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"What is the true nature of reality? And what is reality without the people or the individual consciousness that knows it?"

-Hameed Ali, Ridhwan founder

"It is a living, palpable presence, a process of bursting forth from within. This presence comes from inside, runs in our veins, and pushes things out for us to see."

-Karen Johnson, Ridhwan co-founder

"We come to the Diamond Approach to wake up to more of who we are. This necessarily means waking up to difficult places as well as beautiful places. The Diamond Approach uses those difficult places as doorways to deeper waking up and understanding."

-John Davis, Diamond Approach teacher

"We are here to inspire people to take the risk to go within, to face the sorrow, the demons, to trust the transformation. We don’t have to leave this earth, or live in a cave."

-Jessica Britt, Diamond Approach teacher


The Teaching

The Diamond Approach offers an immense and precise body of knowledge about the nature of reality and the process of spiritual realization. Rather than positing an end goal or condition, it points to an open-ended, continuous process of discovery. Even nondual realization is recognized as a step toward greater mysteries and forms of freedom. This leads to deepening realization of the fullness of being human—a being who experientially embraces and expresses the totality of the cosmos in all its physical and spiritual dimensions. Our potential is to be free: to be anything, everything, or nothing at all, as we live the simplicity of ordinary life.

Spiritual reality is seen to have many qualities important for us as human beings. These essential aspects of our nature include love, compassion, will, peace, strength, joy, and clarity. Each aspect has a unique flavor and particular function for the human soul and the realization of its ground. This ground includes boundless love, universal consciousness, transparent awareness, profound emptiness, nonlocal truth—unities of many kinds.

With penetrating clarity the teaching articulates how these natural qualities have become obscured and how they can open and emerge into our lives. Recognizing and integrating our inner qualities is understood as an organic maturation toward fruition of our humanity and awakening of the transcendent—a process of both liberation and endless discovery and development.

We are learning the subtleties of practice, of how our inquiry can become continual and operate in dimensions of experience that we can’t predict. We saw in the previous chapter that as our practice becomes more subtle, we begin to consider questions of knowing and not knowing, of conceptuality and nonconceptuality. This is following the epistemological thread of the path, which is inseparable from the thread of the heart.

By now, hopefully, we have come to terms with the fact that we are not going to have one overwhelming experience that is going to end all our difficulties and obscurations. People usually don’t see this until after they are enlightened several times. If we are awakened enough, we understand that sudden and final enlightenment, though a nice idea, is not congruent with the reality of being human, with the reality of how our consciousness works. This doesn’t mean that if you are not completely free, you have failed. That is not the point.

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