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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Unity?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Unity

Absolute Oneness of All that Appears to Perception

The Nonconceptual Nameless Reality is the same as nondifferentiated Pure Being, but realized beyond mind. The Absolute is the same as the Nameless Reality, but now realized beyond consciousness. This means it is the nature of all existence, it is all existence, it is everything and it is beyond everything. Hence it is the ultimate nature of all differentiated aspects of Being. There can be perception of differentiation, which here means difference and variety, but not separation. There is absolute oneness of all that appears to perception; however, it is not conceived of as oneness, since there is no conceptualization. There is unity as the nature and Essence of all.

Boundaries Seen as the Creation of Your Mind

In the experience of unity, the objective perception of reality is that the boundaries that you see are actually creations of your mind. They are figments of your imagination. You have created this image and idea in your mind, and then said, “That’s me. I end here, and the other person starts there. I end here, and the chair starts there. You start over there, and you end over there.” That is how we experience ourselves. But what if it is not really like that? You just think it is that way, and because you think it is that way, you see reality that way. Of course, if you see reality through the idea that you start here and end here—of course, you will live your life in a certain way. The interests of other people might not be your interests, and your interests might conflict with the interests of others, and then comes the issue of what’s mine and what’s yours. Can I have my share, can you have your share? With the assumption of separateness come the issues of giving and receiving, loving and being loved, having and acquiring, and all of that. All these things which are the causes of people’s problems are based on the assumption that we have a circumference. If you have no circumference, all these concerns go. Then you do not say, “I want you to love me.” “I want you to love me” means there is a person here, and that person over there is going to love this person here. But there isn’t that boundary; there is only one, there is only a oneness. In that unity, what could it mean that you want someone to love you? What could it mean that you are going to love someone? What does it mean that you are going to give anything to anyone? What does it mean that you are going to get anything from the universe? You are the universe. The experience of oneness is not like all of humanity are all one and we know it in some deep place. No, the experience of oneness includes everything: all that you see, all that your senses are capable of perceiving. This is the world of appearance, the creation.

Currents of Uniqueness

The physical body is one way that our individual consciousness appears in the world. Each body and form is unique and beautiful as the expression of the one consciousness appearing as many. The ocean of consciousness can express itself as currents of uniqueness that can feel the pull toward one another with a fullness, velocity, intensity, and energy. Rather than a hunger spawned by a sense of missing something, it is a wanting to give and a wanting to receive at the same time. The desire to unite is the expression of the ocean that knows itself as the unity arising as currents within it and that feels a charge, an attraction between those currents. The currents—particular individuals, each a unique consciousness expressing the ocean of our nature—sense this energy and desire between them since they are fundamentally not separate from one another.

Forms in Which the Unity Can be Perceived

This perception of the unity and the inseparability of all change and transformation can take many forms. First, it can be the experience of seeing all of existence as a presence that is patterned. This presence is not static but is, in its unified totality, in constant flow. This unified flow occurs in such a way that its pattern is continuously changing and evolving ... This pattern is always changing as the flow is unfolding. So, the unfoldment or flow of Being manifests as the changing of the pattern of the unity, continuously changing the patterns of how things appear. It is like seeing the whole universe as one river that is constantly changing as it flows. We not only perceive this change as changes, transformations, movements, and evolutions in the cosmic pattern, but we also see that these changes and movements include what we ordinarily perceive as our actions and the actions of other living beings. So Being is not only presence, but the flow of presence. It is the flow of nowness in continuous transformation of the universal pattern. This flow is what we usually perceive as the passage of time. In other words what we call time is a limited way of intuiting the flow of Being. Since we ordinarily don't perceive the unity of existence, and so don't experience change as the flow of Being, we think of change as due to the passage of time.

Facets of Unity, pg. 260

In Pure Being there is Singleness, Simple Unity

In pure being, there is no possibility for this discernment, for it is no longer a matter of coemergence. It is singleness, simple unity. This simplicity means total transparency, complete colorlessness. The medium is completely see-through; there is nothing to obstruct the awareness. There is not even any quality for the awareness to reflect on and recognize. It is presence, however, with the sense of the fullness of beingness. Presence is substantial here, and full. We feel and recognize the fullness of the presence that we are, and everything is. Yet it is a purity, an amazing transparency, a medium that is clear through and through. Such colorless transparency can be thought to possess the quality of clarity, but then clarity is nothing but the absence of qualities. In fact, pure presence is a searing clarity, yet this clarity is nothing in particular. It is the qualitiless characteristic of simple presence, its transparency, its lack of opaqueness. Oddly enough, the sense that this pure presence is without qualities does not make it indescribable; we can point to its transparency, simplicity, clarity, lightness, blissfulness, and emptiness. Yet it is free from all the qualities of the essential aspects. More exactly, it is qualitilessness because it transcends the essential aspects and qualities. It is presence empty of any of the differentiated qualities of essence that characterize its aspects. It is essence before aspects, presence before qualities. Instead of richness, there is simplicity; instead of abundance, there is light emptiness; instead of vivid colors, there is transparent colorlessness. In place of the deep fulfillment of divine love there is the unencumbered lightness of being, and in place of the nectary juiciness of pleasure there is the lighthearted blissfulness of simplicity.

Individual Identification Coming Nearer to the Unity

Now, on the path of inquiry we start work from where we are and we allow that to unfold. That’s what we always do in our work, because it’s useful and efficient for the process of transformation to start from where we are. And since where you are at the start is in the entrenched belief that you are an independent, separate person, then we take that. We say OK, if that’s what you believe, let’s start from there. Let’s take it as if it’s true and go with it. And if that’s what you believe, then when you recognize that there is a sacred reality, it’s natural that you will relate to it in a devotional, humble, surrendering way. Taking this religious attitude, with its personal element, means that the spiritual impulse will appear from within the entity of the personality as a devoted and loving attitude toward the truth, toward reality. And this also then makes it possible for the belief in being a person to begin to dissolve. It makes it easier for the individual identification to come nearer to the unity through a process of attraction that is felt as love, until it eventually self-destructs through the intense love that comes from within it. The realization of true nature appears then as the individual soul giving itself up, surrendering to or dissolving into a bigger reality that is pure and divine. And that dynamic seems to be intuitively easier for the identified part of us than just saying, “OK, I recognize that I am true nature so I will no longer experience myself as a separate person.” Because even if you recognize your true nature in that way, the identification with being an entity, a person, will continue—it doesn’t stop, just like that. We will explore this process of meeting the Beloved in much greater detail in the third book of this trilogy on spiritual love.

Many Facets of True Nature

The unity of our true nature has many facets, many kinds of depth, and many meanings. It is a unity in many ways, one of which is the oneness, the nonduality, of external forms and the ground of our true nature. Another way is the unity between us as individuals—that we are not separate. That is why, when we chant HU, the secret name of our absolute nature, our ultimate nature, we want to hear it from everywhere . . . because it is everywhere. So we hear ourselves saying it, we hear other people saying it and, if we really become absorbed in the sound and the intimacy of it, the sound itself can take us to the unity. It is possible to recognize as we hear the various voices chanting the sound HU, that not only are we in unison, but it is the unity sounding as many voices. And the unity is expressing itself as one sound, as it is one manifestation.

Nonspatial or Nonlocal Unity

I think of the first kind of unity, which characterizes the basic mystical experience, as a perceptual or spatial unity. And I think of the other sense of unity as a feeling kind of unity, as nonspatial or nonlocal unity. We began exploring this nonlocal unity when I discussed the views of Plotinus and Dogen in terms of the relationship between the particular individual and realization. This nonlocal unity contains a new element that cannot be described simply as nondual. In nonlocal unity, there is a sense that each star contains all the stars, that each point is every other point. As we recognize this nonlocal unity, we understand that the fact that it is spacious does not mean that it is big; it doesn’t have a size. The experience of this unity is that each particular form of manifestation contains within it all other forms of manifestation, as particular forms. Each form is totally united with all other forms, not united spatially as waves of the same ocean, but united actually as one single wave. This is more the recognition that all the waves are inside each other, that all the waves are essentially the same wave, that all the points are one point. So the feeling of nonlocal unity is, “I am everything, not because I am a medium that manifests everything, not because I and everything come from the same source, but because I actually am every other thing in a direct and intimate way. The unity does not derive from the fact that we are all parts of the same movement or the same expression. One of the ways of experiencing nonlocal unity is as the feeling, “I am you. Your heart and my heart are the same heart—and not figuratively. I feel that I am in your heart and you are in my heart, because there is no spatial or ontological distance between your heart and mine.”

Perception of Unity

The unity which makes concepts transparent is apprehended through a capacity to perceive which has nothing to do with the physical senses. The basis of unity is not in the physical world. It is a little bit confusing for me to say it that way, because I don’t see the physical world the way we generally think of it. There is a physical world only from the perspective of the physical senses. If more of you is operating, the world you inhabit is not just the physical world, and in this world there are no objects that are separate and absolutely independent of each other. In perceiving the nonseparateness, or unity, you do not lose your capacity to discriminate in the physical world; you just do not see differentiated objects as actually separate. As we have been discussing, the process of discriminating and conceptualizing objects leads to reifying them as discrete and separate entities. This process in turn tends to restrict our perception to the physical senses, because it eliminates our experience of the unified awareness that underlies the concepts; it excludes the perception of the unity of reality.

The Elixir of Enlightenment Reveals Itself in Whatever Form You Need

Our deepest, truest most inner nature is that of unity, of complete unification with no discrimination or differentiation, and this deepest innermost nature must manifest as the transforming agent. This is what is called the elixir of the mind, or the elixir of enlightenment. It reveals itself in whatever form you need in order to learn about unity. If you are interested in the mind, it will reveal itself as mind. If you are more heart-oriented, it will reveal itself as heart. If you are action-oriented, it will reveal itself as will. It loves you so much it is willing to be less than itself so that you will learn about it ... it is itself pure intelligence, and everything is a result of that intelligence. It includes even ignorance and suffering that results from ignorance. This primary first cause, this primary intelligence which every human being has, is itself the hope for unification, and the agent of unification. It is what goes through the process of unification, and leads towards the final result of unification, the unity. It includes differentiation and the movement toward differentiation because even that is part of a bigger movement toward unification. Every living being has some intelligence, an intelligence that is pure brilliance... The innermost nature of everything which exists is this source and agent of unity.

The Interpenetration of Souls

Our nature, which is the depth of reality, is oneness, a complete unity, and it is deep, silent, and still. But this absolute nature of ours does not live alone. It is always in divine union with its consort—the creative power and energy that brings everything forward into manifestation. There is the unmanifest and there is the manifest, which are two sides of the same thing. It is not that manifestation comes out of the unmanifest, which is behind it. Yes, there is the unmanifest back and the manifest front, and if you slice them, there is yet again a back and a front at every point; but the spaciousness of the unmanifest and the presence of the manifest always arise as one interpenetrated unity. Within physical manifestation we have both the depth of our nature and the surface of the particular forms, which are always in union, always as one. A relationship between two people can reflect this reality when we feel the drive to be in union. Two individuals can actually express it completely, unified as one field of presence that contains both the receptive and the active as one energy flow. The more each of you is embodying all the attitudes that reflect the pure qualities of the natural condition of being open, receptive, active, and assertive, the more you will experience balance and energy in a creative rhythmic dance that is expressing the unity of the universe. So the erotic can be felt within any relationship that has the energy, love, and drive for the truth and discovery. It might not result in the interpenetration of bodies, but it can be the interpenetration of souls, which is very satisfying in itself.

The One that is Not a Number

Unity feels so threatening because it eliminates separateness—not only duality but separateness. When we experience complete unity, we feel it as the depth of our heart, as our purest identity. When we know who we are without any distraction, without any ideas, without any influences—when we are completely free being ourselves and knowing ourselves exactly for what we are, directly and immediately—we recognize that what we are is the unity of the universe. This unity is the one from which many come, but this one is also very scary, because we feel that there are not many, not three, not two, only one. In fact, it is not even one. It is the One that is not a number, the One that is not the opposite of two or many. It is the One that is everything, the One without any other. That is why the scary thing about this unity is that it is not different from zero. But at the same time, it is the most intimate we can be in our experience—the deepest, the most sincere, the most genuine, the most truthful. This One is an absolute authenticity and realness that has no size at all, no shape. And it is our very center, but when we look, we realize that it is your center, and my center, and his center, and her center, and everybody’s center. It is one, single, and it has no size. It is not a thing, so when we say “one,” we don’t mean one thing. This is a mysterious truth, paradoxical, and, for many of us, it doesn’t make sense.

The State We Call "Unity"

Experiencing oneself as the immediacy of pure presence, or as the expanse that is the inner nature of everything, we experience the state we call "unity." It is the experience of true nature as if from the inside, from its own side, and not from the side of manifest forms. We see that it is an indivisible experience, a single medium with no inner distinctions, similar to the empty sky. The other kind of experience, that of oneness, is experiencing pure presence from the vantage point of the manifest forms. We experience ourselves as the oneness of all these forms, that all the forms constitute one Reality, whose nature is pure presence. We are aware of pure presence as the constituting ground of everything, but we are not in the midst of the expanse of true nature, but in the midst of the surface of manifestation.

The Sweetness of Connection

We can feel this desire for union, and the experience of union as connection, in various degrees and in any form of relationship—in friendships, with our children or parents, with a lover. There are many kinds of relationships, but I’m thinking of two kinds in particular at the moment. There is the type of friendship where we are companions on the journey—we connect, we help each other support the truth in one another, with a mutual sense of having the other’s best interests at heart. A real friend challenges you where you can’t see yourself and loves you in the process. He or she can accept you as you are and at the same time encourage you to keep growing and expanding. And you give each other encouragement to take the risks needed, becoming more vulnerable to one another and more transparent to your limitless nature. A real friendship has at its roots the willingness to see the truth. And that’s a gift you both give to the world. Sexual lovers are all of the former, or can be, with the added component of the erotic expressing itself in physical ways. The sexual lover is one with whom the physical is a conduit for the drive for union to express itself in a more complete way. Whether or not sexual expression is part of a relationship, the desire for union expresses itself in the desire to rend the veils between you and the other. Erotic energy expresses itself in helping each other become more naked by exposing and enjoying the beauty and the awe of the energetic union. This naturally invites more of it to manifest. There’s a palpable feeling of connection as you both become more in touch with the presence and the sweetness of connection. This gives rise to the joy and the celebration of connection as you go deeper into the discovery of your partner and the shared field as one movement.

The Unity of Everything

So the unity of everything is complete radiance, complete expansion, completely itself. In its final free expression, it is pure blinding brilliance, so blinding that you are effaced. This brilliance can be experienced as a clarity and intelligence, as an exploding intelligence that shatters all darkness and ignorance. At the same time it is pure love, most delicate and soft, and in the same instant the strongest and most powerful will. It is not three different things put together, but all one, the brilliance of the aspects of Essence, the source and inner nature of every living thing and of all creation.

Unity is the Absence of Boundaries

Unity is a very deep experience. It is the absence of boundaries. When boundaries are completely gone, you don’t experience yourself as a separate individual, and there is no boundary between one thing and another. There is unity: This is the universal identity. When you feel that you are everything, that everything is one, still there is a concept, the concept of unity. Beyond that concept, however, the way reality ultimately is, is neither unity, nor non-unity. The way things are is just the way things are. Saying it is unity is your own comment.

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