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Spiritual understanding and the causal system

Ostad Elahi’s conception of spirituality demands that great importance be given to reflection and discernment, not of course of the material kind that we apply to ordinary matters of daily life, but a reflection and discernment rooted in spirituality and nourished by authentic ethical and spiritual principles. Spiritual discernment is also to be considered as a faculty related to the sphere of our emotions. The more refined our spiritual senses are, the more penetrating our spiritual discernment will be. Our spiritual senses remain numb and ineffective as long as we keep to the surface of ourselves, at the level of our superficial conscious self. But it is of no avail and could be even dangerous to activate our spiritual senses artificially – as is the case with altered states of consciousness – before attaining a certain degree of spiritual maturity. The faculty of spiritual discernment that stems from the celestial part of human reason must be exercised and developed, for it is inseparable from the process of thought education and the acquisition of self-knowledge that results from continuous practice.

Ostad Elahi’s emphasis on spiritual discernment gives a special direction to the way ethical and spiritual issues should be approached. Even though intuition and emotion have an important part in the process of self-perfection, it is rational understanding which is specially emphasized. In this sense, spirituality can be taken as a science, based on objective realities to which spiritual understanding could be applied. A reality is objective if it is stable enough to provide solid ground for experimental approach, the goal being the detection of general laws and principles of conduct.

All our thoughts and actions are part and parcel of some chain of cause and effect and by the same token, the maturation of the self is subject to causal sequences. Whether we act rashly or wisely, we’ll be confronted with the correspondent consequences of our acts, there’s no escaping the causal scheme of things. But Ostad Elahi tells us that if we get to know what we are made of and what is the purpose of our being in this world, we may be able to put to good use the causal sequences contained within that all-embracing scheme of things. But how can we do that? He proposes a close scrutiny of what lies behind our thoughts and actions, aims and reactions, along with a thorough consideration of the way we are affected by the world and the people around us, then we should be able to make some assessment of what we are and what we would need to be if we are to improve ourselves. This is what Ostad Elahi calls “delving in the self”. The way a causal sequence can be put to good use is that, having found out that the effect B can be brought about by the cause A, we should then insert the cause A into the causal fabric of our life and, by means of self-suggestion and repetition, we might succeed in gradually eliminating objectionable traits in ourselves and eventually replacing them by qualities more suited to the demands of our celestial reason.

It should be remembered that delving in the self can better bear fruit in the context of a coherent spiritual system. In such a system, everything that exists finds its proper place and whatever occurs is relevant, when reframed within the primordial chain of cause and effect, of action and reaction. Conceiving spirituality as a system or ecosystem subjected to the principle of causality, a system in which we are necessarily integrated, has two decisive practical consequences. First, whatever happens to us, we must always look for the cause of it within ourselves; second, when acting as free responsible beings we can, to some extent, bring about changes in the course of events. This new approach to spirituality, according to Ostad Elahi, is the surest guideline on the path of perfection.

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  1. Linda Nov 14, 2009 2:18 am 1

    This article accurately reflects an inner struggle that I have faced in multiple occasions. I don’t know if my experience is directly related to the causal system explained here, but maybe somewhat related.

    I experienced this phenomena a few years ago with my career. I disliked almost everything about my job and for a long time, I was unsuccessful in changing the circumstances, despite my efforts. I went on with my job feeling miserable everyday, until I thought maybe I need to be here for a reason. I tried to come up with different reasons to help me find my peace. As soon as I changed my perspective, a new career opportunity showed up at my door, I mean literally!

    I am now faced with a different, but in many ways similar, situation with a group of people that I have lunch with. I “again” –dislike one of them, who is loud, craves attention, and basically steals the show everyday by not letting anyone talk or share ideas. I sometimes avoid having lunch with my friends because of her. But I have started to wonder if I shouldn’t avoid her, and instead, maybe I should find the cause behind the situation. Is she really who I think she is or is she the reflection of some sort of malfunction within me? I don’t know, but I am certain that if I discover the source/cause of the problem, she will change in the same way that my job did.

  2. Serena Nov 16, 2009 2:19 am 2


    I think when the author says “First, whatever happens to us, we must always look for the cause of it within ourselves” he doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s always “our fault”. Sometimes, one runs into the same type of person/situation over and over to work on a specific point. For instance, if I’m a diplomatic person who tends to avoid conflict, I will keep running into loud, assertive people and conflict situations in which I will have to learn to speak up and defend myself, become more assertive. It may be very unpleasant and difficult to swim against the tide, but in the long run, I will learn from all the confrontation, it will help me grow, become more mature.
    Maybe the loud attention-seeker has come into your life for a similar reason. Maybe there’s something to learn from the confrontation. “Delving in the self” first, to understand what sort of malfunction is being targeted in this situation.
    Good luck!

  3. Zulu Nov 17, 2009 10:42 am 3


    Thanks for sharing your experiences. I think they are excellent examples of how divine causal system works. As it was also shown in your experiences, whichever scenario we are encountering may be different in nature but always targets our weak points. The challenge is how accurate we decode the messages in each scenario.

  4. Linda Nov 23, 2009 3:59 am 4

    Thanks Serena and Zulu, I always find comments very helpful. You made me look at it through different lenses! Well, I guess I have three days this week to put them into practice:-)

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