Why does man need to seek the truth


Life has two types: the life of the body and the spirit of life. The body belongs to nature. It follows the natural laws. It is contingent. The spirit of life belongs to the super natural. It follows the Word of God. It is eternal. The body is sustained by the sun and other objects are produced from the effect of the sun. In the same way, the spirit of life is sustained by the Sun of Truth, that is, the Word of God, Who is the Manifestation of God. The Manifestation of God is the Sun in the spiritual realm. They are the center and the light of the spiritual realm. There is only one sun in our visible world. Also, there is only one Sun of Truth in the spiritual world. The many Manifestations of God are the Suns that have risen during different times and in different locations.


Without the sun, man can’t live. Without the Sun of Truth the spirit of life lives in darkness. These are the two realities of life in a man. A man needs both the sun in the material world and the Sun of Truth in the spiritual world to live.


From yoga perspective to look at the spiritual practice

Spiritual practice with Yoga

My sister is a yoga teacher. Since she became a teacher, I have been exposed to the concepts of energy and yoga movements. According to yogic philosophy, chakras are centers in the body that regulate the flow of energy through us. If we understand how our emotions are related to the energy released from the chakras, we can see the potential to take responsibility for how the energy is released and we can be a positive influence on the world around us. In many ways, the practice of yoga has the same concept and approach as spiritual practice, although one is for the wellbeing of the body and the other for spiritual wellbeing.

The spiritual world is like unto the phenomenal world. They are the exact counterpart of each other. Whatever objects appear in this world of existence are the outer pictures of the world of heaven.  (Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 10)

For example: Our breath comes into the body and it must go out. The energy from the Universe is just like the air we breathe to sustain our spirit, the energy comes into our body and it has to go out too. We “breath energy” from the crown chakra, and it through the other six chakras (third eye chakra, throat chakra, heart chakra, solar plexus chakra, sacral chakra and root chakra) and then it reverses direction to flow out of our body like breathing. When air goes into the body, the cells use the oxygen and it is exhaled out as carbon dioxide. With the energy that enters our body, our mental activity transforms it into love energy or fear energy. The “exhalation” of that energy may appear as “good breath” or “bad breath”. The love energy is just like good breath and the fear energy is like a bad breath of energy. With each breath we feel our physical condition, ease or difficulty, delight or pain. With every “breath” of energy we experience spiritual feelings, sadness or joy, anxiety or relaxing, and all kinds of emotion. When our body is sick, we feel the pain in different parts of our body while we breathe; when our soul is sick, we feel the emotional fluctuation and an uncomfortable burdensome feeling. Awareness of the body’s condition helps us find the locations of pain, and through adjusting our posture we can release the muscle pain. Awareness of our feelings and emotions helps us locate the causes of spiritual pain, such as unsatisfied desire or fears. By adjusting our mindset and attitude we can release these emotions and find the peace within. These two aspects of development, physical and spiritual, can be thought of as two wings of a bird, which must be equally developed for the bird to fly:

Man has two powers; and his development, two aspects. One power is connected with the material world, and by it he is capable of material advancement. The other power is spiritual, and through its development his inner, potential nature is awakened. These powers are like two wings. Both must be developed, for flight is impossible with one wing. (Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p.60)

In yoga, we work out our muscles. In spiritual practice, we “work out” our virtues. Virtues are our spiritual muscles. By adjusting our breathing, we find the balance of air flow within the movements of the body. By receiving the breath of the Holy Spirit, we find the balance of energy flows and mindfulness. For the wellbeing of the body we need to pay attention to every muscle. For the wellbeing of the soul we need to pay attention to every emotion and connect to the virtues which we need to develop. Bodily sensation comes through our nervous system, spiritual sensation is in the perception of emotion and susceptibility. Awareness of both bodily sensation and spiritual sensation is needed for the true yoga practitioner. It requires focus of the mind, awareness of the body and spiritual condition in daily life.

With yoga, according our needs, we can choose the movements and posture which help the muscles we try to strengthen. In spiritual practice, we can contemplate difficult situations in life and cultivate the virtues we try to develop. A physical workout needs effort and commitment, spiritual practice needs effort and commitment too. With one posture in yoga we might exercise several muscles at the same time. With one life experience we might expose several virtues we need to develop. Sometimes we choose yoga postures to focus work on particular muscles. Also in our spiritual practice, we can focus on developing one particular virtue at a time. When we suffer from body pain, acceptance can lead to a better healing process. When we suffer from pain caused by our emotions, acceptance can lead to mindfulness and brings spiritual inspiration for us to solve our problems.  The body needs time to heal and the spirit needs time to strengthen. When we rely on God and trust God, over time we will see both the mind and body be healed by God’s power.  Patience and endurance while facing a challenge is needed, just like when we hold a position for a long time while we practice yoga. One is for strengthening virtues and one is for strengthening muscles.

In yoga, we can inhale slowly, hold our breath, exhale slowly or have different patterns of breathing for us to observe the sensations of our muscles. In spiritual practice, we can exercise the ability to change our mindset step by step in order to observe how the energy changes and how the emotions dissolve. Through breathing techniques, we experiment with how it affects our movement. We become skillful at strengthening muscles by using breathing techniques. Through adjusting our mindset and attitude we can experiment with how it affects the type of energy released and connection to the emotions and susceptibilities we have. Emotion or susceptibility of our heart is the spiritual sensation. Observing muscles or observing emotions (connected to the virtues) are similar techniques, one is felt by the body senses and the other is feel by spiritual perception. Perception is our spiritual sense.

In yoga, we can open our chest with a certain posture. It helps us open our heart chakra. Similarly, we can open our heart by remembering God, loving God and trusting God, which is faith in God. By adjusting our posture, we move between the spots of muscles we want to work out. By adjusting our attitude toward God in different situations, we move between the types of virtue we need to work on. Our attitude toward God is our spiritual posture. We open our heart by knowing more about God, trusting God and relying on God. Relying on God helps us lay our burden on Him and trusting God help us put down our fear and submerge into His love. We can only follow and be a good servant of God by trusting Him. Physically, we follow our mind to develop muscles. Spiritually, we follow our heart which leads to the Will of God to develop virtues.

By doing yoga, we develop stronger but more flexible muscles to sustain our physical needs in our daily life. By spiritual practice, we develop stronger virtues but a more softened heart to sustain our spiritual need in every challenge we encounter and be more caring of others. Physical strength shows in muscle strength, spirit strength shows in the perfection of virtues we develop. With a strong body, we enjoy the delights of movement and physical freedom. With a strong human soul, we are freed from the constraints of our physical nature rejoice in spiritual freedom. With both physical and spiritual freedom, we reach harmony of body, mind and soul. The movements of yoga might bring us into the harmony of body and mind. But in order to reach the harmony of mind and soul, we need to have spiritual practice. By practicing both, it leads us to become a true practitioner of yoga, a yogi.

The most vital duty, in this day, is to purify your characters, to correct your manners, and improve your conduct. The beloved of the Merciful must show forth such character and conduct among His creatures, that the fragrance of their holiness may be shed upon the whole world, and may quicken the dead, inasmuch as the purpose of the Manifestation of God and the dawning of the limitless lights of the Invisible is to educate the souls of men, and refine the character of every living man—so that blessed individuals, who have freed themselves from the murk of the animal world, shall rise up with those qualities which are the adornings of the reality of man. (Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha 2.16 )

About this life and next life

(This is the speech of  Abdu’l-Bahá on o6 July 1912, Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York)

In the world of existence man has traversed successive degrees until he has attained the human kingdom. In each degree of his progression he has developed capacity for advancement to the next station and condition. While in the kingdom of the mineral he was attaining the capacity for promotion into the degree of the vegetable. In the kingdom of the vegetable he underwent preparation for the world of the animal, and from thence he has come onward to the human degree, or kingdom. Throughout this journey of progression he has ever and always been potentially man.

In the beginning of his human life man was embryonic in the world of the matrix. There he received capacity and endowment for the reality of human existence. The forces and powers necessary for this world were bestowed upon him in that limited condition. In this world he needed eyes; he received them potentially in the other. He needed ears; he obtained them there in readiness and preparation for his new existence. The powers requisite in this world were conferred upon him in the world of the matrix so that when he entered this realm of real existence he not only possessed all necessary functions and powers but found provision for his material sustenance awaiting him.

Therefore, in this world he must prepare himself for the life beyond. That which he needs in the world of the Kingdom must be obtained here. Just as he prepared himself in the world of the matrix by acquiring forces necessary in this sphere of existence, so, likewise, the indispensable forces of the divine existence must be potentially attained in this world.

What is he in need of in the Kingdom which transcends the life and limitation of this mortal sphere? That world beyond is a world of sanctity and radiance; therefore, it is necessary that in this world he should acquire these divine attributes. In that world there is need of spirituality, faith, assurance, the knowledge and love of God. These he must attain in this world so that after his ascension from the earthly to the heavenly Kingdom he shall find all that is needful in that eternal life ready for him.

That divine world is manifestly a world of lights; therefore, man has need of illumination here. That is a world of love; the love of God is essential. It is a world of perfections; virtues, or perfections, must be acquired. That world is vivified by the breaths of the Holy Spirit; in this world we must seek them. That is the Kingdom of everlasting life; it must be attained during this vanishing existence.

By what means can man acquire these things? How shall he obtain these merciful gifts and powers? First, through the knowledge of God. Second, through the love of God. Third, through faith. Fourth, through philanthropic deeds. Fifth, through self-sacrifice. Sixth, through severance from this world. Seventh, through sanctity and holiness. Unless he acquires these forces and attains to these requirements, he will surely be deprived of the life that is eternal. But if he possesses the knowledge of God, becomes ignited through the fire of the love of God, witnesses the great and mighty signs of the Kingdom, becomes the cause of love among mankind and lives in the utmost state of sanctity and holiness, he shall surely attain to second birth, be baptized by the Holy Spirit and enjoy everlasting existence.

Is it not astonishing that although man has been created for the knowledge and love of God, for the virtues of the human world, for spirituality, heavenly illumination and eternal life, nevertheless, he continues ignorant and negligent of all this? Consider how he seeks knowledge of everything except knowledge of God. For instance, his utmost desire is to penetrate the mysteries of the lowest strata of the earth. Day by day he strives to know what can be found ten meters below the surface, what he can discover within the stone, what he can learn by archaeological research in the dust. He puts forth arduous labors to fathom terrestrial mysteries but is not at all concerned about knowing the mysteries of the Kingdom, traversing the illimitable fields of the eternal world, becoming informed of the divine realities, discovering the secrets of God, attaining the knowledge of God, witnessing the splendors of the Sun of Truth and realizing the glories of everlasting life. He is unmindful and thoughtless of these. How much he is attracted to the mysteries of matter, and how completely unaware he is of the mysteries of Divinity! Nay, he is utterly negligent and oblivious of the secrets of Divinity. How great his ignorance! How conducive to his degradation! It is as if a kind and loving father had provided a library of wonderful books for his son in order that he might be informed of the mysteries of creation, at the same time surrounding him with every means of comfort and enjoyment, but the son amuses himself with pebbles and playthings, neglectful of all his father’s gifts and provision. How ignorant and heedless is man! The Father has willed for him eternal glory, and he is content with blindness and deprivation. The Father has built for him a royal palace, but he is playing with the dust; prepared for him garments of silk, but he prefers to remain unclothed; provided for him delicious foods and fruits, while he seeks sustenance in the grasses of the field.

Praise be to God! You have heard the call of the Kingdom. Your eyes are opened; you have turned to God. Your purpose is the good pleasure of God, the understanding of the mysteries of the heart and investigation of the realities. Day and night you must strive that you may attain to the significances of the heavenly Kingdom, perceive the signs of Divinity, acquire certainty of knowledge and realize that this world has a Creator, a Vivifier, a Provider, an Architect—knowing this through proofs and evidences and not through susceptibilities, nay, rather, through decisive arguments and real vision—that is to say, visualizing it as clearly as the outer eye beholds the sun. In this way may you behold the presence of God and attain to the knowledge of the holy, divine Manifestations.

You must come into the knowledge of the divine Manifestations and Their teachings through proofs and evidences. You must unseal the mysteries of the supreme Kingdom and become capable of discovering the inner realities of things. Then shall you be the manifestations of the mercy of God and true believers, firm and steadfast in the Cause of God.

Praise be to God! The door of divine knowledge has been opened by Baháu’lláh, for He has laid the foundation whereby man may become acquainted with the verities of heaven and earth and has bestowed the utmost confirmation in this day. He is our Teacher and Adviser; He is our Seer and the One clement toward us. He has prepared His gifts and vouchsafed His bounties, revealed every admonition and behest, prepared for us the means of eternal glory, breathed upon us the life-quickening breaths of the Holy Spirit, opened before our faces the doors of the paradise of Abhá and caused the lights of the Sun of Truth to shine upon us. The clouds of mercy have poured down their precious rain. The sea of favor is swelling and surging toward us.

The spiritual springtime has come. Infinite bounties and graces have appeared. What bestowal is greater than this? We must appreciate the divine generosity and act in accordance with the teachings of Baháu’lláh so that all good may be stored up for us and in both worlds we shall become precious and acceptable to God, attain to everlasting blessings, taste the delicacy of the love of God, find the sweetness of the knowledge of God, perceive the heavenly bestowal and witness the power of the Holy Spirit.

This is my advice, and this is my admonition.

The Planes of the Soul

As to the planes of the soul, its conditions and degrees; the cause of its abasement and exaltation and its origin, know thou: spirit hath illimitable stations and innumerable conditions or degrees. But in the world of existence they are generally limited and enumerated as:

1) the cohesive mineral,

2) the growing vegetable,

3) the sensible animal,

4) the mortal human,

5) the abased soul (the soul inclined to evil),

6) the self-accusing soul,

7) the inspired soul,

8) the assured soul,

9) the contented soul,

10) the approved or accepted soul,

11) the perfect soul,

12) the soul of the Kingdom (Malakut),

13) the soul of the Dominion or Empyrean of Heaven (Jabarut),

14) and the Divine soul of the Heavenly court (Lahut).

By the human mortal soul (4) is meant that spirit, which is characterized by the power of speech. That is to say, the spirit which sustains human powers, physical and mental faculties, perfections, divine knowledge, sciences, arts and mystic wisdom. It is likewise subject to the influence of dark passions and earthly imperfections. How great is God for this astonishing miracle and this great point, this perfect word in the Book of existence. Thus it is evident that the spirit manifests different aspects and traverses various contrasting and endless grades or stations. It has the capacity to become a mirror for the endless grades or stations. It has the capacity to become a mirror for the reflection of the manifestation of divine realities (Lahutiyyih) and a point for reflecting perfect divine attributes. Also there are grades of abasement for it in this world of existence. It can be veiled by the impure veils produced by the limitations which prevent its attaining to its source and point of origin, and shut it out from the signs of its Creator which have been deposited within it, through the bounty of its Maker. And due to its progression in the realms of nearness and proximity and because of its abasement in the wilderness of remoteness and perversity — it is clothed in each grade with a different appearance. Therefore in each stage it is described by a certain term.
For instance, when it is in the depths of degradation and the lowest grades of animal passions and takes pleasure in evil and ephemeral diversions, becomes hardened by the coldness of this world of existence and dull and neglectful of the warmth and love of its Creator, the Merciful, the Bountiful, then on account of its degradation in the wasteland of death and perversity and its occupation with evil and rebellious pursuits, it is characterized as the abased or evil soul (5). As God says, “the soul leads one to evil unless God have pity upon it.”

From this dark and dreary baseness, the soul progresses to a point where it occasionally receives an indication of its degradation in the abyss of ignorance of the path it is treading, of the ignorance veiling it from its Creator, and of its forgetfulness of the remembrance of God. From time to time the breeze of awareness passes over him and stirs him to momentary wakefulness. Upon observing its immersion in the depths of ignorance and negligence, it accuses itself; and seeing itself lost in the desert of evil, it reproaches itself. It becomes remorseful through its lowliness and baseness, for having fallen to such grades of passion and degradation and for being hindered by accumulated veils from attaining higher spiritual degrees. It becomes hindered from the remembrance of God due to these satanic imaginings and because of remorse and reproachfulness and for blaming itself, it is called the self-accusing soul (6). As God says, “I will not swear by the self-accusing spirit.”

When the soul rising from this most lowly and bestial condition and ascends to a more dignified and nearer station and degree and is assisted by divine confirmations and receives signs of inspiration and is inspired by the meaning of the Book, as it is said, “Read thy Book, it is sufficient unto thee this day”; and the reality of day and night becomes apparent to it, and it is invited to the Shores of the ocean of knowledge, is nourished by divine food from the heavenly paradise, is fed from the fruits of the tree of bounty, drinks from the streams of generosity, is sustained by the eternal delicacies, tastes the sweetness of choice morsels, befittingly realizes its elevation and degradation, its rise and fall, judges its affairs with insight, resolves its own difficulties, inclines itself away from the ephemeral to the eternal, withdraws its sight from all created things, sets itself towards the Presence of the Almighty, receives calls from the Concourse on High, attends to that which causes its advancement until it attains to the summit of assurance and the throne of gratitude, becoming a focal center of inspiration among men and gains from its efforts those fruits which will lead it to the goal of its desire — it thus is then referred to as the inspired soul (7). It distinguishes its evil doings from its noble deeds. As God says, “So God inspired him with his evil doings and his good deeds.”

Through its awakening to the remembrance of its Lord and the call of its Creator, its arising from the couch of false imaginings, its recollection of God, the Most High, its ascension to the degrees of love and assurance, its immersion in the ocean of certitude, its recognition of the signs of God in the dawning-place of the world of existence, the horizon of the worlds of being and the Manifestation of the sign of Unity from the dawning-point of heaven, its entrance into the heart of paradise, its vibration through the warmth of God’s love, its progress towards God, the Almighty, the Most-Powerful, its sitting upon the throne of peace and constancy and its proffering from the cups of steadfastness at all times — it is referred to as the assured soul (8).

As it was assured in its faith, ended its waverings, eased its difficulties, cooled its heat, refined and removed its veils, changed its darkness into light, set aside its vain pursuits, replaced its imperfections with perfections, tore asunder its veils, uncovered its mysteries, revolutionized the soil of its being and cast off its burdens so that God, hid Guide, Savior, Light-Giver and his Maker, and how exalted is He above the sayings of the ignorant — it attains to this most great, perfect, refined, pure, sweet station and drinks from this stream which is finer than the breeze, and reaches the stage of submission and contentment, now it will leave behind its desires, deliver its affairs into the hands of God, the Most Great King, place its trust in Him and will recline upon the cushion of His Grace and Generosity and shall not choose the most great comfort in place of the most great suffering, but will be content with what has been decreed for it by God — so much so as to be happy and rejoiceful in the time of suffering and grateful and thankful when the ocean of pain and catastrophe is agitated — and if the arrows of hardships reach him from the clouds of Divine decree and the rain of suffering descend upon it, you will see it honey-tongued, giving thanks to God, the Help in Peril and eloquently praising and remembering his Lord, the Most Gracious. This is the station that if thou attainest it thou shall acquire such joy that sorrows cannot reach thee, and such happiness as cannot be affected by any unpleasantness, such ease and comfort as will not be changed into hardship and distress and a tranquillity that will not be followed by agitation or difficulties, because the reins of the affairs are in the mighty grasp of the Lord, and the whole earth is in His grip in the Day of Resurrection and the heavens are rolled up on His right. High and exalted is He above the partners they assign to Him! So much so that not a leaf will move upon a tree and not a fruit will drop except by the Will of thy Lord, the Merciful, the Compassionate. He who walks upon this exalted plane has no will, rest, movement, destiny or decree save that which God ordaineth. He becometh, through the effulgence of the signs of unity, entirely selfless in his essence, his attributes and his very being, even as the shadows vanish before the shining forth of the Ancient Day Star. With the soul’s will has vanished and disappeared in the Will of God, it will become God’s will. Its satisfaction will be God’s satisfaction. Then the veils shall be removed and duality will pass from the reality of the heart. Then the sign of contentment appears in the soul and because of this satisfaction with the decree of its Creator and its submission to the commands of its Maker, it is referred to as the contented soul (9).

Through the outpourings of such bounties and being surrounded with luxuries and delicacies, clothed in the robe of generosity and favor, dressed in the raiment of submission and contentment, the soul will be addressed by the Concourse on High: “Blessed art thou for having traversed the whole way and pursued the path, until thou arrived to the stream of faithfulness and drank from the pure waters of dedication and contentment, left behind thy desires, submitted to the decree of thy Lord, offered up all thou didst possess and sacrificed thy heart, thy spirit and being in the path of thy Lord — and these are the light of thine eyes! And because of this thou attained to this most exalted and glorious station and will enter acceptable in the presence of the Lord thy God, resting in the shade of His Grace, happy, joyful and exhilarated through His Graciousness and Bounty, since “great is His Favor towards His devoted servants!” Then due to its elevation to this realm of contentment which is highly pleasing to God and because of its being accepted at the threshold of its Creator — it is referred to as the approved soul (10).

And after taking flight on the wings of holiness unto the celestial realm of this paradise and having tasted the sweetness of its degrees of intimacy in the garden of paradise, having acquired therein these high and noble attributes and ascended unto this lofty spiritual condition and when from its reality have streamed forth fountains of divine wisdom and it has become the recipient and dawning-place for the effulgence of this light and has attained assurance through the remembrance of God, the Almighty and become contented with His decrees and approved or accepted at the threshold of His door — it is referred to and known as the perfect soul (11).

Through the acquisition of such divine perfections it thus becomes worthy and prepared to enter into the Kingdom of God (Malakut) (12), which is the paradise of the righteous and the dwelling-place of the just, those whose faces are illumined through the Glad-Tidings of God, and whose countenances shine with the signs of God. To this degree of attainment God refers saying: “O thou assured soul, return to thy God, contented and accepted, pass in among my servants and thus enter My palace.”

(At this point there come 2 lengthy paragraphs of mystic and poetic description of Malakut)

When the soul opens the wings of its spirit and is attracted by the divine influences and soars to the loftiest horizon and turns to the Abha Kingdom, it will ascend to the station of Divine Empyrean or Dominion (Jabarut) (13), and will be confirmed by the supreme and manifest power and the great and ancient mystery and will become informed of the mysteries of the unseen and hidden realities by reason of which the hearts of the knowing ones are consumed in their longing after them, and will reflect the Rays from the Sun of Reality and in all aspects and conditions disclose its manifestations and lights and will ascend to a station which hath been sanctified from the perception of the perceiving ones.

Since this station has been created from the essence of power, might, grandeur, sovereignty, majesty and independence, it is freed from things that have limitations and duality. It is the essence of unity, oneness and uniqueness. It is light upon light, mystery upon mystery, the Sadratu’l-Muntaha, the supreme degree, the highest center, the furthermost point of worship (Masjid’ul-Aqsa of the Night Journey), the most sublime aspiration in the world of creation. Its perfections have neither beginning, end nor limitations. Happy the one who attains this lofty and holy station!

Concerning the Divine Spirit of the Soul (Alahiyyih) (14), it is the Supreme Reality comprising all the divine and heavenly realities manifested by the Ancient Light.

(At this point there come 2 paragraphs of mystic and brilliant explanation)

No matter how high the soaring one fly in the utmost degrees of knowledge and understanding, no matter how near the worshippers of the One True God ascend towards the summits of certitude, they are but reading letters from the book of their own selves, and reaching only to the brilliant unseen signs that are enshrined in the reality of their own beings, and circling round the center of their own entities. Thus the degrees which are beyond their realm of understanding shall never be perceived nor understood by them.

(At this point the Tablet goes on until its end with 7 more paragraphs of mysterious and detailed explanations.)

By God, the Forgiving, and the Manifest Beauty! If anyone from among the pure and devoted would turn to God in this Great Day and would gaze with the purest vision, not only shall he know all the meanings and realities latent in every word of the verses of God, the Self-Subsisting, the Mighty, but he shall know even those in every letter and point, because all these realities and significances flow in their entirety in the essence of these words, these letters and points. From them streams gush forth and within them oceans surge! Happy are those who attain!


(Provisional Translations, ‘Abdu’l-Baha – Planes of the Soul, p. 1)


[Provisional translation]

(Originally published in Egypt. This Tablet is many pages long, and what follows are extracts from it. The Tablet is not authorized for publication.)

The balance of masculine and feminine power

One day I listened a talk online and I heard: “A leader can act as warrior and as a healer. As a warrior, the leader acts with power and decision. That is the Yang, or masculine aspect of leadership. But most of time the leader acts as a healer, in an open, receptive and nourishing state. That is the feminine, or Yin aspect of leadership. This mixture of doing and being, of warrior and healer, is both productive and potent. There is a third aspect of leadership and that is called in Chinese “Dao” or “Tao”. Periodically, the leader withdraws from the group and returns to silence, returns to God. Being, doing, being, then Dao. The leader withdraws in order to empty the self of what has happened and to restore the spirit. What draws my deep attention is the relationship between the Taoist concept of Yin and Yang and the Feminine and Masculine aspects of leadership.



All beings carry Yin and embrace Yang, they achieve harmony by combining these forces. (Laozi, Dao De Ching chapter 42)



A Master knows his masculine power, but most of the time he uses his feminine power, the people come to him because the potent influence of power makes the people to be attracted to him just like the stream collects water.

A Master knows that fame follows from the light he sheds, but he instead lives as an obscured being, his obscurity is a demonstration of the obscurity of the natural law itself.

A Master knows his glory, but he instead lives as a lowly being, the master contains all beings because of his openness and receptivity just like a valley can contain everything. (Laozi, Dao De Ching chapter 28)

These virtues described by Laozi are perfect to illustrate the attributes of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. This also helps me to understand that masculine and feminine power is the power of our divine. If we can learn to keep them in balance in our spiritual practice, it is the power that can really change the world.

What are the virtues in masculine and feminine power? For masculine (Yang), they include: direction, logic, focus, integrity, stability, independence, discipline, confidence, force, strength, purpose, control. For feminine (Yin), they include: submissiveness, modesty, receptivity, empathy, radiance, flow, sensuality, nurturing, affection, sharing, tenderness, patience, love. These attributes should be the potential qualities we all have and not dominant in just man or woman. As the Dao De Ching tells us, they need to be in balance in order to achieve harmony inside and outside. It also tells us, if we live life most of time in obscurity (or modesty) as a feminine being, the world can be gentle and be nourished. The masculine power shows in our action and doing. The feminine power shows more in who we are and how we live. They are the two aspects of our spiritual lives, doing and being, productive and potent.

Yin and Yang is the movement of our life. Yin and Yang also is the process of civilization. We can’t progress just by doing and without discovering and enhancing our feminine power. The feminine power is the power to nourish our spiritual life and give the human temple the life of the spirit. Look at the world we are living in now, it seems more dominated by the masculine power. The divine civilization can’t progress without the infusion of spirit. Nourishing our life of the spirit is developing our feminine power.

Learning to keep the balance of Yin and Yang is part of the process of our spiritual growth, to get back to our natural inner being. With it, we will look at every challenge in our life from a different perspective. We must try to understand what virtues we need to cultivate in order to keep our Yin and Yang in balance. What we experience is just for us to learn more about ourselves, and help us to see which masculine virtues, or which feminine virtues need to be strengthened. To see what virtues we need to strengthen, we must see with God’s eyes and know what God’s desire is for us.

The New Age will be an Age Less Masculine, The Feminine and Masculine Elements will be More Evenly Balanced (Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 615)

The feminine and masculine, the negative and positive are opposing elements; their union produces a new creation. (BW – Baha’I World Volumes, Volume 1, p. 152)

As we can see, Yin and Yang is the principle of nature. Keeping them balance is how things work in harmony. Laozi told us how it works. Use feminine power to nourish our spirit and others. Practice living in modesty and lowliness will help to enhance the feminine power and subdue the masculine power of which we have plenty in the world right now. “Return to Dao”, it is also very important in that our heart need to be able to be still in front of God to replenish the spirit. We can’t nourish our life of the spirit without God. Spending a little bit time to mediate allows us quiet time to replenish our spirit, to strength ourselves in the spiritual journey.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá said “Look at me, follow me, be as I am.” What we look at and what we follow has deeper meaning after we understand more about the balance of Yin and Yang. I hope the wisdom of Laozi and the demonstration of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s life can help us think about the priority of our spiritual development. For the equality of men and women in our world and for each person’s development, both men and women need a balance of masculine and feminine powers. This will bring the establishment of a divine civilization.

Mind to heart, understanding what God desires for me

A lot of times I hear people ask what is the difference between mind and heart. How do we know if we use our mind or our heart? I have been wondering the same question for a long time. When my mind thinks about something, reasons about something or imagines something, I see this as kind of like surfing. Imagine when we surf on the ocean, we go with the wave. Usually we won’t try to stop, because we know we will fall and might get hurt. We let the wave continue to lead us until we get to the shore. When our mind thinks about something and it keeps rolling, most of the time we will let it keep rolling like we go with the wave, especially if we are full of emotions. And we won’t stop it until we reach the point to stop us. That is the point where we hit the shore. This kind of surfing is on the very surface of the ocean. So this kind of mind is like the very surface of our inner world.

 “O My servants! My holy, My divinely ordained Revelation may be likened unto an ocean in whose depths are concealed innumerable pearls of great price, of surpassing luster. It is the duty of every seeker to bestir himself and strive to attain the shores of this ocean, so that he may, in proportion to the eagerness of his search and the efforts he hath exerted, partake of such benefits as have been pre-ordained in God’s irrevocable and hidden Tablets. (Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh 153)

In God’s teaching, we learn that we can’t find a hidden treasure unless we dive into the ocean. If we see our inner world like an ocean, then we know we can’t find the treasure unless we dive into our deeper mind. How can we dive into it? Here, I will use what I experienced recently as an example and show you how I observe different depths of my mind in my mediation.

There are many fears we have when we raise kids. My daughter just turned fifteen. She wants to be like her friends and to learn to drive. To me, trusting her to be able to drive safely is my concern. The more I insist she needs to wait, the more she feels it should be now. So I bring the question to my meditation. I put away all my thinking and just look into my feelings. I see hurt and pain from been misunderstood. The feeling brings me to look deeper and try to see what I am afraid of. The conflicts we have had before seem to flow up to the surface. I see in those different conditions of conflict there is the same thing, the same painful feeling. I look and look again and try to find what I was really afraid of. I can’t find the reasons but only the pain I am afraid of. All the reasoning is the effect of the root issue. The root issue is the pain which I am afraid of.

Then I start to ask myself another question, what causes this fear? Honestly, I can’t see the answer. But it seems there is something that tells me to look at others’ feelings. When I switch my attention to my daughter’s feeling, I start to feel her heart and pain. We were in the same degree of fear but afraid of different things. If my daughter has her needs as an indicator whether she is loved or not, then if I insist not to give in, it will cause her fear. This is the same with me, if I use how much she shows responsibility as an indicator to determine if she has earned my trust and is able to get what she asks for, we both are experiencing the fear in our own path. This act of “looking at others’ feelings” helps me come to realize we are the same, we experience the same degree of fear when we have conflict. Coming to this realization helps me to overcome my own pain and be able to feel my daughter’s pain. And be able to embrace instead of letting the painful feeling continue.

I start seeing the meaning of what I have experienced. I know that I need to cultivate compassion more and the solution requires that I consider the fear which my daughter might have. So how can I resolve the issue? Maybe we can address how to achieve that goal together by looking into how we can share the responsibility. Which part she can learn to earn herself and which part can we provide as parents. So she can plan ahead and start doing something to show she is responsible. In the process we can help each other without fear.

O SON OF MAN! If thou lovest Me, turn away from thyself; and if thou seekest My pleasure, regard not thine own; that thou mayest die in Me and I may eternally live in thee. (The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh, Arabic 7)

When my mind shifts from reasoning into feeling, it’s like my mind stops surfing on the surface of the ocean and starts to dive into the ocean. The top layer of the mind is feeling. When I look deeper into the fear, I dive into it more. When I receive inspiration, I start to turn away myself and not focus on my painful feelings anymore. The inspiration surely is not on the surface of the mind. When I get past that point, I feel my mind is in a stable condition and am able to look into my daughter’s feelings. At that point, the meaning and the purpose for what I experienced becomes clearer and clearer. The deeper we dive into our mind, we see the opposite side of things and different meanings. In that deep layer of mind, we understand the reason why God allows that thing to happen. We see the purpose and we see what we have to learn from it. We may see the particular things we need to improve. For me this experience is for me to learn to be more compassionate and be able to see a way to make things work.

When we close the door to our feelings, we close the door to the vital currents that energize and activate our thoughts and actions. We cannot begin the process of understanding the effects of our emotions upon us, our environment, and other people, or the effects of the emotions of other people upon themselves, their environment, and us. Without an awareness of our emotions, we cannot associate the effects of anger, sadness, grief, and joy-within ourselves or others-with their causes. We cannot distinguish between that part of us which is personality and that part of us which is soul. Without an awareness of our feelings we cannot experience compassion. How can we share the sufferings and the joys of others if we cannot experience our own?  (Gary Zukav, the Seat of the Soul)

Like learning to dive, we need to practice diving into our mind. In this meditation process, we observe different things in different depths of our mind. Seeking inspiration and seeking the love of God, we need to pass the agitated surface and go deep into our heart. In that state of mind, our mind is calm enough and able to simply observe what is there and not be caught up in it. In that state we may be able to see that inspiration is different from imagination. We will be able to understand the meaning of what we have experienced and see our heart’s desire from God. We see that the challenges we encounter are for a great purpose, for us to grow spiritually. We also feel more connected with God and feel more His love. This is what I would say: Behind the fear is a solution when we anchor our heart to God.

This is how I learned more about God, by seeking the meanings to overcome the challenges I have and understand what God has desired for me. The more I try to seek His pleaure, the more I feel His love.

O SON OF BEING! Thy Paradise is My love; thy heavenly home, reunion with Me. Enter therein and tarry not. This is that which hath been destined for thee in Our kingdom above and Our exalted dominion. (The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh, Arabic 6)

O SON OF BEING! My love is My stronghold; he that entereth therein is safe and secure, and he that turneth away shall surely stray and perish. (The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh, Arabic 9)

How do we know God ?

Know that the reality of the Divinity and the nature of the divine Essence is ineffable sanctity and absolute holiness; that is, it is exalted above and sanctified beyond every praise. All the attributes ascribed to the highest degrees of existence are, with regard to this station, mere imagination. The Invisible and Inaccessible can never be known; the absolute Essence can never be described. For the divine Essence is an all-encompassing reality, and all created things are encompassed. The all-encompassing must assuredly be greater than that which is encompassed, and thus the latter can in no wise discover the former or comprehend its reality. No matter how far human minds may advance, even attaining the highest degree of human comprehension, the uttermost limit of this comprehension is to behold the signs and attributes of God in the world of creation and not in the realm of Divinity. For the essence and the attributes of the all-glorious Lord are enshrined in the inaccessible heights of sanctity, and human minds and understandings will never find a path to that station. “The way is barred, and all seeking rejected.”

—— ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions 37

From His Creation

The connection between God and His creation is that of the originator and the originated, of the sun and the dark bodies of the universe, of the craftsman and his handiwork. Not only is the sun sanctified in its very essence above all the bodies that receive its illumination, but its light is also, in its essence, sanctified from and independent of the earth. So, though the earth is nurtured by the sun and is the recipient of its light, the sun and its rays are nonetheless sanctified above it. But were it not for the sun, the earth and all terrestrial life could not exist.

—— ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions 53


From His Manifestations

The Daysprings of those effulgences, the Dawning-places of those revelations, and the Sources of those manifestations are those Exponents of holiness, those universal Realities and divine Beings Who are the true mirrors of the sanctified Essence of the Divinity. All the perfections, bounties, and splendours of the one true God are plainly visible in the realities of His Holy Manifestations, even as the light of the sun is fully reflected with all its perfections and bounties in a clear and spotless mirror. …no soul has ever fathomed the reality of the Essence of the Divinity so as to be able to intimate, describe, praise, or glorify it. Thus all that the human reality knows, discovers, and understands of the names, attributes, and perfections of God refers to these holy Manifestations and leads nowhere else: “The way is cut off, and all seeking rejected.”

—— ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions 37

 From ourselves

Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. (Genesis 126” This indicates that man is of the image and likeness of God—that is to say, the perfections of God, the divine virtues, are reflected or revealed in the human reality. Just as the light and effulgence of the sun when cast upon a polished mirror are reflected fully, gloriously, so, likewise, the qualities and attributes of Divinity are radiated from the depths of a pure human heart. This is an evidence that man is the most noble of God’s creatures.

 Man is, therefore, superior to all the creatures below him, the loftiest and most glorious being of creation. Man is the microcosm; and the infinite universe, the macrocosm. The mysteries of the greater world, or macrocosm, are expressed or revealed in the lesser world, the microcosm. The tree, so to speak, is the greater world, and the seed in its relation to the tree is the lesser world. But the whole of the great tree is potentially latent and hidden in the little seed. When this seed is planted and cultivated, the tree is revealed. Likewise, the greater world, the macrocosm, is latent and miniatured in the lesser world, or microcosm, of man. This constitutes the universality or perfection of virtues potential in mankind. Therefore, it is said that man has been created in the image and likeness of God.
—— ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, 30 April 1912 Talk

The spirits of men proceed from God by emanation, in the same way as the discourse proceeds from the speaker and the writing from the writer; that is, the speaker himself does not become the speech, any more than the writer becomes the writing: The connection is rather one of emanational procession. For the speaker remains in an absolute state of ability and power, as the discourse emanates from him, even as the action emanates from its author. The true Speaker, the divine Essence, ever remains in the same condition and experiences no change or alteration, no transformation or vicissitude. It has neither beginning nor end. The procession of human spirits from God is therefore an emanational procession.

—— Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions 54

 The inner essence of man is unknown and unfathomed, but it is known and characterized by its attributes. Thus everything is known by its attributes and not by its essence: Even though the human mind encompasses all things, and all outward things are in turn encompassed by it, yet the latter are unknown with regard to their essence and can only be known with regard to their attributes. How then can the ancient and everlasting Lord, Who is sanctified above all comprehension and imagining, be known in His Essence? That is, as created things can only be known through their attributes and not in their essence, the reality of the Divinity, too, must be unknown with regard to its essence and known only with respect to its attributes.

—— Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions 59

The Human Soul

THOU hast asked Me concerning the nature of the soul. Know, verily, that the soul is a sign of God, a heavenly gem whose reality the most learned of men hath failed to grasp, and whose mystery no mind, however acute, can ever hope to unravel. It is the first among all created things to declare the excellence of its Creator, the first to recognize His glory, to cleave to His truth, and to bow down in adoration before Him. If it be faithful to God, it will reflect His light, and will, eventually, return unto Him. If it fail, however, in its allegiance to its Creator, it will become a victim to self and passion, and will, in the end, sink in their depths.         

—— Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh 82


The human soul is, in its essence, one of the signs of God, a mystery among His mysteries. It is one of the mighty signs of the Almighty, the harbinger that proclaimeth the reality of all the worlds of God. Within it lieth concealed that which the world is now utterly incapable of apprehending.         

—— Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh 82


O Brother, if we ponder each created thing, we shall witness a myriad perfect wisdoms and learn a myriad new and wondrous truths. One of the created phenomena is the dream. Behold how many secrets are deposited therein, how many wisdoms treasured up, how many worlds concealed. Observe, how thou art asleep in a dwelling, and its doors are barred; on a sudden thou findest thyself in a far-off city, which thou enterest without moving thy feet or wearying thy body; without using thine eyes, thou seest; without taxing thine ears, thou hearest; without a tongue, thou speakest. And perchance when ten years are gone, thou wilt witness in the outer world the very things thou hast dreamed tonight.

—— Bahá’u’lláh, The Seven Valleys And the Four Valleys


 The human soul is exalted above all egress and regress. It is still, and yet it soareth; it moveth, and yet it is still. It is, in itself, a testimony that beareth witness to the existence of a world that is contingent, as well as to the reality of a world that hath neither beginning nor end. Behold how the dream thou hast dreamed is, after the lapse of many years, re-enacted before thine eyes. Consider how strange is the mystery of the world that appeareth to thee in thy dream. Ponder in thine heart upon the unsearchable wisdom of God, and meditate on its manifold revelations….

—— Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh 82


 the world that which thou hast experienced in thy dream hath neither beginning nor end. It would be true if thou wert to contend that this same world is, as decreed by the All-Glorious and Almighty God, within thy proper self and is wrapped up within thee. It would equally be true to maintain that thy spirit, having transcended the limitations of sleep and having stripped itself of all earthly attachment, hath, by the act of God, been made to traverse a realm which lieth hidden in the innermost reality of this world. Verily I say, the creation of God embraceth worlds besides this world, and creatures apart from these creatures. In each of these worlds He hath ordained things which none can search except Himself, the All-Searching, the All-Wise.

—— Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh 79


The soul of man is exalted above, and is independent of all infirmities of body or mind.
—— Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh 80


When man is asleep, his soul can, in no wise, be said to have been inherently affected by any external object. It is not susceptible of any change in its original state or character. Any variation in its functions is to be ascribed to external causes. It is to these external influences that any variations in its environment, its understanding, and perception should be attributed.

—— Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh 82


here are many wisdoms to ponder in the dream. First, what is this world, where without eye and ear and hand and tongue a man puts all of these to use? Second, how is it that in the outer world thou seest today the effect of a dream, when thou didst vision it in the world of sleep some ten years past?
Consider the difference between these two worlds and the mysteries which they conceal, that thou mayest attain to divine confirmations and heavenly discoveries and enter the regions of holiness.
—— Bahá’u’lláh, The Seven Valleys And the Four Valleys

What is God’s Plan for Me?

Where did our life start?

“The soul of man comes into being at conception.”
——Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 536.

 “The spirit of man has a beginning, but it has no end; it continues eternally.”
—— ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 151.

 “The whole physical creation is perishable. These material bodies are composed of atoms; when these atoms begin to separate decomposition sets in, then comes what we call death. This composition of atoms, which constitutes the body or mortal elements of any created being, is temporary. When the power of attraction, which holds these atoms together, is withdrawn, the body, as such, ceases to exist. With the soul it is different. The soul is not a combination of elements, it is not composed of many atoms, it is of one indivisible substance and therefore eternal. It is entirely out of the order of the physical creation; it is immortal!”
——‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, pp. 90-91.

The relationship between the rational soul and body

“…the rational soul, meaning the human spirit, does not descend into the body — that is to say, it does not enter it, for descent and entrance are characteristics of bodies, and the rational soul is exempt from this. The spirit never entered this body, so in quitting it, it will not be in need of an abiding-place: no, the spirit is connected with the body, as this light is with this mirror. When the mirror is clear and perfect, the light of the lamp will be apparent in it, and when the mirror becomes covered with dust or breaks, the light will disappear.”
——‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, pp. 239-240

 “The spirit does not need a body, but the body needs spirit, or it cannot live. The soul can live without a body, but the body without a soul dies.”
——‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, pp. 86-87.

What is true life?

Wert thou to attain to but a dewdrop of the crystal waters of divine knowledge, thou wouldst readily realize that true life is not the life of the flesh but the life of the spirit.  For the life of the flesh is common to both men and animals, whereas the life of the spirit is possessed only by the pure in heart who have quaffed from the ocean of faith and partaken of the fruit of certitude.  This life knoweth no death, and this existence is crowned by immortality.
——Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitáb-i-Íqán 120

My eternity is My creation, I have created it for thee.  Make it the garment of thy temple.  My unity is My handiwork; I have wrought it for thee; clothe thyself therewith, that thou mayest be to all eternity the revelation of My everlasting being.
——Bahá’u’lláh, The Hidden Words 18-19

The purpose of Life?

When a soul has in it the life of the spirit, then does it bring forth good fruit and become a divine tree….
When the fruit of the tree appears and becomes ripe, then we know that the tree is perfect; if the tree bore no fruit it would be merely a useless growth, serving no purpose.

Some men’s lives are solely occupied with the things of this world; their minds are so circumscribed by exterior manners and traditional interests that they are blind to any other realm of existence, to the spiritual significance of all things.  They think and dream of earthly fame, of material progress.  Sensuous delights and comfortable surroundings bound their horizon, their highest ambitions center in successes of worldly conditions and circumstances.  They curb not their lower propensities; they eat, drink, and sleep.  Like the animal, they have no thought beyond their own physical wellbeing.  It is true that these necessities must be dispatched.  …. But the cares of the lower things of life should not be allowed to monopolize all the thoughts and aspirations of a human being.  The heart’s ambitions should ascend to a more glorious goal, mental activity should rise to higher levels.  Men should hold in their souls the vision of celestial perfection, and there prepare a dwelling place for the inexhaustible bounty of the divine spirit.
—— ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Reality of Man 14-15



Our family studied the junior youth book Power of the Holy Spirit on last Sunday. At the very beginning of our study we talked about body and soul. In the beginning of the session I saw our two kids stare at each other. It looked like they had some sort of misunderstanding between them. I said, “you both seem like you have a body but no spirit in it now”. “The life of the spirit is within us or not” these concepts became more and more clear to me since then. When loving care is in a person’s heart, it gives life, at that moment the person is with life. When a man is attached to something, the loving care disappears, and at that moment the man has no life. We can use this principle to see in ourselves (or another person) if the spirit of life is within or not. In a community, if there is loving care among them and supporting each other, then we said this community full of the spirit of life. If two people go against each other in a community, the loving care been affected then we say the spirit of life has been threatened. This is disunity.

When we see men lack the spirit of life, we can nurture the life by cheering them up. The action is to give life. Building a communication bridge among men in a community helps unity and gives the spirit of life to the community. The principle of giving life in God’s teachings is clear, which is giving love. So our job is to nourish life when we see a body that lacks life and to fill the spirit in a dead body. Love is spirit and spirit connects people. So loving people is the action of giving spirit to a body. Our true job is really to fill the spirit in the bodies. The body can be an individual body or a community body. A community is the human body as a whole. It is a oneness body. Our eyes only see the body, but our inner vision sees the emptiness in a body. Our inner vision does see if the spirit of love is exists of not. So we need use both outward vision and inner vision to fill the spiritual gap within bodies.

Look at what we read in today’s paper and electronic media. When we see a kind message we know the loving care is flowing among the community. It means we fill the human network with spirit of life and love. When we see hatred, complaining and blaming each other, the network is spreading a spiritual disease. What message we put out there is the life or death we chose to live. If we want to be life giver or disease spreader really depends on what is in our mind and what words we put out there. So the life and death mentioned in the Writings is this all about this. Our soul fills with life then we give life. We put our influential work out there and give the world positive energy. This means giving the living water and stoping the thirst. A soul without life, a dead body, gives negative thoughts, it spreads fear and drains the life of the spirit and gives the world negative energy. It leads to the death of life.

So you can see how important it is to fill our spirit with the love of God every morning. When we charge our heart with the spirit of love it will help to perform the job and do better at connecting people. We can do our job according to God’s will and breathe the spirit of life among the bodies. This is our job. How can we not be happy when we know our true job. This kind of spiritual life is like living in heaven. This is the spiritual life which God already gave us.  

Praise God and thanks to God! Help me to see the life I am living. How wonderful is that?