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The process of self-perfection

The process of self-perfection is decidedly the basic concept and leading thread in Ostad Elahi’s teachings. It is therefore important to understand what it implies. It does not mean developing one’s talents, or attaining perfect mastery of some technical ability. There are many different ways of improving one’s physical or mental skills; but when it comes to spirituality, it is the very essence of human nature which is the main issue. The purpose of spirituality is not merely to develop physical and mental faculties, but to bring one’s essential self to full spiritual maturity.

Now, the question is, what do we mean by bringing oneself to full spiritual maturity, which has nothing to do with aptitudes valued and approved by society? What does perfecting oneself entail, when applied, not to the various aspects of one’s personality, but to one’s essential self? Do we need to make out a list of performances to be improved upon? And if we are to acquire certain qualities, how are we to identify them? To understand all this, we must first clarify what is meant by the “self” – what is it in me that says “I”.
The concept of perfection, as applied to humans, would remain undefined, if it were not taken into account as an idea directly related to the specific finality of human beings. It is only when we understand what we, as human beings, can become, how we are made to better ourselves, and finally realize truly what we are, that the question of perfection can acquire a more concrete meaning. Now, what is our highest potential, our ultimate aim as human beings? To bring our nature to full bloom, to develop all our inner powers to the highest possible degree, and thus raise human traits within us to their highest level. This is how the concept of transcendence takes on a concrete meaning, being inseparable from the drive that prompts us towards a higher state of self-realization. Human beings are creatures who have the capacity to transform their essential being into radiating human qualities within themselves.

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11 comments

  1. Shirin Nooravi Oct 19, 2009 6:57 am 1

    I enjoyed the article so much. Thanks a million.

  2. wire Jan 23, 2013 2:16 am 2

    how does one develop the need/desire to perfect oneself?
    can it be instilled in us?

    why would i want to change if i am kind to others, perform good deeds, and even have a belief in God?

  3. 7 Jan 25, 2013 1:40 pm 3

    @wire
    Why would I want to change if I am kind to others, perform good deeds, and even have a belief in God!

  4. k Jan 26, 2013 6:36 pm 4

    @ wire: I think your questions reflects a very poor theoretical knowledge about spirituality.
    For example why are you kind to others (what is your intention)?
    We should (re)read the books in the resource section more often.

  5. k Jan 26, 2013 6:49 pm 5

    By the way, if I remember correctly, one of the first conditions for self-knowledge is not to be content with oneself.

  6. Blake Jan 28, 2013 3:47 am 6

    @ Wire – comment #2

    I for one also believed I am kind to others and perform good deeds for divine satisfaction plus fight my imperious self and check off my task list on a regular basis in a simple log book. So far so good; until I just recently saw Professor Elahi’s in-vivo spirituality lecture where he mentioned spiritual anorexia: http://www.e-ostadelahi.com/eoe-en/in-vivo-spirituality/ . It dawned on me that I was only feeding my Soul as much as an anorexic feeds their body. The indication was obvious for me because I could feel my soul was not “kicking with a desire to go further” and “taking charge” as I would expect it to. Thankfully that was a wake up call that my soul is undernourished and requires more of my attention for its proper growth.

    So I don’t think I have to stop doing what I was doing. But with God’s help, I have to re evaluate and make sure my spiritual diet is improved and sufficient for the healthy growth of my soul.

  7. kbld Apr 10, 2013 6:48 pm 7

    Not to be satisfied with oneself isn’t a condition but a result of self-knowledge, and it doesn’t come from theoretical but practical knowledge. Theoretical knowledge without practicing it does not lead to spiritual progress and is even harmful because it leads to spiritual superioritism, therefore precisely to being wrongfully satisfied with oneself.
    See the excerpt of Bahram Elahi on in vivo spirituality.

  8. k Apr 14, 2013 4:07 pm 8

    The correct terms for the condition seems to be: Not being self-conceited or proud. These characters result in that one will not see ones own flaws. Self-knowledge, if I recall correctly, is obtained by fighting the imperious self and practicing divine ethics, and is impossible without seeing ones own flaws.
    Being satisfied with oneself, self-conceited or proud are, in my opinion, very close in their meanings.

  9. k Apr 14, 2013 6:08 pm 9

    Now I have found the reference. I use the reference style from OstadElahi-Indepth.com:
    Bahram Elahi, ed. and comp., Asar ol-Haqq: Goftarhayee az Nour Ali Elahi (Words of Truth: Sayings by Nour Ali Elahi), vol. 1, 5th ed. (Nashr-e Panj: 2007), saying 629.

    I am not so good at translating, but here is my version of the translation:
    “The first step in self-knowledge is fighting against selfishness and self-conceit.”

  10. k Apr 14, 2013 8:29 pm 10

    @ comment 7: Also “condition” in comment 5 means as a law, requirement, a necessity, and should not be read as “a state or being” (which seems to be the way you read it).

  11. kbld Apr 16, 2013 12:14 am 11

    Your translation is good I think.

    – I think that not being satisfied of oneself is quite different from the two others ones. But each person can have their opinion: words don’t count, as opposed to the meaning these words have in our heads.

    – Above all, I think that this sentence doesn’t set any condition for self-knowledge. Ostad Elahi was saying that the first step in the process of self-knowledge (that’s not the translation but the meaning) is fighting against these weak points. I don’t think it’s necessary to explain more, Ostad Elahi was very precise and there is a reason for that.

    I think we should try to first verify what we want to write, and only then write it.

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