We view reality to be a Riemannian manifold with many dimensions of Being: the physical dimension of time and space, the dimension of subtle energy, and the subtle dimensions of presence. The latter are those structuring the presence of true nature.
We can come to know true nature by studying its dimensions of manifestation. These dimensions express the fundamental characteristics of true nature, such as omnipresence, awareness, dynamism, gnosis, and so on. Thus to understand the timeless and spaceless characteristics of true nature as they are reflected in manifestation we need to focus on what we, in the Diamond Approach, refer to as the boundless dimensions of Being, the subtle dimensions of true nature that reveal its boundlessness.
The Diamond Approach recognizes five basic subtle boundless dimensions as being of primary importance. These begin to manifest after the soul has developed to realize her true nature as Being itself. True nature simply expands beyond the limited perspective of individual experience and reveals itself as the essence and ground of all manifestation, not just of the soul. True nature reveals its manifest structure through the revelation of these dimensions. The dimensions are all simultaneously the dimensions of true nature; all are always present in manifest presence, just as length, width, and depth are always present as the dimensions of physical space. To understand manifest true nature completely, we need to understand all these dimensions and how they coemerge to structure our experience of its field.
Even though true nature is composed of five coemergent boundless dimensions—the sources of love, presence and knowing, awareness, space, and dynamism—these dimensions generally manifest in the inner journey one by one, in a specific order. The order seems to be of increasing fundamentality and subtlety, moving from the dimension closest to ordinary experience to the one nearest to transcendent truth. These dimensions arise in an order that reveals the characteristics of manifest true nature in increasing depth, subtlety, and precision. The latter levels are simpler than the ones preceding them, possessing less structure and hence less accessibility to our ordinary consciousness. Yet they are all true and authentic dimensions of true nature, spanning the totality of its Riemannian manifold.
When a boundless dimension manifests, it relocates the consciousness of the soul to a whole different realm of reality, where she experiences herself and the world in a completely new way. All the elements of her world continue to appear, especially the objective ones not constructed by her mind, but they begin to appear on a different dimension. So the body, physical reality, emotions, thoughts, images, actions, and essential aspects all continue to appear, but in a different light. They appear explicitly as manifestations of true nature, with the quality and characteristics of the particular boundless dimension. The elements are all grounded in and inseparable from a boundless and infinite field of presence.
Therefore, the experience of each of the boundless dimensions includes the perception that all of reality is one. All manifestation is one Reality, unified by the boundless dimension that forms the ground and substance for all forms. Hence, self-realization on the boundless dimensions is the experience of unity, oneness, and nonduality. It is the knowledge of the indivisibility of true nature, reflecting its nondimensionality, but appearing in the multidimensional manifestation as oneness and unity. The experience and understanding of this indivisibility becomes subtler as deeper boundless dimensions arise, moving toward the truth of nondimensionality.
Each boundless dimension brings about a whole universe of experience, perception, insight, and wisdom. The wisdom becomes available through the precise and objective presence of what we call wisdom or Diamond Vehicles. As the soul encounters the boundless dimensions on her inner journey, all the Diamond Vehicles arise on that level, on the level of presence characteristic of the particular boundless dimension. They function together, teaching the soul and transmitting the wisdom of this dimension of true nature, experientially and with precise discrimination. Their combined wisdom functions to help the soul self-realize the particular boundless dimension, and to integrate it into her ongoing everyday life.
- adapted from The Inner Journey Home, Chapter 16 by A. H. Almaas