to the Perfect Unfoldment of Truth Within You

So perceiving Holy Perfection allows basic trust to arise. If everything is perfect, then we can trust it. We can trust its functioning and its changes because we realize in an intrinsic way that it is all right. Basic trust means trust about the fundamentals, about the intrinsic nature of things, about ultimate reality. As we have seen, the wisdom of each Holy Idea helps us clarify our orientation toward the work of spiritual development. From the perspective of Holy Perfection, doing the Work becomes a matter of not doing it from the perspective of judgment, but from an attitude of surrendering to reality the way it is and the way it unfolds. It is a matter of trusting that letting go into reality is the Work, and that understanding means both seeing the delusions that stop you from surrendering, and the process of unfoldment itself. Our practice, then, becomes one of simply letting everything be, of just being present with whatever happens, without judgment or comparison, of being interested, curious, and open to the perfect unfoldment of the truth within you. Being present with whatever your experience is, means that you are not comparing your experience with someone else’s. You are not comparing your experience now with your experience yesterday. You are not comparing your experience against some kind of standard. You are present with it because you are curious about it and want to find out what it is about. If you are judgmental about your experience, deciding whether it is good or bad, or good enough or not good enough, then you are not open to it in a way that allows you to see it and understand it objectively.

Facets of Unity, pg. 160

Continual Renewal of Inner Experience

Physical reality is the most difficult to perceive as part of a whole unfolding pattern. We usually think of physical reality as static, clunky objects outside of ourselves and we have the sense that time passes -- both are very difficult perceptions to get beyond. But when observing your inner experience, it is easier to see that there is always an unfolding occurring that you are not making happen. Your sensations, thoughts, and feelings are unfolding and manifesting constantly. In fact, they are unfolding regardless of what you do. Can you stop your thoughts? There is the continual renewal of inner experience going on all the time. It is easy to see that it is not as though inner experience is happening inside the body while time passes outside it. In reality, our body feels different in each moment. When you become aware of this, you begin to perceive the inner unfoldment of the soul. You might even experience the substance of the soul itself as dynamic flow with an energetic aliveness. This is close to the sense of the overall unfoldment of reality, in which the flow is not happening just inside of you but everywhere. Another transitional experience that can move us toward an expanded view of reality is experiencing the soul as an effulgence, a flow. When you experience this fully, you might see that you cannot separate your soul from your body; they are one thing. Seeing this, you can experience the whole of your body as a flow that is continually renewing itself. You perceive, then, that your body is being recreated in every instant.

Facets of Unity, pg. 277

Discontent Arising From the Natural Unfoldment of the Soul

So, even though the development of self-representations is a natural property of our mental functioning, it alienates us from our essential Being. Narcissism, then, is a natural and unavoidable result of identification with self-representations. We believe that spiritual development must be seen not only as a correction to normal experience, but more importantly, as further development of the self. Much spiritual work functions to correct the delusions of the self regarding its true nature and the nature of the world by encouraging disidentification with self-concepts. However, we understand the natural unfoldment of the soul to lead to one becoming discontent with, and seeing through, one’s identifications. This unfoldment need not involve a rejection of the capacity for conceptualizing; it can simply allow an increasing transparency of mental concepts as the appreciation of our nature as essential presence reduces our identification with self-representations.

Everything Happening on Its Own

So when we are established in the understanding and the certainty that we are not in control of our process, that Being or true nature is actually in charge, then our unfoldment becomes a runaway unfoldment, which means that everything happens on its own. When we recognize that everything happens on its own, reality begins to unfold consciously on its own, which further intensifies the process. Our process flows from one quality to another, one dimension to another, one insight to another, intensifying and deepening all the time. This is an important juncture in the Diamond Approach. We call it runaway unfoldment, meaning that unfoldment is unstoppable. Our unfoldment is no longer dependent on our practice—rather, it makes our practice happen.


Expansion of Essential Truth

If we continue pursuing the truth of the situation, the essential truth will continue to expand and reveal ever-deeper dimensions of Being until, at some point, we come in contact with the formless dimensions of Being. When we first encounter Essence, we experience it in the dimension of form, contained within us, in other words, “There is love in my heart, will in my belly, clarity in my head,” and so on. At a deeper level, the presence of Essence expands and loses its boundaries, and we realize that it is actually boundless. This is the beginning of experiencing the formless or boundless dimensions. The first formless dimension that we usually encounter, as discussed in Part Two, is that of Living Daylight: a love that is not just within you, but is every-where —pervading everything, penetrating all boundaries. So we have moved from the fact of what is happening to what truly exists within you, and from there to what truly exists beyond your body—what exists in the whole cosmos. In the boundless dimensions, Essence still has the quality of being a presence, a fullness, and a richness. As our experience deepens, the boundless dimensions keep revealing themselves in continuing depth, one after the other, as we penetrate deeper and deeper concepts within our mind, and these dimensions will lead us eventually to the deepest, innermost truth—absolute truth. This dimension of the Absolute is beyond all concepts, including that of existence or non-existence.

Facets of Unity, pg. 77

Expression of the Unfoldment of Being

The process of spiritual development, which is the maturation of the human being, can be divided into two complementary facets. One is the self-realization of Being in its various aspects and manifestations, and the other is the integration of this self-realization in the everyday life of a human person. The latter is a progressive process of maturation of the self, in which the unfoldment of Being expresses itself in an individuated personal life with other human beings in a real world. Self-realization connects the person to his true identity, which is his Being, and this makes it possible for him to mature in everyday life and to fulfill his humanness. Human life becomes then the personal expression of one’s realization in the context of normal life situations. So we can say that the process of individuation makes it possible for us to be in the world, while that of self-realization connects us with the transcendental source of our Being, which is beyond the world of appearance. The present book is an attempt to understand the process of self-realization, while The Pearl Beyond Price is an attempt to understand the individuation of Being, which is a process of the personalization of its various facets and manifestations.

Going Along with the Unfoldment of the Whole Universe

Experiencing this sense of effortlessness indicates that true surrender is taking place and that essential Will is present. As we have said, actualizing the Will requires practice in being present with whatever is arising without rejection, without acceptance, without attachment, and without preference. This practice constitutes the foundation of the Diamond Approach. The Diamond Approach is basically a matter of going along with the unfoldment of the whole universe as it is manifesting in your experience in the present moment. Just as the universe is unfolding in the sense that the weather changes, earthquakes occur, the sun sets, and the moon rises over the horizon, the universe is also unfolding inside of you. If you stay with, and surrender to, your inner process, it will unfold in the same way. However, when shaped by the ego, our inner process flows in a very limited way that is constrained and made to conform to our conditioned beliefs about what is acceptable to experience. Our inner life then follows the rigid and predictable pathways of the ennea-types, and we are trapped in our own virtual realities. Only through being present with what is manifesting within us without judgments and the resulting inner manipulations, can we talk about true unfoldment. Then our experience ceases to be a predictable revisiting of familiar territory, and becomes truly an exploration and an adventure taking us into depths and dimensions of reality that reveal more and more of the richness and profundity of what is here.

Facets of Unity, pg. 132

Interest and Excitement Arising from the Soul’s Unfoldment Outshine Any Feelings that External Reality Alone Can Generate

You begin to realize that the inner experience doesn’t change that much whether you’re in Paris or Boulder, Kathmandu or Berkeley, whether you’re eating dinner, seeing a movie, or being the first person to land on Mars. The sense of yourself becomes so profound, so deep, so substantial, so significant, that the whole external situation—the environment and what’s happening in it—feels somewhat ephemeral. External changes now feel like little things that may or may not affect the inner unfolding. They may be interesting or exciting, dramatic or challenging, but the interest and the excitement arising from the soul’s unfoldment outshine any feelings that external reality alone can generate. The sense of presence and contentment, with its unlimited possibilities, is so much more beautiful, so much more vivid, so much more interesting and exciting than seeing the most exotic places on Earth or succeeding at the most challenging tasks. What this means is that life events tend not to disappoint you that much, because they are not what truly nourishes your soul. You find you are less often looking forward to specific situations and less often getting disappointed by what takes place. Even when you are eating the most delicious food, how you feel inside is one hundred times more interesting—it is the richest food there is.

Love Provides the Dynamic Force For the Unfoldment

Love has an effect on our unfoldment, on the process of our inner work. We have talked about it as a dynamic energy, the dynamism inherent in the involvement and the unfoldment. When love is experienced, the process moves more easily. In fact, we may begin experiencing the feeling of flying heavenward, because love is ultimately the dynamic force in the process. Initially, we tend to experience love as a smoothing effect; love smooths things, makes the process easier and more flowing. One of the images I see is that love is a lubricant for the soul. When love is present, things are easy; the process moves, flows, without too much creaking and grinding. When love is not there, things get stiff and rusty, and after a while you find that you can’t move without a lot of creaking and noise. Then things start falling apart, and eventually you can’t move much at all. However, love doesn’t just smooth out the process. It also provides that dynamic force for the unfoldment. When love is really there—when you are feeling love and it is turning your heart the correct way, toward the truth—you feel the love as a powerful drive to make the turn. Even the difficulties make sense and are worth it. For someone who is really in love, who is very interested in being with the person they love, the movement toward the truth becomes an overriding concern. But the concern is out of love, and there is excitement, pleasure, and joy in the movement.

Love Unveiled, pg. 49

Seeing and Experiencing One's Unfoldment is Like Reading Reality

The soul reads the truth as truth is revealed. Seeing and experiencing one’s unfoldment is like reading reality, reading the truth. Self-revelation is similar to reading what’s on your computer screen as it is scrolling: As you read, the print appears and disappears. Reading in this way is the same thing as the unfoldment of understanding. What do you do when you’re reading? For the reading to be a real reading, you have to get the meaning of what you read. Isn’t that true? Otherwise, the reading isn’t accomplishing its purpose. It’s the same thing with inquiry: The point is to get the meaning. But in this case, it’s not an intellectual meaning that you give to the experience. It’s a meaning that’s inherent in what is experienced. It’s a lived meaning. It’s about getting the import of the experience, experiencing directly the significance of what’s happening. From this perspective, the unfoldment of life’s inherent meaning is a natural part of real living.

Sensing that Unfoldment is Not Accidental or Chaotic

When I say that the unfoldment has a sense of meaningfulness, I don’t mean that it has a specific meaning. Rather, there is a sense that the unfoldment is not accidental or chaotic. Things work out, develop, and evolve, as part of this unfoldment. Intelligence evolves, organic life evolves, and we see this evolution as a pattern. We can read specific meanings and purposes into this pattern, but when I use the word meaning here, I mean a felt sense that this unfoldment has its own flow, its own movement in a particular direction, that is determined by its own intelligence. The prism through which Being moves as it goes through its transformations is the dimension that we call the Logos. It patterns the movements and gives the unfoldment its differentiations and variations.

Facets of Unity, pg. 172

The Heart is the Source of the Energy of Unfoldment

So it is important to see that loving the truth for its own sake is not just an invitation to the Guidance, it is also the quickening of the unfoldment itself. We’re not usually in touch with our heart in this way, but the heart is the source of the energy of unfoldment. Even if we have a great capacity for clarity and discernment, it may be that nothing new will arise. Many people are very good at logical analysis and discernment, but they don’t know anything important about reality. Their experience is limited because the heart is not open. The love of the truth is not active. This also teaches us that techniques and practices on their own are not that effective. Merely having a method or technique for accessing Being is not going to be very effective because the unfoldment has to do with love. At some point, which practice we use is not that important if we don’t have the devotional energy. Some practices might help open the heart and put us more in touch with that love of truth, such as prayers and invocations. But whatever practices we do, what’s needed is to develop our love for the truth. This is something innate, inherent in us, not something we impose on ourselves. It is something we discover, nurture, and allow to grow. The heart is love, and love means appreciating what is real.

The Insight that Brings About the End of the Attitude of Seeking

The diamond dome embodies the wisdom of the necessity of ego death for the free unfoldment of the soul, and provides knowledge of how essence works toward this death. It reveals that essence is inseparable from knowledge, and ushers the student into the perception that being Being and knowing Being are the same. This perception is itself revealed through working through each of the essential aspects in such a way that the knowingness of each of the qualities is seen to be intrinsic to the experience of that quality. Working through the issues of the diamond dome reveals that, in contrast, the ego identity subsists through its inner activity, based on rejection, hope, and desire. The soul learns that being her essence is a matter of simply being, and that this essence is recognized by being it. No activity is needed for the soul to be herself. This insight brings about the end of the attitude of seeking that began the inner journey, revealing it as a continuation of the ego activity.

The Unfoldment of One's Potential

The essential aspects are not sought after, but are allowed to emerge on their own. One merely lives fully, in close contact with one’s personal experience, but is continually and deeply curious about, and open to, reality. One’s life is governed by the love of truth, and understanding is experienced as inseparable and indistinguishable from the unfoldment of one’s potential. The emergence of Essence in its aspects can be seen as due to interest in understanding oneself and one’s reality. But Essence can equally be seen as emerging on its own, in response to life situations, and thus influencing one’s consciousness, as it approaches from the depths. As each aspect of Essence pushes towards consciousness it naturally confronts the identification systems that were developed to bury it and to emulate it. It exposes this segment of the personality, making it feel ego alien (contrary to one’s sense of who one is), and bringing about an objective understanding of that part of the personality. This understanding is the truth that is absorbed, which leads to the conscious emergence of the particular aspect.

The Unfoldment of the Soul is a Matter of the Medium of the Soul Unfolding Globally at Each Point and Region of Its Expanse

The closest phenomenon to this perception is the changing picture on a movie screen. The light itself changes in terms of its streaming oscillations, and as a result the projected picture changes. When we see a dog running across the screen, we know that there is actually nothing running across the screen. The image of the dog does not move around because the light moves around; rather the light simply transforms at each point of the expanse of the screen, and the unfoldment of this change gives us the impression of a dog moving across the screen. In other words, the unfoldment of the soul is a matter of the medium of the soul unfolding globally, at each point and region of its expanse. We could say that the very atoms of the field illuminate differently from moment to moment (even though the soul is not discriminable into separate atoms). More precisely, each location of the field of the soul changes its wave characteristics, modifies its vibrational qualities, to transform one experiential form to another. These field-pervasive changes are reflected in the transformation of color, texture, viscosity, density, shape, luminosity, and so on. The subjective sense is that of an unfolding field, of a non-spatial movement. We feel this process as an opening up, an unwrapping, a displaying, a disclosing, a divulging, an unveiling, a revealing, a movement from nonmanifestation to manifestation, from potentiality to actuality. The sensation of flow actually originates from the fact that our consciousness is continually unfolding, constantly creating its various forms. It is a ceaseless stream of unfolding.

There are Veils that Can Stop the Unfoldment if Not Recognized and Understood

On the way to the formless, there are veils that can stop the unfoldment if not recognized and understood. In particular, leaving the world of the animal soul and entering the world of the human soul can bring its own veils, its own barriers as it takes you deeper. And because of your already existing veils, that will feel as if you are abandoning the world. You might feel that you are on this wonderful, thrilling adventure, but then . . . “Look! There are all these suffering people. How can I leave them?” It will feel like a heartless action, while in fact it is the action of love. If you don't recognize and acknowledge what is actually happening, issues start arising and you won’t see that movement of rending the veils as a loving action; you will see it as if you were rejecting the world, the people in it, rejecting their concerns.

Love Unveiled, pg. 96

Unfoldment is a Way of Experiencing Being in Flow

Another way of expressing this is that when you experience Being, it is pure nowness; you aren’t thinking about present, future, or past. When you remain in Being, you begin to realize that things change. But these changes do not mean a stopping of Being; they are, rather, a continuum of moments, each experienced as the now. The third insight contained in our definition of Holy Work is that the continuity of Being, the succession of moments of existence, the flow of the now, is experienced as the unfoldment of presence, which is the unfoldment of the cosmos. Unfoldment, then, is a way of experiencing Being in flow, in change. It is not something static; there is always Being, but it is a flow. The whole universe is like a fountain, always unfolding, always pouring out in different forms—but always remaining water, that is, remaining Being or presence. This is the understanding of unfoldment as the unfoldment of Being. This unfoldment of Being, this flow of presence, is sometimes called “real time,” as opposed to linear or clock time.

Facets of Unity, pg. 170

Unfoldment of the Soul

This continuity of presence is the unfoldment of the soul. Since it is a succession of moments of presence in the present, this unfoldment can only be experienced and understood in the present by being present in the now. This is the "real time" of the individual, the real life. All other time, when one is not present, is a waste in terms of life, for there is no presence in it. Wasted time occurs when there is no unfoldment, when you are fixated and stuck, existing in linear time; basically you are just walking in place, getting nowhere in terms of development of the soul. How much one has been in real time indicates one's true age, since it determines the development and maturity of the soul. Most people have spent a year or two in their entire lives being truly present, so that is how old they really are from the perspective of the soul.

Facets of Unity, pg. 174

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