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The right to divine guidance: how can we make it effective? Debate.

By - Feb 9, 2016 - Category Articles - Print Print - Version française

Human beings aren’t what they are from the outset. Endowed with reason and free will, it is our duty to bring about humanity within ourselves by actively engaging in our process of spiritual perfection. But in order to direct our efforts toward real spiritual perfection, we need a road map to show us which way to go and how to actually get there. In this regard, Ostad Elahi talks about a right to divine guidance, which is the logical consequence of our duty to perfect ourselves. On the basis of the following fictional situation, we invite you to think about what this right to guidance means, and about how we may concretely benefit from this right.

You are discussing this right to guidance with a few friends, and they each draw completely different conclusions, while pressing you to share your thoughts on the topic:

  1. Charles is very pleased with this idea, as it confirms what he has always thought. He considers himself ready to receive this guidance: since it is a legitimate right, he is resolutely waiting for it. He will know and accept it when he sees it. “That said, I do wonder what form it will take.”
  2. Adam believes he already has quite some experience in the field: he explains that he has already searched for this guidance a lot but that every time he thought he was getting there, something made him doubt and resume his quest. He wonders how to move forward from there and from where to “start from scratch, once and for all”.
  3. Lisa disagrees. In her opinion it is neither productive to wait for something external to happen and drastically change our daily life, nor useful to search for this drastic change throughout the world: everyone can find this guidance within themselves. But you have to be ready for it. How? “Well, that’s where it gets complicated.”
  4. Chloe was repelled by such ideas a long time ago because of a dogmatic religious education. She hasn’t given these questions much thought since then, or at least she hadn’t until this conversation… She wouldn’t mind finding some answers, but given the current state of the world, she increasingly wonders whether these answers actually exist anywhere: in short “is the number we are trying to reach still in service?”.

What do you think?

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1. Do you feel close, or have you ever felt close, to some or all aspects of the state of mind of one of these protagonists?

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2. What do you think about their conclusions? How would you answer to each of your friends, and more specifically, what would you suggest them to do?

3. There is no reason to rule out the fact that these people may have been put into contact with divine guidance. It is even reasonable to assume that they have, several times even, but that they did not recognise it as such, or did not follow it… Why do you think that is? What elements can lead us to not recognise divine guidance, or to not accept following it when it presents itself?

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  1. NAGHME Feb 09, 2016 4:28 am 1

    This excerpt from Bahram Elahi’s book Foundations of Natural Spirituality might be useful for this debate : “God is in everything, everywhere and with everyone. Whether in a dream or while we are awake, directly or indirectly, through the intermediary of His messengers or those who are loved by us, or through any other means—even a passerby in the street—He communicates with each one of us. But in order to hear Him and to understand Him, we must first learn how to decode His messages.” (Foundations of Natural Spirituality, page 18)

    1. A. Feb 09, 2016 6:09 pm 1.1

      Well, said. I would also add that His messages are also tailored to our needs and spiritual maturity. So one should not think that he/she will benefit from divine guidance only if he/she is very sincere and only if he/she really seeks divine satisfaction – otherwise very few people would pass the test 😉

      1. Ia Feb 10, 2016 5:32 pm 1.1.1

        I find this very encouraging and even rejoicing. I have a tendency to think that I am cutting myself off from guidance because I am not “good enough”, because I am not engaging enough in praying, that I know I need to establish the communication; or to work to deserve such “signs” by making myself “acceptable”, by putting the principles I have learned into practice…
        It seems sometimes to be a vicious cycle; that if I do not make the effort I will not receive divine guidance, but if I do not receive divine guidance, I may not be able to get out of the tug of the imperious self that will mask itself from my sound reason…
        I can only pray and hope and ask the Source to guide me, to make me seek His satisfaction no matter what my Imperious self is trying to pull off.
        So, yes, I would like to be reassured that He will communicate to me at the level of my comprehension and maturity. And that I will hear Him. And that others too at their pace will be guided. Maybe then I will be less judgmental also of others.
        This is all a bit of a conundrum to me.

    2. AS Feb 09, 2016 6:43 pm 1.2

      That is interesting. What would you recommend to them in taking steps go about learning how to decode His messages?

      1. Ss Feb 10, 2016 7:40 am 1.2.1

        I think what God wants is for us to follow his way and do as he does, once we learn to forgive and love like him then I think he will help us to fight against our imperious self, which is the main reason we may fail to do good.

  2. PS Feb 09, 2016 8:28 pm 2

    Lisa suggests a more pragmatic approach to searching for divine guidance. She doesn’t expect God to, miraculously, create a scene for her that will strengthen her faith. I think this is correct.

    Chloe, on the other hand, had a bitter experience early in her life and got biased against spirituality and the idea of religion. I can find many similar examples of people around me who follow the same pattern. In my opinion prejudices should be put away since it could disrupt our ability to decode his messages correctly.

  3. Dokhi Feb 09, 2016 9:12 pm 3

    One of the reasons why some people cannot connect with Divine guidance could be that the gravity and importance of it has not yet dawn on them. They can simply not be bothered and since they don’t have a destination in mind they don’t look for a roadmap to find out how to reach it. Or since it doesn’t provide any immediate spiritual reward or satisfaction they don’t “enjoy” engaging in it. They prefer to ignore it because their understanding of correct Divine guidance is falsified.
    As the article speaks of a roadmap or a GPS to direct us, my impression is that we should first search for it with the intention of finding the truth rather than satisfying our ego. There might be some faulty or fake GPS which will not take the travelers anywhere and one which, if followed correctly, takes us to our ultimate destination. Our second step is to try following the guidance of the Divine road map as much as we can.
    If we don’t look for a map and rely on our own faculty for finding the right way, we might never reach our destination.

  4. NM Feb 09, 2016 10:28 pm 4

    I agree with Lisa because in order to know God you have to first know yourself. I would say to the others in the group that an individual has to be mature and have a strong sense of self-awareness. This will enable them to want to improve with regard to their negative traits and want to become a better person overall. He is always watching and listening and will guide us accordingly.

    Some elements which may lead one to not recognize divine guidance would be selfishness, pride, arrogance, and doubt to name a few.

    1. I Mar 28, 2021 7:48 am 4.1

      Who doesn’t have a sense of self awareness? Individuals might be distracted and negligent in regards to others and their rights or feelings. Usually this is due to a sense of survival or self preservation. This is the result of a misplaced identification of what constitutes the self. Who are we? or am I. Perception of any thing or anything is filtered through the pin holes of ego. The less ego, the greater the compassion and the aperture of perception begins to dilate.

  5. P. Feb 10, 2016 4:57 am 5

    Answer to question 2:

    I would say to Charles that we need to make some efforts to understand His messages.

    I would say to Adam that we need to gradually learn it, I mean learn to decode and use divine messages.

    I would say to Lisa that I agree with this idea that we should not seek something to make a sudden or big change in our life. However, I would add that we should notice divine messages that are given to guide us.

    Answer to question 3:

    I think first we should not seek divine guidance to help in our material affairs. Additionally, we should decide to make some efforts for understanding His messages.

  6. Farinaz Feb 10, 2016 4:55 pm 6

    From past experiences , his messages are very clear if you focus without prejudice. The times I didn’t understand was when I persisted with my imperious self’s desires.

  7. L Feb 10, 2016 11:36 pm 7

    To Charles: these messages present themselves through scenarios in our daily life. When something happens to you, try to see why it happened and to react in an ethical way.
    To Adam: do not doubt something that makes sense. When something happens and you see it as a message for you or sign, don’t doubt it and then look for more signs; hopefully you will get there.
    To Lisa: be open to find those messages in the form of scenarios in your daily life. Be ready as soon as you start your day and ask God to make your eyes see through the scenarios.
    To Chloe: yes, the number is still working but over the years, as the whole world has changed, perhaps it has changed a little bit. We need the new number and new ways to connect. Everything has changed over the years, our cars, our phones…everything. So we need to look for new ways to connect.

  8. Holly Feb 12, 2016 12:31 pm 8

    My advice to Chloe would be , there are no simple ways of finding the answer to the above questions. As with everything else we sometimes have to either experience things or simply give things a chance.
    I would share some of my personal experiences – how I too was very uncertain at one point about the existence of God, how I, through both reading and practicing a few simple rules of guidance, started to feel not just empowered with knowledge, but also started to realize there is and must be more to life than what we can see or feel with our senses.
    Hence, I started to in my own way, in my own time and in a very sincere way to just talk to God. It surely was hard at first as, I could not see, hear or feel much. But like with everything else in life, I promised myself to give it my best shot, so – I did not cheat and give up easily. I continued this mission of finding out if there is a God and if I could benefit or establish a connection! I know it sounds selfish – to some, but I seriously needed help in many aspects of my life – and I had very few choices left. Anyhow, getting back to how I managed to find God! As I am certain God was never too far from me, even though I was miles and miles away from him for many many years and on many occasions.
    So, it sounds very simple, but it’s hard to do – Chloe – my dear just give Yourself a chance to experience something different, feel different and most importantly keep an open heart/eye – just try and talk to God in your own way & in your own time – ask God questions, things that you may be uncertain about, put aside your pride, and look for signs, little things that only you can at times know what they mean – and simply be honest with the result and the outcome. There are many factors that will help with the above answers however, in my opinion two major factors play a strong role in feeling the presence of God – Honesty and Bravery! Honesty – to be honest with your inner thoughts, with what you see, and not to just leave things to chance etc., Bravery – to be brave enough to accept new thoughts, ideas, ways and simply to know yes there is God and he is everywhere and closer to us than we can ever imagine.

    1. Elements Feb 23, 2016 1:19 am 8.1

      Thank you for sharing. I think that is exactly what it is, persistence and a pure, open heart.

  9. Julie Feb 14, 2016 10:33 pm 9

    Reasons they might not recognize it could be that:
    1. They are careless and don’t pay attention to signs.
    2. They focus on what they want rather than what He wants. If anything was to go against their will, they wouldn’t want to accept it.
    3. They are not truly honest with divine. They want His guidance for themselves not because of Him.

  10. Sm Feb 15, 2016 4:19 pm 10

    My general answer to all of them is nothing in this life is easy! If you want something bad enough and keep searching in your heart and really ask God for guidance and answers you will find it. I think everyone can get there but they have to be willing to look and work for it. We wouldn’t be searching if our life was perfect and comfortable, spirituality is so deep that it can not be passed down or explained unless one is ready to grab it and has earned it!

  11. yocto Feb 16, 2016 6:15 pm 11

    I want to say just be sincere and ask for nothing but guidance and you’ll find it, but no, I am not gonna say that. Instead I’ll ask all of them “Are you angry enough?” angry enough of so many misguided interpretations of scriptures? angry enough of the inequalities and injustices you see in the world? angry enough of current status of science not being able to provide answers to so many questions? angry enough to see how human lives are deteriorating over time instead of improving? angry enough of how short-lived are the feelings of happiness and peace and calm only to see them replaced by feelings of sadness and emptiness within hours if not minutes… And are you curious, open, and brave enough to accept unconventional (and inconvenient at times) wisdom when you hear it? If yes then direct and use the energy of that anger toward finding the answers. If no then don’t bother!

    1. K. Feb 21, 2016 10:52 am 11.1

      Such an interesting answer!

  12. pzlz Feb 28, 2016 7:23 pm 12

    I think it really comes down to our definition of “who is connected to divine guidance.” A doctor who treats his patients conscientiously? A student who seriously concentrates on his studies to be more useful to others? A judge who does his job conscientiously and altruistically without yielding to pressure? A firefighter who risks his life to save another just for the sake of doing the right thing? A lady who stops to pick up a trash she sees on the street to dump it into trash can? A girl who stands up for another classmate who’s bullied by a bunch of populars?

  13. Hung Mar 02, 2016 9:18 pm 13

    My personal experience was that I asked for help and guidance, then something totally unexpectedly happened and I didn’t have any doubt that it was my answer.

  14. LA Mar 23, 2016 11:57 am 14

    I think if our soul encounters the blessing of God’s guidance, it will not be able to detach itself from it – so He chooses his students – provided we are sincere & ready to walk the full path He leads us on, pragmatically, with humility and only with the ultimate goal of His Satisfaction.

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