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Selfish Desires

In other words, the heart that partakes of the outpouring grace of the Holy Spirit and becomes sanctified is made goodly and pure. The purpose is that the reality of man be purified and sanctified from the defilements of the world of nature, which are vile attributes such as anger, lust, worldliness, pride, dishonesty, hypocrisy, deceit, self-love, and so on.  Man cannot free himself from the onslaught of vain and selfish desires save through the confirming grace of the Holy Spirit.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, 2014 ed., p. 19)

We’ve all got vain and selfish desires.  We were created that way, by a loving God.  There’s nothing special about us or anyone else in that regard.  We are all sinners.  We all have vile attributes such as anger, lust, worldliness, pride, dishonesty, hypocrisy, deceit, self-love, and so on, so it’s nothing to be ashamed of.  There’s no need to make ourselves better or worse than others, when we see their defects and can’t see our own.  The trick is what do we do about them?

First we have to recognize when we are acting from our lower natures and understand that we have a choice to continue to stay stuck or use the opportunity to “partake” of the outpouring grace of the Holy Spirit.  We can remember that our purpose in life is to draw closer to God, and acquire the virtues we’re going to need in the next world.  How can we do that without tests, without opportunities to grow?  We can’t do it by ourselves.  We can only do it by turning to God and asking Him to transform anger into forgiveness; lust into detachment; worldliness into nearness to God; pride into humility; dishonesty into truthfulness; hypocrisy into sincerity; deceit into trustworthiness; self-love into service and so on.  Remembering and asking must be followed by faith and trust and acceptance of the ourpouring grace that is continually streaming forth for us.

Remembering that transforming my selfish desires is a full-time job that pays huge dividends in both this world and the next, I am grateful!

What jumped out for you as you read today’s meditation?  I’d love it if you would share so we can all expand our knowledge of the Writings!

If you liked this meditation, you might also like my book Getting to Know Your Lower Nature

 

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Perfectionism

 . . . to be free of one’s ego is a hallmark of perfection. We humans are never going to become perfect, for perfection belongs to a realm we are not destined to enter. However, we must constantly mount higher, seek to be more perfect . . . perfection will never be reached, but great, and ever greater, progress can be made.  (Shoghi Effendi, Unfolding Destiny, p. 453)

As a recovering perfectionist, my disease was setting high standards for myself, convinced that they were necessary to earn God’s approval and guarantee me a better life in the next word.  When I didn’t reach my self-imposed goals, I was mercilessly brutal and even abusive in the way I spoke to myself.

What this quote teaches me is that it’s not goals or the never-ending “to do” list I need to concentrate on, but rather I need to focus on perfecting the way I conquer my ego or lower nature.  I need to set the bar high on the virtues I want to perfect, and deepen my relationship with God, inviting Him into every area of my day as my Divine Friend, Physician, Companion, Friend, Healer, Best Lover and all of the other names of God which remind me of His perfection.  I can rest in His perfection and His love for me, trusting that I don’t have to do anything to earn His approval.  I can just “be” and accept all the love He has for me.

Letting go of the need to be perfect and resting in God’s love is all I have to do today, and I am grateful!

What jumped out for you as you read today’s meditation?  I’d love it if you would share so we can all expand our knowledge of the Writings!

If you liked this meditation, you might also like my book Getting to Know Your Lower Nature

Help Keep This Site Alive