The Defenders of Essence

Supporting realization in challenging times 

Essence calls to essence. it responds appropriately to objective reality. 

As our realization of and in-touchness with essence grows and matures, we will experience a preciousness that calls forth a natural desire to guard and protect the treasure that is our realization. 

While our true nature needs no protection, our realization may, as we traverse a world where unconsciousness and reactivity are the de facto state of functioning. As we navigate our swamp of conditioning, both of these forces can be experienced as a relentless attack on realization. 

Every essential quality, boundless dimension, diamond vehicle, every iota of true nature is a defender of essence. But, in the journey toward essence and the journey with essence (see three journeys), as we see-saw back and forth between the life of the ego-self and life as essence, there are manifestations of true nature that arise over and over again to safeguard and protect and guide us to deeper allowing and embodiment. 

These defenders of essence are the red essence (true strength), the black essence (the power to be) and the citadel (true support for right living and functioning). 

Here are a few thoughts and notes to encourage a deeper exploration or refresher on the defenders of essence: 


Appreciating and allowing space is key to understanding the foundation of how essence defends and protects realization.

Space challenges and dissolves ego/mental boundaries and, thus, self-image. 

Space brings about expansion in the qualities of our senses, our sensations, and our mental capacities. It deepens our intuition. It expands our awareness into new dimensions of ourselves, some we would never have conceived could exist. It brings new capacities for perception and experience. In addition, space has the surprising and powerful capacity of expanding itself, continuously increasing the openness and dissolution of boundaries, allowing ever-greater understanding of ourselves and our minds.  – A. H. Almaas, The Void, Ch. 8 

So the most radical change, that of complete dissolution of the self-image which leads to the most radical spiritual rebirth, we will still consider a change in self-image. Self-image can change through a change in some of its boundaries. This happens through the dissolution of those boundaries. And thus the most radical change will be the complete dissolution of all boundaries in the mind.  
–A. H. Almaas, The Void, Ch. 15 

Wrathful Deities and Death Star 

Red Essence

The red essence is one of the defenders of essence. Qualities of the red that help to defend essence are its fiery energy, expansiveness, vitality, and discrimination. These qualities as well as the totality of the red help us to see boundaries (limits around) and distortions of the truth.  

With the support of the red, we can stand our ground, engage our immediate experience, and initiate appropriate and real action. 

The fire and expansiveness of the red burn through lies, destroying what lies between us and the truth. With ‘red in our eyes,’ we have x-ray vision like Superman to see through the lies and burn away the obscurations. 

The red is associated with the Tibetan wrathful deity Mahakala (mahā “great” and kāla “time/death”, which means “beyond time” or death. Left image in header image). Mahakala is a protector deity. If you are unfamiliar with Mahakala and the power of reality he represents, check out the description in Wikipedia

It seems to us that the concepts of neutralized aggression and aggressivity are closely related to the Strength aspect of Essence. It is seen as the energy powering the process of separation-individuation. We are not aware of any energy having this function besides that of the Strength Essence. It is our understanding, also, that the Strength Essence is the force behind what is often called the instinct for self-preservation. So we do not really have to look to biology to find the true aggressive energy for the organism; it is one of the aspects of Essence. It is interesting, however, that psychoanalysis considers the aggressive energy, or drive, as negative in nature, or at least instinctual; and that it needs to go through the process of neutralization to be utilizable for developmental purposes. Our perception is the opposite. The aggressive energy is, from the beginning, and, in fact, innately and always, “neutralized.” It is the Strength of Being, and hence it is the prototype or archetype of all capacities of strength at all levels. When present it infuses the organism with an innate strength that affects all levels of functioning. It gives the organism the sense of capacity, of the ability to exercise any of its functions. Its effect is to expand the capacity of the organism so that all its functions, at all levels, the physical, emotional and Being—are strengthened. Thus it aids the processes of separation and of essential development. It is the fire for it, the fuel that keeps it going. It is energetic, like fire. It is expansive, so it naturally leads to greater expansion of the organism, which is fundamentally what development is. Above all, it is an innate potential of the human being, an aspect of Essence, indestructible and inexhaustible. – A. H. Almaas, The Pearl Beyond Price, Ch. 18 

From the beginning it functions as the energetic strength of the organism, as the force behind its life energy, and hence has no negative or destructive sense. It is purely a life-giving and life-supporting strength and energy. The negative connotations and the destructive tendencies that are normally seen in the aggressive energy are not innate to the Strength Essence. They are, rather, the emotional reactions resulting from the blockage of the Strength Essence. When it is impeded from functioning, for one reason or another, there results a frustration in the organism. This frustration is then experienced, coupled with the energetic quality of the aspect, as aggression, anger, rage, destructiveness and so on, qualities which are usually seen as manifestations of the aggressive drive. It is the organism’s attempt to eliminate the blockage and the resulting frustration. However, the energy is no longer the Strength Essence, it is no longer an aspect of Being. Being cannot be aggressive in a destructive way. The destructive tendencies are on the emotional and drive level, but not on the Being level.  
– A. H. Almaas, The Pearl Beyond Price, Ch. 18 

More often than not, we tend to be mushy and undifferentiated in our experience—relating to it with vagueness and in generalities. We cannot tell one thing from another. When there is no precision, it means there is no clarity, and then it’s not possible to know the truth for what it is. This brings us back to the function of the Red latifa. The Strength Essence is useful for inquiry in giving us the strength to begin to discriminate. The more active the Red Essence, the more powerful, precise, and real our capacity for discrimination becomes. The more we discriminate, the more we separate from our reactions and self-images, and the more we know ourselves for who we are, which lets us open up to true nature. Discrimination is the very heart of inquiry, the heart of the revelation of truth.   
– A. H. Almaas, Spacecruiser Inquiry, Ch. 18 

Black Essence 

The black essence is the power to be. It annihilates the false in a silent way; it erases the mind of self-images and constructs, bringing deep peace and revealing the mystery and beauty of reality. 

The black can be associated with the Tibetan wrathful deity Yamantaka, the destroyer of death. Everything and anything that distorts or occludes true nature is functioning as death–anti-life. 

Power is one of the ways of experiencing the Black Essence. The Black Essence has two sides—the peaceful side and the wrathful side. The peaceful side is the stillness, mystery, and magic—qualities of the night. “Wrathful” is used here in the sense of the Tibetan tradition of being fierce and annihilating in the service of truth. The wrathful side is the quality of power. What is power? In the language of differential calculus, the definition of power is expressed as DE/DT, which means the rate of change of energy in relation to time. So power refers to the rate of output of energy, not just the quantity of energy that is available. The more energy you put out per unit of time, the more power is generated. That is why a more powerful engine can generate large quantities of energy fast enough to create a bigger capacity for movement or functioning. – A. H. Almaas, Spacecruiser Inquiry, Ch. 21

Hatred is fake power; it is black, but a dull, thick blackness. Hatred arises when we haven’t actualized the true power of the Black Essence. It is due to frustration in the face of difficulties. Hatred arises when you feel powerless, for it is an attempt to eliminate the frustration by annihilating it. You want to annihilate whatever problem you have, whatever is in your way, whether it is an inner or outer frustration. You want to make it disappear. True Black power does that, but through understanding instead of through aggression. Aggression only creates more frustration.  – A. H. Almaas, Spacecruiser Inquiry, Ch. 21 

The red and the black as defenders of essence arise to meet the moment with all of the power and strength of reality. There is nothing that can stand between them and the truth. There is nothing that they cannot clear out of our way to see the truth and be the truth. 

The Citadel

The Citadel is a Diamond Vehicle,  an essential noetic form which is a whole body of knowledge/wisdom pertaining to a certain aspect of what is needed for the soul’s spiritual evolution.

Recognizing the citadel as the defender of essence challenges the defenses of the ego-self, which then brings up her fears and terrors, ultimately the fear of death. Specifically, all these defenses are seen to function as the avoidance of feeling defenseless. Inquiring into the defenses reveals the ego-self’s underlying deficiency and inadequacy, for without the inner essential resources it has no real capacities. This universal ego deficiency turns out to be one of the main issues that the citadel addresses and resolves, with the wisdom that the soul is inherently deficient and truly incapable without her connection to her essential resources. Hence her only real recourse for supporting herself is living her life in a way that harmonizes with the truth her true nature has been revealing to her. Right living becomes the invitation for the citadel to take its place in the inner economy of the soul, as the essential defender of the truth and its realization. This again makes it possible for the soul to let go of her ego defenses and be open to the truth as the master of her existence and life. – A. H. Almaas, The Inner Journey Home, ch. 15 

So to recapitulate, we need objective perception to understand that Essence is the answer, Essence is the fulfillment, Essence is the Ridhwan. And from that will result the true value of Essence in yourself, in others, everywhere. Then, with that understanding and valuing, there will arise the true discipline, the true protection for Essence and for the essential life. The world we live in does not support this. People around us do not support this. There are pressures everywhere against this orientation. When you experience Essence, it needs to be protected. You have to find your own citadel, your own fortress. Your citadel has to do with the true discipline; it is the true discipline. There is an actual aspect of Essence that we call the citadel, which is the protection for your essence so that it will be preserved and develop and can be used for others. This is the right way of living. It has to be there. It’s not that you’ll experience your essence and automatically get out of the swamps. You have to take action, to live your life in accordance with the truth, the truth of your essence, the truth of who you are, your situation, what your limitations are. These need to be taken into consideration in the way you live your life. It’s not going to just happen—there are too many external forces against it. It is your responsibility to protect and guard and preserve your essence, your true nature. You couldn’t do that as a child because you were totally dependent, but now you have the chance to preserve and protect your essence as you experience it.   – A. H. Almaas, Diamond Heart Book One, Ch. 9 

For those of you who remember the arrival of the Death Star in Star Wars, you will recall the music of “an immensity arriving” and then the awesomeness of the death star as it entered from the top of the screen. The whole scene brought an awestruck-feeling that the day of reckoning has arrived. 

The Citadel represents such an awesome immensity, but instead of being a force of evil it is a powerful defense of the goodness of our personal beingness. 

To taste, witness, and experience the defenders of essence leaves no doubt that reality is the ultimate protector of our preciousness. 

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