Stepping beyond

Having described the veil, and the merits of the veil, I was struck by a thought of how to beyond it. It is not a passing of the body, however, but only of the spirit. Our eyes remain on this side, with our vision on the other. It’s like looking at things from a higher perspective while still seeing the details.

Religion says the veil may be crossed in a single instant. Although it can take a lifetime, the journey is less than a hair’s breadth:

Behold it is closer to you than your life-vein! Swift as the twinkling of an eye ye can, if ye but wish it, reach and partake of this imperishable favor…

Thou art but one step away from the glorious heights above and from the celestial tree of love…

[The wayfarer] may cross these… stages… in a single breath, if God will and desire it.

What can take us there? I think that just as the body is moved by the motive force of will, the soul is lifted by the motive force of love. It is not love of an ordinary sort, but the very love we are here to learn: love for the whole. This is a love which manifests itself in different ways according to the parts, but is directed at the being of the whole, and the movement of that being. It sees the whole reflected in every part, until it sees no parts at all, even though the eyes always will.

In thinking about the outward signs of such a love, I came across a statement by Bahá’u’lláh about equality. He said that although treating others equally is a station beloved of God, regarding others as higher than one’s self “is above this station”1. Which got me to thinking: this is exactly how a lover treats his beloved. He regards her as higher than himself, such that he would willingly give up his life. This reminded me of a statement from `Abdu’l-Bahá, about how the believers should be when they meet each other:

Should one soul from amongst the believers meet another, it must be as though a thirsty one with parched lips has reached to the fountain of the water of life, or a lover has met his true beloved.

This points toward a view of things very much like an impassioned lover’s. Which creates paradox, in light of the following statement from Rúmí, which is quoted in the Seven Valleys:

Love is a veil betwixt the lover and the loved one; More than this I am not permitted to tell.

If love is a means through the veil, love is also a veil? This could mean that love of certain parts – preference – can hinder us from loving the whole: like a lover who falls so much in love with one person that he can barely remember the existence of others.

In loving the All, every face is different yet the same, and there is only one aspect to creation, just as all lanterns shine with the same light, “… until none shall contemplate anything whatsoever but that he shall see God therein.” This does not contradict my earlier beliefs on Quality, since the eyes themselves do not pass the veil. It is not the places of the light’s manifestation that I refer to, but the source of their illumination.

The All is like a pure light, which is fragmented and perceived by the eye. Seeing the All is seeing the light of the sun in everything, and not viewing things as fundamentally apart – until one communes with the All itself, no matter how variable its manifestations, or the needs of those manifestations. This is looking at the flower, but seeing it as a mirror of the sun. “… and some have drunk of the wine of oneness and these see nothing but the sun itself.” To reach this vision requires love, because otherwise the heart is not willing to step beyond.

Kindling this love is the difficult part. If we saw true Reality, I think we fall in love with it in an instant. So we are ultimately faced with the task of loving the All before we can see it. Isn’t this the very province of faith? Perhaps in developing faith, and being willing to trust in the most positive view of life possible, such a love can bloom.

  1. This may be found in the Lawh-i-Ittihad (Tablet of Unity), which has been↩︎