Beyond the World We Know

In the little Baha’i book called The Hidden Words, there is a passage that I often recite on my afternoon walks.  It attracts me endlessly because it highlights a spiritual paradox.  The words nudge me out of my limited sense of self.  Yet they also pull me into a deeper reality that is more “me”, more intimate, than anything I’ve known.  I believe these words offer a glimpse into the soul’s true potential, as endowed by our creator:

O Son of Man! 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.  (The Hidden Words, No. 7)

This verse opens me to all the possibilities beyond my own cares and desires.  And I feel a profound peace, a spiritual expansion.  Yet it is also a challenging experience, because there is a part of me that wants to hold on to what I know, that resists letting go and following God wherever he wants to take me.

This is true for many of us, I believe, especially in a world where we are taught to relentlessly pursue a narrow, materialistic version of personal happiness and success that disregards our spiritual nature and growth.

The goal of The Hidden Words is to bring us back to the profound spiritual truths of our inner nature, truths that many of us have forgotten.  The book was written by Baha’u’llah, the Prophet and Founder of the Baha’i Faith, and is a  distillation of the spiritual teachings common to all the world’s great religions.

One of these spiritual truths is the concept of turning our inner life over to our creator, letting him remake us in his spiritual image, as in the Christian New Testament verse, Ephesians 3:17:

That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

“The fullness of God” calls our spirits back home.  We feel the joy of being saturated with love and goodness, leaving no space for our lower human qualities, such as fear or selfishness.

It sounds simple — to let God in and to be released from all the small, limiting parts of ourselves that we would rather be without anyway.

But what about releasing our pleasures?  The Hidden Words state that if we desire God’s pleasure, that we should “regard not” our own.  This is much more difficult, because we naturally seek pleasure and avoid pain.   So how do we take this step in our spiritual development?

I believe it comes down to a matter of knowledge and trust.  Can we trust that the pleasures of God are greater than the pleasures of man?   Can we become like a caterpillar and give up our limited experience to become a glorious butterfly?   I believe the answer is yes, and that God helps us with this transformation if we ardently seek him, and gives us the knowledge and courage to become our true selves, the reflection of his divine being.

He assures us that he created us out of infinite love.  The Hidden Words say:

I loved thy creation, hence I created thee. Wherefore, do thou love me, that I may name they name and fill thy soul with the spirit of life.   (The Hidden Words, No. 4)

When we love God and welcome him inside, he calls our spiritual name, revealing us more fully to ourselves. We become more intimate with our unique essence created in love, and our spirit awakens.  We more clearly see the reflection of God within ourselves and others, and our greatest desire becomes to grow closer to him and to share our unique gifts in celebration, love, and service.

It is the kind of profound pleasure we all need.    The pleasure of God that transcends our superficial desires, and takes us beyond the world that we know to a place of real transformation.  It isn’t always an easy journey, but it is the path of our spiritual growth and fulfillment.  It begins by inviting God home, into our hearts created by love:

O Son of Being!  Thy heart is My home; sanctify it for my descent.  Thy spirit is My place of revelation; cleanse it for My manifestation.  (The Hidden Words, No. 59)

O Son of Being!  With the hands of power I made thee and with the fingers of strength I created thee; and within thee have I placed the essence of My light. Be thou content with it and seek naught else, for My work is perfect and My command is binding. Question it not, nor have a doubt thereof. (The Hidden Words, No. 12)

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Author: Jen

I want to explore everything, from the mundane to the momentous, the playful to the profound. Nothing is insignificant and everything is related. I’m particularly fond of the mysteries contained in everyday life. Blogging is my latest adventure, and I’d love for you to come along!

8 thoughts on “Beyond the World We Know”

  1. Hi Jen

    This was a wonderful read and I loved this: “In the little Baha’i book called The Hidden Words, there is a passage that I often recite on my afternoon walks. It attracts me endlessly because it highlights a spiritual paradox. The words nudge me out of my limited sense of self. Yet they also pull me into a deeper reality that is more “me”, more intimate, than anything I’ve known. I believe these words offer a glimpse into the soul’s true potential, as endowed by our creator:

    O Son of Man! 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. (The Hidden Words, No. 7)”

    Let’s connect? http://www.healthyliving894.com

    Kind regards
    Greta

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  2. Thanks for inviting me to read your blogs. Definitely worth the read. Gave me alot to think about! I loved the “The thrill of just in time” blog. I definitely can relate.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you like that one – I wasn’t sure how people would react to it, but writing about the problem actually helped me a lot – gave me the needed prespective to finally make a change. Thanks for reading my stuff – it means a lot to me! 🙂

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  3. I love the Hidden Words. Little gems of mystery and enlightenment. I believe we find pleasure in things through the grace of God. So rather than the pleasures of God overtaking our own, perhaps God has granted us pleasure in certain things and therefore they are one and the same…. Just a thought. Much love

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Baha’i teachings agree that God made all things, so all pleasures – rightly used – come from him. So what is the deeper meaning of distinguishing “God’s pleasure” from “man’s pleasure” in the verse I quoted? I think it is a spiritual truth with many facets to ponder, one of which is about detachment. To me, it says that we need to aim for detachment from pleasures that will fade, and to cultivate attachment to spiritual joys that are eternal. To me, it also says that we should guard against wanting particular outcomes in life, and instead cultivate gratitude for all the blessings God showers upon us.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank you for this post 🙂

    Eckhart Tolle says (and i might be rephrasing) that pain and pleasure are two sides of the same coin and that you can’t have one without the other…

    “So in the unenlightened, mind-identified condition, what is sometimes wrongly called joy is the usually short-lived pleasure side of the continuously alternating pain/pleasure cycle. Pleasure is always derived from something outside you, whereas joy arises from within. The very thing that gives you pleasure today will give you pain tomorrow, or it will leave you, so its absence will give you pain.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree that if a person identifies with the outward cycle of pleasure and pain, they will never be free. Anyone or anything that gives you pleasure today can change or go away tomorrow. Not a safe proposition. I think that’s why religion emphasizes finding our joy in God, who does not change and does not go away.

      Liked by 2 people

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