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Soul

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

Excerpts about Soul

All States of Consciousness Arise in the Consciousness of the Soul

The soul looks at one element of an experience and eliminates everything else. Then, of course, the person misses the true benefits, the complete impact of these experiences. It is only by immersing oneself in these fundamental states of consciousness that the soul will be transformed. Your soul is the consciousness in which all states of consciousness arise. When deep states arise, they can transform your soul. The mere arising of an experience, and liking it or not liking it, is not enough to transform the consciousness. The consciousness has to get into it and be touched, be burned by it. Otherwise, it cannot transform.

An Optimizing Force Operates in the Soul

The soul is a presence that is continually moving and changing; it cannot be static. The dynamic force underlying this constant change possesses an evolutionary bent, an optimizing property. It inherently tends to move the soul toward more optimal experience and life. It brings in more life, more energy, and more light. It is an organic, nonmechanical force that evolves and optimizes our experience. And it empowers our soul to develop and unfold, not in isolation but in relationship and response to what is going on in our life. In that sense, it is a conscious force, an aware, intelligent force.

Being is the Essence or True Nature of the 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.

Being Manifests Its Richness Through the Soul

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 the 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.

Characteristics of the Soul

The most striking aspects of this organism which is the self, or soul, are its malleability, sensitivity, intelligence and dynamism. The soul can take many forms; it is not a rigid structure but a flowing, conscious Presence with certain inherent capacities and faculties. The soul learns and the soul acts.

Connection of the Soul to the Absolute

The Essential Identity functions similarly to other aspects with a dual function of providing a capacity necessity for the life and development of the soul and connecting her to the Absolute in a specific way that reveals the nature of this connection. The Essential Aspect of identity, the point of light and Presence, provides the soul with the center and identity necessary for her life, which will at the same time ultimately connect her with the Absolute, as her final and absolute identity.

Conscious Presence

The soul, as an alive conscious Presence, is ultimately not separate from the structures which form the ego. It is when they are taken as the self’s identity that these structures alienate the soul’s experience of its true nature.

Different Ways the Soul Can be Experienced

The soul can be experienced in many ways. It can be experienced patterned by an ego structure—image, notion or concept—so it appears as a shell, veil, tube, thickness, hardness, and so on. It can also manifest as free from structure, and the experience is then of a formless, blobby or watery substance. It can manifest as imbued by its essential nature, and it is experienced then as an alive and dynamic presence. And it can manifest in its basic mode, before any structure or development, and then it appears as a formless fluid presence. This basic substance of the soul is experienced specifically as a plasmatic fluid, similar to the plasmatic substrate of the physical body.

Disappearance of the Soul in the Nondual Condition

In the nondual condition, the individual consciousness is not foreground. The self disappears, the individual disappears, even the soul disappears—there is only reality. There is only nondual presence. However, if there were no individual consciousness, there would be no perception, no sensation, and no awareness of nondual truth manifesting its possibilities. So you, as an individual, are important for realization. Enlightenment needs you to recognize itself; it needs you as an individual. In nondual truth, your sense of who you are is not as an individual. You are the Living Being that is the nature of everything and that is manifesting and creating everything. However, you as an individual who is practicing is how this nondual truth is recognizing its enlightenment.

Just as the Body is an Organized Field of Protoplasm, the Soul is an Organized Field of Consciousness

The soul is sensitive because it is fundamentally an organism of consciousness, and consciousness is sensitive. Just as the body is an organism of living protoplasm, the soul is an organism of sensitive consciousness; just as the body is an organized field of protoplasm, the soul is an organized field of consciousness.

Recognizing Areas of Our Body where Our Soul Cannot Flow as Places We Need to Open Up

The experience of soul as flow possesses many degrees of subtlety, each reflecting a particular depth of this experience. At the beginning, we experience flow topographically, similar to the flow of a stream of water. We experience the medium of the soul as a fluid that flows through our body. We experience it as streaming from one part of the body to another, as in the flow of energy up the spine. We might be aware that the flow is faster in some areas than others, more sluggish in some regions, more blocked in others, completely stuck or absent, or free and smooth. This can alert us to various tensions and rigidities in our bodies, reflecting fixations and identifications in the mind. This can be very helpful for our inner work, as we recognize the areas where our soul cannot flow as places that need to open up. As we work on them, and they relax and open, our soul may begin to flow to these areas, bringing them to life, and including them in her range of experience. Our soul then inhabits more of our body, and we feel more present, more embodied, and our experience is more available, and more open and flexible. Our experience in general becomes more fluid, more flowing, and we feel this as greater freedom and release.

Self-Realized Soul

From the perspective of self-realization, then, the soul is simply our consciousness, free from the occlusive veil of past experience. She can experience herself directly, without any intermediary. She is thus dispensing not only with the veil of past experience, but also with the self-reflective act. She experiences herself by simply being. She knows herself to be a presence, a self-aware medium in which the awareness is simply of presence itself. She is. She is presence, pure and simple. She is aware that she is presence because presence is indistinguishable from awareness.

Soul as Guidance Itself

When we make the journey with the Diamond Guidance, the soul at some point becomes the Guidance itself apprehending the absolute nature of everything. During the third journey, the Diamond Guidance is inseparable from the soul’s ongoing presence, shining with its exquisite precision, delicacy, refinement, intimacy, and indescribable beauty and freshness. We are sweetness, delight, warmth, appreciation, and preciousness. We experience ourselves at this stage as all these qualities in a presence that touches the Absolute – perceiving it and unifying with it. In other words, when our spacecruiser takes us to the Absolute, our consciousness becomes refined until it dissolves into the Absolute’s mysterious vastness.

Soul can Have a Mirror-Like Awareness that is Transparent and Without Distortion

In the course of spiritual development, as the soul begins to understand the truth and to develop through contact with Essence, it becomes clearer and purer. Eventually, it can be completely purified. The Sufi notion of the Perfect or Complete Soul is the completely developed soul, the completely purified soul. The Sufis say that the completely purified soul is colorless, completely transparent and clear. Thus, the soul has regained through purification its original essential nature of pure luminosity or pure awareness of how things are. At the same time, the soul has developed through maturity a discriminating awareness of reality that includes its nature, its environment, and everything else. The soul can thus have a mirror-like awareness that is transparent and without distortion, as well as a capacity for discrimination and understanding. So the simplest, most elemental nature of the soul is complete transparency without any qualities, just the fact of its awareness, perception, transparency,
luminosity. This is the soul’s most basic nature. It is also what is called “primordial awareness.”

Facets of Unity, pg. 292

Soul is the Agency, the Medium of Experience and the Experience Itself

This brings us to a further fundamental truth about the soul: Since the soul is the experiencer, the fabric and container of experience, and the content of experience, then the experiencer is not separate from this content. The subject of inner experience is the soul, but so is the content, the object of experience. In other words, as we recognize the soul we begin to see the nonduality of subject and object of experience, at least with respect to inner events. For instance, if we consider an emotion that arises in our consciousness, the agent
or experiencer of this emotion is not a subject that experiences it as an object, an object separate and different from this subject. The subject is the field and the emotion is a manifestation of this field, in this field. The emotion is nothing but the field itself with a certain manifestation or frequency arising in some region of it. The field is a field of sensitivity, so it is sensitive to this change in frequency or vibration. There is no distinct separate observer experiencing the emotion. The soul, a medium or field, is in its totality aware of the emotion. The soul is the agency, the medium of experience, and the experience itself. The three are not separate; they are the same thing. When we recognize the unity of the three we are truly recognizing the soul. This differentiates the experience of the soul from that of the ordinary self, whose experience is egoic. For egoic experience, the three are different and separate. The site of the emotion or other experience is not clear, or not perceived at all. The site is experienced generally and vaguely as inside. The object, the emotion in this case, is an event separate and distinct from the experiencer, who is a subject over and above this object.

Soul is the Pure Consciousness that Forms the Eternal Ground of all Phenomena

These developments in turn bring about a profound sense of aloneness, for the presence of Being is not connected psychically to any internalized object relation; it is autonomous from the structured sense of self that consists of representations of the self in relation to others. At the beginning the soul inevitably experiences this transcendence as aloneness, which tends to bring a fear of loss of contact, relatedness, connection, and communication. However, deep and persistent inquiry reveals the intrinsic intimacy of essential presence, whose boundlessness and formlessness constitute a much more fundamental connectedness than that known by the ego-self. The soul contends with the notion of death and the fear of death, and learns, with persistent inquiry, that her true nature transcends both life and death, for it is the pure consciousness that forms the eternal ground of all phenomena. We see, then, that even though the inner journey confronts us, often painfully, with existential issues, the experience and understanding of essence provides resolution and a depth of wisdom not envisaged by existential philosophy or any form of psychotherapy.

The Consciousness that Experiences the Continuum of Our Experience

It was a stunning revelation to see what had been hidden in plain sight. The soul is the consciousness that experiences the continuum of our experience from the most superficial to the deepest; the most contracted to the most expanded; within space and time and beyond. The Logos is the living potential of the universe that creates all forms of experience, including the experiencer. So you could say that the soul is a "mini-me" Logos teeming with the infinite potential of experience. Thus the individual consciousness is the soul and the living presence that animates the body during physical life. We also saw that it is what leaves the body at death. While it is completely interpenetrated with the flesh in life, it is discernible as its own presence.

The Jeweled Path, pg. 261

The First and Most Impactful Impressions that Structure the Soul will be these Animal and Physical Processes and Forms of Experience

The animal component of the soul structures her in even more global ways that tend to dissociate her from her essential presence: the early stages of development of the soul have to do mostly with physical indwelling. The infant soul’s experience is dominated by her physical needs and impulses, because the body is in the time of its greatest vulnerability and need. The dominant need is the survival and growth of the body, and so physical and animal forms of experience dominate the experience of the young soul. Her most intense and regularly repeated experiences are those of hunger, eating, satiation, defecating and urinating, physical discomfort and its relief, physical holding and its associated nuances, and so on. Emotional and mental
experience are present, but not dominant. Essential experience is also present, as in the arising of essential aspects, but even these spiritual qualities manifest in conjunction with, and in response to, these physical and animal processes and forms of experience. Both the baby’s cognitive capacities and the actual need of this stage of development focus the attention on the gross physical processes and their associated states. This means that the first, and hence the most impactful, impressions that structure the soul will be these animal and physical processes and forms of experience. Both the intensity and repetitiveness of these experiences make them the most dominant impressions in the soul. Since at this stage the soul is so completely impressionable, the soul develops mostly as an animal soul. The animal structures become the deepest and most dominant layer of her ego structure, underlying the more developed and mature layers of structure, the structures of emotional object relations. Thus the earliest object relations integrated into the ego structure are those dominated by the instinctual drives as they manifest in early childhood,

The Ground of Our Experience is the Soul

If we have the global awareness that comes through the development of mindfulness, it is possible to recognize that the true ground of our experience is actually a medium of awareness, rather than a collection of perceived objects. This medium of awareness that we call the soul has things bubbling in it. The bubbles are not separate from the medium, and the medium itself is self-aware. The bubbles are different colors and shapes: this bubble feels like sadness and that bubble feels like pain. This bubble feels like the idea of a bird and at that bubble feels like the thought of a person and this bubble is an image of our home. All these bubbles are arising in the same medium.

The Knowing in the Early Life of the Soul Must be Primarily that of Basic Knowledge

The condition in which the soul begins her life is her natural condition, as we have described it in the previous chapters. Uncertain is how clearly and fully the soul experiences her basic dimensions and properties at this time. Because she is still not able to use concepts—as we know from cognitive developmental theory—her awareness is bound to be mirror-like. Her knowing must be primarily that of basic knowledge, because she does not have the conceptual development for representational knowledge; even this is rudimentary at the beginning, requiring a capacity for primitive concepts that does not develop until around two years of age. It is these two dimensions of the soul’s basic nature that appear to us as her natural contact with essence in the early stages of her life. Her malleability and impressionability are at their most extreme; hence she is quite receptive and undefended. Her dynamism is quite free and her forms are flexible, unfolding easily. She is at the same time quite vulnerable to conditioning because of an almost total dependence on her environment.

The Libidinal Soul

Under normal circumstances, when we experience this deep, hidden part of our soul, it does not feel negative. We actually feel full of life and full of vigor when we experience ourselves as the libidinal soul. We are strong, full of passion, full of energy, brimming with a zest for life. But we are not going to let go of what we want and what we believe we have. We passionately hold on, wanting the riches of life, and all the objects that promise gratification. If you become aware of the deepest image that this libidinal ego is holding on to, you see the image of a luscious breast. This is the initial image, the core image that the libidinal ego doesn't want to let go of. It is a wonderful golden image, which we see full of all the essential qualities. At this early age, the spiritual and the animal forms of experience are not yet differentiated; they are interpenetrating.

The Simplest, Most Elemental Nature of the Soul is Complete Transparency Without any Qualities

So the simplest, most elemental nature of the soul is complete transparency without any qualities, just the fact of its awareness, perception, transparency, luminosity. This is the soul’s most basic nature. It is also what is called “primordial awareness.” The quality of mirror-like awareness is what makes it possible to perceive objective reality. Working with, understanding, and realizing the Holy Ideas, brings us closer to that mirror-like awareness as the view of reality expands to include the whole of reality, rather than being oriented around the delusion of a separate sense of self. The view of objective reality of the Holy Ideas makes it possible for the soul to correct the distortions of perception that dominate the egoic view of the self and the world, thus clarifying the soul’s awareness, or “polishing the mirror” of the soul. The clear awareness of the human soul, then, perceives the objective view of the patterns of creation with an understanding of the place of the human being in this creation. This understanding awakens the soul to its own unfolding as the expression of Being, and its own participation in the greater pattern of unfolding whose nature is wholeness, dynamism, intelligence, and openness.

Facets of Unity, pg. 293

The Soul is an Organism of Knowledge

The soul, then, is not simply an organism of consciousness, but is also an organism of knowledge. When we recognize knowledge as the fabric of all experience, we cannot hold on to our habitual dichotomy of experiencer and experienced, knower and known. The knower is knowledge, the known is knowledge. The knower is the field, and the known is a form that this field assumes without ceasing to be the field. When we experience fear, our consciousness is the very sensations of the fear. The fear is the conscious field forming into fear, and knowing itself as fear. We might be experiencing fear in the belly, as some kind of vibration, an uncomfortable shakiness and irritation. Our consciousness is manifesting itself as fear in a particular region, and as consciousness we are aware of the fear in that region. We cannot actually separate the fear from the knowingness of the fear; they are the same arising in the belly. We do not actually know the fear in our head, even though we say we know it in our mind............  In the conventional perspective, when we are not yet in touch with the inner field of presence, we experience an observer that observes the fear. The knower is separate from the known, maybe the knower is in the head, and the known is fear in the belly. However, in reality there is no duality of knower and known. We think there is duality only because we are not aware of the fabric of the soul. When we are, then we can see that the sense of the knower in the head is a manifestation in the conscious field, but so is the fear in the belly. They are both manifestations of the very same field of consciousness. Seeing this, we can recognize that the real knower is not the one in the head, but the consciousness that discerns the one in the head. We recognize then that the separation of the knower and the known is due to a certain perspective, a belief. Nevertheless, even this perspective is a thought form that the consciousness itself manifests. Nothing occurs in our experience that is not the manifestation of our consciousness, and here we are noting that this manifestation always involves knowledge. So both knower and known, whether appearing unified or as the self-object duality, are knowledge. 

The Soul is Continuously and Spontaneously Changing its Phenomenology, its Topography

We have seen that all these changes are the outward manifestations of the changeability of the soul. These forms are manifestations of the same field, a single medium. These changing forms reflect the continuous change in the field as a whole. Our field of consciousness is itself constantly changing, and this change is what we perceive as the string of inner events, as the current of consciousness, the flow of presence. In other words, the changeability of the soul is more fundamental than the passage of forms. It is a transformation, a transubstantiation. The very medium that is the soul is transforming its qualities and characteristics. The soul is not changeable; it is a changeling, like certain forms that appear in some science fiction movies and TV shows. It is in a continuous condition of morphing. When we see this continuous morphogenic transformation of the soul directly, in ourselves or in others, we see that it is so amazing and miraculous relative to our conventional notion of ourselves that it is far beyond what can be envisioned in fiction. The fictional portrayals of this phenomenon merely approach the truth of the continuous transformation that we can recognize as we learn to see the soul directly. The soul is continuously and spontaneously changing its phenomenology, its topography, its shape, its texture, its color, its feel, its luminosity, its depth, its clarity, its viscosity, its momentum, its force, its power, its level of consciousness, its perceptivity, and so on.

The Soul is not a Particular State, nor a Static Manifestation, nor a Fixed Form

We see that the soul is not a particular state, nor a static manifestation, nor a fixed form. The soul is inherently full of change, movement, flow, and transformation. Stillness and rest are only particular forms that the soul can assume, as are movement and activity. We have discussed this particular property of the soul as transitoriness, changeability, different forms of flow and unfoldment, appearing, manifestation, and morphogenic transformation. The question that remains is what makes these possible. All these point to an underlying property of the soul; all of them are manifestations of a particular characteristic that is fundamental to the soul. We refer to this property as dynamism, meaning that the soul is inherently dynamic, rather than static. This dynamism implies an energetic, vital, active, forceful dimension of the soul, a dimension that intersects all of her other dimensions. This dynamism is an active power, an inherent pressure toward manifestation, an implicit impulse toward unfoldment, a basic will toward revelation, and a fundamental love of display and self-expression.

The Soul is the Experiencer, the Perceiver, the Observer, the Doer, the Thinker, the Chooser, the Responder, the Enjoyer, the Sufferer and the Inner Site of all These

We also normally think of ourselves as the perceiver of outer objects and events. Once we recognize the soul as the inner field that contains inner experience and events, it becomes easy to see that the soul is also the perceiver of all events, outer as well as inner. Outer manifestations can be seen to be outside the soul but our perception of them occurs within us, within our sensitive interiority, our soul. The soul is the recipient of perception; these perceptions might arise through the windows of the senses, but it is the soul that is the subject that actually perceives and recognizes such perceptions. The soul in this functions similarly to the eyes that receive the light, also similarly to the brain that deciphers the light signals, but most primarily it is the consciousness that finally sees and recognizes, the consciousness that becomes impacted by what it sees, and responds accordingly. In recognizing the soul we recognize the real self that we intuitively know is at the center of all experience, and the agent of all functioning. Our intuition transforms into a direct perception of what we have sensed to be not only the site of all inner experiences and perceptions, but also the agent of all experience, perception, and action. The soul is the experiencer, the perceiver, the observer, the doer, the thinker, the chooser, the responder, the enjoyer, the sufferer, and the inner site of all of these.

Thoughts, Images, Emotions, Feelings, Sensations, Perceptions, Insights, Knowledge and States of Consciousness are all the Soul

We arrive here at the classical notion that each of us is subject, and that when we experience this subject individually it is the soul. The innerness of experience is the soul. Since the soul is the site and agency of experience then everything that arises in the soul can be seen as part of the soul. Thoughts, images, emotions, feelings, sensations, perceptions, insights, knowledge, and states of consciousness are all the soul. They all arise in the soul as waves in a field, as particular manifestations within it. At this point in our discussion this might not be an easy jump, but it will become clearer as we study the basic properties of the soul. The point is that the content of experience does not only occur in the soul, but that it arises in her as her manifestations. Thoughts do not come from outside; neither do feelings or images. They come from the soul and go back to the soul, always within the soul. Even our perceptions of external objects and events are part of the soul, for our perception is an internal event even though the object of perception is external. So all these are the soul, or more specifically its manifestations. To sum up, the soul is the locus, the agent, and all the varied content of experience.

Two Possibilities for the Soul

As we have seen, our soul reveals its possibilities through its creative dynamism in two basic ways. The first is in an open and free manner, the second through a distorted and disconnected process. In the former case, the soul manifests itself in a real and authentic way, while in the latter case, the soul becomes diminished, distorted, and disconnected from its true nature. Both of these experiences (authenticity and distortion) are inherent in the potential of our human soul.

We have been so Identified with Being the Normal Self, the Self has Lost Awareness of Its Spiritual Ground

Even though we are always the soul, for the soul is what we are, the direct knowledge of the soul is not so accessible. It is like the water we swim in, while we are thirsty and looking for it. We not only swim in this water; our bodies are largely made of it. In terms of knowing the soul, we have been so identified with being the normal self, the self that has lost awareness of its spiritual ground, that we cannot even envision what it will be like to recognize ourselves as soul. The degeneration from soul to self, which in actual lived experience is no different in our era than in others, involves such fundamental and far-reaching alienation that to reverse it requires an extensive path of transformation. The direct experience of the soul involves penetrating or bypassing many layers of beliefs and concepts about ourselves and about reality; for most of us the full perception of soul occurs only occasionally, so rarely that most of us do not even comprehend at such times that it is our soul we are experiencing. Therefore, even in a path of inner transformation it is not possible at the beginning to directly recognize the soul. Understanding develops gradually and in stages as one progresses in one’s work.

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