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Life Force

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Life Force?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Life Force

Eros is an Expression of Our Basic Life Force

In the Diamond Approach, we differentiate between the erotic, the sexual, and the divine erotic. Eros is an expression of our basic life force, arising from the pelvis and belly center and experienced as a pulsating, throbbing, sensual vitality. Normally we experience erotic energy as sexual, but it need not be. You can be turned on by someone or something without being genitally aroused. So erotic relationship is a larger category of relationship that includes the sexual. In this teaching we have been exploring divine eros, which is when the erotic force, the dynamism of passion and desire, is combined with the selfless love of our heart. This combination reveals more of the full potential of eros, the life force, as an expression of our true nature. As with the erotic, the divine erotic can be sexual or not. Though sexual relationships are always erotic, they are not always an expression of divine eros, for there can be sex without love or an inner sense of presence, and divine eros always includes love. More specifically, divine eros requires the presence of selfless love, which is unusual in relationships of any kind.

Growth and Expansion are Natural; they are the Life Force Itself

We still don’t understand that our attitudes, ideas, and beliefs are actually responsible for our suffering. We pay lip service to this idea but we don’t know it completely and totally. So we continue in our old patterns. The work we do here is simply to see the picture completely, seeing exactly what it is you are doing and how that affects reality. This is the way that real freedom, actual change, will come about. To live in freedom and absolute fulfillment, we need a complete, radical shift, and such a shift can occur only when there is a complete understanding of what we are actually doing. All the work you do here is based on understanding what you do and how you interfere with the natural process. If you try to do anything other than understand the situation, your effort will be a blockage, a resistance, an interference. You cannot make yourself grow; you can only cease to interfere. You cannot make yourself happy; you can only stop your judgments. Growth and expansion are natural; they are the life force itself. And you cannot predict its direction.


Kath: The Core of the Primal Energies that Make up Our Life Force is Located in the Lower Body

One of the specific practices of presence that we recommend is to sense your body. The body has many centers, and the main ones we work with in the Diamond Approach are the belly center, the heart center, and the head center. The core of the primal energies that make up our life force is located in the lower body, and the belly center is the organizing hub for all of these energies. The belly has an energetic center, an energetic spiritual center. It is located in the center of the belly about three fingers below the navel and, depending on the size of your belly, anywhere from two to five fingers inside. The Japanese call it the hara center and the Chinese call it t’an tien. We call this point the Kath, a term taken from a Central Asian tradition. The belly center is also the grounding center: Your consciousness is like a tree, and the roots of the tree are in the belly. So we will be referring to this center as both the Kath and the belly center. 

Life Force Radiating Through Emotional Aliveness, Robust and Active Minds

At the other end of the spectrum we should expect older people to feel even less life force, less vigor and aliveness. This is generally true, but it is also true that we encounter some older individuals who seem to exude more life force, to embody more vitality and vigor than most adults in the prime of their life. We cannot explain this by postulating these older individuals are exceptions or that they must be lucky to be generally more physically healthy than the average adult. Frequently, such intensely alive older people are not physically sound; they might actually be sick and dying. But their life force shines bright with vitality and vigor. Even if they are unable to do much physically, their life force radiates through their emotional aliveness, their robust and active minds, and the quality of their energy and intelligence.

Pure Energy Just Is; it is Your Life Force

And pure energy does not judge itself. It just is. It is a pure expression of something that is innately yours. It is your life force. It is your life energy, and it brings life, a dynamic effulgence, to your love so that the love and the energy become one. The dancing together is so intimate and complete that there is no difference between the love and the energy. So we need to suspend our ideas about what can come forward. We need to not judge our needs, because it is necessary to explore everything in our experience. Even though it can be painful, it is important to allow the neediness that is mixed with desire to come into consciousness. That’s because the desire, in and of itself, is a way back—back to our energetic heart, back to that erotic, alive, and full energy waiting to burst out with the joy and exuberance of life and love and desire as one. We are getting close here to what we mean by divine eros.

Recognizing that We are at the Effect of the Life Force

When we start our life in the world, that light is still burning bright. When we see the birth of an infant, we are amazed, touched, and moved by the power and miracle of a being coming into the world. It is one of those experiences in life that have a deep impact on us. Another one is watching life leaving the world, seeing the process of the living light of the soul transitioning to another realm. The power of the experiences of birth and death is awesome and humbling. Part of what makes it so is the sense of the completely unknown miracle of it, the amazing dominance of nature taking over and asserting her spirit, rendering us totally out of control. At these moments, we recognize that we are at the effect of the life force, and that it is far more immense than we are. The moments of birth and death are among the few times when the average individual comes into contact with the magnificent energy, momentum, and thrust of this force, which manifests life and absorbs it back into itself. If any of you have ever been in the room when a woman is giving birth, you can’t help but be in touch with a sense of awe at the immensity of this energetic explosion. The same is true for witnessing death and the power of the silence that dominates in those moments. We have to be very coarse, very thickened, to not feel that in some way.

Sensing Ourselves as Life Outside of Time

Life feels like the dynamism of animals, just as growth feels like the dynamism of plants. (See appendix C for the Sufi connection of the property of life to the animal soul, and appendix A for Aristotle’s view.) But the sense of aliveness feels much bigger than the body, not defined by it, and more fundamental than the physical mode of existence. Directly in touch with our aliveness, we feel like a river of life, a dynamic and pulsing consciousness. We experience ourselves as a fountain bubbling with aliveness, energy, fullness, excitation, passion, vigor. We sense ourselves as the presence of life, as life, as life outside of time. Our soul is life eternal, not in the sense of everlasting linear time, but outside of time, prior to time, independent of time. With this aliveness there is vitality, there is energy, there is movement, there is warmth and heat, expansion and contraction. There is a sense of zest, of power, a sense of health, a well-being that pulses and undulates. There is a bubbling quality, as if our cells are exploding with it. We are the life force; we are the life. What we see here is that life is a particular dimension of the conscious presence that is the soul, a basic and vital element of her potential. The soul qualities we have explored—changeability, flow, unfoldment, creativity, transformation, dynamism, and self-organization—all these are actually expressions of life. And when we directly experience life itself it is like experiencing all of these synthesized together as one feeling, one taste.

Testosterone and Estrogen are the Servants of the Life Force, Not the Other Way Around

Testosterone and estrogen are servants of this energy, not the other way around. They are the transmitters of the life force and its erotic quality. They are the biological channeling of energy but don’t entirely determine its functioning. We all know that our emotional life has a great impact on our energetic potential, for instance. The more liberated the energy, the more we can continue to feel and enjoy our erotic life, and the less limited it will be by our biology and moods. Although the sexual drive begins as the urge to procreate, it is also mixed with the urge for pleasure. As a species, we have continual access to sexual energy and to sexual enjoyment, and we don’t necessarily have to procreate. Birth control has been a major advancement in this area. We can have sex and pleasure without bringing a child into the world unless we want to. It is possible to choose how we use our sexual energy so that it is expressed at the right time, in the right places, with the right people.

The Belly Center is Related to the Energies of the Life Force

Because the belly center is related to the energies of the life force, we often have you sense your belly. As you become more aware of that area, and the belly center becomes more developed, more present, you become more in touch with the raw energies of your life force. Then you can better access what we call instinctual energy—the various energies of your survival, sexual, and social instincts.

The Life Force Does Not Seem to be Experientially as Available to Adults in their Prime as it is to Young Children

Even though this understanding of the arising of life and consciousness in the cosmos might be correct from a certain viewpoint, our perspective here is that life is not a property of the body, but of the soul. Two specific observations are sufficient to suggest this possibility. If life is a characteristic of the body then it should be more apparently present the healthier the body, and should peak at the body’s physical prime. We would observe more aliveness when our bodies are at their physical prime; namely, less at the beginning of life when the body is still developing, and even less at the end of life when the body is deteriorating. It is clear to observation that babies and young children are generally more robust and exude more pure life energy than most people at their physical prime. Life seems to be not complete at the beginning of our human life, but it is definitely present in a robust and full manner. Babies and young children are bundles of vitality and life—life within them seems to be uncontrollable and overflowing—while mature adults frequently are not. As has been explored by many existential philosophers and discussed by many psychologists, adults frequently experience their life force as being blocked, constricted, and twisted, not as vigorous as they know it can be. The life force does not seem to be experientially as available to adults in their prime as it is to young children. In fact many adults have to engage in sports or exercise regimes to feel the vitality and vigor of life. Adults engage in many more activities than young children, and they are more capable of self-organization, but this is different from the raw life force, the excitatory state that we feel more alive when experiencing.

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