More about Belief and Disbelief

A question has come about the recently posted text of Hazrat Inayat Khan on Belief and Disbelief, which says that the mind gives disbelief; but are we not also told elsewhere that the mind plays a role in dispelling the clouds of ignorance?  How should we understand the word ‘mind’ in this context?

The problem is only that we use the same word for related but different concepts.  Here, Hazrat Inayat is using the word mind to mean the surface of consciousness, where impressions and concepts are manipulated by our ability to reason, where structures are built and plans are made. This is distinct from the depth of consciousness, what is called the heart, where feeling gives meaning to life. But although they sometimes appear to be separate, the surface and the depth are one, and the whole sphere of consciousness is also sometimes called the mind.

In this context, ‘mind gives disbelief’ because through innumerable experiences mind has accumulated impressions of light and shade, of positive and negative qualities, of various forms and limitations in other words, and as a consequence consciousness has become ‘crystallised.’  A child learns that certain foods are good, and if you give the child food from another culture, with which it is unfamiliar, it may say that food is bad; yet a child from that other culture would prefer that food, being certain that it is ‘good.’

The dispelling of ignorance is largely a work of dissolving these rigid, crystallised concepts, which Hazrat Inayat called ‘unlearning’– or as Murshid Hidayat preferred to call it, ‘deconcentration’. It is not easy, but there is a reward for the labour; mental structures are a form of imprisoned energy, and when a structure dissolves, so to speak, that energy is freed within our consciousness.

Nevertheless, reason, like every ability, has a purpose, and we should not reject it outright (if that were even possible).  It is only that, being based on limitation, reason should not be consulted first; reason, and particularly reason without feeling, can be used to justify any selfish action.  But when the heart, warmed by love, becomes the  compass, then reason can help us find a way to the goal, though mountains and deserts bar the way.


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