Synthesis between spirituality and psychology
- Almaas -

The first books that I read on the theme of self-realization were books by Almaas from the Inner-diamond Series. As far as insight and depth there are probably very few standard works that provide such a broad view of this subject. When Almaas was in Holland last year I found that to be a good opportunity to finally see and hear him in person. As far as I know Almaas never talks about Advaita. Nevertheless many knowers of advaita will recognize much in his work as far as the subject self-realization is concerned. I want to write something about Almaas and his work in this short article. The amount of information about him and the breadth of his works is so great that those who have more interest in Almaas will have not trouble finding their way.

Almaas

Almaas means diamond in Arabic. This name was adopted by the now 60 (probably) year old A. Hameed Ali. He comes from Kuwait and has been living in Berkeley, California since his 18th year. He received a PhD in Psychology with a specialization in Reichian therapy, among other things, from the University of the same name. His mother was religious in traditional Islam that according to him contains tolerance, friendliness, humanity, generosity and freedom among other qualities.

He was in Holland last year on June 9, 2004 and spoke to approximately 1000 people in the auditorium of the Free University in Amsterdam on the occasion of the publication of his book 'The Inner Journey Home' (The soul's realization of the unity of reality). In this book Almaas says he present a synthesis between the insights from various spiritual traditions and scientific psychology.

Almaas writes in the preface to this book:
'As a human individual I am the author of this book, but not the source of the teaching presented in it. The real source of the teaching is the true nature of Reality, the essence of our soul and what we ultimately are, the elixir that alone can transform our consciousness and life. By writing and publishing this book and the others before it, I am fulfilling a facet of my personal function as a discriminating and expressive organ, and an appreciative servant of this wonderful and magnificent truth of reality'

Sitting on the podium of the overfull auditorium and continually 'playing' with his prayer beads Almaas talks about his new book. But he talks especially about love, which according to him is the source of existence. Love is pure and has nothing to do with wanting to have. Love is the revelation of the truth. He also talks often about 'unfoldment', 'bubbling- and popping up'. Everything is a manifestation of the truth and everything can come up in that.

In the press information (in which for that matter it is also stated that the Free University takes absolutely no responsibility for the content of the lecture and only rented the hall) there is a summary of the new book. Almaas tries to present a synthesis between spirituality from different traditions and psychology: '... the vision needed for a new psychology must hold the ancient way of understanding the soul while at the same time embracing and employing modern understanding and methods of research. Our vision must not separate psychology from spirituality or from science. As we will see, the view that recognizes the true connection of the soul to the universe can and must embrace scientific knowledge'.
He indicates that psychology presents a self without a soul, whereas spirituality is about a soul without a self. He develops here a meta-psychology that is based on knowledge of the soul and not only on the knowledge of the self with its ego and subsystems.

Almaas is the founder of the Rhidwan School where the so-called 'Diamond Approach' is taught. Various branches are spread over the United States as well as other countries. Students participate in 'The Work': this should lead to liberating of the soul from conditioned patterns and finally to the realization of the True Nature. According to experts the work of Almaas is strongly based on Sufism. In an interview Almaas indicates that the most important motivation in his life is his interest in the truth.

Almaas has written many books precisely describing what The Work is about. These books are known in Holland as the series 'The Inner Diamond', which has in the meantime reached to four volumes. These books are reproductions of lectures by Almaas and are directed to orient and direct the individual on the way to realization. Apparently this is in contrast to the direct way, the immediate seeing of advaita. Nevertheless Almaas always returns to that One What Is or Essence. Another well known book of his is 'The Pearl of the Essence'.

Trust

In the first part of The Inner Diamond there is chapter dedicated to Trust, the subject of this edition of Amigo.

The chapter begins with a conversation with his students about trust. He builds up his argument very carefully. According to him there are a number of different kinds of trust, for example the trust that you are in good hands, wherever you may be – alone or with someone else. A deeper kind of trust is the trust that a person cannot injure you, that he has the best intentions for you. Then there is another level in which you trust someone because of what he is, because you know or feel that they have a certain kind of integrity that has nothing to do with you, you know that you can rely on it.

Finally he arrives at a working definition of trust: trust is that which gives you certainty and safety to let yourself be open in a certain situation, to allow everything to happen without resistance, without needing to protect or defend yourself. On a deeper level he talks about the capacity to surrender, to be there, to go along with the situation.

Almaas's diamond- approach could be seen as a process of deepening. In the English version of the Diamond Heart book he further writes about trust: 'Trust in the process? You allow yourself to be open. Usually when you feel you don't know, you want to do something right away. But you don't have to do anything: you just need to be there. When something happens, you're there for it. Ultimately, trust is really trusting your Essence. That trust will develop. The trust is not something you have right away. The more you know yourself and the more you see the rightness of your own process as it happens, the more you'll trust it... finally, you see that there is nothing you can trust, nobody, no authority, except the process itself. Finally the trust does not trust anybody; it does not trust any theory; it does not trust any authority; it is trusting reality. It is just trust – confidence in the Essence itself. It will take time for the trust to mature and deepen.'

It is beautiful to see that this 'method' only appears in Availability.

I close this article with a short poem by Almaas:

Beyond ambition
Beyond attachment
Is home
Without content
Peace
Uncaused

A good site to come to know a lot about Almaas is www.ahalmaas.com

[Dick de Boom]