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Love – the most vital emotion in our experience as humans on this planet – applies to every aspect of life and each teaching of all the messengers of God.
Whether platonic, spiritual, or romantic, pure love can bring out the best in anyone – but love for vain things or activities can bring out the worst in an individual. This toxic, negative, and even materialistic kind of misdirected love has the ability to veil our intellect and our spirit. When we busy ourselves with the insignificant things in life, we hurt the capacity to love bestowed upon us by our Creator.
Love connects us with the spiritual realm, and its absence inserts a veil between us and God. The Baha’i teachings say that love is “the vital bond inherent.” Abdu’l-Baha, the son and successor of the prophet and founder of the Baha’i Faith, Baha’u’llah, wrote:
… Love is the secret of God’s holy Dispensation, the manifestation of the All-Merciful, the fountain of spiritual outpourings. Love is heaven’s kindly light, the Holy Spirit’s eternal breath that vivifieth the human soul. 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 one means that ensureth true felicity both in this world and the next. 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. Love is the spirit of life unto the adorned body of mankind, the establisher of true civilization in this mortal world, and the shedder of imperishable glory upon every high-aiming race and nation.
Love is the language of the soul, and that language connects us to other souls and to our Creator and His holy messengers. Love for material things debases itself, because everything material is transitory. We were each blessed with a capacity to love, that if fulfilled, will bring us closer to true happiness.
Emotions such as hatred and jealousy cannot fulfill that capacity. It can only be filled through love, whether that be the love of God, the love of friends and family, the love of laughter, and anything else pure in life. So how do we get there? How do we access the purity of love within our hearts?
A Love that Brings Us Closer to the Source of All Love
In order to experience deep spiritual love, the Baha’i teachings say:
You must manifest complete love and affection toward all mankind. Do not exalt yourselves above others, but consider all as your equals, recognizing them as the servants of one God. Know that God is compassionate toward all; therefore, love all from the depths of your hearts, prefer all religionists before yourselves, be filled with love for every race, and be kind toward the people of all nationalities.
When we busy ourselves with our love for that which brings us closer to the spiritual realm, we will find ourselves feeling lighter, happier, and more fulfilled, because this kind of pure love lasts. Whether it’s through arts or philanthropy or service to humanity, this love leads us toward progress and personal betterment.
We can attain this pure form of contentment through things which are holy, such as prayer and meditation. The materialistic aspects of our lives will only provide us with a happiness that is momentary. That fleeting happiness passes, while the love of life gained through meditation and prayer lodges in our hearts and souls permanently. Pure love for the things in this life which are not transitory elevates the human spirit.
Love protects us in a world where hatred is so prominent. With love in our hearts, even the greatest afflictions cannot harm us. In his mystical book The Seven Valleys, Baha’u’llah wrote “A lover feareth nothing and no harm can come nigh him: Thou seest him chill in the fire and dry in the sea.”
The Baha’I teachings say that the goal of religion involves maximizing love and unity. All of the Baha’i teachings center on that goal in order to achieve global peace and harmony. After all, we were created to love one another, as Abdu’l-Baha said in one of his speeches in America in 1912:
God has created His servants in order that they may love and associate with each other. He has revealed the glorious splendor of His sun of love in the world of humanity. The cause of the creation of the phenomenal world is love.
The lack of love in our hearts can paralyze us, and the growth of a deep spiritual love ensures our inner and outer health and happiness.