A natural pearl is formed when an irritant enters the shell of an oyster and the oyster secretes a product to covers the irritant. In time, after many layers, a precious pearl is formed. Almaas describes how the forming of a natural pearl is like the journey of the soul.
It is due to the direct result of life’s ‘irritations’, of challenges, frustrations, sufferings and struggles that we are forced to wake up and to develop all of our potentials. The journey of ascent and the journey of descent culminate in the final synthesis, of not only the five dimensions of true nature and essential aspects but also the physical dimension and vital energy dimension (prana and Shakti).
In the Quintessential Dimension, our Soul’s have been so thoroughly tumbled and polished that we no longer experience the universe as multi-layered but as one perfectly merged, fused and integrated whole experience. This is beyond nonduality, for this is not only the realisation of all the dimensions of true nature but the full personal integration of all of existence. To differentiate from nonduality, Almaas calls this experience as co-emergent nonduality.