I love a good magic trick—you know, a really well-executed illusion that can’t possibly be real, but the effect seems so convincing you’re left shaking your head wondering “how did he do that”?
I am captivated, not because I believe in magic, but because a skilled magician appears to have pulled off the impossible.
Sometimes, though, our day-to-day existence dulls us to the real magic and miracles that occur all around us in our lives. Oftentimes, we’re so busy “making a living” we become numb to the wonder of being alive!
There are only two ways to live your life: as though nothing is a miracle, or as though everything is a miracle. – Albert Einstein
As a Baha’i, the older I get, the more inclined I am to see everything as miraculous. Each and every morning feels like another great day to be alive! I know that when I go through my days vigilant and savoring the interactions and events around me, I live a happier, richer existence. If I watch carefully and reflect, I might actually learn something—something really important! The Baha’i teachings emphasize that reality:
Indeed, O Brother, if we ponder each created thing, we shall witness a myriad consummate wisdoms and learn a myriad new and wondrous truths. – Baha’u’llah, The Seven Valleys, newly translated edition, in The Call of the Divine Beloved, p. 42.
For me, this sense of childlike wonderment becomes especially keen when fasting, praying or meditating. Lately, in those spiritual states I have come to appreciate the concept that the world in which we live functions as a cosmic textbook. The Baha’i teachings say every created thing opens a doorway that leads to a closer and more astonishing understanding of our Creator:
… he will find himself endowed with a new eye, a new ear, a new heart, and a new mind. He will contemplate the manifest signs of the universe, and will penetrate the hidden mysteries of the soul. Gazing with the eye of God, he will perceive within every atom a door that leadeth him to the stations of absolute certitude. He will discover in all things the mysteries of Divine Revelation, and the evidences of an everlasting Manifestation. – Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 267.
At every moment, he beholdeth a wondrous world and a new creation, and goeth from astonishment to astonishment, and is lost in awe before the new handiwork of Him Who is the sovereign Lord of all. – Baha’u’llah, The Seven Valleys, newly translated edition, in The Call of the Divine Beloved, pp. 41-42.
So Einstein got it right. In our incredible world, miracles happen all around us at every moment. But I am still trying to fully wrap my head around and comprehend this: As mind-boggling as our world and universe are, the Baha’i teachings tell us that this physical plane of existence is ultimately an illusion—a mere shadow of the greater spiritual reality:
Know thou that the Kingdom is the real world, and this nether place is only its shadow stretching out. A shadow hath no life of its own; its existence is only a fantasy, and nothing more; it is but images reflected in water, and seeming as pictures to the eye. – Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 178.
How cool is that? Like I said before, I love a good magic trick! This answers, for me, a question I saw in an online forum asking “Why are there so few miracles today? Why does it seem there were more miracles in the Old Testament – in the days of Elijah, or in the days of Moses, than there are today?”
How about taking the time to recognize those everyday, ordinary miracles that occur all around you? Learning what to look for might actually be the signal of personal growth and spiritual expansion:
Witness the wondrous evidences of God’s handiwork, and reflect upon its range and character. – Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 162.