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At some point in our lives, we all hear an inner call to search for something beyond ourselves.
When we hear that call to begin our spiritual search, our journey to discover the deeper mystical truths of life, we take the same timeless road all questing seekers once walked. On that spiritual path, we try to discover the hidden secrets of life—the keys to lasting happiness, contentment and peace.
The world’s most renowned philosophers, beginning with Socrates and Plato, and every major religious teaching from the earliest to the most recent, all affirm that the entire physical creation itself serves as one huge mystical parable that continually teaches us about our innermost reality–our soul. The unfolding flower, the green sprout, the radiant dawn, the ripening fruit, the fragrant springtime and the new baby, each beautiful in its own right, all have another level of beauty beyond the physical—because each symbolizes the power of spiritual growth, true happiness and a vibrant inner life.
Have you ever noticed? Nature’s vast, ever-evolving organic metaphor of physical growth perfectly parallels our own inner spiritual development. From birth to death, our physical existence surrounds us with a beautifully-crafted outward story of the inner journey we all take:
The first life, which pertaineth to the elemental body, will come to an end, as hath been revealed by God: “Every soul shall taste of death.” But the second life, which ariseth from the knowledge of God, knoweth no death … – Baha’u’llah, Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 46.
The Life After This Life
At the moment of our birth we all begin a journey toward another, more transcendental existence, that ‘second life’ Baha’u’llah describes. Baha’is believe that this physical existence is not final, but that it’s only the beginning of the eternal journey of the soul. Exploring the mystical dimensions of that eternal, universal spiritual journey can bring us joy, insight and enlightenment:
In this journey the seeker becometh witness to a myriad changes and transformations, confluences and divergences. He beholdeth the wonders of Divinity in the mysteries of creation and discovereth the paths of guidance and the ways of his Lord. Such is the station reached by them that search after God, and such are the heights attained by those who hasten unto Him. – Ibid., p. 26.
Our spiritual path, our growth toward the inevitable second life, no matter where it starts, ultimately rises and converges toward one singular Divine reality:
How wondrous is the unity of the Living, the Ever-Abiding God—a unity which is exalted above all limitations, that transcendeth the comprehension of all created things! – Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 261.
So how do we human beings approach this eternal, mystical transcendence? How do we find our own spiritual path? As a first step, the Baha’i teachings recommend an earnest inner search which leads to self-knowledge and understanding.
Specifically, the Baha’i writings say the mystic feeling which unites people with God is the core of all faith. Searching for and finding your own individual connection to that mystic feeling means cultivating your self-understanding, knowing your own soul, and creating a lasting sense of spirituality in your daily life.
That process can begin by regularly practicing meditation, prayer, and thoughtful, attentive reading of the holy writings of every Faith. Baha’is believe that seekers who approach and attempt to understand life’s great mysteries can find the answers they yearn for in the writings of God’s messengers, the founders of the world’s great Faiths. Reading Buddha, Krishna, Abraham and Moses, Christ, Muhammad and Baha’u’llah can open your mind and heart to a new spiritual reality, and allow you to experience the organic connection between all Faiths.
One Baha’i book—a slim volume of Baha’u’llah’s mystical writings called The Hidden Words—inspires this kind of deep meditative reading and study, and makes a wonderful starting point for spiritual search. Baha’u’llah called The Hidden Words “the inner essence” of faith, “clothed … in the garment of brevity,” which makes it a particularly powerful resource for spiritual seekers. This treasury of divine mysteries re-voices and reestablishes the deepest teachings of all the prophets of past Faiths:
O Son of Spirit! With the joyful tidings of light I hail thee: rejoice! To the court of holiness I summon thee; abide therein that thou mayest live in peace for evermore.
O Ye Rich Ones on Earth! The poor in your midst are My trust; guard ye My trust, and be not intent only on your own ease.
O My Servant! Free thyself from the fetters of this world, and loose thy soul from the prison of self. Seize thy chance, for it will come to thee no more. – Baha’u’llah, The Hidden Words, pp. 11, 41, 36.