Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Immediacy of Awakening


Awakening, liberation, enlightenment, nirvana, satori, mukti, samadhi.

There are so many terms that attempt to describe the perceived phenomena of expanded consciousness that reveals the nature of reality, beyond the narrow perception that is our daily experience.

I’ve experienced this awakening - or, at least, I believed that I’d experienced this awakening - but, after a while I realized that what I experienced was just a mental projection of what I THOUGHT awakening would be like.

Is it possible to experience awakening within the context of our limited understanding of our relationship to everything that is perceived to be outside ourselves?

It seems very likely to me that in order for awakening to occur, the ego and the self perception of being an independent being, has to be abandoned or overcome.

The glimpse of awakening that I believed I experienced did not happen as a result of any effort on my part; it did not happen at the end of a sequence of events that I had performed with awakening as the goal at the end. Awakening appears to be always already the case - and it is when we let go of our beliefs and ideas that it is somewhere in the future or beyond where our thinking is now - that awakening can occur.

Thus, to seek awakening, is a self-defeating practice!!

After studying most of the foundational teachings and mythology of Buddhism, it seems quite obvious to me that perhaps behind all the more superstitious and exaggerated tales of Shakyamuni’s path to awakening, there is a clear message that Shakyamuni found his true self when he gave up looking for something outside of himself.

In many of the historical tales - the emphasis is on determination, but, I see that his resolve was not so much determination as frustration with the entire process of “trying” to become awakened. I think it quite likely that Shakyamuni’s decision to “sit beneath the Bodhi tree” until he became enlightened - was not an act of will, but rather an act of complete surrender, and willingness to accept reality as it is.

When I glimpsed awakening my response was to seek the experience again - not realizing that it was not the seeking of it that brought it about in the first place. There was this passionate drive that I developed that made me seek awakening through a religion or spiritual practice. Looking back I suppose that this was natural, based on my conditioning that life was broken up into secular and spiritual reality. It never occurred to me then that awakening is not a compartment within a category of life - it is life. It is both biological and spiritual.

The brain is the electronic storehouse for the experiences of the mind - its neurological function is wired to categorize experience. But, the reality is that life is not like that - life is full on all the time. Awakening is to see the consciousness itself in its raw, uninterpreted state. Everything is happening all at once within this consciousness. Our brain tries to organize it, and in so doing causes our mind to believe that things are happening in a sequence, to us and in us. In reality there are just thoughts and experiences happening without categorization or time restraints.

We perceive “cause and effect” as independent events, but in reality they are just both ends of the same movement of consciousness. Under the illusion of time - we do not see their connectedness.

There are no awakened individuals.

There is no path to awakening.

There is no journey to enlightenment.

There is no past or future that is outside of the present moment - everything is happening in a sequence of immediate moments, an endless string of now(s).

Religion and Spirituality are humanity’s attempt at preserving the record of someone’s experience of oneness - the words of the prophets and teachers appeal to us because they give us an external authority that we can rest on. But there is no authority for truth - there is only interpretation of truth through the eyes of another that we accept as authoritative.

It may seem a very scary thought that in order to be at peace with the universe we need to look deeply into the face of our own experiences, challenge our understanding, and abandon our learned responses - but ultimately, it is in this abandonment of borrowed truth that reality is found. Not in the sense of seeing something that we have never seen before - but in the liberating realization that what we are seeking is already known and that it has been wholly available all the time.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

None of the Above

"A mind that is agitated by belief shall not know truth.” - Jiddu Krishnamurti


When I see a list of all the established religions of the world - I can say with confidence that I’ve studied, belonged, investigated, and debated the truths of most of them from both a positive and negative point of view.

After 40 years of religious seeking; pursuing an independent investigation of truth - now, when given a list of religions I would now be quite purposeful in answering the question “which religion do you belong to?” With the response: “none of the above."

To claim to have an exclusive on the truth. To believe that one has arrived at the destination of ultimate truth; or to claim that one is on the only path to the destination of ultimate truth - is to be a prisoner of time. It is to believe that truth is a static, settled thing.

Is truth a static thing? Is it only found in history? Isn’t is possible that truth could be a living thing - a culture of reality that moves and expands like the patterns of our thinking?

Truth cannot be in a specific place that is different from right here.

THE MIND AND BELIEF

The mind seeks to control thought and the very attempt at such a thing is in itself a defeated action. Thought is continuously happening - like a flowing river that is forcibly dammed, controlled thoughts become increasingly more powerful until they cause destruction against the force of control.

All we can do with thought is observe it and allow it to flow - so called “bad” thoughts to inaction - so called “good” thoughts to positive action. In thought, good and bad are not such unless they cause a result. To contemplate an action is not the same as the action itself.

Mindfulness is observing of thought as it happens. No judgement, no condemnation, no comparison and no evaluation. Thought is thought and like beliefs that are held as theories or dogma - it causes no real change in the world.

“Agitated by belief,” is the mind of the seeker. Unable to appreciate where you are because the concern is focused on the accuracy of the map rather than on being present in this very moment.

Religion is a map to reality - but it must never be mistaken for the destination.

Reality or truth is not to be proven by argument - for reality or truth is simply what is happening right now. The truth exists now and doesn’t wait for us to find it. Nor does it need us to defend it. Rather it needs us to merely accept it without conditions.


THE END OF RELIGION

Religion is merely a chosen interpretation of reality; life as it is. To choose a religion is to choose to close off the inflow of reality as it happens. Religion doesn’t expand the mind - it closes the mind. It has value in the beginning; as a means of exploration of the ways of thinking from the past, but ultimately, religions, like training wheels on a bicycle, must be abandoned - for once stability becomes natural they become more a form of limitation that a means of liberation.

So long religion, you served me well as a temporary refuge - but truth is not defined by you, or bound by the limits of your dogma.

It is very frightening to release the grip on the security blanket of religion; to step out from the safe harbor of the masses. But, it is only when Buddha left the safety and security of his palace that he found the true nature of himself. He is to be followed in emulation - and not in adoration. To be a Buddha is not to be a special being - it is rather more about becoming aware of the natural being of aliveness.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Interrupted by Reality


Since my last blog post - I was struck by the utter simplicity of aliveness. The unencumbered experience of all that is happening as being nothing more than the extraordinary appearing as ordinary.

A true seeker, according to Baha’u’llah, is someone who abandons traditional or inherited views, and rather seeks the truth for him or her self.

To be an ABSOLUTE true seeker therefore is to even abandon the concept of there being a reason to search!!!

Truth is not a path to someplace else. Reality is not realized gradually; it cannot be this way - for reality is always full-on, in your face, happening right now!!!

The nature of reality is always present - it is our own mind games that prevent us from realizing, and experiencing the fullness of its immediacy.

I began reading some daily quotes by Krishnamurti this past week - and watching a few of his taped interviews and talks on You Tube. The man is a phenomenon. I’ve always regretted that I never met him in person when I had the opportunity to do so. Perhaps, if I had met him, I might have been disillusioned by his very words that deny his uniqueness; the same words that now appeal so much to me as being true reflections of his experience of the world.

Like Alan Watts, Krishnamurti spent much of his life trying to shatter the preconceived ideas and dogmatic beliefs that so many people have grown to accept as true. The superstitions of the religious and the almost addictive practice of flocking to hear gurus and teachers proclaim their versions of the ultimate truth were their targets. Although, Alan Watts in many ways fell prey to his own warnings later in life - when he declared Franklin Jones, Bubba Free John or Adi Da (or whatever name he went by at the moment) to be an Avatar……

Krishnamurti never wavered from his purposes of proclaiming that truth had to be determined by our own investigation. He encouraged dialogue, not arguing points of belief, but rather investigating the very actions of the mind that clung or sought beliefs in the first place.

Krishnamurti’s famous talk where he revealed that “Truth is a Pathless Land,” has inspired me many times - but the weakness of my faith in my own ability to stand independent of a belief system always drew me back onto the “seeking” treadmill. Fear is a strong taskmaster.

Seeking is an endless path - because truth is not at the other end of it - there is no other end….truth is always here and now.

So, since my last post, dare I say that I’ve awoken to awareness of my own spiritual blindness?

From now on may I continue to have the self-confidence to seek no other master than the truth itself.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Way of the Seeker - Part Three

By My Life the light of good character surpasses the light of the sun and its effulgence.
- Baha’u’llah



These passages from “The Tablet to the True Seeker” offer practical guidelines for true character transformation.

"That seeker should, also, regard backbiting as grievous error, and keep himself aloof from its dominion, inasmuch as backbiting quencheth the light of the heart, and extinguisheth the life of the soul. 

Disrespecting people behind their back has become a global pandemic. Social media and 24 hour news networks make huge profits from the exposure of the weaknesses and mistakes of others. It is so common to “backbite” these days that it seems to be becoming the acceptable way to "break the ice" at a social gathering or event. It takes a determined act of will to avoid this way of thinking and acting.


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"He should be content with little, and be freed from all inordinate desire.” 

Contentment is a virtue that is out of fashion. Being happy with what you have rather than constantly looking for something better, bigger and more expensive. 


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"He should treasure the companionship of them that have renounced the world, and regard avoidance of boastful and worldly people a precious benefit.

Walking lightly upon this earth - harming no one and with a spirit of compassion and contentment.


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"At the dawn of every day he should commune with God, and, with all his soul, persevere in the quest of his Beloved.

Drawing close to the source of life every morning reminds you of your place in the Universe - and helps you start the day with a fresh outlook.

This is one of my favorite morning prayers:

"O God! 
 Refresh and gladden my spirit. 
 Purify my heart. 
 Illumine my powers. 
 I lay all my affairs in Thy hand. 
 Thou art my Guide and my Refuge. 
 I will no longer be sorrowful and grieved; 
I will be a happy and joyful being. 

O God! 
 I will no longer be full of anxiety, 
nor will I let trouble harass me. 
 I will not dwell on the unpleasant things of life.

O God! 

 Thou art more friend to me than I am to myself. 
 I dedicate myself to Thee, 
O Lord."

-----‘Abdu’l-Bahá
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"He should consume every wayward thought with the flame of His loving mention, and, with the swiftness of lightning, pass by all else save Him.

Replace negative thinking with positive thought - replace every hateful thought with one of compassion.


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"He should succor the dispossessed, and never withhold his favor from the destitute.

Develop a heart for the homeless and down-trodden - every little bit helps.


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"He should show kindness to animals, how much more unto his fellowman,"

How a person treats a helpless animal says a lot about their character.


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"to him who is endowed with the power of utterance. He should not hesitate to offer up his life for his Beloved, nor allow the censure of the people to turn him away from the Truth.

Apply your skills and gifts toward benefitting others - a compassionate life.


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"He should not wish for others that which he doth not wish for himself, nor promise that which he doth not fulfill. "

Going beyond the golden rule - not just treating others as you’d like to be treated - but wishing for others what you’d wish for yourself. Even your intentions matter. Keep your promises and vows - be reliable - impeccable character.


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"With all his heart he should avoid fellowship with evildoers, and pray for the remission of their sins.

Avoiding people that are a bad influence but praying for them when encountered. No condemnation.


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"He should forgive the sinful, and never despise his low estate, for none knoweth what his own end shall be. How often hath a sinner attained, at the hour of death, to the essence of faith, and, quaffing the immortal draught, hath taken his flight unto the Concourse on high! And how often hath a devout believer, at the hour of his soul’s ascension, been so changed as to fall into the nethermost fire!

Live life gratefully - aware that you could be in the same circumstances were it not for mercy - forgiveness and mercy without self-righteous comparison.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Way of the Seeker - Part Two

"That seeker must, at all times, put his trust in God, must renounce the peoples of the earth, must detach himself from the world of dust, and cleave unto Him Who is the Lord of Lords. He must never seek to exalt himself above anyone, must wash away from the tablet of his heart every trace of pride and vainglory, must cling unto patience and resignation, observe silence and refrain from idle talk. For the tongue is a smoldering fire, and excess of speech a deadly poison. Material fire consumeth the body, whereas the fire of the tongue devoureth both heart and soul. The force of the former lasteth but for a time, whilst the effects of the latter endureth a century.

In this passage from the "Tablet of the True Seeker”  Baha’u’llah gives us some entries for the to-do list of a seeker.
  • Put trust in God - at ALL times
  • Renounce the peoples of the earth
  • Become detached from the imperishable
  • Cleave to God
  • Live and walk in humility
  • Eliminate pride and vanity
  • Embrace patience and resignation
  • Observe appropriate silence and refrain from idle chatter
To put trust in God, in this context, is not just to make a one time confession of faith - but a way of life that puts reliance upon the grace and loving kindness of God at ALL times - despite the outward circumstances of life. This is a hard practice. It is our natural tendency to want things our way, to desire constant gratification - but this is not reality. God can be trusted beyond the good times and troubles of daily life.

Renouncing the peoples of the earth is not a call to monastic seclusion or to live the life of a hermit, separated from others and disengaged from society. Rather it is a call to break away from mindlessly accepting the beliefs and opinions of others. In “The Hidden Words,” it is expressed this way:


"The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; 
turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, 
and neglect it not that I may confide in thee. 
By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes 
and not through the eyes of others, 
and shalt know of thine own knowledge 
and not through the knowledge of thy neighbor.”

- Baha’u’llah, Hidden Words, No. 2

Becoming detached from the imperishable is to focus your attention and values on long-lasting realities, rather than on temporary changes and chances. 
  • Place value on relationships, and friendships, over finance and self-gratification from material wealth. 
  • Place value on character transformation over wealth accumulation.
Cleaving to God is to hold faith and trust God above other perceived means of security.

To live humbly is to embody the spirit of a Bodhisattva - to live in a spirit of universal compassion. Desiring the achievement of happiness for others as a means of attaining personal fulfillment or enlightenment. A humble person is free from pride and vanity.

To be patient is to live from a different frame of reference than the immediate. It is see beyond the current state into the meaning that extends into the timeless. It is to see benevolent purpose behind and beyond everything. 

Resignation is not blind acceptance or weakened assent, but rather an ability to see a greater meaning behind circumstances or situations. It is to perceive the will of God even in events that do not go according to our understanding or desires.

Last but not least - to be appropriately silent and to avoid idle chatter is to be mindful of expressing painful or regretful words. This is SO HARD. To hold the tongue from saying something hurtful or biting when speaking up seems to RIGHT, or frankly, DELICIOUS!!!

Mindless speech, according to Baha’u’llah, is a deadly poison that has long lasting effects. It is more dangerous than fire, because although fire causes physical damage, a deadly poison slowly eats away at life and causes permanent or eternal spiritual damage or death to all it encounters.

A true seeker is someone who sees, hears, feels and lives a life of mindful compassion.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Way of the Seeker - Part One

The writings of Baha’u’llah have always been inspirational and insightful to me. One of my favorite writings has come to be known as “The Tablet of the True Seeker.” 

For the next few blogposts I’d like to try and share the wisdom that I find in this wonderful work.

"O MY brother! When a true seeker determineth to take the step of search in the path leading unto the knowledge of the Ancient of Days, he must, before all else, cleanse his heart, which is the seat of the revelation of the inner mysteries of God, from the obscuring dust of all acquired knowledge, and the allusions of the embodiments of satanic fancy. 

As one who likes lists; To-Do Lists, Shopping Lists, Step by Step Instructions etc., Baha’u’llah’s emphasis on “before all else,” speaks loudly to me. As one who has much travelled the path, he speaks with authority. He says that once you’ve considered setting your mind in the direction of finding out the truth about reality, the very first step is to “cleanse the heart” of all the superstitions, pre-conceived ideas, and limiting beliefs that are held without the benefit of personal experience. He refers to these things as the “obscuring dust” of acquired knowledge. 

This first step of clearing out old beliefs and superstitions is quite a challenge because we live in a world that thrives on information gathering. There are very few experts, but everyone seems to have an opinion that they can hold out as a fact, and they often cling to their beliefs and superstitions; perhaps for no other reason than to avoid having to be responsible for not knowing what they should be!

In the Baha’i Writings - there is an emphasis on personal, independent investigation and experiential validation of truth. In the original spirit in which Baha’u’llah and ‘Abdu’l-Baha expressed this teaching - I saw it as wise counsel that helped eliminate the forming of harsh and restrictive dogmas. In spirit, it encourages a way of thinking that accepts that people can have different frames of reference with regard to reality, and enables open dialogue between opposing views. It also discourages the temptation to make the acceptance of particular beliefs compulsory. Coming from a historical framework of holy wars, religious persecution and violence against those who “did not believe.” This view is so important. Personally I’ve experienced a little of this dogmatic insistence on conformity creeping into the Baha’i Faith; especially as the Faith is embraced by former Evangelical Christians of the west. In my experience the emphasis of much of the Baha’i teaching that is being proposed these days appears to be the “replacement” of all religions, rather than the “unifying” of them, which,  in many of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s writings and talks, is clearly his intended message.

"He must purge his breast, which is the sanctuary of the abiding love of the Beloved, of every defilement, and sanctify his soul from all that pertaineth to water and clay, from all shadowy and ephemeral attachments. He must so cleanse his heart that no remnant of either love or hate may linger therein, lest that love blindly incline him to error, or that hate repel him away from the truth. Even as thou dost witness in this Day how most of the people, because of such love and hate, are bereft of the immortal Face, have strayed far from the Embodiments of the Divine mysteries, and, shepherdless, are roaming through the wilderness of oblivion and error.”

In the second passage of this work, Baha’u’llah restates this theme of “clearing out” old ideas and beliefs; using terms like “purge,” and “sanctify,” to emphasize the principal of becoming an open vessel for experiencing truth as it is, and not through the lens of superstition and habit. Most challenging is the admonition to ignore or abandon the influence of emotion. To most of us, emotions are often a primary factor in determining the truth about something. We are so easily tempted to believe that “if it feels right” then it must be true!!! Again, this principle is revolutionary in the sphere of spirituality. When it comes to spiritual matters - most of us naturally tend to take emotional response as a more reliable guide than rational thinking!

Baha’u’llah explains that the religious confusion and prejudice that exists in society is due to the highly emotional, and, therefore potentially irrational thinking that has caused most religious or spiritual people to abandon religion and wander “shepherdless” through what has become a confusing and empty world. 

To be a Baha’i is not to arrive at a pre-packaged view of reality - but rather to be an open vessel to potential expressions of the divine in all areas of reality. Baha’u’llah teaches that God is "the inmost reality of all things,” and therefore to not experience the fullness of that in all its diverse manifestations is to live beneath our nature.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

2015 - The Year of the True Seeker

"The true seeker hunteth naught but the object of his quest, and the lover hath no desire save union with his beloved.” 
- Baha’u’llah, The Seven Valleys
As a kind of year-end mini pilgrimage I went to the Baha’i House of Worship on December 30th. Although I was quite surprised by how crowded it was on such a cold day I was still able to experience the solitude and quietness that I sought to be able to commune with God and myself.

I don’t consider myself an Orthodox Baha’i by any means. In fact, I often flat out disagree with a lot of the declarations that have been made in the name of Baha’u’llah and ‘Abdu’l-Baha by the administrative leaders. The Baha’i Faith as an institution has tried to establish itself as a replacement to all other religions and philosophies, rather than as the means of unity and reconciliation that I see beautifully described in the writings and utterances of its primary teacher; ‘Abdu’l-Baha. But, I do find great wisdom in the Baha’i Writings - so I choose to be inside on the outside of the Baha’i Faith.

So, as “Barely Baha’i” I decided to try and adopt the attitude and spirit of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, who has always been a kind of lighthouse; my mentor, through all the stops and changes in my long spiritual search.

As I sat in the sanctuary of the BHOW - I read one of my all time favorite passages from the writings of Baha’u’llah. It’s actually a portion of the Kitab-I-Iqan (Book of Certitude), but has become knows as “The Tablet of the True Seeker,” in the west. As I sat in receptive silence at the Baha’i House of Worship this passage spoke “into” me in a profound way. 

I’ll post it in its entirety here - and then I will take a few posts to comment on each passage that inspired me to call this year 2015, "The Year of the True Seeker."

The Tablet of the True Seeker

– CXXV –

"O MY brother! When a true seeker determineth to take the step of search in the path leading unto the knowledge of the Ancient of Days, he must, before all else, cleanse his heart, which is the seat of the revelation of the inner mysteries of God, from the obscuring dust of all acquired knowledge, and the allusions of the embodiments of satanic fancy. He must purge his breast, which is the sanctuary of the abiding love of the Beloved, of every defilement, and sanctify his soul from all that pertaineth to water and clay, from all shadowy and ephemeral attachments. He must so cleanse his heart that no remnant of either love or hate may linger therein, lest that love blindly incline him to error, or that hate repel him away from the truth. Even as thou dost witness in this Day how most of the people, because of such love and hate, are bereft of the immortal Face, have strayed far from the Embodiments of the Divine mysteries, and, shepherdless, are roaming through the wilderness of oblivion and error.

That seeker must, at all times, put his trust in God, must renounce the peoples of the earth, must detach himself from the world of dust, and cleave unto Him Who is the Lord of Lords. He must never seek to exalt himself above anyone, must wash away from the tablet of his heart every trace of pride and vainglory, must cling unto patience and resignation, observe silence and refrain from idle talk. For the tongue is a smoldering fire, and excess of speech a deadly poison. Material fire consumeth the body, whereas the fire of the tongue devoureth both heart and soul. The force of the former lasteth but for a time, whilst the effects of the latter endureth a century.

That seeker should, also, regard backbiting as grievous error, and keep himself aloof from its dominion, inasmuch as backbiting quencheth the light of the heart, and extinguisheth the life of the soul. He should be content with little, and be freed from all inordinate desire. He should treasure the companionship of them that have renounced the world, and regard avoidance of boastful and worldly people a precious benefit. At the dawn of every day he should commune with God, and, with all his soul, persevere in the quest of his Beloved. He should consume every wayward thought with the flame of His loving mention, and, with the swiftness of lightning, pass by all else save Him. He should succor the dispossessed, and never withhold his favor from the destitute. He should show kindness to animals, how much more unto his fellowman, to him who is endowed with the power of utterance. He should not hesitate to offer up his life for his Beloved, nor allow the censure of the people to turn him away from the Truth. He should not wish for others that which he doth not wish for himself, nor promise that which he doth not fulfill. With all his heart he should avoid fellowship with evildoers, and pray for the remission of their sins. He should forgive the sinful, and never despise his low estate, for none knoweth what his own end shall be. How often hath a sinner attained, at the hour of death, to the essence of faith, and, quaffing the immortal draught, hath taken his flight unto the Concourse on high! And how often hath a devout believer, at the hour of his soul’s ascension, been so changed as to fall into the nethermost fire!

Our purpose in revealing these convincing and weighty utterances is to impress upon the seeker that he should regard all else beside God as transient, and count all things save Him, Who is the Object of all adoration, as utter nothingness.

These are among the attributes of the exalted, and constitute the hallmark of the spiritually minded. They have already been mentioned in connection with the requirements of the wayfarers that tread the path of Positive Knowledge. When the detached wayfarer and sincere seeker hath fulfilled these essential conditions, then and only then can he be called a true seeker. Whensoever he hath fulfilled the conditions implied in the verse: “Whoso maketh efforts for Us,” he shall enjoy the blessings conferred by the words: “In Our Ways shall We assuredly guide him.”

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. At that hour will the Mystic Herald, bearing the joyful tidings of the Spirit, shine forth from the City of God resplendent as the morn, and, through the trumpet-blast of knowledge, will awaken the heart, the soul, and the spirit from the slumber of heedlessness. Then will the manifold favors and outpouring grace of the holy and everlasting Spirit confer such new life upon the seeker that he will find himself endowed with a new eye, a new ear, a new heart, and a new mind. He will contemplate the manifest signs of the universe, and will penetrate the hidden mysteries of the soul. Gazing with the eye of God, he will perceive within every atom a door that leadeth him to the stations of absolute certitude. He will discover in all things the mysteries of Divine Revelation, and the evidences of an everlasting Manifestation.

I swear by God! Were he that treadeth the path of guidance and seeketh to scale the heights of righteousness to attain unto this glorious and exalted station, he would inhale, at a distance of a thousand leagues, the fragrance of God, and would perceive the resplendent morn of a Divine guidance rising above the Dayspring of all things. Each and every thing, however small, would be to him a revelation, leading him to his Beloved, the Object of his quest. So great shall be the discernment of this seeker that he will discriminate between truth and falsehood, even as he doth distinguish the sun from shadow. If in the uttermost corners of the East the sweet savors of God be wafted, he will assuredly recognize and inhale their fragrance, even though he be dwelling in the uttermost ends of the West. He will, likewise, clearly distinguish all the signs of God—His wondrous utterances, His great works, and mighty deeds—from the doings, the words and ways of men, even as the jeweler who knoweth the gem from the stone, or the man who distinguisheth the spring from autumn, and heat from cold. When the channel of the human soul is cleansed of all worldly and impeding attachments, it will unfailingly perceive the breath of the Beloved across immeasurable distances, and will, led by its perfume, attain and enter the City of Certitude.

Therein he will discern the wonders of His ancient Wisdom, and will perceive all the hidden teachings from the rustling leaves of the Tree that flourisheth in that City. With both his inner and outer ear, he will hear from its dust the hymns of glory and praise ascending unto the Lord of Lords, and with his inner eye will he discover the mysteries of “return” and “revival.”

How unspeakably glorious are the signs, the tokens, the revelations, and splendors which He, Who is the King of Names and Attributes, hath destined for that City! The attainment unto this City quencheth thirst without water, and kindleth the love of God without fire. Within every blade of grass are enshrined the mysteries of an inscrutable Wisdom, and upon every rosebush a myriad nightingales pour out, in blissful rapture, their melody. Its wondrous tulips unfold the mystery of the undying Fire in the Burning Bush, and its sweet savors of holiness breathe the perfume of the Messianic Spirit. It bestoweth wealth without gold, and conferreth immortality without death. In each one of its leaves ineffable delights are treasured, and within every chamber unnumbered mysteries lie hidden.

They that valiantly labor in quest of God, will, when once they have renounced all else but Him, be so attached and wedded unto that City, that a moment’s separation from it would to them be unthinkable. They will hearken unto infallible proofs from the Hyacinth of that assembly, and will receive the surest testimonies from the beauty of its Rose, and the melody of its Nightingale. Once in about a thousand years shall this City be renewed and readorned.…

That City is none other than the Word of God revealed in every age and dispensation. In the days of Moses it was the Pentateuch; in the days of Jesus, the Gospel; in the days of Muḥammad, the Messenger of God, the Qur’án; in this day, the Bayán; and in the Dispensation of Him Whom God will make manifest, His own Book—the Book unto which all the Books of former Dispensations must needs be referred, the Book that standeth amongst them all transcendent and supreme."
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