Satan’s Wound To A Heart And Its Cures
Satan first casts a doubt into the heart. If the heart does not accept it, it turns from a doubt into abuse. It depicts before the imagination some unclean memories and unmannerly, ugly states, which resemble abuse, and causes the heart to declare: “Alas!” and fall into despair. The person suffering from scruples supposes that he has acted wrongfully before his Sustainer and feels a terrible agitation and anxiety. In order to be saved from it, he flees from the Divine presence and wants to plunge into heedlessness.
The cure for this wound is this:
O wretched man suffering from scruples! Do not be alarmed! For what comes to your mind is not abuse, but something imaginary. And like to imagine unbelief is not unbelief, to imagine abuse is not abuse either. For according to logic, an imagining is not a judgement, and abuse is a judgement. And moreover, those ugly words are not the words of your heart, because your heart is saddened and sorry at them. Rather they come from the inner faculty situated near the heart, which is the means of Satanic whisperings. The harm of scruples is imagining the harm. That is, it is to suffer harm in the heart through imagining them to be harmful. For it is imagining to be reality an imagining which is devoid of judgement. Also, it is to attribute to the heart Satan’s works; to suppose his words to be from it. Such a person thinks it is harmful, so it becomes harmful. And anyway that is what Satan wanted.
When meanings arise in the heart, they enter the imagination stripped of form; it is there that they are clothed in form. And the imagination, always under some cause, weaves forms of a sort. It leaves on the way the forms of the things to which it gives importance. Whatever meaning passes through it, it either clothes it, or wears it, or taints it, or veils it. If the meanings are pure and clean, and the forms, dirty and base, there is no clothing, but there is contact. The man with scruples confuses the contact with being clothed. He exclaims: “Alas! How corrupted my heart has become. This baseness and meanness drive me out!” Satan takes advantage of this vein of his.
The cure for this wound is as follows:
Listen, O you unfortunate! Just as outward cleanliness, which is the means to the clean correctness of your prayers, is not affected by the uncleanness of the inside of your inner organs, and is not spoiled by it, so too the sacred meanings being close to unclean forms does not harm them. Suddenly you feel ill, or an appetite, or stimulation like a need to pass water. Of course your imagination will see whatever is necessary to cure the ill or answer the need, and will look at it, weave lowly forms appropriate to them, and the meanings that arise will pass between them. But there is no harm in their passing, or soiling, or error, or injury. If there is any mistake, it is in paying them attention and imagining the harm.
There are certain hidden connections between things. There are even the threads of connections in things, which you least expected. They are either there in fact, or your imagination made them according to the art with which it was occupied, and tied them together. It is due to this mystery of connections that sometimes seeing sacred thing calls to mind a dirty thing. As stated in the science of rhetoric, “Opposition, which is the cause of distance in the outer world, is the cause of proximity in the imagination. That is, the means of bringing together the forms of two opposites, is an imaginary connection. The calling to mind, which arises through this connection, is called the association of ideas.
For example, while performing the prayers or reciting supplications before the Sacred Place, in the Divine Presence, although you are reflecting on Holy verses, this association of ideas takes you and drives you to the furthest, lowest trivia. If your head is afflicted with association of ideas such as that, beware, do not be alarmed. Rather, the moment you come to your senses, turn back. Do not say: “I’ve done a great wrong”, and keep playing with the trigger, lest through your attention, that weak connection finds strength. Because the more you show regret, the more importance you give it, and that weak memory of yours becomes ingrained. It becomes an imaginary sickness. Do not be frightened, it is not a sickness of the heart. This sort of recollection is mostly involuntary. Especially in sensitive, nervous people it is more common. Satan works the mine of this sort of scruple a great deal.
The cure for this wound is as follows:
The association of ideas is mostly involuntary. One is not answerable for them. And in association there is proximity; there is no touching or intermingling. Therefore the nature of the ideas do not pass to one another and do not harm one another. Just as Satan and the angel of inspiration being in proximity to one another around the heart, and sinners and the pious being close to one another in the same house do not cause harm, so too, if, at the prompting of the association of ideas, dirty imaginings come and enter among clean thoughts, they cause no harm. Unless it is intentional, or by imagining them to be harmful, one is over-occupied with them. And sometimes the heart becomes tired, and the mind, in order to entertain itself, occupies itself with anything it encounters. Then Satan finds an opportunity, and scatters dirty things before it, and drive it on.
By Bediuzzaman Said Nursi