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Black Latifa

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Black Latifa?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Black Latifa

Activation of the 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.


Annihilating Quality of the Black

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

Insight that Brings the Black Diamond

In this natural state, whenever a position happens to arise, the practice of inquiry is merely the recognition of that position. The simple apprehension of the subtle movement of taking a position annihilates it. In other words, understanding itself will reveal the barrier and annihilate it. There is no need to do anything, because our nature inherently tends to display things clearly and to spontaneously reveal the truth. We are not making it reveal the truth. Just by seeing our positions and our attempts to get someplace, we cease and desist. We stop identifying with that activity, without trying to stop identifying —because the moment we try to stop identifying, we are active again. At this level of insight, inquiry becomes subtle, which means that the Diamond Guidance needs to operate in a very subtle way. This requires the Black diamond to come into play. The Black diamond is the presence of the aspect of Peace in inquiry, as a manifestation of the Guidance. This brings in another capacity that has always been present in inquiry and understanding but which now becomes more obvious. The Black latifa gives the Guidance—and our inquiry—the element of power.

Making Our Consciousness Still and Peaceful

All of the inner capacities that we have been discussing become active and begin to develop as the Black center opens up. The opening of the Black center brings out the Black latifa, the black subtlety. What does the Black latifa do? It stills our consciousness. It makes it peaceful. The consciousness needs to become still and peaceful, with no mental activity or emotional reaction, for these capacities to first open up and be perceived. This is because they are very subtle at the beginning. You might miss them if you are busy thinking, engrossed in emotions, or reacting. Therefore, the more accustomed we are to the inner stillness and peacefulness, the more perceptive we become on the subtle dimensions. This can take our inquiry to deeper levels, to a newer kind of knowledge, to a different kind of experience. Our spacecruiser can now travel to other galaxies of experience, where perception is different and unfamiliar.

Two Sides of the 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.

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