Almaas, Hameed Ali, author and the founder of the Ridhwan School, where the Almaas Diamond Approach is the spiritual pathway used to achieve self-realisation. It is called the Diamond Approach because the method shares many qualities of a diamond, including its exactness, precision and clarity.
The diagram above is based on the Diamond Approach and is overlaid with additional elements to help explain the soul’s journey. In the Diamond Approach, there are 3 stages of soul development. They are the animal soul, the human soul and the angelic soul.
Stage 1 – Journey to Presence
The first stage is the JOURNEY TO PRESENCE. This is where the animal soul learns to develop its instinctive nature in order to survive, function and succeed in everyday society. This includes the development of the survival instinct, sexual/ libido instinct and social instinct. The animal soul is also referred to as the desire-soul, or more commonly as the ego-self. The animal soul directs its focus out into the world, but there comes a time when we begin to question that there must be more to life than what the animal soul can provide. This process of turning inwards in search for deeper meaning, purpose and truth, and the recognition that there is a deeper reality marks the end of the first journey.
Stage 2 – Journey with Presence
The second stage is the JOURNEY WITH PRESENCE. This stage is where we experience the finer ‘feeling qualities’ that make us a truly human soul with a heart, rather than a purely instinctive animal soul. To expand beyond the animal soul is to discover and integrate aspects of our true essence of love, kindness, empathy, openness, courage, clarity and so on. In the diagram, aspects of essence are represented by the different coloured gemstones. Aspects of essence, also called essential aspects, are always perfect and pure manifestations of our true nature but differentiated into all the rich and universally recognisable qualities of goodness. It is essential to develop our essence in all its various aspects, to not only fulfil our human soul potential but also our angelic soul potential.
In the Diamond Approach, one of the key essential aspects is the personal essence. This is what allows us to experience ourselves as a spark of divinity, but in a personal, human and individual form. This invaluable and precious aspect is still a long way from maturity when it is first discovered and in the beginning, is thus referred to as the essential child. Our soul’s journey requires that we recognise, develop and support the life of our true self, rather than our animal soul’s identity based on the body (survival instinct), emotions (sexual instincts) and mind (social instincts). As the essential child matures it becomes what the Diamond Approach calls ‘the pearl beyond price’. The personal essence is thus represented in the diagram, by the pearl.
During this second stage of the journey, despite increasing recognition and integration of our essential aspects into the true personal essence, we continue to perceive ourselves as ‘human having spiritual experiences’. Although we recognise our essential nature as part of us, we still perceive ourselves as separate from it. This experience is referred to as DUALITY.
Stage 3 – Journey in Presence
The third stage is the JOURNEY IN PRESENCE. After a long purification process, our egos become as pure as our angelic soul so that we become one and the same. There is no difference, split or separation. This is the fully embodied experience of spirituality, not a theoretical or rational understanding. We are living our truth, as our truth. This experience is referred to as NON-DUALITY.
As angelic souls, we no longer perceive ourselves as ‘human having spiritual experiences’, but as ‘spirit having human experiences’. This is a profound and radical expansion of consciousness. In the Diamond Approach, the angelic soul is also referred to as our essential self/soul, essential nature, essential identity and simply as Essence.
Enlightenment is a term used by many pathways to describe the various states of self-realisation. In the Diamond Approach, the evolution of the angelic soul crosses five dimensions of true nature which are identified and clearly defined. Each dimension is true in that we have the embodied experience of being ‘spirit having human experiences’, but with each higher dimension the experience of self-realisation and non-duality become even simpler, fundamental and pure. We discover that at each higher plane of consciousness, there are even more basic building blocks of Essence until we reach the source of existence itself; the pure ground of Being, the unmanifest, true nature, true self, Divine Essence, the final and fifth dimension, the Absolute & Emptiness… “the indeterminate truth that underlies all determinations, it is the source and potential of all determinations.”*
In the diagram, the first four dimensions of true nature are represented by the four gradient grey bands. They are:
- INWARD STONE: Divine Love & Light,
- INWARD STONE: Pure Being & Knowledge,
- INWARD STONE: Awareness & the Non-conceptual and
- OUTWARD STONE: Logos & Creative Dynamism. Finally, we reach the black background itself, the
- OUTWARD STONE: Absolute & Emptiness. This is the experience of returning or remembering our home.
Realising the ultimate truth of Reality completes the journey of ascent. However, this is not the end of the inner journey. The journey of descent is where the soul, now fully self-realised and embodied in the dimension of the Absolute & Emptiness, is reborn/reincarnated into human form to awaken and to guide other souls home.