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Spiritual Progress

Just as we are incapable of correctly assessing our own true condition, neither can we discern whether we are in a stage of spiritual ascent or descent. For although we may feel we are in a spiritual downturn, in fact it might be the Will of the Creator, showing us our true state. This demonstrates that without self-indulgence, we are incapable of functioning and are immediately given to despair. Even depression and anger may result if because our bodies are not receiving enough pleasure from such an existence.

But, in fact, this lack represents a spiritual ascent, for at that moment we are closer to the truth than before, when we were happy in this world. It is said that, “one who increases knowledge also increases sorrow.” Conversely, a feeling that one is experiencing spiritual ascent may simply be a misinterpreted state of self-indulgence and complacency.

Only one who already perceives the Creator and His Divine Providence over all creations can correctly determine one’s spiritual condition. Based on the above, it is easy to understand that the further we advance along the path of self-improvement in an effort to correct our egoism, and the more effort we make to improve ourselves and to study, the more we grow to understand our own characteristics.

With each attempt, with each passing day, with each turn, we will become more and more disillusioned in our own abilities to achieve anything. The more we despair in our attempts, the greater grow our grievances toward the Creator. We then demand to be taken out of that black abyss, that dungeon of physical desire in which we find ourselves.

In this manner, events progress until, having exhausted our own potential, and having done everything that is in our own power, we recognize that we are unable to help ourselves. We must turn to the Creator, who places these obstacles in our path to compel us to turn to Him for help and to arouse in us a desire to establish a bond with Him.

But for this to happen, our pleas must come from the depths of our hearts. This is not possible to achieve until we have exhausted all possibilities and realize that we are helpless.

Only a plea coming from the depths of our whole being, one that has become our only wish – for we have understood that only a miracle from Above can save us from our greatest enemy, our own egos – will be answered by the Creator. He will then replace the egoistic heart with a spiritual one, "a heart of stone with a heart of flesh."

Until the Creator rectifies our condition, the further we progress, the worse we begin to feel about ourselves.

In truth, we were always this way, but to a certain extent, having grasped the attributes of the spiritual worlds, we have begun to feel how hostile are our personal wishes to entering those worlds.

However, despite feeling tired and hopeless, we can still regain control over our own bodies, Then, having thought carefully and concluded that there is seemingly no way out of our state, we may understand the true cause of such emotions, and force ourselves to feel buoyant and optimistic.

By doing so, we attest to our trust in the fairness of the management of the world, and in the Creator’s kindness, and in His rule over the world. Then, by doing so, we will become spiritually fit to receive the Light of the Creator, because we are basing our entire perspective of our surroundings on our faith, elevating faith above reason.

There is no moment more precious in the life of the seeker who is spiritually advancing than when one realizes that all powers have been exhausted, all efforts have been made, and the goal has still not been achieved. For only at such an instant can one sincerely appeal to the Creator from the bottom of one’s heart, because it is now clear that one’s own efforts will be no help at all.

But before recognizing defeat, the seeker is still certain that no other help will be required to achieve the desired objective. Still unable to beg for help sincerely enough, the seeker falls prey to the deceptive voice of the ego, which urges that, rather than ask for help, it is better to make an intensified effort should be made to accomplish the objective.

Finally, the seeker will realize that, in the struggle against the ego, the ego is the stronger of the two combatants, and that help is needed to overcome this enemy. Only then does one realize one’s insignificance and inability to conquer the ego, and become ready to bow to the Creator and implore Him for help.

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