Main Pages

By Region




Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Attunement?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Attunement

By Being Attuned to Where We are, We Recognize More Fully and Exactly what We are Truly Experiencing

When we study the quality of attunement and empathy in openness, a great deal of pain and hurt is bound to come up for most of us. This signifies several things. First, that by being attuned to where we are, we recognize more fully and exactly what we are truly experiencing. The arising of pain signifies that there is much suffering in our human experience. When we look with an attuned, precise lens, this suffering is what we see. In fact, one important reason why our experience is ordinarily so limited is that we resist seeing the amount of pain and suffering we have. The soul closes down to avoid feeling the hurt, pain, suffering, and difficulties that are normal in human experience. Another thing this observation indicates is that the pain and suffering in human experience require the presence of Loving-kindness—the sensitivity, gentleness, and healing quality of the Green Essence. It also shows that our inquiry needs to embody not just what feels good and wonderful, but also a true openness that welcomes our pain and suffering. When our inquiry is open to our pain, our pain will open up and expose itself to the healing agent of Loving-kindness.

Combining Mutuality with Empathy and Attunement

When you combine mutuality with empathy and attunement, a very powerful dynamic results, which we experience as a mutual impact, a mutual influence. As I communicate or express myself to my friend, this does something to her. The communication doesn’t just give her information, it affects her consciousness, it changes her state. And seeing how my communication affects her affects me. So the necessary openness includes an openness to seeing that what I say and what I do have an impact, an influence, on the other person. It affects her emotionally, it affects her consciousness, it affects her state, but I am also open to being affected by her. I am open for her communication to impact me, to influence me. When there is mutual openness, then mutual influence can create a feedback loop. For example, I say, “I am sorry I criticized you; I see that it hurt you.” My partner recognizes my sorrow and she feels gratitude. As I see that she feels gratitude, my tears flow and I feel my love for her. Seeing my love for her opens her love for me. And because we have empathy, I not only see that she loves me, I also feel her love. As I feel her love, it increases my love. And my deepened and expanded love deepens and expands hers. It keeps going like that, in a spiral of deepening and expanding relating. That is what is meant by a feedback loop. It is fed by an openness to mutual influence.

Diamond Guidance is Absolutely Attuned to the Necessary Path that Our Soul Needs to Travel

The attitude of inquiry has to have an attunement, a sensitivity, for it to reflect the true attunement of the Guidance, which is absolute. The Diamond Guidance is absolutely attuned to our true nature and to the necessary path that our soul needs to travel in order to open up to that true nature. It is also absolutely attuned to where we are at every moment in order that it can take us along the path. Guidance means taking you from the place you are to the place you are going. You cannot guide somebody if you don’t take them from where they are. So, for instance, if someone is not in touch with her feelings and you want to guide her to express them clearly, you don’t start by teaching her techniques of self-expression. You start by helping her recognize her feelings; then you can help her learn how to express them. This is attunement. Not only does the Guidance guide your exploration, but its attunement tempers the inquiry process so that it is not a pushing, an effort, or an imposition, and not motivated by shoulds or judgments. This indicates that the Diamond Guidance, with its precision and clarity in the inquiry, expresses the kindness and gentleness necessary for our soul to trust, relax, and open up. Without this attunement, the soul will not be able to do that; she has no reason to. The inquiry must be attuned so that the soul can know that inquiry is not pushing it toward anything or expecting it to go anywhere. Inquiry is a sensitive and attuned action that expresses a genuine interest in the soul’s experience in the moment of inquiry and responds to that experience empathically.

Emotional Pain is Mostly an Invitation for Compassion, an Invitation for Sensitivity

That is why getting in touch with our Compassion requires us to feel our pain and hurt—because our hurt is what invites the Compassion. Compassion comes out as a response to pain. At the same time, we need the Compassion in order to be attuned to our experience so that we can inquire effectively. Without our pain, our kindness would be limited, which would limit our attunement, which would then limit our inquiry. Human beings get used to believing that emotional pain is bad, but emotional pain is mostly an invitation for Compassion, an invitation for sensitivity. That is how human beings learn to be sensitive—we get cooked, and by getting cooked, we soften. We become delicate and sensitive. Of course we need to deal with the pain correctly, for experiencing pain does not in itself develop our sensitivity. It can harden us or distort our perceptions if we have no support from our deeper nature. However, with understanding we can see that if we have a great deal of pain, it gives us a greater opportunity to develop our compassion and sensitivity.

In Touch with Vulnerability, we are Sensitive to any Lack of Attunement

The typical process of working through narcissistic hurt is different from that of working with the losses of other essential qualities. Working with the disconnection from any aspect of Essence, we first encounter an emptiness—what we have called a hole—and after the emptiness we find a hurt; experiencing the hurt opens us up to the essential aspect. Not so with narcissistic hurt; it’s the other way around. First, there is a wound which leads to emptiness. This makes the narcissistic wound more painful, often intolerable. When we allow the wound, we experience it as a hurt with vulnerability. It’s a vulnerable kind of hurt. When we are in touch with this vulnerability, we are sensitive to any lack of attunement; it actually seems that we are vulnerable to the destruction of our structure; we can be devastated. This is a very difficult place for the student; she is dealing with the most sensitive of all psychic wounds. The more narcissistic she is, the more untouchable is this place. We can’t go near it without her reacting very strongly with rage or isolation or devaluation. She might be able to tolerate feeling deep hurt and rejection, but when it comes to the narcissistic hurt she will balk.

There is a Difference Between how Ego Sees Attunement and how Being Does

We are exploring here the quality of Compassion or Loving-kindness, which manifests as a sensitivity, an empathy, an attunement that is necessary for inquiry. This attunement of the Green diamond of the Diamond Guidance is so completely selfless that it has an unlimited capacity to see us exactly where we are. This gives a precision to our discriminating capacity. However, there is a difference between how ego sees attunement and how Being does. What usually passes for attunement is to see where a person is and then to give them what they feel they want. What the soul actually needs is an attuned understanding, one that not only sees where she is in the moment but also recognizes where she is in relation to her true nature. The attunement of the Diamond Guidance provides this understanding and then guides the soul to her true nature, for that is what she truly wants. So, if you see a person hurting and you want to support them, you don’t give them a pat on the shoulder or some sweet words of encouragement. No, you do something to help them go deeper. The prevailing understanding of empathic attunement is that you should make somebody feel safe, assure them that there is no danger. But true support is not a matter of making somebody feel safe. It is a matter of precisely seeing and recognizing where the person is so that the person will trust—not because there is no danger but because there is true understanding.

True Attunement is Universal in Scope

So true attunement means finding the true function of the soul and living harmoniously with all that exists. True attunement is universal in scope. We cannot arrive at attunement as an independent and isolated enterprise. If we think of inner work as developing ourselves and our souls for our own sake, we will not transform in any significant way. The perspective of developing ourselves separately from the rest of the universe reflects a lack of understanding about what reality is. Original sin, which is separateness from the source of reality, is not simply a religious transgression but a faulty understanding. It is the Basic Fault. Much of the suffering that we experience has to do with lack of attunement to the objective truth, to the true condition of reality. We are not attuned to what is real, to what we’re supposed to do, to the perspective of true living. Our lack of attunement to the higher principle that is an expression of objective reality means that we operate in ways we were not made to operate. We’re bound to suffer.

Understanding or the Attempt to Understand is the Attunement to Essence

What you usually feel is your personality. The best thing to do is to understand it, because understanding, or the attempt to understand, is the attunement to Essence, regardless of what it is you understand. The desire for understanding, the understanding itself, and the result of understanding are Essence. Do whatever is needed to understand your mind while remaining present. That, in itself, will attune you to your essence, to your true nature. It is not that you are looking for Essence; Essence is not something you are searching for. That is not how it works. You find Essence by being Essence through certain activities. This is so without your even knowing it. As your understanding increases and crystallizes, you start becoming aware of what it is that is increasing and crystallizing in you—your essence. It’s not going to be something you get from somewhere over there. It’s not as if Essence is a light somewhere and you walk in the dark until you find the light. The looking itself is going toward the light. By understanding, you embody the light more and more because understanding is the light.

When We are Kind to Ourselves We’re Willing to Reveal to Ourselves What we Truly Feel

In time, instead of the superego’s harsh criticism, we experience more compassion and warmth, the attunement and empathy of a kind heart. Our inquiry begins to assume more gentleness in the way we perceive and recognize ourselves. We don’t just recognize where we are; we recognize where we are with kind, empathic attunement. And our responses become more and more suited to what we need. For example, if we’re feeling shame, we don’t need to hear from our superego, “Here it comes again . . . you never feel anything else . . . you’re always ashamed . . . what’s wrong with you?” What if the inner attitude could shift from “I’m always feeling ashamed; I wish I felt different,” to “I’m feeling ashamed and it’s really painful”? There’s a slight shift, you see? Instead of harshness, there’s a gentleness and an implicit compassion that makes us more willing to see exactly where we are and to just be there. When we are kind to ourselves, there is a warmth in the atmosphere, and we’re willing to reveal to ourselves what we truly feel. The compassion is really an empathic recognition of where we are in all its nuances, which brings forth just the right attitude that corresponds to our condition.

Subscribe to the Diamond Approach