Life is difficult and illusions about being small lead us astray every day. When lost in a crowd viewing the winner of the New 7 Wonders of the World, it’s easy to feel insignificant. Viewing architectural perfection while ethic division, climate change and terrorism thrive provides a paradoxical lesson about love and illusion. Since time immemorial parables, fables and myths were created to inspire humanity. Theologians, philosophers and spiritual traditions have always provided a higher purpose to human existence.

Awe inspiring to this day, grief and love actually birthed the Taj Mahal. It’s the final resting place for Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth to their fourteenth child. Shah Jahan, whose Indian reign spanned thirty years from 1628-1658, built the mausoleum in mourning. Built on the banks of the Yamuna River, our guide said it was designed to look like it’s suspended in air as the doorway to heaven. Unfortunately, love stories don’t always have happy endings. Once the Taj Mahal was completed, Shah Jahan’s son overthrew his father and threw him in prison. The Shah viewed his final resting place from his prison cell for eight years before joining his wife. After visiting the Taj Mahal and witnessing its translucent marble reflect light, no picture can come close to capturing its beauty. About 7-8 million visitors come to see India’s crown jewel every year.

When daily routines and basic survival dominate human awareness, everyone aspires for something greater. However, embodying a higher principle while enduring the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune is quite challenging. I can only image what it was like for Shah Jahan to view his Taj Mahal from a prison cell. Praying for help for impossible causes may indeed be an eternal practice. In every spiritual tradition, the divine wields awesome power. Most of us pray for help and credit our beloved deity for assistance rather than claim any creative input. Most religions and spiritual belief systems support this practice.

Consider the possibility that humanity has creative powers and mirrors of hope exist in the midst of desperation. Prayers and heartfelt intentions create energetic vortexes. People, philosophers and theologians always assign meaning to mystical experiences. The universe is flexible so each person, no matter their orientation can realize their divine form. When people experience the transcendent, we experience divinity…our divinity.

Whenever we transcend our day-to-day existence, we feel empowered. This is how and why temples, shrines and in reality all religious practices work. Mystical occurrences stir our soul when we experience transcendence. The opportunity to remember home, taste our mystical power or touch the heart of another or be touched inspires. Herein lies the purpose of every heartfelt spiritual practice or sacred site. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the Taj Mahal inspires.

The challenge of a true seeker is the realization that we are creating everything in our lives. Saints, prophets and deities provide models of hope and worthiness to remind us that anyone can overcome impossible causes. Even if we dream for something small, any unspoken dream associated with our intention can be accessed this way. Grace can happen at any time from these belief systems and the power of grace. Everyone has experienced grace in his or her lifetime. Our pure heart, loving intention and innocent heartfelt wish expressed a dream and created the outcome we desired. Herein lies the important purpose of deities, saints and in reality all sacred artifacts, temples and shrines. Spiritual practices remind us of mystery, power and the all-powerful love that we think lies beyond our grasp and yet in reality, it’s in the palm of our hand.

The divine spiritual and physical dance is seen as a marriage of masculine and feminine energy to make it more understandable to humanity. In reality, it is the same dance between our physical and spiritual nature. Deities provide mirrors, as does all religions and spiritual practices to help us see our self in the mirrors of illusion on earth and see the divine smiling to help us release our troubles, if only for a moment…and see yourself in the mirror. People want to give credit to their deity. But in reality, it is really our soul disguised as a human remembering our divine origins.