Fieldwork in Religion, Vol 4, No 1 (2009)

A. H. Almaas’s Diamond Approach: Divine Individualism or Mystical Humanism?

Ann Gleig
Issued Date: 15 Jan 2010


A debate over the integration of depth psychology and nondual, particularly Asian, spiritualities has recently engaged academic, therapeutic and spiritual communities. While some evaluations celebrate contemporary Western psychospiritual integrations as psychologically sophisticated forms of modern religiosity, other accounts reject them as psychological dilutions of traditional mysticism. Drawing on fieldwork and discourse analysis, this paper aims to further this discussion by providing a detailed treatment of the issues at stake through analysis of one such tradition, A. H. Almaas’s Diamond Approach. The Diamond Approach provides a useful study of contempo-rary American psychospirituality on two counts. First, it reconciles American concerns with individual development with Asian mystical goals of self-transcendence through an incorporation of Asian and Western religious and secular models of subjectivity. Second, it utilizes psycho-analytic theory—ranging from Freudian to intersubjectivist perspectives—to elaborate on pre-modern, particularly nondual Asian, mysticism.

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DOI: 10.1558/firn.v4i1.67

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