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Angel
 
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Quote Angel Replybullet Topic: Heart, Self and Soul: Concepts in Islamic
    Posted: 10 January 2007 at 9:34pm

I thought I might put this in a new thread and i don't have the website i got this from, so i apologise for that, its been a long time that i've kept this. And again, Enjoy!

 

Heart, Self and Soul: Concepts in Islamic/Sufic Psychology

Robert Frager  PhD

 

 

The three central concepts in Islamic/Sufi Psychology are the heart, the self and the soul.  Each of these technical terms has a different connotation than its common English usage and meaning.  The origin and basis of these terms is Quranic and they have been expounded upon by centuries of Sufic commentaries. 

 

In Sufic psychology the heart refers to the spiritual heart or qalb, not the physical organ.  It is this spiritual heart that contains the deeper intelligence and wisdom.  It holds the Divine spark or spirit within each one of us.  It is the place of gnosis and deep spiritual knowledge.  The Sufic goal is to develop a heart that is sincere, loving and compassionate, and to develop the heart's intelligence.  This intelligence of the heart is deeper, and more grounded than the rational, abstract intelligence of the mind.  It is said that when the 'eyes of the heart' open, one can see beyond the surface appearance of existence, and that when the 'ears of the heart' open, one can hear the reality of the truth behind the words.

 

The spiritual heart functions in a similar manner as the physical heart.  Just as the physical heart supplies blood to the body, the spiritual heart nourishes the soul with wisdom and spiritual light, and it also purifies the gross personality traits.  When the physical heart is diseased the body suffers, when the spiritual heart is diseased the soul suffers.  According to Sufic psychology emotions are from the self or nafs, not from the heart.

 

The self, ego or nafs is the aspect of the psyche that can be viewed along a continuum, and has the potential of functioning from the grossest to the highest level.  The self at its lowest level refers to our negative traits and tendencies.  For most of us, the self is controlled by emotions, desires and its gratification. 

 

Sufic psychology identifies seven levels of the nafs, and the process of growth depends on working through these levels.  Each level has specific traits and disorders (dangers that mislead), as well as methods for healing and transformation.  The seven levels have been identified in the Quran.  The seven levels of the nafs are: tyrannical self, regretful self, inspired self, serene self, pleased self, pleasing self and the pure self.

 

The soul or ruh is directly connected with the Divine, even if one is unconscious of that connection.  The soul has seven levels or facets of the complete soul.  These levels are: mineral, vegetable, animal, personal, human, secret and secret of secret souls.  Each level represents the stages of evolution, and the process that it goes through in its growth.  The soul is wholistic, and extends to all aspects of the person, ie: the body, the mind and the spirit.  Each level of the soul has valuable gifts and strengths, as well as weaknesses.  The goal is to develop the strengths and to achieve a balance between these levels, not forgoing the lower ones to focus only on the higher ones.

 

Imbalance is viewed as a stuckness at different levels of the nafs or ruh.

 

Traditional psychologies address one or two aspects of the soul, not wholistically. 

 

Ego psychology deals with the animal soul, outlining the main motivation for existence being that of seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. 

 

Behavioral psychology focuses on the conditioned functioning of the vegetable and animal soul. 

 

Cognitive psychology deals with the mental functions of the personal soul. 

 

Humanistic psychology deals with the activities of the human soul. 

 

Transpersonal psychology deals with ego-transcending consciousness of the secret soul and the secret of secret souls. 

 

adapted with permission from

Frager, Robert;  "Heart, Self and Soul.. The Sufi Psychology of Growth, Balance and Harmony"   Quest Books  1999

Robert Frager PhD is a psychologist and founder of the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. 

He is Sheikh Ragip of the al Khalveti al Jerrahi Order of Dervishes

~ Our feet are earthbound, but our hearts and our minds have wings ~
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Angel
 
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Quote Angel Replybullet Posted: 10 January 2007 at 9:37pm

Ah, i just checked my hunches of where i got the article, here:

http://www.crescentlife.com/articles/islamic%20psych/heart-s elf-soul2.htm

~ Our feet are earthbound, but our hearts and our minds have wings ~
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senekerk
 
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Quote senekerk Replybullet Posted: 12 January 2007 at 8:09pm

I am enjoying your articles. But have a question

The soul or ruh is directly connected with the Divine, even if one is unconscious of that connection.  The soul has seven levels or facets of the complete soul.  These levels are: mineral, vegetable, animal, personal, human, secret and secret of secret souls.  Each level represents the stages of evolution, and the process that it goes through in its growth.  The soul is wholistic, and extends to all aspects of the person, ie: the body, the mind and the spirit.  Each level of the soul has valuable gifts and strengths, as well as weaknesses.  The goal is to develop the strengths and to achieve a balance between these levels, not forgoing the lower ones to focus only on the higher ones.

 

I can figure out the animal, human, secret and secret of secret souls, I think, but mineral and vegatable are a little beyond me.  Unless that is to say we are a part of all the earth.

 

 



Edited by senekerk
Kay
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Quote Andalus Replybullet Posted: 12 January 2007 at 11:19pm

Thanks for the contribution! Interesting perspective!

 

Originally posted by Angel

I thought I might put this in a new thread and i don't have the website i got this from, so i apologise for that, its been a long time that i've kept this. And again, Enjoy!

 

Heart, Self and Soul: Concepts in Islamic/Sufic Psychology

Robert Frager  PhD

The three central concepts in Islamic/Sufi Psychology are the heart, the self and the soul.  Each of these technical terms has a different connotation than its common English usage and meaning.  The origin and basis of these terms is Quranic and they have been expounded upon by centuries of Sufic commentaries. 

In Sufic psychology the heart refers to the spiritual heart or qalb, not the physical organ.  It is this spiritual heart that contains the deeper intelligence and wisdom.  It holds the Divine spark or spirit within each one of us.  It is the place of gnosis and deep spiritual knowledge.  The Sufic goal is to develop a heart that is sincere, loving and compassionate, and to develop the heart's intelligence.  This intelligence of the heart is deeper, and more grounded than the rational, abstract intelligence of the mind.  It is said that when the 'eyes of the heart' open, one can see beyond the surface appearance of existence, and that when the 'ears of the heart' open, one can hear the reality of the truth behind the words.

The spiritual heart functions in a similar manner as the physical heart.  Just as the physical heart supplies blood to the body, the spiritual heart nourishes the soul with wisdom and spiritual light, and it also purifies the gross personality traits.  When the physical heart is diseased the body suffers, when the spiritual heart is diseased the soul suffers.  According to Sufic psychology emotions are from the self or nafs, not from the heart.

The self, ego or nafs is the aspect of the psyche that can be viewed along a continuum, and has the potential of functioning from the grossest to the highest level.  The self at its lowest level refers to our negative traits and tendencies.  For most of us, the self is controlled by emotions, desires and its gratification. 

Sufic psychology identifies seven levels of the nafs, and the process of growth depends on working through these levels.  Each level has specific traits and disorders (dangers that mislead), as well as methods for healing and transformation.  The seven levels have been identified in the Quran.  The seven levels of the nafs are: tyrannical self, regretful self, inspired self, serene self, pleased self, pleasing self and the pure self.

The soul or ruh is directly connected with the Divine, even if one is unconscious of that connection.  The soul has seven levels or facets of the complete soul.  These levels are: mineral, vegetable, animal, personal, human, secret and secret of secret souls.  Each level represents the stages of evolution, and the process that it goes through in its growth.  The soul is wholistic, and extends to all aspects of the person, ie: the body, the mind and the spirit.  Each level of the soul has valuable gifts and strengths, as well as weaknesses.  The goal is to develop the strengths and to achieve a balance between these levels, not forgoing the lower ones to focus only on the higher ones.

Imbalance is viewed as a stuckness at different levels of the nafs or ruh.

Traditional psychologies address one or two aspects of the soul, not wholistically. 

Ego psychology deals with the animal soul, outlining the main motivation for existence being that of seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. 

Behavioral psychology focuses on the conditioned functioning of the vegetable and animal soul. 

Cognitive psychology deals with the mental functions of the personal soul. 

Humanistic psychology deals with the activities of the human soul. 

Transpersonal psychology deals with ego-transcending consciousness of the secret soul and the secret of secret souls. 

adapted with permission from

Frager, Robert;  "Heart, Self and Soul.. The Sufi Psychology of Growth, Balance and Harmony"   Quest Books  1999

Robert Frager PhD is a psychologist and founder of the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. 

He is Sheikh Ragip of the al Khalveti al Jerrahi Order of Dervishes

A feeling of discouragement when you slip up is a sure sign that you put your faith in deeds. -Ibn 'Ata'llah
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Angel
 
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Quote Angel Replybullet Posted: 17 January 2007 at 6:59am
Originally posted by senekerk

I am enjoying your articles. But have a question

The soul or ruh is directly connected with the Divine, even if one is unconscious of that connection.  The soul has seven levels or facets of the complete soul.  These levels are: mineral, vegetable, animal, personal, human, secret and secret of secret souls.  Each level represents the stages of evolution, and the process that it goes through in its growth.  The soul is wholistic, and extends to all aspects of the person, ie: the body, the mind and the spirit.  Each level of the soul has valuable gifts and strengths, as well as weaknesses.  The goal is to develop the strengths and to achieve a balance between these levels, not forgoing the lower ones to focus only on the higher ones.

 

I can figure out the animal, human, secret and secret of secret souls, I think, but mineral and vegatable are a little beyond me.  Unless that is to say we are a part of all the earth.

 

I would say its part of our organic self. As for being part of all the earth, we all have elements that the earth and universe is made of  and basically that is star dust

 

Anyway, I did a little search to find something that is on par with the topic and i did found something:there is more in the article as below is in the middle, the link is under the exerpt. 

 

TRANSFORMATION and SERVICE

There are as many ways to reach reality as there are individuals, but all true ways involve transformation of the ego nature and service to creation. The basis of morality and service to others is selfless love and this comes as a result of self-work, a process of discovery of our deeper Self, well beyond the superficial personality.

The sufis have become aware of the different levels of our self, they recognise up to seven different aspects of the soul (nafs), and know how to balance them. We are all dominated by different souls at times, but the sufi aim is to maintain spiritual balance.

These souls are:

The mineral soul . Our deep mineral structure, connected to the skeletal system, includes our basic sense of connection, at atomic and subatomic levels, with all the universe. However, its characteristic is , like a crystal, to be rigid.

The vegetable soul. It is located in the liver and related to the digestive system. At this level transmission of energy and transmutation begins. Nourishment and growth is one of its functions. To have a healthy vegetable soul, we need healthy nourishment ( at physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual levels)

The animal soul . It includes our basic emotional states, passions and fears. It is located in the heart and the circulatory system. Passions and fears are functional, they can be useful and give us vitality and strength. but they must not dominate our lives otherwise they distort our perception and behaviour. Emotional unbalance in the student dervish is the first area of concern which the sufi teacher addresses with appropriate practices and correctives.

The personal soul, located in the brain and the nervous system. It allows us to elaborate advanced response to the environment by developing complex thinking models and planning. This centre is also connected with the ego and the sense of personal identity or self.

The human soul is located in the inner or spiritual heart, it is the focus for spiritual values such as compassion and creativity. This is heart intelligence

The secret soul, is what remembers our divine origin and it is therefore the seat of inner consciousness. It is also located in the inner heart.

Beyond this, there is the secret of secrets, the soul of the soul, totally transcendent (beyond space-time).

Each of the souls ( except the last two) have positive as well negative characteristics, the negatives occuring as a result of unbalance.

The last three souls (human and secret souls) can be seriously damaged, even anesthesised and deadened by abuse of substances such as drugs and alcohol. For this reason these are forbidden in Islam.

 

http://www.lifewaves.net/lifewaves/Philo_spiritual/spirit/in dex.shtml

~ Our feet are earthbound, but our hearts and our minds have wings ~
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senekerk
 
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Quote senekerk Replybullet Posted: 17 January 2007 at 3:25pm

Angel this article and link were very helpful. thank you so much for your time and energy on this subject.

 

Kay
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Angel
 
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Quote Angel Replybullet Posted: 18 January 2007 at 5:14am
your welcome, i like the topic to
~ Our feet are earthbound, but our hearts and our minds have wings ~
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maryann
 
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Quote maryann Replybullet Posted: 10 March 2007 at 3:59pm

I am glad to realize there is something more refined than my human soul.

The inner heart and the secret soul are thrilling concepts.

Can a person ever know their secret soul?

Can we have knowledge of our transcendent soul? 

respectfully submitted
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