Excerpt About Lataif
The lataif, as Shah says, are not only centers but also forms of consciousness, operating on the subtle dimension. These forms of consciousness when understood precisely, will be seen as a dimension of essence, a subtle form of substance. They comprise the subtle body (Jism latif). They are the beginning experience of essence in some of its basic aspects. For instance, the green latifa is the beginning of compassion, or the loving kindness aspect of essence. The red latifa is the beginning of the strength aspect of essence, and so on. They are called lataif, meaning qualities that have subtlety, gentleness, and refinement to them, and are the first subtle and fine manifestation of essence. To use an analogy: if essence is like the oil of a perfume, the lataif will be its aromas. A latifa is like the vapor of the oil, which, in turn, is the essential substance. So the lataif are forms of essence that is a fine, very subtle, and gentle presence that pervades space. It is so fine and so subtle that it is very likely that an individual will fail to discriminate it from space, the void. Of course, as each latifa is activated, it will bring out with it to consciousness a certain sector of the personality, which must be confronted and understood objectively. The experience of the void does not indicate that the work on the personality has ended, definitely not. It heralds the beginning of essential development.