Friday, December 13, 2013


View from the porch

White, woman, running...
A couple of events here and at home that would have gutted me and not even a twinge--only a thought without any reaction from the body. How is this possible? The marvel of the process and the gift.

Giggle to look back and think about when I asked Gurudev, "When would I not be so "sleepy" while sitting in the ashram?" Now recognizing the difference of the intoxicating sense of being--not sleepiness. He has such patience for all of the inane questions.

Going through old emails and letters.  Fun to run across this from several years ago.  Nice read.

Thank you Carol!

Here is info on the Lataif/Latifa with books info is from and Almaas Glossary of terms.  (not available at this time)

Soul and the Lataif
Locus of Experience SOUL
What is the soul in the most general sense? First, soul is the locus of our own individual awareness. It is our own self-awareness as a localized phenomenon. This has two meanings, external and internal. To understand the first we need to recognize that pure awareness is nonlocal, nondimensional, beyond time and space, and the soul is the expression and manifestation of this awareness in our time-space universe. The soul is awareness, but not simply awareness. It is awareness localized in an environment; it is our individual awareness. It is the locus of our experience of ourselves, the place where we experience ourselves, the location in Reality where we experience the self. (Inner Journey Home, pg 20)
locus of experience
Under normal circumstances the body and soul are coextensive and hence function together to locate awareness. The more important meaning of locus -- related to the first -- is the second one, which is that the soul is the site where all of our experiences, of everything and on all levels, happen. So my experience happens within my soul; it does not happen in someone else's soul. Although this observation is the basis of the notion of an individual soul, its relevance is that the soul is our personal inner field of experience, the matrix where all inner events and processes happen. In other words, the recognition of soul as individual locus not only leads to differentiating one soul from another, but also to the important insight that soul functions as the container of all experiences. The soul is literally the vessel that contains and holds all of our inner events. (Inner Journey Home, pg 21)
locus of nexperience
If we are pressed to consider the question of where our experiences happen, we sometimes think of them happening in our mind, sometimes our body or both. We're not clear that we are each a field of sensitivity, a matrix of awareness, and that differentiating this inner matrix into body and mind is experientially arbitrary. Both physical sensations and mental images arise within the same matrix of awareness, the soul. When we are finally able to experience the soul directly, we can recognize that she constitutes a medium in which all of our inner events occur, a unified container and vessel that is the very fabric of our subjectivity. We can actually experience her as a sensitive field of consciousness or awareness, where all experiences arise and pass away. We can imagine the soul as completely coextensive with the body, forming its experienced interiority. Whatever we perceive as happening within us, whether a thought, an image, an emotion, or a sensation, occurs within the body, but more intimately within the soul, because the soul functions as the sensitivity or awareness of the body. (Inner Journey Home, pg 22)
soul, locus of nexperience
Since the soul is the field where all experience happens, it becomes possible to see that there is no experiencer experiencing the inner events, apart from the soul. This field is a field of sensitivity; it is the consciousness that is conscious of such experience; so the soul is the experiencer… we normally think of ourselves as the experiencer of our experiences, but we do not know what this experiencer is. When we recognize the soul it becomes clear that this experiencer is the same thing as the field where all experience happens. The experiencer is the locus; there is no duality between subject and locus of experience. (Inner Journey Home, pg 22)
locus of nexperience
Since the soul is the site and agency of experience then everything that arises in the soul can be seen as part of the soul. Thoughts, images, emotions, feelings, sensations, perceptions, insights, knowledge, and states of consciousness are all the soul. They all arise in the soul as waves in a field, as particular manifestations within it. (Inner Journey Home, page 23)
locus of nexperience
Since the soul is the experiencer, the fabric and container of experience, and the content of experience, then the experiencer is not separate from this content. The subject of inner experience is the soul, but so is the content, the object of experience. In other words, as we recognize the soul we begin to see the nonduality of subject and object of experience, at least with respect to inner events. (Inner Journey Home, pg 24)
The lataif, as Shah says, are not only centers but also forms of consciousness, operating on the subtle dimension. These forms of consciousness when understood precisely will be seen as a dimension of Essence, a subtle form of substance. They comprise the subtle body. They are the beginning experience of Essence in some of its basic aspects. For instance, the green lataif is the beginning of compassion, or the loving kindness aspect of Essence. The red lataif is the beginning of the strength aspect of Essence, and so on. They are called lataif, meaning qualities that have subtlety, gentleness, and refinement to them, and are the first subtle and fine manifestation of Essence. (Essence, pg 143)
Lataif and space
This condition of openness and spaciousness usually leads by itself, to the activation of the centers of the subtle physiology called the lataif... there are said to be five centers of spiritual perception...They are conceived of as having physical locations in the human body. (Essence, pg 142)
lataif latifa
Lataif and energy
The Sufi tradition uses the lataif system. This is somewhat deeper than either of the above energy systems. In fact at this level it becomes difficult to speak of energy. We can still use the term energy, but the lataif really operate with the higher, more diluted forms of Essence. We can say that the lataif level is the transition from the level of energy to the deeper level of essential Presence. (Essence, pg 40)
Lataif and the heart center
This particular one of the lataif, the heart center, is connected with the experience of compassion. At this level of experience, all of the excitement, glitter and drama of the heart chakra are gone. Instead, what is experienced in the chest cavity is emptiness. The whole chest feels as if it is gone. There is nothing left but a very clear, peaceful and silent emptiness. It feels as if nothing is occurring there, yet it is open and lucid. If the person pays closer attention, it will become apparent that this peaceful emptiness is pervaded by a very fine and subtle Presence, so fine and subtle that it is usually overlooked by the one having the experience. This fine and subtle Presence pervading the emptiness of the heart is the latifa or the first manifestation of it. The person will experience a subtle but exquisite sense of compassion, for himself and all others. (Essence, pg 31)
Lataif and identifications
Letting go of ego identifications on a profound level is possible only after the activation of certain essential aspects, primarily those of the five lataif (subtle energy centers in the body) and the aspect of true value. The lataif aspects -- strength, will, compassion, enjoyment and intuition -- provide the true support of Essence, which makes it possible to see through ego supports and not compulsively pursue them. The emergence of the aspect of value, for instance, which is the true existential value of Being, makes it possible to see through the ego mechanisms of seeking self-esteem and to become less dependent on them. (The Pearl Beyond Price, pg 62)
Lataif and Personal Essence
The Personal Essence is the real person, the true individuality. It is the true ego, just as the 14th century Sufi, Semnani, stated, when referring to the left latifa: "This subtle divine center conceals the "rare Mohammadan pearl”, that is to say, the subtle organ which is the True Ego. (The Pearl Beyond Price, pg 161)
Lataif and personality
The work on developing the lataif then continues by understanding the emerging sectors of the personality. Each one of the lataif has a sector of the personality connected to it that acts as a substitute for it and has the memory of the situations that led to its burial. All of these phenomena must be understood, precisely and exactly, for the centers to be permanently active. Each of the subtle forms of the consciousness is then understood, experienced, and embodied. The effects of the lataif on the person's consciousness are understood and integrated. This has a permanent influence on the personality; the personality is in fact transformed by accommodating the impact of the lataif on its structure and consciousness. Beyond that, each of the lataif functions, so to speak, as a door or entry into a whole universe, a whole dimension of Essence. Each is an entry into a realm of the being that has in it many essential aspects. (Essence, pg 145)
The Different latifa, qalb,rouh, sirr, khafi,akhfa
These centers are sometimes called “organs of perception. (Essence, pg 30)
Black Latifa
This development of the subtle capacities occurs specifically through the activation of the Black latifa, at the center of the forehead. The arising of this essential aspect means the opening up of this center, which we experience as the essence of peacefulness – a quiet and still presence, satin-smooth and luminously black. It is the presence of consciousness as stillness. Our mind becomes quieter, and at times completely still and clean. The totality of our consciousness – the whole experiential field of the soul – is stilled… When these subtle perceptions are first activated, intuition means that the experience of knowledge is coming through a quiet mind, which indicates that the Black center is open. You become receptive to insights, ideas, and truths, but you don’t know exactly where they are coming from. You become more intuitive in the usual meaning of the word – that is, you are open to knowledge in a way that you do not understand or directly perceive. (Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg 315)
Black Essence
Power is one of the ways of experiencing the Black Essence. The Black Essence has two sides – the peaceful side and the wrathful side. The peaceful side is the stillness, mystery, and magic – qualities of the night. “Wrathful” is used here in the sense of the Tibetan tradition of being fierce and annihilating in the service of truth. The wrathful side is the quality of power… power gives all the essential qualities an added force, efficiency, and speed. But what actually is the power of Being? The power of Being is just an active manifestation of peace, a dynamic application of stillness. It is not a pushing, it is not a destructiveness. When peace touches the soul, it simply stills it. All of her activities, agitation, and reactions simply dissolve the moment the presence of stillness touches them. They are annihilated. That is the power of stillness, the Peace aspect of Essence. So the power of our Being is an annihilating force, which annihilates ego attitudes and positions by revealing that they don’t truly exist. The power of Peace takes everything back to its original source, which is total stillness. (Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg 327)
 black latifa
Part of this power to cut through comes from the particular understanding of knowledge that the Black diamond provides. The knowledge that is characteristic of identifications and concepts does not exist in any fundamental or ultimate manner. So when we talk about the sharp edge as cutting, this cutting is merely understanding that, “Oh, what I have taken as truth is just a concept, a creation of my mind. I was identifying with something that isn’t real.” It is not that somebody comes and slashes through something. Annihilation doesn’t mean that something that is there ceases to be there. It is more accurate to say that what is there becomes seen in its true nature. Our mental fabrications are exposed as such, and true manifestations of reality are seen in their ultimate nature, neither existing nor not existing. They appear, but never really exist. This means that as things are displayed they are never solidified. They just keep getting displayed, without ever really existing. So the insight is the sharp cut, but it has now become insight into ultimate reality, which is beyond existence and nonexistence. In this way, the annihilating quality of the Black brings everything back to reality (Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg 329)
Black Diamond
So the Black diamond when it functions as part of the Diamond Guidance, gives it the capacity to cut through all the way to the Absolute. Then our consciousness is that stillness and silence that is clear, objective, exquisitely precise, and sharp. There is a sense of silent knowledge and mysterious power, a settled sufficiency, and an unspeakable contentment. This Diamond reminds us of the Absolute itself, as if the Absolute had condensed and formed itself into a Diamond. The blackness is so black that it glimmers and shines. There is a sense of majesty, awe, and mystery. It is an exquisite consciousness of silence, which silences all chatter and stills it into its own beautiful stillness. With this diamond in the Diamond Guidance inquiry becomes so sharp, so effective, and so powerful that it begins to expose the first arisings of ego-consciousness – the background of all attitudes and positions. (Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg 330)
Blue Latifa
Knowingness – the capacity to know through direct contact with an element of our experience – is related to a particular essential aspect. It is related to the operation of the Blue Diamond, which is the Blue Essence in its diamond presence. The Blue Essence is usually called the aspect of pure consciousness, but it is also the aspect of knowingness. Even intellectual knowledge is based on this capacity; without inherent direct and intimate knowingness, ordinary knowledge would not be possible. Direct knowingness is what gives us the data necessary for our mind to think and spin out its knowledge. Without knowingness, we have no data. Knowingness is more than just perception, for perception alone indicates only the fact of seeing differentiation. To recognize the differentiation – for differentiation to become discrimination – knowingness is required. This knowingness precedes labeling. (Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg 334)
Blue Latifa Essence
With the Blue aspect, there is awareness of isness, of presence, but the quality of the Blue aspect is very subtle, for it is implicit and yet significant in all other aspects. The experience is simply of a presence of consciousness that is aware that it is consciousness. It is just the recognition that there is recognition. More precisely, the presence of the quality of consciousness is simply the presence of consciousness and nothing more. This consciousness is not aware of any object outside of itself. But since it is consciousness, it is consciousness of itself. It is a field conscious of itself, aware of itself. (Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg 336)
Concsiousness Knowingness
The aspect of Knowing arises when one knows that one’s very beingness is inseparable from knowing: that one is being knowing and hence this presence is completely one with itself. There is no division between subject and object, absolutely no duality in the knowing. So it is basic knowing. But since it is presence, it is not an activity of knowing. It is the presence of the quality of Knowing… we see here the unity of epistemology and ontology, for this aspect is a presence in which the beingness is itself the knowingness. When knowing splits off from being, we end up with ordinary knowledge, a knowledge that is not sufficient to reconnect us with our Being, no matter how useful it is in the practical world (Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg 337)
Blue Aspect
The Blue aspect arises in the center of the head, just as the Green aspect arises in the center of the chest. From this we can also see that just as the Green is the sensitivity that forms the essence of the heart, the Blue is the consciousness that forms the essence of the mind. (Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg 339)
Gold Latifa
So Truth is a Golden presence, a solid, definite, shiny metallic gold. It has an aliveness, a consciousness, an awareness in it, because it is an element of consciousness. The presence of Truth feels real, dense, compact, warm, and quite smooth. It has a sense of preciousness that makes it feel very close to our heart, as if it were the depth of the heart itself. Because there is such a thing as a Truth aspect, it is possible to investigate in depth and in detail what truth is, in terms of dimensions, levels, situations, whatever. Truth becomes something that can be explored specifically and precisely. And understanding will deepen only if we move to deeper and deeper dimensions of truth. (Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg 351)
gold latifa
Relative truth means that it is relative to our history – the specific manifestations of relative truth uniquely reflect our personal situation and background experience. When the objective truth is independent of a particular history and situation – that is, when everybody experiences the same truth regardless of personal situation or background – I call it the essential truth. That’s when we begin to experience Essence and its various aspects. Essential truth will usually arise when we explore a particular relative truth to the point where it becomes freed from personal history. What will arise then has nothing to do with our childhood, with our history, but reflects the fundamentals of the human soul. The truth in this case is a manifestation of Essence, a quality of essential presence. It could be the presence of Compassion, of Love, or of Joy, Peace, Clarity, Will, Strength, Truth, intelligence, and so on. (Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg 349)
gold latifa
We are able to discern truth – we can know what is true and what is not true in our experience – because inherent in our soul is a quality that is just Truth. Not a particular truth, but the presence of consciousness that is experienced as the presence of Truth. In other words, we can discern truth in experience in general because one pure element of our soul is Truth as such. We can recognize truth because pure Truth is a facet of our nature. The presence of Truth in the soul makes it possible for us to recognize it in everyday experience – whether in a particular situation or in recurring patterns – and on any level of experience. (Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg 351)
gold latifa
To live the life of truth means first to value the truth, and to value knowing the truth. It also means to value the truth such that you make it the center of your life, which means learning to be genuine, authentic, and sincere. At its heart, living the truth is a matter of integrity and respect – for oneself, for others, and for the truth itself. The more our life respects and reflects the truth that we know, the more it will take as to ever deeper dimensions of truth, of true nature. (Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg 353)
Green Latifa
Inquiry must be cognizant of everything in your experience and take all of it into consideration, but it will have to directly address what really matters to you at the moment. Otherwise, you won’t feel that the inquiry is addressing you – it is addressing some idea of what should happen or of what's important. This attunement is the function of kindness or compassion in inquiry. It gives our inquiry an attuned sensitivity, an empathic precision. Inquiry is then is attuned to the pain of the soul, her suffering and needs, and to her interests and loves. When inquiry addresses exactly where our heart is, the heart responds; if it is seen and cared for, it will open up. (Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg 303)
green latifa
Simply stated, inquiry requires the presence of Loving-kindness. Our clarity and precision need to embody the sensitivity of kindness to respond to exactly where we are. With Compassion, inquiry considers appropriately – in a very gentle, delicate, selfless way – how we are vulnerable and how we are hurting. So our inquiry must be courageous, curious, and steadfast, but also considerate of the pain and sensitive to our vulnerability. In this way, our soul will feel willing and interested to open up and reveal her hidden pains. This presence of precise and attuned kindness also allows our soul to be touched by the healing element, which is the presence of Loving-kindness – the Green Essence. (Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg 308)
Red Latifa
The quality of Essence that gives you this energy also gives you a sense of bigness, the capacity to expand, which provides your inquiry with bigger, more robust and healthy muscles for doing investigation. The red latifa is the presence of fullness that is not separate from the presence of strength. It is as if your whole body were full of robust blood, pervaded with a pulsing, alive, dynamic quality. You feel as if your blood has a lot of hemoglobin in it, a lot of pure oxygen, and you feel vibrant, vital, and capable. (Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg 271)
red latifa
The human soul will have to separate in order to know itself, which means fundamentally that it will have to develop a discriminated self. It has to know that it is different and how it is different from other things and other people. Otherwise, there is no self-knowledge, no individuation. However, in addition to discrimination in order to separate we need strength; we need to feel strong enough to be able to stand on our own... This brings us back to the function of the Red latifa. The Strength Essence is useful for the inquiry in giving us the strength to begin to discriminate. The more active the Red Essence, the more powerful, precise, and real our capacity for discrimination becomes. The more we discriminate, the more we separate from our reactions and self-images, and the more we know ourselves for who we are, which lets us open up to true nature. (Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg 275)
red latifa
Is relatively easy to see that much of our opaqueness, much of our lack of openness, much of our stuckness, is due to the attacks of the superego – ours and other people’s. These are the criticisms, the putdowns, the comparisons, the judgments, the devaluations, the blaming, the shaming, the rejection, and the hatred that the superego levels at you in all kinds of situations. Here the Red latifa can specifically be used in the service of inquiry, by giving us the strength to defend against the superego. (Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg 279
White or Silver Latifa
Essential Will gives us the determination to persist with whatever thread we’re following and not let ourselves get distracted. This determination manifests in different ways. One way of experiencing it is as a dedication and commitment to the practice. (Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg 287)
white latifa
The presence of the element of Will makes our inquiry unstoppable, makes it impossible to seduce, because the distractions are all seductions. They are promises that the situation will improve if we go along with them. These seductive distractions are called the “devil” in some religions: the tempter who is always telling you, “Well, if you just fantasize a little bit, you will feel better.” …Your mind is always tempting you to stay away from staying present and open to the truth, promising something better or easier. That’s why the purity of your commitment will have a great deal to do with your access to essential Will. (Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg 289)
white latifa
The true function of the Will is to help us become steadfast so that we are not swayed, and not distracted or seduced away from the inquiry. We keep on exploring regardless of what happens. Keeping on doesn’t mean that you have the push; sometimes it can be very gentle and delicate. Steadfastness is mostly a matter of simply being there with your experience, being aware of what is going on, remaining interested in the truth, and continuing to explore whatever limits your openness. (Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg 290)
Yellow Latifa
So, for example, activating the Yellow Latifa opens up one of the faculties of the heart, which is to wish, want, or long for what it misses. The wish is for what the soul, or its heart naturally and spontaneously loves. The Yellow latifa is the presence of pure joy and delight, but it also causes the soul to become curious and activates its sacred impulse of true and innocent wanting. This means that the greater and deeper that the realization of the Yellow Latifa, the deeper the truth one's heart loves and wants to behold. (Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg 256)

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