' Human appetites '...
Man's bodily appetites take him away from his heart's desires; his heart's desires keep him away from the abode of his soul.
Bowl of Saki, by Hazrat Inayat Khan
Commentary by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan:
There are two parts in man. One part is his external self, which the soul has borrowed from the earth; and the other part is his real self, which belongs to his Source. In other words an individual is a combination of spirit and matter, a current which runs from above and attracts to it the earth from below, shaping it in order to make it a vehicle. The human body is nothing but a vehicle of the soul which has come from above and has taken the human body as its abode. Thus an individual has two aspects of being: one is the soul, the other is the body. ... Whether he is in the forest or amidst the world's strife, the soul of man is always capable of rising to the greatest heights, if only he wishes to attain to them. ... Man does not need to trouble about what is lacking outside, for in reality all is within himself.
The soul cannot see itself; it sees what is round it, it sees that in which it functions; and so it enjoys the comforts of the shell which is around it, and experiences the pains and discomforts which belong to the shell. And in this way it becomes an exile from the land of its birth, which is the Being of God, which is divine Spirit; and it seeks consciously or unconsciously once again the peace and happiness of home. God therefore is not the goal but the abode of the soul, its real self, its true being.
Plato wrote that we live in a shadow world, where we confuse the shadow of ourselves with reality. This is the Nafs, the false ego, which stands in the light before God, causing, so to speak, a spiritual eclipse. ... The Nafs turns us from the One to the many, enticing us with the things of this world. Then man attaches himself to one thing after another, which brings, at best, momentary satisfaction. Through his spiritual practices the Sufi learns to chain the Nafs, to perceive that it is only a shadow of reality; and finding the sun of truth within his being, looking upon it, one is no longer aware of the shadow. Then the Nafs is not destroyed, but harnessed. The whole of man's being is attuned to God and everything within him serves God.
The one and only thing that hinders man from advancing spiritually, or at least from advancing towards the goal for which he is destined and which he is longing to attain, is this: that the mind is so absorbed by the demands and wants of the physical body that it has hardly a moment to give itself entirely to the reflection of the light of the soul.
Posted by thomas meehan