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82 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Therapeutic Insights in the Process of Self-Realization
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...
Published on December 7, 2001 by Harvey Aronson

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Not what i was looking for
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Published 4 months ago by Ludwig J.


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82 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Therapeutic Insights in the Process of Self-Realization, December 7, 2001
By 
This review is from: The Point of Existence: Transformations of Narcissism in Self-Realization (Diamond Mind Series, 3) (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. Through a very detailed, and careful assessment of the way in which hurt opens to love and depth, Almaas makes clear how the support of a loving teacher and community make it possible to slowly penetrate our defensive posture, to tolerate pain. He sensitively describes how practitioners gradually move into experiences of deficient emptiness that very naturally can open up to the spaciousness of Being and the realization of our most profound inner identity.
There is so much in this work that is suitable for repetitive consideration and contemplation. It clearly presents in a concise way the modern psychotherapeutic insights on the development of narcissism and then carefully identifies similarities and differences between the therapeutic and spiritual work with narcissism. Almaas identifies and makes psychological sense of those cases of teachers whose behavior does not seem to match their realization. Using the predominant psychological metaphor of our time, Almaas has sympathetically illuminated as no one before, the ways in which every pitfall on the path is also a potential movement closer to our true nature. If the reader will take the patience to move through the slow, sometime painstaking development of the theoretical frame of Book One, they will in Book Two be privileged to experience a most meaningful descriptive and explanatory map of spiritual development that takes account of both the reality and depth of our psychological needs and experiences, and the delicacy, profundity and riches of spiritual reality.
Harvey Aronson, LMSW, Ph.D., is currently directory of Dawn Mountain Buddhist Temple, and a psychotherapist in private practice in Houston, Texas. He is author of Love and Sympathy in Theravada Buddhism, and Couch or Cushion: Buddhisst Practice on Western Groun (forthcoming).
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ... making the Unconscious Conscious., August 26, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Point of Existence: Transformations of Narcissism in Self-Realization (Diamond Mind Series, 3) (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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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Whoa!!! ~~ Brain Sizzle ~~, December 29, 2008
By 
Daniel Johnson (San Francisco, CA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Point of Existence: Transformations of Narcissism in Self-Realization (Diamond Mind Series, 3) (Paperback)
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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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a brilliant & comprehensive mapping of mind, body and soul, August 14, 2006
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This review is from: The Point of Existence: Transformations of Narcissism in Self-Realization (Diamond Mind Series, 3) (Paperback)
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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Phenomenological Masterpiece, May 9, 2009
This review is from: The Point of Existence: Transformations of Narcissism in Self-Realization (Diamond Mind Series, 3) (Paperback)
This book is a needed gift to humanity. Hameed Ali (A.H. Almaas), in his insistence on presenting the nondual relationship between the spiritual and the psychological, seems to be ahead of his time as a psychospiritual teacher and author. This book not only provides precise phenomenological descriptions of the collective journey of self-realization from the psychospiritual experiences of his own inquiry as well those of his many students, but he also places this within the theoretical context of Western psychological models as well as Eastern psychologies. The book is a true integration of the experiential and the theoretical, with a depth of analysis that reflects his deep understanding of the subject matter. Hameed posits a phenomenologically-based "spectrum model" of narcissism with distinct manifestations that can be mapped along a continuum or spectrum of severity. At the least severe end of the continuum is what he labels as "fundamental narcissism" which applies to all human beings, and reflects the universal dominance of the ego-identity and it's alienation from Being [i.e., Essence, presence, openness, spaciousness, emptiness, and so forth]. Hameed has articulated the importance of acknowledging and understanding that narcissism is a universal/fundamental human phenomenon (an extensive expansion of Erich Fromm's similar view). His message might allow one to begin to understand what is needed from each one of us to begin to move in the direction of healing our fractured, war-torn, and alienated world. For me, one of the most profound concepts that Hameed articulates is the phenomenological difference between the "emptiness" experienced in narcissism as a sense of lack, deficiency, fakeness, meaninglessness of existence, and so forth vis-à-vis the experience of the "emptiness" of Being--a kind of spaciousness, openness, presence, non-conceptual awareness, and so forth (e.g., Buddhist sunnata/sunyata). He explains why this narcissistic emptiness occurs (see p. 403 and corresponding footnotes), but will let the reader discover this for him/herself. Overall, if you are willing to allow yourself the time, energy, and presence needed to appreciate this book, you will likely be grateful that you did, despite the many challenges and emotional difficulties it presents for one's own ego.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Off the Charts!!!, January 1, 2013
By 
Dr. David Kamnitzer (San Diego, CA United States) - See all my reviews
I just finished a very careful reading of The Point of Existence.

As someone with a degree in psychology ... As someone who has been on the Path for 37 years in this lifetime ... As a Wisdom Guide for many ... allow me to say that ...

This book is the most intensely concentrated quantum of Wisdom (in relation to the life of modern-day Westerners) I have ever encountered.

The seamlessness and depth and scope of the presentation is truly remarkable. I could experientially verify most of it, and what was "beyond me" rang totally soundly!

I feel like I have spent the last two weeks with the best spiritually-grounded analyst in the world!!!

As a 4 on the Enneagram, the book was especially "pointed" for me!

With Gratitude Beyond Words,

Dr. David Kamnitzer

PS: I would appreciate it if someone shared this with Hameed. I was thinking as I read this, that very few people in today's world could 'grok" this book, let alone in 1996. I am sure Hameed wrote it knowing that it would really connect with more people many years later ... such Generosity of Spirit!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Diamond Mind indeed.., August 18, 2009
This review is from: The Point of Existence: Transformations of Narcissism in Self-Realization (Diamond Mind Series, 3) (Paperback)
I dont think there are many other realised minds like AH Almaas on the planet now, if perhaps ever. He himself asks why so few enlightened minds in history have been so unsuccessful at awakening their peers and students.

This work is a document so profound in its articulation of consciousness. Rarely has any human been able to capture such fine discrimination of the subtle realms, and be able to find word structures to encase this realisation in. At once frustrating and totally extraordinary, it becomes apparent that what is captured here is only for the most serious student. Words alone will never be able to lead anyone through the labyrinth of their own steel-shut defence mechanisms, but this book serves as an important trigger to deeper understanding.

I found the Diamond Approach and the Ridwhan School teachers of the highest integrity and devotion. Not a hint of greed, money making or quick answers. I just didnt have the hunger required for this kind of inward looking examination. Glimpses of the unity beneath our filters were always too hard won for such a fleeting and ephemeral experience.

But I truly hope in the future, this work takes its place in the history of great seers, those who seeded the potential for humanity throughout time. Almaas' work is a gift to ponder, reflect on, savour and be thankful for. In a world of deluded madmen who claim insight and esoteric knowledge, this is crystal clarity and a pioneering way forward to understand the depth and complexity of human consciousness.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for spirituality and for psychology, November 14, 2012
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This review is from: The Point of Existence: Transformations of Narcissism in Self-Realization (Diamond Mind Series, 3) (Paperback)
There is only one thing that I would like to add in regards to my reviews of the first two books in this series. When Mr. Almaas refers to "diamond" essence, ie "diamond strength", "diamond will" and so on, what he's referring to is -unconditional- essence. Not only can love become unconditional (something which people fail to understand by and large) but so too can strength, will, compassion, and so on. I hope that helps some people make better sense of this book than I did the first time around.

Besides that, this is a must read. I also suggest following this with the Diamond Body series. I found it was by far the most logical transition.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spiritually informed psychology, September 18, 2013
By 
Joyce (Bonham, Texas) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Point of Existence: Transformations of Narcissism in Self-Realization (Diamond Mind Series, 3) (Paperback)
Following The Void and The Pearl Beyond Price, this third volume in the Diamond Mind Series completes Almaas' response to a need "for a spiritually informed psychology," or "a psychologically grounded spirituality." Although many psychologists are quoted as the author notes how his work is like or unlike their approaches, his conclusions always arise from his personal experience with his own inner work and that of his students. Some chapters are rather dense with theory, but ultimately the book encourages one to look within for what Almaas calls our "Essence."

According to Almaas, most psychology assists people to move into a more functional "normal" narcissism. His methods assist us to move beyond narcissism into an experience of true being. In order to do this, however, we must fully experience the wounds, the rage, the emptiness of having betrayed our essence.

In his words: "We need from the beginning to respect our humanness, to appreciate our immediate experience, and to learn to simply be where we are. It is in the gentleness and acceptance of relaxing where we experientially find ourselves, and the openness to the present manifestation of our Being, that makes it possible for us to sink deeper into our nature. This open acceptance can express itself in a lighthearted curiosity about ourselves and our experience in the world, inviting the depths of our Being to reveal themselves naturally and spontaneously. When this becomes our way of life, the various human situations we find ourselves in will become the context for our unfoldment, revealing the riches of Being as the natural maturation of our humanness."
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for serious explorers of the soul, June 22, 2014
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This review is from: The Point of Existence: Transformations of Narcissism in Self-Realization (Diamond Mind Series, 3) (Paperback)
As usual Almaas explores deeply the relationship between the human psyche and spirit. This is a detailed description of our relationship with narcissism and only for those who are really committed to understanding the nature of personal experience. A must read for those folks!
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