Issue 109 / January -February 2016
How can one reach his or her spiritual potential?
First, it is important to practice concentrated contemplation, which should be directed both into one‚Äôs inner self and to the wider existence of the universe. This can be done through deep and comprehensive thinking on our journey that begins with birth and eventually, hopefully, leads to eternal life in the heavens and the stops and stations along this journey.
Second, revealing our potential requires upright conduct. It is possible to believe by convincing oneself theoretically, yet a person can only fully feel the weight of faith through practice. Those who claim to have faith should enlighten their nights by staying up in vigil and conducting their prayers with sincerity. This is how one‚Äôs heart and spirit can experience freedom from the boundaries of the body. This should be an ongoing practice. Some medical treatments will yield positive results only after a certain time; some even take many years of uninterrupted application. Just like this, the practice of faith needs time to produce its graceful outcomes. Of course, while on this path it is always possible that one can falter and commit mistakes. What really matters in such situations is whether the person endeavors to maintain his or her contact with the All-Merciful One. Such persistent contact will enable them to stand back up on their feet quickly after their slip-up.
Kant argues that God is a ‚Äúpostulate of practical reason,‚ÄĚ which in a way could be considered the conscience. If faith is a torch kindled by God, its endurance depends on our persistence in practice. One may not see anything extraordinary in the presence of those spiritually elevated ones, but their conscience can feel a lot of things. Reading the scripture and prayers can nourish your inner faculties, even though you may be unable to understand the words literally.
Third, living a life free from sins will enable believers‚Äô potential to flourish. A famous scholar, Imam Sha‚Äôrani, said he could not take delight in his prayers when he had to spend time with someone completely uninterested in faith.
Fourth, it‚Äôs important to practice remembrance of God, with His Beautiful Names and Attributes, to seek His guidance to raise the veils between us and what lies beyond matter, and to ask for His mercy. How often a person should remember the Divine depends on their spiritual capacity, but what is most important is to have confidence in our hearts as we commit ourselves to these devotions and prepare for eternity.
Fifth, believers should be very careful with the food they consume. They have to ensure that they eat only within the legitimate boundaries of what has been prescribed. Our spiritual capacity is certainly affected by what we consume.
Sixth, visiting cemeteries and hospitals can be a useful tool that helps to increase our feelings of compassion, love, and sympathy, and serves a reminder to be thankful.
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