Dimensions in Spirituality: Reflections on the Meaning of Spiritual Life and Transformation in Light of the Bahá’í Faith
by J A McLean
George Ronald: Oxford, 1994, 324 pages
Order from georgeronald.com, amazon.com, or barnesandnoble.com.
- Here is a presentation of the path to spirituality offered by the youngest but most promising of the world’s great religions, the Bahá’í Faith. J.A. McLean offers the reader personal reflections and analysis of the writings of the Bahá’í Faith, combined with insights gleaned from spiritual psychology, philosophical theology and the world’s religions in order to map out dimensions in spirituality. The author offers to the contemporary seeker insights into the search for truth, the meaning of prophetic faith and belief, prayer and meditation, finding meaning in adversity, the meaning of spirituality and transformation, the place of divine and human love in spiritual life, and the dynamics of spiritual growth.
For a summary of some concepts found in this book, see also my ABS presentation from 1995, “Dimensions in Spirituality.”
- Review by William G. Huitt, published in Dialogue and Alliance, 12(2), pages 116-119 (1997), online at bahai-library.com/huitt_mclean_dimensions_spirituality.
- Dr. Ross Woodman, Professor Emeritus of English, University of Western Ontario
“It is an extremely valuable book which is, I believe, first of all directed to Bahá’ís, but should have a far wider readership for anyone interested in what I would describe as a classical understanding of spirituality. I found it enormously helpful, particularly in the way that it recalled me on almost every page to the first principles of our faith and to the fundamental orientation without which steadfastness is not really possible…Never once did you become trapped in the impressive lure of the ego or the ravishing demands of the imagination. You were throughout hardly visible at all. You remained firmly spiritually grounded. And there is a real sense of security extended to the reader in that groundedness.”
- Bahá’í Nachtrichten (Bahá’í News) Germany.
“Because of its many free standing and ground breaking statements and its abundance of new and interesting material and connections to other realms of life, Dimensions in Spirituality deserves to be regarded as a classic of Bahá’í secondary literature which will inspire further practical steps toward spiritual development.”
- Bahá’í Reviewing Panel (U.K.)
“The reviewers like this book very much and enjoyed the author’s exploration into the meanings and importance of spirituality, especially because it takes into account, and deals with, some of the current arguments put forward against acceptance of the spiritual side of the human being. One reviewer felt that this was the best Bahá’í book he had ever read about the Bahá’í Faith with its intelligent, innovative depth of inquiry thus breaking ground for a Bahá’í publication.”
- Dr. Phyllis Ghim Lian Chew, Professor of Linguistics, Nanyang Technical University, Singapore
“Congratulations… Your treatment of spirituality is comprehensive and profound. It will be a long time before another Bahá’í will be able to write a book on that subject. I am recommending the book to the moral education department in my university as well as a copy for the library.”
- Miriam Newman Wiener, The Historical Society of Washington, D.C. and the Bahá’í Book Club of Alexandria, Virginia, U.S.A.
“Our Bahá’í Book Club of Alexandria (now in its sixth year) read your Dimensions in Spirituality for its May program. The content offered important challenges to those present and willing to share in the discussions. Certainly our discussions reinforced your thoughts that the subject of spirituality is one vital to Bahá’í scholarship. Indeed,, the spiritual journey is a life long one and your insights, thoughts, and research will have great value to readers.”
- Dr. ‘Abdu’l Missagh Ghadirian, Psychiatrist, Author, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.
“Congratulations for your remarkable scholarly work Dimensions in Spirituality. It indeed occupies a high place in Bahá’í literature and I have recommended it to many.”
- Mr. George Kokich, Founder, Spiritual Frontiers Canada, Ottawa
“Overall, Mr. McLean has done a thorough job in bringing together the multi-faceted range of key issues involved in any effort to understand the nature of spirituality and its dimensions, such as models and profiles of spiritual transformation, prayer and meditation, and essential spiritual values like faith, love and knowledge. His approach is a commendable one, which combines scholarly and intuitive description, analysis and discussion of such issues based on a wide variety of Bahá’í and non Bahá’í sources. A key feature of this book is the holistic twofold context that he uses to discuss the preceding. This includes a consideration of spirituality in the broader context of searching for truth. and an in depth focus on spirituality according to the Bahá’í perspective. From my perspective, as the founder of an open minded and eclectic group who are interested in the frontiers of science and spirituality, Mr. McLean’s book will be relevant to all truth seekers, whether they are Bahá’í or not.” (From “Univer/s”, the News Bulletin of Spiritual Frontiers Canada)
- Dr. Louis Richard Batzler, Journal of Religion and Psychical Research (vol. 22, no. 2, April, 1999)
“This is a well researched, readable, and interesting study of spirituality and the Bahá’í Faith. Using insights from spiritual psychology, philosophical theology, and comparing and contrasting the Bahá’í religion with other world religions, the author sets forth the dynamics and Dimensions in Spirituality, and provides help and inspiration for persons seeking to create conditions for global harmony, peace and goodwill.”
- Dr. Jane Failey, Psychologist, U.S.A.
“I read it [Dimensions in Spirituality] because I wanted to be intellectually and spiritually stimulated in preparation for attempting to write a Baha’i book myself. It was an experience of transformation. I began with curiosity and hope. I finished with certitude and joy. You did a masterful piece of work in describing the Bahá’í view of spirituality and analyzing and evoking it and related concepts. The last chapter resolved some questions I have had for a long time and clarified extremely difficult subjects well. It is also a piece of absolutely soaring prose.”
- Ruth Bradley, Senior, Dronfield, England
“A friend lent me Dimensions in Spirituality recently, and I found it illuminating, and most inspiring. Thank you very much for all the time and effort you put into it. I think if we understood better these “inner dynamics”, we could discuss and write about them more easily. I have no doubt that your book has influenced me to look more deeply into myself, and am very grateful for this, as every now and then, we need to push along the path, being human and rather frail.”