Zoom in, Zoom out

Let your vision be world-embracing, rather than confined to your own self.
(Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 94)

I used to take this famous quote from the Prophet-Founder of the Baha’i Faith to imply having (almost in a corporate mission statement way) a global vision rather than a narrow one, a tradition-  or nation-based one. But in the past couple of years so many aspects of my understanding of the Baha’i Faith have taken a much more personal level. Thus this quote has become a guidance for personal living, not a policy statement or a corporate strategy.

For when I zoom-in on my self as the origin of my coordinate system, the center of the universe, so to say, it becomes so easy to be preoccupied with my needs, my desires, my sufferings, my shortcomings, my accomplishments, my… you name it. Indeed, it becomes so easy to be confined to the prison of self:

40. O MY SERVANT!
Free thyself from the fetters of this world, and loose thy soul from the prison of self. Seize thy chance, for it will come to thee no more.
(Baha’u’llah, The Persian Hidden Words)

It takes perspective, zooming out so to say, to see the relative unimportance of my position when evaluated from the point of view of the Divine Plan;  and at the same time, to see the relative importance of my position — for we all matter, we all have a role to play — which takes its proper place, neither more nor less than what it deserves.

So going through life becomes this constant exercise of refocusing the lenses of the soul on the big picture, the perspective that God wants us to have, while still being aware of who we are and what our proper place in this universe is.

2 Responses to “Zoom in, Zoom out

  • That’s a rich and wonderful metaphor, Mitko. Thank you for articulating your thoughts about this.

    What you wrote with such elegance reminds me of similar metaphor I grasped while beginning to serve at the Baha’i World Centre after having been a believer for just five years. It was the mid-1980s, and my adoration of Baha’u’llah had still not opened my eyes to the astonishing transformation His Revelation had already begun to work on the planet nor to the majesty and spiritual power of the Universal House of Justice nor to the number and strength of communities founded in His name. One afternoon in the Shrine of Baha’u’llah as I gazed at the beautiful design of a carpet on the wall beside me, I began to imagine myself as small as the tiniest silken thread in it. It dawned on me that as an individual in my locality my fellow believers and I toiled to embellish the margin of a minute filigree that adorned the edge of a blossom, at the carpet’s very edge. But at the World Centre I was blessed to behold the pattern of the entire carpet rolled out in its dazzling vastness, beauty and complexity. I now saw the glorious design to which my tiniest detail was somehow integral. I wished every believer could be blessed to zoom out in this way. Nowadays with the proliferation and exploding richness of communications media, especially the internet, it is so much easier to get that majestic overview.

    We do need to zoom out, and in again, for both perspectives are enriching and instructive.

Trackbacks & Pings

  • Befriended Stranger » Crusade against fear and self :

    […] different depending on the perspective. Allowing fear to rule can have the same effect as when zooming in on the ego. Allowing fear to reside in the heart, immediately crashes the heart, disconnecting it from the […]

    10 years ago

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.