Spiritual Spirituality

spiritual spirituality

Spiritual, Emotional & Psychological Health

The view we take, which happens to be the view of the major traditional spiritual teachings, is that spiritual attainment has many levels, and that psychological health improves with the deepening of this attainment. The latter will be the integration of one’s spiritual attainment in one’s life, an important dimension of spiritual maturity. Therefore, spiritual attainment might coexist with neurosis; however, spiritual attainment that does not heal one’s psyche is incomplete, or imbalanced. – The Inner Journey Home, Notes

Spiritual Self

We can define “spiritual” more precisely at this point. The spiritual dimension of the self is its ontological presence, its essential nature. In fact, what we have termed Essence is what the various philosophies, religions, and spiritual teachings have called spirit. So we see that spirit is not something otherworldly and ephemeral; it is actually our fundamental nature, the ground and ultimate truth of ourselves. – The Point of Existence, Book One Notes

Religion and Spirituality in Life

For most people, religion and spirituality are isolated compartments in their lives, if they are relevant at all. It is true that there is a growing interest in spirituality in the Western world, as evidenced by the proliferation of Eastern schools and gurus here and even of shamanic and ancient mystery schools. However, many individuals engaged in such paths experience their inner work as separate and isolated from the rest of their lives. A central concern of students in many spiritual groups and schools is how to integrate their inner paths with their everyday lives, their work and relationships, and the fact of living in our modern secular society. Contemporary society seems to lack a context, or a fundamental fabric of holding understanding, in which a spiritual life could be an integral and natural dimension of daily life. – The Inner Journey Home, ch. 1

Spirit versus World

Many spiritual teachings say, “Let’s forget about the world. The world will not bring freedom, won’t bring true fulfillment. Let’s move deeper or higher; let’s go into the other world.” That perspective points to the value of spiritual work, spiritual realization and enlightenment. Yet it is one-sided, dividing world from spirit. – The Power of Divine Eros, ch. 3

spiritual life

Spiritual Life

We are well aware that not all people who are interested in spiritual life consider the ultimate reality to be that of oneness or unity. The spiritual perspective covers a wide range, from the religious perspective of living a life according to divine commandments, to the spiritual one of finding a connection to a higher reality, to the mystical view of uniting with God or realizing the oneness of existence. – The Pearl Beyond Price, ch. 1

Ideally, spiritual life is all of our life. Nothing is excluded. If something is excluded, that means we are misunderstanding what spiritual life is. Spiritual life is not just going to church, not just meditating, not just having some wonderful inner experiences. It is living in reality—being what we truly are and living in the world as it is. This is possible for us. It is our potential. Of course we want to recognize the spiritual world, but the greater potential is to recognize that the spiritual world is not separate from this physical world. The spiritual world is the light of this world, the true nature of this world, the true existence of this world—which means that it is your true existence. When you experience yourself right now, when you feel yourself right now—if you feel yourself completely—you will feel yourself as wonderful, amazing, a luminous presence. – The Power of Divine Eros, ch. 3

Spiritual Understanding

Our Western spiritual understanding has grown distant from its roots; Plato’s and Pythagoras’s spiritual training required the utmost rigor of logic and precision of discrimination. Pythagoras taught spirituality through instruction in mathematics, and Plato instituted mathematics as part of the curriculum of his academy. Logical debates were part of Plato’s spiritual training, a practice inspired by Socrates. The originators of our Western thought conceived of mystical experience and logical discrimination as two sides of the same capacity for knowing. The contemporary assumptions are radically otherwise; the major thrust of thought now is that mystical experience and logical thought are not only divergent but also incompatible – The Inner Journey Home, ch. 1

spiritual self ego

Integration of Spiritual & Psychological

This higher ground of understanding that unifies the psychological and the spiritual is a facet of a larger integration, one that also integrates it to the scientific method and its view of the world, a world that is in turn connected to our spiritual understanding. This unification addresses the common modern perspective in which the soul or self is seen as separate from the world or the cosmos, and separate also from God or Being. More precisely, our new metapsychology is embedded within, and is an expression of, a metaphysics that brings to a new level of unity thought and research in relation to the three facets of reality: soul/self, world/cosmos, and God/Being. In this metaphysics, spirituality and science are seen as two facets of the same thing, which involves recognizing a ground where the spiritual and the physical, in addition to the psychological, are seen to be meaningfully related. – The Inner Journey Home, ch. 1

Psychological and Spiritual Synthesis

Take, for example, the Diamond Approach, the teaching we are using here for our work of spiritual realization. Most people describe it as the result of synthesizing the psychological and the spiritual. That is true, but not in the way they imagine it happened. Many people believe that I knew something about both the spiritual and the psychological realms and then somehow put them together. However, I could never have created this Work in that way. In fact, I didn’t even think of the process as synthesis until after the fact. The synthesis of the psychological and the spiritual happened by my seeing from the beginning that they are one. I looked at my experience and knew with certainty that psychological processes and spiritual perceptions are inextricably linked as parts of the same experiential domain. I actually cannot separate them in my thinking and contemplation, even if I want to; such a separation would not make sense to my understanding. – Brilliancy, ch. 2

Know Thyself

This is exactly what the ancient explorers of inner truth, both Eastern and Western, did. The Buddha observed and studied his own mind, and developed methods of meditation that enabled others to do the same. Almost all of Indian philosophy and spirituality begins, and ends, with the study of the self, the atman. The Delphic injunction, “Know thyself,” became through Socrates and Plato the primary foundational principle of the Western wisdom tradition, which in turn became central for Neoplatonism: “To find ourselves is to know our source.” (Plotinus, Enneads, p. 544.) Christian spirituality, as seen through the teachings of the desert fathers, begins with the knowing of the soul and the purification of the soul that is needed for it to mirror or be receptive to divine inspiration. The cornerstone of Islamic spirituality and philosophy is the saying attributed to God: “Whoso knoweth himself knoweth his lord.” – The Inner Journey Home, Notes

ego self spiritual soul

Spirituality & Soul – Psychology & Self

We see, then, that just as psychology has adopted a self with no soul, spirituality has adopted a soul with no self. From the perspective of many spiritual approaches, the spiritual aspect of the human being is seen as quite separate from or even incompatible with the self, which is defined as that which leads the primarily bodily life, concerned with enhancing the self and material well-being. Thus most realms of religion and spirituality have developed an imbalance, in which there is a dichotomy between the spiritual and the material, and the material is rejected in favor of the spiritual. This tends to alienate the “man of the world,” the worldly people who constitute the majority of humankind and who live from the perspective that ordinary, everyday life is important and potentially fulfilling. – The Inner Journey Home, ch. 1

Spiritual Ego versus Psychological Ego

Here we digress to point out a source of confusion about the term “ego.” Readers who know both the spiritual and psychological literatures will find the term freely used in both, but with no general agreement on what the term refers to. This ambiguity often leads to confusion. The literature on spiritual development, on essential or inner development, on all matters of religious concern, generally uses the term “ego” to mean something which is seen as the barrier to spiritual realization. The literature on depth psychology, however, uses the term with a very different meaning. The ego referred to by Freud, and which ego psychology studies, is not the ego which is the barrier to spiritual development. They are two different concepts. The psychoanalytic term “ego” refers, rather, to the functional self, which is the site, organizer, and coordinator of the functions of perception, memory, mobility, and so on. – The Void, ch. 3

Nonlinear Spiritual Development

The Diamond Approach begins with the idea that we need to work on our psychological issues, which will include regressive processes, if we are serious about our spiritual development. But then the process becomes much more specific, and much less linear. We find that psychological issues and spiritual development do not arise one after the other, consecutively. Rather, we find that the psychological issues are completely intertwined with the phenomenology of Spirit, and with the specific characteristics of essence and its various aspects. Psychological issues, which have their genesis mostly in childhood, plus necessary regressions, continue, as a result, into the most advanced stages of spiritual development. Furthermore, childhood content does not block essence in a general way. Specific segments of our childhood issues and ego structures block particular spiritual states. And it is our finding that the correspondence between psychological issues originating in childhood and particular essential states appears to be universal to all souls, hence the possibility of a particular body of knowledge that maps such correspondence. The Diamond Approach contains such knowledge. All the books we have published are elucidation of elements of this knowledge. – The Inner Journey Home, Appendix D

Spiritual Development

Spiritual development means, then, the discovery and integration of our essential presence in our experience of ourselves. And since this presence is ultimately nondual and forms the ground of our wholeness, spiritual development can also be seen as the movement towards wholeness. – The Point of Existence, Book One Notes

Path of Spiritual Wisdom

The Diamond Approach is a path of wisdom, an approach to the investigation of Reality and work on oneself that leads to human maturity and liberation. Because of our particular vision of Reality, it is not completely accurate to think of this approach as spiritual work, for this work does not separate the spiritual from the psychological. Neither does it see these two as separate from the physical everyday life and scientific investigation of the content of perception. However, because we live in a society where the prevailing thought is that of the separated facets of Reality, the closest category recognized in this mentality, to our approach, is that of a spiritual path or exploration. We prefer the expression essential work to refer to our approach, because it is based on the essential nature of Reality, meaning the essence of the three disciplines that developed from it. – The Inner Journey Home, Notes

The Diamond Path

Those familiar with Almaas’s body of work tend to think of it as a “synthesis of psychological and spiritual work.” It is not. This work arises from a level of understanding in which it is clear that, in the human being, these realms are truly not separate. They can be discriminated, and Almaas’s work actually contributes to a clearer discrimination of psychological work from spiritual work. However, his unique contribution is his understanding of how these realms are related, how they can be worked with in ways that allow psychological understanding to support spiritual development, and how the discoveries made possible by a comprehensive understanding of the self can contribute to psychological understanding. Further, like many philosophical investigations, this work moves from exploration of the experience of the human subject into the realm of ontology. Almaas’s inquiry powerfully illuminates how the process of freeing the self from incomplete and false identities leads to a revelation of the nature of the human self as Being itself. – The Point of Existence, Introduction

The Path of Spiritual Inquiry

Inquiry means that we learn to be spiritual not by pushing away our ordinary experience but by embracing and feeling it more completely than we usually do. In fact, being spiritual includes experiencing ourselves and being in touch with our experience as completely as possible because, generally speaking, most of us don’t experience ourselves completely. There are limitations, restrictions, on how we normally experience things and how we experience ourselves, including our thoughts, emotions, sensations, tendencies, desires. If we experience all of these fully, and if we really understand them, then we will see that they are the manifestations of our spiritual nature. They themselves will take us across the great divide; they themselves will become windows and entryways into the primordial ground, into eternity. – The Power of Divine Eros, ch. 1

Spiritual Experiences

Many people get caught up in spiritual experiences and perceptions and all kinds of interesting, subtle impressions, some of which can be exciting and uplifting. But there is nothing like the simplicity of being oneself—settling into yourself, just being there, recognizing what you are, and feeling the sense of intimacy and realness of that. All of the inner journey, all of spiritual practice, ultimately comes down to this: that we are able to be genuinely what we are. If you want to do inner practice in order to develop certain powers or go to other dimensions or have special experiences, you still don’t know what spiritual work is. And this is because you are not yet recognizing what reality is or what being real means. – The Unfolding Now, ch. 1

In the Diamond Approach, our orientation is not toward having spiritual experiences. In fact, we are not interested in having any particular type of experience at all. We are interested in actualizing our potential. This means realizing who we are, discovering what the essence of our Being is, continuing to recognize this, continuing being what we are—our spiritual presence, our true nature—and learning how to live as that. It is a profound, meaningful way of living – The Power of Divine Eros, ch. 1

Spiritual Techniques

So the work we do here has to do with the activation, development, and evolution of the soul, so that it in turn can actualize the various realms of knowledge. The various spiritual techniques we employ are not oriented only toward the experience of Essence or God. Most spiritual techniques are primarily oriented toward a certain education that corresponds with the development of the organ of evolution. That education is a matter of learning how to approach experience. So the spiritual education, which is a central part of our work, is not a matter only of having experience, but also of learning how to relate to and understand the experience. How we approach our experience is what will bring resolution, what will bring actual fulfillment, what will bring the awakening, what will bring the reduction of suffering. The generation of new experiences, no matter how sublime, will not by itself resolve anything. What matters is the attitude with which we approach our experience. – Diamond Heart Book Five, ch. 12

spirituality spiritual heart

Spiritual Work and Heart

Something happens in the course of doing spiritual work that is very important on any path: The more we are connected with our spirituality, and the more we are aware of and in touch with our spiritual nature and the spiritual nature of reality and existence, the more our heart manifests what it can be in its true nature. Our heart feels the purity of love, a love that is big, unrestricted, and not self-centered. It is a love that is completely generous, totally giving. That is why divine eros brings out a selfless tenderness in us, an egoless sweetness, a generosity and appreciation that is not limited by anything. When I use the word “divine,” I am implying all of that. – The Power of Divine Eros, ch. 1

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Spirituality and Psychoanalysis

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