How did you find the Diamond Approach?
I found out through a good friend of mine that she was bringing a teacher of the Diamond Approach to Maui to introduce this new approach that she had experienced. Living in Hawaii I had experienced many other teachings and none of them really resonated for me. They didn’t resonate because most of the teachings and workshops that I was experiencing were more about recipes and quick fixes for realization. I was always left feeling like I needed to reject the place I was in in order to get to a ‘better place.’
When you first started, what was your greatest challenge?
My greatest challenge was when I found out that there was not an ‘end date’ to these teachings. Thirty years ago I was in a place in my life where I had a lot of judgments about what I was feeling and the issues that I was facing. And because I had so many judgments about myself and about what I was experiencing I was looking for a teacher or a teaching that would fix what it was that I was so uncomfortable with. Every other teaching that I had encountered had promised enlightenment or an end to pain and suffering in a short period of time. So, my first impulse when I discovered that there was no end date to this path and therefore I thought, no end to my pain and suffering was to stop attending these weekends. My old tendency challenged me to not run away and look for another quick fix.
What has kept you engaged with the Diamond Approach teachings?
I feel it was two things. First of all, I respected the commitment that my teachers of 30 years, Morton and Deborah, had for this Work and their willingness to fly from Colorado to Hawaii six times a year. However, the most important thing for me was to realize that there was an actual place with dedicated teachers where I could be “exactly where I was” with all my resistances and all of my issues. I feel like their commitment and holding began to ignite something within my soul and that in truth I didn’t really want to be fixed. It ignited that part of me that wanted to show up and be more committed to staying with my issues and resistances.
The first year or so the work challenged me greatly. It challenged those old patterns of mine where I wanted to run away and resist the issues that each retreat brought forward. At some point, something important transpired for me in my relationship with the work. My heart opened. I began to understand why I was stuck and resistant. Through that understanding, the pain and suffering that I had previously rejected began to transform into my strength and power. It was through these transformative experiences that I knew I was in the right place.
What aspect of the teaching is most alive in you right now?
I feel it is this perspective that I mentioned above. After 30 years I am still grateful for the holding and support I feel I have within myself to learn and grow and transform from those very same challenges and issues that I had once rejected.
What has been the most surprising discovery for you (in the past year? Month? Week?)?
I have been deeply impacted by the recent US elections. I was surprised to recognize the deep feelings of discouragement and anger that I was feeling especially the day after the election. I realized that I could either run away from those strong feelings or open to them. Opening to them helped me understand more about other issues that were unfolding for me at this time. And it is through this process that I have once again been taken by the transformative power that openness and understanding have on my soul and in my life.
What advice/encouragement would you offer to someone ‘on the fence’ about attending an Intro event?
Being on that fence is a difficult and uncomfortable place and wearing on both body and soul. My suggestion is that the only way to know what your heart and soul need at this challenging time is to get off the fence and see what this path might be for you. But if you do decide to attend an event I suggest you do so with openness and curiosity. This approach may very well not be for you. It is certainly not for everyone. However, getting off the fence and finding out experientially for yourself may then open doors to where you need to be at this important time in your life.
If you could have one wish for humankind, what would it be?
That people would realize that they do not need to be fixed; that those very same feelings, emotions, and issues that they spend their lives running away from and attempting to fix can actually be their greatest allies in these challenging times. And that if we are able to understand why we are the way we are or why we feel the way we do, that understanding—as opposed to rejecting—can go a long way toward our healing and maturation.
Thomas Weinberg lives in Maui and has been a student of the Diamond Approach since 1987. He has been involved in teaching and training teachers for 15 years. He is currently the founder and senior teacher of Diamond Verite Canada, a group based in Toronto, Canada.