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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Flexibility?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Flexibility

Flexibility and Changeability of Our Inner Field of Sensitivity

We can actually know and contemplate in any part of the body. We can experience emotional states also in any part of the body. It is also known—in meditative or contemplative experiences—that inner seeing and hearing is not necessarily located in particular parts of the body. In other words, the functions of the soul that directly concern the physical dimension of experience tend to be localized in different and specific parts of the body, but inner events are not necessarily limited to this organization. Dimensions, structures, and functions of the soul are not differentiated and organized once and for all, remaining as structures that can exercise functions when needed. The differentiation and organization happens as need arises for a particular function or capacity. When the need passes away the organization dissolves, or merges into another one that becomes needed for the next experience or task. We experience this as a flexibility and changeability of our inner field of sensitivity. At times we are all heart, full and consumed with emotions and feelings, with very little presence of mind. At other times, we are mostly mind, lost in thoughts or imagination. At still other times, we are mostly will, deciding and choosing, with various degrees of presence of both mind and heart. Most of the time we are a combination of the three, with constantly shifting proportions and qualities of presence and functioning. At times of intensification and self-collecting of consciousness, we are mostly presence, serene and settled, not preoccupied with anything in particular. This plasticity and constant transformation is why some of the ancients thought of the soul as a chameleon. It is also one of the reasons why it is so difficult to have a full knowledge of her. The possible organizations are infinite.

Flexibility in the Field of the Soul

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. The soul actually forms herself according to the body image, as we will see in chapter11. When we are aware of the soul and have some distance from our body image, we begin to see the amazing flexibility and malleability of the soul, and we begin to experience ourselves assuming all kinds of shapes and forms. Although this description might sound like something out of the Terminator movies, it is not such a strange idea; most people feel this sort of expansion and contraction and shifting of qualities all the time.

Flexibility of Identity

The capacity for global disidentification allows us to be permanently in touch with our essential presence, although the identity and the self-representation remains in experience. This condition allows the experience of self-realization to arise, at least occasionally, when the identity relaxes to the extent of total absorption by (or into) essential presence. The more this capacity for global disidentification develops, the more frequent, and the deeper, are the experiences of self-realization. This development continues, in principle, until permanent, full self-realization, where total global disidentification coincides with complete absorption of the self-representation, and complete openness and flexibility of identity. Complete flexibility of identity raises the phenomenon of disidentification to a new level, beyond the normal egoic experience. This flexibility involves the dissolution of self-identity, or more accurately, the cessation of the activity of identifying. This condition, which occurs in isolated experiences of self-realization but is the permanent condition of full self-realization (enlightenment), is what is referred to by some traditions as “ego death” or “the death of the self.”

The Freedom of the Body

From this perspective we see that the best conditions for the body are resilience and flexibility. It is not a matter of a certain structure, alignment or skill but of flexibility and openness, the absence of restricting contractions. The ideal condition is that the body can freely accommodate and express in its postures the Essence in its various states and conditions. This is the freedom of the body. This freedom cannot be known unless the Essence is there, embodied, present in our bodies.

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