How did you find the Diamond Approach?
My husband and I moved back to Boulder in 1983, after being away for four years, and I contacted an old friend. We met for lunch and it was clear that something had changed in him. I couldn’t exactly discern what it was, so I asked him what was different. He said, “I’ve been hanging out with this guy, Hameed, doing 'the Work.'” Well, it was clear to me that something had profoundly affected my friend, something deep and powerful, to bring about such a change in him. He recommended the book The Elixir of Enlightenment by Hameed (A. H. Almaas), which spoke to me in a profound way. Soon after, the first “Diamond Heart Training” was starting, so we joined it and have been students of the school since 1987.
When I met Hameed later, I was impressed by his ordinary way of being. He was just a regular guy! This was in the age of many gurus in the culture, and it was reassuring and refreshing to find a spiritual teacher who wasn’t at all interested in those trappings. And it was very clear that Hameed had done, and was continuing to do, his own inner work. This is rare in a spiritual teacher, something that I respect and appreciate in him deeply.
What has kept you engaged with the Diamond Approach teachings?
For me, the accessibility of experiencing essence and presence in this teaching has been key to staying with this work, through thick and thin. The fact that all I have to do is to go inward and sense, feel into my experience and contact this Beingness has kept me involved in the teaching. I love the body orientation of this work, as well as the use of psychology as a way to work with whatever may be in the way of presence.
I’m a very practical sort of person, so the fact that this work is possible to “do” in ordinary life is very precious to me. Each moment is literally an opportunity to practice presence. Sometimes simply, sometimes in a challenging way—but it is always a possibility.
I find the superego work to be effective in “clearing out “ the inner critic, that constant and relentless block or distraction from what is really the truth.
And certainly, Hameed’s emphasis on “Don’t listen to me, check in with your own experience” has always guided me. The reality that this teaching isn’t a faith-based, “listen and follow me” kind of teaching is an expression of the impeccable integrity of the teaching. To be invited to find our own truth, through our own experience, in itself, is a powerful guiding force. By developing our own inner compass of “what is true right now,” our inner teacher can be developed to guide us on our path.
One other thing that has kept me engaged, is the lack of “selling” or conversion in the Diamond Approach. Hameed has spoken about this as a path of attraction, not conversion. Having grown up in a religion of conversion, the fact that this path is not one of proselytizing, just plain makes me happy! If this path is right for someone, great; if not, no problem. We speak frequently about this work as not being right for everyone. We are free to come or go, depending on what is good and right for each of us.
What advice/encouragement would you offer someone “on the fence” about attending an intro event?
Whether or not to attend an intro event is a very personal choice. My advice would be “Go ahead and give it a try...or several!” It is not possible to get a real sense of the path or the work any other way than experientially. Hameed’s books and online courses are a few ways people get introduced to the Diamond Approach, but they are not as potent as being in person, sitting with a teacher and other students in a group. There is no spiritual path that is right for everyone. None! Keep searching until you find what feels right for you. And remember that no one in the school is asking you to sign up for life. We have students who come for a while, get what they need or want, and then leave. Some return, others don’t. It’s all just fine.
What has been the most surprising discovery for you in the last year?
I think when I first began this path, I naively believed that it would be easy, and that I would “get someplace” where all my (and others’) suffering would be gone. As my inner realization has proceeded, I find instead how deeply entrenched the ego’s forces are, and how challenging it is to penetrate these forces. I have a deeper respect for the ego self, and feel friendlier and easier with its trials and tribulations. This includes the subtlety of the ego's forces, which begin to be exposed as we continue deepening in this work. And with a certain maturity, it begins to be revealed that there is “no place” to go, just to be simply here, right now, with whatever is being presented. It is a continual, at times relentless, process of deepening, revelation, and unfolding of True Nature.
Reesa Porter has been a student of the Diamond Approach for 30 years and has been an ordained teacher since 2004. She recently retired after 35 years of practicing psychotherapy in order to devote more time and energy to teaching the Diamond Approach. She taught in the graduate Transpersonal Psychology Department at Naropa University for many years. Reesa currently serves on several of the leadership council’s committees for the teacher body of the school. She teaches the Colorado Diamond Heart 9 group, as well as assisting in the Big UK group and the Atlanta Diamond Approach group, and has assisted in several other groups in the US. Reesa enjoys bicycling, gardening, hiking and cross country skiing. She is a mother of two grown daughters, has a beautiful grandson, and lives in Boulder with her husband of almost four decades.