Search results for tag "Self transformation" - 5 answer(s)

278 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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756 Vote

Pinocchio and the Meaning of Life

By - Sep 22, 2012 - Category Articles

We all know Pinocchio. This living wooden puppet whose nose grew bigger when he lied and who eventually turned into a real boy. The story of his adventures have arguably become part of our modern mythology. But with numerous versions and adaptations (including the famous 1940 Disney movie), many of us remain unfamiliar with the original story written by Carlo Collodi in the 19th century. Yet it is this original story that can be viewed as providing a brisk and original explanation of the meaning of life. It is therefore worth mentioning the brilliant new translation of the story by Geoffrey Brock published by the New York Review of Books in 2008 (a new edition for children illustrated by Fulvio Testa is scheduled to come out in October 2012).

In an article originally published on his blog (, Brendan McPhillips explains why, in his view, this puppet story constitutes a clear and accurate metaphor for the meaning of life itself. He has kindly authorised us to share his article here.

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226 Vote

Spirituality, natural spirituality

Spirituality Natural Spirituality

“Spirituality” commonly refers to anything that relates to the life of the spirit, which is sometimes called “inner life”. The extreme vagueness of such a characterization clearly leaves room for all kinds of associations and generalizations. Spirituality today refers to a vast array of beliefs and practices—from monastic life to yoga workshops, alchemy, Taoism, tarot-reading or astral travel, to name only a few. The supermarket of spiritualities is not bothered by contradictions—even atheism may lay claim to a certain idea of the spiritual.

For Ostad Elahi, spirituality is much more specific in meaning. On one level, it is in line with the religious or mystical understanding of the matter. Indeed, spirituality is first and foremost the life of the spirit considered in its true essence: distinct from corporeal things and, in particular—with regard to human beings—distinct from their animal part. Spirituality is inseparable from the process of self-transformation, that is from specific practices that make it possible to achieve a greater knowledge and a sharper perception of oneself and the world. The “life” of the spirit is oriented towards this end. According to Ostad Elahi, the idea of perfection defines this orientation.

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1090 Vote

Redefining kindness

By - Aug 14, 2011 - Category Readings
The art of being kind - cover

The art of being kind—or how to demonstrate that kindness, contrary to what society often claims, is not a weakness but an ethical quality. This is no easy task but Stefan Einhorn, an oncologist at Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm, makes a very convincing point in his book The Art of Being Kind.

Stefan Einhorn begins by observing that kindness has a relatively bad reputation, and is often likened to weakness, simple-mindedness or just plain stupidity. Einhorn, however, defines kindness as a form of intelligence: “kindness as I understand it […] is not the fruit of stupidity but rather of common sense”. It is a quality that enables us to live according to an ethics of the heart by taking the well being of others into consideration. Kindness redefined then as “the art of being human among humans”, gives it new depth.

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Benjamin Franklin’s “art of virtue”: a user’s guide

Benjamin Franklin

There is more to Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) than the American icon we know today. A printer by trade, he became famous as a gifted inventor, a scientist, a civic activist, a statesman, a diplomat (he was the first American ambassador to France), and the author of several essays on matters ranging from politics to marriage or the game of chess. Now, besides having invented the lightning rod and counting among the Founding Fathers of the United States, Franklin led a personal quest into the spiritual roots of morality—an aspect of his life which is perhaps less commonly celebrated.

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