Friday, August 10, 2007

Feeling God in our lives....

I have wondered about a generalized perspective about one's life as a Bahá'í (or really any religion - this is about conversion experiences), even so that some become inactive, that people are wistful of their early days, somehow feeling closer to God then....

I have thought to examine The Seven Valleys (and where those valleys are referenced in Gems of Divine Mysteries) for descriptions of experiences or "active" connections with spiritual feelings from the next world or God....


The Valley/City of Search
(Seven Valleys)
At every step, aid from the Invisible Realm will attend him and the heat of his search will grow.
(Gems of Divine Mysteries)
God may guide him in the paths of His favour and the ways of His mercy...He beholdeth the wonders of Divinity in the mysteries of creation and discovereth the paths of guidance and the ways of His Lord.

Those mysterious alignments - "there are no accidents", coincidences that seem too meaningful to be coincidences.

The Valley/City of Love...
(Seven Valleys)
until thou burn with the fire of love, thou shalt never commune with the Lover of Longing.
Be as naught, if thou wouldst kindle the fire of being and be fit for the pathway of love.
(Gems of Divine Mysteries)
He yieldeth up spirit, soul, and body in the path of his Lord, and yet he doeth so by the leave of his Beloved and not of his own whim and desire....consumed by the onslaught of separation in this world.... His eyes are ever expectant to witness the wonders of God’s mercy and eager to behold the splendours of His beauty.

Here there seems to be a paucity of experiences - at best delayed until later. If this is a stage where voyagers "get religion" then they also discover they don't "feel" God like they may reflect they did during their search even if they didn't really "get it" then. They struggle to be obedient and may in fact be, but feel the separation.

The Valley of Knowledge
(Seven Valleys)
His inner eyes will open and he will privily converse with his Beloved... and consorteth with the people of the immortal realm.
(Gems of Divine Mysteries skips)

Again some kind of active experience, but directly consciously, very real.

The Valley/City of Unity
(Seven Valleys)
seeth the brilliant rays of the divine sun shining from the dawning-point of Essence alike on all created things, and the lights of singleness reflected over all creation.... His shining becometh visible in every limb and member.
(Gems of Divine Mysteries)
beholdeth all things with an eye illumined by the effulgent lights which God Himself hath shed upon him.

And so on through the rest of the Valleys. Let's suppose that most of the people who look to change their religion get the Valley of Search, and a good number of them ( who can overcome reasons not to change) get to the Valley of Love and "get religion". They then can loose their "heat" as they obey without seeming aid which they now feel they have lost -those accidents we now feel more keenly from the past - they know God and His Faith but it's not as alive as it was when they were looking.... Not until they pass the Valley of Love do they again engage personal experience, but this time selflessly, a spiritual internal connection. But they do so selflessly only because of the love they have felt - the binding to God. And the experience gets even more powerful after that...

More on the Valley of Unity next time....Feeling

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