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The Point of Existence: Transformations of Narcissism in Self-Realization (Diamond Mind Series, 3) Paperback – September 5, 2000

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Editorial Reviews Review

The third and final book in Almaas's Diamond Mind series, this 602-page tome reformulates the traditionally accepted definition of narcissism, positing it as the major barrier to self-realization--we are staring at reflections of ourselves thinking we are looking at the real self until we fall through the surface of the pond. Dissecting the nature of self to expose ego's mimicry, Almaas illuminates the relationship between the different approaches of various psychological and religious traditions, leaving no stone unturned in his search for "essence." Since the process involves transformation of the experience of identity, it exerts pressure on all levels of self-image, bringing up classically narcissistic issues. While the work appears therapeutic and, in fact, may have therapeutic value, its primary purpose is opening to deeper levels of self knowledge, which eventually becomes a participation in the dynamic unfolding of being human. A pivotal distinction expounded upon in The Point is that Almaas is not directing the reader toward some realization of immaterial spirit or psychological state but is engendering the emergence of a material soul, a palpable essence of being. --Randall Cohan


"Almaas is one of the most significant voices for a new and remarkably integrated spiritual vision. His work connects the personal, the universal, the psychological and the spiritual not as pieces put together, but as the inseparable mandala of the sacred that we are. I respect his work to the highest degree and commend it to anyone interested in living the life of the spirit."—Jack Kornfield, Ph.D., author of After the Ecstasy, the Laundry

"Almaas is an astute and brilliant explorer. The Point of Existence is remarkable in its thoroughness, detail and depth. In it he shows how the universal narcissism of everyday life is an incomplete stage of development which can only be overcome through realization of one's deepest most essential nature. This is a book to study, to contemplate, to live with, and to use as a guide on one's journey."—John Welwood, Ph.D., author of Toward a Psychology of Awakening

"Almaas's The Point of Existence is a supremely original and unique work, of immense significance for anyone involved in a spiritual path. Its far-reaching reformulations of narcissism as the defining dimension of ordinary personality and the major barrier to self-realization offer a great promise and challenge to both transpersonal and psychotherapeutic orthodoxies. It will be studied and debated by psychologists, spiritual practitioners, and theologians for years to come."—Harry Hunt, Ph.D., author of On the Nature of Consciousness

"This pioneering work renders outdated both the psychologist's traditional avoidance of deeper dimensions of experience and the mystics dismissal of psychology. The sophistication of this work is stunning and the views stimulating to our sense of what human identity is and what we can be."—Sherry Ruth Anderson, Ph.D., co-author of The Feminine Face of God

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Product Details

  • Series: Diamond Mind Series, 3 (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 636 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala; 1 edition (September 5, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0936713097
  • ISBN-13: 978-0936713090
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,427 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

A. H. ALMAAS is the pen name of 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 in California, Colorado, and Europe through his school of inner work, the Ridhwan School, which has branches throughout the world.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

84 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Harvey Aronson on December 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
Much like a major symphonic work, A. H. Almaas' work slowly develops several theme that ultimately converge to reveal incredible beauty and meaning. The initial chapters of the work are somewhat difficult in the extremely fine discriminations that the author makes in setting the ground work for his main arguments. In brief, for Almaas, narcissism is the identification with anything other than one's Essential Identity, whether it be one's body, looks, fame, thoughts, or emotions. Essential Identity is that aspect of our own true nature that give us a sense of who we are at the deepest Being- level of existence. Self-realization involves the movement from the former to the latter--moving from identifying with the ordinary experience of our personality to identifying and becoming one with Being and its essential qualities such as love, compassion, strength, clarity and identity.
For the first time ever, Almaas, presents a rich and psychologically informed phenomenology of the dissolution of the egoic self in the process of self-realization. If the first movement of the work is slow and methodical in setting up the major themes, the second movement, is a detailed, experience near description of how during the course of spiritual development we move from ordinary experience to the depths of Being. Almaas suggests that our idealizations of others, institutions, and ideas has to do with our search for internal support which can only ultimately found in the security of Being. Our need for mirroring, is explored as stemming from Being's need for mirroring, for its uniqueness, specialness and exquisiteness. Most moving in this all, is the exploration of how the very hurts that result from lapses in idealization and mirroring, can be doorways to much deeper understanding.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
So much of psychology is superficial and so much of what spiritual traditions teach is misleading and impractical to incorporate into our daily lives...
The self-realized Almaas puts into words what others before him could not. This book cuts right through ignorance/narcissism and slowly brings to surface realizations that change forever, what one believes to be reality.
Almaas cross correlates metaphysics with psychology in a mind numbing fashion, throwing deep unconscious process at the rational mind for contemplation, dredging up our childhood experiences, and our relationships with the enviornment. He cuts open the shell that has hereto hidden what is real and jangles the core of our identities.
His approach is to clarify that which is misunderstood, avoiding nothing in the process. The Diamond Approach, as taught by Almaas, is a very sophisticated path toward self-realization that seeks to understand the essential qualities that are behind our everyday lives and determine our reactions to experience. By understanding these essential qualities, which have hereto been unconscious, as they arrise within our daily lives by disidentifying with there representations, we can come to realize our true nature, our essence. This book describes these essential qualities and the representations that obscure them bringing a lucid clarity to the personality, making it receptive.
"The point of existence" gradually inserts important insights into the mind in a very heart warming fashion, making it a book that not only brings understanding with its clarity, but also touches the heart.
This book has helped me in ineffable ways. I ended up buying the whole seires. It is highly recommended.
(Some very insightful and interesting excerts from the Diamond Heart series, by Almaas, is available free through a search on the net - if you are not already convinced.)
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Johnson on December 29, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is intense. Don't even think about it unless your mind is ready to go on a journey. Not really for the lay-reader. Of course, if you're one of those types who really likes reading psychology journals and scientific papers and stuff, then you might disagree, and you might say this is fluffy or something. But, for lay readers such as myself - it pushed the limits of my cerebral capacities.
However, after pushing through to the end of the book, I've gotta say that I now see reality in a completely different light. He really breaks down exactly what Self-Realization is. Before this book, I didn't really think there was such a thing as self-realization or that it was even important.
I love this book, and I can't wait to re-read it again someday and find out how much I must have missed the first time through.
Highly Recommended for those bold enough to digest it!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By whit dickey on August 14, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The author considers narcissicism in its various folds to be the central impediment to self realization. He looks at it as a natural human defense against what he sees as the almost inevitable annihilation of our soul and the "essence", that we encounter early on in our family upbringing. Not only is it the root of most psychological problems, but we will encounter it constantly while seeking a life of the spirit.

The best book on self realization that I've ever read, because of its compassion for and understanding of the difficulties a Western mind encounters on the path. It does not stop at the Freudian model for psychological health, but rather sees recovery of lost

essence as the key to the self.
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