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… that the world of mankind shall be saved from the ordeals of ignorance, blindness and spiritual death. Then will you behold light upon light, joy upon joy, absolute happiness reigning everywhere, the people of the religions consorting together in fragrance and felicity, this world in its maturity becoming the reflection of the eternal Kingdom … - Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 441.
Preparing for your journeyA word of warning: as with any voyage, you should not begin overburdened with excess baggage – which you will only have to abandon along the way. We all start out with inherited assumptions about the world and about ourselves, transmitted by our parents or unconsciously absorbed from our community and the media, perhaps also including a long-standing religious tradition or political perspective. In this journey, you need to be ready to question – not to reject everything in a violent gesture of liberation – but to bring to the surface and re-examine each assumption and preconception in an act of independent investigation of truth, so that what you keep is your own and forms a coherent whole, upon which you can rely throughout your journey:
God has not intended man to imitate blindly his fathers and ancestors. He has endowed him with mind, or the faculty of reasoning, by the exercise of which he is to investigate and discover the truth, and that which he finds real and true he must accept. He must not be an imitator or blind follower of any soul. He must not rely implicitly upon the opinion of any man without investigation; nay, each soul must seek intelligently and independently, arriving at a real conclusion and bound only by that reality. - Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 291.Equipped with the spirit of independent investigation, a moral compass and signposts for this journey, you can set out with confidence and hope, undeterred by the pessimists and nay-sayers or the fearful and jealous, empowered with the strength to take responsibility for your own destiny. Arthur Lyon Dahl’s new book In Pursuit of Hope, A Guide for the Seeker, published by George Ronald Books, is available here.