I’m fascinated by light, so I’m feeling especially curious today because it is the first day in the Baha’i month of Light.
We all look at light, in its most basic elementary level, as a byproduct of fire. Fire, obtained from the energies released by the sun, embodies both positive and negative qualities. It destroys, it illumines and it transforms.
In its most positive, spiritual and altruistic aspect, fire is experienced as the light of love; whereas when love is overshadowed by self at its lowest, animalistic level, it is experienced as the darkness of hate and anger. In between these two equal and opposite forces for good and evil is awareness, with its potential for knowledge, volition and action. Choice is the key. In light of the world we live in today, we are continually faced with the complex question, “What do we choose, and why?”
The first thought about light that came to my mind as the sun set on yesterday was this quote from the writings of Baha’u’llah: “So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth.” – Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 14.
Just this quote alone provides enough fuel for thought and action to fill up an entire month! Instead, there are volumes of Baha’u’llah’s prayers and writings at our disposal for guidance, protection, inspiration and illumination.
This spiritual principle, and many more inter-related principles, were revealed by Baha’u’llah in the 19th century, at the same time when scientists in many parts of the world were inspired by light as a phenomenon that might be “caught” and “captured,” “tamed and harnessed” to serve the progress of humanity. Was it a mere coincidence that, simultaneously in 1879, Benjamin Franklin’s earlier experiments with electricity resulted in the first commercially practical light bulb? If our observations were to be all-inclusive and all-embracing, we would see in the unity of these coinciding events that there are no coincidences or random accidents.
So, guided by this principle of light, astounded by the simultaneous advances (and declines) that have been made in the worlds of science and spirituality in the last 200 years, inquiries into the science and spirituality of light inform us that unity is the key.
Without a unity that includes both polarities of positive and negative, man-made light as we know it could not exist. Nature has no choice when once we have discovered how to use it. On the other hand, we as humans, at the highest level of our God-given capacity for consciousness, do have a choice. Unity is a choice. Love is a choice.
Now, with all this in mind, what is your immediate response when you hear of the various tragedies and catastrophes that occur in the world at large? Where do we turn? What are our options? Fear and chaos, or love and unity? What will produce the best results? When all is said and done, the Baha’i teachings say, unity is the key to averting the world’s ills:
… the synchronization of such world-shaking crises with the progressive unfoldment and fruition of their divinely appointed task is itself the work of Providence, the design of an inscrutable Wisdom, and the purpose of an all-compelling Will, a Will that directs and controls, in its own mysterious way, both the fortunes of the Faith and the destinies of men. Such simultaneous processes of rise and fall, of integration and of disintegration, of order and chaos, with their continuous and reciprocal reactions on each other, are but aspects of a greater Plan, one and indivisible, whose Source is God, whose author is Baha’u’llah, the theatre of whose operations is the entire planet, and whose ultimate objectives are the unity of the human race and the peace of all mankind. – Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice, pp. 60-61.