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Wonder (No Wonder . . . )

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Wonder (No Wonder . . . )?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Wonder (No Wonder . . . )

Complete and Permanent Personal Fulfillment is Rarely Attained

From the above discussion we see that the man of the world has a truth, a spiritual truth, a truth related to Being. This deep truth of Being patterns his life; it is the archetype for his life. However, this truth is hidden, is known only through a reflection, which is the ego. Hence it is distorted and imprecise. It is no wonder that complete and permanent personal fulfillment is rarely attained. The life of the reflection cannot be truly fulfilling, even though it is a reflection of reality. Its fulfillment and satisfaction, which are always dependent upon external circumstances, are bound to be only a reflection and imitation of the real fulfillment and satisfaction of essence. However, the reflection can lead to the reality reflected. The reflection of the Personal Essence in the ego is seen in the personal quality, in the value of autonomy and in the capacity to make personal contact. We have already seen how the pursuit of understanding these characteristics can lead directly to the experience of the Personal Essence.

Essence is Called the Agent of Inner Transformation

The personality slowly loses its grip. The conditioning is gradually shaken loose, and the ego is exposed in its bankruptcy. Finally, the aspect of death manifests, and then the ego-identification starts dissolving. This marks the entrance into the divine realm of essence, where grace and mercy begin descending into consciousness, dissolving more and more of the ego boundaries. This ultimately leads to the understanding of enlightenment, and the emergence of the Supreme aspect. There is even an aspect that has to do with the search and with the end of seeking. This in turn brings about the manifestation of the magnificence, the majesty, the exquisiteness, the magic, and the beauty of essence. Now, ego does not need to be slain. One does not have to wage war against ego, conquer or destroy it. Ego cannot but shatter at the recognition of the sheer beauty of essence and all of existence. It cannot but melt in the experience of the overwhelming precision and delicacy of essence. It cannot but bow and surrender at beholding the magnificence and majesty of reality. Essence—the teacher, the tempter—becomes ultimately the very stuff of our consciousness, the very substance of our beingness, the beauty of all existence. No wonder that essence is called the agent of inner transformation, the elixir of enlightenment. The elixir is the hope, it is the solution, and it is the fulfillment.

Good Mother Becomes the Promise of Everlasting Happiness for the Ego

Unconsciously, Merging Essence is equated with the good undifferentiated representation, the positive dual unity. But consciously it is associated with the good mother, or the all-good love object. A devastating outcome of this association is the development of the strong belief that the Merging Essence is not part of oneself, but that it is, or is part of, the good mother. In the usual process of ego development, the most integration an individual can have of this aspect is the belief that one can experience it only with the good mother, or with somebody who stands for her. We see this clearly reflected in Ruth’s report when she says about her mother: “I believe she has the love and warmth, and I am nothing without her.” Another important factor in this aspect is its relation to the nervous system. It is a state of melting and flow, expansion and pleasure. When it is present it seems particularly to affect the nervous system, facilitating the functioning of the nerve cells and ends, as if energy and electrical impulses become smoother and more easily transmitted. It is a profound relaxation of the nervous system, and of the whole organism. It is closely allied to the functioning of the parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system. So it facilitates discharge, rest, relaxation, metabolism, gestation, which are all features of states of satisfaction and gratification. Its effect on the organism, at all levels, is that of comforting, soothing, nourishing, relieving tension and discharging energy. It is no wonder that the good mother becomes the promise of everlasting happiness for the ego. She represents a vehicle for the return to Essence. 

Man is Said to be Living Upside Down

This state of taking the personality as the true identity and master of our life is what the Sufis call the state of sleep. The Sufi master Sanai of Afghanistan puts it this way: “Humanity is asleep, concerned only with what is useless, living in a wrong world.” The essence is gone, and the personality claims its position. The shell claims to be the essence. The lie claims to be the truth. No wonder man is said to be living upside down. This situation is illustrated in graphic detail by a Sufi story that tells how the servants of a large house take it over when the master leaves for a long period. In time they forget that they are the servants; they forget their true positions and function. Eventually, they even believe they own the house. It is not possible for the average person who is identified with his personality to understand or appreciate the significance and the far-reaching consequences of this subversion. The average person actually, albeit mistakenly, believes that his personality is he himself. He has no context for comparing the experience of his personality with what he lost. He can only compare the experiences of his personality. The beauty and the wonder of essence is completely lost to him. 

Modern Mainstream Thought Cannot Conceive of Presence as a Category on Its Own

We know presence by being presence, by simply being. In other words, we can experience Being explicitly as a category of its own, and not only as an implicit dimension characterizing existents. We can experience the dimension of presence explicitly, directly, and clearly. The development of the modern positivistic scientific paradigm owes a great deal to Descartes, who made a particular contribution to the separation of soul from God and universe, in a sense setting self above and against the universe, as a separate entity that can study it. It is no wonder that modern mainstream thought cannot conceive of presence as a category on its own, and can conceive of Being only in the abstract, as an implicit characteristic of existents. Modern thought is dominated by the philosophical paradigm that conceives of the world as matter, and of the self as matter that possesses consciousness. This perspective has supported our amazing scientific and technological advances, but it has also robbed our knowing of its most fundamental dimension. Many developments in more sophisticated current thought are confronting the limits of this view.

Rumi Talks About Flying

No wonder Rumi talks about flying. Love has a lightness, a carefreeness, a spontaneity, because the mind that is self-reflective, that is self-controlling, is melting away through that force of love. And that melting away is what we call rending the veils—the veils that are around our heart, around our soul . . . wall after wall after wall. Love is like a wonderful sweet acid that melts those walls in complete pleasure. The effect of love on the soul is to melt its boundaries while the soul feels ecstatic. You're being consumed while you're feeling wonderful. It’s a palpable feeling. You see, love is not a strong desire; it’s not a longing. Nor is it “I know I love you.” These things can be there, they can mix with love—but they cannot be love. They are actually the limitations of love. Love itself is the wonderful, beautiful sweetness that makes you happy. And when you feel it, you can't help but want the other person to be happy. That’s because love eliminates boundaries. So as it is melting your boundaries, it’s natural that you feel happy when you make the other happy. That’s because you are getting nearer. The soul is doing its thing. It's getting ripe. It's bearing its fruits. And the pink that I'm talking about is a very beautiful pink. It is very light and has a purity to it. It is so purely pink that it exudes innocence. You know how innocent and tender infants are. That innocence, that purity we are perceiving in the infant is love. We're not only perceiving skin that has not yet been hardened by life, we're seeing skin that is soaked with love. It has not hardened against love.  Love has that effect. It makes you luminous, it makes you radiant with happiness, with delight, with lovingness, with liking, with an appreciativeness.

Love Unveiled, pg. 59

So Few Individuals Respond

Returning to the issue of desire, we see that desire does not become a focus for inner work until the individual sees it as ego alien. For the average student, desire is experienced as ego-syntonic for a long time, and hence it is not seen as an issue. This is especially so for persons in the human community who have not chosen to follow the path of inner work. These people are very far from seeing desire as being ego-alien. In fact, desire is part of the fabric of everyday life for most of humanity. No wonder then, that so few individuals respond to such teachings. To say to the average man that he must eradicate desire in order to be happy is absurd. For one thing, this has no meaning for him; but more importantly, desire is still ego-syntonic. The form that the teaching is presented in is experienced as ego-alien by most people. The teaching itself is experienced as ego- alien. It will have to be experienced as ego-syntonic for there to be a response. This means it will have to be presented in a way that is ego-syntonic. The teaching must take into account that the student must experience in his own life that desire is an obstacle, that it thwarts him in his purpose.

Things are Heavy; We Have a Hard Time

The belief that you are contained within the body, bounded by the body, related to the body, part of the body will be wholly challenged. You will come to see that belief as one of the major sources of suffering. At some point in our work we realize that our true nature doesn’t have boundaries, that who we are is not bounded by physical partitions. If we continue believing in the solidity of those partitions, then we are trying to compact our true nature to fit into our idea of ourselves. This will bring a lot of tension! We begin to feel this tension in the body, sometimes as prickly, or like iron or leather all around the body. This is inevitable if we take the whole universe, our actual nature, and try to compact it into our little body. No wonder things are heavy; no wonder we have a hard time. And really, that is what everyone is doing all the time. Our identification with the body, with the shape of the body, with the size of the body, brings us deep suffering. Even our desire is yoked to our identification with the body. When you want someone, you want his or her body. When people are falling in love, it’s important that they get the body involved. It is not enough that the person says, “I really love you.” Our response is, “So? When are we going to get in bed? What difference does it make whether you love me or not?” You have to get the body. The body becomes of utmost importance. This is a strong instinctual reality.

This Work is Difficult

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.

We are Dissatisfied and Suffering

So, to believe that we are the separate individuality is to take ourselves to be something that does not truly exist, and to fail to see who we are, to fail to realize our true essence. No wonder, then, that we are dissatisfied and suffering, just as the Buddha observed. We can note here that this suffering is not a problem that can be solved therapeutically; it is not a matter of emotional conflict. Psychologists and psychotherapists deal usefully with human suffering by working on the conflicts of the personality, but from the perspective of spiritual teachings this approach clearly cannot deal with the basic problem, the root of all emotional conflicts. When the Buddha said that life is suffering, he did not mean only neurotic suffering. He was referring to the more fundamental understanding that there is bound to be suffering in the life of the ego, because one is not seeing reality correctly; one is taking oneself to be something that actually does not exist. It is a problem of mistaken identity.

We Don’t Want to Go Near these Holes

So, any deep loss is an opportunity to grow, to understand more about yourself, to experience holes that you believe can only be filled by someone else. Unfortunately, people usually defend like crazy against deeply feeling these losses. This is primarily to avoid feeling the hole. People don’t know that the hole, the sense of deficiency, is a symptom of a loss of something deeper—the loss of Essence, which can be regained. They think the hole, the deficiency, is how they really are at the deepest level, and that there is nothing beyond it. They think something is wrong with them, but this feeling that something is wrong is an unconscious knowledge of the presence of the hole. People will do anything to not feel the hole. They believe that if they get close to a hole, it will swallow them up. If they are coming up to the hole of love, for example, they might feel threatened by a devastating loneliness or emptiness. Other holes will bring up what feels like a threat of annihilation. No wonder we don’t want to go near these holes! But in our work here we have seen a surprising thing: when we stop defending against feeling a hole, the actual experience is not painful. We simply experience empty space, the feeling that there is nothing there. Not a threatening nothingness, but a spaciousness, an allowing. This spaciousness allows Essence to emerge, and it is Essence and only Essence that can eliminate the hole, that deficiency, from the inside.

We Have Been Longing for the Dissolution of Separating Boundaries

At this level of realization, we come also to perceive the unity of all manifestation. Since Being is an indivisible medium (not composed of parts), it follows that everything makes up a unity, a oneness. There is one existence, as opposed to two, or many. It is merely an infinite presence that possesses a pattern. This pattern is everything we perceive, including all persons and objects. So everything is connected to everything; there exist no separate and autonomous objects or persons. Another discovery is that we see this unity and oneness as our very self and identity. We experience: “I am everything. I am everyone, the bodies, thoughts and feelings of everybody, inseparable from all objects. I am the ground, essence, and source of everything.” No wonder we have been longing for the dissolution of the separating boundaries; the self intuited that the arising manifestation of Being is boundless and infinite. And no wonder we need to be seen as the most special. Pure Being is the most precious thing in reality because it is the preciousness of everything in reality. It is most special because it is the precious ground of everything that is special. In fact, it is what ascribes specialness to anything. This is the reason some students experience the narcissistic need as to be seen as the most special person. 

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