Whither Can A Lover Go?

May 20, 2006

Though it has been long since I have read the following passage from  Bahá'u'lláh's Hidden Words, it has of late been entering my thoughts seemingly of its own accord, at those rare moments when I free my mind for contemplative reflection:

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 would he forsake to hasten to the abode of his beloved.

Perhaps to San Francisco?

Today is my third day in San Francisco for the 2006 URI Global Council meeting. Actually, the past two days have been spent with the 20+ members of the Global Support staff — staff from the URI, Inc. office in San Francisco as well as the other Regional Coordinators from around the world. We've been meeting to talk about our roles in spurring the development of an interfaith movement whose purpose is 

to promote enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, end religiously motivated violence, and create cultures of peace, justice, and healing for the Earth and all living beings.

As I was flying out west, I thought again of the verse above. And I asked myself, why am I involved in this work? Am I really doing any good for humanity, or just spinning my wheels? Is this really serving the "Cause of God?" Does this work help me "hasten to the abode of [my] beloved?"

I reply to myself with an emphatic yes. We have come together here as lovers of the great Mystery, as humble seekers after and servants of that eternal truth that some see as Gaia, some as nirvana, some as Allah or I Am or Shiva or Dios — and some as all these and more.

We recognize that the mere pursuit of present material pleasure does little to develop our spiritual lives, our essence or soul. Nor does it promote the well-being of our families, friends, countryman, Earthians. I shouldn't deign to speak for anyone else's motivations, but I assume that those gathered (and those on the ground, doing the work back home) feel as I do, that our own spiritual development is tied up in some way with that of our fellows. We may not have achieved enlightenment, but we may still pursue the Bodhisattva's aim in our own path towards the land of the beloved.

The next Hidden Word, no. 5  from the Persian section, proclaims "Of all men the most negligent is he that disputeth idly and seeketh to advance himself over his brothers. Say, O breathren! Let deeds, not words, be your adorning."

With that exhortation in mind, I plan to spend the rest of this day without activities planning and documenting the work of the URI in North America.