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Searching for the divine: excerpt 2 of a lecture by Bahram Elahi, MD

Natural spirituality gives a central role to reason, but it also recognises the full value of positive emotions in the process of perfection.

In this question and answer session concluding a lecture he gave at the Sorbonne (Paris) in November 2011, Professor Elahi discusses this subjective or lived dimension of self-knowledge. He touches upon the specific emotion that derives from our relationship to Truth and the divine, as well as the incomparable joy—at once powerful, light and profound— that comes with the understanding of real divine truths.

Further readings:

In vivo spirituality Excerpt No. 1 – In vivo spirituality

As far as spirituality goes, a purely theoretical approach to principles, detached from actual practice, will not do. Not only is it inefficient, it constitues a genuine impediment to spiritual progress: that of smugness or spiritual “superioritism”. [read more]

Our ultimate reality Excerpt No. 3 – Our ultimate reality

Nested in the cocoon of our ego like silkworms, we are unaware of what we really are. Bahram Elahi develops the metaphysical as well as ethical implications of this striking image. The reality of the self consists in a plurality of functions and levels of consciousness in dynamic interaction… [read more]

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  1. David Oct 19, 2013 12:12 pm 1

    Faced with these truths, conveyed in such a direct manner that resonates with my entire being, all I can do is to express my gratitude to Prof. Elahi and e-OstadElahi for the unwavering effort to bring to us what we all need most, the discoveries of the science of spirituality.

  2. Antonio Oct 19, 2013 1:56 pm 2

    very enlightening . . . very reasonable . . . very true . . .

  3. Elsa Oct 19, 2013 3:16 pm 3

    A Lecture by Prof. Bahram Elahi
    La Sorbonne, November 2011
    Excerpt 2
    Searching for the Divine

    According to you, what is Spirituality?

    Spirituality should be considered as a curriculum for the process of spiritual perfection, an extremely serious educational process that has its own principles, which must be applied correctly and precisely to obtain results.

    Spirituality is about knowing yourself and knowing God. That is the aim of spirituality. Knowing yourself and knowing God.

    What do you mean by “knowing God”?

    You do not have to search for God outside of yourself. You will not be able to know such a God. You have to know him within yourself first; once you know him within yourself, you will see that He is everywhere and in everything. And he is so endearing that whoever feels His presence, if only for a split second, will no longer be able to detach oneself from Him. It is impossible. That is the kind of emotion creates. It is not an emotion of a limbic nature that stems from the ego. It is a deep, pure, beneficial and lightening emotion that cannot be described – you have to experience it for yourself.

    How can one know whether a spiritual principle is correct?

    Suppose you have never seen sugar and I take a lump of sugar and describe it to you. You can describe this sugar to anyone, but you will not know what sugar is. I can tell you that sugar is sweet, that it is this or that, but you will not know what it is. To truly know what sugar is, you have to taste it. Likewise, to know what truth is, you have to taste it. To know if a principle is correct, if a divine and spiritual principle is correct, you have to taste it. And to taste it, you have to ingest it, that is, learn and understand it, and then put it into practice to digest, absorb and assimilate it.

    If you practice correct divine and ethical principles properly, your inner state will change and improve to such an extent that you become attached to it. And the more you advance, the more attached you become, the more serene you feel and the more hope you experience. And you find yourself in a state of well-being that is so endearing, let’s say, that you will not want to let go of it.

    What motivates human beings along this process?

    All human beings bear the impulse of Truth. If it is not stifled by negative thoughts and actions, it subconsciously drives us to seek the truth. Those who practice correct divine and ethical principles gradually reach these truths and understand them. And when it is sufficiently developed, this impulse of Truth transforms into the love of Truth.

    Now, the love of Truth is a spiritual love that originates from sound reason, and the pleasure you feel is deep, enduring and in no way comparable to limbic love. It resembles the love that a scientist holds for the truths of his science. When he discovers a scientific truth in his field, he is filled with happiness, filled with emotion, and this emotion he feels is different from the emotions that stem from his ego. The pleasure, the joy that you derive from knowing or understanding a divine truth is such that no other joy arising from the ego can replace it. It is powerful, light and profound.

    Do you understand?

  4. SR Oct 19, 2013 6:01 pm 4

    So motivating, this makes me want to work harder on understanding and correctly putting into practice correct divine principles.

  5. m.b Oct 19, 2013 8:33 pm 5

    thank you for the new video, about searching for the divine. it’s full of meaning. thank you again.

  6. m.r Oct 20, 2013 6:33 am 6

    Full of benevolence, kindness, and meaning.

  7. A. Oct 20, 2013 8:53 am 7

    You do not have to search for god outside of yourself. You will not be able to know such a god. You have to know him within yourself first; once you know him within yourself, you will see that he is everywhere and in everything.

    This state is certainly very advanced, so advanced in fact that for people like myself who struggle and cannot manage to even feel His presence during prayer or when practicing ethics during daily life, it can seem unattainable.

    This being said, one should nonetheless pay heed to this other passage from the conference “Those who practice correct divine and ethical principles gradually reach these truths and understand them.” It is hence through practice, practice and practice that one can gradually progress and eventually reach the state where he/she knows the Source from within. So there is hope albeit a lot of hard work ahead.

  8. grateful Oct 21, 2013 8:30 pm 8

    Dear Elsa,
    thank you for the text. For some reason (I do not know why) the video does not work for me, when I click on it. Although I still feel sad for not being able to watch Dr. Elahi’s lecture, I am grateful that thanks to your manuscript, I could find out what it was all about.

  9. R. Oct 22, 2013 4:37 am 9

    @Elsa: thank you very much for taking the time to transcribe the lecture in its entirety for us. It is extremely helpful and beneficial to be able to refer back to the text as we strive to study, reflect upon and strive to grasp the depth and beauty of these truths.

  10. iliashid Oct 22, 2013 10:50 pm 10

    Acoording to my experience, in a full and successful state of attention, you can feel a deep emotion which has great appeal, rapture, and fascination; you fell a deep “gravitation” from the inner part of your heart that leads you toward light and the understanding of your situation and the meaning of the message which is sent to you. Everything is then solved, if you pay attention to the origin of this feeling you simply find in yourself. But sometimes, an unexpected event takes your attention away and the feeling disappears suddenly! If you change your view and pay attention again, the feeling comes back! And you find your new message which leads you not to waste your attention on unimportant things and not have materialistic views. So it goes and so it grows. Thanks for your very important article.

  11. Y.M Oct 23, 2013 11:13 am 11

    “Spirituality should be considered as a curriculum for the process of spiritual perfection, an extremely serious educational process that has its own principles, which must be applied correctly and precisely to obtain results”.
    I realized how far I am from deeming the matter as “extremely serious “. The lecture of Prof. Elahi gave me the motivation to take my daily practical exercises such as daily prayers much more seriously.
    Thank you for this video.

  12. yocto Oct 23, 2013 2:39 pm 12

    I listened to the lecture as though it was the first time I was hearing these concepts. I tried to free my mind of any preconceptions. And this is what I heard: “Don’t be fooled by those who say I have the key to Heavens and will give it to you if you come to me.” I heard: “The Truth lies within you and there is no key! There is a curriculum, and there is a process.” One of the things I love so much about Ostad’s teachings is that he never says he is the only one who has the truth. He tells you how, and why, and what he did to become the Truth, he paved the way, is showing you the way, and is telling you: you are the one who has to walk through it. Act upon principles and you’ll get to your destination as well. I heard: “don’t wait for someone else to describe it to you, it won’t get you anywhere!” I also heard “here is what you do: take the ethical principle, ingest it i.e. learn and understand it —>> digest it i.e. reflect and analyze the benefits —>> absorb it i.e. practice it practice it practice it —>> assimilate it i.e. you’ve practiced so much that you are now completely attached to it, the principle becomes you and you become the principle.” Details of this process is thoroughly explained in Medicine of the Soul page 52. It is absolutely fascinating. The process is somewhat similar to Prochaska’s five stages of behavioral change (pre-contemplation and contemplation, planning, implementation, maintenance, and termination) only for spirituality where it is compared to assimilation of food in the body, with the addition of intention, types of intention, and their role in this process. Quite fascinating… mesmerizing…

  13. Linda Nov 11, 2013 3:16 am 13

    I really don’t understand what “the Truth” is. Is it the supreme being? Is it when you have an absolute knowledge of causality and chain reactions? Is it when you clearly see and understand what drives people to do what they do, feel for them, and let them be? Or is it when “by simply paying attention to something, you can instantly understand its truth” i.e. “nothing remains hidden about the being you’re observing or the event you’re witnessing” (quoting from Professor Elahi’s lecture “Self-knowledge and Perfection”)? I have not experienced any of the above, however I have noticed a sense of pleasure and happiness whenever I go against what feels wrong (I have decided that what feels wrong is probably wrong and it’s safer not to do it period). And that feeling is very different from any other pleasures. Is there a connection between all these? How should I connect the dots here…?

  14. Photon Nov 19, 2013 10:32 am 14

    Can someone provide a good definition of the word “Limbic” that is used twice in this article? The http://www.dictionary.com definition was not satisfactory for me.

  15. pzlz Nov 21, 2013 4:54 pm 15

    Thank you @Photon for the question! I only realized how off I was with the meaning of “Limbic” when I looked it up. I really like these two definitions, specially the second one (although I don’t know what/where the corpus callosum is!) hope it’s helpful: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/limbic+system

    Limbic system n.
    A group of interconnected deep brain structures, common to all mammals, and involved in olfaction, emotion, motivation, behavior, and various autonomic functions (The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language)

    Limbic system [ˈlɪmbɪk] n.
    The part of the brain bordering on the corpus callosum: concerned with basic emotion, hunger, and sex (Collins English Dictionary)

  16. Photon Nov 24, 2013 9:58 am 16

    Thank you @pzlz for the elucidation. The second definition helped a lot although I did not know the technical word corpus callosum. I looked it up. I may be wrong, but it seems that limbic emotions can be crudely put as emotions that intersect with our animalistic nature while the emotions that are not limbic are from the rational soul.

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