To Ibn Arabi everything is imagination, we live in a world of imagination, the physical world is alien to our conscience, as is the true reality (truth, God), and our 'personal reality' is purely mental. We move in a psychological world, the world of names that we put to things, not in the world of things in themselves.
"You have to know that you are imagination, and that everything you perceive and you say 'this is not me' is (also) imagination. Our personal reality in its totality is an imagination within imagination. In contrast, true reality, truth, is God seen in its essence and in its being, not from the point of view of its names."
"God is as light that a glass veiles to look and dyes its own color: colorless itself, it is presented with colored to illustrate what is your reality when compared with your Lord. If you say that light is green because the glass is this color, you tell the truth and senses testify on your behalf. If you say it's not green nor has any color, following which tells you common sense, you are also telling the truth and thus give witness evidence of a healthy intellect." Glass is the person and his skills and conditioning. Everyone stains with his personal experience the pure light of intellect. A opaque glass and personality gives an intense color that stains everything, offers a monochromatic way of seeing the world. A more transparent glass and personality is brighter and shows better the forms of the world in its diversity of tones, better reveals the reality and the 'forms' of God, the manifestation of God in the intellect is higher.
This God that is pure intelligence (that is 'the truth') comes from sky, says Arabi, but is with us wherever we are, because we are its manifestation. It is our essence, our intelligence. It is what directs and governs the universe we perceive. "He descends to the sky of this lower world. It is in sky, on earth, is with us wherever we are, and lets us know that it is our own essence, while being limited beings. (...) The universe is his form and he is the spirit of the universe, who governs."
"He is the complete being,
and is the only one.
My being is by his being,
so I say 'he is fed'.
My existence is his food,
while we are fed by him."
This divine unity of God with intelligence, of intellect with the universe, far from being static is dynamic, moves, fluctuates continually, 'breathes'. Is a 'pressure' or blow producing diversity and variability in the 'forms' or ideas, that is, causes mental life:
"To end this oppression 'inherent in the divine unity, as the essence of things, He has breathed'. He himself has attributed the breaths to infinitely merciful, because he is who gives mercy to divine attributes of those seeking to manifest the forms of the world, which we say they are outside of God because he is outside, as is inside."
"God moves in the forms."
"(God) gives life to the forms in the breath..."
God is expressed in the intellect, is the breath or blow that breathes life to attributes that names express and ideas ('forms') manifest. It is a 'breathing' dynamic relationship between information and life.
God is so great that no religion explains enough, nor any creed is better than others, because all are far to make it understandable actually. The understanding of God is such a immense phenomenon that no science and no creed achieved and, in trying to explain, just distort reality. "Be careful not to join a particular creed denying the rest, because you will lose immense good. Even more: you will lose the science of truth as it is. Let your soul be the substance of the forms of all faiths, because God is too great and too vast to be contained in a creed excluding the others."
Religions often confuse causes with effects, a matter in which science is more careful, fortunately. It is true that God is expressed in the heart of the people in the form of mercy, as religions say, maintains Arabi, but God is not mercy, should not be confused with it. The heart may contain mercy but God is much greater than content of heart at a certain moment. God is the agent, not the result, is the origin of the action that happens in the hearts of people, not a result of this action.
Arabi says in chapter 12. "Know that the heart comes from the mercy of God, but is greater than it, because contains God, while his mercy does not contain it. At least that's the interpretation that involves vulgar language, which states that God is the agent and not the object of mercy, and that this may not apply."
God manifests in the hearts of people through a blow or breath. God 'breathes' in our hearts. Arabi does not describe the scientific mechanism of this action, he just notifies it repeatedly throughout the book. At the beginning of this chapter, for example, he writes: "God has been described as the owner of breath..." "The first aspect that has awarded a consolation through his breath, attributed to the infinitely merciful, is precisely the divine lordship."
God is not a creature but is the phenomenon that is the manifestation of 'the forms' of the world in our hearts and minds through the 'blow'. Somehow God corresponds to the organization of our psyche (and its limitations). God, as our psyche, reveals the world, because it takes all 'forms' of the world, unifies all that is thinkable or imaginable. All 'forms' are part of God. God unifies everything (the Whole) in the unique concept of God (the One). Since God is all, when it is perceived, we can not perceive anything else, because there is nothing else to perceive (nothing is more than the whole, nor there is more world than all the world). "You must also know that the Most High God, as mentioned in the Sahih, changes forms in its manifestation, and when the heart retains it, does not retain with him any creature. The meaning of this is that the heart, when looks God at the moment it appears, can not look at anything else." ...If you perceive the Whole you can not perceive anything else, you perceive the One. If you perceive God's reasons, what other reasons might strike your attention? If you conceive how the world truly works what else may interest to you? suggests Arabi.
Our heart and our psyche reproduce the different 'forms' (ideas) of the world in which God manifests. "While God differs in its manifestation in forms, the heart expands and shrinks necessarily to the measure of the form in which the divine manifestation operates, but not over at all. On the contrary, has exactly its size and shape ('form'). Round if the bezel is round, square, hexagonal, octagonal, etc. if the bezel have any of these forms. Its location on the ring has no other 'form' than that which is like it."
But this is a veiled way. The soul of people includes only the idea of God in their personal profession of faith. The God we see is the God in whom we believe ('the God of beliefs'). The real action of God is invisible to our consciousness because it is the action of our own consciousness.
God's movements are the same as the movements of our soul, so we did not detect any external movement ourselves. They are invisible to us.
Arabi explains: "God is manifested in two ways: one invisible and one visible. According to the invisible manifestation, God gives the heart predisposition, and this is the essential manifestation the nature of which is the mystery, is the essence. When the heart has acquired this predisposition, God manifests visibly to it: the heart sees it and then it appears in the form in which it has manifested. 'God' lifts the veil that separates it from the server, so that he sees in the form of his profession of faith. (...) The eye just can see the 'God of beliefs'."
According to these two modes of manifestation of God (invisible and visible), there are two ways of believing in God: God as agent and God as idea. "This differentiation of creeds is clear. Who conditions to God (with their beliefs) recognizes it when it is manifested in this conditioning, but unknowns it in any other way. But the one who declares it absolute and unconditional will never unknown it, but he recognizes all forms under which it diversifies. He gives the measure of the form in which it has manifested to him, indefinitely, because the forms of divine manifestation are limitless."
The 'forms' of God, 'knowledge' of the phenomena of the world, have no limit, never finish and we always want to achieve more (God as knowledge agent). The same happens with the knowledge of God (God as the object of knowledge). "Knowledge of God, like all knowledge, has not, for the Gnostic, any limit where to finish. On the contrary, even being a Gnostic, he claims at anytime to increase this science. 'Lord increase my science! Lord increase my science! Lord increase my science!' says the Quran (20, 114)."
The intellect alone tends to simplify and unify, reduces reality to make it affordable to our preconceived ideas and creates an illusion of control, distorts reality. The intellect works to turn everything into an object of knowledge. The divinity and forms of the world are, on the contrary, infinite and therefore unpredictable to our knowledge. It is the heart, then, what is responsible for managing our knowledge of the infinite forms of the world and to keep our intellect open to the world. The call of God is to those with heart, not to those with intelligence alone. "The intellect conditions and reduces the manifestation (of God and the world) to a single qualification, which is contrary to the true reality. This is not a call for those who have understanding, who profess beliefs, for those who declare unbelievers and damn each others." Arabi said.
And continues. "The professed divinity by one has no power over professed by the other. Who abides by a creed defends his conception of divinity and rejects any other, but what contains his creed is of no help and remains with no effect, and has no effect on the creed of whom oppose. Similarly, the opponent should not expect any help from the divinity present in his own creed: has no defenders. God has denied that the deities of beliefs can serve any help when considered separately. What gets help is the Synthesis, and what helps is the Synthesis..."
"So the Quran says 'there is a call for which provided with heart' (50, 37), because the heart acquires knowledge of God's changes in essential forms, because of the changes taking place in the apparent forms. It is from 'self' (the person) as knows in 'Self' (the deity), because himself (the person) is the Essence of God."
Beyond what you think or believe, the reality is what it is. Beyond the idea of God that everyone has (as an object of knowledge) God exists and acts in 'our hearts' and exists and operates completely independently of the contents of these thoughts, but not of the act of thinking itself, which is something very different. God works in our soul changes and diversification and changes in our thoughts, acts in our mind that 'produces' different thoughts in time. "Nothing can exist in the universe that is different from the essence of God: He is the gnostic, who knows, which is recognized in such a way, and he is also the one who is not, who does not know, which is not recognized in such other form. Here is what is given to who knows God through the manifestation and contemplation of synthetic Being. His words 'to who is provided with a heart' allude to who is diversified in changes."
God acts in the 'professions of faith' of all people, it is manifested in them as very different they are, precisely because they are a result of the actions of varying thought, in which the true divinity expresses diversely. All faiths are a manifestation of God and, for this reason, there are none better than others, while all are incomplete for the same reason.
"This science is especially attributed to Shu'ayb (Jethro) on the occasion of 'movement in all directions', whose ramifications are innumerable. Every profession is one, and they are all ramifications.
(...) When the veil will be lifted, everyone will know a revelation according to his creed. It may be, however, that revelation will differ in respect to the divine decision, according to his words: 'And will show them from God what they had not anticipated'.
(...) As Essence, some servers declare in their professions of faith that God is in one way or another. When the veil will be gone, they will see the true form of his creed. What they had gotten linked thus will be disconnected. The creed will disappear and will give rise to a science obtained by direct contemplation. When the look will become penetrating never again will be weak. The diversity of manifestations in the forms then will make these servers see to appear that which differ from their creed, because the manifestations of God never repeat, so that the verse: 'will appear from God what they did not anticipate', is also verified about it."
"This constant progression is one of the strangest things that man has no consciousness of it due to his subtle and light veil and false similarity of the successive forms. Indeed, the common man is not aware of the permanent manifestation of God that ensures the renewal of creation at every instant. This appears, for example, in the words of the Most High... 'when a similar form will be given to they' (Quran 2, 25). However, one is not the other. For the Gnostic who knows they are similar, two similar things are necessarily different.
(...) How beautiful is what God Almighty has said about the world and its transformations at each breath! It is in a new creation within the unique Self. He said about some people (and this applies to most of the world): 'are in the confusion of the fact of a new creation' (Quran 50, 15), so that they are unaware of the renewal of existence at every breath .
(...) They ignore that the whole world is nothing but a gathering of accidents and that, consequently, is constantly changing, as the accident can not exist by itself in two successive instants.
(...) We should conclude, from what they say, that what can not subsist on two successive instants exists in two successive instants and even more, and what can not subsist by itself has become what can subsist by itself. They are unaware its contradictions. Really they are those 'who are in the confusion of the fact of a new creation'.
(...) Those who reach the intuitive revelation, they see that God manifests itself in every breath, and that divine manifestations are never repeated. They see by direct contemplation that all manifestation brings a new creation, and that disappears another. This disappearance is the extinction of the previous when the (new) manifestation of God occurs, and permanence refers to what offers this new manifestation. Understand this."
The world is renewed every breath, and every breath is different, as is different every idea and every thought. Never repeated exactly, nor the ideas or breaths. The diversity of ideas in our consciousness comes from the diversity of breaths ('the breath of God') behind each of them.
Ibn Arabi: Los engarces de las sabidurías. Traducción, edición y notas de Andrés Guijarro. Edaf. Madrid. 2009.