Author(s): A.H. Almaas
An innovative spiritual teacher shows how to use desire and passion as a gateway to realizing our full potential. What do desire and passion have to do with the spiritual life? They are an essential component of it, according to A. H. Almaas and Karen Johnson. Most spiritual teachings take the position that desire, wanting, and passion are opposed to the spiritual path. The concern is that engaging in desire will take you more into the world, into the mundane, into the physical, and into egoic life. And for most people, that is exactly what happens. We naturally tend to experience wanting in a self-centered way. "The Power of Passion" explores how to be passionate and to feel a strong wanting without that desire being in conflict with selfless love. It also shows how relationships with others are an important part of the human journey--an opportunity to express oneself authentically and be present with someone else. Through understanding the energy of eros, each of us can learn to be fully real and alive in all our interactions. In the words of the authors, "Any spiritual work involves the element of love, whether explicitly or implicitly. What we want to explore is how the energy and quality of love explicitly open the door to reality and to our deeper nature. The portal is there for every human being to open; each of us can be fully real and alive in all our interactions. And the erotic, as it is felt and experienced in the body, is a part of that openness, whether it becomes sexual or not. For many reasons, eros has become separated from the pure and the holy, and as a result, it is usually relegated to the domain of the gross and unrefined. But eros is the energy of the divine. As such, it is always divine and pure." Through guided exercises, the authors invite the reader to connect to the pure energy behind their desire. When we allow ourselves to fully experience our wanting, the authors suggest, and we trust that the wanting itself has the intelligence to reveal the pure energy of desire that underlies it, we get a taste of what it's like to feel love and desire as a unified force. Being in the world in a way that does not separate us from spirit, while also feeling the pleasure of our energy, our erotic nature, our aliveness and love, makes life complete. We want to experience our humanness, the authors say, but we don't want to divide ourselves to do it. We want to know more about both the spiritual and the worldly reality and how the two interrelate, because they are naturally a part of what it means to be human.
A. H. ALMAAS is the pen name of A. Hameed Ali, the Kuwaiti-born originator of the Diamond Approach to the realization of our true nature--a spiritual path that integrates modern psychology with the insights of Sufism, Buddhism, Gurdjieff, and other wisdom traditions. Since 1976 he has guided individuals and groups through his school of inner work, the Ridhwan School, which has branches in California, Colorado, and Europe.
KAREN JOHNSON is a longtime colleague of A. H. Almaas, with whom he cofounded the Diamond Approach. They have been teaching together for many years. Karen Johnson was educated as an artist and then received an MA in psychology.