Like the natural cycles of the seasons, our evolving consciousness follows the universal pattern of birth, death, and rebirth. Never is there a final death, but always a predictable renewal. Growth slows, stops, begins to decay, and then new life emerges from the depths of the old.

After a long winter of sleep and inner growth, we are witnessing now the early stages of renewed life, and with it a surge of energy and a leap of consciousness. We are becoming more aware every day that the realm of Creation is an indivisible oneness, that deep down we are all interconnected. As Abdu’l-Baha put it, “The evolution of existence is one; the divine system is one; whether they be small or great beings, all are subject to one law and system.”

The rise and fall of civilizations is subject to this one system, as well. Ascent and descent make up the essence of change, which is the inherent nature of life. Change is inevitable, and necessary for progress. There is a sequence to all change, and this is toward potential.

The most important change is change in consciousness, for this is how potential is achieved. Human consciousness is a sacredly endowed capacity for seeing beyond the seen and understanding beyond the understood, yet this capacity is not automatically fulfilled, or guaranteed. We are born capable of transcending our own consciousness by developing a larger and larger awareness of self, society, the mysteries of life, and the universe of which we are part.

This divinely inspired process of maturation followed by decline and eventual renewal is as true in the realm of religion as it is for the individual and society. Spiritual and religious consciousness expands along a progressive, eternal continuum, increasing in complexity as our individual and collective development unfolds.

In our time, most characterized by the recognition of our common spiritual heritage, we have come to a consciousness of oneness. In a short span of evolutionary time, the progressive nature of human consciousness, guided and directed by the never-ending outpouring of divine energies, has evolved from a basic frame of reference of the family and the tribe to one of nations and humanity as a whole. It is difficult to deny that prophets of God such as Krishna, Moses, Zoroaster, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, and, most recently, Baha’u’llah have not only impacted the world, but have changed the whole course of human life in the last four thousand years.