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States / Stations

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

Excerpts about States / Stations

A Station Reflects Maturity

A station means that a quality of Essence is present whenever there is a need. When you are yourself as a station, you are no longer being guided, you have matured.

Isolated Experiences of Essence are Called a State

The condition of having isolated experiences of an essential aspect is termed by the Sufis the stage of the hal; the experience is still a state. A state is contrasted with a station (maqam) when the essential aspect is made one's own, when it is attained by one's own efforts and established permanently by such efforts. That an essential aspect has become a station does not mean it is always present. This condition exists after it is just established, but as other aspects emerge they will displace it. In this case, a station means that the aspect is permanently available; it is present whenever the situation requires it.

States and Life Transformation

Experiencing an essential state affects some people in such a way that the experience deeply transforms their life, shifting their whole orientation and perspective. Whether this happens seems to have to do with expectations that the person has, or what the person is already valuing and idealizing. It has to do with that person’s focus… Also, it depends on the depth of a person’s interest and love for the truth itself.

The Process of Turning a State into a Station

This process of turning a state into a station can be seen in a way that sheds a different light on it. The process is that of working on having the essence, in whatever aspect it happens to be, present in all of an individual's life situations. He might experience essence in a certain situation but find it difficult to be essentially present when he is in a different situation. It is time then to turn one's attention to that situation to understand what exactly is causing the difficulty. The individual will then confront his anxiety and attempt to understand the unconscious material causing it, until it becomes possible for essence to be present in this situation. A person does not usually need to look for these situations; they are usually presented to him by his own personality functioning in his life. The culmination of this process is that the individual will be able to embody the essential aspect in all relevant situations; it becomes a station.

The State of Being Primarily a Human Soul, A Soul with Heart

The process of essential development takes the soul from her initial condition at the completion of ego development, in which she is dissociated from her true nature and living mostly as the animal soul with a civilized veneer of ego structures, to the station of the human soul. In other words, the discovery and integration of essence transforms the soul from its condition of being primarily an animal soul to the state of being primarily a human soul, a soul with heart. What transforms the animal soul to the human soul is her becoming receptive and transparent to essence. When essence manifests through the attitudes and actions of the soul we recognize that she now behaves in a more human way, with heart. This is primarily the task of the second journey of presence, the journey with presence. The soul journeys here in the company of presence, receptive to it and guided by it.

The Station of Complete Mystical Poverty

It is here that the understanding of personalization reaches its peak. It is again a long and difficult process, in which one must pass through the dark night of the spirit, and attain the station of complete mystical poverty. This means divesting ego, and personal consciousness itself, of all existence. Then one realizes at some point that to be the Personal Essence here is to be a personal expression of the Absolute, a particular but pure manifestation of the ultimate mystery. As the Personal Essence at this dimension one is part of the very fabric of the ultimate mystery. In other words, to be a particular unique expression of the Absolute in ordinary life one must have realized the Personal Essence. But one realizes that only the Absolute has true existence. So, is one here the Absolute or the expression of the Absolute? This mystery, the relationship—which is not an object relation—between the lover (the individual expression) and the Beloved (He, the Absolute) is expressed by a Sufi poet:
Look close: all is He—
but He is manifest through me,
All ME, no doubt—
but through Him.
[Fakhruddin ‘Iraqi, Divine Flashes, p. 79]
Functioning here is absolutely spontaneous, without any trace of self-consciousness. It is the Absolute functioning through the integrated human being, but not separate from it. It is a mystery, where one is both an individual personal expression of the Absolute and the immensity of the Absolute, in some indescribable dual unity, which is beyond any comprehension of the mind.

The Station of Slavery

We find our true position, our greatest fulfillment and joy, when we are at the whim of the master. In the station of slavery, the soul realizes that she is an absolute reflection, a pure expression, of the Absolute. The soul realizes that the Absolute is not separate from her, but is her master, her home, her nature. The soul’s relationship to the Absolute is analogous to the relationship of the face to the body. At some point in our development, the relationship of the soul to the Absolute is the relationship of who you are as an individual existence to your ground, to your source, to your creator.

The Station of the Objective Person

The realization of the Logos completes the process of personalization, which makes it possible to experience and understand the objective Personal Essence. To understand what this means we need to remember that the personalization of the various aspects of Essence leads at some point to the Integration of all these personalized aspects. We have called this overall synthesis of all aspects in the presence of the Personal Essence the “Complete Person,” and discussed the objective and formless dimensions of Essence just enough to see the main processes needed for this overall synthesis. Just as the personalization of the aspects of Essence leads to the synthesis of all such personalized aspects, the personalization of the various dimensions—the objective dimensions of Essence and the formless dimensions of Being—leads ultimately to the synthesis of all such personalized dimensions. This complete integration and synthesis of all aspects and dimensions into the presence of the Personal Essence, which is the same as the personalization of the Logos, makes the latter now objective in a very real sense of the word.
This is the station of the objective person, who is not only complete but universal. One is a person, a personal presence, in all dimensions. The person is now the expression and embodiment of Reality, in all its aspects and dimensions. This objective realization, which is the fruit of the overall process of personalization, manifests in various ways and leads to many capacities.

The Station of the Vast Majority of Humanity

The wisdom traditions have recognized that a human being is mature and complete—that is, fully human—when the soul has integrated her essential nature fully and harmonized it with her animal potential. In other words, the struggle between the angelic and animal is characteristic of half-grown human beings, of incomplete human beings. This happens to be the station of the vast majority of humanity, but the complete human being, the being who is fully human, is one who has fully realized and integrated the two sides of the soul’s potential. The fully human being retains animal instincts, for instance, but these instincts are integrated into a perspective of selflessness and compassion. Even though the wisdom traditions have understood this and developed ways and methods for accomplishing it, the paths are so steep and difficult that many involved in these traditions settle for an unbalanced development that usually involves suppressing and splitting off the animal side. The rest of humanity continues the struggle, balanced on the side of the animal, which is the path of least resistance.

What it Means for a State to Become a Station

So understanding is a development which also brings loss. The moment you understand the state you have, you lose it. Because of this, many people aren’t attracted to the path of understanding. They like devotional methods and other such practices, because in them you get to develop love or compassion and keep it. You might be always feeling loving, but not know consciously what love is, what it does. When you understand love, you understand that losing it doesn’t mean you don’t experience it any more, but rather that love will arise in your experience only if your environment needs it. For example, the experience of compassion or love is not something I feel all the time. But if I’m working with someone and that person needs love, I experience love. If the person doesn’t need love, I don’t experience love, I experience something else. That’s what it means for a state to become a station. It means you completely own that state. And it becomes like anything else that’s really yours. You don’t have to feel it all the time, because you know it is there whenever you need it.

Your Thread is a Process so any State that Arises is Not Permanent but Keeps Changing

As we have seen, inquiry is, by nature, open ended if it is true inquiry. You cannot truly inquire if you choose to go in a predetermined direction, as when you say, “I want to accomplish such and such in my inquiry.” By definition, this is not inquiry, although some traditions call it that. What is frequently called inquiry in the East, for instance, is what we consider in the West to be proof of a theorem, such as a Euclidean proof: “This is the theory; investigate and find out that it is true.” As a specific example, in the Buddhist tradition, inquiry is the investigation of phenomena in order to discover that they are all ultimately empty. So emptiness as the ultimate nature of things is posited from the beginning. That is not what we do in the Diamond Approach. We merely inquire into phenomena so that the truth can reveal itself. This is a very important attitude for finding your thread, for your thread can be anywhere, anyplace. Further, your thread is a process, so any state that arises is not permanent, but keeps changing. Therefore, following your thread requires an open-ended inquiry, which is in direct conflict with any attitude or method that says, “Let’s develop such and such a condition, let’s move toward such and such a state.”This latter attitude asserts, “We know where we need to be, so let’s work to get to this realization.” This is not an open inquiry, and your personal thread will not be able to unfold your experience when you take that attitude.

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