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Al-Ghazzali - The Alchemy of Happiness - 03 Knowledge of the Self

Identifier

018769

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

A description of the experience

Al-Ghazzali - The Alchemy of Happiness – 03 Knowledge of the Self

The first step to self-knowledge is to know that thou art composed of an outward shape, called the body, and an inward entity called the heart, or soul.

By “heart,” I do not mean the piece of flesh situated in the left of our bodies, but that which uses all the other faculties as its instruments and servants. In truth it does not belong to the visible world, but to the invisible, and has come into this world as a traveller visits a foreign country for the sake of merchandise. It is the knowledge of this entity and its attributes which is the key to the knowledge of God.

Some idea of the reality of the heart may be obtained by a man closing his eyes and forgetting everything around except his indi­viduality.

 He will thus also obtain a glimpse of the unending nature of that individuality.

Too close inquiry, however, into the essence of spirit [as opposed to the soul] is forbidden by the Law. In the Koran it is written:
 “They will question thee concerning the spirit. Say: ‘The Spirit comes by the command of my Lord.’”

Thus much is known of the soul;  that it is an indivisible essence belonging to the world of decrees, and that it is not from everlasting, but created.

…………. the body may be figured as a kingdom, the soul as its king, and the different senses and faculties as constituting an army. Reason may be called the vizier, or prime minister, passion the revenue-collector, and anger the police-officer. Under the guise of collecting revenue, passion is continually prone to plunder on its own account, while resentment is always inclined to harshness and extreme severity. Both of these, the revenue-collector and the police-officer, have to be kept in due subordination to the king, but not killed or expelled, as they have their own proper functions to fulfil.

……. the highest faculty in him is reason. If this predominates in him, when he dies, he leaves behind him all tendencies to passion and resentment, and becomes capable of associ­ation with angels. As regards his mere animal qualities, man is inferior to many animals, but reason makes him superior to some.

The source of the experience

Al-Ghazzali

Concepts, symbols and science items

Symbols

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps

Activities

Suppressions

Know yourself

Commonsteps

References