Human reality is both physical and spiritual. One aspect of what makes us human is our capacity to show spiritual qualities and perception. This unique capacity of our higher nature can be developed individually and collectively. The soul is the essential identity of each human being. The purpose of our spiritual development on earth is to acquire the qualities needed for our soul’s progress. Just as a foetus develops the senses and physical capacities in the womb that are essential for life in this world, developing our spiritual capacities prepares our soul for its eternal journey towards perfection.
In the same way our bodies require nourishment to develop, we need regular prayer for our spiritual health and sustenance. Prayer or conversation with God is food for the soul. Meditation entails focused reflection through which the individual is able to gain new and valuable insights into abstract and practical matters. Prayer and meditation can be a private act, and it is also common to gather together to offer prayers and read Holy Writings.
Together with prayer, acts of service to others contribute to our spiritual development by cultivating virtues such as generosity, compassion and kindness.
The Baha’i Writings explain that God is an unknowable essence. Although God’s reality is beyond our understanding, we can find expressions of God’s attributes in the beauty, richness and diversity of the natural world. We can also learn about God through His Manifestations such as Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Buddha, Moses, Jesus Christ, Muhammad, and, most recently, The Bab and Baha’u’llah.