A providential path, however, might not come along easy. Finding and engaging it might even be one of the most painful processes you'll ever go through.
The ancient Persian mystics regarded it as the Valley of Love (one of seven on the path to God referred to in The Seven Valleys by Baha'u'llah). This valley requires that we seek our divine purpose with intense sincerity, like a lost lover searching for his beloved with intense fervor and painful, heartfelt yearning. Why this sighing and wasting away is necessary usually remains a mystery until we've passed through this valley, but as Mira Alfassa expressed, "When you have passed through the crucible of purifying sorrows, the glorious ascents are yours."
Pain and suffering are like purifying flames. They burn away the veils of the self and prepare you for working within a divine blueprint, ascending to a new level of being.
If you've striven to put your spiritual life in order, you might pass through the fire of these tests seeing them only in light, seeing where they are leading, trusting it is best and advancing to yet another mystic valley, the Valley of Knowledge. Here you're able to perceive clear providence in all things and consequently have the capacity to trust in the divine forces at a level which brings you deep calm and freedom from fear.
But if you know you've neglected your spiritual life and if it's disordered and unfocused, the fire of tests will seem quite daunting and might deter you from your purpose altogether. You'll fear where your tests are taking you and will not trust that the best is always going to be the result.
The trick is to sincerely begin spiritually preparing now, to know that tests will come and hope to meet them with radiant acquiescence. A graceful surrender is the best and quickest way for divine guidance to work in your life and bring about the level of trust necessary for deep and powerful transformation.
No matter how impossible life's tests might seem to pass, if you can find the courage to surrender into complete trust, if you can say with total resolve -- "I am going to totally and completely trust! I will go forward without any doubts!" -- then the magic will start to happen. You might not move mountains or walk on water, but you will come to realize on the experiential level what many the sage Abdul-Baha has expressed: "As ye have faith, so shall your powers and blessings be. This is the balance, this is the balance, this is the balance..."
WILLIAM BRASHEAR is author of The Yoga of Religion and is working on a graduate degree in Integral Yoga Psychology. He's also a certified Astanga Yoga Instructor and Thai Yoga Massage Therapist.