Peter Gyulay’s Baha’i Blog articles offer much food for thought, and I find myself thinking about them long after I’ve closed my laptop. If you’re interested, you’ll find all his work here but one of his pieces that I think is really relevant to this post is called My Thoughts on the Mystical Dimensions of the Baha’i Faith. In it, he shares an introduction to what mysticism is and how it is aligned with Baha’i teachings and principles. In fact, Peter wrote a whole book on the topic and it’s called Walking the Mystical Path with Practical Feet: The Baha’i Approach to Spiritual Transformation.
Here’s what Peter shared with me about his book and what he learned in the process of putting it together:
Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I was born in Newcastle, Australia. I’ve been a Baha’i since 2003. I earn my living as an English language teacher but my passions are writing, music, being in nature and living an eco-friendly life on a plant-based diet and a bicycle.
Baha’i Blog: What inspired you to put this book together?
I have been interested in mysticism for a long time, even before I became a Baha’i, and for my whole Baha’i life, I have been trying to understand the mystical dimension of the Baha’i Faith. Although my understanding will continue to deepen, I felt the need to crystallise my thoughts and share them with others as I think the topic is an important one.
Meditation and all things meditative are really close to my heart so I wanted to learn more about the invocation “Allah’u’Abha” which Baha’is say 95 times a day. In this article, I’d like to share some of my thoughts based on what I’ve read in the Baha’i Writings on what “Allah’u’Abha” means, why this meditative practice is carried out every day, why it involves repetition, when it’s said, and why it’s repeated 95 times as opposed to any other number. Continue reading
Mysticism is often a confused term. To many people it conjures up thoughts of the magical and fanciful. However, most mysticism is concerned with experiencing the ultimate truth in life. There have been mystics from many different religions. Some have used the term “God” to signify the ultimate reality while others have used other terms such as the Absolute, Brahman, Nirvana, the Tao. But what seems to underlie all mysticism is the transcendence from everyday experience and attainment of a higher state of being.
Let me say from the outset that I’m certainly no mystic. At best I’m a mystical aspirant, a mystical wannabe. My investigations into the topic are not based on my own personal experience; they are my reflections on the Bahai Writings, which I strive to put into practice. So, I’d like to share my thoughts on the place of mysticism in the Baha’i Faith. Continue reading
Shoghi Effendi tells us that The Seven Valleys is Baha’u’llah’s greatest mystical work, “which He wrote in answer to the questions of Shaykh Muhyi’d-Din, the Qadi [judge] of Khaniqayn, in which He describes the seven stages which the soul of the seeker must needs traverse ere it can attain the object of its existence.” A testament to the power of Baha’u’llah’s revealed words are their profound impact and effect – even if you are reading His words in a translated language and have no knowledge of its historical or literary context. However, I thought I would write a bit about the historical and literary context of The Seven Valleys so that I could better understand what makes it Baha’u’llah’s greatest mystical work. Continue reading