Established in 1996, the Gulf Coast Region Diamond Approach draws students from all over the Gulf Coast region, including Texas, Oklahoma, Florida and Tennessee. The group encourages people from surrounding states without access to teaching in their own communities to feel welcome to join this growing spiritual community.
In addition to monthly meetings, the Gulf Coast Region Diamond Approach meets four to five times a year at sites in Houston and other outlying retreat centers. Monthly follow up sessions occur in Houston, Austin and Dallas, Texas. The teachings include lectures and discussion, personal and group inquiry, meditation, life practice sessions designed to enhance presence and awareness, and individual sessions with the teachers.
The group is taught by Ridhwan teachers Deborah Ussery-Letofsky and Morton Letofsky who, for the past 35 years, have been students of A. Hameed Ali (A. H. Almaas, founder of the Diamond Approach). In addition, Mike Boone, Gina Crago and Rick Gaines are Ridhwan teachers regularly involved in teaching the group.
Deborah Ussery-Letofsky was one of Hameed’s first students. She is the National Director of the Ridhwan Seminary Program and Senior Lead Teacher for both the Hawai’i Diamond Approach Group and Gulf Coast Diamond Approach Group.
“We have the perspective of operating in reality as an individual consciousness that is called the Soul. Direct experience of the aspects we study aligns the soul to a greater reality. We are on a journey of ascent with reality. We always take with us the experience of an individual consciousness and we start to see that we have blinders. Even though there is more richness within our souls, within our experience, within our lives, we see that there is something still not quite understood, so we begin to question and inquire–who is this experiencer having an experience?”
Morton Letofsky was one of Hameed’s first students. He is President of the Ridhwan Foundation, Director of the Mid Region Seminary Program, and Senior Lead Teacher for both the Hawai’i Diamond Approach Group and Gulf Coast Diamond Approach Group.
“The Diamond Approach is a spiritual teaching born out of our times and culture. It is uniquely designed for our lives in these modern times. We have become disconnected from our true nature. We seek spiritual teachings to rescue ourselves from the material trappings we get caught in. Perhaps we hope for a perfect technique or meditation practice or a magical new teacher or some new movement. We long for an escape from all the complications that rob us of our passion and optimism for life. When we are in touch with our being, we can’t help but see the beauty, depth and richness of the world. We want to be fully in the world but without the trappings and without leaving the beautiful simplicity of our being.”