Close both eyes, to see with the other eye. – Rumi
In religious scriptures, we learn that God created man out of dust from the earth, and then breathed into him of His spirit. Thus the body and soul are distinct, and it is the soul which gives the body its life. Isn’t it strange that we pass through our whole life cleverly conscious of our physical body, and yet generally unaware of our inner self?
From our early childhood, we begin to develop an awareness of our surroundings through the five physical senses—sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. This forms the basis of all our life experiences. But I feel there is more to human nature than what we live outward, on the surface. There is a tremendous power hidden within.
Inayat Khan speaks to this intuitive human faculty:
“We sometimes experience in life that which we see without eyes, hear without ears, and express without speech. It is the soul that sees, but we attribute sight and hearing to the eyes and ears. In absence of the soul, neither the body nor the mind can see. When a person is dead the eyes are there, but they cannot see; the ears are there, but they cannot hear… When the eyes are closed, do you think that the soul sees nothing? It sees. When the ears are closed, do you think that the soul hears nothing? It hears.”
The ordinary senses are connected to our external organs: eyes, ears, tongue, nose, and hands. The soul connects through the heart, our most vital organ, which we neglect most of all. If only we knew what harm has been brought to it by our own thoughts, speech, and action. The light of the soul only enters and illuminates the heart, when the hardness that covers it is broken through.
The best practice one can make is to not let material comfort lull you to spiritual sleep. The trick is to not starve your soul. This is very difficult in a world that is obsessed with feeding every desire of the body, and seeking happiness through material pursuits.
According to Pascal Bruckner, our hedonism is not wholesome, but haunted by failure: “However well behaved we are, our bodies continue to betray us. Age leaves its mark, illness finds us one way or another, and pleasures have their way with us, following a rhythm that has nothing to do with our vigilance or our resolution.”
The moment we extricate ourselves from our exclusive preoccupation with the physical self, and start nurturing our inner self, our soul, the latent power of the “sixth sense” will manifest to view.
Once the eye of the heart opens, a new consciousness is awakened. Our outlook changes, our insight deepens, and we develop a divine point of view. We cultivate new ways of observation that bypass the ordinary senses, and lead to greater unfoldment. This is beyond the understanding of the intellect, which distrusts thoughts that do not originate from the knowledge of the mind. And yet, it is these reflections, that spring from the depths of the unblemished heart of awakened souls, which make explicit the innate powers of man. The whole world begins to seem differently then.
When will we, if ever, move from identifying with the body to identifying with the soul?
Keep in mind, when we finally meet our death, the earth will reclaim our body; and it is the soul that will rise and seek God unencumbered.
All day I think about it, then at night I say it. Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing? I have no idea. My soul is from elsewhere, I’m sure of that, and I intend to end up there. – Rumi