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The law of God is one; the evolution of existence is one; the divine order is one. All beings great and small are subject to one law and one order. - Abdu’l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, newly revised edition, p. 229.
At our depths we are all connected. The Baha'i teachings say there is but one divine system organizing the entire creation. The universe moves in patterned rhythms and cycles. Civilizations rise, and they fall. Every process of every form of evolution is part of the same ultimate Reality.
Individual growth and development reflects collective development, and vice versa. The prophets of God have illumined the path to the Creator with divine teachings meant to guide us to and successfully across the thresholds in our lives where opposites meet, clash, and ultimately merge, facilitating our growth.
The prophets have highlighted that blueprint, or sacred pattern, designed to keep us on the path that brings about the transformations in our lives that will lead us to our destiny. Like the sacred pattern itself, the principles of soul-making, or the process of identifying and integrating the dialectics of transformation in our own lives, follow a three-step process.
That process of soul-making consists of:
1. Remembering who we are at our essence, where we have come from, what our potential is, and where our destiny lies;
2. Re-visioning our life experience, the narrative or story that it tells, in the context of the timeless, sacred pattern that makes up the process of transformation; and,
3. Reclaiming a personal spiritual life built upon the collective spiritual heritage we all share as human beings.
These three steps, which we may experience as a remarkable narrative of clashing and merging opposites, will keep us on track to achieve our own personal transformation and the fulfilment of our potential, as well as assist in bringing about a collective renewal.
This collective renewal lies in the recognition of our common spiritual heritage itself. When we consider the world’s sacred texts as a whole, we can identify a single unfolding process meant to guide us through the stages of our collective childhood, adolescence, and maturity. This entire body of sacred wisdom says that the story of Divinity is one story:
The Reality of the divine Religions is one, because Reality is one and cannot be two. All the prophets are united in their message, and unshaken. They are like the sun; in different seasons they ascend from different rising points on the horizon. - Abdu’l-Baha, Abdu’l-Baha in London, p. 29.
On the deepest level, only oneness exists. If we can transcend the limiting identities society gives us, and recognize our spiritual identity, as eternal souls, this in itself is a worthy transformation. But it is also what will result in harmony, peace, and unity.
The Baha'i teachings call upon us to work for the time when:
All souls become as one soul, and all hearts as one heart. Let all be set free from the multiple identities that were born of passion and desire, and in the oneness of their love for God find a new way of life. – Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 76.
This is the one story we all have a part in. When we reclaim humanity’s sacred story–the one uninterrupted, continuous story of the Creator’s hand in every era of our history–as our own, we live into the unfolding story of the oneness of humanity.
This is the heart of the mystic way, and the fulfilment of our collective journey. The essential beliefs shared by all religions speak clearly to the fact of our differences being only superficial and our similarities deep, that we are all one in spirit, and this is where it matters most.
A rich, deep well of wisdom constitutes the core of our common heritage. Becoming an inheritor of our common spiritual heritage is both an action we can each take and a solution to global conflicts, suffering, and anarchy.
This solution needed to move us along to the resolution phase of our sacred story could also be seen as an underlying reason that 144 nations adopted the United Nations “Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples” in September 2007, affirming “that all peoples contribute to the diversity and richness of civilizations and cultures, which constitute the common heritage of humankind.” This triumph for justice and human dignity addressed both individual and collective rights.
Documents like this help eliminate the apparent separation from our spiritual source, and return us to the essence of what the founders of every great religion have taught. If all religions come from one God, all are therefore one. The words of all the prophets get us in touch with our true spiritual nature, reconnect us with our Creator, and assist humanity, at the same time, to recognize its oneness.
Next: Soul-Making and the Spirit of Our Time