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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Mysticism and the Baha'i Faith's LiveJournal:

Thursday, August 21st, 2008
8:40 am
namuh htrae: a fictional story based on the idea of progressive revelation, with a twist

i am an author attempting to write a book that was originally about a character called namuh htrae. My actual name is Matthew Bowron, the book I am writing is called Namuh Htrae. The book was originally meant to be a fictional tale about an immortal woman who lived throughout historical periods of humanity, the tale being about her experiences learning about humanity and its role in the universe

As an author hoping to capture the development of 'namuh htrae' I studied developmental psychology and became particularly interested in the theories of Erik Erikson. Erikson suggested the ideas of developmental psychosocial stages, 8 originally, with 2 more being later added by students after his death. It was during this time that i was introduced to teh Bahaii Faith and their ideas of progressive revelation. Progressive revelation is an idea about how different manifestations of God (Krishna, Adam, Moses, Noah, Abraham, Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, Bahulluah and the Bab) come at different ages to bring different ages of development to humanity. It was there in comparing the two theories I saw what appeared to be a similarity. now I have been criticised at being trying to hold objective views. And so what I am proposing is more of a  thought-experiment, a hypothetical, but in no ways provable or maybe even realistic approach at ideas of human development and spirituality

But for those who are interested read on

For those interested in psychology, there was also a psychologist called Abraham Maslow, who coined the concept of the hierachy of needs. That when a certain need had been fulfilled, the individual would move forward up the ladder of needs to the next level. There have been theories also about human development being based around ideas of numbers, that society only developed into civilization when the numbers became big enough and complex enough. These bigger numbers, some evolutionists believe led to the development of socialization within primates, leading to empathy and later the development of the brain and later language and human invention. This sense of socializing with the environment could have led early man to try to negotiate with nature, which he may have interpreted falsely to be a creature like him. Also with the developing mind, imagination may have led to hallucinations and dreams realistic enough to be interpreted to be other worlds. Dreams involving those of the dead may have led to the idea of there being another world we go into after we die. The idea of dreams also being shaped by the thinking of the mind of the dreamer, may have also developed the concept of the world being shaped by the mind of a great thinker, a god, who was dreaming of all people. This idea of the world being a dream may have led to the ideas of maya or samsara in Hinduism and Buddhism, and the idea that other dreamers may be interacting or warring with us, and thus lead to the idea of demons or evil spirits

However it is in the idea of Erikson's psychosocial stages that I saw similarities between the spiritualities of humanity in its history, including the ideas of modern religions. If my theory is correct, which I highly doubt, maybe it could be like this. Erikson was criticised in his theory that his idea of human development was too 'western' in its perspective. But as it is known that it is 'western society' that is ruling most of the world, maybe the stages of human development applied to history and spiritual development could be a 'reason' as to how western society developed and may continue to develop in the future

This is my theory

Tuesday, December 12th, 2006
4:14 am

Whither can a lover go but to the land of his beloved? and what seeker findeth rest away from his heart's desire? To the true lover reunion is life, and separation is death. His breast is void of patience and his heart hath no peace. A myriad lives he would forsake to hasten to the abode of his beloved.

(Hidden Word II-4)

As a new Baha'i, I have fallen in love with this quote, because every single Hidden Word is true. This one resonates with me so well, and I'm assured that many others love this one because of that. I have memorised it and now chant it as one of my most wonderful prayers.

There is no other place than coming to the Lover, and without Him, how can one live? In a way, that strong pull towards the Lover is so magnetic, that to distance one's self away would be complete and utter destruction wthin the self. Once we lose sight of the Lover, then we are left with loneliness and inability of life's continuation. It is pure and utter Hell.

"I opened the bolt of my door to my beloved: but he had turned aside, and was gone." Canticles 5:6

Without Him, we become maniacal, and this need for His Divine Love is apparent once loneliness consumes our life. We are disturbed by this imbalance, when in truth, nothing else can compare save the Comeliness of the Lover.

To see His face is utter bliss, to be in communion with Him and to even draw upon His lips in unworthiness is utter ecstasy. The beloved one must seek to please the Lover, to surrender fully unto Him and to do all of His pleasures; in that way, we shall have a miniscule sense of the fragrant essences that constitutes His Most Great Love for us.

If we truly believe these things, then how much will we wish for death to overtake us so that our spirits may progress and finally attain the Presence of the Lover! The mere impossibility of attaining such on earth is madness to the beloved one, who seeks to please the Divine Lover and to be spiritually consummated with Him and Him alone. It is this fragile Love that makes the beloved one forget all save that glorious and comely face. To be able to rest upon His breast for all of eternity is to rest in His Divine Love forever, without end.

"For no one else save Thee deserveth love,
My pure and sweet devotion to Thy breast,
And there, all worldly evils Thou'll remove
To grant my soul such everlasting rest.
And unto Thee, my goal is ever near
For living without love is living ill,
And after suff'ring longly without fear,
My sweestest dream at last Thou shalt fulfill."

Current Mood: loved
Friday, July 21st, 2006
11:51 pm
happy discovery tonight!
new site in Rochester! I am psyched! http://rochesterbahai.net/index.php
I love it!

Current Mood: ecstatic
Monday, July 17th, 2006
12:11 pm
help us find Baha'is in Europe?
I am trying to find a way to contact Baha'is in Europe so we can visit them when we are over there. I am going to Vienna, Austria (Wien, Osterrich) August 3 to August 27 with my 17 year old son who is no religion at the moment. I want to make an impact on him on how universal the Faith is and impress him when we are there.... a positive experience for him. We do an art seminar in Reichenau, Austria for the three weeks. We study with Philip Rubinov-Jacobson, Michael Fuchs, and we are visited by hopefully Ernst Fuchs, his father, and De Es Schwertberger, all of the School of Fantastic Realism Ernst Fuchs founded. It is similar to surrealism, but more mystical and spiritual and visionary. We want to go see museums as much as possible too. Baha'is who are artists are especially interesting to us. Please send any contact info to us. Our resources are very limited. Any one on LJ in Germany, Austria, or France please contact us. Our plane does a layover in Paris, but we have to go immediately to the next flight. I am thinking of getting a Europass, but even that is expensive. I have a goal of seeing the Louve, and it would be cool to see Berlin and Munich and Salzburg. An LJ friend from Barvaria who is not a Baha'i wants to meet us in Salzburg...... we might do this. I want to meet Baha'is in Europe to get a European perspective on things from Baha'is. I have been involved in the Faith since 1984 when I was 14 at the Rosenfeld's home here in Rochester NY. Thank you for any contacts. Any help in getting around cheaply is appreciated too. I do not want to miss the seminar that much, so , if any one wants to visit Reichenau at the hotel Marionhof to see us artists, please do! My free time is mostly weekends and evenings..... The hotel has a computer in the lobby that can be accessed. I will post my cell too or send it email to any one who wants it for contacting us. I am a native of Rochester, NY, did my BFA (fine art printmaking) at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, and my MFA (computer animation) at Rochester Institute of Technology. I work in the public school system as a teacher's aide. My son is going to be a senior next year.

Current Mood: cheerful
Saturday, July 15th, 2006
10:26 pm
next Saturday, Ghandhi's grandson!

Well, my coworker called as I was calling her to tell me she couldn't make it. she said don't drink too much, and I told her we don't drink at these events, it is religious and I'm a good girl.She laughed.

I saw old friends... I used to hang out with them when Elliot was a baby with her babies. She is a vegen. She and her husband just came back from Haifa Israel visiting the World Center Universal House of Justice.... They still have jet lag, and he was telling me he had spititual/mystical experiences there: He felt energy going up his legs from the ground and a presence in the Shrine of the Bab, and he also could smell roses in the place where Baha'u'llah was buried as he walked into the place alone, and he said it got stronger and stronger as he approached where Bab'u'llah was buried. I think this is what he said. They told me how bautiful it is, and they were on a waiting list for five years to go, and that it is in layers of gardens and it goes down to the sea..... and he kept having these feelings of presence and mystical things.... I believe it too! I have had similar things happen to me in Reichenau last year..... the entity of light with many eyes, feeling my third eye open, the crown chaktra open, energies.... visions of light....I was praying a lot there. Prayer attracts spiritual energies, no doubt! this happened right after they left... Haifa was bombed: http://community.livejournal.com/ljbahai/405498.html?view=2107386#t2107386

I was pleasant and relaxing. My friend, Merle , did not show up. But I showed my paintings to my other friends. I had a hot dog, potato salad, pesto noodles, a vegen potato salad, cherries, peanuts, totilla chips, green tea iced, and it was very pleasant. The Gardens behind the Baha'i Center are very beautiful and tranquil. They announced about next week, and the Jain society and the Hindus are hosting it and bringing only vegetarian food, and an assemblyman is also introducing Mr. Gandhi before he gives his talk! I am psyched! I want to invite every one!!!!! Like Rick and my poetry friends! All those in Rochester reading my post pass it on! I will be there definitely!

Current Mood: bouncy
Friday, May 19th, 2006
10:32 pm
new community: invitation to all
I created a new Bahai community for Rochester and for anyone in Western NY area..... and world wide too.... enjoy! http://community.livejournal.com/bahai_rochester/profile
Saturday, December 31st, 2005
11:51 pm
Sunday, October 23rd, 2005
9:33 pm
please support your live journal artist friend
I just made a wall calendar of pics from my Alps trip in Austria ..... click here to see it and order it to help this artist be able to go again and study again with her master artists and become rich and famous..... a calendar of her art will be coming up soon!

any subject what-so-ever, including Bahai subjects, will be made into calendars for any one interested.... let me know.....

Current Mood: energetic
Thursday, September 16th, 2004
3:47 pm
I don’t know if I am allowed to ‘advertise’ for a community, feel free to remove this if you do not allow ‘free advertisements’ like this, I am moderating this new community on LJ meditation_dojo, this community focuses on meditation, spirituality and doubles up as a support group for its members. All are welcomed irregardless of religious beliefs, nationality and belief systems. This community is NOT affiliated to any religious groups, organizations, cults or any dojo’s for that matter. This community is NOT a religious group, a religion, a cult, an exclusive order or some New Age spiritual group, or any community with preach-y elements. Feel free to check it out and join if you are interested, and do help me spread the word. Thanks a million.

Much love,
Saturday, June 19th, 2004
12:11 am
Discussion on the nature of God
Over on abstract thought there is a pretty good dialog going on about the nature of God.  It's entitle Some Thoughts On God.  It seems highly relevant to ideas discussed here, and there are many different perspectives.  Anyone who checks it out is sure to come away with a more developed concept of God. 

I think it would be good if someone posted their perspective on God as a Baha'i in this forum for discussion, as I would love to see some more thoughts on this subject from that angle.
Friday, June 11th, 2004
2:46 am
If thou lovest Me, turn away from thyself; and if thou seekest My pleasure, regard not thine own; that thou mayest die in Me and I may eternally live in thee.

(Baha'u'llah, The Arabic Hidden Words)

I've recently memorized this hidden word, and I have been pondering it quite a bit lately. The part of this that has really been on my mind is the part about dying, "in Me."

I've been thinking a lot lately about death, and what it means to die. It seems to me that we are constantly dying. I am no longer the same person I was just a week ago, and I'm definitely not the person I was a decade ago. I've heard that each of the cells in our bodies are refreshed every 3 weeks meaning to me that there are very few if any characteristics about me that are even shared with the "me" of three weeks ago.

It is this constant death and rebirth that we experience that really makes me think sometimes, what is it that really makes us "us?" I used to think it was our experiences, because these experiences clearly make us each unique. I've also considered that our imperfections are a big part of what makes us unique (clearly if we were perfect, then we would be God, and then no separation could exist. Anyway, I'm beginning to ramble here.

In any case, I would be greatly interested in seeing what others think about this, and I also wonder if anyone has any other thoughts on the Hidden Word quoted above.
Wednesday, June 9th, 2004
11:03 pm
A pure, kindly and radiant heart
My first counsel is this: Possess a pure, kindly and radiant heart, that thine may be a sovereignty ancient, imperishable and everlasting.

(Baha'u'llah, The Arabic Hidden Words)

I was thinking about this quote today. I have had it memorized for years, but I have only thought about what it might mean a few rare times, and I didn't seem to get any answers that made sense at the time.

Today, however, I was thinking about what might be meant by a pure, kindly and radiant heart, and some ideas began coming to me.

What is a pure heart?
- I could never seem to have a clear idea just what a pure heart might be, but I am beginning to believe that a pure heart is one that is detached from worldly desires and negative assumptions.

What is a kindly heart?
- This seems like it should be obvious, but again, I could never really put my finger on exactly what it might mean. Today I felt that kindness is related to caring about others before we care about ourselves, wanting what is good for others and trying to make it happen.

What is a radiant heart?
- This seemed the most perplexing of the ideas to me. What could be meant by a "radiant" heart. Clearly not a heart that glows (although, after my stress test on Monday when they put radioactive isotopes in my system, I'm not so sure anymore, hehe). Seriously, though, I started thinking that radiance comes from energy (and often, lots of it). I started considering how many times I have read about the importance of action. It seems to me that to have a radiant heart means to be active in promoting love and peace, etc.

These are still embryonic ideas for me, so I'd really appreciate seeing other perspectives on this.
Monday, May 24th, 2004
10:57 pm
Obeying God's Laws
Glorified be Thou, then, O my God! I beseech Thee by Thy Most Great Name to assemble them that love Thee around the Law that streameth from the good-pleasure of Thy will, and to send down upon them what will assure their hearts.

(Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha'u'llah, p. 14)

Just recently I was clicking and pointing at random things in Ocean ( a really cool compilation and search engine for probably every major religious text ). This is a pastime I occasionally find had interesting results in the information returned. In any case, I came across the quote above and it reminded me of another recent post I made in the Abstract Thought forum. You can find it here. I was recounting my thoughts about what actually constitutes proof, but as usual, my ADD ways have caused me to find really strange correlations, and I got to talking about religious laws.

What I seemed to begin to recognize was just how important the laws given to us by the manifestations are. I mean, I think I would tend to shy away from laws I didn't understand, more than others. On top of this, there are many laws I still have a difficult time following in the Baha'i faith right now, but I think that a major part of this is that until recently, I hadn't really considered just how important that they are to follow. I think I had this idea that if I followed them most of the time, I would be getting most of the benefits from them, but now I have been coming to the realization that perhaps some (maybe all) Baha'i laws have to be completely followed to truly benefit from them.

Perhaps this is why some laws don't seem to work. When we only partially follow them, we are likely to get even less than partial results. When we don't see obvious, immediate, positive results, we tend to feel that the law is bogus, or not reasonable yet.

In any case, I am beginning to understand their importance, and I am beginning to see them as a shield against the difficulties of the current times. No, they don't prevent difficulties from happening, but they do help us to cope with them, and in many cases, mitigate them.

One of the laws I have been paying particularly close attention to was to read the writings everyday and read and memorize the hidden words (can't remember for certain if this was a law or exhortation, but I've been doing it anyway). In any case, I have been doing this diligently for the last 3 years, and over the last 2, I have been gaining much more insight into life and living. I have solved numerous problems, and developed many new understandings and strategies. I have a feeling that I will be having less and less excuses not to obey all of the laws, as I have begun to get a bit irritated by the fact that I have all these new understandings, but I find that I have been lacking in the ability to act on many of them.

At the moment, all I can do is have patience with God and myself until I am able to conform my life to the Baha'i teachings.

If anyone else has had any other similar insights, or understandings, I would be interested to hear (read???) them.
Wednesday, May 19th, 2004
12:40 pm
Faith in God
I don't currently have any great wisdom to impart regarding this concept, but it occurs to me that in nearly every religious text I have read, faith is regarded as a particularly important and powerful virtue.

I think the reason I have been thinking about it so much lately is that I am in the process of trying to buy a new home. This involves selling my current home and getting approved for a loan on the new home and numerous other details that are likely to be stressful.

As I think through the details, I find myself wondering, hoping, doubting and occasionally worrying about the outcome. I'm looking at a new construction that meets the needs of my family and community so well that I find myself getting somewhat attached to the idea of having it. Now, all of a sudden, I find myself wondering if I'm going to sell my house in time. Will I be able to sell it for enough money to cover the costs? Will I be approved for the loan on the new house? Will the new house take a lot longer to build than the builders say? Will I still have my job then? Will I have a better job? What if there is something I didn't think about, and that turns out to be a real problem with the new house? How do I know if the house will be constructed properly so that I don't have to make lots of repairs afterward. How will I be able to afford to furnish it? Do I want it so bad that God will decide to teach me a lesson in detachment by making it not work out?

I never thought I had it in me to be so disturbed by all the different possibilities of the future. I see myself needing to have more faith in God. I mean, if God doesn't want it to happen, it doesn't matter how hard I try, it won't happen. On the other hand, if God wants it to happen, then it doesn't matter how bad things look it's going to happen. So what it comes down to is that I know that God has my best interests in mind. Even so, I sometimes have a hard time having that trust. I find it interesting how easy it is for me to trust gravity, but how hard it is for me to trust the being that created gravity and makes it so trustworthy.

What exactly does it mean to have faith in God? How can I build that up and make it a stronger factor in my life? If anyone has any ideas, I would be happy to see them.

Current Mood: contemplative
Sunday, February 29th, 2004
6:30 pm
What does fasting mean in the mystical aspect of the Faith?
Just curious.Besides the normal nourishment for the soul, being the Pillar for the Faith, being protected from tests, what other functions of the fast is there for the soul?
Friday, January 16th, 2004
1:22 am

How is spirituality relevant in our modern society?

Indeed the chief reason for the evils now rampant in society is the lack of spirituality. The materialistic civilization of our age has so much absorbed the energy and interest of mankind that people in general do no longer feel the necessity of raising themselves above the forces and conditions of their daily material existence. There is not sufficient demand for things that we call spiritual to differentiate them from the needs and requirements of our physical existence.

The universal crisis affecting mankind is, therefore, essentially spiritual in its causes. The spirit of the age, taken on the whole, is irreligious. Man's outlook on life is too crude and materialistic to enable him to elevate himself into the higher realms of the spirit.

It is this condition, so sadly morbid, into which society has fallen, that religion seeks to improve and transform. For the core of religious faith is that mystic feeling which unites Man with God.

Shoghi Effendi, Directives from the Guardian, p. 86

Our society is faced with problems of a magnitude and complexity that have never before existed in our known history. Many are left feeling helpless and disillusioned in a world that seems to be beyond help. Where can one find the solutions to these problems? How does one find lasting remedies for our social diseases?

The above quote suggests that the root of our problem is spiritual in nature. Unless we get to this root, our efforts will have very limited success.

Spiritual development has practical applications in our world. The outward problems we see have deeper sources. Prejudice, greed, hatred, ignorance, fanaticism, and other negative spiritual qualities are at the root of these problems. These elements cannot be changed solely on the material and intellectual level. A deep spiritual transformation is needed to heal a humanity that is tearing itself apart.

We have a great deal of disunity in this world. In order for us to function as a global society, we must have unity of thought. This doesn’t mean that all must conform to one way of thinking. It means that we must be able to work with one another efficiently on every level, from personal to global. We must learn to put aside hatred and cooperate with a spirit of kindness and fellowship.

It is difficult to get a room full of people to agree on an issue, much less the whole world. How can we achieve a reasonable degree of unity in this world that is so full of divisions? The greatest power that can bring about this transformation is the love of God:

It is clear that the reality of mankind is diverse, that opinions are various and sentiments different; and this difference of opinions, of thoughts, of intelligence, of sentiments among the human species arises from essential necessity; for the differences in the degrees of existence of creatures is one of the necessities of existence, which unfolds itself in infinite forms. Therefore, we have need of a general power which may dominate the sentiments, the opinions and the thoughts of all, thanks to which these divisions may no longer have effect, and all individuals may be brought under the influence of the unity of the world of humanity. It is clear and evident that this greatest power in the human world is the love of God. It brings the different peoples under the shadow of the tent of affection; it gives to the antagonistic and hostile nations and families the greatest love and union.

Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 301

Without the supreme power of the love of God, we cannot attain the highest degree of unity in this world. This is true on every level from our personal relations to international relations. We must all learn to live a life that is in touch with our Creator. From Him comes the power to unify humanity and achieve peace. From Him come the solutions we need.
Sunday, January 11th, 2004
9:28 pm
i've joined this, because right now i simply want to learn all that i can. i am interested in exploring different spiritualities and learning. so i guess, hello to everyone.

Current Mood: contemplative
Thursday, January 8th, 2004
1:10 am

Investigation of Truth

There are a lot of ideas about mysticism, and many of them are in conflict with one another. How do we come to an understanding of what is true versus what is just imagination? This is a complex question. To start with, we must make a wholehearted, sincere investigation of the truth.

This process of investigation is given much emphasis in the Baha’i Writings. Consider the following quote:

“The first teaching of Bahá'u'lláh is the duty incumbent upon all to investigate reality. What does it mean to investigate reality? It means that man must forget all hearsay and examine truth himself, for he does not know whether statements he hears are in accordance with reality or not. Wherever he finds truth or reality, he must hold to it, forsaking, discarding all else; for outside of reality there is naught but superstition and imagination.”
--Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 62

The search for truth should not be a dry, dull experience. Reality is astounding. Life is an intricate display of beauty. If we fail to be passionate about life, we will be deprived of understanding its mysteries.

“Only when the lamp of search, of earnest striving, of longing desire, of passionate devotion, of fervid love, of rapture, and ecstasy, is kindled within the seeker's heart, and the breeze of His loving-kindness is wafted upon his soul, will the darkness of error be dispelled, the mists of doubts and misgivings be dissipated, and the lights of knowledge and certitude envelop his being.”
--Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 266

Acquiring knowledge is therefore not simply a matter of accumulating facts. It’s something that must be experienced in the heart. It must be sought after in the same way a dying man in the desert seeks water; in the same way a lover seeks his beloved.

“The true seeker hunteth naught but the object of his quest, and the lover hath no desire save union with his beloved. Nor shall the seeker reach his goal unless he sacrifice all things. That is, whatever he hath seen, and heard, and understood, all must he set at naught, that he may enter the realm of the spirit, which is the City of God.”
--Baha'u'llah, The Seven Valleys, p. 6

There is much more that can be said about this subject, but I will end here. I hope that you will find the quoted passages worth reflecting upon. They have many meanings.

Please remember that, while the quotes are taken from Baha’i Writings, everything else is my interpretation, NOT an official representation of the Baha’i Faith. As the theme of this post suggests, we must all investigate for ourselves.
Sunday, January 4th, 2004
11:26 am
Allah'u'Abha Everyone

My name is Sidney and I am from Malaysia.
I have to say that I applaud your effords in creating this community.Much is not said about the subject of mystism in the Baha'i Faith when imho, its the most important thing as the developtment of our soul is vital in this world to proceed to the worlds of God to come.

Just wanted to say,"Hi" and kudos to Senior Moderator!


Current Mood: satisfied
Saturday, December 27th, 2003
1:34 am
To start with, I would like to bring up this passage:

"… the core of religious faith is that mystic feeling which unites Man with God. This state of spiritual communion can be brought about and maintained by means of meditation and prayer... It is not sufficient for a believer merely to accept and observe the teachings. He should, in addition, cultivate the sense of spirituality which he can acquire chiefly by means of prayer. The Bahá'í Faith, like all other Divine Religions, is thus fundamentally mystic in character. Its chief goal is the development of the individual and society, through the acquisition of spiritual virtues and powers."
-Shoghi Effendi, Directives from the Guardian, p. 86
(boldface added for emphasis)

The Baha'i Faith is fundamentally mystic in character, but what does "mystic" mean? Let's look at this quote to try and decipher what it means by the word "mystic". Here are some key phrases:
  • "mystic feeling which unites man with God"

  • "state of spiritual communion"

  • "sense of spirituality"

  • "development of the individual and society, through the acquisition of spiritual virtues and powers"

  • "It is the soul of man which has first to be fed."

These phrases begin to give us an insight into mysticism, but they are just a beginning. Perhaps we should look at the mystic's ultimate goal to understand what it's all about. There is a key passage from Baha'i Writings that succinctly explains the highest station one can attain:

"The station of absolute self-surrender transcendeth, and will ever remain exalted above, every other station."
-Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 338

Self-surrender is explained previously in this same passage:

"By self-surrender and perpetual union with God is meant that men should merge their will wholly in the Will of God, and regard their desires as utter nothingness beside His Purpose. Whatsoever the Creator commandeth His creatures to observe, the same must they diligently, and with the utmost joy and eagerness, arise and fulfil."
-Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 337

To some, this self-surrender may seem to be something very undesirable. It must be remembered, however, that the laws of God are created for our wellbeing and spiritual growth. To be surrendered to God is to be liberated from the bonds of this world.

"When one is released from the prison of self, that is, indeed, freedom! For self is the greatest prison.

When this release takes place, one can never be imprisoned."

-Abdu'l Baha, Divine Art of Living p. 65

This liberation is not a dull, passionless experience. On the contrary, it is described in terms of spiritual esctasy and intense joy complelety beyond any experience this world has to offer. The following passage describes this advanced spiritual state:

"when the true lover and devoted friend reacheth to the presence of the Beloved, the sparkling beauty of the Loved One and the fire of the lover's heart will kindle a blaze and burn away all veils and wrappings. Yea, all he hath, from heart to skin, will be set aflame, so that nothing will remain save the Friend."
-Baha'u'llah, The Seven Valleys, p. 36

("Beloved" and "Loved One" are references to God. The analogy of the lover and the Beloved is commonly used to describe the relationship between a human being and God. God is the desire behind all of our desires. Our innermost longing is to be at one with our benevolent Creator.)

There is much greater detail in the Baha'i Writings about this process of spiritual awakening. The purpose of this group is to explore these Writings in order to better understand how each of us can progress toward our true spiritual destiny.

Your insights and perspectives would be greatly appreciated.
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