The Iceberg Principle

There is an interesting dynamic in our Faith between what we “do”. and what we “accomplish”. Our doings occur in this world – where they can be seen, measured and reflected upon – but our true accomplishments occur in the spiritual world, invisibly and by mystical means.

If we define “mystical” as relying on an unfathomable system to produce practical results, our Faith is deeply so. How often have seeming failures translated into success, or apparent successes petered away. This world, in which we interact, is only the tip of an enormous iceberg, whose movement and structure remains invisible beneath the waves.

While this can be a confounding truth, it is also a hopeful one, because this System not only desires us to succeeds, it actively cooperates. Each step we take is answered by a thousand in response. Every activity undertaken out of love and obedience to the Institutions is met with assistance by unseen hosts. A single prayer can affect an entire cluster; a devotional meeting, no matter how well attended, is an embryo of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár.

What this means is that we cannot judge success or failure by what we see alone. In fact, these are the least part of our service to the Faith. Since they define the pattern of our interaction, they are a necessary part of reflection, consultation and learning; but they are only the tip of the iceberg. Our hopes should rest on that deeper element – which is to say, our hopes should rest on God alone, independent of the world of seeming.

O Man of Two Visions! Close one eye and open the other; close one to the world and all that is therein, and open the other to the hallowed beauty of the Beloved.

The plans of men are hopeful, but the plans of the Universal House of Justice are ordained to transform all civilization. This is due to the mystical Force enlivening their activities, and attending our efforts to fulfill them. This is the well-spring of encouragement, where an atom is in fact a sun, and a gnat an eagle. When a lone believer undertakes to start a study circle, that action begets this Spirit, and begins a fundamental change in the cluster As we labor to bring it to fruition, it becomes a beacon attracting the breaths of the Holy Spirit. In fact, the form of effort is somewhat secondary; it is the spirit it generates that carries the power to renew the world.

The mystic thus challenges himself to awaken his vision to this dynamic, and to transform his outlook, behavior, and emotional “baseline”. The Kingdom of God is taking shape on this earth beneath a veil of mystery, and its construction is steady and certain. Each brick we lay produces an edifice there; every holy syllable we utter reverberates invisibly in pealing tones. Thus, whenever activities seem low, or the friends discouraged, think of the iceberg. It may appear tiny and ineffectual above; but in reality it is a leviathan of the fathomless deeps.