This approach originated as The Diamond Approach to Self-Realisation and was founded by A.H Almaas, Karen Johnson and Faisal Muqaddam. Faisal then started his own branch of the work – the DiamondLogos Teachings (DLT).
This work is often referred to as a ‘Spiritually informed psychology or a psychologically grounded spirituality’. Faisal describes his teachings as a bridge between therapy and meditation – between the personality and the Absolute.
Until I came across these teachings it seemed that we were either working with the personality and ego structure or focusing on meditation and meditative techniques and the two seemed to me to be unrelated. In most spiritual teachings the Being is considered Universal and the same as source or the absolute. In the DLT it is considered more individual. The DLT teaches that while the Absolute is the nature of being there is a portion of it that forms the unique nature of the soul made up of many different aspects of Essence.
The DLT is fundamentally a map of the psyche offering precise descriptions of Essence – the various aspects and dimensions of the human spirit. It is also a spiritual psychotherapy, working with the healing of wounds by reconnecting the person to essence.
According to Faisal the individuated self is a manifestation of the Absolute – it is our being, the essential self. It is made up of essential qualities, like a multi-faceted diamond with all the different aspects of essence making up the unique, whole being or soul. Sometimes it is called the ‘true personality’.
We are born with an exquisite (essential) personality, as connection with it was lost it was replaced by the false personality – our persona became an imitation of our original face.
Essence and The Theory of Holes
Essence is not a concept it is clearly experienced as a substantial (often fluid) presence which can be differentiated into various qualities or aspects, such as Compassion, Strength, Will, Joy, Peace, Love, Value, Humanness, Personalness, Identity, Space. The experience of essence is felt all over the body, there is a sense of unification and each state comes with distinct characteristics that are experienced as a particular color, density, feeling and flavor.
“When a baby is born, it is pretty much all essence, or pure being. Its essence is not, of course, the same as the essence of a developed or realized adult. It’s a baby’s essence – non-differentiated, all in a big bundle. As the child grows, the personality starts developing as a result of interactions with the environment and especially with the parents. Since most parents are identified with their personalities and not with their essence, they do not recognize or encourage the essence of the child. So, after a few years, the essence is in fact forgotten, and instead of essence, personality develops. Essence is replaced with various identifications. The child identifies with one or the other parent, this or that experience, and with all kinds of notions about self. As the child grows up, these identifications, experiences and notions become consolidated and structured as its personality. The child, and later, the adult, believes this structure to be its true self. However the essence was there to begin with and is still there. Although it was not seen or recognized and may have even been rejected or hurt in many ways, it is still there. In order to protect itself, it has gone underground, undercover. The cover is the personality. There is nothing bad about having a personality. You have to have one. You couldn’t survive without it. However, if you take the personality to be who you truly are, then you are distorting reality. The personality is composed of experiences of the past, of ideas, of notions, of identifications. You have the potential to develop a real individuality, the personal essence, which is different from the personality that covers the loss of essence. But this potential is usually taken over by what we call our ego, our own acquired sense of identity.”
– A.H Almaas, From the Diamond Heart – Book One p.3-4
As our personality develops we slowly become alienated from our essence through our conditioning created fixed patterns of perception and behavior. Each of these patterns of perception disconnects us from a specific aspect essential aspect. In other words our personality (ego identity) is built around the missing aspects of essence or ‘holes’. Each time a quality of essence subsides it creates an energetic hole, an absence. It feels as if that area, or that warmth, or sweetness, or density is gone and created a vacuum. Literally there is a vacuum – you can’t feel anything.
By exploring the structure – layers of personality and defense, through tracking the felt sense, insights and feelings one eventually gets to the ‘Hole’. By allowing the sense of the hole, tolerating the deficiency – with out actually doing anything – the hole starts to fill in with the missing aspect of essence. The specific lost aspect of essence is retrieved and becomes available to the person again. When an essential state is retrieved and is present it is can felt like a flooding through or filling up of the body with that quality.
“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. One fills or covers the deficiency with a false aspect in its place.”
– Almaas- The Pearl Beyond Price, pg 96
“Allowing ourselves to tolerate the holes and go through them to the other side is more difficult now because everything in society is against this. Society is against Essence. Everybody around you, wherever you go, is trying to fill holes, and people feel very threatened if you don’t try to fill yours in the same way. When a person is not trying to fill his holes, it tends to make other people feel their own holes. So, it’s becoming more and more difficult to do the Work. And the Work is also becoming more and more needed.”
– Almaas – Diamond Heart Book 1, pg 23
Inquiry and the Diamond Body
This Approach has three aspects – the transmission and knowledge of essential states, self inquiry and private sessions. The retreats focus on one aspect of essence at a time. This is where the student receives a transmission of the specific essential state and learns how to recognize it, gradually learning the map of the psyche. It is a forum to learn the material, explore and process the issues related to that particular aspect of essence. The private sessions are a more personal space for self-enquiry and exploration. The students also come together for self-enquiry.
Self-inquiry is a method of inner exploration in the moment. Coming from an objective space one starts to notice what is present, in the body, the emotions and the state of consciousness. The person starts by sensing their arms and legs (to widen the perspective) being present to and describing what they are noticing as it unfolds. This process is an ever-deepening process of self-discovery, the intension is to allow the magnificence of our true self to reveal itself as we uncover and move through layers of defenses, beliefs and identities that are in the way.
Through accessing objective awareness or inner guidance, an aspect that Faisal has called the ‘Diamond Body’, we start to awaken to the capacities and possibilities in our soul for participating in the inner unfolding of our Being. The Diamond Body orients our self exploration so that we can recognize and encourage implicit guidance that arises as we travel, with curiosity, our own inner space. And as the journey continues and our awareness deepens, we learn to appreciate the subtleties, the richness, and the intimacy that is ours as we follow the path of inquiry.
Almaas describes the Diamond Body or Diamond Guidance;
“In other traditions, the Diamond Guidance is sometimes called the angel of revelation, the holy spirit that brings the word or message from the source. It is the angel that guides us to Beingness that is our ground, our nature, our source. It is the true friend, the total friend, because the GuidanceÕs only concern is for you as a soul to go back to your source, to be who and what you can be, with total acceptance, total support, total guidance, total kindness. The soul needs to place herself in the right attitude for this kind of blessing to come. You have to do the work of correctly orienting yourself. Basically this means harmonizing your consciousness with the mode of presence and operation of the Guidance. This is what we are exploring when we discuss inquiry – the right orientation, the right posture, the ways of being and functioning that will invite the Guidance.” (Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg 223)
There isn’t a procedure or protocol followed in the inquiry except to be present and stay with what ever arises, as it arises and allow it to change in its own time.
Orientation to Being
The DLT is thought of as a ‘disintegrative’ approach – meaning that it is disintegrating for the ego identity. As we uncover the false layers of our identity it starts to fall apart, to disintegrate. This can be very scary. For this reason the emphasis is on essence and all the retreats start with the transmission and embodiment of essence. This is the grounding for the self-exploration.
Without this there is no orientation – the orientation has to be to the Being and ultimately to the Absolute. In effect we dismantle the ego structure allowing the holes to open up, feeling all kinds of fears and pain along the way. The next step is what many approaches disregard – the filling in of the hole with essence. This is what gives us the capacity to function in the world and deal with our daily lives.
Retrieving essence is not something that we can do, it happens by trusting and aligning to the Being and the nature of our soul.
The process is not linear, it is circular, there is no clear order of unfolding – each person is unique and the processing of an issue and the retrieval of essence varies from person to person according to each particular set of conditioning and uniqueness of Being.|