Everything has to have a foundation for its existence. A house, for example, cannot be a house unless it is not provided with the foundations and a chair cannot be a chair if it is not having four legs. The building of the human life is established upon six basic pillars, three of them sport the conscious activities performed during awakening and the other three become active during sleep. This living building moves around, pulsates with life, the life that is active in two alternating aspects of Conscious and the Unconscious, awakening and sleep.
These pillars that are supporting our life are like six radiant dots, three of them are responsible for the activities that are performed during wakefulness and other three control the activities enacted during dreaming.
Everybody awakens after having slept. When a person gets up from sleep, or to say, he enters the conscious state of the senses, initially, he remains under the influence of sleep for some moments, that is, he is half awakened. In this state of half awakening a rush of different thoughts regarding things to be done and the activities to be carried on starts dominating the senses collectively. This state initiates from that point, which in spiritual terms is known as latifa-e-nafsi (The subtlety of the Self).
This state of half-awakening is followed by a state in which the senses experience a depth of the consciousness and the hangover of sleep ends. In this state feelings of pleasure and distress remain balance but sometimes one gets over the other. This state is the result of the activation of the Subtlety of the Heart or Latifa-e-qalbi. When the feelings of pleasure are intensified, this state is followed by the third interval of wakefulness. This is the state of intuition, which results from the activation of the Subtlety of the Spirit or Latifa-e-roohi.
One passes through three stages during one’s sleep just like the three stages of awakening described above. The first interval of the sleep is known as drowse and the Arcanum Subtlety or Latifa-e-sirri is activated in this period. The next state of sleep that can be called slumber is the result of the movement of the Latent Subtlety or Latifa-e-khafi and, in the third stage, which is the state of sound sleep the Obscure Subtlety; Latifa-e-akhfa becomes activated.
It is interesting to note that all these six states begin with an inertness of the feelings. When, for instance, one wakes up, initially, the mind of a person remains quite calm and empty for a moment or so and then the activity starts taking awakening or sleep. In the same way every stage of awakening or sleep starts with a momentary quietness.
It is one of the laws of nature that before entering from one state into another, one has to have a pause and a state of inertness. Just as the stages of wakefulness begin with a momentary lull the drowsiness also starts with a state of inactivity of the senses and it takes few moments for deepening this state and the commencement of the state of drowsiness. Slumber also starts with a few inactive moments. And, then the inert waves of sopor overpower the human body and gives rise to the state of sound sleep.
Sleep or awakening, both are associated with the senses. In one state the speed of the senses is increased and in the other it is decreased but the nature of the senses remains the same. The same senses remain operative in our sleep, which we experience, and exercise during our awakening. It could be also stated that there are two separate chambers for the sleep and the awakening in our brain or, in other words, there are two brains operating in the human beings. When the senses are operating through one brain, it is called sleep and when the same set senses is operative in the other brain, it is called the awakening. This means that the same one set of senses is alternating in sleep and awakening and this very alternation of the senses is life. When one type of senses is inactive the other ones become active and, their activation is triggered by the stroke of the eyelids upon the eyeballs. This thing causes the perception to emerge out of the sleep and enter the state of awakening.
The act of blinking or stroking of eyeballs by the eyelid resembles the functioning of a camera. A camera, loaded with a film, in spite of all its readiness and availability of an appropriate scene, cannot snap a shot unless and until the button is pushed to move the shutter. Similarly, if the eyelids do not stroke the eyeballs, the scenes that we see cannot transfer upon the brain-screen.
The first law of sighting during awakening is that immediately after awakening from the sleep one has a thought about something and this very thought is the demarcation between the sleep and awakening.
The Second law, in this regard is that when the initial thought deepens, the act of blinking is started and the scenes existing in the surrounding atmosphere start transferring upon the screen of the brain.
Third law in this regard is that brain receives information in the form of knowledge and the mind ascribes meanings to the information received. Blinking causes to pass this meaning to the respective part of the brain and the next image is put into the process. The duration of receiving information and its processing is fifteen seconds. Before the lapse of this period the other scenes replace the previous ones and this continues in an orderly manner.
During awakening, the sight is directly associated with the movements of the eyeballs and the eyelids. The blinking or the strokes resulting from the blinking are like the operation of the camera button, which is snapping the shots.
If the eyelids do not stroke the eyeballs, internal parts of the optic system do not function. The optic nerves are stimulated to function when the movements of the eyelids and the eyeballs stroke these nerves. If the eyelids are tied and the movement of the eyeballs is checked then the vision goes blank and the picturization of the scenes is stopped.
The exercise of Istarkha; gazing in the dark, is carried out to practice to stop the movements of the eyelids and the eyeballs and the strokes resulting from the blinking process so that the sight that works in dreams could be brought to action in the state of wakefulness. When we are dreaming, the eyelids do not stroke the eyeballs. Images of the scenes witnessed transfer upon the brain-screen due to the blinking or the strokes of the eyelids upon the eyeballs.
This keeps on going because of the continuous movement of the Latifa-e-nafsi. All the feeling and senses converge towards that point where the lights of latifa-e-nafsi are directed. The lights of the Latifa-e-nafsi first of all affect the sight, which is the subtlest of all the senses comes under the effect of these lights. This light first of all brings thoughts into the reach of our conscious mind. In the initial stages of the activation of the sight, the sight witness the outside thing within, and the inner things are sighted without.
The summery of the whole discussion is that the human mind works like a mirror under any circumstances and the human soul witnesses the fantasies, thoughts, concepts and ideas in embodied form. The lights of the Subtlety of the Self (Latifa-e-nafsi) that are permeating the whole universe cause us to see the whole universe. No fantasy, thought or idea is out of the reach of these lights. This light of latifa-e-nafsi is engulfing the whole universe like a circle and is technically known as jowiya. Basically jowiya is to include both the Subtleties of the Heart (qalbi) and the Self (nafsi).
The lights of jowiya cause the human self to expand limitlessly. In order to know all the expanses of jowiya and to get it activated, control over the sleep is of basic importance and in the course of spiritual training, the first lesson is to remain awake for 21 hours and 20 minutes in every 24 hours. When one masters this exercise and gets control over one’s sleep the second lesson of gazing in the dark without letting the eyes blink starts. This exercise of gazing in the dark without blinking is called Istarkha and the exercise of remaining awake for 21 hours and 20 minutes and sleeping only for 2hours and 40 minutes once in every 24 hours is called talween(Vigility).