An Intelligent, Responsive and Aware Force Within Our Soul
If the soul is operating from her own inherent capacities – from true nature – she will not need guidance for her development. Then unfoldment will happen on its own because that is what an optimizing force means. It is a force within our soul that is intelligent, responsive, and aware. It will respond to things accurately, intelligently, and appropriately to develop the soul in the best way that she can develop. And that is what we want when we seek any kind of guidance – internal or external. Inner guidance means the directing of our unfoldment so that the unfoldment will optimize itself all the way to wholeness. Inner guidance guides the soul in her unfoldment so that she will unfold in the right direction, correctly, toward maximizing and optimizing her life and experience.
Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg. 204
Being Inherently Possesses the Optimizing Force
Being’s dynamism implies more than the fact that experience and perception change; it also implies that the change is due to a transformative and creative inherent power. It’s not solely a matter of cause and effect, although cause and effect is part of it. When I say “dynamism,” I mean a living force similar to the biological evolutionary force: It doesn’t always respond in the same way or in predictable ways. It is intelligent, and therefore its manifestations keep shifting around, moving toward more optimization of life. This is why I say that Being inherently possesses the optimizing force, or the optimizing thrust. When we think only in terms of cause and effect, the dynamism, the intelligence, the power, the force, and the aliveness within our Being are all left out. We’re thinking only within a mechanical framework, holding a mechanistic view of how change happens. But human experience cannot be completely explained as a function of cause and effect or any other predictable construct about change. We can never systematize life changes completely, for we will always find exceptions. There will always come a time when things happen differently.
Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg. 153
Contact with Deeper Levels of Truth
As I’ve said, it is a law of Being that its Guidance manifests when we want to know the truth. This is not a moral injunction. It’s not ethics. It’s about how reality works. It means that ultimately truth is the nature of Being. So Being says, “I’ll open myself to you only if you’re interested in me. But if you want something else, that’s what you’ll get—you’re not going to get the truth.” In other words, the revelation of the Kingdom of Heaven is the action of the optimizing force of Being, and only the love of truth can invite and activate that force. The optimizing force guides experience toward greater optimization, which means contact with deeper levels of truth. So loving truth for its own sake unites the heart of the soul with Being’s love of revealing its own riches. This revelation is not an intellectual exercise. You can’t do it through a reasoning process. You can’t do it through logical deduction. The mind at some point is incapable of telling you what is needed to reveal the truth. It is the heart that knows, because the heart loves the truth.
Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg. 128
Development of the Self is an Expression of the Optimizing Force of Its Being
It is of paramount significance for understanding the self, its development, and its disturbances, to include the self’s ontological ground (its essential presence) in our view of the self. The human self is fundamentally a presence of Being whose potential includes not only the commonly known capacities and functions, but also (and most significantly for our study), all the various aspects and dimensions of Essence. The fullness and richness of the essential core constitutes the true source and substance of most of the self ’s qualities: its Love, Pleasure, Satisfaction, Value, Intelligence, Strength, Will, and Nourishment. The development of the self is an expression of the optimizing force of its Being, in which its essential potential unfolds and expresses itself, in part, in unique and real individuality of the self. Thus, the psychic being, the self or soul, actualizes its potential as beingness while functioning in the world of humanity. The process of development of the true individuality, as discussed in detail in our book, The Pearl Beyond Price (Almaas, 1988), includes the process of ego development. This process involves the properties and capacities of the self, both essential capacities and what ego psychology calls ego functions, in developing the self into a sense of being a real person.
The Point of Existence, pg. 174
Dynamism of the Self Functions as an “Optimizing Force”
The psychological activity which is the dynamic center of the ego-self is composed, then, of desire that implies both hope and rejection, and its content is determined by our self-images and ideal images. Thus, the main components of ego activity are hope, desire and rejection. We are not implying that all human motivation arises out of the flow of hope, desire and rejection, for we recognize that the self is fundamentally a dynamic wholeness. The dynamism of the self is an evolutionary force which has the a priori property of functioning as an “optimizing force.” This force is recognized by many of the spiritual teachings of humankind. See Appendix F for a discussion of his force.
The Point of Existence, pg. 86
Engaging Diamond Guidance Manifests the Discriminating Intelligence of the Optimizing Force
We have seen that love of the truth for its own sake is an invitation to the Diamond Guidance, and engaging the Diamond Guidance manifests the discriminating intelligence of the optimizing force. At the same time, when we love truth for its own sake, we engage the very energy of optimization, the very energy of the evolution of the soul. We are fueling the unfoldment. We are powering our spacecruiser’s drive. When we have only an intellectual curiosity that comes from an ego position, experience will not unfold, because the unfoldment needs its own particular energy, which is the love of truth. So +loving truth for its own sake activates the unfoldment itself, the journey; it engages the drive and steers the spacecruiser. We can also say that loving truth for its own sake in the process of inquiry and understanding is the way that the heart and mind are united, becoming one—which is the revelation. This is the way to quicken the soul. In inquiry there is interest, excitement, and initiative. It’s as though a light in the heart had been turned on. Thus, the opening of the heart has to do with the quickening of the soul.
Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg. 141
Functioning of the Dynamism of Being
One way of envisioning the situation of the ego-self is that its dynamic core, ego activity, is an incomplete and distorted manifestation of the dynamism of Being. From this perspective, we can appreciate the fundamental truth that it is the dynamism of Being which underlies all activity and creativity. However, this dynamism can be functioning naturally according to its own intrinsic design, recognizable as an optimizing force, or it can function in an errant, distorted, or incomplete manner, recognizable as ego activity.
The Point of Existence, pg. 87
Guidance is a Way of Referring to the Discriminating Intelligence of the Optimizing Force
Guidance is a way of referring to the discriminating intelligence of this optimizing force of our Being. So experiencing guidance does not mean that you are a child who is going to be taken by the hand from one place or experience to another. Guidance is the accurate discerning of the optimizing direction for experience, moment to moment. It is needed when the soul is not living from her true nature—when she is in the familiar situation of obscuration and distraction. If the soul is operating from her own inherent capacities—from true nature—she will not need guidance for her development. Then unfoldment will happen on its own because that is what an optimizing force means. It is a force within our soul that is intelligent, responsive, and aware. It will respond to things accurately, intelligently, and appropriately to develop the soul in the best way that she can develop. And that is what we want when we seek any kind of guidance—internal or external. Inner guidance means the directing of our unfoldment so that the unfoldment will optimize itself all the way to wholeness. Inner guidance guides the soul in her unfoldment so that she will unfold in the right direction, correctly, toward maximizing and optimizing her life and experience.
Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg. 203
Impact of Your Personal Thread
When we inquire into our consciousness, we find that it has certain manifestations. Inquiry is not only a matter of being aware of these manifestations, which make up our mandala, but also of understanding them in a coherent way that tells us where we are experientially. This is our thread at that moment. But by “thread,” we also mean something slightly more than knowing where we are; we mean being aware of the process of the unfoldment within us as well. So the thread means really recognizing and understanding what’s going on with us as a continuous process. The more aware you are of what’s going on—that is, the more you are in touch with and understand your personal thread—the more the optimizing force can impact your experience. This optimizing force always occurs when we align with any of the qualities—such as awareness, understanding, or in-touchness—that the optimizing intelligence naturally manifests when Being’s dynamism is allowed in our experience.
Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg. 163
Indications of the Dynamic Optimizing Force of Being in the Soul
We tend not to see the dynamic quality of our soul directly, especially its optimizing tendency. But if we reflect on our experience, we can discern this tendency. For instance, if we are sincere with ourselves, we realize at some point that we want to experience love. The soul inherently wants to give and receive love, to expand and deepen love. Our soul also seems to like it when things are true and genuine; she naturally wants to go toward more genuineness and authenticity. She also naturally prefers to feel more open, relaxed, and happy. We take all these values for granted, but they are actually indications of the dynamic optimizing force of Being in the soul. That is exactly how the force manifests in our experience: as a tendency toward maximization of love, pleasure, openness, truth, and authenticity. We are not like machines that run according to a certain programming. We have motives and drives that spring from the depths of our Being and impel us to go in certain directions, causing our experience to develop and evolve toward optimization and enhancement. Our situation is not so simple, however, for sometimes we move in directions that are not healthy or useful. We sometimes move toward destructive aggression, revenge, ignorance, stagnation, or toward contraction instead of expansion. Therefore, to understand the evolutionary or optimizing force and its underlying dynamism means to see that the presence of the optimizing force also indicates the presence of barriers to that force. It is difficult to conceive of an optimizing force without also picturing what resists it: barriers to go through, obstacles to overcome, and issues and conflicts to resolve.
Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg. 201
Inquiry Activates and Engages the Optimizing Force of Being’s Dynamism
The optimizing force of Being’s dynamism is a will and movement within the manifestation of Being that guides the dynamism to move toward more openness, greater illumination, greater maximization of reality, awareness, light, and truth. This is exactly identical to the core of a question, which means that the dynamism of Being can and does operate as the dynamic essence of a question. That is why we have often said that inquiry activates and engages the optimizing force of Being’s dynamism. Inquiry engages the optimizing force because the essence of a question is this unknowingness that is full of love for knowing. Inquiry dynamically expresses the openness we can have toward the manifestations of Being, in order that Being may unfold and express itself and disclose its further possibilities. Your Being will unfold if you approach it with a genuine question. If you sincerely question your experience, your Being will automatically and naturally disclose its possibilities, which will arise as the discernment of the truth, which in turn will lead to greater understanding. What happens when you inquire into your experience? You notice that after a while, certain things begin changing, moving, and manifesting the various feeling states, beliefs, and associations involved in your experience. These arise as you question your experience. Do you ever wonder why? What is it about questions that does that? A question is really the functioning of both the dynamism and the optimizing force of the dynamism. When we inquire, Being’s dynamism moves toward expansion, toward light, toward understanding, toward truth. We experience this in the process of questioning.
Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg. 106
Love is the Energy of the Optimizing Force
If we inquire into the energy of the optimizing force, we find that it is love. Love is the creative energy that disposes the dynamism to move in an optimizing way. This makes love the fuel of inquiry—and points to a very clear relationship between love and the revelation of truth: When we love truth for its own sake, we truly love. When our love is selfless and genuine, it is the love of what is real. This shows more specifically why it is the energy for the optimizing, energizing, evolutionary force. Love, by its very nature, is a matter of revelation, of unfoldment. It is a manifestation of Being whose very nature is a matter of opening up and unfolding, like the unfolding of a rose. Rumi once said in a poem, “This is love: to fly heavenward. To rend, every instant, a hundred veils.” To love is to rend the veils. What does it mean to rend the veils? To reveal. So love is Being in the process of revealing its truth. It is the dynamic, revealing energy of Being.
Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg. 140
Manifestation of the Force
This optimizing force manifests in many ways. Normally it manifests in actual states, experiences, perceptions, and various life situations and opportunities. But it also manifests in guidance. The optimizing force appears in the optimization of your experience, and guidance is one specific form of this optimization. One way of stating it is that the optimizing dynamism is the force, and the guidance is the eye of that force. Or—returning to our spacecruiser metaphor—the optimizing force is the drive of our spaceship, and the guidance is the sensor array and data analysis systems needed for its navigation. We tend not to see the dynamic quality of our soul directly, especially its optimizing tendency. But if we reflect on our experience, we can discern this tendency. For instance, if we are sincere with ourselves, we realize at some point that we want to experience love. The soul inherently wants to give and receive love, to expand and deepen love. Our soul also seems to like it when things are true and genuine; she naturally wants to go toward more genuineness and authenticity. She also naturally prefers to feel more open, relaxed, and happy. We take all these values for granted, but they are actually indications of the dynamic optimizing force of Being in the soul. That is exactly how the force manifests in our experience: as a tendency toward maximization of love, pleasure, openness, truth, and authenticity. We are not like machines that run according to a certain programming. We have motives and drives that spring from the depths of our Being and impel us to go in certain directions, causing our experience to develop and evolve toward optimization and enhancement.
Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg. 200
Movement Toward Greater and Greater Illumination
In inquiry, many elements interact, including dynamic openness, observation in the moment—which uses the skills of mindfulness and concentration—and the content of ordinary knowledge, all integrated in an intelligent way. So the fourth element is an intelligence, an organic, free intelligence that can operate while taking the nature of ordinary knowledge into consideration. This is not an operation that a computer can do; computers relate one thing to another in a linear fashion. The intelligence that inquiry needs is a nonlinear and responsive kind, which can respond even when there is insufficient information. This intelligence is part of the dynamism that gives our questioning a penetrating quality, a sharp quality, a synthetic quality, a brilliant, luminous quality. With this kind of intelligence, our questions become powerful and relevant. The intelligence I am referring to is inherent in our Being, a specific aspect of Essence that characterizes the optimizing force of Being’s dynamism. This optimizing force is movement toward greater and greater illumination. Illumination, when it becomes intense, is brilliance. Brilliancy is intelligence. So intelligence is the organic recognition and responsiveness within the process of inquiry that skillfully moves it toward more optimization—which means more awareness, more light, more love, more expansion, more depth, more significance.
Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg. 119
Obscuration of the Optimizing Force by the Soul's Outward Fixations
This unfoldment, however, is invisible for a long time because it is so hard to separate our notions of guidance from the early imprint of being led through life by a wise and kindly parent. This deep unconscious association blinds us to the liberating reality of inner guidance. True guidance is nothing but the awareness of the intelligence in the dynamism that permeates all manifestation. As we have seen, the dynamism of Being follows an organic path of unfoldment as it draws all manifestation toward the realization of its true nature. This optimizing force is inherent to the dynamism itself and is therefore operating at all times. However, at the surface of consciousness where our soul has become identified with external life, the optimizing force is generally obscured by the soul’s outward fixations. The unconscious longing for parental guidance continues to dominate the soul’s journey through life. From this level, the soul, as it develops, appears undirected, ignorant, and therefore in need of external guidance. As long as our orientation goes outward in order to seek meaning and direction, we will be unable to recognize the optimizing force that is already operating within us. True guidance appears only when we are willing to value our own experience as it is, and in that way attune ourselves to the signs and messages of optimization that are always present in the field of our experience.
Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg. 208
The Direction of the Optimizing Force
The direction of the optimizing force is toward developing and unfolding our experience so that we can actualize the complete human being that we are, the wholeness we can be. However, we do not have to think in terms of goals, for this would be anthropomorphizing Being’s dynamism. Being’s gravity simply moves it toward settling into its original, primordial, and pure condition, just as turbid water tends to settle, returning to its clear and transparent original condition. We recognize this gravitational pull of true nature as its optimizing force, for optimal experience is nothing but the experience of true nature. Being is always inherently optimizing our experience. The optimizing force is aware and intelligent, trying to go around obstacles or go through them, whichever way will allow the optimization to continue. Realizing that our experience, both inner and outer, always reflects the action of our Being’s dynamism means that, in principle, it is always possible to know whether we are aligned or not with the optimizing force of Being, to discern whether we are progressing, backtracking, or on idle. We don’t need someone else to tell us. All the information we need is in our experience at each moment if we can perceive it clearly.
Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg. 202
The Dynamism of Being
The dynamism of Being is creative; it is what underlies all change and movement in the universe. At the same time, since Being is essentially true nature, free and open, this dynamism possesses an inherent tendency to reveal true nature, with all its purity, beauty, and subtlety. This revelation appears as an inherent direction of the dynamism in the human soul. In other words, when the dynamism functions freely and spontaneously, without the cramping and distorting influence of our conventional minds, it tends to transform our experience and perception toward greater clarity, knowledge, openness, truth, and freedom. We call this evolutionary tendency the optimizing force of the dynamism of Being. We experience the dynamism of Being in the fact that our personal experience is constantly changing. One state follows another, one feeling replaces another, thoughts and images come and go in a never ending stream. But when the optimizing force is operating in us, our experience begins to deepen and expand, revealing new states, dimensions, and capacities. We refer to this changing, evolutionary flow of our experience as unfoldment. Our soul is then revealing its inherent potentialities. From this we see that the unfoldment of the soul is a direct expression of the optimizing creative force of Being’s dynamism.
Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg. 35
The Optimizing Force of the Logos Functions Throughout Manifest Reality
The optimizing force of the logos functions throughout manifest reality, in both the animate and inanimate worlds. We do not always understand its direction, for its intelligence is cosmic and spans all time. But we can recognize signs of its functioning in the self-organizing properties of the universe, in various cosmological and terrestrial developments, in the arising and evolution of life, in the development of each living organism in its growth and maturation, even its decay and death. In other words, the logos is not only the principle of change and movement, but also of development and evolution, of growth and maturation, of both body and soul. This understanding may help us to recognize that the totality of the manifest universe is not only unfolding and changing but that it is also developing and evolving. And the direction of this evolution is the optimization of manifestation in order that all forms embody and express true nature in as complete and total a manner as possible, appropriate for the capacity of the particular form. We can easily understand this when we remember that the logos is the way true nature expresses and reveals its infinite potentialities
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 373
The Optimizing Thrust Illuminates the Entire Mandala
But the optimizing thrust does not function only by focusing on the problems or the barriers. It illuminates the entire mandala. Sometimes the illumination is focused on understanding the essential presence itself. Engaging in that understanding can lead to the central part of the second journey, which is the luminous thread itself, the awareness of the presence itself. You are aware of it, and you are feeling it as the center of your experience because it is the deepest and most transformative force in your experience. And it will affect the totality of your experience. I don’t that mean that it will transform your experience totally every time this awareness arises. But it is a force, so it will begin impacting, transforming, and clarifying your experience. So the work, then, which is the work of inquiry, is a matter of being present, being aware of the presence, and of understanding it and its interaction with the rest of your experience. The presence will change from one quality to another, from one dimension to another, and these transubstantiations will bring about changes in the totality of your mandala. They will activate different object relations, different identifications, different feelings, different memories. All the situations and relationships in your life will be impacted.
Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg. 168
There Are No Accidental Experiences
All of our experiences, all of our perceptions, are basically due to the dynamism of our Being. And all of them reflect the optimizing force functioning in either a straightforward manner or a distorted manner. There are, in other words, no accidental experiences, no chance inner states. Whatever arises is in us, whatever we experience in the world is a response, or manifestation, of our Being. And our Being functions as optimally as it can, given the presence or absence and the quality of our filters.
Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg. 202
Universal Unfoldment Has Its Own Optimizing Force
Our actual situation is more complex, however, because there is not just you in a static universe. There are other people too, with their own unfoldment and processes, and constant interactions between everybody. Add to that the evolution of Earth, of humanity, and of the whole universe. All of this is being guided. The guidance is not only in the unfoldment of the individual soul; there is an overall, universal unfoldment that has its own optimizing force. And that unfoldment appears in all of us, in all human beings, as it interacts with each person’s mind. So the messages that appear in your environment relate to your own unfoldment, the unfoldment of other people, plus the unfoldment of the entire situation around you. This unfoldment, however, is invisible for a long time because it is so hard to separate our notions of guidance from the early imprint of being led through life by a wise and kindly parent. This deep unconscious association blinds us to the liberating reality of inner guidance. True guidance is nothing but the awareness of the intelligence in the dynamism that permeates all manifestation. As we have seen, the dynamism of Being follows an organic path of unfoldment as it draws all manifestation toward the realization of its true nature. This optimizing force is inherent to the dynamism itself and is therefore operating at all times. However, at the surface of consciousness where our soul has become identified with external life, the optimizing force is generally obscured by the soul’s outward fixations. The unconscious longing for parental guidance continues to dominate the soul’s journey through life. From this level, the soul, as it develops, appears undirected, ignorant, and therefore in need of external guidance. As long as our orientation goes outward in order to seek meaning and direction, we will be unable to recognize the optimizing force that is already operating within us. True guidance appears only when we are willing to value our own experience as it is, and in that way attune ourselves to the signs and messages of optimization that are always present in the field of our experience.
Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg. 207
Universal Will is the Optimizing Force of Being's Dynamism
Inner support gives us a sense of confidence in this cooperation. Why is that? Because the sense of grounding, which is a function of embodying the Will, is an expression of the universal will in the soul. The universal will is the optimizing force of Being’s dynamism, the force that actualizes the revelation that our heart desires—the realization of who we truly are. The more we have our own inner solidity, grounding, and support, the more we feel confident in our inquiry, because this confidence is an expression of the universal will, which is the force of the optimizing dynamism. In other words, having our own inner support makes us aware of the functioning of true dynamism and lets us know that this dynamism functions to optimize experience.
Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg. 295
Universal Will of the Optimizing Force
As we have discussed in previous chapters, the dynamism of our Being has an optimizing force, an evolutionary intelligence that will tend to move our experience closer to the purity of true nature. It will keep doing that, over and over again, regardless of our resistances, regardless of our conflicts and our ignorance, and in spite of the difficulties. The universal will of the optimizing force appears in our experience as our own will—as our commitment and steadfastness in the process. So when we say that the steadfastness expresses the optimizing thrust of Being’s dynamism, we mean that even in stuck, dark, or difficult times, the dynamism is still alive in the form of our determination. Being’s dynamism is still exerting its will, exerting its force.