M.T.O. Sufism® teaches that each human being is a true and comprehensive unit of existence. Therefore, each human being can manifest the eternal principles of existence. However, due to personal desires, habits, imbalances, and other interferences, we do not recognize our own true nature. As a result we are only aware of a limited dimension of our own being, and remain totally unaware of the vast inherent principles of existence.
The Seven Principles of Self-Knowledge
The Seven Principles of Self-Knowledge are universal and infinite. The individual can connect with these eternal principles and cognize his or her true reality through the Source of Life in the heart, the “I” in the core of one’s being.
Hazrat Salaheddin Ali Nader Angha, in the book Theory “I” describes the fundamental principles of self-knowledge as follows:
- Principle of the Prevalent, Informed Center
- Principle of Equilibrium and Balance
- Principle of Cooperation and Collaboration
- Principle of Comprehensiveness and Unity
- Principle of Harmony
- Principle of Guidance
- Principle of Love and Attraction 1
1. Principle of the Prevalent, Informed Center
Sufism teaches that the whole of existence, from atoms to galaxies to human beings, all submit to their informed center and are guided by their innate knowledge.
The center of the “I” is the prevalent, informed center, which is the source of our infinite knowledge. The center of the “I” is like a seed of a tree. The seed contains all the potentials, capabilities, and knowledge for its development within itself. But, the seed will only grow if it is planted in a proper environment, and receives the appropriate care of a wise gardener. Under these conditions, the seed unfolds and manifests the knowledge within.
2. Principle of Equilibrium and Balance
Permanent balance and equilibrium is the result of every single unit following the guidance of its stable and informed center. This principle applies to the entire universe, and creates order and stability.
The center of the “I” is the stable center that brings all aspects of one’s life, be it the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual, into balance and equilibrium. As a result, the over doings and under doings will be minimized. Instead order, health, peace, and permanent well-being will emerge. In the book The Secret Word, Hazrat Salaheddin Ali Nader Angha states: “Equilibrium of absorptions is the point of freedom.” 2
3. Principle of Cooperation and Collaboration
The cognition of the stable center leads to equilibrium, and ultimately to cooperation and collaboration. In the example of the seed, the harshness of the roots seems to clash with the delicacy of the flowers’ scent. However, when we look at the whole picture, we notice that every single part is in an intricate relation with the whole.
Cognition of the true “I” enables us to realize our true identity and value. It prevents us from being misled by conflicting values and from being influenced by greed, jealousy, selfishness, and unhealthy competition. It enables us to promote cooperation and collaboration at different levels of our own being, and in our environment.
Hazrat Shah Maghsoud Sadegh Angha states:
“In the infinite world, because of its unity, contrasts and antagonisms can not exist.” 3
4. Principle of Comprehensiveness and Unity
The center of the “I” is vast and infinite. When it is recognized and developed, the inherent knowledge within permeates and fulfills our entire being. As a true and comprehensive unit of existence, the human being consists of the cellular and spiritual dimensions. Both dimensions of his being, the matter and the energy, the physical and the spiritual, are enfolded in the center of the “I”, the “pivotal point” in his heart.
Unfortunately, due to mistreatment and lack of sufficient educational systems, the eternal dimension of his being does not get an opportunity to develop. It remains buried under multiple layers of ignorance imposed by social norms and habits, and has no manifestation to him. Therefore, he denies its existence, and becomes deprived of knowing himself as a unified being.
In the example of the tree, the seed is the comprehensive center. It contains within it the tree’s knowledge and potential for growth. The seed manifests its innate knowledge in two dimensions. The roots grow toward the ground, and the sprouts find its way toward the sky. The development continues in total balance and collaboration. The innate knowledge manifests in all stages in both dimensions in the form of roots, branch, leaf, flower, fruit, then…. seed again. In this process of expansion and contraction the knowledge concealed within the seed becomes manifested at different phases of its growth. At the final stage, at the core of the fruit is the seed again, manifesting the law of unity. Sufism enables us to cognize our reality as a true and vast unit of existence.
5. Principle of Harmony
It is often assumed that there exists a chasm between a human being and the universal truth, between matter and energy, and between a human being and the Creator. However, what appears as a chasm in reality is only the absence of harmony that renders the recognition of reality impossible.
To re-establish this lost harmony, the human being has only one choice: He must return to his original source of life, to the “I”, the point where “being” manifests itself in the form of matter.
The concentration of dispersed energies and potencies in the center of the heart, the “pivotal point”, provides the required harmony and equilibrium. This way, he can access his lost spiritual dimension and know his reality as a unified being. The journey of self-knowledge begins from the infinite center of the “I” and leads to absolute existence.
6. The Principle of Guidance
The reality of guidance is not cognized through external, acquired knowledge. The human being, through the journey of self-knowledge from the “i” (the limited self) to “I”, becomes in harmony with and capable of receiving guidance from the inherent knowledge and wisdom which is bestowed upon him. Guidance is possible only through individual effort; it is not a social or group phenomenon.
The seeker of the truth at the core of his being, in his heart, witnesses the light of guidance. The spiritual teacher known as the “Pir,” meaning “Light of the Path,” is the patient guide who illuminates the seeker’s path.
Hazrat Imam Mohammad Bagher, the fifth Imam of the Shi’a states: The teacher, the spiritual guide, is a pure essence which must be introduced (revealed) by God to the seeker’s heart through his divine light.
The guiding light of the “Pir” facilitates the journey. The spiritual teacher enables the seeker to reach a total level of equilibrium and harmony between all layers and stages of his being, cognize and witness his truth with certainty, and manifest his reality as a unified being.
7. Principle of Love and Attraction
The Principle of Love and Attraction transcends limited and changeable attachments, dependencies, and emotions. Love is a fundamental principle of existence, a field of attraction, and a rapture that embraces the entirety of human existence.
Hazrat Molana Shah Maghsoud Sadegh Angha states: “Love is an all–pervading electromagnetic force, which unites and connects all aspects of existence, from the smallest particle to the whole infinite universe.” 4
The seeker of the truth, through the center of “I”, connects to the love and attraction of the whole of existence. “This attraction unites every aspect of existence; it connects human beings to their source of life, to their stable center, the “I”. The center of “I” functions as a magnet that captures all energies, love, and attractions that exist in the universe.” 5
Through the power of love, all imaginary boundaries and distances are shattered and the law of La illaha illa Allah (there is no god but God), which is the law of unity, manifests. This is how the seeker of the truth, through the power of love, recognizes the reality of the teaching of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh), when he stated “You be You.” Your reality is the Reality of Existence.
1. Salaheddin Ali Nader Angha, Theory “I” (Riverside, CA: M.T.O. Publications®, 2002), p.97-116
2. Salaheddin Ali Nader Angha, The Secret Word (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1989), p.17
3. Shah Maghsoud Sadegh Angha, The Hidden Angles of Life (Pomona, CA: Multidisciplinary Publications, 1975) p.43
4. Ibid., p.60
5.Idem., Theory “I”, p.116