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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Universe?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Universe

From the Perspective of Divine Love there Isn’t Really a Physical Universe the Way We Think of It

The very fact that we experience the universe as being filled with physical objects, including our own bodies, which have weight, opaqueness and solidity, is because we’re not seeing the pervasiveness of divine love and the formlessness of the boundless dimensions. When we’re open to the experience of divine love, we recognize that from its perspective there isn’t really a physical universe the way we think of it. What we think of as the physical universe is nothing but a limitation of perception, because the universe is nothing but light and love. There are actually no rocks. Rocks don’t exist, they can only be experienced. Now this is a part of the teaching which may well be difficult to decipher, but it’s important to understand what it’s saying; that the way we experience the world, as this physical universe with living entities in it, is the result of experiencing things instead of perceiving the true beingness that is really there. You see, God doesn’t experience anything; God is everything. It’s we who experience things—we have experience—and that is one of the main barriers to the perception of divinity and boundlessness. That’s what I mean when I say that a rock, and by that I mean any physical object, doesn’t really exist. It can only be experienced.  Its existence as a separate object is not fundamental, and this is true in all of the boundless dimensions. 

Multidimensional Manifold Pervaded by Knowledge

The universe is a multidimensional manifold where all dimensions intersect the dimension of knowledge at all their points. Hence, knowledge pervades the whole manifold, making it into a magical self-luminous holographic world of exquisite meaningful deep knowledge. The colors, textures, and flavors of physical objects express the essential qualities themselves, this way the phenomenal world expresses the perfections of Being. The darkness of the night expresses the stillness and mystery of the black peace essence; the redness of blood and fire reflects the vitality and vigorous energy of the red strength essence; the yellow of the sun and of flowers embodies the lightness and delight of the yellow joy essence, and so on.

Our Consciousness is a Universe of Many Dimensions

Our inner consciousness is a whole universe, a magical universe. Our inner sensitivity operates in relation to the three spatial dimensions, but it also manifests in many other dimensions that we can experience directly. Our soul’s consciousness has perceptual capacities corresponding to our five physical senses. Our tactile sense appears as sensations and feelings; our visual sense appears as visions and images; our auditory sense appears as remembering sounds, hearing inner sounds, imagining or hallucinating sounds; our smell sense appears as remembering and imagining smells and aromas, but also as inner smells characterizing many inner states; our taste sense appears as remembering and imagining tastes, but also as inner tastes of our inner states, common in spiritual perception. Our kinesthetic sense is already felt as an inner experience, but can also reflect our memory and imagination, plus the inner movements of thought and feeling. The awareness of the movement of thoughts, and of changes of inner states, involves the capacity for awareness of the passage of time. Our consciousness is a universe of many dimensions.

Perceiving the Physical Universe and the Essential Universe as Thoughts

As we have discussed, when we perceive the physical universe and the essential universe from the perspective of non-conceptual reality, they look like thoughts; this is why we call them “mind.” The Nous can be seen like a structure or pattern of ideas, and just as we perceive mental images when we see through the concepts in the personal mind, we see these ideas in the Nous as images. From the perspective of the non-conceptual, the Universal Mind looks like images. The table looks like the image of a table. It’s not really a table. It remains real from the perspective of the personal mind, but from the perspective of the non-conceptual, it’s not that the table is not real, it’s just not as real as the non-conceptual. The non-conceptual is a much more fundamental reality. And the things in the physical world and in the essential realms are laid on it like images. That is why we call it the Universal Mind.

Recognizing the Smallness of the Manifest Universe

We can then sink deeper into the mysterious darkness of the absolute, leaving the surface manifestation. We experience ourselves receding deeper, and the universe of appearance looking smaller and smaller, until we see it as a small luminous sphere floating at the distance, in the vast silence of the absolute. We recognize the vastness of the absolute, the immensity of its truth, and the smallness of the manifest universe, with all of its forms and phenomena. We recognize in this experience that if the universe is four-dimensional, it appears as a spherical surface in the vastness of the absolute, demonstrating that this vastness is at least five-dimensional. As will we see later, it is infinite-dimensional, which is the same as being nondimensional. The absolute blackness may dominate even more, until we perceive the universe as a surface patch, a patch of luminous surface floating in the vastness. Everything else is absolute darkness. No thoughts, no movement, no self-reflection, only silence, stillness, and mystery. 

Seeing that You are Not Separate from the Unity of the Whole Universe

In the experience of Holy Transparency, you can see that you are an inseparable part of the whole because your boundaries are transparent. You see that you are an individual and a person, but you are not separate from the unity of the whole universe. You are as inseparable from the universe as the eyes are from the face. And, like the eyes, you see that you don’t have an existence separate from the rest of the body of the universe. As a human being, you know yourself to be an inseparable part of God, a particularization of the objective reality, an extension, as it were, of Holy Truth. You experience yourself as an individual, distinct from other things, with a consciousness localized in a certain place, yet you also experience yourself as continuous with everything else. So the experience of transparency is experiencing yourself as part of the totality, supported by it and not existing apart from it. You see that it is not possible for you to have an existence separate from the unity, and that in some sense the unity also wouldn’t exist without you. Not only do you experience yourself as inseparable from the unity, but you experience yourself as an extension of the unity. In the experience of Holy Transparency, you are a human being who is continuous with the unity and a particularization, an individualization, a personalization of that unity. So in a sense, you are experiencing yourself as a son or daughter of God. Here, the experience is that you not only come from the unity of God, but that you never leave it.

Facets of Unity, pg. 99

Seeing the Nature of the Universe More Accurately

So we come back to the experience we’ve explored in earlier chapters, the experience of divine love being the nature of the whole universe, its molecular substrate. But now it comes through our perceiving the universe in a more accurate way. When we explore our personality and see it to be a shell, we can see our nature more accurately. Similarly, when we penetrate our usual notion of the universe and see the shell that it is, we begin to see the nature of the universe more accurately. We begin to see it as one undivided whole, without boundaries separating one thing from another. It is a nondual world. And the nature of the universe in this boundless dimension of divine love is one of delicacy, of sweetness, and softness. We come back to the divine ocean again, but now it is not “I am experiencing it,” but simply “it is experiencing.” Now there is only one. There is no separate “I”; there is indivisibility. It’s not that the physical world disappears—things still appear to exist and interact. The same patterns continue to arise, but they appear now as theophany, as manifestations of this divinity, which is boundless love and light.

Seeing the Universe as an Expression of Intrinsic Goodness or Positivity

This idea of the universe being conscious and animate, alive and intelligent, comes from very early in the history of human consciousness. It is one of the oldest and most basic ideas in religion, spirituality, and philosophy. In the Hermetic tradition of ancient Egypt, for example, the universe, or cosmos as they called it, was seen as a living being. This notion was developed in the various monotheistic traditions that originated in the Middle East, and was part of Hellenistic understanding as far back as Pythagoras. It is only since the scientific revolution of the last two hundred years that we have seen the universe as fundamentally physical. We can experience Being in any of its boundless dimensions, each dimension revealing an aspect of its timeless truth and providing a necessary ground for experience and life. So the experience of this alive consciousness at the level of Living Daylight is that the universe is pervaded by love, that it is love, and that everything within it is an expression of love. It is the experience of the universe as an expression of intrinsic goodness or positivity. For human beings, good means loving. If someone wishes you well or feels positively about you, we say that that person likes and loves you, and so we call this quality love. The universe is experienced here as fundamentally loving, functioning universally in such a way that life unfolds in a positive way, functioning personally in such a way that you become more of what you can be—fulfilling your destiny.

Facets of Unity, pg. 34

Seeing the Universe as Oneness Without Its Functioning

When we see the Universe as Oneness without perceiving the functioning, we're looking at a deeper reality in some sense. We're seeing the Supreme dimension of pure presence or maybe the Nameless dimension of pure awareness, and we’re seeing it as a state where time is not there, where it seems there is only eternity. But to see the Universe as Oneness in the level of Christ, time is there but redeemed as real time. Then time is nothing but transformation, change, and functioning. So we redeem the human mind by resurrecting its concepts as real. The concept of time, the concept of space, the concept of an object, the concept of humanity are resurrected as made of consciousness, made of the truth, made of reality. All forms are a direct manifestation of the life of the Father as the Son. This is my understanding of the contribution of Christianity, a contribution that no other tradition so clearly and definitely makes.

The Manifestation of Creative Intelligence

If we think of the universe as God, we are thinking of it as not only consciousness but as some kind of pure intelligence. This means that its action is not mechanical and arbitrary, but completely spontaneous and free. The universe manifests at each moment completely spontaneously, and the spontaneous action is the action of intelligence, the action of creativity. So the best way for us to open ourselves to this realization is to go along with it. To become free, we have to learn to surrender, to go along with what happens. This is the most important methodological basis for our work: We stay with what is, and allow it to unfold. The only doing that is necessary is understanding our situation enough to see how we believe we are choosing what happens, when in reality, we are not.

Facets of Unity, pg. 122

The Shift in Perspective From Conventional Reality to Fundamental Reality

The shift of perspective from conventional reality to fundamental reality is a huge, quantum jump from one universe to another. No wonder this Work is difficult! When we see just how difficult, we understand more why we need to be patient and compassionate with ourselves. We are not here simply to become free of the inner critic, or free from the emotional conditioning, nor simply to be successful. These things—the content of the world of appearance —are all part of life. Without appearance, there would be no life. But we want to move towards something more fundamental, which is to work with the ultimate basis of suffering, not the relative suffering that comes from our history. We are beings who exist in two worlds at the same time, while believing that we exist in one world, the world we know. But the way we need to live is with one foot in each world all the time. With one foot in the appearance and the other in the reality, we will never forget one or the other. In the world of appearance there is suffering, strife, success and failure, pain and pleasure, life and death. The true reality of things is the absence of all these. There is no birth, no death, no you, no not-you, neither pleasure nor pain. There is complete freedom, complete release.

The Universe is a Unified Radiance – One Field of Light that is in Dynamic Flow and Constant Change

The whole universe is a deep mysterious nothingness, openness, lightness, and complete absence of any heaviness. And this very mysterious, delicate spaciousness has a luminosity inherent in it, a glimmer, a radiance that gives it awareness of itself. This radiance appears in the various colors and forms we see as the many objects of discrimination. But it’s a unified radiance—one field of light that is in dynamic flow and constant change. This fourth characteristic is related to the Buddhist notion of the “wisdom of the reality field,” also called dharma-dhatu, one of the awarenesses of the Buddha. Before the realization of true nature, when you experience Essence as a presence inside you, you experience the spaciousness as an inner quality separate from Essence. Space feels empty of substance—it is a lightness and openness—whereas Essence is presence that has a substantial quality. You experience Essence arising in space. In the awareness of objective reality, Essence and space are recognized as the same thing; they are coemergent. So Essence is a presence that is spacious, that is aware, and that is continually transforming and creative.

The Universe is Never Old

Continual creation is the process through which each object exists. Since objects are not separate from each other, and they all form one continuous spatial tapestry which is the appearance of Being, continual creation is the process by which this appearance changes. All of existence is continually coming into being, where it is always a new existence. The universe is never old; it is always new, for it is renewed instant to instant. This includes absolutely everything. It includes both animate and inanimate objects, the earth and the sky, the planets, the sun and the stars, the galaxies and the space that contains them; it also includes all the thoughts, images, memories, feelings, sensations, and all phenomena at all levels of being. And all of this constitutes one manifold, continuous and continuously coming into being. We can experience this directly when we have realized the dimension of dynamic being. We do not simply perceive objects in space that move in time, but we experience ourselves as an infinite and boundless presence that continuously transforms itself into the various objects and forms of the universe. We experience ourselves as the ground and nature of all forms, but also as the substance that is in continual and eternal transformation, and through its transformation objects appear, continue to appear, and cease. All forms arise within this boundless manifold, as manifestations of its potentialities, but this manifold never becomes anything different from itself. There exist no objects, just the appearance of objects, which are nothing but in their totality the appearance that Being takes from instant to instant. All objects are Being itself manifesting as the universe. In other words, using monotheistic terminology, the universe is a theophany, and its changes are the life of God.

The Whole Universe Practicing

As we understand this dynamic of realization, as we recognize and understand that our practice is the whole universe practicing, we begin to appreciate more directly the importance of not interfering with our experience, the importance of nondoing. It is not the individual who practices nondoing—it is reality itself. As Living Being perceives itself as an individual functioning, it misidentifies its own dynamism with individual activity. When it sees that this confusion has disconnected it from itself, Living Being simply ceases identifying with individual activity. Functioning happens without identification with a centered self. This is nondoing. As you see, I keep talking about a dynamic. This is because the view of totality is not a particular state; it is an understanding that can arise in many states, many dimensions, many kinds of realization. So we are exploring the living dynamic of realization. When I say “living,” it is because reality is dynamic and it is more than dynamic—it is alive. Alive means there is intelligence and growth and evolution. We are talking about force. We are talking about dialectic. Realization won’t happen without you practicing. I don’t necessarily mean sitting and meditating; I mean being open and interested in reality. When you are learning and evolving and maturing, that is practice. At the same time, realization won’t happen simply through practice. Practice and grace, the two sides of realization, both have to be there. And yet, they are not exactly two, nor are they simply one. What do you call the view that as you practice as an individual, the reality that pervades all time and all space is manifesting its truth? What do you call the view that your taking responsibility for your practice is reality intensifying its dynamism to reveal itself? Is it dual? Is it nondual? Which is more important, the individual or grace?

Transformation of the Universe as a Unity

The Logos, on the other hand, is the presence of Being in a boundless manifestation that has a distinct dynamic quality to it. It is experienced as Being in flow, in movement. The flow and movement are not haphazard, but coincide with the changes we see as the occurrence of events in the totality of the whole universe. In other words, all changes are perceived from this dimension as the flow of substance and beingness of the Logos. The world is perceived, in some sense, as alive and living, as one infinite and boundless organism of consciousness. It is not merely the presence of Being or consciousness; this dimension of Being is experienced as a living organism, boundless and infinite. Movements, changes and transformations in the universe are then perceived as the functioning of this dimension. The whole universe is perceived to move, change and transform as a unity. This is universal or cosmic functioning, not related to a distinct entity in the world. This is admittedly rather mysterious, even unbelievable, when not experienced directly. It is the basis for the Western prophetic tradition’s concept of a God that creates and runs the universe

When the Whole Universe Appears as Mind

The whole universe, appearance or manifestation, appears as mind, but divine mind, universal mind. Nothing falls beyond the purview of this universal mind, for it is all manifestation. We are all in God’s mind, as God's thoughts; so are all objects both inner and outer. We may recognize here how our individual minds are reflections of universal mind, microcosms of the macrocosmic mind.

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