The epigenesis of the heart
This article is about the development of the five elements of love. This is what is known as a psycho-spiritual process.
We are a passionate race, for the human creature can be said to manifest five basic passions. We inherit the predisposition to manifest various passions, some or all. A passion could be seen as fundamental resonance within us, that arises from our core, to initiate patterns of behavior. This behavior is often excessive but its hidden intent is to shift us into an awareness of our own errant behavior–so that we make emends to change ourselves. It is almost as if the passion or force itself is conscious of its own purpose–to rectify and support the human in finding a balance within itself, and in this context, the heart and capacity to love.
Passions are amplified via our feelings which then results in a force or action that drives our behavior. We can enumerate many different passions, but if we distill them down, we might suggest that there are five principle passions. These alter and augment our character and personality, and our basic natures. They provide a force or agency that moves us to rise and grow as human beings and love. These passions have both negative and positive qualities but which can tip our internal balance or inner state and throw us off track. Many times passions lead us, becoming our master or mistress. As humans capable of choice, we must find the wherewithal to master our passions and develop these elemental forces held within the human heart.
The five basic, fundamental passions are:
- spiritual knowledge
They are ordered hierarchically, and each emerges from the previous level of our emergent being, excepting ‘pride’ which is the epigenetic force to move us from ‘where we are to where we could be‘. Pride makes us emerge from our human-material self–our historical inherited patterning of love. This means that we rise up from our history, hurts, ancestral patterns and proclivities and our old history. This passion serves or helps initiate epigenesis. Along with all the other passions, when mastered, facilitate our growth and help develop the elements of love so that we eventually become One with Love.
When our passions take the lead we often fall into states of addiction, because what is missing within us creates a central emptiness. There is a fundamental imbalance which tips us one way of the other. This creates excessive behaviours, either constructively or destructively–but often both create dysfunction. It is as if the inner is empty of self–and this again is hierarchical and not necessarily linked to old ideas of addiction–drugs, sex and rock and roll! When empty we then act to fill the hole. This creates an addictive behaviour–and this can be at every level of our self; material, vegetal, animal or human and even noble. The passion holds us to the level of being that is our present state, tipping us away from a central defining “I’ or Aleph/Alif ( ا א ܐ Ᾱᾱ) and taking us off track. In normal life our passions do take us off the path. They become dominant, dependent on our defining natures and the misunderstanding we have of these forces. These then, as iterated, take us off the path or straight and narrow. Pride can make us arrogant, stubborn, fundamental, rigid, analytical, too structued, ordered, patriarchal and a misogynist. On the otherhand it makes us reach up for help, to others and to God, jettisoning mental and spiritual pride (spiritual materialism).
We can develop our heart from level to level. We can do this consciously or not. For those who actively and consciously work with love and our heart, can use the heart as a the focus for life and in this way allows the heart to be the focus of attention for life’s input.
Many of us are predisposed towards a particular behavior in love; as if we either inherited that type of heart or that we are stuck in that pattern through life’s vagaries. Some of us are fiery in love, others casual, some very emotional, many operate from wounds. The lot of each of us, falls either by fate–we inherit a familial disposition or, by destiny. This is when we are conscious of love, and are actively working on how we love and are loved.
The epigenesis of the psychospiritual journey that our ordinary heart takes is long. This timing may cover our entire life, or occur in an instant by Divine Decree, synchronicity or Grace. Each of us starts with our ‘normal’ physical heart–that which we have in our chest. This heart carries all its history, both inherited and what we ourselves have met in our formative years. Each of the elements of love need to be developed, hence the five stations. The development of each may not be strictly hierarchical even though there is a hierarchical arrangement. Each heart is of equal value and represents a holarchy–each of similar value. The heart of Love, our goal, is of course transcendent and allows us to become guided, carried and embued by Divine Love.
The first or lowest of our passions is pride: which urges us, as we grow through life experiences, to find a true interior pride which make us rise up towards a greater Life, moving us away from our qalb min tibs / ‘ard or heart of the earth. This heart in its binary or polar-opposite qualities, holds our ancestral (encoded) and own memories of hurts, wounds, pain, scars etc., of love. This is our constitutional heart, which contains inherited coding, which can be switched on by our internal and external environment. Inner pride is the epigenetic force inside us, to rise up out of these pattern of hurt–love that hurts; is empty, bursting, arrhythmic, split, blocked, bled dry, hard work, unnourished (to name some of the pathological considerations of this heart). In so doing we leave the old heart where every insult leaves the proverbial footprint (on earth or soil) to new archetypal qualities or elements of love. We germinate, and move upward into the new through watering the seed of growth and by preparing and cleaning the heart (viz.: wudu or ritual cleansing). The heart of water
A heart of water makes for a great series of metaphorical images and associated thoughts. Water is THE basic element most required for life. It can flow, wear down, clean, finds its way back to its source, creates channels of pathways. It can be deep, encompass, fill, surround, envelop, become still, turbulent, forceful. It can rain upon us, cleaning what it comes into contact with.
With these descriptive ideas in thought, a human heart can be cleaned, become pure, be deep, widen, fill and expand. This element provides the impetus for a life-giving sense of exploration in and for life, raising us from things that purport to nourish, fill and satiate us. This is normally greed, the second of our passions, and when not truly pure or deep holds us to a perennial state of emptiness (the heart of addiction) and a state of being unclean. When we develop this pure deep encompassing love that is innocent and is purified as the domain of Love/Allah; our heart becomes a heart of water or qalb min ma’. It gives us an inner understanding of what is clean or pure (halal/kosher) and what is impure (haram).
The heart of air
Our third passion can be called ambition. It moves us out of a receptive, sensitive, ecologically minded and pure heart, which guards itself from impurity to one that takes things much easier. We move from fundamentalism (the heart of earth) to the heart of water or purity–away from that which is haram or impure, including social and religious taboos such as menstruating women, European dress sense, caste system etc., to a heart which floats above the mundane or trivial and societal and religious constraints. This heart and mind is a legacy of the animal kingdom, from which our brain and somatic architecture is derived from. Our rhinencephalon is a very large part of our human brain. This ‘smell’ brain makes us act in our behaviors as if we were animal-humans. One of the qualities of the animal-human is to be the ‘best’. To inseminate our genes into a suitable mate. An alpha-male or female is a term used to describe people who are go-getters, always active, on the move, out for supremacy, to get the job done, to hold the crowd.
Conversely, this heart of ours when swayed by the passion of ambition can make us too light, ephemeral, breezy, flighty and promiscuous in love. It can make us fly away with love, to be ungrounded, head in the clouds, blinded by the light of love (the sun / Icarus).
A pure epigenesis within us of the ambition to be the best, to rise in stature, to follow relentlessly the path of Love and service to the Divine raises us from mere ambition and aggressive instinctual behaviors to a qalb min hawa , a heart of air, which is buoyant, uplifting, light, easy, untouched by base emotions, earthy subjects. It can move easily away from errant forces that are injurious to the self.
The heart of fire
The passion to be Prometheus and to search for the fire; of knowledge, interesting thoughts, exalted ideas of eros can lead us back to being chained, by the old gods–Zeus–to the rock of earth (materialism), where our own perceptions (our eagle) and flighty imagination can continuously stop us from transforming love–eagle eats the liver–our organ of transformation.
Our mind, when our servant, can help illuminate ourself and others, and raise us from cognitive and learnt knowledge to interior knowing or nous, lifting us vertically into a qalb min nar, the heart of fire; thus becoming a beacon of Light as a human who transmits or passes-on Love. This is the heart that truly transmits inner knowledge, can light the fire in others, can bring forth what is hidden in the shadows, can cauterize without pain, can be the Light in the wilderness.
The heart of Love
Our greatest passion; the most subtle, hidden, obscure and and seductive is spiritual knowledge. This knowledge, its pursuit, acquisition, rendering, distilling is also a passion. It can hold us in our human minds keeping us, yet again prisoner to our cleverness. However if we can find the antidote–submission– then we may eventually rise from the passion of spiritual knowledge to be One with Allah – Love itself, the Heart of Light, qalb min nur. (-as in Sura Ikhlas)
Passions and their antidote
We need our passions, but not to bow down to them, but to use them. To find the internal reality of each ’passion’–through understanding their yin and yang aspects and by balancing their opposing polarities, the negative and positive attributes. In this way we may find the trinity or central Oneness in the initial duality.
We have human qualities which help us to remain true to the path of Love. These are:
- Humbleness / surrender
These five qualities also need to be developed parallel to our heart’s development. Trust allows us to go on the path, placing our life in the hands of others, of what we have read, or seen but as yet, not experienced personally. Faith is experiential, in that, as we develop we get tastes of love, change, and a deepening inner understanding of love and its many states. Our understanding is experienced and therefore personal, so we slowly develop a deeply felt faith, which helps to keep us on the path. Patience, a legacy of our animal instincts, is a quality sorely lacking in contemporary culture. However this antidotal quality allows us to recognize, innately, that we are imperfect, soiled and simply humans-in-the-making. We need time to be reshaped. This requires patience, for God is mysterious and knows what we need, and how long this will take. Humbleness is the action of a human who bows his head. It is a reflexive quality in people of good standing, when they know they do not have the answers. They bow their heads, surrendering their mental activity, ideas, beliefs, maps in recognition that there is a Higher Authority at work. Submission is a quality of total obedience, total surrender of the will to Divine Will. It is a feature of the prophetic traditions, and is present when a human completely submits to the Greatest Authority.
These five human qualities may be seen as spiritual-materialism antidotes, as our self medicine, as they may help us to grow and to be refined in matters of the heart and Love.
The Djinn–gene activator / supressor elements
Our passions arise from epigenetic impulses, and are activated by the jinniyah (female djinn) or by the fire of transformation– through ‘unseen‘ forces. These forces are called the djinn in Qu’ranic literature, and go by many other names in other cultures. They are said to be a race of beings parallel to humankind, who are elemental and made of a smokeless fire. I now have more and more understanding that these same elements or beings are the epigenetic switches that turn on or off our genome. They are not the environmental elements that we now know, act as the soup or milieu for DNA changes, but appear to be the transformative fire that initiates the moment to change. They can switch on our pathologies or switch on new resources. These forces can control us; run riot over our physical make-up, alter our emotions and how we are nourished, our activities, behavior and character, psyche and personality as well as our spiritual nature. They can lead us into psychosis, into mental illnesses and make us inhuman. Basically we can see them as elements which activate injurious or not so useful character and personality traits, patho-physiologies or frank pathologies. On the other hand, they are also elements which promote a change of state, to the better. They activate positive traits and qualities. [Their exploits are characterized by stories found in the compilation called the 1001 Nights– Alf laylah wa laylah. In many of the chapters, the djinn are described as real entities but their actions in allegorical terms through the altered behavior of the protagonists in the stories–but almost always promoting non-virtous behavior.] These elements can switch on a epigenetic thrust that moves us out of one state into another, higher state. These djinni (plural) or forces that hide within the objective physical world can move us horizontally, or vertically, both upward and downward. They can initiate the internal genesis of our true inner nature. We trust, in this process, that we will be given an inner understanding of why Subhan’Allāh (سبحان الله) gave us these inner qualities/passions as a gift. In this way, as we open and develop the various elements of Love (and the human heart) through unlocking us from the prison of our minds, we can find the True Human or Insan (perfect human) within us.
A complete library of all Articles on the InnerDialogue site.