Thursday, October 9, 2014

Baha'i Spiritual Experiences

These spiritual experiences and conversions come from practicing members of the Baha'i faith.

"Instead of going straight to bed I sat at the kitchen table and, just out of curiosity, opened the little red book and began to read a few lines. Then another strange thing happened. It was as though someone hit me gently, but firmly, on the top of the head with a huge rubber mallet. I had the feeling of waking up, as if all my previous life I had been asleep. The printed words on the page of the book seemed like the surface of a vast and fathomless ocean of truth and wisdom. Whatever it was, I knew that it was completely true and infallible. Therefore the author must also be true and infallible. The small red book, which I still have, was The Hidden Words.
...I began sharing my new Faith with friends...  During the conversation one of my companions asked me what the name of the Founder of the Faith was. I told him, and as the word came out of my mouth I had the sensation of something descending and enveloping me. I felt like I was in a little spiritual bubble all of my own surrounded by joy and light."

-from Nigel Moody's Conversion

"How this religion-averse soul became an ardent believer was through a sort of spiritual awakening.  In that year I had a baby, and in the many night-time feeds I had the opportunity to reflect on the miracle of life...  I also felt a loving presence which is something I couldn't place and didn't understand at that point.
Then I found a book in the library called 'Life After Life' by Dr Raymond Moody which was about near-death experiences.  As I read this book I knew that the people telling their stories were telling the truth.  They said that their experiences were more real to them than life in this world, and they spoke about a life review with a Being of Light.  They knew at this review that the purpose of life was about love, and they could see where they had failed in their life.  But the Being of Light was never displeased with them...  I felt that this Being of Light might be the loving presence I had been feeling of late.
...I became thirsty to know what [all religions] taught, and I started reading...  But then I took down the book my Bahá’í friend in Holland had given me, 'Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era', and there was a chapter on life after death.  I read it, and, astonishingly, I found that same loving spirit as the Being of Light in what was said there.  A little explosion had taken place in my heart, and now I realize that I had recognized Bahá’u’lláh in that moment; although I couldn't have said that at the time."

-from Suzanne Brush Gerstner's Conversion

"As I read book after book I could find nothing to disenchant me. Almost everything unequivocally confirmed my sense that this was right and true.
...I felt I was finding a system of belief and practice that exactly corresponded to what I had always believed, could never have articulated so well and had always wanted to find in something else apart from somewhere behind a fog in my own mind.
So strong was the sense of home-coming that when I went on pilgrimage four years later, I ended up at the gates near the Shrine of the Báb, overcome by waves of relief and gratitude, such as a person who had been decades in exile might feel after a long and arduous journey as he looked down from a nearby hill top on the sunlit roofs of his birthplace.
...I found myself uncontrollably sobbing...  These were tears of profound relief – a return from exile, as I said.
This was the beginning of a completely unexpected sequence of reactions to the whole experience of pilgrimage. I was completely unprepared for the power of this sense of return.
...Then, somehow, I managed to force myself to enter. Completely contrary to my expectation at the time, I felt waves of immense power pass over me and the whole air vibrate with an irresistible intensity.
...Each Shrine that I stepped into on that pilgrimage had its own particular impact. The Shrine of the Master glowed gently with a warm acceptance...  However, the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh at Bahji, on the other hand, also totally defied my expectations. Here was where I had expected the raw power, but felt instead enveloped in a loving embrace of such unconditional completeness that I sobbed uncontrollably once more.
...On 2 December, I declared as a Bahá’í and I’m still utterly convinced I did the right thing."

-from Pete Hulme's Conversion

"I went on pilgrimage in 1982... When I went into the Shrine, there was a spiritual vibration, almost in greeting, that seemed almost physical. I communed with Baha'u'llah, and I forget how that went now, but at the end I was completely peaceful. I am usually not very peaceful anyway, as I have generalized anxiety.  Later, I went to the house of Abbud, where Baha'u'llah lived for a few years in Akka.
When I went into the room where He lived, I stopped in shock, it seemed as if He was there. I got down on my knees and prostrated myself and was completely filled with the glory of His presence. I wept and I trembled before Him. No one else in the room reacted like this. I went to other places where Baha'u'llah lived, but nothing remotely close to this happened at the other places.
When I went to a house that Abdu'l-Baha lived in, we went to his bedroom, and I had the strong sense that Abdu'l-Baha was lying on the bed, even though I did not see him there. I was as if the bed remembered Him, and was projecting that memory onto me.A few years ago, and it was in a February but I don't know what year, I was looking at a quote from Baha'u'llah on-line. when all of the sudden I was in the presence of Baha'u'llah and God, and I couldn't tell the difference between Baha'u'llah and God, and I felt very happy, in ecstacy. I then knew what He meant when He said:
'Pleasant is the realm of being, wert thou to attain thereto; glorious is the domain of eternity, shouldst thou pass beyond the world of mortality; sweet is the holy ecstasy if thou drinkest of the mystic chalice from the hands of the celestial Youth.'"

-from PlanetBaha'i user Duane (DPDawson)

"We had a few extra days for our Pilgrimage... We were all seated on the outer most path and facing towards Bahji, while one person read the Tablet of Visitation. I recall having had a vision of Baha'u'llah standing on the top corner of the upper balcony at Bahji looking out at me... It was a very strong feeling of his presence.  I also remember feeling his presence very strongly at his room in Bahji.
...There was a period in my early twenties when every evening during a whole summer, I used to walk down to a park and used to sit on a point where two rivers met. I used to pray there for quite a length of time. I remember how I would imagine my prayers floating down the river and eventually reaching Haifa... I felt very joyful that whole summer and would love to have the time to repeat the experience."

-from PlanetBaha'i user IndubitableD

"In Abdu’l-Baha’s Shrine other people were praying. After they left I got as physically close to where I considered His coffin to be. Suddenly it was as though any perception I had that the world outside the Shrine existed was gone, as I keenly sensed the consoling presence of Abdu’l-Baha. I cried until I had no more tears or awareness of pain. If one had a connection of the heart to Baha’u’llah’s son and Centre of His Covenant, I reasoned, what better proof than that could there be that I had an emotional connection to the Faith? I was so full of joy that my personal purpose for going on Pilgrimage had at last been achieved."

-from PlanetBaha'i user lfragland

"I had a profound mystic experience during Ramadan in 2003, on the night that most people thought was Laylatul Qadr... commemorating the day that the first revelations of the Qur'an were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. I was so overwhelmed by the communal prayer that I broke down in tears and felt as if electricity was shooting from the middle of my spine and out through the top of my head. After we took a break, a young teenager approached me and said that he didn't knew I could speak Arabic. I said that I couldn't, and he said that he thought I could because I 'acted like you understood the words'. I said, 'Maybe I did in a spiritual sense.'"

-from PlanetBaha'i user SufiLove

" was while reading 'Thief in the Night' by Bill Sears one evening, that my heart really felt very moved to know the truth of this remarkable Message, and indeed, if God even existed!  ...I put the book down and went to the window of my student room (I was at university by this time), and looked up at the dark night sky and implored whatever was out there to let me know if this was really the truth.  'GOD!' I urged, 'If you are really there, can you please let me know?'
About three nights later, I had an incredible dream.  In the dream, the first one that I remember having in colour, I was in a pub with three friends.  I decided to leave the pub and went out into the evening and looked up at the myriad stars in the night sky.  Then I saw a shooting star!  I ran back inside and called to my friends to come out and see the shooting star.  Only one came out with me. I saw there were more shooting stars!  They came closer and closer in, spinning around the earth and as they came closer, I saw that they were in fact planets, of different colours – red, blue, orange, yellow, etc.  They came in still closer until the earth and all these planets were united into one and my friend and I were lifted up into the sky and, looking downwards at the earth with its beautiful blue seas and green land, I shouted to my friend, 'Now I know the answer to the universe!'"

-from Greg Akehurst-Moore's Conversion

"Back in Swansea I joined others in a shared house with a Hindu-based Ashram lifestyle. It was a good way to find inner peace and soon I was blessed by going deep into ‘The Light’. This had a profound effect on my consciousness; so much so that after a short time I had an awakening into the awareness of the oneness of all things. In other words I began to grasp the concept of God in my own mind and felt reborn in a deep spiritual way."

-from Geoff Akhurst's Conversion

"Why did I become a Bahá’í?   I can’t really put it into words.   It was/is something deep inside me. It has added so much to my spiritual life.  Through Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings all the religions of the world have opened their scriptures, sharing their wisdom and riches.   All prejudices are ignored as meaningless, thereby enriching life and making it happier and simpler.  Far from losing the Christianity that I was born into, Bahá’u’lláh has fulfilled the prophecies in the Bible and made Christianity more real.   No priest comes between me and my understanding of the holy writings – I am exhorted to study and meditate. The spiritual doors and windows have been opened and we can see and step out into the sunlight."

-from Ann Dymond's Conversion

"It is my firm belief that God sent Prophetic Teachers, or Divine Educators to many peoples of the world, far and wide, and that the evidence of this is the high degree of spiritual and moral education found amongst so many noble people.
I have sat in the Sacred Sweat Lodges where the prayers were all in Lakota and God was present as much in any church. When properly conducted, these ancient ceremonies cleansed us of the defilements of the world and of ourselves, leaving behind that which was unholy in such a manner that when one exited the Sweat Ceremony it is as if one was indeed 'born again'"

-from Catholic answers forum user daler, post 7

"My life became totally transformed. I learnt voraciously about the Faith, attending every Bahá’í meeting I could get to. I had more real friends than I had ever had since my earliest childhood. I was happy and it showed! I loved my job and I had friends who loved me. I felt totally fulfilled! When tests came my way and I felt tempted to leave the Faith, I thought of the life that I had left behind when I 'declared' [converted] and the future I faced if I cut myself off from Bahá’u’lláh and knew that there was no contest! I knew that every problem could be solved and every disappointment faced with the help of prayer and meditation. I knew that I could always depend on Bahá’u’lláh in times of trouble.
...Over the years the Bahá’í writings (and the teachings they contain) have been my constant companion and taking part in deepening activities have been a major part of my life. I’ve attended Bahá’í summer schools ...and the Bahá’í Academy for the Arts at Sidcot. The spiritual atmosphere at one of these summer schools (Kelston Park, I think) was so palpable that my return to work in the non-Bahá’í world with all its negative vibes was a very unpleasant experience."

-from Jeremy Lockyer's Conversion

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