Forces of Nafs (soul) and how they release you from suffering and depression
The difference between the brain, mind, Nafs (Soul), heart, and the relationship between them, and recognizing the root cause of human suffering and depression through the ontological knowledge of these powers
Islamic philosophy and mysticism have helped a lot in this regard. Although this is very comprehensive and the short answer is complicated here, I try to keep it as short as possible.
What is important is only the Nafs (Nafs in its unity is and has all the forces). The rest of the organs of the body, even the brain, are only intermediaries. It mediates our perceptions from the outer world and mediates the execution of the commands of Nafs to the outer world. So, we have a few terms that we need to separate;
Brain: A subtle yet material organ whose job is to receive data through the five senses and convert it into self-contained data. For example, our eyes see a scene and it delivers that scene to the brain and the brain prints it in the Nafs. The brain is softer than the body and thicker than the Nafs. It is just a device, a vehicle, a means between our Nafs that is purely abstract and our body that is purely physical. It receives these signals from the outside and transmits them to Nafs.
Mind: It is a psychological term that is actually a part of Nafs, but it is a surface layer of Nafs. Its job is to analyze and calculate. The gateway to our data is our 5 senses. Our senses receive data and transfer that to the rain and from rain to our mind (surface layer of Nafs). For example, when we hear a new word, our ears transmit it to our brain cells, and the cells receive it with the help of the brain’s nerves and give that word to our Nafs. In psychology, they say that the word is transmitted to short-term memory in the brain, but in fact the brain is just a receptor and analyzer. In fact, it is the immaterial Nafs in which data is stored, not the brain. Nafs, is everything.
Heart: The truth of our Nafs is the heart. In fact, it is the center of tendencies and desires. It is the heart that makes a man human. We do not have something called a spiritual heart because the heart is material. We have only Nafs, and Nafs is a simple being without form, so it cannot be imagined as something called the heart. Rather, the spiritual heart is in fact the deepest layer of Nafs, which in itself has different layers. For example, Innate Human Nature (Fitrah) and instincts are among the deep layers of Nafs that are with man from birth to death. Our perceptions from the entrance channels of the body, when they are repeated and reminded a lot, are engraved on our Nafs like an object engraved on a stone and become part of the essence of Nafs, and when they become part of Nafs, they always accompany human beings in his life here or even after death.
Now we know why different people like different things; Because they have had different perceptions throughout their lives and have been accustomed to these perceptions, that is, they have been reminded and acted upon in their Nafs so much that they have entered from the surface layer of Nafs (mind) into the deep layers of their Nafs (heart) and is deeply nested there.
Now, if a person has this input data in his surface layers, he can be easily changed because it is easy for him to access it and, moreover, it has not yet become part of his deep Nafs (heart). But if a person is attached to something, that is, he takes a piece of data to the deep layers of his Nafs, then it becomes difficult to change it (whether it is good or bad).
With these explanations, we understand why some people suffer from depression and mental disorders. I have nothing to do with its psychological reasons, but ontologically, it is because it does not fit between what one has in the deep layers of one’s Nafs (the heart or the subconscious mind) and what is outside.
As an example, we define two scenarios:
1. Someone enjoys watcheing Hollywood or Bollywood movies. The movie data is embedded in the surface layer of his Nafs first, therefore, this person can easily forget this movie.
2. The same person watches this movie and movies alike for a long time and many times. Sometimes he even thinks deeply about its various scenes.
Let us consider a few statements then:
The cultural atmosphere of the films is very different from the real atmosphere of the individual. (Ideal cyberspace versus non-ideal real space).
It is natural that this person, by watching these videos, seeks to adapt the data of his Nafs to his outside reality. That is, he wants to confirm the images that play a role in his Nafs (mind or heart) with his real space in order to achieve a real pleasure. He may find the conformity or not. Now, the person in scenario 1, because he has seen these images but does not find external adaptation to it, becomes temporarily upset or angry (the cause of most of our unhappiness and anger in life), but after a short time again he becomes adopted to his real atmosphere and enjoys his real one. What happens to many of us is when we are hungry and find nothing to eat, we get angry. Why? Because our Nafs has something called instinct in its deep layers, and this Nafs, as the body manager, must meet the needs of our body in order to be able to continue its life, but it does not find anything, that is, it seeks food (savior of his life) within itself, but can’t find it outside. In this case, there is an internal conflict. And the result of this conflict is unhappiness or anger or illness etc.
In scenario 2, the person encounters the same conflict, but deeper, because the data has penetrated deeply into his Nafs and is engraved on the tablet of his heart or deeper Nafs. One has to spend a lot of time to erase these data or has to move to another place or location where the data inside his Nafs matches the data in that location. Otherwise another conflict happens, but this time for longer time (this is the time for psychological depression; the more deeper the data are engraved in Nafs, and the longer the incompatibility is, the deeper and longer the depression will be).
This is the ontological reasoning for our sufferings and depressions; The incompatibility of our internal data with external facts. Now, if one wants to enjoy life, he must first try to relate himself to the facts. And secondly, he must try to deepen these facts for himself and incorporate them into his Nafs.
This is where the foot of Aql (intellect) comes into play;
Aql: It is one of the powers and faculties of Nafs, whose task is to distinguish the existent from the non-existent and the do’s and don’ts based on external and internal truths. For example, it is the intellect that recognizes that there is a God and defines what it should and should not do for Him. Then, when he recognizes, the heart (stimulus) pulls him towards it, and then the body by physical perception through its senses or the heart by the spiritual perception receives, and that data sits on our Nafs. Again Aql tells him that it is good for you, then he instructs the body and the heart to accept it or act upon it. With heart acceptance (albeit little) and practice, this data gradually becomes part of man’s Nafs. Then it’s time to enjoy it. This pleasure is quickly achieved in the instinctive data related to the perfections of the body because, firstly, they are easily accessible and, secondly, all human beings first communicate with this type of perfection at the beginning of their lives, but in relation to the innate data which responsible for the perfection of Nafs and spirit, this pleasure is obtained late because, firstly, they are inaccessible and, secondly, they are hidden from many human beings.
Instinctive physical perfections such as eating, drinking, sleeping and quenching lust
Intermediate innate spiritual perfections such as security, peace, growth, respect, love, affection
Ultimate innate spiritual perfections such as Finaa (annihilation) in God, acquisition of divine knowledge, worship, deep contemplation, service to religion
The result is that the mind, heart, intellect and even the brain and the material body are all forces of Nafs and they interact with each other in a coherent network and system. Now you see how much this material body, though limited and visible, is still unknown to man, so how complex must this Nafs, which is the carrier, cause and director of the body, be! It is said that everyone knows God by knowing his Nafs.
In another word…
Brain: the boundary between the body and the soul. It is material and it is the closest organ to the human soul in such a way that data from the soul is received by the brain and transferred to different parts of the body and vice versa.
Knowledge (Ilm): The correct perception of existence and its confirmation is called knowledge. Its place is the human soul, not the brain. Because the brain is just an intermediary between the body and the soul.
Theoretical Aql: knowledge of existence (what exists in reality) and relationships and laws between existence. It’s like knowing that there is God and man. Or know about lying and the factors of lying and its effects.
Practical Aql: Knowledge that goes beyond the idea and tries to implement that wisdom in human life. It’s like after you know through theoretical reason that God exists and has rights over me, now you implement those rights in life. So reason is a very important issue. Intellect is the result of knowledge and thinking. The more intense the knowledge and thinking, usually the more intense the theoretical intellect. But theoretical reason does not necessarily lead to practical reason because someone may have a good theoretical reason but be weak in practical reason. But in any case, practical reason cannot be achieved without theoretical reason, because basically we cannot act on something that we do not know about.
Heart (Qalb): the deepest layer of our ego, which forms our true personality and with which we are bound in Purgatory and Resurrection. Our heart is the place where the knowledge accumulated in it over time and we have either thought about it or acted on it a lot and now it is a part of our soul.
Now I will explain the relationship of all these things in an example:
Your eye as a tool sees something/scene and sends multiple images of that scene to the brain through nerve fibers. The brain receives that scene and transfers it to your soul. Your soul, which is the storage place of various data (conscious and unconscious), puts these images together with other data that have existed in it from the past and finally makes a conclusion (conclusion and analysis, by a power to the name of theoretical reason is done). This data is called knowledge and the process of receiving data is called learning. The process of analyzing data and reaching a conclusion is called thinking. Knowledge is the same data that is received by the senses and transmitted to the soul. Learning and thinking are managed by the intellect. Finally, the theoretical intellect draws a conclusion after seeing a pathetic scene, for example. When the result is achieved, then this result is transferred to the heart, which is the deepest point of the soul and is the driving force of man for activity and work, and if it is according to your nature, enthusiasm is created in it. After enthusiasm, the will, which is one of the other powers of the soul, starts to move, and finally the organs and parts begin to move, and the human takes an action. The whole process until the end can happen in a thousandth of a second. If your theoretical judgment and conclusion is in accordance with the laws of the universe and you act accordingly, then it is wisdom, otherwise it is ignorance. And finally, these thoughts and reasonings over time, with a lot of thought and action, find their way to the deeper layers of our ego and become a part of our personality. Therefore, the heart is both the motivation of a person for the work he is passionate about and the deepest layer of the human soul.
Eye>brain>learning>thinking and analysis>theoretical reasoning>practical reasoning>heart
Forces of Nafs (soul) and how they release you from suffering and depression
The difference/ relationship between the brain, mind, Nafs (Soul), heart, and recognizing the root cause of
human suffering and depression through the ontological knowledge of these powers.
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