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Field of the Soul

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Field of the Soul?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Field of the Soul

Becoming Attuned to the Field of the Soul

As our inner journey progresses and our soul unfolds, this way of understanding life begins to prevail. We become so attuned to the actual field of the soul, so present as the conscious presence of the soul, that this field of presence becomes the center of life, the actual substance of life. It is then the current that fills and impregnates all the external situations that we conventionally call our life. We then are present in our contexts; we are the embodiment of life. It is because we are the conscious current that streams in and through our external contexts that we tend to call such contexts our life. These contexts become more our life the more we fill them, the more that the current of life, which is the soul, impregnates them. In other words, as the knowledge and freedom of the soul grows, we have more life not because of how various or how rich is our external context, but because of how present we are in it. The external context does not give us life; we give life to it. We are the life that we live, and the deeper we realize this, the more we have life.

Our Inner Field is Pure Consciousness that is Also Pure Potential for Experience

Our inner field is pure consciousness that is also pure potential for experience. How does this potential become actuality? How does the seed become a tree? To explore this we first need to remember that our soul is not a particular state or condition; it is the medium and locus where all states and conditions arise. The fact that all inner states and events are forms within and part of the soul means that the soul is in constant change. This is clear when we contemplate our experience. We notice that experience is in constant and continuous change and transformation. One thought follows another, one feeling leaves only to vacate the space for another. Inner sensations and movements are never still. Our inner space is like a multiple intersection at the center of a major city, where all streets and lanes are busy most of the time, with an incessant flow of traffic of various kinds and sizes of vehicles. Our inner space is not only busy with content, it is in incessant movement, transformation, development, evolution or devolution, expansion or contraction, and so on.

Phenomenology of the Field of the Soul

To summarize, the field of the soul is subjectively and psychologically consciousness, but phenomenologically this consciousness is presence. Experiencing presence is like taking our normal consciousness (which feels so rarefied that it is practically imperceptible), increasing it greatly, and condensing it. If we keep condensing it, allowing our sensitive consciousness to intensify, it becomes more and more vivid and substantial, until it is more liquid. It is like taking clear transparent light and liquefying it. When the condensation reaches a particular threshold, the consciousness will attain a body, an immaterial substantiality. This condensed consciousness, this sensitive substantiality, is now vastly aware of itself; for it is intimately in contact with itself, instead of being so dispersed that only its function is visible to us. We are always the conscious field of the soul, but now we feel present as presence, because we are here and now, not dispersed through our mental content and spread over external distractions. There is now a fullness, almost a density, but a transparent and light density. This fullness forms a field that pervades and underlies all of our subjective experiences. This fullness is also an intensity of sensitivity, a heightening of consciousness. The sensitivity pervades the whole field, for it is not something additional to it. The fullness is nothing but the condensation of consciousness.

Recognizing the Dynamic Dimension of the Soul

Our perception of the soul’s changeability and unfoldment helps us to recognize this dynamic dimension of the soul. All these manifestations of dynamism are nothing but the various ways it expresses itself. In other words, the pure conscious presence that constitutes the field of the soul is a dynamic presence, where dynamism is completely pervasive of, and absolutely inseparable from, this presence. The essential ground of the soul is not only her ontological dimension but also this pressure to manifest her potential. The potential of the soul, in other words, is a dynamic potential, similar to the potential of the seed. We can also experience this dynamism directly, as a pure quality, independent of its ways of expressing itself. This experience of the soul indicates that we are experiencing the soul herself, not only one of her forms. We can experience ourselves not only as a field of consciousness, but as an organism of consciousness, with an organismic sense of presence. We feel ourselves as a writhing, moving, pulsating, convulsing organism. The presence is full of pulsating energy, exploding power, dynamic momentum. The sense of writhing movement and convulsing activity is similar to how a healthy muscle feels when contracting and flexing. It is like the feeling of our body when it is full of life and vigor, and is moving in a robust, powerful way, as during intense exercise.

The Ground of the Soul is Discoverable

This field of presence, which is a pure medium of consciousness, is the simplest and ultimate ground of the soul. This ground is not postulated but is discoverable in the process of any effective investigation; that is, if we investigate our experience of the soul and try to discover her final nature, her ultimate ground, if we become aware of what remains after all particular content and specific forms of experience are taken out or transcended, then we find this presence. This process is similar to the physicists’ preoccupation with the most elementary particles of matter; they are trying to find the ultimate building blocks of our physical universe. The presence of pure consciousness turns out to be the ultimate building block of our psychic life, the ultimate ground of our soul. It is not particles or strings, but a field, a homogeneous medium, pure consciousness that turns out to be the actual ontological dimension of the soul.

The Sense in which the Soul is a Field

In the scientific sense a field is a spatial region with a particular effect or force. A field, a kind of fabric in space, usually invisible to our senses, is responsive to particular stimuli. The electromagnetic field, for example, will respond to electric charges and magnets, and these in turn will respond to it. In other words, an electromagnetic field is a pervasive spatial sensitivity, and so is a gravitational field. What is most significant for our discussion is that a field is not a collection of particles or parts. It is homogeneous, in that the field is active at all points of its space …….. The soul is a field in this sense, a region of space with particular properties responsive to a specific set of stimuli. The field of the soul is not physical, electromagnetic, or gravitational; rather, it is related to awareness and consciousness. When we recognize the soul we find it to be a locus of consciousness, where this locus is an extended field. The field normally extends through the body, and is often experienced as coextensive with it. However, the field of the soul has no particular shape or size. It is completely formless and amorphous, and can take any shape or form. Depending on the particular state of the soul, this field of consciousness can easily be perceived as bigger, even much bigger, than the body, or it can be perceived to be condensed or contracted into a field smaller than the body. The felt sense of the field of the soul usually takes the shape of the body, largely because the soul identifies herself with the body.

We are Generally Less Directly in Touch with the Field of the Soul in Adulthood

These observations about old people and the obvious unusual aliveness of young children can more easily be accounted for when we recognize that life is a property of the soul. When we are in touch with ourselves, not conflicted with ourselves, not repressed or divided within, then we are more in touch with our soul, and hence with her inherent property of life. Young children are generally less conflicted and divided within themselves than adults; they generally have much less repression, and their ego structures are less rigidly in place, than those of adults. As we will see in chapters 12 and 14, where we discuss how repression and ego structures affect the life of the soul, we are generally less directly in touch with the conscious field of the soul in adulthood. We are less experientially open, more defensive, and more bound up with ego defense mechanisms in our adult years. Our losing touch with the sense of the soul explains why our sense of aliveness diminishes in some ways as we grow up; aliveness is a property of the field of sensitivity of the soul. And it seems that the few old individuals who retain an unusual aliveness must be more in touch with the fullness of their soul than most of us. Their physical deterioration does not limit their contact with their soul, the wellspring of their life.

When We Refer to the Soul as a Field of Consciousness, We Mean a Medium Composed of Pure Consciousness

In a later chapter we will further explore this property of formlessness and its corollaries. Here, we will begin to explore the qualities of consciousness. When we refer to the soul as a field of consciousness, we mean a medium composed of pure consciousness. The capacity to be conscious of something, in the sense of being able to have an awareness or perception of something, reflects the fact that the soul is first and foremost an organism of consciousness. We can be conscious because we are consciousness. That is, what is usually thought of as a process or product of the soul, the function of consciousness, is not only a function but also the very ground itself of the soul. We are always this consciousness, and are always feeling ourselves as consciousness, but do not recognize this because we are paying attention exclusively to the content of our consciousness; we are constantly listening to the stories we tell ourselves about who and what we are. These stories become the mental lenses through which we look at ourselves and everything else. (See The Point of Existence, chapter 6.) In addition to the property of being a field, the other fundamental property of consciousness is that it can be conscious of itself. In other words, we do not need to be conscious of something to be conscious. We can be conscious of consciousness itself; that is, not the property of being conscious but of the field or medium that is consciousness. The experience of pure consciousness is the experience of consciousness without an object. It is simply consciousness directly sensing itself. It is consciousness aware of itself as a field, a field characterized basically by the fact that it is conscious of itself.

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