When I try to use my mind to understand my heart, I feel like a blind man trying to use his other senses to know an elephant.
Without eyes we can’t know what the elephant looks like. Without our inner eyes we can’t see what our heart reflects, we can’t know how the heart associates with our mind and the reality which reflects through our heart. Our mind can’t know our heart without opening our inner spiritual eyes.
What are spiritual eyes? Like our physical sight allows us to see the phenomena in the physical world, our spiritual sight – our inner vision – makes us aware of the deeper, hidden meanings in the spiritual realm:
The promises of heaven are ever present. The favors of God are all-surrounding, but should the conscious eye of the soul of man remain veiled and darkened, he will be led to deny these universal signs and remain deprived of these manifestations of divine bounty. Therefore, we must endeavor with heart and soul in order that the veil covering the eye of inner vision may be removed, that we may behold the manifestations of the signs of God, discern His mysterious graces and realize that material blessings as compared with spiritual bounties are as nothing. – Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 90.
For example, when we face difficulty, if we only see the event itself without seeking to understand why it is difficult for us, and what its ultimate purpose might be, then we miss the spiritual meaning.
Facing difficulty tells me that I have some kind of attachment which makes things become difficult. With my spiritual sight I try to understand what that experience can teach me, so I can see what I am attached to. When I understand what I am attached to, it gives the event a spiritual meaning. Usually, I’ve learned, I’m attached to a manmade idea – the values I learned from my environment, a mistaken belief that comes from the experiences I’ve had, or an insecure feeling which I try to avoid due to the fears which come from my past. If I use my inner vision to observe while I am experiencing the event, and feel it with my heart, I can continue observing the reality.
Finally, when I use that inner spiritual vision I’m usually able to figure out what I’m attached to through the process of reflection. To see with our spiritual eyes, we need to keep our minds open and still, so the mirror of the heart can clearly reflect God’s guidance. The spiritual meaning provides the wisdom which God bestows, by understanding why that particular thing happened.
Using our spiritual eyes, our soul also has power of analyzing and making the connection to our old experiences, which can lead to the understanding of the more profound spiritual meanings of life. With outer eyes we observe the phenomenon, with inner eyes we observe the changes to our inner power while we experience the phenomenon. We need both outer and inner eyes to discover how the world inside has a connection with the world outside:
… were man to gaze with the eye of divine and spiritual discernment, he will readily recognize that nothing whatsoever can exist without the revelation of the splendour of God, the ideal King. Consider how all created things eloquently testify to the revelation of that inner Light within them. Behold how within all things the portals of the [Paradise] of God are opened, that seekers may attain the cities of understanding and wisdom, and enter the gardens of knowledge and power. Within every garden they will behold the mystic bride of inner meaning enshrined within the chambers of utterance in the utmost grace and fullest adornment. – Baha’u’llah, The Book of Certitude, p. 139.
When we learn the deeper reasons behind our difficulties, we gain the insight and practice of using our inner eyes to see what God sees. In the process we understand better the Will of God and what He desires for us. God truly bestows knowledge through the difficulties we experience. Our difficulties are where God shines His light of wisdom on the dark spot, the attachment in our soul. It lights up our whole being and gives us the spirit of life. This light of wisdom is like the light through which the sun gives life to the plants, we gain the spirit of life and strengthen our soul with the light of wisdom.
And if, confirmed by the Creator, the lover escapeth the claws of the eagle of love, he will enter the Realm of Knowledge and come out of doubt into certitude, and turn from the darkness of wayward desire to the guiding light of the fear of God. His inner eye will open and he will privily converse with his Beloved; he will unlock the gates of truth and supplication and shut the doors of idle fancy. He in this realm is content with the divine decree, and seeth war as peace, and in death findeth the meaning of everlasting life. With both inward and outward eyes he witnesseth the mysteries of resurrection in the realms of creation and in the souls of men, and with a spiritual heart apprehendeth the wisdom of God in His endless manifestations. In the sea he findeth a drop, in a drop he beholdeth the secrets of the sea. – Baha’u’llah, The Seven Valleys, in The Call of the Divine Beloved, pp. 21-22.
Following Baha’u’llah’s teachings, along with daily prayer and meditation, gives me divine guidance and helps me find my heart. The love of Baha’u’llah has cleared my mind, opened my inner eyes, healed my soul and given me a new life. The wisdom of Baha’u’llah gave me the light to walk out of the darkness, to combat my own ignorance, and to follow a straight path. The Baha’i teachings gave me all that I sought but couldn’t find.