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Dear Dao Bums, Let me share my experience with middle eastern alchemy in 3 points: 1) Origin 2) Characteristics and methods 3) End result and development 1) Origin: This method is the same as was used by the ancient Greeks, the different mystery schools, as well as the pre-islamic Middle East. It's probably the same as was used by Alexander the Great, taught by the Greek philosophers, and some of it traces back to ancient faraonic Egypt as well. The ancient greeks knew many things about spirits, the solar system, bacteria, mathematics and much more. "because there are bred certain minute creatures which cannot be seen by the eyes, which float in the air and enter the body through the mouth and nose and cause serious diseases" an ancient greek quote about bacteria. How could they know? The microscope wasn't invented until the past couple of centuries, so there's no way they could perceive something so small by the naked eye. Instead, they used "yogic vision", "the third eye", or "daemons" (guiding spirits). Furthermore, they also used dialogue as mindful inquiry into the experiences of the present moment. 2) Characteristics and methods: They employ the same basic methods as most spiritual schools, namely using: 1) the body 2) the breath 3) mantras / sound 4) the mind 5) transmission from the teacher However, they also use "presence", the felt experience of being present with one's body, thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations. Presence is embodied mindfulness. When presence is felt acting in the body, it feels like a solid substance. It can be of varying colors, densities, temperatures and materials. You could feel grey solidity, gold as a gentle presence, green as tenderness etc. When presence is felt acting in the heart, it feels like liquid. It can be like sweet wine, liquid gold, white milk etc. When presence is felt acting in the head, it feels like light. It can be spaciousness, blue, green, golden etc. At an even higher level which includes yet goes beyond our physical body, there are of course the presence of the Divine which is all-encompassing. It can be felt as the all-encompassing energy, or it can be felt like the all-encompassing "holding" (ground of being, the unmanifest potential). The combination of these two states are "the absolute". Lastly, presence can take particular shapes. Each shape or vehicle provides certain functions. These are very similar to what we see in the outer world: churches, domes, mosques, chandeliers, stupas, pearls, jewels, diamonds, crystals etc. These bestow certain functions on the consciousness; either the body, heart, head or "life" level. Life level understood as the ability to make money, heal disease, make things happen etc. 3) End result and development By simple practicing being present each day, letting go and allowing, surrendering, you can come into contact with yourself. Your bodily sensations, your heart emotions, your head thoughts, or higher levels and vehicles. Simply allowing sensations, emotions etc, allow them to transform over time. You grow and mature, both inwardly and outwardly. The six basic "energies" or "essences" (called lataif in sufism) are: 1) Red 2) Green 3) Yellow 4) White 5) Black 6) Blue All souls have all essences, however, we're born with a particular configuration. This is due to: 1) Past lives, our karmas and tendencies from these lives, resulting in the attraction of 2) A certain bodily, emotional and mental constitution (race, ethnicity, culture, religion) You can see that even siblings born to the same parents, in the same country, same religion, race, everything, from the very get-go, they seem to have different and unique personalites. Some might be more quiet, some may be more energetic, some are always naughty etc. This is not due to nurture, it's due to their unique souls manifesting themselves right from the get-go. However, when we grow up, certain manifestations are approved, allowed and encouraged by our parents, family, society, culture and religion, whereas others are not. For example, in certain cultures, aggression and a high level of emotionality is actually valued and encouraged. In other cultures, it's the exact opposite. Therefore, through conditioning, we slowly allow certain sides of our souls to grow and mature, where others are shut down or not used. All human beings naturally have aggression, lust, joy, compassion etc, however, due to culture we only emphasise certain of these, whereas we shut down the others. Therefore, whichever way our soul is currently maturing might actually be very limited: it's only certain sides of us we're allowing to express, and therefore naturally grow and mature. What is the benefit of allowing and maturing the sides of ourselves we've psychologically split off? E.g. anger, lust, jealousy etc. Everything in this world is continously developing. The Earth started as a burning rock flying around in space, now we have a nice, green and blue, lush and fertile Earth that allows great conditions for life. Similarly, the following emotions/energies/essences also go through development, if you allow them to "unfold" within your consciousness without acting them out: Lust (a mix of yellow and red, joy and excitement, produces an orange energy in the system which can feel like fire, juice, wine etc) will (if allowed) over time turn into "satisfaction" (felt like a juicy, plump, fleshy apricoty substance). When a person is very lustful and can't control themselves, they are more likely to commit sinful actions (understood as hurting themselves or others). However, when a person is feeling sensually satisfied inside, they are more likely to steer clear of sinful actions. This development is similar with other energies/emotions/essences: 1) Red starts as a warm, burning anger or rage, over time it evolves into a feeling of aliveness, excitement, vitality and strength. 2) Green can be someone who's overly sensitive and cries over every little thing, yet it can evolve into tenderness, compassion and healing. 3) Yellow can be someone that's too naughty, provocative and always teasing, yet it can evolve into joy, celebration and happiness. 4) White can be someone who's always afraid, anxious and feels weak, yet it can evolve into solidity, stability and strong sense of support. 5) Black starts as hate, dominance and wanting to destroy, yet can evolve into a sense of great peace, power, intimacy and protection. 6) Blue can be vulnerability and someone who easily cries, yet evolves into intuition, relaxed contentment and deep humanity Employing this mix of methods for the body, breath, mind, mindful inquiry, transmission from the teacher and psychological acceptance and understanding, a human being can develop. They will achieve higher and higher levels of healing, joy, expansiveness, morality, virtue and spirituality. They will hurt themselves and others less and less as they evolve, and they will be more of a blessing for all living beings. These methods integrate psychology and spirituality. The psychological theory of Freud regarding the id (libido and animal soul), ego (personality) and superego (internalized conditioning by parents, culture, religion and society) fits very well with the spiritual idea of the belly, heart and head center. Furthermore, the psychological theory of Jung regarding "the shadow" (all the parts of our self we've split off due to conditioning) as well as the anima/animus complex (the either masculine or feminine parts we've split off due to conditioning) fits very well with our conscious and unconscious mind. It's only through purifying our unconscious minds we can get rid of unwanted patterns in both thoughts and deeds. If you'd like to study this further, you can search for: 1) A.H. Almaas or Hameed Ali 2) Karen Johnson 3) Faisal Muqaddam 4) The Diamond Approach 5) The Diamond Logos I've personally benefitted immensely from integrating the personal and impersonal, the conscious and the unconscious, the body with the heart and the head, the feminine and the masculine, as well as the psychological and the spiritual. It's an eternal ongoing journey, a continuous adventure of great discoveries, blessings and healing, as well as self-acceptance. Be blessed