a h almaas
adding page while listening to Gabor Maté talk about roots of healing (here) say that he thinks Almaas is person he quotes most (and i’m thinking Gabor may be person i quote most.. at least .. he’s basis of a nother way):
6 min – quoting from AH Almaas .. i quote this very often.. in fact.. he may be the one person who i quote most often
The child is very open, and can feel the pain and suffering going on in its immediate environment. The child is aware of its own body and can also feel the tension, rigidity, and pain in the mother’s body or anyone else it is with. If the parents are suffering, the child feels it. If the mother is suffering, the baby suffers too. The pain never gets discharged.
that insight coupled with that antidote has informed a lot of my work.. whether it comes to physical illness..addictions or any other afflictions that human beings might face..
2014 – consciousness entanglement and life
einstein was one of first to write about – quantum entanglement.. he believed you couldn’t be.. because it contradicted the limit of the speed of light
entanglement.. meaning.. mysteriously connected somehow.. two particles.. very very far away from each other.. could be mns bns of light years away.. they could communicate instantaneously..
we can use it to help us understand something in the spirit experience
1 min – so the way i look at it..
..entanglement reveals something very basic to reality/universe
..it is .. what is the truth about the central nature of reality.. whether we call it awareness/consciousness or mysterious/ultimate truth.. that it has properties.. that entanglement might be telling us something about
now all spiritual teaching know that reality is unity.. everything is one
however.. the unity.. that classical mysticism discusses.. like the unity of beginning or the one ness of reality or the nonduality of all phenom does not completely address the question of entanglement
2 min – that kind of one ness still has/thinks separated in time.. but if we really investigate deeper into the very nature of consciousness/reality.. we’ll find out there are other kind of unity.. there are deeper/subtler unities.. the kind of unity.. for instance.. that shows really.. that the true nature of reality.. the essence of reality.. is really independent of time and space.. it has no shape/size.. however.. it contains the whole universe..
..in our essence.. we don’t even need to communicate.. we are at the same space/place/reality
i don’t mean expression of the same reality.. no .. we are the same reality that has no size/shape
3 min – you and i are one.. absolutely one.. we’re not.. it’s not that we are one because we are the same consciousness.. i mean .. you and i as individuals are one.. you and i are particles.. are one.. the particles are inside each other.. our bodies are inside each other.. each form is inside the other form..
so this kind of unity shows that all manifestation.. the whole universe.. is all in one point of some sense.. the whole universe like in the palm of your hands.. how william blake says..
to see a world in a grain of sand.. and a heave in a wild flower.. hold infinity in the palm of your hand.. and eternity in an hour – william blake
4 min – the scientific implications are deep/profound/amazing/interesting.. and the spiritual implications are quite unexpected.. because they reflect on the nature of relationship/love in a very deep way
why does love have a gravitational force.. see.. this unity explains it very clearly.. because.. they are so inside each other.. gravitational force because they are one..so if they see themselves as apart.. the love of one will bring them together
5 min – when we know the essence of love and we can really experience it from that place of unity.. then love pervades life in such a way .. that love and everything are inseparable.. not because everything has love in it.. but *love is simply the force.. of that unity.. that imbues all of life.. and **that love is completely selfless.. you can’t be that unity while the usual sense of self is there..
that impacts life/actions/communication.. also creates diff kinds of communication.. we have not expected before
if we truly know about the unity.. the spiritual unity that correspond to quantum entanglement.. we know how to learn from people of other times.. because there is no time that separates us..
i thought he was heading for thurman law ness
6 min – the knowing of this unity includes all time.. directly/immediately.. no thru thinking.. it’s like all time/space unfolded at one point
theory of holes
(go to his page for live links on many of the words..besides live linking.. i also took many parts out below)
Source of Deficiency, a Hole
Our understanding that the personality of ego is an imitation of the essential person, the person of Being, can be made more clear by what we call our “theory of holes.” …whenever an essential aspect is missing or cut off from one’s consciousness there results a deficiency, a hole, in its place. This hole is then filled by a part of the psychic structure that resembles the lost essential aspect.A “Hole” is Nothing But the Absence of a Certain Part of Our Essence
.. When we are not aware of our essence, it stops manifesting. Then we feel a sense of deficiency. So a hole is nothing but the absence of a certain part of our essence. ..However to say we have lost parts of Essence does not mean they are gone forever; they are never gone forever. You are simply cut off from them. ie: value or self-esteem. …feel a sense of deficiency, a sense of inferiority, and you want to fill this hole with value from the outside. You may try to use approval, praise, whatever…with fake value. ..we usually aren’t aware of them (holes) . We’re usually aware of desires: “I want praise. I want to be successful. I want this person to love me. I want this or that experience.” The..
..presence of desires and needs indicates the presence of holes.“Holes” Get Produced When You Are a Child
One more thing about the theory of holes. As I said, the holes get produced when you’re a child. When you’re a baby, you have no holes; you are complete when you are born. .. Every time you get cut off from a part of you, a hole manifests. ..What you fill the holes with are false feelings, ideas, beliefs about yourself, and strategies for dealing with your environment. These fillers are collectively called the personality, ..After a time, we think this is who we are. We think we are the fillers. The personality is trying to take the place of the real thing. ..We study the development of our personality until we are finally able to experience the memory of the situation in which that particular hole formed.
(go to his page for live links on many of the words..besides live linking.. i also took many parts out below)
Essence is the Real Person the Real and True Self
It is this sense of self, the core of the personality, and the need to preserve and defend it, that is the main reason why we see the realms of mind, heart, and bodyas if in opposition to essence. The personality, and its sense of self, is the particular structure of these realms. This structure includes only these realms, and if the realm of essence is introduced into it, essence will have a disorganizing and disintegrating influence on it. The personality will have to oppose essence to keep its own coherence and survival.
Essence is the real person, the real and true self. … this event, or more accurately the death of the personality’s belief in itself as the real thing, is the exact condition necessary for the realization of essence, for essence to become the center of our existence.Being is Who One Is, is the True Self
..Being is always there; it is what we are in the most fundamental way…The id systems are, at the least, in rivalry with Being and its aspects, and will always function defensively to ward off the deficiency resulting from loss of contact with Being. This defensiveness becomes apparent in the early stages of work on inner realization.
perhaps why i think of B on id.. as killer
Being Cut Off from the True Self by Identification with an Image
The final outcome of ego development is a unified self-image. This is experienced as a sense of self and a separate individuality; or one could say there is an individual with a sense of self. The Essential Self is replaced gradually by the ego sense of self, as the latter becomes increasingly established. By the time the ego development is capable of selective identification, the ego sense of self has become dominant. The process of loss of contact with the Essential Self is also exacerbated by the usual narcissistic difficulties and traumas in early childhood. The self is no longer an ontologic presence.
One is now cut off from the true Self by identification with an image.
credential ness as killer
One’s sense of self is now determined by a memory-image constructed from past object relations and structured by the development of internalized object relations, just as object relations theory contends. But as is clear according to our present analysis, that is not the whole story. The feeling of identity in the self-image is a vague memory of the true feeling of identity.Trying to Generate an Identity
So now you may be aware of identifying with that personal history and its collective sense of selfhood. All this has a tag that you call “me.” what is this tag? When you take the personal history to define you, all of your experiences are included, even experiences of self-realization, enlightenment, and Essence. You also use these memories to define you. For instance, you might remember an experience that you had about two months ago in which you experienced your true self, and now you think that must be you. It became food for your personal history.
You’re trying to generate an identity now by remembering it. Who says that is who you are now? Are you always the same?
When you take a memory to define you, it doesn’t matter what you remember—good, bad, fundamental, superficial, true or false; it all accumulates in your personal history. Even an experience of your true self can be remembered and added to the collection. But your true self is not an accumulation or a collection. Mysterious, isn’t it? Now you might say, “Wait a minute. If I am not the body, and I’m not my sense of personal history, who am i then?.. Well, who are you at this moment? Aren’t you identifying with your personal history? And doesn’t that personal history want to have one more experience to know for sure who it is?Everyone is Born with the True Self
Everyone is born with the true self, with the point. Although we feel that the point is unique in each of us, the quality of the point is universal. Then how do people become so different in their personal lives? This is due to the particular development of their personal essence. Your unique contribution, your unique personal actualization of your self, your unique understanding, your unique work, and your unique style of life all have to do with the personal essence. The personal essence is the person, actualized in his or her life, while the essential self—the point—is beyond this life and, in a sense, does not need a body. It is always the same; it never changes. The personal essence, the Pearl Beyond Price, however, is a development; it is something that develops out of the Soul when its center is the true self in this life. It is your actualization of your beingness here. When you experience yourself as your beingness, as your personal essence, you feel that you’ve accomplished yourself—not just yourself in the sense of knowingwho you truly are, but by knowing who you truly are you start growing and developing your potential. This is the personal essence—personal, with a sense of beingness. The essential self is the experience of “I”; the personal essence is “I am”—not only my identity and my sense of who I am, but myself as a person, here in the world.Self-Recognition in the Essential Dimension
The Essential Identity is supremely singular and amazingly unique. We readily recognize this unique singularity as our true Self. .. the Essential Identity is the capacity of the self to recognize itself without reference to any experience of the past, or any self-image, or even any memory. We recognize ourselves because we are present as ourselves, as the presence which is authentically ourselves. This pure, unmediated self-recognition is innate, inherent in the self, but it is available only when the self ceases to identify with the content of experience, and thus allows the Essential Identity to arise.Being Your True Self
When you are being your true self, you are not looking for pleasure, you are not avoiding pain, you are not trying to get approval, nor trying to get someone to admire you. You are not out to criticize someone else, or to defeat someone else, and you are not out to gain fame or power. You are naturally and spontaneously living as a genuine human being who has respect and consideration for other human beings. You are not trying to love someone; you are just loving, without even thinking about it. If you are a mature person, it is second nature that you are loving, that you are giving, that you are respectful, and considerate, and that you behave and act in a refined and mature human manner. To make these values and manifestations second nature, you have to put conscious effort into them. You have to make it your work. This does not mean that you have to be solemn and grim and serious; that is not the point. The point is to act with sincerity and to put conscious effort into being aware of yourself and others in order to treat yourself and others with respect.
This also does not mean giving up pleasure; it means not seeking pleasure. It does not mean creating pain; it means not avoiding pain.
Life is to be lived with the integrity, dignity, and self-respect of a person who knows that the point is not whether something feels good or bad. The point is not to lose your self-respect, not to abandon your true reality, the highest and purest elements within you. Regardless of how wonderful things are and regardless of how painful things are, your self-respect is strong enough to maintain your sense of integrity. That integrity does not mean having your way, or winning or succeeding or anything like that. It means being sincere about who you are and acting in ways that reflect your essential human values.
(go to his page for live links on many of the words..besides live linking.. i also took many parts out below)
Being Authentically and Fully Ourselves
We have seen that in order for us to be authentically and fully ourselves, our identity must include the ontological depth of the soul, essential presence, and that to be presence means simply to be.
When we are simply being, our experience of ourselves is direct, immediate, spontaneous, and natural, free from the influence of the thick veil of accumulated memories, ideas, ideals and images. ..conventional experience does not allow the experience of self-realization because conventional experience is virtually determined by this thick veil of personal history.
We have noted that ordinarily the self cannot experience itself separately from the self-representation, and that, in fact, it experiences itself from within, and through, that representation … it now becomes clear that the veil of personal history is the self-representation. Regardless of how realistic the self representation is, it cannot contain the true reality of the self.
Our Experience of Ourselves Can be Transformed
What makes it so difficult for us as human beings to be deeply authentic and spontaneous, to feel free to be who we naturally are? One aspect of the answer lies in what most spiritual traditions understand to be a case of mistaken identity. Most of us are consciously and unconsciously identified with self-concepts, which greatly limit our experience of ourselves and the world.
Who we take ourselves to be, as determined by the sets of ideas and images that define us, is very far from the unconditioned reality that deeply realized human beings have come to recognize as our true nature, who we truly are.
Numerous approaches, such as psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, and various self-improvement techniques can help us change our self-concepts so that we are more realistic, more satisfied, and more effective in our lives. But only an exploration of the actual nature of the self, beyond the details of its content, can bring us to realms of experience which approach more deeply fulfilling, fundamental levels of philosophical or spiritual truth. Our experience of ourselves can be transformed from identifying with our mental self-images to having awareness of less contingent, more fundamentally real aspects of the self. It is possible to arrive at a place where we can experience ourselves as the actual phenomenon, the actual ontological presence that we are, rather than as ideas and feelings about ourselves. The more we are able to contact the actual presence that we are, the less we are alienated in a superficial or externally defined identity.Knowing Ourselves as the Openness of Being
Relationships become a playground for encounters that open up the potential for new experience, and our own pleasures as well as difficulties transform into opportunities for deeper contact. Our daily life can become an open field of discovery. When we know ourselves as the openness of Being, we are authentic in the truest sense of the word. Authentic not just because we can say, “This is really how I feel”—no, I mean authentic in the sense that we are real because we are the expression of the presence of the realness of our nature. We are the expression of that which makes everything real and allows anything to exist. Authenticity means being the depth of what we are and expressing it in as true a way as we can.Authenticity in Relationships
Relationships become a playground for encounters that open up the potential for new experience, and our own pleasures as well as difficulties transform into opportunities for deeper contact. Our daily life can become an open field of discovery. When we know ourselves as the openness of Being, we are authentic in the truest sense of the word. Authentic not just because we can say, “This is really how I feel”—no, I mean “authentic” in the sense that we are real because we are the expression of the presence of the realness of our nature. We are the expression of that which makes everything real and allows anything to exist. Authenticity means being the depth of what we are and expressing it in as true a way as we can.Conscious Realization of Essence Brings the Soul Authenticity
Essence is the primary and most precious potential of the soul.
The conscious realization of essence brings her true ultimate self-knowledge, authenticity, fulfillment, completeness, enlightenment, and liberation. But essence provides the soul with other advantages, some mundane and practical. Its dimension of pure awareness provides her with the capacity for awareness and perception, in whatever state she is in, spiritual or mundane, clear or dull. Its dimension of basic knowledge gives her the capacity for cognition, recognition, and knowing in all its dimensions. It is the prototype of knowing.
(may add more and dive deeper later.. seems very diff to gabor’s attachment.. invited to exist ness..? – at least how i take it)
What Frees Us from Attachment
Ultimately, attachment is caused by desire and fear, desire for the good and fear of the bad, desire for pleasure and fear of pain, desire for life and fear of death. If you examine fear and desire you’ll see that fear itself is based on desire, fear of death is desire for life, and that its opposite, fear of life, is desire for death. The desire is there because of the absence of understanding. What will free us from attachment is understanding, or knowledge of how things really are. So we could say that attachment is based on fear and desire, fear is based on desire, and desire is based on the lack of understanding or ignorance. If we are ignorant, we end up being attached. We are ignorant of the actual fact that union is about the absence of boundaries. We create more boundaries with our attachments, which then stop us from getting exactly what it is we think we want.
What Essence Is
..Essence is not alive; it is aliveness. It is not aware; it is awareness. It does not have the quality of existence; it is existence. It is not loving; it is love. It is not joyful; it is joy. It is not true; it is truth. The quality of aliveness of essence is of a different order from that of the body. The body is alive, but essence is life itself. Essence is like packed, condensed, concentrated, completely pure life. It is 100 percent life. It is like a substance in which each atom is packed with live existence. Here, life and existence are not concepts, not ideas or abstract descriptions; rather, they are the most alive, most intimate, richest, deepest, most moving, and most touching stirrings within us. The experience of essential substance can have such a depth, such a richness, such a realness, such a meaningfulness, and such an impact on our minds that some people actually get dizzy, unable to take the impact directly.Teachers Can Only Point to Essence
… Essence is a category of experience not accessible to the logical, “mental” mind. It cannot be communicated by the mind to somebody else. Most teachers, in fact, stress that Essence is found inside, that the teacher can only point to it, or at best can ignite the inner flame with his own. But the flame is one’s own and can be known only directly, within oneself, by oneself.Essence is Not a Thought
Essence is not a thought or an idea a person has about himself. It is not self-image. In fact, the self-image, the collection of concepts one has of oneself, is one of the main barriers to the recognition and development of essence. The self-image usually does not include essence, so essence becomes habitually excluded from one’s experience. Even a person in whom essence is flowing may not experience essence if the self-image excludes it, just as a person might manifest anger only unconsciously if the self-image excludes angry behavior. A concept, a thought, or an idea might arise out of the experience of essence, might be generated under the influence of essence. This sometimes happens in expansive ideas of discovery and revelation. But the thought is not essence. The influence of essence on mind is most obvious in certain kinds of poetry written when the poet gets a taste of essence—when the words, thoughts, ideas, and images are generated by essence and attempt to reflect and communicate the essential experience. Very often the poet is not directly aware of essence but is aware only of the idea, the image, and perhaps the emotion produced by the contact with essence. The poet may become so enamored of his words and images that he never moves to the actual direct experience of essence.
The words can be beautiful and the images enchanting, but all this beauty and enchantment fall short of the beauty and enchantment of the essence itself.Ultimate Profoundity of Essence
Essence is not an object we find within ourselves; it is the true nature of who we are when we are relaxed and authentic, when we are not pretending to be one way or another, consciously or unconsciously. Essence is the truth of our very presence, the purity of our consciousness and awareness. It is what we are in our original and undefiled beingness, the ultimate core reality of our soul. Essence is the authentic presence of our Being; it is, in fact, Being in its thatness. Different spiritual traditions have given it different names: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam called it Spirit; Buddhism calls it Buddha nature; Taoism calls it the Tao; Hinduism calls it Atman or Brahman. The various traditions differ in how they conceptualize Essence and how much they emphasize it in their teaching, but essence is always considered to be the most authentic, innate, and fundamental nature of who we are. And the experience and realization of Essence is the central task of spiritual work and development in all traditions.Essence Has the Capacity to Know Itself Completely and Directly
Our essence has the capacity to know itself completely and directly, independent of what we have known in the past.
The knowingness is inherent in the essence itself, in such a way that it not only is aware of itself as existing, but is also aware of the quality and characteristics of this existence.Essence, Soul and Presence
When we are aware of our presence by being present, there is a new knowledge, and we call this knowledge Essence. At that point, we have the opportunity to begin expanding our inquiry into the nature of all of our experience.
We recognize that not only is self-knowing intrinsic to essential presence, but this way of knowing is fundamental to our soul, the consciousness that is the ground of all our experience.
intrinsic..fundamental..already in us
Unfolding of Essence
The unfolding of Essence becomes the process of living. Life is no longer a string of disconnected experiences of pleasure and pain but a flow, a stream of aliveness. One aspect manifests after another, one dimension after another, one capacity after another. There is a constant flow of understanding, insight, knowledge, and states of being. As this unfolding proceeds it affects the mind, the personality, and the external life. When conflicts arise, inner or outer, it is the expression of the lack of understanding of incoming essential aspects and dimensions. It is part of the creative process of living. Every new insight or knowledge is preceded by its absence… However, the center of all this understanding, insight, knowledge, discovery, creativity, conflict, and tension is the unfolding of essential Presence. This flow of essential Presence becomes the true experience of time instead of the linear memory time of the personality.Method of Essence
What a teacher Essence is! It exposes the issues, makes us look at them as dystonic, makes us feel the lack of the essential aspect, makes us long for the aspect. Now the teaching about desire becomes our personal concern. .. it is such a burning issue for us, such a burning question that it makes us ache and long for an answer, a solution. We cannot rest. The nearness of Essence does not let us rest until we find the answer, until we come to the solution. Essence is even more magical and more beautiful than that. It does much more than expose and burn the personality. As it approaches consciousness, we start getting intuitive understanding about the situation, about our dilemma. ..The understanding we get is completely relevant to our situation. It speaks to us; it resolves our personal conflicts. The understanding is lived, is alive.Essence and Existence are the Same Thing
.. The essential substance is experienced in its deepest nature as existence. This level of experience is so deep and profound, so full and packed with a live significance, so moving and so powerful that it is not possible to communicate it through words. Words can describe some aspects of experience, but they fail actually to deliver the whole impact.
beyond words ness
Words can communicate the experience to somebody who already has had it or is right on the verge of it, but not to somebody who does not know. The usual contention in spiritual literature, that being cannot be talked about or described, is not quite accurate. Essence can be described, just like anything else, with words and images. This does not mean that someone who hasn’t had the experience will understand the description. However, one who has had the experience will easily understand what the description is referring to. But this is true for anything, not just essence.Essence has Many Aspects Not Just One Quality
One important concept that we have been using without clarification is that of essential aspects—that essence has many aspects, not just one quality. As we have seen, essential substance has precise and definite physical characteristics. In fact, it can be described in terms of color, taste, texture, transparency, density, luminosity, viscosity, and so on. Variations in these give rise to different aspects of essence, which have different psychological significance. So although essence is one, the same substance, it has many varieties, many qualities. These are aspects of essence. This is true for both the baby and the adult. The aspect of truth is not the same as the aspect of love, and this is not the same as the aspect of will, and so on. They are all essence, and clearly so for the one who knows, but they are experienced differently and affect us differently.Essence is Gradually Lost as the Personality Develops
Essence is gradually lost or covered up (veiled from our perception) as the personality develops. We tend to identify more and more with the personality that develops in response to our environment. By the end we forget that we even had essence. We end with the experience that there is only our personality, and that we are that personality, as if it always had been thus. This gives us the hint that in order to allow our essence to emerge again, we need to learn to disidentify from the personality and the sense of ego identity. This, in fact, is the main method that most systems of inner development employ. This disidentification, which can culminate in the experience technically termed ego death, is the main requirement necessary for the discovery of essence.Knowing Oneself
When I talk about “knowing oneself,” I don’t mean knowing that tag, that self-image. I don’t mean knowing how you feel about your body or how you look, or if you’re short or tall or angry or sad. Not these. I mean knowing your inner nature, your true nature. There is such a thing. It’s what we call essence. When you recognize your true nature, your being, your essence, you will see it is Being, because it is. It is in the sense that it is an existence. It is not a reaction; it is not an emotion. An emotion is not an is-ness. An emotion is an activity, a charge and discharge pattern. Essence is there regardless of the charge or discharge. There is an existence, a beingness that can be experienced, and that is you.
If you don’t know this beingness, you can’t know what love is because love has to do with your being, your essence.
It has nothing to do with your personality, your emotions or your ideas, your self-concept, your self-image, your accomplishments, your preferences, your likes and dislikes, your relationships. These things have nothing to do with your beingness. Your beingness is pure; it is not contaminated by any of those things. Your beingness is always pure, always present, always perfect. Its main quality is an is-ness, an existence, a beingness. The personality is an activity, a movement, always going one place or the other, always feeling something, thinking something, wanting something, desiring something. Essence is not like that Essence is just Being. You are. What you are has nothing to do with what you want, what you don’t want, what you do or don’t do. It is just there. You could be doing anything, and the Being is there, and that is you.Essence is a Presence that is Spacious
Before the realization of true nature, when you experience Essence as a presence inside you, you experience the spaciousness as an inner quality separate from Essence. Space feels empty of substance—it is a lightness and openness—whereas Essence is presence that has a substantial quality. You experience Essence arising in space. In the awareness of objective reality, Essence and space are recognized as the same thing; they are coemergent. So Essence is a presence that is spacious, that is aware, and that is continually transforming and creative.Exploring through Presence and Essence We become Open to New Modes of Perception
When I say “consciousness,” I don’t mean anything strange or unusual. Everything you experience is in consciousness. Ordinarily, our consciousness is full of objects: my body, the table, people, all that I see and hear, and all of our inner experiences. As we explore our experience, we discover finer and deeper states of consciousness until we know more specifically what pure consciousness is. As we become open to new modes of perception, through exploring presence and essence, we come to realize that Being itself is pure consciousness. And it goes further. As we become more established in pure consciousness, we see that the things we have left behind are also consciousness. We are amazed to discover that our body is made of consciousness; our sensations are consciousness. We see that what our anger and love have in common is that they appear in the ground of consciousness. Once we learn that our being is pure consciousness, it becomes possible for all discriminations to disappear. We abide in pure consciousness so fully that we do not differentiate between essence and ego, between physical and not physical. Consciousness is simply consciousness, independent of all objects, essential or otherwise. ..This transparency reveals to us the state of pure consciousness in which all objects that we have deemed coarse or impure, all that we have felt we had to leave behind, we perceive to be of the nature of consciousness itself.
find/follow A H:
A.H. Almaas is the pen name of A. Hameed Ali (born 1944), an author and spiritual teacher who writes about and teaches an approach to spiritual development informed by modern psychology and therapy which he calls the Diamond Approach.
Almaas is originally from Kuwait. He is the spiritual head of the Ridhwan School. He may be described, among other things, as an Integral theorist, mystic, spiritual teacher or an exponent of the perennial philosophy.
Almaas’ books were originally published by the Ridhwan School, under the Diamond Books publishing title, but are now published by Shambhala.
The Diamond Approach is a contemporary spiritual path integrating the teachings and practices of the ancient wisdom traditions with modern depth psychology. The Diamond Approach is derived from the experiences of Almaas, along with Karen Johnson and Faisal Muqaddam (who split off early on to develop his own approach). They were among the first students of Claudio Naranjo, an early pioneer of the integration of spiritual and therapeutic work.
The curriculum of the work draws upon the founders’ backgrounds in Sufism, Platonism, Buddhism and the Fourth Way. Teachers of the Diamond Approach focus on the students’ specific perception of their own immediate work issues. Presentation of a canonical body of knowledge and practice is introduced over time as required.
A. Hameed Ali was born in Kuwait in 1944. At the age of eighteen, he moved to the United States to study at the University of California in Berkeley. Hameed was working on his Ph.D. in physics when he reached a turning point in his life that led him more and more into inquiring into the psychological and spiritual aspects of human nature. His interest in the truth of human nature and the true nature of reality resulted in the creation and unfoldment of the Diamond Approach
The Diamond Approach is a spiritual teaching that utilizes a unique kind of inquiry into realization, where the practice is the expression of realization. Its aim is absolute freedom that can be described as living realization, a dynamic enlightenment where transcendent truth lives personally in the world. This inquiry opens up the infinite creativity of our Being, transforming our lives into a runaway realization, moving from realization to further realization.
The Ridhwan Foundation is the nonprofit spiritual organization established to support and preserve the integrity of the Diamond Approach teaching. The Ridhwan Foundation is legally recognized as a church and the role of a teacher is equivalent to that of a minister. People are ordained as spiritual teachers of the Ridhwan Foundation, which is the name given to its ministers.
Spiritual practice as a phenomenology of being
The Diamond Approach is described as a “response to an important need that is being felt in many quarters, a need for a spiritually informed psychology, or conversely, for a psychologically grounded spirituality. This perspective does not separate psychological and spiritual experience, and hence sees no dichotomy between depth psychology and spiritual work… This body of knowledge is not an integration or synthesis of modern depth psychology and traditional spiritual understanding. The inclination to think in terms of integration of the two is due to the prevailing belief in the dichotomy between the fields of psychology and spirituality, a dichotomy in which the Diamond Mind understanding does not participate.” (Almaas)
The Diamond Approach, according to its followers, can be called a Phenomenology of Being that offers a precise description of the various aspects and dimensions of Spirit or Being and is also a form of spiritual psychotherapy which seeks to heal the wounds of the soul by reconnecting it to Spirit.
Structure of reality
In the Diamond Approach, reality is seen as consisting of three elements: God/Being/Spirit, Soul/Self and World/Cosmos.
Being is understood as the inner source and true nature of reality, which is the focus of the great spiritual traditions of both East and West, and is known as Dharmakaya, Shunyata, Brahman or Tao. Being is understood as consisting of five co-emergent “boundless dimensions”: Divine Love, Pure Presence, Nonconceptual Awareness, The Logos, and The Absolute.
Soul is understood to be the individual consciousness that connects the world with Being, an idea found in ancient Chinese philosophy. It is believed in the Diamond Approach that the soul can be experienced as a living presence that contains the thoughts, feelings and sensations usually called our “self”.
World is understood as the outer manifestation of reality, the multitude of physical forms that all people are familiar with.
Essence and the essential aspects
While most spiritual paths conceive of Being as universal, the Diamond Approach also pays a great deal of attention to a more individual way of experiencing Being, called Essence. The concept of Essence is similar to the Hindu idea of Atman. While Being is the true nature of all of reality, Essence is the portion of it that forms the true and personal nature of the soul. It is experienced as a substantial fluid Presence which can differentiate into various qualities or aspects, such as compassion, strength, will, joy, peace, love, value, humaness, personalness, identity, and space.
Theory of holes
As our soul develops it is faced with a double challenge: it must learn to function in the World, while also remaining connected to Spirit. For various reasons, some innate and others environmental, we slowly become alienated from our Essence through the development of fixed patterns of perception and behaviour known as the personality or ego. Each of these patterns or ego structures disconnects us from a specific Essential Aspect. In other words, it is built around the “Hole” of this aspect. By exploring its structure, both cognitively and experientially, one eventually confronts the Hole and by going through it the lost aspect is retrieved.
The Diamond Approach uses methods which its founders learned from Claudio Naranjo. Almaas’ scientific background (he studied physics at Berkeley) helps explain the emphasis on rigorous (self) inquiry. Several contexts for participation are provided, including regular one-on-one sessions with a trained teacher, seminars and participation in various formats of organized ongoing groups.
self-talk as data
The practice referred to as “presence” is based on two methods, learning to sense one’s body (especially one’s arms and legs) in an ongoing manner and regularly focusing one’s attention on a point in the belly called the “kath center” (known in Chinese philosophy as the tan tien). These methods help a person to become more grounded in the body and in physical reality and also, in time, to develop the ability to experience oneself as the presence of Essence.
The Diamond Approach centers on practice of investigation of the self, experience and perception. “Inquiry” answers the question posed by Socrates: “How does one set up as the object of one’s investigation, that about which one knows nothing?”
One starts by wanting to find out, living a question,
while recognizing preconceptions, preconditions and expectations as to the nature of what one may learn and instead attending to one’s immediate or present experience. While not explicitly acknowledged as such, Inquiry in effect combines (as a descriptive mechanism only, as the inquiry process is beyond mere language) the practice of Edmund Husserl’s “transcendental phenomenological reduction, or epoché”, with Sigmund Freud’s psychodynamic exploration. An important feature of inquiry is that a person learns to be aware of both the content of experience (emotions, thoughts, sensations) and the attitudes and reactions towards it. In this way the subject-object dichotomy is transcended and one learns to relate to oneself without having to create inner splits. Open-ended Inquiry is both a path to, and the state of, a realized person and in time is understood to be a self-revelation of the mysteries of Being.
The main motivation for embarking on the spiritual journey in this approach is love for the Truth. “Truth” refers to seeing things as they really are, which ultimately comes down to recognizing Being as the true nature of everything.
The fees associated with the retreats and other methodologies that are part of the structure of the school have been criticized. However, the fees are relatively low compared to other spiritual schools and retreats. Furthermore, the founder and lead teacher, Hameed Ali, regularly points out that the Diamond Approach is only one path to truth and cannot in itself be all-encompassing. Students are permitted and even encouraged to question the practices of the school and to explore whether the school is a good fit for them personally.
In addition to the fees associated with the retreats, participants become provisional members of the Ridhwan Foundation (legally a church). After an unspecified designated period of time, they are asked to confirm membership by paying the appropriate membership fees to the foundation. These membership fees are $160/year for students involved in the group teachings and $60/year for provisional members.
The work of Almaas has received praise from spiritual teachers and explorers such as John Welwood, Brant Cortright, Jack Kornfield and Ken Wilber. Wilber, while tentatively supportive of the Diamond Approach, disputes some details. For example, he does not agree that infants have essential experiences, maintaining that the infant exists purely in the physical, material world – “instinctual, vital, impulsive, narcissistic, egocentric; living for food, its God is all mouth.” Almaas has responded that Wilber’s critique demonstrates a misinterpretation based on Wilber’s own linear, four-stage categorization of spiritual development. Almaas’ perspective is that infants experience a type of true nature/Spirit, but one that is very distinct from, and less integrated than, the experiences of essentially realized adults.
The Ridhwan School is a loosely-knit affiliation of ongoing spiritual groups founded in 1976 by Almaas. The school is dedicated to the teaching of the Diamond Approach. It is principally based in Berkeley, California and Boulder, Colorado with other groups throughout North America and in parts of Europe and Australia. Almaas is the spiritual head of the school and individual groups are taught by qualified Ridhwan teachers. The name of the school derives from the Arabic word for “contentment“:
“Ridhwan is a kind of contentment which arises when you’re liberated. Your personality becomes contented when you’re free. Your personality itself is free from its suffering and conflict.”
The school rejects “quick fixes” and graduation, and the students are engaged in learning and therapy for an indefinite period.
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