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What Next ?

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is What Next ??

Diamond Approach Teachings About: What Next ?

Attempting to Twist God's Arm

I’m saying this because many teachings assert, “Leave what you are experiencing now and go to a higher state. The practice is to actualize wholeness in the present moment, to actualize the mystery right now.” This may be one way of doing it, but the natural intelligence of our Being doesn’t function this way. It does not skip the present and its content, no matter what it is, and jump to the ultimate. This is because Being’s optimizing intelligence is responsive to the specific details of this moment. Sometimes the wholeness of Being will be the appropriate response to the situation of the moment; most of the time, that is not the optimal response. You might very well ask, “Well, if the movement is not going toward wholeness now, but it ultimately will, why not push it that way?” But are we as intelligent as Being itself, in its natural responsiveness? Do we know what the next step will be? Are we as omniscient as Being itself that we can determine how the current should go? How do we know that the way the current naturally is flowing when we are aligned with Being’s intelligence is not the most efficient route toward wholeness? So understanding the dynamics of Being reveals a trap that many people fall into: attempting to twist God’s arm or second-guessing Being, trying to help it along by pushing its current in a particular direction. This tendency to orient our experience toward a particular state reveals more than anything else the identifications and positions we have learned from various teachings. Most teachings actually say, “This is where you’re headed, so let’s go straight there.” This is especially a danger when we become attracted to teachings referred to as sudden, direct, or fast methods. Such approaches might seduce you into believing that you can jump into the final realization without going along with the dynamism itself. The possibility definitely exists that this jump will be successful, but it is a minuscule possibility, and whether it can happen depends on where you are in your journey.

Complete Allowing

What I’m doing is opening your mind so you can allow and perceive a certain attitude, a certain way of being. That is the freest attitude for the process of growth – the attitude of complete allowing. You are not passive. You are not active. You are allowing. We will see that the process grows, unfolds from one thing to the next. The process emerges if you allow it, give it the space to emerge. Your most important work is to understand the barriers you have against the unfolding. Wherever you are, you look at yourself and understand what are your barriers, what are the things that are stopping you from experiencing fully what is there. When you do experience fully, you don’t try to hold on to the experience or determine what direction it will take. You just experience it fully and that’s it. Your mind is open for anything to happen.

Preferences Interfere with Freeing Our Essence

Because the content of the unconscious issues is (by definition) unknown to our conscious minds, and further, because the different levels of Essence are not only unknown but unimaginable to the personality, having expectations or preferences about what will happen next can only interfere with the process of freeing our Essence. The process of essential development has its own logic, which you can discover only as it happens.

The Pitfalls of Practicing With Any Particular Aim

In the Diamond Approach, the central practice of inquiry reveals clearly the pitfalls of practicing with any particular aim. Practicing toward any end already implies that we know what is supposed to happen next. We are second-guessing reality about what it is going to present. Having a goal for our practice also assumes that what is happening is not enough, is not sufficient. When we strive toward some end or another, we are rejecting what is actually happening. Aiming for any particular end becomes an obstruction, a subtle veil over our immediate experience. One of the basic principles of inquiry is that we simply stay with wherever we are, we see the truth of the moment, we don’t try to get someplace. Where we are is where we need to practice, without judgment and without a goal. Seeing the truth of the moment develops and unfolds the moment in whatever way it needs to go, independent of our desires and beliefs. In the practice of inquiry, it is vital that we are not trying to orient what is happening, to direct it in one way or another. We don’t inquire, we don’t practice, in order to change where we are. We inquire simply to see what the truth is in that moment—and that might or might not change as we inquire. We cannot know ahead of time which way anything will go. What is happening might change toward something we like or it might change toward something we don’t like. Letting go of aims is difficult because we all have our preferences and our ideas of what is good and bad. And we also have all manner of spiritual ideals that we have absorbed throughout our lives from reading books and hearing stories and learning practices.

There is No Way for You to Know the Next Step

To allow the process of growth you need to allow that anything is possible, anything can happen. You don’t know what it will be. There is no way for you to know the next step. If you try to direct it in any way, you're just going to stop it. You can only be yourself, be what you are now and allow the next thing. For, after all, the core of life is a mystery.

Understanding Will Lead Us Into Whatever is Next For Us

So, understanding sees the barriers, sees the false, and reveals the truth. It brings a sense of the completion of something, completing the gestalt. Then it brings in the unfoldment. One of the frustrating aspects of our work here is that when you understand something, it seems to change to something else. People work on something and get to a certain essential state; they experience their strength, for example. It feels wonderful, powerful, strong, expansive and all that. The person wants to feel it all the time. But our method is understanding, and understanding will lead us into whatever is next for us. So if a person comes to experience his strength and completely understands it, he’s likely to wake up one morning and find that it’s gone. What happened? It’s not there that much. Although the unfoldment might be experienced by the mind and the personality as a loss, it is really a movement forward, a movement deeper. Understanding continues like this from one level to the next. The moment something is completed and you understand it, your mind moves to the next thing. This process of moving from one thing to another, losing one thing after another, will continue until you arrive at something you cannot understand. The only end of this process of understanding is experiencing yourself in a way that is unknowable.

You Never Know Where You Are Going to End Up

So openness means that in the Diamond Approach, we do not go along with many of the traditional spiritual teachings that posit a particular end state. Since it is intrinsic to the perspective of inquiry and investigation that we do not start with the assumption of a goal, we want to find out whether there is such a thing as an ultimate spiritual goal. We want to find out whether it is possible to even think from the perspective of a final state or realization. There might not be such an end, and yet if there is going to be an end, we definitely want to find out. But we do not start by saying there is an end, and the end is such and such, that we are going to go there and we must do such and such to get there. Positing an end state is definitely a valid way of doing the inner work, but it is not the way of inquiry. In this approach, we do not have a map that says we should go from here to there; so we don’t decide on a particular route that we think will lead us someplace we want to go. Instead, we consider the experiential field we are in at this moment and discern the direction that is emerging from our experience, and then follow that. Then our inquiry is directed by what is happening at this moment, not by some goal in the future we believe we are going to arrive at. That is what makes the journey really exciting. You never know what the next step is going to be. You never know where you are going to end up—you might fall splashing in the river or find yourself trapped in the middle of the Earth. You do not know. It can be scary, but it can be quite thrilling. Not everybody has the heart or the stomach for this kind of adventure.

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