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Posted November 2, 2011
This way lies freedom
This fifth and final volume in the Diamond Heart series consists of 13 stand-alone talks about the purity and creative dynamism of reality given by Almaas to students of the Diamond Approach. Delivered with humour, love, and delight, the talks discuss issues and experiences that arise after years of sincere commitment to the inner journey. But even if you are new to spiritual work, the beauty of Almaas's teaching is that he impacts the reader's soul in whatever way is appropriate to that soul's needs in the moment. This loving intelligence in the unfolding of reality is one aspect that Almaas explores in the talks on creative dynamism. At a book signing, I asked the author why he put "the blue eye of God" on the cover of the book. He said he wanted us to think about who is looking at who. Or maybe he said hu is looking at hu. Whether or not his answer was Sufic in nature, there's no question that the Christian Logos is a theme that threads through the book. In Diamond Heart Book Five more than any of his previous books, Almaas uses the Christian notion of God to explicate the soul's relationship to the divine and share his understanding of the soul's journey of transformation. I mentioned humour, and there are some passages in the book that really cracked me up. In the chapter "Suffering and Its Cessation," Almaas says "In fact, you begin to realize that you are not even going to enjoy the fruits of your work." This struck me as hilarious; a real laugh-out-loud moment. Because of course most of us are hoping to get some kind of positive enjoyment from doing this work. But true love of the truth doesn't care about positive or negative, pleasure or pain. In "Absolute Absence," a student asked, "If somebody were in that void forever, what would happen to the person sitting next to them?" Almaas replied, "It is very dangerous to sit next to somebody who is in the void forever. That person is like a black hole. They will swallow you if you stay there long enough." Can you imagine if this happened to you or your neighbor at a retreat? Pretty funny stuff. There is a beautiful description of the ego in "Here's Looking at You": "The ego doesn't die, it transforms.... you can't kill the ego. There is no separate thing that is the ego. The ego is action, simply an activity that fastens your being, your soul, your psyche, and your self in a particular way. The ego becomes rigid, fixated, and forms a dry plaster on your gut that restricts the movement of your soul. As the ego dissolves, you experience essence and being more directly." For me, this passage removes the fear of losing the ego, and makes it seem like a gentle, gracious process. In the final chapter, "Divine Quintessence," Almaas shares more recent realizations from his inner journey. The dynamism of reality means that there is no particular condition that is the final state of enlightenment. There is no end-point to the inner journey: the mysteries of reality continue to reveal and express themselves through our individual consciousness. Hence the title, Inexhaustible Mystery. For adventurers on the inner journey, this is exciting news! The adventure continues after we come home.
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Posted April 4, 2012
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