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Within the great mystery lurking behind the force of love lies the key to the Creator’s indirection in teaching us.
Since everything in creation manifests the attributes of the Creator, our inherent attraction to creation ultimately informs us – perhaps initially on a purely intuitive or subliminal level – of the nature of the Creator Himself.
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Think about it for a moment, and try to understand what you consider beautiful, and why you’re attracted to that beauty.
We may feel attracted to the beauty of a polished stone, a fragrant flower, a butterfly, a king snake, a greyhound, a gazelle, a porpoise, because, as Baha’u’llah wrote:
All things, in their inmost reality, testify to the revelation of the names and attributes of God within them. Each according to its capacity, indicateth, and is expressive of, the knowledge of God. So potent and universal is this revelation, that it hath encompassed all things visible and invisible.
That’s one important reason why we love stuff! Not necessarily because we are inherently moribund and materialistic. Everything, especially our own selves, has the capacity to remind us of the sacred source of creation.
This explains why we feel attracted so intensely to our sense of the “self” in other people, because love is an operant law of our creation, even as gravity is an extant law of relationships among physical objects. All things in creation manifest some attributes of God, but only the human soul has the capacity to manifest all the attributes of God.
Another useful lesson lurks in this analogy of love and gravity. While the force of gravity depends on the proximity and the mass of the two objects involved, the force of true love — which is essentially a spiritual attraction — depends on the completeness and the complexity with which divine attributes become manifest in the two beings involved. In this sense, what we call infatuation or romantic love is not merely an invention or an illusion, as some philosophers have theorized. Indeed, as the Baha’i teachings say, love is a universal spiritual law and thus has an effect on us whether we wish it so or not:
Love is the cause of God’s revelation unto man, the vital bond inherent, in accordance with the divine creation, in the realities of things. … Love is the most great law that ruleth this mighty and heavenly cycle, the unique power that bindeth together the divers elements of this material world, the supreme magnetic force that directeth the movements of the spheres in the celestial realms.
One of the unfortunate characteristics of contemporary society is that we lack shared notions of morality, of family, or of community. As a result, we have also adopted a rather pitiful and unfortunate notion of love that depends on physical-sensual motives, rather than attraction to depth of character and the nobility of soul.
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As was already mentioned in earlier essays in this series, underlying the Creator’s desire to be known is His altruistic desire to share the bounty of His love with a being capable of becoming consciously aware of that love — and a being also capable of understanding how to benefit from and respond to that love. And yet, without appropriate guidance, we may very well not recognize the authentic source of what attracts us to someone else. As a result, the inherent urge to love within us can become diverted, deflected, or perverted. If we become entangled in attraction to something that possesses some attributes of the Creator, we may come to believe that the person or object itself is the source of the emanation of those attributes, rather than the attributes of the Creator operating through them.
Love as a Spiritual Force
Before we can appreciate the appropriate response on our part to this love relationship with our Creator, we must first realize the fundamental, profound “mystery” of love, because we have lost touch with the fullest implications of this force that binds us to the Creator and binds us to every other part of creation. We may marvel at the wonders of nature and the various forms of beauty emanating from one another, yet we may simultaneously be totally unaware of how these inherent attractions relate to our essential nature as divine creations.
Unveiling this huri or mystery of love is no easy task for us. It is hard to be intellectual or objective about this unseen and indescribable magnetic force we all feel at one time or another in one form or another. We have equal difficulty in trying to discover language capable of accurately describing this ineffable sensation, though artists of every sort have tried. In addition, love seems to have so many varied forms and levels that we sometimes apply the term equally to all manner of feelings and affections we have – the love of a parent for a child, the love in a marital relationship, sexual attraction, the affection we feel for pets, the affinity we may have for noble ideas, or the attraction we may have for Chinese food, tennis bracelets, a sports car, some political office or other form of personal power.
So it is that while we can never hope to comprehend in any complete form the essential nature of this metaphysical force, we are obliged to learn as much as we can about how it operates within us, especially as it becomes capable of leading us to the more lofty expressions of our human nature. Of course, staunch materialists will attempt to explain this force in terms of biochemical processes. We can, however, find a wealth of helpful information about the more sublime attributes of this inner aspect of our “self” by examining some of the qualities of love as portrayed in informative passages in the Baha’i teachings, such as this quite profound statement from the writings of Abdu’l-Baha:
Love is the light that guideth in darkness, the living link that uniteth God with man, that assureth the progress of every illumined soul. Love is the most great law that ruleth this mighty and heavenly cycle, the unique power that bindeth together the divers elements of this material world, the supreme magnetic force that directeth the movements of the spheres in the celestial realms. Love revealeth with unfailing and limitless power the mysteries latent in the universe.
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