I believe that most North Americans living in these early years of the twenty-first century have little, if any, sense of themselves as spiritual beings. We have forgotten who we really are; we have become disconnected from our deepest nature. When we scratch the surface, most of us hunger for something more but often settle for fairly empty though busy lives that lack real meaning, purpose and depth.
This sense of meaningless or pointlessness in our life is not because we are in the wrong job or life situation. When we become aware of this inner existential emptiness we may respond by trying to change our external life situations, but this change will only temporarily relieve the inner emptiness. This life change, although it may be very useful, must include a larger and much deeper change within. This inner emptiness is really a symptom of the lack of a connection with our depth. When we begin to see this fundamental truth about these feelings of lack within our souls, this opens the possibility to begin to look in the right direction, to begin one’s inner search for deeper truth.
The Diamond Approach is a spiritual path toward a deeper truth. It is a spiritual teaching for those of us living in the world. It is a path designed for people who live ordinary lives of work and family. It is a practical method of re-connecting to our spiritual nature and allowing it to become part of our daily lives. To experience deep realization and live our potential is possible without living in an ashram, convent, or mountain cave. We do not have to renounce life to walk a spiritual path. The Diamond Approach is a journey toward uncovering the essence of who we really are, beneath all of the layers of social conditioning and cultural expectation. Its aim is to discover the deepest truth of what it means to be human.
Most of us live on the surface of our lives, running as fast as we can to keep up with it all. Occasionally, we are aware of a sense that there must be something more, but rarely are we in touch with our essential nature. Instead, we experience ourselves and the world through the veil of our personality, which was shaped, by our experiences in infancy and childhood.
When we were infants and small children, our souls were transparent to our essential nature. The essence in children is plainly visible, although not fully developed. Those who have been around babies, or remember their children as infants, know how present they are. Babies are a bundle of presence. But over time and with the normal social conditioning we all go through, that sense of innocence, purity, and presence is lost. We become out of touch with this connection to our essential nature. As children, over time, our essence is veiled through the development of the ego structure. The subsequent development of our personality, though distancing us from our essence, is, nevertheless, a natural and necessary development. The ego is not a mistake; it is a natural unfoldment of the young soul. We all need a healthy ego self to function and maneuver in the world. The difficulty comes for us as mature adults when we are only in touch with this superficial layer of ourselves. Living on the surface of us brings the feelings of emptiness and superficiality, and the hunger for something more.
In the Diamond Approach we are not interested in making people feel better, but rather in helping students discover the truth about themselves. We encourage students to allow these feelings of emptiness and explore them with a fresh openness, curiosity and a non-judgmental willingness to find out the truth of their experience. We encourage students to explore whatever feelings are present in the moment. Students bring their problems and we explore them. We do not try to solve them but use them as a way to help the student go deeper.
One may find, for example, that the simple truth of the hurt in one’s heart has to do with something painful that happened in childhood. By exploring this pain and experiencing it in the moment with openness, curiosity, and awareness, one will come to a feeling of compassion. This feeling of compassion is one of the qualities of our true nature. When compassion opens and we are able to be with the pain in a deeper more real way, we see from a more objective point of view. This new perspective may bring new understanding and insight about others and us and about pain and suffering in general. As we look at the truth of our experience, we may find that in time the truth will go beyond personal relative truths, to the ultimate truth about the nature of reality.
In the Diamond Approach we use the knowledge of Western psychology to help students understand and work through the layers of their personality. The personality is based on a certain set of beliefs about ourselves from our history. We also take on a worldview that is influenced by our upbringing. Identifying with the personality keeps us bound to a limited way of experiencing the world and ourselves. By identifying, challenging, and exploring these beliefs about the world, and ourselves, students begin to open and see through these veils. Working with and seeing through the self-images and identifications from the past helps students to understand these beliefs and their origin and uncover their essential nature.
Open-ended inquiry into one’s personal experience in the moment is the main practice of this path. We encourage students to be curious, open, non-judgmental, without preference about their experience, and to sense into and explore their experience in the moment. Willingness to explore whatever arises, not knowing how or where it will unfold from moment to moment, is the true spirit of inquiry. In this kind of inquiry the mind is in service of the heart, as the heart loves to know the truth; and when allowed, the heart will find it’s way home. We also use various meditation and body-sensing practices in reconnecting and aligning our self with the qualities of true nature.
Discovering and returning to this potential within the soul is our birthright. Remembering the presence of essence and experiencing it and bringing this forth in our lives and becoming an embodiment of true nature is the real definition of a “Human Being”.
The Diamond Approach is an enormous body of spiritual knowledge. To read more about this approach you can find many books written by the founder A. H. Almaas: Essence, the Diamond Heart book series (Book One through Book Five), The Void, The Pearl Beyond Price, The Point of Existence, and others.
Diamond Approach and Ridhwan are registered trademarks of The Ridhwan Foundation in the U.S., Europe, and various other countries.