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Human Soul

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Human Soul?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Human Soul

Completeness is the Deeper Nature of the Human Soul

Your intrinsic nature is complete, though you might not believe it now. If and when you recognize yourself—when you are really being yourself—you will find out that you are completeness. So, if you are feeling incomplete, that does not mean you are incomplete. All it means is that you are not resting in your nature. Everybody is complete. Completeness is the deeper nature of the human soul. The more you recognize that you are really complete, the easier it becomes to accept and to experience incompleteness; for you then know that incompleteness is just some kind of ignorance. It is a symptom, it is not a true thing; it is not a true description of what and who you are. Completeness is the true description of who you are. It is not enough, however, to believe what I say. You need to have that direct experience for yourself. Incompleteness is your path toward completeness. It is a treasure—or, more accurately, a window—that you have in your psyche. It is important to recognize the various ways you personally use to avoid the feeling of incompleteness. This may include denying your incompleteness or trying to become complete. Your spiritual search, for example, might be an attempt to cover up your incompleteness. In fact, people say that they are searching because they are incomplete. Searching for what? Completeness is not something to be sought after. Completeness is something to be relaxed into. It’s like when your muscles are tense: They just need to relax, let go, and settle.

Brilliancy, pg. 60

Evolution of the Human Soul is the Evolution of the Human Being

As we explore the knowledge of the soul, we learn that it is an infinite ocean that no one single individual can encompass. The soul, considered the organ of evolution, has infinite realms and facets. Sometimes the soul is called the organ of experience, the organ of perception, or the organ of action. The evolution of the human soul is the evolution of the human being. The soul’s evolution is inextricably linked with the experiential knowledge of Essence, which is inextricably linked with the experiential knowledge of the cosmic realms, what I refer to sometimes as the ground dimensions. The knowledge of the soul does not mean only experience of the various states and conditions and transformations of the soul, which is the personal consciousness. It also includes the various capacities and functions. To know the capacities and functions of the soul means to know how to operate as human beings should or can operate. The knowledge of the soul includes knowing how to live correctly. The soul evolves through some kind of education. Frequently, while some parts of the soul develop, others remain untouched. Often the development of the soul is not balanced, is askew in various ways. So we tend to go around in circles instead of going straight because of this imbalance in development. But with the development of balance, we learn to move forward, toward greater evolution and expansion.

Functioning of Presence in the Human Soul

The dynamism of Being, as experienced in the deeper stages of self-realization, is a spontaneous and natural flow of presence. In the human soul the presence functions as the inspiring and motivating center of initiative, action, and creativity, and its intrinsic patterning functions as the guidance that directs the activity. This activity is totally spontaneous, and free from the constricting influence of psychic structures. The self is intrinsically intelligent, and this intelligence is part of the inherent intelligent structure of Being. This intelligence manifests as appropriate responsiveness to the needs of whatever situation one finds oneself in. When love is needed, the dynamism manifests presence in the aspect of Love, which guides us to act in loving ways; when strength is needed, it manifests Essence in the quality of Strength, guiding us to act with strength and vitality. Past experience is available to the intelligence without defining the truth of the self. The dynamic essence of the self, here, is not an ambitious activity trying to actualize a certain objective that fits its ideals; rather, it is a completely non-selfish, dynamic flow of the essential nature of the self as it unfolds naturally and authentically. Authenticity means that the inner flow and the external action are the matter-of-fact reality of the self being itself, just as the heart beats because it is its intrinsic nature to do so.

If We are to Allow Ourselves to Unfold, the Only Thing We can do is to be Completely Where We Are

You cannot, for instance, say that now you are going to experience yourself as the Personal Essence, and in the next moment, as Strength. If you do that, you are superimposing your own idea of what should happen—your own plan —on the unfoldment, and that might not be where it is going. Although it is true that there is a pattern to the development of the human soul, it is very general and cannot be used to accurately predict what will or should happen next. The pattern is analogous to that of the development of a tree, for instance: We know that it is going to develop a trunk with branches that grow above the ground and a root system that grows beneath the ground, but we don’t know where each leaf will appear. As with the soul, we can only generally predict the unfoldment; we cannot know what will specifically manifest from one moment to the next. If we are to allow ourselves to unfold, the only thing we can do is to be completely where we are, to be present in exactly the spot that is manifesting in this moment; and if we are genuinely present, the next movement will unfold and we will find out what it is. So the Holy Plan can only be revealed by going through it—you cannot direct your unfoldment. In other words, to allow your soul to unfold, your orientation must be to be present in the now, and to discover the movement of the unfoldment of presence by being it. This is the Holy Work. You can only discover your place in the Holy Plan by living it, in the present, moment by moment.

Facets of Unity, pg. 178

Recognizing the Intrinsic Value of Life, Human Life, for it is the Life of the Human Soul

Understanding the property of life in the soul deepens and expands our appreciation of life for its own sake. We begin to recognize the intrinsic value of life, and especially the value of human life, for it is the life of the human soul, the soul with infinite potential. Appreciating and loving life is inseparable from loving and valuing the soul. We want our life to be full because it is the fullness of our soul that is our window onto the universe, our organ of experience. We not only want to be free and detached; we want to be free and detached and at the same time for our life to be full, rich, and fulfilled. And because we understand that consciousness is more fundamental than life, we realize that to be free we need to center ourselves in pure consciousness. We love pure consciousness because it is our very identity, truth, and substance, but we also love our living soul because she is what completes it. She is the daughter of primordial pure consciousness, but also its infinite potential.

Self-Reflection: a Potential of the Human Soul that Arises as Part of Normal Development

Self-reflection is important for self-perception and knowledge. In fact, many people believe that self-reflection is what differentiates human beings from other life-forms; they believe that it is unique to human consciousness. It is a potential of the human soul that arises as part of normal development. Without it a human being would be ignorant of his inner motivations, impulses, conflicts, and so on. It is necessary for self-examination, which includes the appraisal of one’s beliefs, assumptions about reality, and so on. This is obviously important for the development of human understanding, and human knowledge in general. This capacity is thus important for the soul’s eventual self-recognition of her true nature. Through self-reflection we can find out that we do not know ourselves; without it we cannot explore what we know of ourselves, what we believe we are, which is a necessary requirement for undergoing the spiritual journey. The journey is to a large extent a form of introspection that is a development of the capacity for self-reflection. Furthermore, this introspection goes through a development in which it ultimately becomes the soul’s recognition of her true nature. At the deeper stages of her inner journey home, the introspective soul utilizes her essential nous in her inner investigation. This gives her introspective consciousness a discriminating capacity with objectivity, precision, sharpness, and brilliance that enables her to make very subtle discriminations in her awareness of herself. This reveals essential presence to her in various degrees of subtlety and objectivity until she finally discriminates both its ultimate truth and its completeness.

The Finer Elements of the Human Soul are there to Transform Your Personality

Work like ours exposes the animalistic and childish influences and needs which govern our lives, and brings the more refined aspects of ourselves to bear on our lives. In this process, so convinced are we of our base and deficient nature, that often we will actually attempt to use the finer elements of who we are to satisfy our elementary needs. An example of this pattern is using essential or spiritual experience to feel superior to those around us. However, our beingness and its capacities are not there to satisfy the personality’s needs, such as the need for approval, recognition, love, acceptance, security, power, or even pleasure. The finer elements of the human soul are there to transform your personality so that it grows out of those childish patterns. Contact with essential qualities is supposed to have an impact on who you are, so that you can become a mature human being and be what you are meant to be. These finer elements are not meant to be compartmentalized within us to provide us with a sense of accomplishment or to make us feel good in some other way. The need to feel good is the need of a child or teenager. You might think that when you feel happy and you have a lot of pleasure that you’ve made it. Well, yes, you have made it, as a teenager. That is still a far cry from being a mature adult.

The Heart Exists at the Level of the Human Soul Rather than at the Level of the Animal Soul

What’s important to see is that ultimately, all animal instincts amount to the basic drive for physical survival. And all our powerful needs and instinctual drives can become a force that completely eclipses the love of truth. This is true whether the survival instinct manifests as the need for security, support, safety, affection, social contact, comfort, or money. In reality, all social and sexual instincts are linked to survival. For example, you may just want somebody around or someone to talk to on the phone, and it doesn’t matter whether truth is involved. Just talking is what’s needed. What’s really happening is that you can’t be alone; you are operating unconsciously from the assumption that social contact is a survival need, and that takes precedence over the love of the truth. We need to deal with this level of our soul if we are to liberate our heart, for our heart can truly love only when it is free. The heart exists at the level of the human soul rather than at the level of the animal soul. And unless the instinctual drives in the animal soul are confronted, they will confine—and ultimately control—the human soul and heart.

The Human Soul Has this Animal Nature in Its Potential

It is inherent to the human soul that she can be like an angel, with all the purity of essence and its beautiful aspects, but she can also be like an animal, with all the primitiveness and irrational instinctuality characterizing the animal kingdom. We humans can be loving and selfless because this is part of our inherent potential, but we can also be driven by instinctual needs and drives to extremes of destructiveness, possessiveness, and self-centeredness; this is also inherent to our potential. Because of the civilizing effect of life in human society, we rarely experience our animal potential purely and directly. We do, however, see its manifestations almost all the time. We can be both appalled and repulsed when we behold the extent of the potential of the animal soul. The human soul can be more animal than any other animal, more primitive than any primitive organism. This is because the human soul has this animal nature in its potential at the same time that it is malleable and impressionable to an extent that no animals are. The infinite range of openness and malleability gives us the capacity not only to experience the animal range of experience, but also to experience it with extreme intensity. We can reach heights of irrationality, primitiveness, destructiveness, grossness, and territoriality of which the animal kingdom is actually innocent.

The Human Soul is Pure Potentiality, the Potentiality of Being

Being manifests itself to itself through us, as human beings. In us, Being beholds its beauty and celebrates its majesty. Our experience of ourselves in our totality and our tangibility is what in the Diamond Approach we mean by the term soul. The soul is what experiences, and it is the lived experience itself. It is the inner, psychic organism, the individual consciousness that is the site of all experience. The human soul is pure potentiality, the potentiality of Being. It is also the way that Being, in all its magnificence, opens up and manifests its richness. To experience the richness of our Being, the potential of our soul, we must allow our experience to become more and more open, and increasingly question what we assume we are. Usually we identify with a very limited part of our potential, what we call the ego or personality. Some call it the small self. But this identity is actually a distortion of what we really are, which is a completely open flow out of the mystery of Being. A human being is a universe of experience, multifaceted and multidimensional. Each of us is a soul, a dynamic consciousness, a magical organ of experience and action. And each of us is in a constant state of transformation—of one experience opening up to another, one action leading to another, one perception multiplying into many others; of perception growing into knowledge, knowledge leading to action, and action creating more experience. This unfolding is constant, dynamic, and full of energy. This is the very nature of what we call life.

The Inherent Discriminating Knowingness of True Nature Appears Within Our Individual Consciousness in a Specific Essential Form

This inherent discriminating knowingness of true nature encompasses the content of all that exists, all that can possibly exist, and all that has ever existed. While it transcends the experience of the human soul, it nevertheless appears within our individual consciousness in a specific essential form. More precisely, this knowingness, which is itself the knowledge of everything, manifests in the soul as the specific capacity of discrimination. In other words, the Divine Mind can manifest in the soul in miniature form—a microcosm of that macrocosm. We call this microcosm the Diamond Guidance. The label “Diamond Guidance” reflects the way this essential manifestation of true nature functions, as it reveals the inherent discrimination in experience. When this essential presence manifests in the soul, she can discriminate with the clarity, precision, and penetration of a diamond what is actually present in her field of awareness. The Diamond Guidance can guide the soul all the way from recognizing an emotional truth in the moment to the discernment of the inherent discrimination in reality. That is why I said before that a spaceship that originates from the star system we are traveling to is the most reliable vehicle we can use to go there.

The Totality of What is Possible for the Human Soul is Infinite

It is not possible to conceive of the totality of what is possible for the human soul. It is infinite. That is why our knowledge and understanding about the soul is bound to be partial and incomplete. As a result, each spiritual tradition has some knowledge and wisdom about the soul. None is complete. They are not identical in their understanding, and they will disagree about many things regarding soul. They generally do not disagree as much about Being, or ultimate Reality. But when it comes to the soul, our experiencing consciousness, there are important differences, and significant contradictions. Different traditions explore different properties, capacities, and dimensions of the soul. The emphases vary greatly, but this does not mean that some are right and some wrong.

The Transformation that Advances the Soul from the Dominance of the Animal Soul to Becoming a Full Human Soul

The soul’s inner realization and essential development, which involves the transcendence of normal ego development, is a natural stage of maturation that integrates, and benefits from, the achievements of ego development. In this process the soul regains her original impressionability and receptivity, remaining receptive to her essential nature with all its aspects and dimensions. Impressions on the soul are increasingly dominated by essence and its truth, in contrast to external considerations, and thus she develops and matures under essential influence and guidance. She becomes impressionable to essence, receptive to its influence, loyal to essence, valuing essence. This transformation advances her from dominance of the animal soul to becoming a full human soul. Essence acts on her, impregnating and clarifying her consciousness. This marriage of soul with essence becomes deeper and more complete until it reaches the state of nonduality of soul and essence, which resembles the soul’s original condition but now includes recognition, discriminating awareness, and understanding. The soul’s marriage with her essence liberates her from vulnerability to fixated impressions, whether from external or internal sources.

The Word ”Essence” is Used to Refer to the Specific Experience of Being When it Arises in the Human Soul

The awareness of the existence of the soul’s true nature constitutes the core understanding in all major spiritual teachings. The primary understanding in any authentic experience of spiritual realization is that our soul (our self, our consciousness) possesses a true nature—its essence. Being is the essence or true nature of the soul, as it is of all manifestation. In the Diamond Approach, we use the word Essence to refer to the specific experience of Being in its various aspects when it arises as the nature of the human soul. We experience ourselves as Essence if our experience is free, unfabricated, and spontaneously arising. If our experience of ourselves is not dictated or determined by any external influence—that is, by any influence extraneous to the simplicity of just being—we are the essence of who we are. True or essential nature, therefore, refers to how the soul experiences herself when she is not conditioned by the past or by any mental images or self-concepts. We experience our essence when we are simply being, instead of reacting or conceptualizing our experience or ourselves. Essence is not an object we find within ourselves; it is the true nature of who we are when we are relaxed and authentic, when we are not pretending to be one way or another, consciously or unconsciously. Essence is the truth of our very presence, the purity of our consciousness and awareness. It is what we are in our original and undefiled beingness, the ultimate core reality of our soul. Essence is the authentic presence of our Being; it is, in fact, Being in its thatness.

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