Spiritual Journey - Endpoint
April 9, 2006
A few weekends ago I finally attended a local interfaith event, a dialogue organized by the St. Paul Interreligious Network. This is the first interfaith event I’ve been to in St. Paul, though since moving to Minnesota I’ve been to several conferences, gatherings, and planning sessions outside the state. The topic for the day was “spiritual journey,” with a few questions aimed at small group exploration of our own spiritual journey. This of course forced me to ask myself, what is my spiritual journey?
Ultimately, by becoming a Bahá'í, I’ve accepted that “spiritual journey” is the essence of life, and the destination towards which we travel is “reunion with God.”
O SON OF JUSTICE!
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.
Bahá'lláh, The Persian Hidden Words
Thou well knowest, O my God, my Best-Beloved, that naught can quench the thirst I suffer in my separation from Thee except the waters of Thy presence, and that the tumult of my heart can never be stilled save through the living fountain of my reunion with Thee. Send down, then, upon me, O my Lord, out of the heaven of Thy bounty what will draw me nearer unto the chalice of Thy gifts, and make me able to quaff the choice sealed Wine, Whose seal hath been loosed in Thy name, and from Which the sweet savors of Thy days have been shed abroad. Thou, in truth, art the All-Bountiful, Whose grace is infinite.
Bahá'lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá'lláh, p. 57
But what does that really mean, for me, right now?
Let’s start with the endpoint – “reunion with God.” Now let’s see if I can succinctly state what this means to me. Hm. No, can’t do that, probably not even if I went at it at length. But I can share some impressions of what that means.
Ultimately, the closest I can come to creating an intellectual reality out of this concept – which by its very nature defies over-intellectualization – is a vision of peace of mind and harmony with the world, acting out of a sense of justice and love, recognizing that hate, envy, and malice have no place in the world. I’m tempted to mention recognizing the unity of everything, but that probably branches too far from rational to help here.
Nevertheless, to stray too far into the world of reason, logos without intuition, is to risk losing sight of the endpoint, for reason alone cannot approach “reunion.” Experience is required. Discernment and trust of intuition are required. So we return to mysticism:
“In this station he pierceth the veils of plurality, fleeth from the worlds of the flesh, and ascendeth into the heaven of singleness. With the ear of God he heareth, with the eye of God he beholdeth the mysteries of divine creation . . . He seeth in himself neither name nor fame nor rank, but findeth his own praise in praising God . . . He looketh on all things with the eye of oneness, and 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.”
Baha’u’llah, Seven Valleys, pp17-18