Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom
Quotes about Sacred Impulse
Five Sacred Impulses
What we all wish for ultimately is to simply and authentically be. This wish to be ourselves is the true motivation for inquiry. And this impulse, this motivation, is actually an expression of one of the aspects of Essence—the Yellow latifa. As they are needed, the other lataif arise to support this movement in our soul. So, for example, one needs the strength and capacity to engage in one’s spiritual work (the Red latifa), the will to persevere in the face of difficulties, attachments, and conditioning (the White latifa), the perceptual expansion necessary to perceive and understand what one is experiencing (the Black latifa), and the sensitivity to recognize and rest in one’s own true nature (the Green latifa). These fundamental capacities of the soul, which are called the five sacred impulses—I wish, I can, I will, I perceive, and I am—are associated with the lataif. For this reason, the lataif are the most important essential aspects encountered in the development of the soul. This is true especially in the initial stages of spiritual work as the individual consciousness (the soul) opens up to its essential nature. Lataif is the plural of the Arabic word latifa, which refers to a certain mode of experiencing our consciousness. Latifa or latif (masculine form of the feminine latifa) means literally “subtle, soft, light, delicate, gentle, refined, pure”—all in one unified impression.
Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg. 252
Each latifa sensitizes the soul in a specific way to make it capable of functioning in a new mode or possibility. In other words, the activation and the integration of the lataif accesses and unfolds certain deep and subtle spiritual potentials of the soul.
One useful way to view the higher faculties associated with the lataif is through the Five Sacred Impulses, parallel to Gurdjieff's notion of the Three Sacred Impulses. This table highlights only some of the important higher faculties. The Five Sacred Impulses reflect particular capacities available to the Soul as a result of the presence of the five lataif. They are:
Color Affective Tone Sacred Impulse
yellow joy I wish
red strength I can
white confidence I will
black peace I perceive
green loving kindness I am
So, for example, activating the Yellow latifa opens up one of the faculties of the heart, which is to wish, want, or long for what it misses. The wish is for what the soul, or its heart, naturally and spontaneously loves. The Yellow latifa is the presence of pure joy and delight, but it also causes the soul to become curious and activates its sacred impulse of true and innocent wanting. This means that the greater and deeper the realization of the Yellow latifa, the deeper the truth one's heart loves and wants to behold.
Activating the Red latifa provides the soul with the strength and capacity to reach and discern what one loves and wishes to unite with. It gives one the energy and fire, the initiative and courage, to go after one's heart’s desire.
Activating the White latifa accesses the soul's inner determination and solid steadfastness, which gives her the capacity to persevere and continue, rather than getting discouraged or losing heart.
Activating the Black latifa opens up the subtle perceptual faculties of the soul: those of intuition, seeing, and spiritual understanding.
Activating the Green latifa develops the capacity of the soul to simply be and not do—in other words, to be sensitive to and abide in her essential presence.