The Method of Inquiry

Excerpted from Chapter 2 of The Diamond Approach: An Introduction to the Teachings of A. H. Almaas by John Davis (1999, Shambhala Publications).. 


The Diamond Approach aims to deepen our experience of the present moment and expand our potential for authentic fulfillment. It has adapted and integrated many methods, including meditation and awareness practices, Reichian breath work, and psychological methods of focusing, questioning, interpretation, confrontation, support, and mirroring. It incorporates these methods in individual, small group, and large group formats. The books in Ali’s Diamond Mind series include case studies of students working with him and give a flavor of the methods of the Diamond Approach. 


Within this eclecticism, the central practice of the Diamond Approach is what Ali calls Inquiry. It exemplifies the Diamond Approach’s orientation to growth and self-realization and leads to understanding and experiencing in a complete and experiential way. Inquiry is the practice; understanding is the result. Ali uses the term, understanding, in a specific way in the Diamond Approach. This understanding is not merely an intellectual picture. It incorporates intellect, heart, body, and intuition in the pursuit of the truth of our nature. Eventually, understanding becomes a merging of awareness with the dynamic unfolding of the present. Then, presence and understanding come together, and Inquiry is spontaneous. Ultimately, understanding is the action of Being on the mind. Being reveals itself through the mind as understanding. 


This kind of experiencing is antithetical to ego-identification, attachment, judgment, defensiveness, and reductionism. It is characterized by joy in the unending discovery of truth and peace in the fullness of Being. It is fueled by strength and determination to experience yourself and your life fully. And it is compassionately open to whatever is to be found without a trace of rejection, prejudice, or preconception. 


Understanding involves being fully present with your immediate experience. It also involves being present with the unfoldment of experience; thus understanding is dynamic, not static. Understanding requires kindness to yourself, awareness, and dedication to the truth, no matter what the consequences. The Diamond Approach’s method of Inquiry leads to this holistic understanding in a way that is open, sincere, discriminating, and genuinely curious. 

John Davis

John Davis

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