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Unity begins with “that mystic feeling”:
For the core of religious faith is that mystic feeling which unites Man with God. – Shoghi Effendi, Directives from the Guardian, p. 86.
Like the beginning of the “yellow brick road” in “The Wizard of Oz,” the path to God starts here. The road to happiness also begins here. The course of action to a better life — which means making this world a better place — likewise starts here. How best to progress along this path?
First, this mystic feeling is cultivated primarily in meditation and prayer:
This state of spiritual communion can be brought about and maintained by means of meditation and prayer. – Shoghi Effendi, Directives from the Guardian, p. 86.
This is true, not only for the Baha’i Faith, but for all world religions:
The Baha’i Faith, like all other Divine Religions, is thus fundamentally mystic in character. – Shoghi Effendi, Directives from the Guardian, p. 86.
Here, unity is not sameness. The expression, “unites Man with God” does not mean “Man is God.” This definition for “unite” applies:
“2.a. To make one in feeling or thought; to cause to agree; to combine or join (persons) together in action or interest, or for some special purpose.” – Oxford English Dictionary.
For a Baha’i, this definition could intensify to read: “To make one in feeling and thought” and “to combine or join (persons) together in action and interest, and for some special purpose.”
So “that mystic feeling” can arise when you are one in feeling and thought with God. “That mystic feeling” can also be experienced when you join together, with God, in action and interest, and for some special purpose.
How is this possible? As Abdu’l-Baha said in Pleasanton, California, on October 15, 1912, “How can the finite utter praise of the Infinite?”
Like a euphoric hormone, “that mystic feeling” courses throughout one’s being in the contemplation of God’s creation, as in Baha’u’llah’s prayer:
I am well aware, O my Lord, that I have been so carried away by the clear tokens of Thy loving-kindness, and so completely inebriated with the wine of Thine utterance, that whatever I behold I readily discover that it maketh Thee known unto me, and it remindeth me of Thy signs, and of Thy tokens, and of Thy testimonies. By Thy glory! Every time I lift up mine eyes unto Thy heaven, I call to mind Thy highness and Thy loftiness, and Thine incomparable glory and greatness; and every time I turn my gaze to Thine earth, I am made to recognize the evidences of Thy power and the tokens of Thy bounty. And when I behold the sea, I find that it speaketh to me of Thy majesty, and of the potency of Thy might, and of Thy sovereignty and Thy grandeur. And at whatever time I contemplate the mountains, I am led to discover the ensigns of Thy victory and the standards of Thine omnipotence.
I swear by Thy might, O Thou in Whose grasp are the reins of all mankind, and the destinies of the nations! I am so inflamed by my love for Thee, and so inebriated with the wine of Thy oneness, that I can hear from the whisper of the winds the sound of Thy glorification and praise, and can recognize in the murmur of the waters the voice that proclaimeth Thy virtues and Thine attributes, and can apprehend from the rustling of the leaves the mysteries that have been irrevocably ordained by Thee in Thy realm. – Prayers and Meditations, pp. 271–272.
Here, Baha’u’llah contemplates nature. He gazes at earth and sky, at ocean and mountains, and listens to the “whisper of the winds,” to the “murmur of the waters,” and to the “rustling of the leaves.” Here, Baha’u’llah can “hear” God. Not by divine audition; not by geomancy; but by “that mystic feeling.”
So can you and I. Just give it a try,
You can get “that mystic feeling” through prayer; by doing good for others; or even by hearing the “voice of God” speaking through Baha’u’llah, as in this passage:
O SON OF DUST! Blind thine eyes, that thou mayest behold My beauty; stop thine ears, that thou mayest hearken unto the sweet melody of My voice; empty thyself of all learning, that thou mayest partake of My knowledge; and sanctify thyself from riches, that thou mayest obtain a lasting share from the ocean of My eternal wealth. Blind thine eyes, that is, to all save My beauty; stop thine ears to all save My word; empty thyself of all learning save the knowledge of Me; that with a clear vision, a pure heart and an attentive ear thou mayest enter the court of My holiness. – The Hidden Words, p. 25.
Okay, I think you get the idea. “That mystic feeling” magically happens when you pray, meditate, and act — if possible, at each and every moment — in accordance with the love and the will of God. Easier said than done, of course–but easier to do than you might think.
I get “that mystic feeling” almost every day. But it’s easy to lose. It can vanish with the slightest intrusion of selfishness, of meanness, of doing wrong, of being immoral.
So my “50 Baha’i Principles of Unity” begin with “that mystic feeling which unites Man with God.” Finding that feeling will make your life “fundamentally mystic in character.” This divine elixir constitutes the secret formula for true happiness.
“Mystic in character” does not mean retreating to a monastery to lead a cloistered existence. It means to be active in society, to render service, and to do your part in advancing civilization. “That mystic feeling” can be experienced every day, in fact. It’s a positive addiction. “That mystic feeling” makes the ordinary extraordinary. It fills each waking moment with a sense of fulfillment, of purpose, of growth.