A. H. Almaas

A. H. Almaas or Abdul Hameed Al Al

A. Hameed Al Ali, born in 1944 in Kuwait, faced an early challenge in life when he contracted polio at just 18 months old. This illness left him walking with the assistance of a crutch. He moved to the United States at 18 to study physics at the University of California, Berkeley. However, a significant life moment caused him to shift his focus towards exploring the psychological and spiritual aspects of human nature. His curiosity about the truth of human nature and the nature of reality led to the creation of the Diamond Approach, a path to self-discovery and spiritual understanding.

Diamond Approach

The Diamond Approach is often described by its adherents as a response to a growing need for a spiritually informed psychology or a psychologically grounded spirituality. Unlike traditional approaches, it doesn’t separate psychological and spiritual experiences, seeing no division between depth psychology and spiritual work. It’s not merely an integration of modern psychology and traditional spirituality, as it challenges the prevalent belief in the separation of these fields.

Followers of the Diamond Approach consider it a “Phenomenology of Being,” offering a detailed understanding of various aspects and dimensions of Spirit or Being. Furthermore, it functions as a form of spiritual psychotherapy, with the aim of healing the wounds of the soul by reconnecting it to the Spirit. In essence, it provides a holistic approach, seamlessly integrating psychology and spirituality to better understand and heal the human experience.

Essence and the essential aspects

While many spiritual paths view “Being” as a universal essence, the Diamond Approach places significant emphasis on a more personalized experience known as “Essence.” This concept of Essence is akin to the Hindu concept of “Atman” or true self. In this approach, “Being” represents the fundamental nature of all existence, while “Essence” signifies the unique and individual nature of one’s soul. Essence is felt as a substantial, fluid presence that can take on various qualities like compassion, strength, joy, and more. This distinction allows for a more personal exploration of one’s true nature within the broader context of universal reality.

Theory of holes

As our soul matures, it faces a dual challenge: functioning in the world and staying connected to Spirit. Over time, we often drift away from our Essence due to the development of fixed patterns of thinking and behavior called the personality or ego. These patterns disconnect us from specific Essential Aspects, essentially built around the “Hole” left by these aspects. By exploring and understanding the ego’s structure, both in thought and experience, we eventually confront the “Hole,” and by moving through it, we can retrieve the lost aspect of our true nature.


The Diamond Approach incorporates methods passed down from Claudio Naranjo, who was influenced by Oscar Ichazo’s teachings. A.H. Almaas, introduced to these teachings, brought his scientific background (studying physics at Berkeley) to emphasize rigorous self-inquiry. Participants can engage through one-on-one sessions with a trained teacher, seminars, and various organized group formats.


The practice of “presence” involves two methods: consistently sensing one’s body, especially the arms and legs, and regularly focusing on a point in the belly called the “Kath center” (similar to the dantian in Chinese philosophy or hara in Japanese culture). These methods promote grounding in the body and reality and, with time, enable the experience of oneself as the presence of Essence.


The Diamond Approach focuses on self-investigation, exploring experience and perception. It starts with a question: “How can we investigate something we know nothing about?” This inquiry involves living the question while letting go of preconceptions and focusing on immediate experience. It combines elements of Edmund Husserl’s “transcendental phenomenological reduction” and Sigmund Freud’s psychodynamic exploration. An essential aspect is being aware of both the content of experience (emotions, thoughts, sensations) and our attitudes and reactions to it, transcending the subject-object divide. Open-ended inquiry is both a path and a state of self-realization, revealing the mysteries of Being over time.


This approach’s primary motivation for the spiritual journey is a love for Truth. Truth means seeing things as they truly are, and recognizing Being as the essence of everything. This love for the Truth combines both the bhakti (devotion) and jnana (knowledge) aspects of spirituality.


Almaas, along with Karen Johnson and Faisal Muqaddam, co-developed the Diamond Approach. Muqaddam pursued his own path early on, while Karen Johnson continued as a senior teacher in the Ridhwan School. The spiritual path based on the Diamond Approach is now referred to as the Diamond Path.

Everything I do is me. I don’t like taking ideas from people unless they’re the G.O.A.T.

A Boogie wit da Hoodie


Critics raise concerns about retreat fees, but Almaas stresses that the Diamond Approach is one of many paths. Students are encouraged to question its fit for their journey. Almaas’ work is praised by spiritual teachers like John Welwood, Gabor Maté, Jack Kornfield, and Ken Wilber. Wilber, while supportive with reservations, disagrees on infant experiences, viewing them as purely physical. Almaas asserts infants have a distinct, less integrated form of true nature/Spirit tied to their developmental stage.

James Bomb Music Video from Henrik von der Lieth on Vimeo.

Ridhwan School

The Ridhwan School, founded by Almaas in 1976, focuses on teaching the Diamond Approach. It primarily operates in Berkeley, California, and Boulder, Colorado, with additional groups in North America, Europe, and Australia. Almaas leads the school and trains Ridhwan teachers to instruct individual groups. The name “Ridhwan” comes from the Arabic word for “contentment.”

“Ridhwan is a kind of contentment which arises when you’re liberated. Your personality becomes contented when you’re free. Your personality itself is free from its suffering and conflict.”

The Ridhwan School doesn’t endorse quick fixes or set graduation deadlines; students engage in ongoing learning and inner work. While “inner work” may seem similar to therapy, Almaas distinguishes it from therapy. The school charges fees for classes and services.

A.H. Almaas has written several influential books, and some of his famous works include:

  1. “The Pearl Beyond Price: Integration of Personality into Being” – This book explores the integration of personality with one’s true self.
  2. “Facets of Unity: The Enneagram of Holy Ideas” – Almaas delves into the Enneagram system and its connection to spiritual development.
  3. “The Diamond Heart Series” – A collection of books, including titles like “The Unfolding Now,” “Spacecruiser Inquiry,” and “The Inner Journey Home,” where he explores various aspects of the Diamond Approach.
  4. “Essence: The Diamond Approach to Inner Realization” – A foundational work that introduces the core concepts and practices of the Diamond Approach.
  5. “The Power of Divine Eros: The Illuminating Force of Love in Everyday Life” – This book examines the role of love and Eros in spiritual realization.

These works provide insights into the Diamond Approach and the exploration of consciousness and self-realization.


American – writer

A. H. Almaas is the pen name of Hameed Ali, a contemporary spiritual teacher and author known for his work in the field of inner transformation and personal development. He was born on January 17, 1944, in Kuwait. Almaas is the founder of the Diamond Approach, which is a spiritual path and a psycho-spiritual approach to self-realization and personal growth.The Diamond Approach integrates insights from various spiritual traditions, psychology, and philosophy. It emphasizes the exploration of one’s inner world and the understanding of the true nature of self. Almaas’ work is often associated with the concept of the “Diamond Mind” or “Diamond Consciousness,” which is seen as a state of profound clarity, awareness, and wisdom.


Abdul Hameed Al Al


January 17, 1944

Age Age 78–79

January 17, 1944

Age Age 78–79

Abdul Hameed Al Al