That we are not our ego and that enlightenment would reveal our true nature is almost a commonplace today. At the end of the path, the false personal consciousness merges into the true impersonal consciousness and the circle closes, according to the standard model of spirituality. For many years I was convinced of this view myself, until it dawned on me that between the ego and awakened being there might be a real individual self, a soul, evolving, untouched by awakening and resident in a dimension of its own. In recent years I have begun a practice in this regard, more on this later.
A note in advance: As an ecologist and environmental planner, it is part of my everyday life to draw my conclusions on the basis of scientific facts. When I did my doctorate on knowledge management at Technical University Berlin in the late 1990s, my heroes were: the physicist Thomas Kuhn, the biologist Rupert Sheldrake and the philosopher Ken Wilber. I consider Wilber's Integral Theory to be trend-setting. Since the 1980s, his developmental models have often helped me to clarify my spiritual experiences.
In the late 1980s and 1990s my inner search led me to various teachers, from Europe to Asia. In 1997, in the Canary Islands, I had an experience of oneness that fundamentally changed my life. Afterwards, it was obvious to me that there are no individuals, the ego or self is merely a collection of thoughts, and only Being or Source exists, as the only agent. "Life lives itself," as my teacher put it. From then on, I let myself drift (be driven) with events, but silently waited for my life to become more balanced.
In 2003, I realised with another teacher that I continued to exist as an individual and have always existed. This was a great liberation. Instead of letting things go, I began to plan and work on myself again. Whereas before I had believed that everything was already in its natural state and that I had no influence on the course of things, hidden strategies and traumata were actually working within me. It was not so much the impersonal being as the ego that was shaping my life. Amazingly, after this insight, my inner connectedness remained. It did not contrast with my ego and individuality. Seeing through the concepts does not mean that there is no self or no ego, but only that the identification with the mental self-image no longer works. But what was behind this projection mechanism? What could my true self consist of?
In 2004 I joined the community of a friend. The practice was - simply put - about getting in touch with the sub-personalities and healing the Inner Child in an emotional way. At the same time, work was done to distinguish and ultimately distance oneself from the voices and messages of the parents that are stored in the Inner Critic. This was to gradually develop the "authentic self" from the "strategic self", the ego, which would retain its individuality even after enlightenment. For eleven years I practiced this method and actually found a new access to my feelings. For a long time, I was convinced that the emotional body comprised our true self. However, this was a mistake and this led with internal entanglements in 2015 ultimately to the dissolution of the community. In my early fifties, therefore, I found myself at another turning point, without a spiritual perspective.
I lived in this state in the following years. Professionally I had to travel frequently to Vienna because of a research project on climate change; with my wife I took part in a dance circle, otherwise we enjoyed art and culture. I almost gave up on getting involved in a spiritual path at all again. Then, by chance, I read the announcement that a seminar on the Inner Critic was being offered in Hamburg. Rani Willems was well known to me, as she had given Satsang for several years. Now she was working as a Diamond Logos teacher. So, I registered, at first only for the introductory evening - and stayed the whole weekend! I was very impressed how precise the seminar leader led us through the genesis of the Inner Critic, offering different methods of differentiation. At the same time, I loved her humor and openness. On Sunday evening I sat quietly on our balcony for a few hours and "just" looked at the trees - the very first time without the pressure of my parents' internalized voices.
Two months later Rani Willems offered another seminar. It was about silence and inner peace. On the introductory evening, I went to the seminar location in Hamburg's Schanzenviertel with an acquaintance. There were about fifteen people in the room, many of them dressed in black. Rani led the meditation. After a time in silence, she asked us to tune into the darkness of the night and perceive its silence everywhere. I relaxed and was soon able to imagine a deep black surrounding me (in space). Then we were to imagine this black slowly descending from above. I followed the instructions and became increasingly calm. The blackness that had surrounded me actually slowly entered my head and comfortably enveloped my brain. This was no longer an imagination, but a material sensing, feeling. My body relaxed increasingly as the black substance continued to flow downward. After fifteen minutes the meditation was over and we shared our experiences in the round. Afterwards, there was another two-person exercise: two people sat across from each other and took turns talking about their experiences while the other listened silently. Rani Willems recommended to include physical perceptions and sensations in this self-exploration. Since the physical body, unlike thoughts and feelings, is always anchored in the here and now, it sets the stage for our experience, she explained.
After this impressive introductory evening I studied the website of the Diamond Logos Academy. According to my understanding of the teaching, a subtle body exists next to the physical body in the "essential dimension", which is usually not perceived. However, through certain "organs" the essential body is connected to the physical body and completely permeates it. Roughly simplified, this essential body consists of "substances", like the black essence that I had experienced during that introductory evening, and of "vehicles" that give it support. Furthermore, in the essential dimension there is also a specific consciousness as well as an essential self. On the website, Faisal Muqaddam is listed as the founder of the Diamond Logos teachings. In the 1980s, Faisal Muqaddam, along with Almaas (Hamid Ali) and Karen Johnson, had discovered the realm of essences, described its aspects, and demonstrated connections with the psychological development of the child. After several years of working together, Faisal Muqaddam left his former companions and founded the Diamond Logos teachings.
Since Faisal Muqaddam did not write any books and only began to present his views in the form of interviews last year, I could not do anything with his name. Almaas was well known to me as a spiritual teacher and writer, so I got some of his books, including the one titled "Essence". In this book, Almaas gives an overview of how we come into the world as children with the abundance of our essential qualities connected to our soul. Over the course of childhood, these essences can unfold with good support from parents and the environment. Otherwise - which is the rule - they atrophy, gradually withdrawing until the memory of them fades. At the same time, the ego develops in adaptation to the environment and eventually acts in place of the consciousness of our soul. To compensate for the loss of essence, the ego imitates the lost qualities via certain strategies, energies or feelings. The practice now is to gradually reverse this process of ego development and return to our essential soul nature. I found this description so interesting that I decided to embark on this path. Hence our true self should not be emotional in nature, as assumed in my former community, but should come from the essential dimension. And of course, I was very surprised when I first experienced the black essence physically within me. It was as if I had set foot on a previously unknown continent. I had become curious, but I also knew that if I wanted to explore it, I needed the help of people who knew their way around. Since I already had a familiar connection to Rani Willems, the only way for me was the path taken in the Diamond Logos Academy.
The first seminar weekend was about the white essence. This time we had dressed in white. Similar to the black essence, I could again perceive a substance in my body during the transmission, but it had a different viscosity. I perceived bright vibrating light in the head area, which became more fluid in the upper body and took on an earthy density in the abdomen. It felt as if I were enveloped in a cocoon of white cotton that extended 30 cm beyond my physical body and shielded external influences. At the same time, a great serenity and calm arose in me, so that even an earthquake could not have shaken me. The white essence stands - as Floriane Usener (who teaches groups in Hamburg together with Rani Willems) explained to us - for the true, the essential will, which in contrast to the will of the ego is based on devotion and surrender. Psychologically, it was about father themes, which we tried to get to the bottom of in the self-explorations in pairs - in addition to the lectures of the teachers and the transmission of the essence in the form of guided meditations - by means of certain questions. I was amazed at the clarity with which insights about my childhood suddenly revealed themselves to me that had not been hinted at in the many years of emotional work. After the seminar, the energetically enriched state and serenity lasted for another two days, only to give way to restlessness and tension. As Floriane Usener explained, this change of mood was by no means a shortcoming, but a normal part of the process: after the revival of a certain essence, the "hole" that had been created due to the original loss of essence would also be revealed. In this context, the difficult issues, feelings, and tensions from the time of emergence would come to the surface to dissolve after a while.
Back home, it was important for me and the other members of my group to stabilise what we had experienced and to engage in the process. This included daily meditation, self-exploration with a fixed partner at least once a week and, if necessary, a private lesson with one of the teachers. Every three months, getting to know the next essence was on the schedule. In this way, during the first year, I integrated the basic essences of white, red, black, green and yellow, each associated with certain qualities and themes. Since this was a previously unknown dimension of reality for me, I had to relearn. Thus, for me personally, the exercise of perceiving my body more intensely became especially important in order to be able to feel the subtle vibrations of the essences.
Another example of the novelty I experienced and explored concerns dealing with anger: In my earlier emotional work it was considered an important healing step to become angry in conflict situations and to assert oneself in this way. Diamond Logos work, on the other hand, is not about expressing anger, which is seen as blocked red essence, but about activating red within oneself and letting it flow. Then despondency or anger can give way to a feeling of strength and aliveness. In this way, I was able more and more often to ask my neighbor - without fear or anger - directly and politely to turn down the loud music. Previously, when I wanted to change something, I had acted purely out of my will and mind. Now I was learning to activate the flow of the corresponding essence, from which a certain energy, a certain feeling and perhaps also a certain action arose of its own accord.
"Essence does the work, not you," as Rani Willems often remarked. When I first learned about the transmission of the essences through the teachers, I was a bit skeptical. I did not want to take over a foreign substance, but to get in touch with my inner self. However, I soon realised that it was a resonance principle: through the essential vibration of the others in the room, my own "dried up" essence was activated and made to flow again. What I was sensing was an inner quality of myself and who I was that I had long ago lost sight of. The other day I was looking at a photo of myself as a baby and to my delight I could perceive a colourful bouquet of essences around me!
After a year, the "diamond body" was on the agenda. This is a structure, a vehicle, which is linked to a specific consciousness. While everyday consciousness is subjective, erratic and unstable, the diamond body consciousness is said to have qualities such as objectivity, clarity and inner guidance. In the course of meditation and transmission, I relatively quickly became aware of a radiant diamond within me. At the same time, my consciousness condensed into the gemstone so that I could suddenly perceive everything with high clarity and precision. The most amazing thing for me, however, was that it was my own consciousness! It gave me a clear, irrevocable, almost binding sense of my individuality and gave me a foothold. I had often suffered from oscillating back and forth between the erratic everyday consciousness and the impersonal awareness. Now an anchor was provided for me to move between these poles. Experiencing the diamond consciousness was also the reason I recognised myself as an individual again after years of inner emptiness. According to the Diamond Logos teachings, in the course of practice it is also possible to embody the essential self or the Point of Light. According to Faisal Muqaddam, this is our true self, which we unconsciously seek to realise. The search for the primal ground or source, on the other hand, aims to find our home in the Absolute. If connectedness in the Absolute occurs, Faisal Muqaddam calls this "selfhood" because it is impersonal. For me, this distinction between self and selfhood is significant because it has ended my confusion around personal individuality and impersonal being. Both can be there at the same time and are complementary. And the third self, the ego, is not seen as an adversary but as a valuable protective mechanism. If it is treated kindly, it can put its abilities at the service of the essential self.
Here it already becomes clear that the Diamond Logos teaching does not only refer to the essential realm, but also to the Absolute and the material world. These three dimensions constantly interweave and form our reality. Accordingly, we have three kinds of self: The ego-self in dealing with the material world, the essential self (point of light) that constitutes our true self, and selfhood that is the Absolute. Included are three types of consciousness (subjective everyday consciousness, objective consciousness/diamond body, and pure awareness) and three types of bodies (material body/form, essential body/stupa, and "non-body" in being). As I understand it, the combination of the essential body, self, and consciousness in one gestalt can be called the soul. It is able to balance the other two dimensions. It is in this interplay that the "magical holistic kingdom" we live in is revealed.
In the YouTube interview "The Holistic Threefold Kingdom", Faisal Muqaddam elaborates on these complexities. I recommend these original sources on the Diamond Logos teachings. As a student I only have a rudimentary overview of this overall picture and will have to be patient for a while until I am firmly anchored in the essential dimension. I like to imagine that I am in the process of building the house of my soul. First the foundation and the foundation walls, next the supply and disposal lines, then the communication infrastructure, and finally when the roof is covered, I can move out of the rickety caravan of the ego into the spacious house of the soul. On my spiritual path, the Diamond Logos teachings offer me the best foundation so far to classify my experiences and orient myself. It is important to always remember that these three dimensions of body, self and consciousness are concepts and maps. In reality, these qualities merge and form a living gestalt that looks different and is unique to each person. This may be one reason why Faisal Muqaddam does not attach great importance to theory, but primarily to practice and personal experience. He also does not understand his approach as a "new special teaching", but as a general method to restore the "natural order of reality" (N.O.O.R.). In this respect, his teaching offers enough space to include aspects of other therapeutic and spiritual methods and to complement them. In my opinion, this is also possible with the Integral Theory of Ken Wilber. In terms of "awakening" both approaches correspond to each other. And what Wilber calls "growing up" are for me first the developmental stages of the ego (1st tier) and then the essential stages of the soul (2nd tier). Thus, the Diamond Logos teachings could complement this aspect of personal evolution. For the new direction in my life, I thank my teachers and also my companions in self-exploration, the women and men in my group. My special thanks go to Rani Willems and Faisal Muqaddam. Vita Dr. Thomas F. Wachter was born in southern Germany in 1963. After studying landscape ecology, he completed his doctorate in Berlin. Today he lives with his wife in Hamburg and works as an environmental planner. For him, ecology and spirituality are two sides of the same coin. www.thomas-wachter.de