Diamond Inquiry: Exploring Reality from the Outside In
In a world that is full of distractions and noise, meditating helps us settle into the depth of our being. But meditating isn’t useful when we must dance with the hustle and bustle of life—unless we interweave it with a practice that reveals our conditioning and hones our understanding of our day-to-day lives.
In the Diamond Approach, Diamond Inquiry is such a practice, using our innate capacity for discernment and discriminating intelligence and bringing them to bear on our direct, lived experience.
Diamond Approach co-founders A.H. Almaas and Karen Johnson explain Inquiry’s profoundly transformative potential:
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, pg. 19
Ask Me Anything
The beauty and utility of inquiry is that anything we are experiencing can be inquired into:
We always begin our inquiry by seeing what is true in our experience. I might recognize, for example, that what is true is that I don’t like the way a friend is ignoring me. By exploring that truth, I might come to see that I don’t like it because it is similar to the way my mother ignored me, which made me feel worthless. So I believe, in relation to this friend, that I am a hurt child and she is my mother. So, we can see in some detail what accounts for our feeling one way or another. The truth we see at first is the truth about what is not true. We recognize the false as false. As I see my self-image and the projection on my friend, it becomes clear that neither is really true. She is not my mother, and I am not that image of a worthless child. I am actually something more alive and immediate, a presence that has inherent value because it is what is real. The Unfolding Now, pg. 121
Following the thread of what is true in our experience connects us to the deeper truths of what we are and the nature of reality, so that the distance lessens between where we are in the moment, living our ordinary lives, and what we are at our depths. The result is that we are more real and authentic, and can see more of the truth of the situation we are in.
The Science of the Spirit
Almaas explains that Diamond Inquiry is different from the inquiry methods used in natural science, where the object of inquiry is outside yourself:
What we are interested in is the inquiry into our basic knowledge, which is our immediate experience. To inquire into your experience, you need data that comes only from direct observation. So your questions, if they are going to be effective, need to be grounded in and based on this direct observation of yourself, your experience, your life, your environment—moment to moment, day to day. If we are interested in understanding our experience, we cannot depend on abstract ideas and thoughts to guide our inquiry and our questions. Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg. 113-114
This doesn’t make inquiry any less powerful or useful than scientific study (indeed, it is often a much more personal and attuned practice). As we develop our capacity to be with our immediate experience and observe it directly, our consciousness functions like a powerful beam of light, illuminating the nooks and crannies where our awareness and understanding had not yet penetrated.
Our consciousness not only holds [our experience], it also sees through things; it sees through the veils, defenses, and resistances to underlying meanings, to underlying parts of our experience. We notice that our perception not only has a wider vision, but also that it can have a penetrating capacity. The penetrating capacity goes directly to the essence of the matter through brilliant illumination that pierces as it illuminates. Our consciousness is so smooth that it can move through little cracks, into tiny, subtle places. Brilliancy can seep into and penetrate those little subtle cracks and allow our consciousness to see things we wouldn’t normally see. Brilliancy, pg. 109
As Almaas says, inquiry is a gift to you from your own true nature, a method of self-understanding that is designed to reveal deeper and deeper truths about who you are and what reality is. The gift of inquiry reveals the joy, love, compassion, and all the other treasures of spirit that have been hiding inside you.
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