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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is You?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: You

How Do We Conceptualize Ourselves?

Conceptualizing yourself means that you use all your experiences, good and bad, to crystallize a certain picture. And this picture is mostly based on a rejection of something you don’t want, something you experience as negative or painful. One of the main purposes of the creation of identity is to resist. The conceptualization of identity is simply the crystallization of that activity into an image of a person. But the core of that image is the frustration, which I call the state or affect of negative merging. Instead of harmony, there is a jagged flow through the nervous system. This is experienced as frustration, which is suffering. Psychic suffering, mental suffering is that actual contraction, that feeling of harshness, dryness, stuckness. Whenever we are reacting to or rejecting anything, we are identifying with that core of frustration. Of course, this core of cyclic reactivity and frustration is covered with something softer, so that usually we don’t feel it. We dull it with all kinds of beliefs and ideas. So we see that the personality is constructed of a continuous cyclic movement of reactivity. It continuously produces more of itself, more frustration and suffering. Understanding this enables us to understand the processes of disidentification, letting go, surrender, and acceptance.

Taking the Personality to be Who You Truly Are

There is nothing bad about having a personality. You have to have one. You couldn’t survive without it. However, if you take the personality to be who you truly are, then you are distorting reality because you are not your personality. The personality is composed of experiences of the past, of ideas, of notions, of identifications. You have the potential to develop a real individuality, the Personal Essence, which is different from the personality that covers the loss of Essence, but this potential is usually taken over by what we call our ego, our acquired sense of identity. If a person believes himself to be the ego, resulting from identifications, ideas and past experiences, then he is said to be “not in the world, but of it.” He is not aware of who he really is, of his essence. This is difficult to understand unless we are aware of our own essence, at least some of the time. The ego, or the sense of ego identity, takes the place of what we call the real identity, and the personality as a whole takes the place of Essence. The personality is a substitute, an impostor. The world is the same for both Essence and personality, but the way the world is seen is different. A person who is “not in the world, but of it,” is oriented toward the personality instead of toward Essence.

The Problematic Situations in Your Life

The problematic situations in your life are not chance or haphazard. They are specifically yours, designed specifically for you by a part of you that loves you more than anything else. The part of you that loves you more than anything else has created roadblocks to lead you to yourself. Without something pricking you in the side, saying, “Look here! This way!” you are not going to go the right direction. The part of you that designed this loves you so much that it doesn’t want you to lose the chance. It will go to extreme measures to wake you up, and it will make you suffer greatly if you don’t listen. What else can it do? That is its purpose. How much suffering and difficulty it brings you is immaterial in relation to the fulfillment and satisfaction you will have when you actually struggle and see the fruits of the struggle. You can look at your problems as difficulties to be gotten rid of as fast as possible with the least struggle, or you can look at them from the perspective of the part of you that is guiding you to yourself. If you look at them from that more accurate, more finely tuned perspective, the new issues that then arise have a new value. They have nutrition that you need. The whole process works with the utmost purity, the most complete intelligence and compassion. The most difficult things that happen to you are, on the deepest level, the most compassionate.

The Truth is You

The truth is you. And without you, facts are irrelevant, useless. When you feel truth, you feel yourself. The truth is not something different you use to free yourself. First we saw it as moralistic. Then we saw it was utilitarian – it is useful to find truth because it will lead us to freedom; now we see it in a deeper sense, not that it is useful to find truth: the truth is you. It’s not like truth is going to lead you to yourself. The truth is yourself. The truth is your very nature.

What is Your Life Worth Without Your Essence?

It is necessary to consistently make the effort to set the Work over everything else. It is your path for realizing the preciousness in you. What is your life worth without your essence? What’s the good of your business or your relationship or your sex life if you are not in touch with your essence, which is the source of all fulfillment? You can become a millionaire, have hundreds of lovers, whatever, but if you are not in touch with your essence, these things are useless, hollow. You can have all the ideas you want, but if they’re not coming from your true nature, they’re nothing. They are dust. It’s not a matter of trying to decide which is better right now: to do the Work or to do something else. The situation is never like that. When you truly understand what the Work is all about, you will see that the situation is always that the Work is the basis of real life. Whatever else you are going to do is useless if your essence is not in it. Don’t kid yourself that you can do it by yourself, because most of the time your superego is in control and your unconscious is running your life. There is no way you can do this by yourself while your superego is in charge. You can tell yourself, “I don’t really need the Work. I don’t need anybody to help me. I’ll find my own way.” Some people get into that. But who’s talking? You can do the Work on your own only if your essence is the center of your life already. If it is not, then you need a teaching or somebody who is connected to Essence.

What You Are is Not Different from Recognizing the Nature of Your Awareness

In the Diamond Approach, our orientation is not toward having spiritual experiences. In fact, we are not interested in having any particular type of experience at all. We are interested in actualizing our potential. This means realizing who we are, discovering what the essence of our Being is, continuing to recognize this, continuing being what we are—our spiritual presence, our true nature—and learning how to live as that. It is a profound, meaningful way of living. So it is not a matter of having a succession of experiences while continuing to be the same person, simply adding on more and more interesting spiritual experiences. No: At some point you learn who you are, what you truly are; and the one who lives your life becomes a different person. There could be other possibilities; you might not even feel like a human being at times, but regardless of the particular form that your being might take at one time or another, you want to be you, as fully and completely as possible. For a long time, you don’t know who that one is. You say, “Me who?” At a certain point, you realize that what you are is not different from recognizing the nature of your awareness, the nature of your consciousness. It is what you are. It is the essence of your Being. And the essence or nature of what we are can express itself in what we call spiritual qualities, or spiritual forms, or different kinds of subtle energies.

You Are Actually Working to Make Yourself

I would be cruel and uncompassionate to take your struggle away from you. And you would be doing a disservice to yourself to get rid of your struggle. You need to see this from the correct perspective and get involved in it, embrace it. In that way, you are making yourself. You are actually working to make yourself. And the deepest realizations, the most genuine satisfactions, the most lasting fulfillments are those which are personal to you, which are very intimate to your heart. They are your own. They don’t really have to do with me or anybody else. Your deepest inner struggle and the substances, the juices, that come out of the struggle are of utmost value to you. Nobody else can do that for you. Struggle is the salt of the process. Without it, your life would be bland. Your achievements would be bland. You would not be able to value them. Without the salt, without the struggle, they would not be rooted in you, and you would not be able to embody them. Struggle is a friction inside you. That friction will make certain parts of you get sweeter and sweeter. I’m not talking about indulging in suffering. I’m not talking about causing pain for yourself. I’m talking about genuinely grappling with whatever situation is at hand, taking responsibility and really confronting it, whatever it is, and being there for whatever issues, whatever problems, whatever conflicts, whatever situations you have in your life. Completely embrace them; involve yourself wholeheartedly in life. Do your best to observe and experience what is happening and to understand it. When you are in the struggle, you are involved with yourself. You can know every little part of you, definitively.

You Are Not a Continuity in Time

Mental anguish, along with the thinking process that produces emotions, is based on the notions of time and causality. You cannot make yourself suffer unless you think in terms of causality and time. When you suffer, usually you're saying, "Now, I'm angry because someone did this to me. Now, I'm hurt because such-and-such happened. Now, I'm scared because someone did that to me." If you simply eliminate the thought of time and causality, suffering ends. You could be aware of what's right at that moment, know that whatever you're thinking at that moment is actually just happening in that moment. What you feel has nothing to do with what happened yesterday. Just be aware of yourself this very second. Just realize that you are instantaneously emerging. Break the temporal continuity of sensation. Realize instantaneously, right at this very second, you are emerging. You are absolutely instantaneous emergence. You are not a continuity in time.

You Become a Window Through Which the Day Breaks

We can see more clearly now the momentous error I talked about at the beginning; you fall into this error by taking the reflection to be the reality. The world you see is a reflection like a reflection in water. You want to solidify the reflection to make it reality, but then you are not seeing what reality is, without which there would be no reflection. Reality has nothing to do with what will happen and what will not happen, what has happened and what is going to happen; here, even the word “happen” has no meaning. It is possible to be aware of reality before having words of any sort, before the dawn of cognition, before the beginning of thinking and conceptualization. Everything else is a repetition of the past, of ideas, images, and feelings from the past. You might remember that when you were a very young child things seemed to be new. Things were fresh, they had some kind of openness and excitement about them. As a child, every time you go somewhere that you have never seen before—oh, new!—it is exciting. So maybe there is a wisp of a memory of what freshness is, of what innocence is. You have to be naive, unknowing, completely helpless, utterly defenseless. You have to be absolutely vulnerable. There is a sense of innocence and virginity, with the sense that everything is new and nothing has yet happened. So who you are is a very original reality— it hasn’t been broken. You become a window through which the day breaks. It is like the first moment of knowing there is anything. It is the dawn of consciousness, the daybreak of consciousness. There is just the slightest glimmer of perception, before you know that there is perception, before the mind creeps in with a layer of deadness. This is original reality, our original face. Clearly, there is no way that we can penetrate or open our eyes to that totally fresh, totally virginal, absolutely innocent reality unless we let ourselves be completely defenseless and vulnerable, with no ideas or preconceptions, without even a movement of mind or consciousness. Whatever we are, whatever we see, is spontaneous, the completely uncontrollable wild explosiveness of reality. Every second is a big bang, before anything got formulated yet. That’s what it means not to look through the mind. That’s what it means to be fresh; that’s what it means to regain our original innocence.

You Can't Be Real if You are Not Yourself

You can’t be real if you are not yourself. You cannot be something other than what you are and be real. Observe and you will discover that most of the time, you are not real because you are not yourself. So what are you then? Who are you being? What are you doing? Most of us are being and acting out an image of ourselves—an idea, a picture, a concept. If, in this moment, you are an image of who you truly are, you can only be distant from yourself. And most of us are even further away from our real self than that, because we are an image of something other than what we are—for example, an image of our body or an image of how we were as a child. And the unrealness becomes greater still when we are being an image or picture of someone else altogether, such as of one of our parents. So what is the practice of being real? It is the same as the practice of being oneself. To be real means, “I am not an idea of myself. I am not pretending to be myself. I am not being in reaction to something or someone or their image of me. I am being what I actually am.” But it is not as though one can just stop being unreal and start being oneself. After all, who knows what that actually means? How are you going to try to be yourself? It is not as though you have many selves on a shelf, and you can take the real one down and put it on. The good news is that no matter how distant you are from yourself, something in your experience in any given moment expresses who you really are. You can wander far from your realness—you can even become disconnected from it—but who is it that is far away or is disconnected? It’s still you. Whatever your experience, wherever you are, whatever you are perceiving, is connected to what and who you really are.

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