Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Diseases of the Ego

Every person is born into the station of egotism. This is the inevitable first stop in life. The infant is entirely preoccupied with its need for physical satisfaction. It wants food, or to be picked up, and will scream, cry, and spit to make its demands known. It is completely unconcerned about the effects of its own actions…

Many people grow into adulthood and even old age without ever departing from this initial stage of egotism, the maqam an-nafs. Such people never stop demanding their own way, the endless satisfactions of the body. Taken to the extreme, the whole range of emotional and physical diseases we call chronic and degenerative is a result of remaining in this station too long. Fearfulness, anxiety, self-doubt, selfishness, insanity, weeping for no reason, depression, paranoia, sexual perversions, and suicide—all are emotional diseases connected with the station of egotism, when a person lingers in it into adulthood.

The physical diseases associated with the station of egotism can sometimes occur concurrently with the emotional or psychological ones. But for the body, the end result of remaining in the station of egotism includes drug abuse, alcoholism, criminal behaviour, obesity, hypoglycaemia, blindness and other eye problems, jaundice, heart attack, venereal disease, and cancer. These conditions result from the failure to exercise proper control over one or more of the nafs functions, or appetites of the body.

The method of escape—or progress—from the station of egotism is to train and discipline the ego and its drives…

The Book of Sufi Healing, Shaykh Hakim Moinuddin Chishti

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