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The Diamond Approach

The Diamond Approach (Ridhwan School) is a path of inner work – consciousness work. It has been unfolding over the past forty years or so through the work of founders Hameed Ali (A. H. Almaas) and Karen Johnson and the work of the teachers and students of the school. It is uniquely suited to modern times, as people today have curious and complex minds and complicated lives and dynamics. It incorporates meditation practice, but it is not about transcending or renouncing the world. Students of the Diamond Approach want to live full and engaged lives – enjoying meaningful careers, relationships, friends, and family – while also exploring human potential beyond the ordinary stuff of life. We engage the work to be in the world but not of it – to have rich and meaningful lives while developing contact with our innermost nature and the inner nature of all reality.  

Clear diamond on a black background
The Diamond Approach is among the most integrated and visionary teachings of body, heart, and spirit.

Jack Kornfield
Buddhist Teacher

Like many paths, the Diamond Approach views the ego's limited nature as an obstacle to realization – but our path also acknowledges that the development of a healthy ego structure is necessary as a precursor to inner work. The ego is a developmental achievement, but it is not the end of development. Rather, it as a way station with a particular functionality. There is further development possible that reveals the true nature of being human.


One stage of the Diamond Approach work is seeing how your sense of self developed through the unique circumstances of your childhood. We are shaped by our personal history, and lose contact with what we call essence. The Diamond Approach has a unique methodology to renew contact with essence through our understanding of how psychological elements relate to traditional spiritual obstacles and states. Through this, students rapidly begin to experience essential aspects such as Strength, Joy, Compassion, Will, etc.


In this deep work of unraveling the false self and uncovering essence, students learn to disengage from the inner critic (also called the 'superego') and to recognize and disidentify from inner structures. Ultimately one realizes the true self, an awakening that begins a further journey – one of opening to and exploring boundless (nondual) states.  


The Diamond Approach body of teachings (logos) continues to develop in radical and unexpected ways, revealing that there is no one state of enlightenment that is the 'goal' but rather that there is potential for endless realizations.


Throughout a student's journey with the Diamond Approach there is no dogma, and the path is always an open-ended exploration. The guiding light is love of the truth, looking into what is true in the moment for you. The logos of the teaching is a 'map' and reference to be examined against one's own experience. The primary practice is always inquiry into what is true in the moment, because experience only opens if we start where we are. Teachers are guides as students explore and 'metabolize' life experiences that have structured body, mind, heart, and soul. Through this, the human soul becomes unfettered and open to its dynamic unfolding. 

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