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What Next

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

Excerpts 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.

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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