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Posted (edited)

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 :)

Edited by Nuralshamal
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Just a few comments:

 

1)  I'm not seeing the connection to the Middle East.  

2)  I'm surprised that there isn't a moral/ethical component other than a brief mention of karma.

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Hi @Daniel, thanks for your comments!

Yes, I realized the post had become extremely long :D

Let me elaborate a bit concerning your comments :)

1) The Middle East
The knowledge of the Greeks were preserved in the Middle East during the "dark ages" of Europe. Only in the "renaissance" did the sciences and philosophies reemerge into Europe. That's one part of the "Middle Eastern" connection.

The "lataif" is a unique sufi concept. The sufis are very prominent (albeit also somewhat persecuted in certain places) in both Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and a bit in Jordan and Syria. All Middle Eastern Countries. Almost everything I wrote about lataif comes from the systems used in Iran, Jordan and even Turkey and Cyprus. These systems carry some heritage from ancient Egypt and the Greeks, but much of it is also their own indigenous traditions. That's the second part of the "Middle Eastern" connection.

I could have made that more clear in the post, thanks for pointing it out!

2) Ethical component
Yes, let me elaborate! :D

I wanted to make the post more focused on the "alchemy" of emotional, psychological and spiritual transformation through continued allowing and mindful inquiry into the present moment.

Many people have negative association with the moralism and ethics of Middle Eastern religion and spirituality, so I wanted to focus more on some of the more "palatable" subjects :)

Ethics is what it's all about, "what you sow, you will also reap" (quote: Jesus ;) )

"a soul gets every good that it earns, as well as every bad that it earns" (quote from the "amana rasul" or the last two ayat/verse of Surah Baqara of the Qur'an)

I found a very nice description of the seven stages of the soul in sufism I'll post here:

"In this answer I’ll use the model of the 7 levels of nafs. However, I’ll draw some parallels between what I’ve said in the earlier answer as well.
 

The first is nafs ul ‘ammarah (craving/desiring self). One is only driven by desire with no regard for morals, ethics, karma or righteousness, one will even self-degrade in order to obtain pleasure. This is like a “hungry ghost” in buddhism or the “infidel” stage described in various religions.
 

Number two is nafs ul lawammah (the complaining self). One blames everything, everyone and even one self, for not being the way things want them to be, yet one does not do any productive actions to improve the state of affairs. What modern day people call “the victim mentality”.
 

Number three is nafs ul mulhima, or the “inspired soul”. One has finally found inspiration in religion and spiritually, and feels it like an experiential truth inside. One is inspired to stop one’s own bad deeds, and work more on doing good deeds. This is like a person becoming interested in spirituality and starting meditation. They feel that meditation, prayer etc. can help their soul develop further.
 

Number four is nafs ul mutma’inna (contented soul). This is after many years of practice, one has successfully stopped one’s bad habits, and created and reinforced good habits. One has become content. In buddhism this is after purifying body, speech and mind. There’s no longer intense craving and desire, nor sickness or bad actions. One is happy and content. This is pretty much seen as the “ultimate goal” of meditation and spirituality, living in peace and contentment, one has escaped suffering. In Islam this is when one has stopped all haram activities, and only do halal activities. No more sin, only virtue (from a Christian perspective). No more generation of papa karma in Hinduism, only punya karma.
 

Number five is nafs radiyyah, the pleased soul. An even higher stage of consciousness, where one is not simply content, but pleased at one’s life and the world. One sees how Divine Intelligence penetrates the entire universe, and governs the cycles of birth and death and karma in a just and righteous way. One also sees that one can escape the suffering by correct practice in thought, word and deed - it’s fair for everyone. By Divine grace and love, every single being has natural sustenance and guidance suitable for their level.
 

Number six is mardiyyah, the “pleasing soul”. This is like a boddhisattva or buddha in buddhism. Everyone they meet feel good in their company, because they’re pure, kind, friendly and compassionate. They could never hurt themselves or others, instead they’re a blessing to all living beings.
 

The final level is “nafs ul soofiyyah” (the pure soul). This is the highest level. Supposedly how “sufism” got their name, sufi meaning purity. They also call it “al insaan ul kamil” or the perfect human being.
 

Most of us when becoming interested in spirituality are usually at level 2 or 3 (the blaming self or the inspired self). The best teachers are at level 4 through 7." (end of quote)

As you can see, the connection between spiritual development and morals is profoundly highlighted in the description of the different levels of development.

Once again, thanks for your comments :)


Let me know your thoughts and comments if you have anymore, or just questions!

Be blessed :)

 

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I have a question ( as well as the 'why middle -east '  question, but  you answered that );    at the beginning of you post you wrote

 

19 hours ago, Nuralshamal said:

...

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. ...

 

You  mentioned Greece and Egypt and focused mostly on Islam ( and Sufism ) ,  is that the only   'pre - Islamic  influence'  you see  from the middle east  ?

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@Nungali

Thanks for your question :)

Some also say that it's the same methods used by the gnostics and "sophists". Others also say that there are influences from Zoroastrianism.

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Most definitely there are influences from Zoroastrianism ! 

 

We need to consider Alexandria , and specifically 'The Alexandrian Synthesis' .  A mixture that included the sources you mentioned ( Pre Islamic Middle East ) Zoroastrianism ( and its earlier forms and roots )    and Zuvanism  ( things like ' Magi' and 'Chaldean Mysteries' ) , and of course the roots of hermeticism in 'the Art of Hermes ' /  Egypt .

 

An interesting period ( and place )  is the rise of Harran and its role in transferring this knowledge into Islam .

 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexandrian_school

 

http://www.hermetics.org/Sabians_of_Harran.html

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, Michael Sternbach said:

@Nungali

Seems like what the OP is referring to is some form of Sufism.

 

Howdy 'stranger'   :) 

 

Yes. And the 'alchemy' refereed to is a general  term term that focuses on the alchemical stage of transformation .  ... somewhat removed from the other stages of alchemy , which make the transformations possible .

 

However we can see the influence from hermetics in the idea of the 7 naffs , ie , the idea of incarnating down through the 7 spheres (of the planets ) and, in life on earth, navigating back up through them Insert other media by learning how to balance their energies  (or transform each of the 'negative qualities' related to each sphere) as we 'rise towards  heaven ' .

 

You can probably also detect

Edited by Nungali

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< sorry computer going haywire >

 

the similarities in each stage above with the relevant  planetary attributions ( via  kabbalistic attributions of planets to ToL  ) ;

 

1st Naf ,  Earth / 'Kingdom' , Malkuth ,  material self .  5th is Tipharath . 6th   Binah ,  which is 'the home ' of Buddhism , The Trance of Sorrow  ( and its alleviations  ) , of course it goes on from there   .

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On 1.8.2021 at 1:33 AM, Nungali said:

 

Howdy 'stranger'   :) 

 

Just chillin'. :)

 

On 1.8.2021 at 1:33 AM, Nungali said:

Yes. And the 'alchemy' refereed to is a general  term term that focuses on the alchemical stage of transformation .  ... somewhat removed from the other stages of alchemy , which make the transformations possible .

 

However we can see the influence from hermetics in the idea of the 7 naffs , ie , the idea of incarnating down through the 7 spheres (of the planets ) and, in life on earth, navigating back up through them Insert other media by learning how to balance their energies  (or transform each of the 'negative qualities' related to each sphere) as we 'rise towards  heaven ' .

 

Well said. :)

 

The ascension through the spheres is not least a feature of Hermetic astral magic, e.g., in the view of Giordano Bruno.

 

And yes, Sufism was surely influenced by (Arabic) Hermetism, to some degree.

 

On 1.8.2021 at 1:33 AM, Nungali said:

You can probably also detect

 

On 1.8.2021 at 1:50 AM, Nungali said:

< sorry computer going haywire >

 

the similarities in each stage above with the relevant  planetary attributions ( via  kabbalistic attributions of planets to ToL  ) ;

 

1st Naf ,  Earth / 'Kingdom' , Malkuth ,  material self .  5th is Tipharath . 6th   Binah ,  which is 'the home ' of Buddhism , The Trance of Sorrow  ( and its alleviations  ) , of course it goes on from there   .

 

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2 hours ago, Michael Sternbach said:

 

Just chillin'. :)

 

 

Well said. :)

 

The ascension through the spheres is not least a feature of Hermetic astral magic, e.g., in the view of Giordano Bruno.

 

And yes, Sufism was surely influenced by (Arabic) Hermetism, to some degree.

 

 

 

 

Ya gotta luv a guy that keeps his pet dwarf under the table at dinner parties    :) 

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17 hours ago, Nungali said:

 

Ya gotta luv a guy that keeps his pet dwarf under the table at dinner parties    :) 

 

:huh:

 

Would you elaborate on this, please?

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He had a dwarf 'companion'    . Apparently he would like him to jump out from under the dinner table and startle guests .

 

 

His observatory was even equipped with a prison, while his retinue is said to have included a pet dwarf. Yet despite all his shortcomings, he must rank with .

 

https://books.google.com.au/books?id=85RZ04fHe88C&pg=PA8&lpg=PA8&dq=Giordano+Bruno+had+a+pet+dwarf&source=bl&ots=DRdQ8FSvmU&sig=ACfU3U1MqY_ORt84ZGnq0S5t2TqGJBR89Q&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjw3rqAypjyAhXOILcAHdzXB7kQ6AF6BAgkEAM#v=onepage&q=Giordano Bruno had a pet dwarf&f=false

 

On February 17, 1600, after Bruno had endured a long imprisonment, ... even as a noseless noble (with a pet midget) and a German astrologer-mathematician ...

 

https://books.google.com.au/books?id=Z2J6sREMwq0C&pg=PA19&lpg=PA19&dq=Giordano+Bruno+had+a+pet+dwarf&source=bl&ots=HEjbi8djVg&sig=ACfU3U0znu9a0lr2jBKGw2ce-1F5t24qkg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjw3rqAypjyAhXOILcAHdzXB7kQ6AF6BAglEAM#v=onepage&q=Giordano Bruno had a pet dwarf&f=false

 

...  you probably know he had a silver nose as well .

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...

 

Diary :  "  This morning I was whipping the dwarf in my underground prison, but my silver nose fell off, just after that I debunked the geocentric  universe , realised stars where distant suns with their own planets  and that the Universe is infinite  with no centre . "   

 

;)

 

( Its not  THAT unusual , ack in the old days , you never knew what you where in for when attending dinner . One ( who was it now ? ) had a whole guest room rigged up . You would go to sleep when you stayed over , in a lovely room . But during the night it would slowly fill up with water , so you where awoken , floating around with the furniture  .

 

 -   hilarious !   

 

WTF ?  :blink:

 

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23 hours ago, Nungali said:

He had a dwarf 'companion'    . Apparently he would like him to jump out from under the dinner table and startle guests .

 

 

His observatory was even equipped with a prison, while his retinue is said to have included a pet dwarf. Yet despite all his shortcomings, he must rank with .

 

https://books.google.com.au/books?id=85RZ04fHe88C&pg=PA8&lpg=PA8&dq=Giordano+Bruno+had+a+pet+dwarf&source=bl&ots=DRdQ8FSvmU&sig=ACfU3U1MqY_ORt84ZGnq0S5t2TqGJBR89Q&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjw3rqAypjyAhXOILcAHdzXB7kQ6AF6BAgkEAM#v=onepage&q=Giordano Bruno had a pet dwarf&f=false

 

On February 17, 1600, after Bruno had endured a long imprisonment, ... even as a noseless noble (with a pet midget) and a German astrologer-mathematician ...

 

https://books.google.com.au/books?id=Z2J6sREMwq0C&pg=PA19&lpg=PA19&dq=Giordano+Bruno+had+a+pet+dwarf&source=bl&ots=HEjbi8djVg&sig=ACfU3U0znu9a0lr2jBKGw2ce-1F5t24qkg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjw3rqAypjyAhXOILcAHdzXB7kQ6AF6BAglEAM#v=onepage&q=Giordano Bruno had a pet dwarf&f=false

 

...  you probably know he had a silver nose as well .

 

As a matter of fact, when I started reading your reply, it quickly occurred to me that you must be talking about Tycho Brahe.

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23 hours ago, Nungali said:

...

 

Diary :  "  This morning I was whipping the dwarf in my underground prison, but my silver nose fell off,

 

Just to clarify... This part would be applicable to Tycho.

 

23 hours ago, Nungali said:

just after that I debunked the geocentric  universe , realised stars where distant suns with their own planets  and that the Universe is infinite  with no centre . "   

 

;)

 

Here you are taking about Bruno. Tycho's universe was still essentially geocentric. Bruno was indeed probably the only one in his day who realised that stars weren't holes in the outermost crystal sphere surrounding the Earth. The statement that the Universe is infinite without centre was an adapted version of something Nikolas of Cusa had written.

 

23 hours ago, Nungali said:

( Its not  THAT unusual , ack in the old days , you never knew what you where in for when attending dinner . One ( who was it now ? ) had a whole guest room rigged up . You would go to sleep when you stayed over , in a lovely room . But during the night it would slowly fill up with water , so you where awoken , floating around with the furniture  .

 

 -   hilarious !   

 

WTF ?  :blink:

 

 

:D

 

This reminded me of how I once entered my kitchen to find it filled with water at least up to my ankles!

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