Life, Rising Up
The Factors that Can Elevate Man's Evolutionary Life
The human soul has the potential for development and perfection; in order to achieve them, we must figure out what factors or methods can lead man to an evolutionary life. Here, we will provide 21 principles for it:
1-Man's natural self cannot be the leader of man's soul. If the human soul drowns in selfishness – in other words, if it is degraded down to its "natural self" – it will be unable to evolve. The natural self (ego) manages the initial, compulsory life; it never undertakes activating supreme levels and aspects. Let us quote from Jalal-addin Mohammad Molawi (Rumi) from Divan-e-shams:
برگشاده ســوی بالا، بالهـــا تن زده انـدر زمين چنگـــالها
خواجه می گريد که ماند از قافلهخنده ها دارد از اين ماندن خرش
(The soul has spread its wings, heading for the heavens, but the body clings to the earth – this world – with its claws. The wealthy man weeps, for he has fallen behind his group; his donkey is laughing at this.)
2-God helps man with his spiritual evolution. As Imam Ali has said:
عبادالله ان من احب عبادالله اليه عبدا اعانه الله علی نفسه
"O servants of God! God's most precious servants are those God has helped to crush their lusts and desires."
God, of course helps man know and elevate his soul when man himself wants it. As Jalal-addin Mohammad Molawi says:
چون چنين خواهی، خدا خواهد چنينحــق بــــرآرد آرزوی متّقيــــن
(When you want it, God will do it: God grants what the pious ask for.)
The potential and grounds for the will and enthusiasm to do good deeds is hidden inside man; the best reason to prove it is the great, glorious group of developed righteousness-seeking humans that have existed throughout history.
If such a will and progress toward development and perfection does not flourish, several inhibiting factors can be named, which we can generally categorize into two groups:
a)Man's hallucinations and inductions to himself, implying that it is too difficult for him to gain mystic knowledge and elevate his soul.
b)External factors also sometimes inhibit man. Unsuitable social circumstances, the lack of constructive education and many others factors are what man must overcome and do his best to move toward development and perfection; he should not shrug off developing himself.
3-The most important form of justice is justice toward oneself, which is not possible without harnessing one's desires. Self-preservation is the most significant factor that makes life go on. When the human disposition is released from all laws or human principles, it will fall into its natural path. Any activity aiming to preserve the natural self is destructive to man. If man proceeds toward elevating his soul – in other words, if he defies his desires and lusts – he has taken the first step toward making justice a reality. If man cannot do justice with regard to his own forces and potentials and save himself from drowning in lusts and desires, how can he ever provide others with justice?
4- One must not attempt to fulfill others' wishes and desires to the extent that one's own soul becomes corrupt. When governing people requires convincing them, and convincing them must be done by satisfying their desires and lusts, the result will be nothing but the corruption of the soul of the ruler and his helpers.
One who is sensitive about the improvement and refinement of his own soul, will never be ready to corrupt it in order to fulfill others' wishes; rather, the shining rays of his brilliant, good-deeded soul can cast light on others, too.
5-Make use of yourself for yourself. As Imam Ali says:
فاخذ امرو من نفسه لنفسه
"Developed man makes use of himself to his own benefit."
خويش را تسليــم کن، بــردار مزدوانگه از خود بی ز خود چيزی بدزد
چون به هر ميلی که دل خواهی سپرد از تو چيـزی در نهان خواهند برد
(Make me true, and take any reward you like from me; but if you give your soul to anyone you wish, they will steal your inside from you secretly.) Jalal-addin Mohammad Molawi
Man possesses potentials and talents that blossom on contact with the world outside. Some people make use of their potentials in order to achieve their natural goals; still others use them to gain human goals – these people make positive use of themselves. They activate their positive potentials, and enjoy perfection and development.
6-If you do not know yourself, you are doomed. Let us quote from Imam Ali (P.B.U.H.):
هلک امرؤ لم يعرف قدره
"If man does not recognize his own value and potential, he is doomed."
We cannot make use of ourselves without knowing ourselves. Man cannot activate his talents and potentials if he does not discover them and know about them.