Life that is known to us as material life is entirely composed of physical actions and functions. For example when we are thirsty or hungry, we immediately prepare or assemble food and drink that ultimately becomes part of our body. In the same way, job exploration, happiness, and sadness are all functions based on physical actions. However, if look deeply we would see that everything is being guided by our intelligence. All these physical actions with their every detail first descend into the mind. From there the ‘physical’ machine simply obeys its command. As when we are thirsty, the need to squelch the thirst emerges first in the mind. Then based on the knowledge we have in our brain that deals with extinguishing the thirst, we put our will into it. When the knowledge of thirst and all its details runs into motion with all of its energy then our brain sends the command to the physical part to deal with that need. Because of it, the body comes into motion by drinking water and hence completing the need of it.
When someone puts his mind into writing an essay or story, the first thing that happens is that the draft of the essay and all its details appear in his mind. Then the writer pens the entire detailed draft on paper. That detailed draft is called the essay, story, or novel and so on.
Whether it is a need to quench the thirst or write an essay, what first comes into our mind is the detailed picture. The function of the ‘human machine’ is simply to convert that picture into physical action. In other words, unless any action is first created and organized in the mind, physical response does not occur.
The working of physical actions is called the material world while what is beyond the physical actions is referred to as the spiritual world. In the spiritual world all the feelings and all dimensions exist in the form of Divine Knowledge. The example of the process of thirst was given earlier. When the need of thirst and the will to drink occurs in the mind, then the person feels the entire process in the dimensions of the knowledge. However, these motions do not translate into the physical action. They only manifest in one point; after that the physical action takes place.
The bottom line of this detailed account is that actions of the human mind appear in two circles. In the first circle information works without physical action, in the second they work along with the motion. When physical action occurs all laws of gravity come into motion. Moments are subject to chronological order. One moment evolves into the second and third subsequent moments. Unless the second moment occurs, the third could not. On the contrary, under the other circle the actions, human soul, or ego are free from the physical body. At that point, the human ego frees itself from the clutches of moments of chronological order.
The mind sends a message that in order to get physical energy food is needed. When we follow up on this information we have to go through different stages in chronological order before we accomplished our objective. First, we have to cultivate wheat, then we processed it to make it flour. Then we convert into dough to first bake then finally to eat it. This is how a physical brain functions. On the contrary, when spiritual brain is in motion and we need anything to eat then we do not have to go through those steps. The moment the need for bread comes in the spiritual mind, the bread manifests itself.
The clearest example of this in the physical life is dreaming. When we wake up in the morning, the senses immediately get busy trying to connect with the environment. Moreover, as long as we are awake our nervous system controls our every movement throughout the day. However, when we fall asleep, the human motions take a back seat but the active role of ego does not stop here. During dreaming, even though the body remains in a somewhat comatose state, all the motions and sounds are registered by the mind almost the same way; we see and hear those things in this awake stage. The only difference is that the boundaries of time and space no longer exist during dreaming and feeling and sensation draws to a single point. For example, in a dream we see our friend who may live very far away but when we are engaged in a conversation with him we do not feel there was any space separating us.
Similarly, we go to bed at midnight, and during dreaming, we go from one country to the other. We see a film or chain of events. However, if we were awakened by accident and see the time it probably would be just few minutes past our sleeping time. If those chains of events and movements happened with our physical body then it would have needed weeks, months and hundred of hours plus thousands of miles of travel.
One of the qualities of the soul that remain active during wakefulness and sleep is memory. Man uses this power throughout his life but hardly realizes that when a period of childhood is recalled, in one moment he is able to access the entire memory of his childhood. Even though decades may have passed since then and he may have gone through thousands of changes when the mind travels into the past, then in the one thousandth part of second it reaches the period of childhood. We not only feel the events of the past but these events are displayed in such a way as if someone were watching a movie.
Often times the difference of feelings becomes so deep that the consciousness is able to perceive it. While doing some work if our concentration increases enormously and conscious sighting centers on a single point then this could become an experimental observation.
While reading an interesting book our concentration intensifies to such an extent that it negates time. Often when we are done with reading, it seems like only a few minutes have passed, but only after looking at our watch do we realize that a lot of time has passed. In the same manner while waiting for someone, a few minutes feels like hours.
In this era of Freudian Psychology a dream is simply regarded as stored-up thoughts of memory and irrational imagination. However, the real life experiences of dreams prove otherwise. Ever since history has been recorded, in every geographical area and at all times the importance of dreams has been recognized. In the history of the science of the soul and in religious matters as well dreams have a prominent position. People from all economic and educational levels have experienced this phenomenon. Even though every one of us sees something every night in our sleep often we see something that even after awakening its effect is not forgotten. Some dreams are so deep that their effects are simply transformed into awakening right after that person wakes up. Some people have felt the taste of things that they ate during the dream long after being woken up and it feels almost like the taste of things that we eat during our waking hours. Erotic dreams result in the same kind of pleasure and ejaculatory discharge as during actual sexual intercourse. Often an event or incident that was seen in a dream happens within days or months, exactly the way it was shown during that dream. That points out that just as we can replay the events of the past (flashbacks), in the same manner we can also read the signs of future events. In the Qur’an (Koran) and other holy sculptures the dream is often referred to as a vision (roya). In these scriptures, it is mentioned that the dream is an agency through which man can access the realms of the unseen and the ability to dream (vision) provides the man, the knowledge of the unseen or paranormal in his normal physical level of existence.
The prophet Joseph saw in his dream that the Sun, moon and eleven stars prostrating before him which suggested that in due future he will be given the gift of prophecy and Divine Knowledge (ilm ladani). Years later in prison, he interpreted the dreams of his fellow inmates, the royal cook and the bartender, and correctly predicted their future. When the king saw a dream, Prophet Joseph predicted that there would be a famine followed by surplus of grains. All of which came true the way Prophet Joseph had predicted it. Notable to mention is the fact that among these dreams that we just discussed one of them is of a Prophet, however the other three are of ordinary folks. All of these dreams were carrying news of the future.
The human soul or ego remains constantly in motion. Just as the awakened time is usually spent in one moment or the other, similarly a dream is also a motion. We are always aware of our actions while we are awake, which is why all of our interests lie with the awakened state of mind. Nevertheless, not all of the events of the awakened period register in our memory. Only those events are stored that leave a lasting impression on our consciousness for whatever reason.
When we are traveling from one city to another, there are places that we like and others that do not feel pleasant. We see numerous billboards, and cars go by right in front of our eyes. In some places, we see tall trees and fertile land. However, when we arrive at the other city and if asked to mention everything that we saw, it would not be easy for us to describe everything that we observed during our journey. We may be able to give a few details such as where we stayed or maybe an event that we saw, but for the rest of the journey we would simply declare that we did not pay much attention to it. In other words, when we are focused on something, it is registered in our memory, while of no interest went unnoticed.
The same rule applies to dreams. During dreaming, the physical senses remain dormant but the spirit goes through different actions and feelings and our mind only comprehends those events in which it maintains an interest. That is why we can only relate those parts of dreams on which our focus was kept and the events on which we do not focus are not connected by our own consciousness.
Sometimes consciousness sees the actions of the soul in an organized fashion and the motions of soul so fuse right into the mind that get ting the meaning out of it is hardly difficult. Those dreams are called the “True dreams.” When this state progresses it reaches the level of inspiration (ilhaam) and revelations (kashaf).
Nature has enforced its law on all creatures including humans: that they could not break away from the sense of dream (nocturnal consciousness). In order to keep the physical side of human life it is imperative to enter the senses of dream. That is why every individual, however reluctantly, is bound to get sleep. In addition, when he comes out of sleep into the physical world, he finds himself with renewed energy for the fulfillment of his physical action (or life). Nocturnal senses are such it unique gift of Nature that every one has it. We can benefit from it even further if we so desire.
Spiritual science begins with this basic lesson: we are not just a body of flesh and bones. Along with the body there is an agency attached to it known as spirit (ruh), which is really its essence. The human spirit is able to move without the body and if we can rise to a certain level, we can go on a spiritual journey without our body.
This movement of the spirit occurs unconsciously every day during dreaming. There always comes a period during the day or night when we feel a certain pressure; unintentionally sense becomes heavier. Eyelids feel the load as well and we start getting groggy. Owing to this biological pressure, we ultimately surrender ourselves to sleep. Eyelids get shut and our senses want to get away from the surrounding environment. Consciousness rejects every thought that could interfere with sleep. In a short while nerves get quiet and we move from the state of drowsiness to light sleep and then into deep sleep.
This change of state of senses occurs without our intentional efforts. We unintentionally and sometimes unwillingly move into the nocturnal senses. That is why whatever we see in a dream, some of that remains in our memory while other things do not. When we enter this dream state in a way that our consciousness remains active and awake then the flight of spirit becomes an observational experiment and we are able to remember it.
The easiest way to achieve this is to enter intentionally the dream state without going to sleep. In other words, the same procedure that brings us from an awakened state into the nocturnal one unintentionally could be used to bring us to the nocturnal state at will without ever going into actual sleep.
If we have to define Muraqaba with respect to dreams and the awakened state then we can say that the Muraqaba is the journey into the dream world while being fully awake. In other words, Muraqaba is a process through which we try to enter the nocturnal state but our consciousness remains alert. During Muraqaba, all those conditions are created that the person goes through during the transformation between senses. After closing the eyes, breathing slows as well. The physical body relaxes so that we may not feel the its presence during Muraqaba. Mentally we free ourselves from all thoughts and worries and focus on one single idea (or imagination).
When we see someone who is engaged in Muraqaba, it seems like someone is sleeping while sitting with their eyes closed. However, in reality, his consciousness is not dormant the way it is during sleep. Hence, during Muraqaba we enter into a state (condition) that is dominant during dreaming. The moment conscious senses enter stillness the diurnal senses are enveloped by the nocturnal senses. During this state we can use all those abilities and forces that work during dreaming. Past and future, near and far become meaningless. We become free of all the limitations of the physical body.
This ability increases to a level where the nocturnal and diurnal senses become parallel and human consciousness becomes aware of the affairs of nocturnal actions just the way it is aware of the diurnal actions. Hence under nocturnal senses, we can use our own spirit (ruh) to carry out our wishes.