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In the previous article in this series, I explained how our life on this physical plane is an illusion — a possible holographic projection from a higher reality.
But our outward, physical reality is not the only reality that we have. We also have an inner, spiritual reality, which is real and divine in nature.
What Is Our Inner, Spiritual Reality?
“This other and inner reality is called the heavenly body, the ethereal form which corresponds to this body,” explained Abdu’l-Baha, one of the central figures of the Baha’i Faith, in a talk in 1912. “This is the conscious reality which discovers the inner meaning of things, for the outer body of man does not discover anything.”
We share all of our physical abilities and limitations with the animal kingdom. So, if our discoveries came from our physical body, then animals would be ideating and inventing too. Our ability to imagine new possibilities, comprehend and reflect on reality, and remember everything that we’ve imagined, thought about, and comprehended are spiritual powers that are unique to our inner reality.
The inner ethereal reality grasps the mysteries of existence, discovers scientific truths and indicates their technical application. It discovers electricity, produces the telegraph, the telephone and opens the door to the world of arts.
He said that this inner reality is distinct from:
the elemental substances. …For mortality and disintegration are the properties inherent in compositions and are referable to things which are subject to sense perceptions, but the collective reality in man, not being so subject, is the discoverer of things. Therefore, it is real, eternal and does not have to undergo changes and transformations.
This spiritual reality distinguishes humans from animals. It is not defined by misleading sensory information and is not composed of what can be disintegrated. It is an immortal consciousness that enables us to understand proof of the existence of the Universal Reality.
What Is the One, Universal Reality?
According to the Baha’i writings, “a Universal Power existeth, directing and regulating this infinite universe,” and “were it not for this Director, this Coordinator, the universe would be flawed and deficient.” This Universal Reality is preexistent and “untouched by the conditions that govern phenomena.”
But, like a plant can’t understand a human, a human can’t comprehend the inner reality of God — the Divine Being that encompasses every created thing. So, Baha’is believe that God has sent divine educators, or Manifestations of God, throughout history to reveal His teachings to humanity. These Manifestations of God include Abraham, Zoroaster, Moses, the Buddha, Krishna, Jesus Christ, Muhammad, the Bab, the herald of Baha’u’llah, and the founder of the Baha’i Faith, Baha‘u’llah.
The “Holy Manifestations of God,” Abdu’l-Baha wrote, “are the focal points where the signs, tokens and perfections of that sacred, preexistent Reality appear in all their splendor.”
All the teachings are one reality, for reality is single and does not admit multiplicity. Therefore, the divine Prophets are one, inasmuch as They reveal the one reality, the Word of God.
Our human reality stands between our higher and lower nature — the animal world and the Kingdom of God.
come into the world to dispel the darkness of the animal, or physical, nature of man, to purify him from his imperfections in order that his heavenly and spiritual nature may become quickened, his divine qualities awakened, his perfections visible, his potential powers revealed and all the virtues of the world of humanity latent within him may come to life.
Abdu’l-Baha said that if our animal nature becomes predominant, we will sink “lower than the brute,” but if our “heavenly powers” triumph, we will become “the noblest and most superior [beings] in the world of creation.”
So, Baha’u’llah encouraged humanity to “independently investigate reality” and search for truth unhindered. This requires us to strive to free ourselves from biases, preconceived notions, and ancestral imitations. As the Baha’i writings say, when we “strip the veils of illusion from the face” of our hearts, “the lights of Oneness will be made manifest.”