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225 Vote

Who is in charge of my free will?

By - Nov 10, 2014 - Category Practice
a man with a hat

Human beings are endowed with free will. This exceptional distinction enables them to aspire to the ultimate goal for which they were created: Perfection. But such an aspiration requires that they make good use of their free will when they are facing choices in everyday life, with family, at work, etc. Anyone who wishes to pursue that spiritual goal should thus, at all times, ask themselves the following question: “how and to what avail will I use my free will?”
Will I use it to pursue my personal interests in a purely egotistical manner? My ego would then be in charge of my free will, and all my decisions would be made without regard to what is spiritually at stake in a given situation or to my true goal.
Or will I use my free will to fulfil my spiritual duty, that is, to practice ethics out of a sense of human duty and with the intention of divine satisfaction, in order to nourish my soul and to progress towards spiritual perfection? In this case, I am fully in charge of my choices, because when I make a decision I take into consideration the aspirations of my true Self, and I am aware of both the material and spiritual issues of the situation.

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8 comments | Permanent link

252 Vote

“Connecting with the Divine”: a new lab on OstadElahi-inPractice.com

By - Sep 22, 2014 - Category Practice
Bridge under construction

“What is prayer? What purpose does it serve? What is its role in the process of spiritual perfection? Under what conditions can one best benefit from prayer? This lab aims at helping you better understand the goal, the effects and the conditions of prayer, and make the practice of prayer part of your daily life.”
Here is the introductory description of the brand new lab hosted by the website OstadElahi inPractice, an organisational platform for the practice of ethics and spirituality that we introduced here when it launched in July. After a first general lab entitled Toward an in vivo practice, which you may have already tried out this summer, this second curriculum entitled Connecting with the Divine, introduces us to the essential role of prayer.

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15 comments | Permanent link

241 Vote

An ethical dilemma on TripAdvisor: what do you think?

By - Aug 24, 2014 - Category Practice
evaluation - vote - review - rate - stars

Read this anecdote submitted by one of e-ostadelahi’s readers, answer the two poll questions and share your comments!

Let us note at the outset that the point is not to reach an answer that would be “right” or “wrong” in the absolute sense. Reality is far too complex to be summarised in that way. While the anecdote reported here is real, the exercise is virtual. This poll is only meant to trigger reflexion and discussion.

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100 comments | Permanent link

236 Vote

Is life as a couple a “laboratory” for the practice of ethics?

By - May 3, 2014 - Category Practice
Couple arguing

Family life is filled with delights and annoyances that are felt particularly deeply within the couple itself. The hypothetical case study of “Jack and Kelly” offers an illustration that many of you have commented on. What if living together provided a sort of ethical laboratory for each of the partners? This is the idea proposed in the following text. In order to develop this hypothesis, the author of the article briefly recalls the conditions for a successful practice of ethical principles, as well as the operational modes of the imperious self according to Ostad Elahi. Then you will be invited to give further thought to the matter by taking part in a quick poll based on your own personal experience.

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36 comments | Permanent link

268 Vote

Words for prayer

By - Apr 8, 2014 - Category Practice
bottle on the sand

I am convinced that prayer constitutes a fundamental experience and an essential reality. I have, however, always had some difficulty with it. My acquaintance with the writings of a large number of “explorers” of the spiritual world (from various origins and religions) have convinced me a long time ago of the importance of this slightly disconcerting act. Those readings used to always trigger the same emotion in me. I would sense that prayer meant breathing the perfumes of the “homeland” (as Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus could have put it) or communicating with the World of the Truth (to use a different vocabulary). In practice, however, my prayer would not even come close to the emotions inspired by these beautiful texts. I had learned some prayers and picked a couple that I would try to recite on a regular basis and with as much attention as possible. Once in a while, I would also experience those fleeting impulses towards the One who is usually referred to as God, or towards those who knew how to speak of Him. But I knew these were all just babblings, attempts that did not reach their goal. I aspired to more.

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12 comments | Permanent link

268 Vote

Ethics in a delicate situation: what do you think?

By - Feb 24, 2014 - Category Practice
Penrose triangle

Read this anecdote, answer the two poll questions and share your comments for 2 weeks! On March 9, an article will be posted, presenting several notions relevant to this discussion along with some guidelines for a good practice.
Let us note at the outset that the point is not to reach an answer that would be “right” or “wrong” in the absolute sense. Reality is far too complex to be summarised in that way. This is the toy model of a “clinical case study”: a virtual exercise in the form a poll aimed exclusively at promoting reflection and exchanges.

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71 comments | Permanent link

182 Vote

Selma and Louise

By - Jan 20, 2014 - Category Practice
girl reflection

In two previous articles, here and here, I wrote about the methods I tested to improve my self-knowledge, in response to which very interesting examples were also posted in the comments. Continuing this approach I went on to observe people not for the indirect messages I could draw (see here), but to single out a few character traits from their behaviour and then compare these traits with my own. Let me explain.

I have a colleague called Selma whom I greatly admire for her courage and her ability to be both respectful and fearless without servile flattery toward hierarchy. I myself lack self-confidence and am easily impressed by my superiors. I am all the more aware of this as I can compare myself to Selma. Lack of self-confidence is not in itself a harmful character trait for the progress of the soul, but it can quite easily become harmful in certain situations. For example, I was at a meeting with my boss Paul and the company head, when in the middle of the discussion Paul started criticising Louise, another of my colleagues, quite unjustly and under cover of humour. Not only did I lack the courage to correct the false statements made about Louise, but I smiled at the jokes my boss made, even though I really didn’t feel like it. After the meeting was over, I wondered how Selma, whom I had often seen in similar situations, would have reacted in my place. She would certainly have defended Louise, although with a pinch of humour to preserve Paul’s pride. This process of comparison enabled me to see the inadequacies in my own attitude much more clearly. Selma’s behaviour brought my own actions to light and helped me evaluate them more accurately. At the same time, it constitutes a source of inspiration on how to be more courageous, in practice, in ordinary everyday professional circumstances.

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7 comments | Permanent link

242 Vote

Mirror reflection

By - Nov 15, 2013 - Category Practice
Illustration old lady

To complete and sharpen my self-portrait, I decided to consider others as mirrors. The idea was to observe people’s behaviour towards me in order to find clues about myself and about what to focus on to further perfect myself spiritually. Having made this resolution, I got ready for my day and went off to work. As I pulled the car out of the garage and was about to turn into the street, I realized I had forgotten my cell phone. I left my car on the sidewalk right outside the gate and rushed inside to get my phone. I rushed back out less than two minutes later, just in time to find the neighbourhood grumpy old lady vehemently banging her walking stick against the metal rim of my front wheel. “It happens every time!” I said to myself. “Every single time I leave my car for one second on the sidewalk she pops up out of nowhere and starts banging on it!” This time, I wasn’t going to take it and so I gave her a piece of my mind: “I never leave my car out here for more than two minutes, this is completely out of line, it’s technically my driveway”, etc.

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13 comments | Permanent link

276 Vote

A journey to self-discovery

invisible businessman with hat

It is always possible to limit one’s knowledge of the principles that constitute any given philosophy, spiritual thought, religion or psychological theory to a purely theoretical level. This approach sometimes suffices to help give a general direction to one’s life and provide a reassuring framework by lending meaning to one’s experiences. To set into motion a genuine process of change in oneself it is however necessary to enter the practical realm of spirituality, namely, the process of perfection of the soul. But where to begin? What exactly should one do? The point here is not to put into practice religious rituals or to apply predefined moral prescriptions. In fact, spiritual work begins with a self-discovery. The first step is to observe oneself, as if from the outside, to carefully analyse oneself, and to “accurately assess [one’s] own attributes, positive qualities, strong points, flaws, weak points, etc.”. This approach requires a good amount of sincerity as it involves acknowledging and confronting one’s faults. It also requires a minimum of self-confidence in order not to lose hope in the face of one’s weaknesses. Finally, it is essential to keep in mind that this inventory of our personality must be done in the context of the process of spiritual perfection. In other words, the criteria with which we would measure our strengths and weaknesses and our qualities and faults should not be dictated by social trends but by ethical and spiritual values. For example, an introverted or reserved personality can appear, socially speaking, as a weak point, whereas it is neither a fault nor a quality spiritually speaking. It can even be an asset, as introverted people often have a greater capacity for self-analysis.

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18 comments | Permanent link

309 Vote

Negligence

Negligence

If someone was to ask us: “are you ever negligent?”, we would probably be tempted to nod in agreement, if only to make sure we do not come out as smug. But things would get much more complicated if we were asked to answer the follow-up question: “but in which areas and in what ways are you negligent?”. Because how are we supposed to identify in which situations we tend to be negligent and to what degree (occasionally/systematically, minor/serious), when by definition, negligence results from a lack of attention and thus cannot be clearly and directly perceived? Or since, in other words, we do not attach any importance to it.

Of course, there are times where the thin voice of our moral conscience will make itself heard in the back of our mind, right when we are about to do something negligent. But it will likely instantaneously drown in the nonstop muddy flow of our quasi-automatic thoughts, and lack the energy to push us to exercise our willpower to thwart that negligence.

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8 comments | Permanent link


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