Dreams and visions

I said in my last podcast, Worlds Within, that we can access the spiritual worlds in dreams and visions. Baha'u'llah talks about dreams in the Valley of Wonderment. In the following passage, he points out that we can be in a far-off land while our body is fast asleep in bed. This is a proof that there are worlds within this world and within us.

"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." Baha'u'llah: Seven Valleys and Four Valleys, p 32

What is the difference between a dream and a vision? In the late 1990s, when I was very interested in this subject, I looked this up on the Internet. I found a very interesting web site, which had been put up by a man studying dreams and visions for psychology. He defined a vision as a dream that we have when we are awake. I remember wondering how that would work because I had never experienced anything like that before.

Not long after that, I did experience a vision. I do not want to go into the details because they are too personal. But, at the time it happened, I was very sad. I was lying on my sofa crying and lamenting, when all of a sudden I found myself in another place, in the same way that I am transported in a dream. I became oblivious of my immediate surroundings. It was a very powerful experience indeed and was very important in my spiritual journey.

I do not dream as much now as I used to. Dreams have been very important to me in the past. Again, in the 1990s when I was undergoing a spiritual upheaval, I had a lot of dreams. Also, throughout my life I have usually had dreams that told me about major spiritual changes that would occur in my life. As Baha'u'llah points out in the passage above, some dreams tell us about what will happen in the future. I did have a dream that told me that a menacing force (like the Black Riders in Lord of the Rings) was watching me and the dream ended with it killing me. It was a very detailed dream, which usually means it's a dream I must take notice of. I realise now that it warned me about my expulsion from the Baha'i community. Since then I have had other dreams that have given me a vision my spiritual future.

One very important dream came after I said the following tablet from Baha'u'llah. The result was astonishing.

He is the Almighty God.

God has spoken this in the Tree of Separation (Shajar el-Feraq): Oh friends! Be patient and beware lest you fail to make mention of us. Remember, then, our days in a spirit of love. Say: the Beauty of the Spirit has vanished, at which all eyes have wept and all hearts have been consumed. Oh Rida, remember my days and then my melodies and the glorious and beloved chantings. Think, then, upon the days of the Spirit and how it appeared among you and was with you for a few years. Protect yourself and those who are in your house, be they men or women.

Know, then, that we have made this tablet a robe for yourself that you may inhale from it the fragrances of God, the Mighty, the Beloved. And we have sent forth from this robe the soft breezes of grace upon all that have put on the garment of existence. Blessed be he that comes upon it and perceives from it that which shall turn him towards the Egypt of a manifest glory.

And whosoever reads this tablet while possessing in his heart the love of his Lord shall behold in his sleep whatsoever he desires of the meeting with God, the Mighty, the Beloved. Thus have we shown our grace unto you again that you may be content with us and with yourself in these days unto which the near ones have not attained.

Remember, then, on our behalf, all those that are in your house, that the love of God may be created among them and that they may gather together in their cause. Show kindness then unto her whom God caused to be related to him who went into exile with His Servant. Thus have we counselled you in truth, if you be of them that know. The Spirit be upon you and upon them that rely upon their Lord.

Translated by Denis MacEoin
Original Arabic from Ad'iyeye hazrat e mahbub pp 212-214

Here are a couple of letters from Abdu'l-Baha about seeking visions and dreams from Baha'u'llah.

"O thou bird of the Garden of God!

Why art thou sad and sorrowful, disappointed and grieved! Praise be to God! the eternal bounty is in succession, the divine glory is apparent and manifest, the display of Providence and light of guidance is glistening and shining from the Kingdom of ABHA and the appearance of the Greatest Sun is clear and evident. If thou art outwardly far, then thou art near in spirit, andĀ if thou art absent in body, thou art present is heart and spirit.

Arise and wash thy body, wear a pure gown, and, directing thyself to the Kingdom of God, supplicate and pray to Him. Sleep in a clean, well prepared and ventilated place, and ask for appearance (or display) in the world of vision. Thou wilt have visions which will cause the doors of doubts to be closed, which will give you new joy, wonderful dilation, brilliant glory. Thou wilt comprehend realities and meanings.

Verily, the bounty of the Kingdom is unlimited and the favors of the Lord of Majesty are like unto the rains of springtime."

Abdu'l-Baha, Tablets of Abdu'l-Baha v3, p. 672-3

"O thou who art cheered through the Fragrances of God!

When thou desirest and yearnest for meeting in the world of vision; at the time when thou art in perfect fragrance and spirituality, wash thy hands and face, clothe thyself in clean robes, turn toward the court of the Peerless One, offer prayer to Him and lay thy head upon the pillow. When sleep cometh, the doors of revelation shall be opened and all thy desires shall become revealed."

Abdu'l-Baha, Tablets of Abdu'l-Baha v1, p. 104

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