Ascending the spiritual path is like a science. By applying certain methods and practices, one attains certain results. There are many distractions and misperceptions that block the clarity of that path and its illuminating effects in the world, requiring us to refocus over and over again; hence, for example, the repetition of prayer.
The believer, in his or her better state, understands Reality, but is swimming against a current of false assumptions and misplaced values. We have associated, by conditioning, pleasure and value to incorrect objects and practices – entities, which in fact bring us subtle or manifest harm. This is precisely the illusion of the world.
The purpose of the following list is to provide a clear reminder of some of the benefits of performing the basic religious and spiritual practices that feed the soul; to help us associate positivity and pleasure with what is truly deserving of it, and to encourage us to keep going.
1. You fulfil your Purpose.
You fulfil the essential purpose of your creation as one who knows and worships God and you realise the intended relation that you should have with Him.
2. You better your relationship with God.
That is, God becomes more pleased with you as you feed your soul and remember Him and you too become more willing to please and draw closer to Him. Your link with Him is thus strengthened and enriched. You grow to find Him in front of you and He becomes the eyes with which you see, the ears with which you hear, the feet with which you walk (hadith Bukhari).
3. Your heart softens.
You lose hardness of the heart which impacts negatively on your character and become emotionally responsive to the remembrance of God and to the life and teachings of His Messenger, peace be upon him, as well as to the joys and pains of other people.
4. You put situations and all things into perspective.
Situations and events as well as objects around you assume their relevant significance in this short, illusionary world. Your priorities are rearranged so they are now befitting for a strong believer and all superficial/unimportant things are marginalised accordingly. In addition, you see harms as harms and are not deceived by their allurements.
5. You feel happy and at peace.
You begin to feel the settled joys of feeding the soul, which positively affect both your deeper and temporary sentiments.
6. You become protected from harm.
The feeding of the soul earns you God’s protection from harms that are both known and unknown to you. These include harms from your own self, from other people, and harm from the shaytan and his followers.
7. Your life is divinely guided.
God takes control over your affairs and wills beneficial things for you allowing you to grow and develop in ways that you could not have manufactured yourself. This includes who you meet, where you go, what you come across, and what you beneficially gain and lose on your journey.
8. You have dreams that can reveal what you otherwise don’t see.
A purer soul is in a better state to receive insight when God takes it up to Himself during sleep. These insights can be warning signs or any new/useful information and indications regarding past, present, or future circumstances.
9. Your relationships in the world around you improve.
God places a mercy between you and others. The illumination of the self radiates an energy and gracefulness that is felt by others around you. People become drawn to you through the beauty of your character as it increasingly embraces qualities of humility, selflessness and contentment.
10. You become largely immune to negative states.
Negative states and emotions such as anger, despair, sadness, insecurity, arrogance, jealousy, envy, fear, laziness, depression, anxiety, etc., are not experienced in any serious way. The higher you ascend, the more insignificant they become until most of them, if not all, vanish completely.
11. Your sexual energy becomes more within your control.
Your basic desires are stable while your higher self is being nourished. Uncontrolled sexual desires of the body – if previously present – are reduced since you have discovered and are enjoying the higher, more lasting and rewarding pleasure of the spirit.
12. You feel inclined to do good.
The pleasure of feeling close to God makes you want to maintain and progress in this relationship. A pure soul will naturally and instinctively use its vehicle – the body – to do things in accordance with God’s guidance, typically in the service of others.
13. The Angels visit you more.
God may be so pleased with you that He mentions you before the Angels who are sent down by Him to both protect you from external harms and to pray for your forgiveness, though you are unaware of their visits.
14. You become more aware and sharper.
Inspirational and intelligent thoughts and ideas come to you more easily due to the mind being unhindered by previous priorities of mundane concerns and distractions. God may also inspire you with a thought or idea beyond your natural conceptual grasp.
15. You are psychologically/mentally stronger.
Negative situations and circumstances will no longer stunt you the way they did before. You will remain stable and more secure in the face of harsh realities and misfortunes of life.
16. You eat better.
Sensitivity towards your nutritional intake becomes more acute as you find yourself preferring what is wholesome and natural to what is processed and lacking nutritional value.
17. You sleep better.
A soul at ease renders the body and mind at ease, especially when at rest.
18. You become more confident.
As a result of having a close connection to God, worldly ‘threats’ cease to worry you. A security is established within yourself, knowing that everything that could happen is only due to God’s will or allowed by His permission, which always has an ultimately constructive purpose. Therefore you are able to approach the world with minimal fear of any person or circumstance.
19. You are used supernaturally to help others.
You become used by God as an instrument to mend and harmonise situations around you. Such instances are orchestrated independent of your choosing, though you will recognise such situations immediately for what they are and play your part accordingly.
20. You feel secure about the course of your future.
In the knowledge that your life is guided by an All-Powerful, All-Knowing Being who is capable of giving you everything you want and who wants the best for you out of Love, you can rest deeply assured that your future is in Good Hands.
21. You use your time more efficiently.
If you are feeding the soul well then you are naturally less inclined to consume time on empty distractions for fear of undoing what you have spiritually achieved, since such activities are counter-productive to the betterment of the soul unless sincerely utilised as a period of rest or temporary enjoyment in preparation for more good.
22. Your duas (invocations/supplications) are stronger.
When one’s spiritual state is weak, a dua can be akin to the force of something coming out through the mouth and abysmally hitting the floor in front of you. In a high spiritual state, the force can be likened to a powerful beam that shoots from your self and penetrates the sky. You feel like you are being heard and receive answers to requests with striking clarity.
23. You ascend through higher spiritual states.
This is the nature of the spiritual path – not something switched on and off, but rather, like the sunrise which brightens in small increments. Like anything worth striving for, it is easier to fall from grace than it is to rise to enlightenment. The path may be difficult initially but the effects on your self and in your life are increasingly profound and well worth it. Even if you slip, like Adam and Eve slipped, you learn, turn around, and keep moving towards Him.