Blue field like crop rows and burgundy border, saying "Don't Just Survive - Thrive

The Diamond Heart Series, A.H. Almaas

Preamble: These books were recommended to my by a climbing great, John Long. He had a quote in a magazine article that said that if you basically felt worthless without accomplishments, then you needed some help. And I was like, “That sounds like me.” And a friendship was formed.

John pointed me to these books and I read all four of them “on retreat” in Bishop one spring with my dog. It set me on a path of self-understanding, and thus understanding of others that definitely made me who I am today. Pair that with a book on the Enneagram, and you have a huge foundation of personal understanding and change.


From the back: “We live in a world of mystery, wonder, and beauty. But most of us seldom participate in this real world, being focused rather on the parts that are mostly strife, suffering, or meaningless. The situation is basically due to our not realizing and not living our full human potential. The potential can be the realization and development of human essence. The human essence is the part of us that is innate and real, and which can participate in the real world.”

Specific things to remember:

  • The personality and essence are separate. When we are born, we are pure essence, but the experiences of this material world is what form our personality – like a crust around a pure soul. It protects us, but it also hurts us.
  • The goal of your life is to break through the crust that causes poor behavior and emotional overreaction by becoming aware of ourselves.
  • Poor behavior is because we have emotional holes that we need filling and we use the material world to fill them rather than ourselves. For example, we rely on other people for our happiness, food to comfort us, money to make us feel secure.
  • We need to learn that we have self-soothing capabilities and the less we need from the outside world, the more peaceful, open, and “less crusty” we can become.
  • Do not allow yourself to occupy a single-defined identity label. This is self-limiting. You can change and that’s okay.
  • Your body image is inaccurate and your attachment to how you perceive yourself to be can only damage you.
  • Essentially, attachment to the material and external is a big problem – it will change, disappear, and then you will need something else to sooth you. Get rid of your attachment to pleasure.
  • Immerse yourself in every experience and know every part about it – do not let your personality hinder you.
  • True love is a deeper aspect of who you are, a deeper realization of self. You become one with what you love (be it material, idea, or person).
  • To have a truly fulfilling life, you have to develop a taste for certain values – and it takes work.
  • If a problem arises, you don’t have to solve it right now, disengage from your feelings and let it be.
  • You need to balance understanding, doing, and being. It usually comes in that order. Most people only focus on one.
  • The way you live your life is ultimately up to you and no one else.
  • The goal is oneness in everything – by being one with life’s experiences and personalities, you can experience life and your essence more fully. That sense of unity is peace and love.

Nice passages:

  • “Fulfillment, which is simply the absence of the lack of fulfillment, arises through denuding yourself, baring yourself, becoming more and more naked. It’s a matter of letting go of the things you’ve been trying to fill yourself with, of shedding the unreal, until you’re so simple that you’re simplicity itself.”
  • “Fear is dependent on what we think we are.”
  • “The moment there is completeness in that state, the insight is there – insight is the union of your mind and your Being at that moment. This is love.”
  • “Oneness is the supreme reality, the most fundamental characteristic of all reality. The ultimate truth of reality is that it is one – one beingness. Without vulnerability, we could not be aware of this. . .  When you are aware of oneness, when you see that you and everyone else and everything else are completely one, vulnerability will not be seen as a disadvantage at all.”
  • “Complete, one-hundred-percent, absolute and total vulnerability is the same thing as complete, one-hundred-percent, absolute and total invulnerability.”
  • “The only thing you can do is accept unconditionally what is.”
  • “Essence is acceptance, not as approval, but as a healing agent.”
  • “When it is allowed, change can only be good, can only be expansion.”
  • “Complete freedom comes from seeing the futility of effort and hope, by giving up attaining anything, and just being there.”
  • “If you are to be a truly mature human, you must conduct yourself according to the highest ideals you know.”
  • “The more real you are, the more invisible you are, because you keep your realization to yourself.”
  • “When there are no boundaries, what naturally arises is love, abundance, and generosity, because what blocks love are the boundaries.”