Main Pages

By Region




Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Teacher?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Teacher

Aligning the Soul in the Way the Teacher is Aligning Himself

Such speaking is the direct transmission necessary for any teaching, and is the central method the teachers of the Diamond Approach use when teaching in group settings. By speaking about an essential aspect or dimension of true nature, the teacher invokes its consciousness and it becomes his presence. By communicating the inner orderly flow in the skilful and guided speech, he guides the souls of his listeners to align themselves with such unfoldment. It may seem as if he is pouring the substance and presence of truth into his listener’s souls, but in fact he is only inviting their souls to align themselves the way he is aligning himself. Through such alignment the listener’s experience can begin to unfold, revealing the truth the speaker is communicating in the personal experience of the listener.

Asymmetry of Realization Between Teacher and Student

The relationship between teacher and student can change as our practice matures. At the beginning, there is often an asymmetry of realization between teacher and student that needs to be acknowledged. This asymmetry is part of the truth and it’s the reason why the student comes to the teacher in the first place. In time, as the student learns and matures, the asymmetry can decrease, but even when there is symmetry between student and teacher, the reverence continues. Both the student and the teacher need to recognize the teacher as the teacher, and the teacher needs to relate to the student as a student, even though they might feel more like friends. This is a subtle dynamic that requires a great deal of realization and understanding in order to unfold in an optimizing way.

Confronting Yourself

Some teachers do seem to say that one day you will be struck by lightning and your unconscious will burn out. Although wonderfully comforting, this is an infantile belief. If it were true, we would have many more mature human beings by now. My own investigation reveals that it simply does not happen in this way. In my experience and understanding, the person who has no unconscious lives a very normal and simple life. Even after people have the experience of enlightenment, they still have to integrate their ego and their unconscious. The process of integration of the ego and personality does not happen automatically and takes longer than the realization of enlightenment. You need to absorb and metabolize the ego in order to live as a mature human being. There is no way around confronting yourself, your unconscious, your fears, your doubts. I myself haven’t found any magical way around this. We each have to confront ourselves. We cannot simply practice a spiritual technique like meditation or prayer, have some deep experience, and expect it to totally transform us. The experience, regardless of how profound, simply cannot erase all the false influences on your consciousness.

Impact of the Teacher’s Presence

In this particular stage of maturation of practice—when we recognize that our process is largely determined by an underlying force that is emerging in various qualities and dimensions—what makes reality emerge in those ways has to do with our involvement with the logos of the teaching. Different traditions have different logoi, which impact how true nature might emerge in experience. Being involved with the logos of a teaching is a complex thing. Part of the involvement is understanding the logos, being attuned and devoted to it, feeling aligned with it, feeling it speaks to us, and, as a result, having our own interest in and commitment to it. But it also requires an active engagement with the particular teaching, in terms of direct involvement with the transmission of the teaching. Receiving transmission means being in the presence of a teacher, whether in a large or small group setting or in one-on-one work. As we interact with the teacher, the teacher’s presence and understanding powerfully impacts what actually arises in us. Even though we might show up because of a challenging life situation or because of certain issues we want to work through, the teacher, simply by being what he or she is, has an impact and an influence on us. In other words, if we go with the same issues to a teacher from another tradition or a therapist or a coach, the result will be different, what we experience will be different.

Knowing a Genuine Teacher

You do for a time work within a system. The teaching carries you a long way, but there comes a time when you have to be completely alone. You might be sitting with your teacher, but you are alone. The teacher has his ideas and experiences, but you must experience reality firsthand. That is how you know a genuine teacher. A genuine teacher helps you to be alone and independent. A genuine teacher wants you to get to the place where you know for yourself. The only way to be certain is to know directly.

Limitations of Enlightened Teachers

Many people involved in the paths of inner realization believe that if any teacher is realized or enlightened then he can understand every student. This is not true. Almost all teachers are specialized in one or more aspects of essential reality. Such teachers can at best understand all students from the teacher's own perspective. The teacher centered in cosmic consciousness can understand all students, but he can understand them only from the perspective of his own state—that of cosmic consciousness. His understanding is accurate, but as we have already shown, it might not be the kind of understanding most effective for the student. Understanding the student from the perspective of the essential aspect that he happens to be dealing with is far more effective for him than any other kind of understanding. This is because it will speak to him directly in a most immediate and personal way, and only the complete teacher, one who has resolved all the sectors of his personality and who can embody any aspect of essence whenever it is needed, will be able to understand each student from the perspective that is most useful to him.

Not Needing or Wanting, Even Not Actually Receiving, Any Personal Gratification From the Function of Teachership

Here we will digress to discuss the teacher and his role. One can work with others and teach them only what one has realized. This means one must be able to embody an essential aspect or dimension, at the time of interaction with the student, to be able to work with him effectively on that particular aspect or dimension. Just to know intellectually about the state, or to have had some experience of it, is not enough. This is partly because all states of Being are beyond the usual faculties of the mind, and hence cannot be used or known merely through the aid of memory. Also as is the case with any psychological state, if one cannot experience an essential aspect or dimension when it is needed, it must be due to the presence of barriers against it (usually unconscious). Such a barrier will then render the teacher unable to work with the student in relation to that aspect or dimension. Thus, in order to be a teacher of Essence, one must work to realize himself on the dimension of the Personal Essence. His effectiveness as a teacher will depend on the extent of his realization. He is most effective if he is realized to the point of not needing or wanting, even not actually receiving, any personal gratification from the function of teachership. This is difficult to understand as long as one does not know selflessness from direct experience.

Teacher Needs Some Realization of the Diamond Guidance

For a teacher to be able to guide a student towards inner realization, especially the realization of the Personal Essence, he must have at least some realization of the Diamond Guidance. The more this aspect is realized and integrated the more the teacher can be objective, exact and precise in his guidance, and hence more effective. The realization of the Diamond Guidance is a possibility only for one who has realized, or is in the process of realizing, the Personal Essence; because the Personal Essence brings a sense of specificity and particularity.

The Central Function of the Teacher

In fact the central function of the teacher is that he be the embodiment of essence. Because he is essence, he can transmit it to the student who is receptive to him. Then the presence of essence in the student will bring about the transformation. True, the mind must respond, must see and understand, for there to be a transformation. Otherwise it will block the force of essence. The mind does part of the work, but cannot do the whole work. The other half of the work, the more fundamental half, is done by essence itself, by its very presence. Essence is the transformative agent. Essence is a relentless teacher. It does not stop at any aspect. After one aspect is understood and realized, it starts manifesting another aspect. This aspect in its turn now pushes into consciousness the particular sector of the personality connected to it, and makes it imperative for us to understand and resolve it. The emerging aspect makes us feel the lack of its quality. It makes us long and yearn for it. Gently but consistently, intelligently and knowingly, it puts pressure on us to start longing for it. Then it provides us with the insights, the intuitive knowledge that help us understand our disharmony. And finally it shows itself, culminating our experience by manifesting itself as a complete and absolute resolution for our conflicts. Essence is then the teacher. Essence is then the taught. Essence is then the freedom. Essence is then the realization. Essence is then the fulfillment. Essence is then the being. Essence is then the very nature and substance of the individual. Essence is then the experience, the experienced and the experiencer. Essence is then the truth. Essence is then the nature of all reality.

True Nature is the Teacher

True Nature is the teacher, the Supreme Teacher. It is always teaching about its truth. All beings are its students, and it teaches every moment, for the experience of each moment is its teaching. True Nature is always manifesting its truth in one form or another. It cannot help but do that. It is its nature to reveal its essence, its truth. We only need to see it, recognize it. We see this manifestation of True Nature as our experience, but the experiences we have are just the momentary forms of how True Nature is continuously presenting its truth.

When the Disciple is Able to Merge with the Consciousness of the Teacher

The appearance or the experience of essence can happen sometimes without the individual going through the inner work of understanding and without experiencing the deficiency. This happens in isolated instances and usually has no lasting effect on the personality. It also can happen if the individual is associating with another who embodies the essence. This is the customary situation of disciples with their teachers and guides. If the disciple is open enough or is capable of empathic identification with his or her teacher, or most likely when the disciple is able to merge with the consciousness of the teacher, he or she might at certain times experience essence in some of its aspects. This is, in fact, one of the main methods of transmission used by many teachers. It is sometimes referred to as initiation. However, as we have already pointed out, this is an isolated instance and does not mean the disciple has made the essence his own yet. Usually, the personality comes back and clamps down on the new openness. This is expected, because if essence is activated, it will bring out from the unconscious all of the psychological material associated with it, the material that led to its loss. If the individual does not then deal with this material, it will just bury the essence again, as it did in the first place. This is why work systems that do not have a methodology of working through the unconscious aspects of the personality are inefficient, even though the teacher might know and even embody the essence.

When the Teacher Functions Similarly to the Logos

When the teacher has integrated the dimension of the logos in his realization he becomes able to function similarly to the logos. By speaking he reveals the truth of true nature and Reality. Such speaking is not simply the communication of ordinary knowledge: it is the communication of basic knowledge. By speaking, the teacher utters the words, which are word-concepts. By uttering such words, he does not only say the syllables. Each time he says the word-concepts he sees the reality of this word, its color and shape; he feels the quality of essence to which the word corresponds; he tastes its flavor and feels its texture. His speaking is not only through the mouth but through the fullness of the manifold of the soul.

Where a School and a Teacher are Almost Indispensable

To truly deal with the narcissistic issues one must go through the shell in a very specific way. It is not enough to experience only the narcissistic emptiness; understanding the shell is an important part of the process of understanding and working through the narcissistic constellation. The most important part of this work, the part where a school and a teacher are almost indispensable, is that of exposing to consciousness the narcissistic situation. Most people are not aware of the narcissistic nature of many of their expressions; in fact, they resist such awareness. The student needs to experience directly that her sense of identity is not real, that what she takes to be her identity is really nothing but an empty shell. Most people do not have this awareness; they walk around taking their normal sense of self to be real, that it is who they truly are. They do not question their normal sense of self in the conventional dimension of experience. So a major body of work, which in some sense begins the whole process, involves inquiries and practices which lead to the realization that what one is taking oneself to be is not the real thing, but an empty thing. When a person arrives at this understanding the process begins.

Subscribe to the Diamond Approach