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The path of Perfection (Chapter 1): The meaning of life

The Path of Perfection

Once we understand where we have come from, why we are here, and where we are going, we will realize what we must do; from then on, we will no longer remain in a state of confusion[1].

Life is meaningful, and existence is not without purpose. We are neither created by chance, nor will we return to nothingness. We are not merely a biological body, and the specificity of our consciousness is such that it cannot simply be the product of the biochemical reaction of neurons. Although our biological organism or body is itself a marvel of creation, there is something more to the true nature of human beings: in reality, each of us is a celestial organism that has been merged with a terrestrial psyche to form a psychospiritual organism.

If we are essentially a celestial organism, why are we in this world and where are we headed? Once we find the answers to these questions, our suffering will subside, our sense of obscurity will disappear, and we will discover the meaning of life.

The universe is meaningful

Every particle in the universe has “life”, for it is in constant motion and evolution. Everything exists for a reason and a purpose, and each particle, even the most insignificant, has a given source, a designated function, and a specific destination. At the origin and heart of the perceptible and imperceptible world, there is an extremely powerful, intelligent, willful, active, and benevolent thought that encompasses and governs all things. What we call it-Creator, Yahweh, God, Allah, Truth, Total Being- is of no significance; what is important is to know that it is the unique Source that the founders of the great monotheistic faiths have recognized, and it is His traces that researchers in the experimental sciences have observed in the mechanisms governing living organisms and the world of particles, without necessarily recognizing Him. All that exists originates from the Source and, after completing its necessary growth (its process of perfection), will return to Him.

We are able to directly observe the ultimate maturation of living organisms such as plants and animals. For example, fruit is the culmination of the natural growth (perfection) of a bud. In human beings, a fetus evolves into a new born, then an adolescent, and ultimately into a mature adult. Parallel to the process of physical development, there is also a process of spiritual perfection for all beings. The energy for this process of spiritual perfection derives from an ascending “gravitational” force that engenders in all beings an inner movement called the transubstantial movement, whose direction is always geared towards the Source. In human beings, however, in addition to this general and automatic transubstantial movement, there also exists a specific, conscious, and voluntary movement toward spiritual perfection whose direction is subject to each individualʼs free will and willpower.

What is a human being?

In the terrestrial world, humans are two-dimensional beings composed of a body and a soul. The biological body is a temporary receptacle (mold) for the celestial soul and, at the same time, a necessary complement for the process of spiritual perfection of the “self” or psychospiritual organism. In essence, human beings are composed of the celestial soul which constitutes their true identity and survives the death of the physical body. Therefore, we can say that we are essentially a psychospiritual organism in the mold of a body.

The self or psychospiritual organism, however, is not an abstract entity devoid of individuality, but rather a “material” being, though of such subtle matter that the sensory organs of the body are normally unable to perceive it[2]. This organism is the source of our self-consciousness, perceptions, feelings, and other aptitudes considered to be part of the specificity of human beings. The self is endowed with the potential to develop and evolve toward its maturity (perfection), and whenever this potential is fully realized, we have reached the ultimate stage of our spiritual growth, meaning perfection.

In summary, a human being or the self is essentially a psychospiritual organism temporarily residing in a biological body. What endows a human being with an identity, what engenders thought within him and causes him to feel that he exists and will continue to exist after death is this psychospiritual organism or self.

The process of Perfection of the “self”

Like other responsible beings in the universe, human beings must undertake their own process of spiritual perfection, a task for which they bear direct responsibility. The path of perfection is a process of reaching maturation or spiritual perfection and consists of numerous stages. Aside from exceptional cases, a single terrestrial life is usually insufficient to complete all of these stages.

In the material world, our process of perfection consists in gradually developing virtues within ourselves that we call divine virtues (such as compassion, generosity, rectitude, etc.) A divine virtue is a balanced and perfect attribute that becomes part of oneʼs nature and of the same quality as His attributes. From its inception, each divine virtue acts as a source of light that shines in the unconscious of an individual and illuminates his mind. Acquiring even a single virtue is like a permanent source of bliss that one constantly feels and from which others benefit as well. The perfection of a human being occurs when he reaches the ultimate level of psychospiritual maturity-that is, when he succeeds in cultivating the totality of divine virtues within himself to the extent of his abilities and makes  them part of his nature. That is when an individual unites with the Source, experiences absolute freedom, and becomes eternal in a state of ineffable bliss while preserving his own identity.

Why are we here?

The purpose of our presence on earth is to undergo the embryonic stage of the celestial soulʼs development. Just as the biological embryo needs the maternal womb for its growth and development, the psychospiritual organism or self also needs a suitable environment (earthly life) for its growth and perfection. During the soulʼs embryonic stage, the psychospiritual organism acquires from earthly life the basic elements necessary for its development via the psyche. It is therefore essential to undergo the stage of terrestrial life in order to lay the foundations of our spiritual perfection.

What should we do?

The natural development of the soul requires sufficient knowledge of the causal principles that govern the spiritual domain[3]. This means that just as protecting oneʼs health and ensuring the proper development of the body (biological organism) requires knowledge of the causal principles that govern the bodyʼs health (the science of medicine provides us with access to such principles), preserving the health of the self (psychospiritual organism) requires knowledge of the causal principles that govern the self. This knowledge constitutes the science that we call natural spirituality or medicine of the soul[4]. As such, it is only by respecting the spiritual principles that govern the celestial soul that we can ensure the health and development of the self in accordance with its nature.

[1] As the content of this work originates entirely from the philosophy of my father, Ostad Elahi, I have commenced each chapter with one of his sayings.

[2] One of the reasons we consider the psychospiritual organism to be a material entity of immense subtlety is that it is subject to the laws of causality like any other material being. On this topic, see Spirituality is a science.

[3] By “natural development of the soul” we mean the development of the celestial soul in accordance with its nature.

[4] The adjective “natural” signifies that the nature of the celestial soul, like that of the body, has its own nutritional specificity, just as the nutritional specificity of herbivores, for example, differs from that of carnivores. Therefore, if we want the celestial soul to develop naturally (meaning in accordance with its nature) and to reach its maturation (perfection), we must nourish it with “nutrients” (divine ethical principles) that are suited to its creational nature.

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1 comment

  1. george Dec 31, 2011 7:52 am 1

    this information explains the process that i am going through
    the video about the 2 selves is excellent – i would like to know of more of the videos

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