Now this really is good-bye, because the week is ending, the shops are closing for their vacation (August is the off-season), everyone is going on their holidays, and my Internet time is running out. In all, the right time to say good-bye, pay for my train ticket, and make my way back to the United States.
I have only one last realization to offer, in conclusion, which lies like the capstone on everything before. It is simple, but took several experiences to come clear: In essence it is that, just as the soul must free itself from people and definitions in order to center its life on Quality, it must also detach itself from its past and future – since Quality is found only in the present moment.
With that, this trip has reached its conclusion – in many ways – and I am very much looking forward to returning, and putting all that’s been learned to use.
At the end of this letter are several sentences from the Seven Valleys (my favorite mystical text, by Bahá’u’lláh). If you’ve followed the essays before now, perhaps you will also see the connections. It reads to me as if it had been subtitled, “The Seven Valleys: A Manual for Finding Quality”.
Ciao from Florence.
Praise be to God Who hath made being to come forth from nothingness…
…that every man may thereby win his way to the summit of realities, until none shall contemplate anything whatsoever but that he shall see God therein.
“…by whichsoever (name) ye will, invoke Him: He hath most excellent names” in the hearts of those who know.
…a station wherein thou shalt see nothing in creation save the Face of thy Beloved One, the Honored, and behold all created things only as in the day wherein none hath a mention.
It is incumbent on these servants that they… shut the door of friendliness and enmity upon all the people of the earth.
…for he hath taken his heart away from both worlds, and set out for the Ka’bih of the Beloved.
The true seeker hunteth naught but the object of his quest, and the lover hath no desire save union with his beloved. Nor shall the seeker reach his goal unless he sacrifice all things. That is, whatever he hath seen, and heard, and understood, all must he set at naught, that he may enter the realm of the spirit, which is the City of God.
…if we taste of this cup, we shall cast away the world.
…when the fire of love is ablaze, it burneth to ashes the harvest of reason.
Now is the traveler unaware of himself, and of aught besides himself.
In this station the lover hath no thought save the Beloved, and seeketh no refuge save the Friend.
…until, like Jacob, thou forsake thine outward eyes, thou shalt never open the eye of thine inward being…
Love accepteth no existence and wisheth no life…
…pass by this mortal earth that thou mayest seek a home in the nest of heaven.
Be as naught, if thou wouldst kindle the fire of being and be fit for the pathway of love.
…the denizens of the undying city, who dwell in the green garden land, see not even “neither first nor last”; they fly from all that is first, and repulse all that is last. For these have passed over the worlds of names, and fled beyond the worlds of attributes as swift as lightning.
“…honor us with the love of Thine Essence, that we may be freed from turning toward ourselves and toward all else save Thee, and may become wholly Thine, and know only Thee, and see only Thee, and think of none save Thee.”
In this station he pierceth the veils of plurality, fleeth from the worlds of the flesh, and ascendeth into the heaven of singleness.
He seeth in himself neither name nor fame nor rank, but findeth his own praise in praising God. He beholdeth in his own name the name of God; to him, “all songs are from the King,” and every melody from Him.
He sitteth on the throne of “Say, all is from God,” and taketh his rest on the carpet of “There is no power or might but in 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 some have drunk of the wine of oneness and these see nothing but the sun itself.
…when thou strippest the wrappings of illusion from off thine heart, the lights of oneness will be made manifest.
…those personages who in a single step have passed over the world of the relative and the limited, and dwelt on the fair plane of the Absolute, and pitched their tent in the worlds of authority and command – have burned away these relativities with a single spark, and blotted out these words with a drop of dew. And they swim in the sea of the spirit, and soar in the holy air of light. Then what life have words, on such a plane, that “first” and “last” or other than these be seen or mentioned!
…shouldst thou taste of [these fruits], thou wilt shield thine eyes from all things else, and drink of the wine of contentment; and thou wilt loose thyself from all things else, and bind thyself to Him, and throw thy life down in His path, and cast thy soul away.
…there is no other in this region that thou need forget: “There was God and there was naught beside Him.”
For on this plane the traveler witnesseth the beauty of the Friend in everything.
For he hath burnt away the veils with his sighing, and unwrapped the shroudings with a single glance; with piercing sight he gazeth on the new creation; with lucid heart he graspeth subtle verities.
At every moment he beholdeth a wondrous world, a new creation, and goeth from astonishment to astonishment, and is lost in awe at the works of the Lord of Oneness.
He who hath attained this station is sanctified from all that pertaineth to the world.
This is the plane whereon the vestiges of all things are destroyed in the traveler…
Now hast thou abandoned the drop of life and come to the sea of the Life-Bestower. This is the goal thou didst ask for; if it be God’s will, thou wilt gain it.