Main Pages

By Region




Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Student?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Student

Rejecting or Ignoring the Personality Will Only Tighten the Knots that Imprison the Student

This personal focusing of the universal and timeless teaching begins with recognizing the student as a unique individual with his own experience, his own history, his own issues, and his own will, and not simply as an object upon which a teaching can be applied. In most spiritual teachings, the personality is seen as a barrier, the problem, the devil that needs to be slain. Only then, it is believed, can realization occur. It is true that a seeker's personality or his history is a large part of his problem, but it is so only from the perspective of a consciousness that he still cannot relate to. According to his own perception, the experiences of the personality are real, solid, and of great import. Rejecting or ignoring the personality will only tighten the knots that imprison the student. Also, the issues and the conflicts of the personality are not haphazard or meaningless; they are not simply barriers to realization and liberation. They are related in specific ways to the states of realization themselves, to the states of being. To gain a more precise understanding of the situation, and to personalize the teaching, we need first to understand the personality and how it is related to the free reality, the being—what we call essence. Our true nature, our essence, what is real and unconditioned in the human being, does not exist in some mysterious realm, waiting for us to attack and slay the inimical ego, and then show up in glory. Our being, our essence, the divine within us, is connected to our personality in a very complex and intimate way.

Requirements for Studentship

So the issue is: How good a student of experience are we at each moment? And what does it mean to be a good student? To practice, to learn, means to perceive the teaching that is coming through each moment of our life—not just during a meditation retreat or while reading this book or doing the practice exercises or pursuing our inquiry, but in each moment of our life. There needs to be no differentiation or separation of these activities from the rest of our life. A good student is one who recognizes that in every moment, everything that happens—whether we think it is bad or good, painful or pleasurable—is nothing but True Nature teaching, manifesting its truth. The more we recognize this, the more our soul becomes suffused with the juices, the nectars, of fulfillment and satisfaction. The more real it becomes to us, the more our heart becomes full and pregnant with the natural fruition of recognizing the truth. We begin to recognize that we are all children of the moment, which means we are all children of True Nature.

Student in the Work

To be a student in this Work, you need these two motivations—love and compassion—from beginning to end. This is very tough work. To do the Work with love and compassion means to appreciate that this process is tough; it is an almost impossible task we are undertaking. So it is best not to give yourself a hard time about it. You need to learn to be patient, to not judge or criticize yourself when things do not happen the way you think they should. You need to not be too pessimistic, and also not too optimistic. If you are too pessimistic, you will create a lot of heaviness in your process. If you are too optimistic , you will create too many disappointments. Balance is the best way.

Students Will Need to Understand their Judgments and Opinions About the Work

In the old times, it was expected that the student give nothing less than everything—all his money, all his time, everything—because that was, and is, the most effective way. We don’t ask that you do that here. We ask the minimum. But the principle stays the same. There are many stories where a master or teacher asks a student to give his life before he is given any teaching. It is that important. It is not possible to exaggerate how important the teacher is for the student. You can’t judge the importance of your essence because it is you. Without it, you are nothing. To understand that is the most important part of your work. We can see that it is not really possible for the student to judge the Work until he actually learns its principles in depth. You can have thoughts or ideas or opinions, but you cannot really judge it. So if you want to really benefit from the Work, you will need to understand all your judgments, all your opinions about it, so that you can be open to the nourishment that is needed for your kernel of Essence to grow. You need to question the Work sometimes, but that’s to find the truth and to be able to be open to the truth.

Tools Used by Students

We use the Enneagram as a tool and a map at specific junctures in our work of spiritual unfoldment. Initially, we use it as a psychological map that aids self-observation and study. Students also work with our theory of holes (see Essence, Almaas, 1986), which describes the loss of Essence and the consequent development of the personality. Then the work of uncovering the essential aspects proceeds. The theories of depth psychology on object relations, narcissism, and the like, constitute a major portion of the tools used to access the various essential dimensions. The Enneagram is then used at particular points as a map of certain levels of reality, in order to facilitate spiritual transformation. For example, work on the Passions and Virtues helps students in the process of purification of the soul. The Enneagram of Holy Ideas is most useful at the juncture between personal and cosmic realization of Being, as previously mentioned.

Facets of Unity, pg. 16

Where Students Begin in the Diamond Approach

As will become clear in the course of this volume, the method of the Diamond Approach is based from the outset on the perspective of unity, as revealed by the Holy Ideas. At the same time, the student is not expected at the beginning to understand or appreciate this view; on the contrary, students begin by working with the actual, limited egoic identifications they find themselves in. Truthfulness about, and openness to, the limitations of the deluded ego state are central to the method. Thus, for example, a central attitude encouraged in the student’s exploration into her character is the attitude of allowing, that is, attempting to take a nonjudgmental, noncontrolling position with respect to whatever arises in her inner experience. Thus, the perspective of the practice reflects the Holy Ideas of Holy Work and Holy Will. The understanding of Holy Work is that the ego self does not know what is supposed to happen, and that only by addressing what is true in the present moment can one participate in the Holy Work of the whole.

Facets of Unity, pg. 12

Subscribe to the Diamond Approach

See past editions of the Diamond Approach newsletter