Recently I read a book that was a real eye-opener to me. It was Diamond Heart, Book One by A. H. Almaas. Many of you will have already read it. For those who do not know the author and the book, A. H. Almaas is the founder of the Ridhwan school that is dedicated to inner work and the development of our essence or being. His teaching is–as far as I understand–mainly based on Gurdjieff’s Fourth Way, Sufism, and modern psychology.
In his book Almaas explains different facets of essence as, for example, truth, compassion, confidence, worthiness, and how we can realize these facets. He illustrates which psychological barriers in our personalities and which behaviour patterns hold us back from getting in contact with our true being and how to work on them.
What we do is always try to move away from suffering and to move towards happiness, and this tendency keeps us away from where we really are. Almaas emphasizes that we have to do this inner work in our daily lives. Our relationships, our work, and our little and big everyday problems give us the material that we need for self-study.
In every chapter I found many things that spoke to me directly and made me think about what requirements may hide behind my habitual acts and feelings. The chapter “Becoming an Adult,” for example, illustrates that many of our difficulties in life result from the fact that we are acting like children and refuse to become adults.
As an exercise I noticed my emotions and thoughts from this aspect. Of course I already knew that I do not like to take on responsibility and prefer others to do the things I feel uncomfortable with, but I actually did not know that this attitude is ruling my life to such an extent. I also did not fully realize that many of my not-so-nice attitudes like getting angry, blaming others, or lamenting are based on this mentality. This is a little frightening to see, but also gives me a push towards change.
The above is only a short example. I think that this book can really enrich our practice. So if you’re interested and decide to read the book or have already read it, I am curious to hear what you think about it.