Your actions reflect who you are, and how you appear inwardly as well as outwardly. Your inner image is reflected in the spiritual mirror of self-reflection. Want to add some inner beauty?
You can do that by trying to exemplify an attribute of God. How so? Consider this statement by Baha’u’llah:
… whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth is a direct evidence of the revelation within it of the attributes and names of God, inasmuch as within every atom are enshrined the signs that bear eloquent testimony to the revelation of that most great Light. Methinks, but for the potency of that revelation, no being could ever exist. How resplendent the luminaries of knowledge that shine in an atom, and how vast the oceans of wisdom that surge within a drop! To a supreme degree is this true of man, who, among all created things, hath been invested with the robe of such gifts, and hath been singled out for the glory of such distinction. For in him are potentially revealed all the attributes and names of God to a degree that no other created being hath excelled or surpassed. All these names and attributes are applicable to him. Even as He hath said: “Man is My mystery, and I am his mystery.” – Baha’u’llah, The Book of Certitude, pp. 100–101.
So, if all the “names and attributes are applicable” to you and I, then let’s take one attribute of God as an example. “Splendor” is an attribute of God, according to the Baha’i writings.
The secret of exemplifying splendor is doing something splendid. You’ve probably heard the expression, “Splendid!”—meaning “Excellent!”
In Part 6 of this “Transforming Time” series, we learned that “Splendor”—in Arabic: Bahāʾ, which means “beauty, brilliance, elegance”—is the name of the first month of the Baha’i calendar. The month of Splendor, from March 21 to April 8, begins each Baha’i year. That new calendar has nineteen months of nineteen days each, where each weekday, day of the month, year and cycle of nineteen years is named after an attribute of God.
So if splendor exemplifies itself in a splendid action, how best to understand splendid? Here’s how the Oxford English Dictionary defines splendid—of persons: “Illustrious, distinguished;” and, of actions: “Excellent; very good or fine.”
We all want to “be spiritual,” but how do we achieve that kind of splendor, and all the other attributes of God? The Baha’i teachings say that becoming spiritual involves its own dynamic process, inspired, empowered and actuated by internalizing and exemplifying the teachings and wisdom enshrined in the Word of God:
… God hath made My hidden love the key to the Treasure; would that ye might perceive it! But for the key, the Treasure would to all eternity have remained concealed; would that ye might believe it! Say: This is the Source of Revelation, the Dawning-place of Splendour, Whose brightness hath illumined the horizons of the world. Would that ye might understand! This is, verily, that fixed Decree through which every irrevocable decree hath been established. – Baha’u’llah, The Most Holy Book, p. 24.
Here are some more examples of splendor—and splendid actions—as seen in the Baha’i writings:
O My Friend! Thou art the daystar of the heavens of My holiness, let not the defilement of the world eclipse thy splendor. Rend asunder the veil of heedlessness, that from behind the clouds thou mayest emerge resplendent and array all things with the apparel of life. – Baha’u’llah, The Hidden Words, p. 47.
Reflecting Spiritual Qualities
Mortal charm shall fade away, roses shall give way to thorns, and beauty and youth shall live their day and be no more. But that which eternally endureth is the Beauty of the True One, for its splendour perisheth not and its glory lasteth for ever; its charm is all-powerful and its attraction infinite. Well is it then with that countenance that reflecteth the splendour of the Light of the Beloved One! – Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 204.
Exemplifying Unifying Love
This is the day when the gems of constancy that lie hid in the mine of men’s inner selves should be made manifest. O people of Justice! Be as brilliant as the light and as splendid as the fire that blazed in the Burning Bush. The brightness of the fire of your love will no doubt fuse and unify the contending peoples and kindreds of the earth, whilst the fierceness of the flame of enmity and hatred cannot but result in strife and ruin. – Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 88.
Acquiring Purity, Knowledge and Wisdom; Educating and Enlightening Others
To each created thing, the Ancient Sovereignty hath portioned out its own perfection, its particular virtue and special excellence, so that each in its degree may become a symbol denoting the sublimity of the true Educator of humankind, and that each, even as a crystalline mirror, may tell of the grace and splendour of the Sun of Truth.
And from amongst all creatures He hath singled out man, to grant him His most wondrous gift, and hath made him to attain the bounties of the Company on High. That most precious of gifts is attainment unto His unfailing guidance, that the inner reality of humankind should become as a niche to hold this lamp; and when the scattering splendours of this light do beat against the bright glass of the heart, the heart’s purity maketh the beams to blaze out even stronger than before, and to shine in glory on the minds and souls of men.
The attainment of the most great guidance is dependent upon knowledge and wisdom, and on being informed as to the mysteries of the Holy Words. Wherefore must the loved ones of God, be they young or old, be they men or women, each one according to his capabilities, strive to acquire the various branches of knowledge, and to increase his understanding of the mysteries of the Holy Books, and his skill in marshalling the divine proofs and evidences. …
If they do thus, they will flood the world with the Manifest Light, and change this dusty earth into gardens of the Realm of Glory. – Abdu’l-Baha, From a tablet translated from the Arabic, A Compilation on Baha’i Education, pp. 7–8.
If Wealthy, Becoming Philanthropic
O Ye That Pride Yourselves on Mortal Riches! Know ye in truth that wealth is a mighty barrier between the seeker and his desire, the lover and his beloved. The rich, but for a few, shall in no wise attain the court of His presence nor enter the city of content and resignation. Well is it then with him, who, being rich, is not hindered by his riches from the eternal kingdom, nor deprived by them of imperishable dominion. By the Most Great Name! The splendor of such a wealthy man shall illuminate the dwellers of heaven even as the sun enlightens the people of the earth! – Baha’u’llah, The Hidden Words, p. 41.
So, if all of God’s “names and attributes are applicable” to you and I, then let’s strive individually, and together, to: (1) become more spiritual; (2) reflect spiritual qualities; (3) exemplify unifying love; (4) acquire purity, knowledge and wisdom; (5) educate and enlighten others; and (6) if wealthy, become philanthropic.
That’s the secret of exemplifying splendor—by doing such splendid things. In a nutshell, splendor is what splendor does. The splendid nature of your godly virtues and goodly deeds will not emblazon themselves like neon lights. No medal is awarded, no badge pinned, no press release issued, no certificate given. Instead, spiritual qualities—and the actions they inspire—are subtle, but everlastingly real.