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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Science?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Science

Potential for the Advance of Western Thought

Western thought then has the potential and possibility of moving to a further stage, where its science can be grounded in the presence of basic knowledge, of the nous, and where its spirituality can achieve the Diamond crisp discrimination of this same basic knowledge. A true bridge will then appear between science and spirituality, to their mutual benefit and evolution.

Science and Materialism

Materialism is naturally the central philosophic position of our science, for our science is first and foremost a study of matter. Even the study of life involves the consideration of exclusively material components and physical processes. This orientation is actually a logical necessity for the separation of cosmos/world from the rest of Reality. It is clear that if we sincerely desire an amelioration of the rampant materialism of our times, we need not only to become more spiritual -- namely, to regain our soul -- but also to realize the unity of our Reality. And since the closest and most accessible facet for us is that of soul/self, we need to begin there.

Science and Spirituality Seen as Two Sides of the Same Thing

This higher ground of understanding that unifies the psychological and the spiritual is a facet of a larger integration, one that also integrates it to the scientific method and its view of the world, a world that is in turn connected to our spiritual understanding. This unification addresses the common modern perspective in which the soul or self is seen as separate from the world or the cosmos, and separate also from God or Being. More precisely, our new metapsychology is embedded within, and is an expression of, a metaphysics that brings to a new level of unity thought and research in relation to the three facets of reality, soul/self, world/cosmos, and God/Being. In this metaphysics, spirituality and science are seen as two facets of the same thing, which involves recognizing a ground where the spiritual and the physical, in addition to the psychological, are seen to be meaningfully related.

Science and the Discursive Mind

The experience of the senses is not what the explorers of Reality in the wisdom traditions call direct experience. In fact, the wisdom traditions of humankind, Eastern and Western, ancient and modern, speak of sense experience as exactly what is immediately present in the way of direct experience. When they speak of direct experience in intuitive knowing or spiritual contemplation, they mean that the mind itself, the medium of knowing, is in direct contact with the object of knowledge. Of course, this kind of knowing is not recognized by our science; its view and method are precisely based on isolating the observer from what is observed. The philosophical position of science -- its exclusive reliance on the discursive mind and the physical senses for knowing -- cannot be the ultimate arbiter of truth if science is to be integrated with an understanding of the self and of God or Being. According to the senses, there are no such things as soul and God; they cannot be verified scientifically. Is there a more fundamental dimension of knowing, a real dimension that can support both science and spirituality? We will argue in this book that there is, and will begin our exploration with an unquestionable fact about the human soul, the fact that we have a capacity for knowing, any knowing. More precisely, we need to begin with ourselves, our body and mind and all their capacities of awareness and knowing. At least at the beginning, we have only ourselves as the agents of knowing, the organs of perception, and the locus of the revelation of truth. By investigating ourselves, questioning how we are aware and conscious, exploring how we perceive and know, wondering how we can discern truth from falsehood, we can begin to study the organ of awareness employed by all ways of knowing, the spiritual/mystical mode and the logical/scientific.

Science Attempts to Discover Basic Knowledge

Science inquires into the surface manifestations of basic knowledge -- its horizontal dimension, so to speak -- and spirituality inquires into its depths -- its vertical dimension. Each arrives at detailed, extensive, and useful knowledge. Both attempt to discover basic knowledge that is uninfluenced by opinions or projections, or determined by prior constructions. By exploring the wholeness of basic knowledge -- both the vertical and horizontal dimensions -- we may be able to arrive at a more fundamental dimension of knowledge that embraces both. The important point here, however, is that when we explore the forms of basic knowledge it reveals to us its truths, its invariant patterns and universal principles.

Science is a Way to Study the Logos but it is a Partial Way

Science is a way to study the logos, but it is a partial way. It studies the order of the natural universe, but not the source of order. At the same time, spiritual understanding also studies the logos, but it also tends to be partial in this study. It studies the dynamic force behind the existence of the universe, but tends not to value the order, or laws, that govern all manifestations, not just the physical. There is no necessity for such dissociation. Scientific and spiritual understanding can be complementary and, in fact, mutually helpful. There is no reason why we cannot understand reason in such a way that supports both scientific research and spiritual realization, for reason is ultimately the order of the logos. The logos is the fashioner of all manifestation, both physical and spiritual, and its order patterns both.

The Objective Research of Science Can Proceed Within a View that Recognizes the Ultimate Reality of All Things

Positivist philosophy, the basis of our Western mode of science, believes that the reified world is the real world. Hence, it has no place for God or Being, spirit or soul. It recognizes only the reifying mind, its ordinary knowledge composed of reifications, and the reified world of discrete objects and processes. It calls this “reality,” the exploration of which is science. Science is very good at dissecting the world and studying its components, resulting in our technological advances. It has accumulated much true knowledge about the noetic forms it studies, but as long as it bases itself on positivist philosophy, which is actually an expression of naïve realism, it is bound to miss the ground of all manifestation, the omnipresent field of true nature. It will not be able to penetrate to the ultimate nature and truth of its objects of study. Science need not take the positivist position. Its objective research can proceed within a view that recognizes the ultimate unity of all things; this unity allows for the presence and reality of knowable forms. This deeper and more accurate view may actually aid scientific research, adding another dimension of reality to its study, making this study more complete and objective, and making available to researchers more subtle capacities for perception and research.

The Work of the Diamond Approach is a Certain Kind of Science

The work we do in this school is not metaphysics, philosophy, psychology, religion, or science. Although it’s none of those things, the Diamond Approach is not disconnected from any one of them. This work is a certain kind of science; it includes a definite body of knowledge and employs a specific methodology. If we could give this science any name, it would be the science of what a human being can be. And the actualization of what a human being can be is useful to many other fields, whether science, philosophy, religion, metaphysics, medicine, or healing. The science of what a human being can be applies a certain kind of knowledge that I call the Diamond Knowledge. By knowledge I don’t simply mean information. Although it includes information, knowledge is primarily the direct experience of the content of reality and the methods necessary to actualize that truth. At the present time, the Diamond Approach consists of three main areas of experiential knowledge: the knowledge of the soul, which includes the knowledge of the ego, and the knowledge of the heart and spirit; the knowledge of Essence, which includes the knowledge of states, transformation, and realization; and the knowledge of God, sometimes called the knowledge of objective reality. Each area of knowledge is an immense field, and all three are interrelated.

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