THE ELEMENTS OF SPIRITUAL PSYCHOLOGY
This is a very important chapter. It is a description of the Glorious Reality, al Haaqah, as is mentioned in Qur`an. And its purpose is to keep open the door of the Truth of the Sufi Way in spite of a world full of opinions to the contrary. "Lau la kariha al kafirun." In spite of the rejection of those in denial.
On God, Soul, Heart, Nafs, Ego and Personality.
"Nafs" is the Arabic word for "self". It is a singular word in Arabic, and not plural in English. In other words, there are not many nafs, and no singular "naf". It is One. It means the whole of the individual self, the entire breathing mortality with all of its ramifications. It is your Mecca, the center of your whole world, and as such, it is the "City of Holy Commerce". And it is ruled by the Heart. Nafs is the "doer", the "accomplisher", the means. It will always and faithfully "do", or act out, exactly what is in the heart. It is the Organ of Expression, that the heart may see, feel and know in the outward, itself and what it contains in the inward. Controlling it, purifying it and subduing it is the result of the work of cleaning the Heart.
The Heart is the Ka`aba, the holy and sacrosanct sacred chamber, the shrine in the middle of the City of Holy Commerce. It was built to be a clean and empty room - that only God may dwell therein. And it must be kept clean and empty. But the tribes of commerce are always wishing to establish their domain in it and they occupy themselves with the incessant struggle to gain control over it. They would each place in it the idol representing their god, their "company logo", so to speak. It is the work of the King (you) to keep the Ka`aba clean, for the true God only. For this, the true king must sweep the Ka`aba of his heart daily.
God is the Supreme Love, but there are many lesser loves. Everything that we desire creates a love in our heart for it. That is the job of the tribes of commerce, to create a compelling idea to lure you and attract you into their camp so that they can install the idol of their company logo into your heart. But they can only do this if you have the tendency for it already in your heart and any attraction to their logo will indicate to you that there is still present such a tendency.
A life in the remembrance of God is the recipe for the cleansing of the heart and keeping it clean. And such is the life that the true Islam (Surrender), in the Sufi way, is designed to be. So the remembrances of Allah, as practiced by the Sufis, are designed to sweep your heart clean, and replace your old addictions and tendencies with the new and pure. And You are the King.
Ego is a false construct. It is our very self-limiting personal, secret and hidden self-concept with all its agendas, fears, drives, compulsions, expectations, anticipations and complexes. The singularly most defining word for ego is "self-limitation". Because it is created out of fear, by its very nature it does not go far enough to realize the reality of which it is an attempted imitation. This is why it is said that true success is always just beyond your efforts. Also why it is said that the life of the world flees from one who attempts to grasp it but serves and supports the one who turns from it in the service of God. (Please see the work on "The World and How we see ourselves in it.) Hitler and Pharaoh did not think deeply enough before they chose their plans of action. Had they truly completed their tasks of self-realization and self-manifestation, they could have had a near-prophetic influence on the world.
Personality is the mask of the ego. It is the M.O., the Modus Operandi of the ego, the means by which the ego accomplishes its agenda.
Soul is the part of us that sees and knows only God.
Personality (nafs, ego) is the part of us that tries, and in doing so imitates what it thinks soul is. Eventually, if not challenged, it comes to believe itself to be the real deal and the only show in town. If allowed, it establishes itself the position of the soul, and, with cries of victory, will completely dominate the heart. It is not the soul however, and the Qur`an, Sufism and Modern Western Psychology are blatant challenges to this usurped authority, identifying the duplicitous behavior of the personality as a mere shadow, an attempted reflection of the Reality.
This is called the association of partnership with God, and Qur`an says that persistence in it is the unforgivable sin.
This sin can, however, be transformed immediately by repeating the words of affirmation of holy Unity, "La ilaha illa 'llah". But immediately reappears when the personality takes credit for saying them. This is how it is possible for the people who claim to the religion of unity to not be in it. And because of this, and to justify their claim, they have to "re-invent" or re-interpret the religion, claiming their work to be merely a reiteration of its original purity, necessary due to the corruption of its forebears. But in claiming it, they lose it. And it is well documented that the forbears were not corrupt, but teaching it like it is, to be a means of spiritual transformation of self and society, not a means of granting the cake and eating it too.
One might see the similarity, and think that to be also the case of the Sufis, who say and do fundamentally the same thing. But the difference is manifest in their behavior.
The former are overly concerned with their mortal selves and their attempts to take over the world in the benevolent name of their religion. They are much concerned with the use of truth and the rhetoric of their religion to defend and further their own personal goals. The harm of this is that it creates separation. Separation in themselves in that they see the world as something outside of them selves and inherently either unobtainable or hostile. It also creates misunderstanding from within themselves and within the other people of the world.
Rather than providing them with the understanding that the world needs in order to solve their problems and resolve their difficulties, they seek to enforce a form of religious discipline and control over others that will in some fashion guarantee the subjection of the rest of the world to them and their however righteous ideas. They see it (the world) as something to be obtained. Seeing themselves as somehow perfect, they seek to transform the world to fit into their concept.
The latter are concerned only with Allah and the Nature of his Creation and Forgiveness. And they keep thereby always open the doors to the gateway of the religion of Truth and Surrender. The doors are their hearts, the gateway is the true human experience, the Religion is Surrender, and Surrender is the way to know God, Self, and Love.
The Truth is the way it really is, and Surrender is the
of God through the recognition of soul. "Who knows himself, knows God."
This is telling it like it is, not like how it ought to be or will be,
or isn't or should be.