26 June 2005

Sitting Quietly in a Room

All of man's difficulties are caused by his inability to sit quietly in a room by himself. -- Pascal

This morning as I endeavored to keep a promise, I found myself realizing the truth of Pascal's words (see quotation above).

I had promised to say prayers on this day while others went out to engage in spreading the fire of GodÂ’s love for mankind (i.e. they were out teaching the Cause of God to souls who thirst for a taste of the life giving waters that only the Word of God can quench).

Earlier in the month I had attended a Reflections Gathering and had volunteered to go to the Center and say prayers for the success of the teaching work that morning. With so much going on, I had forgotten that the Center was all the way across town, in fact in another city altogether. So I decided that it might have the same effect if I just stayed in and said prayers at my home for one hour at the allotted time.

As I prepared myself by first washing my face and hands, I then got out my prayer books, a couple of inspirational books and threw my cotton blanket on the floor to begin precisely at 10:00 a.m.

I started by chanting 95 times the phrase God is Most Glorious (in Arabic) to clear my mind of any debris. Then I said the Prayer of Visitation to evoke the presence of the Master so that he might be my guide throughout the prayer session.

From there I moved on to reciting teaching prayers, one for the Southern States and one for the Northern States and on and on. I actually said the prayer for the Southern States several times.

I repeated many times the following prayer for divine assistance as revealed by the Bab (Arabic title meaning The Gate):

Is there any remover of difficulties save God? Say praised be God. He is God. All are His servants and all abide by His bidding.

I said this prayer revealed by Bahá'u'lláh several times too:

He who puts his trust in God, God will suffice him. He who fears God, God will send him relief.

I should note that after I said the first prayer The Prayer of Visitation -- the tears had already begun to stream from my eyes. I think it was this sentence that threw me for a loop:

Graciously look upon Thy servant, humble and lowly at Thy door, with the glances of the eye of Thy mercy, and immerse him in the Ocean of Thine eternal grace.

Let me try to explain why.

Earlier in the month a good friend of mine who served with me in Haifa Israel, she and I had decided that we would vie for our Fathers love, and had commenced with writing love letters to God. You can read about the 9 Love Letters to God project here if you want the rest of the story.

So I had written a response to her second love letter to God, and ended the piece with a post script and short poem which simply read:

P.S. II. And if my Father flinches in the least or acts as though He does not recognize (my) name - - tell him instead that I am just a beggar you noticed kneeling outside the door, with a sign in the left hand that read:

Will work for a glance

Will toil for a chance

Will forgo all love, pleasure, hate

To be allowed to kiss the dust

Not atop, but beneath His feet.

And as I said, I think the word glance in that Prayer of Visitation really got to me, because in my quest to be with the Beloved, I am aware that:

With a look He granteth a hundred thousand hopes, with a glance He healeth a
hundred thousand incurable ills, with a nod He layeth balm on every wound..

But I digress--now back to the story...

So, it was now 10:12 as I noted my watch for the first time. Uhmm. That is not really an hour and already I am in tears and I am ready to be done with just sitting here communing with a being that I cannot see.

Okay, now let me kneel down, press my head against the cotton throw and really engage my Lord with my own prayers from the heart. Another 10 minutes passed after that.

Now, let me get up and read some of this inspirational stuff from Grace For the Moment : Inspirational Thoughts for Each Day of the Year by Max Lucado. I read not one day's inspiration but seven days of meditations, ending with this from his compilation:

Is there any emotion that imprisons the soul more than the unwillingness to forgive?

Still, at 10:30, it was enough. I could do no more. I would not be able to pray for the full hour. And my only consolation was these words of Scripture that came to mind:

One hour's reflection is preferable to seventy years of pious worship.

And later I found this passage too:

Take heed lest excessive reading and too many acts of piety in the daytime and in the night
season make you vainglorious. Should a person recite but a single verse from the Holy Writings in a spirit of joy and radiance, this would be better for him than reciting wearily all the Scriptures of God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting. Recite ye the verses of God in such measure that ye be not overtaken with fatigue or boredom. Burden not your souls so as to cause exhaustion and weigh them down, but rather endeavor to lighten them, that they may soar on the wings of revealed Verses unto the dawning-place of His signs. This is conducive to nearer access unto God, were ye to comprehend

Yeah, the mind is always there to the rescue with logic galore for helping us not keep our commitments or promises. The ego is older than we are in years and knows how to stroke just enough so that the deception is viewed as only a tiny little lie.

I will try to do better on the 9th, the next date I have committed to. And perhaps the agony will not be as intense if I attempt this same feat (i.e. one hour of prayer) in a group setting.

Well, this is Lo, and I gotta go...

23 June 2005

Spiritual Discipline and Oneness

On Tuesday I shared with you that this week I would be practicing the virtue of discipline.

It is interesting that when we start to focus on a thing, how other related things just kind of show up in our life.

Last week I had recommended to a psychologist in the office I work in, that she might be interested in reading David Hawkins' Power versus Force. So, yesterday while away from my desk at lunch, she had left a note saying that she had begun reading the book over the weekend and was enjoying the book. She asked me if I had read anything by Wayne Dyer or Deepak Chopra or Marianne Williamson.

So I sent her an email saying yes, Wayne was one of my favorites who I had been reading since the late 1980s and though I had read Deepak I really wasn’t that fond of his writing style but had enjoyed a short work of his called Creating Affluence. But as for Marianne Williamson, I had yet to read her but that I thought I had her in my library at home.

Well this morning, I gave myself a choice: whether I would take a morning walk and enjoy the brisk morning air, or lay in the bed a little longer and “feed my spirit”. I choose to stay in bed, which really came as no surprise since I have not yet gotten into the habit of walking everyday yet. I will try to do better tomorrow.

So I picked up Marianne Williamson, and all I can say after the first 29 pages is Wow! Where have you been all of my life?

Don’t have time to say more, but here are a couple of quotes from the book that I want to share with you, one of which speaks to this idea of discipline. Enjoy—

This is Lo, and I gotta run…

Quote on Discipline
The word discipline comes from the same root as the word disciple, and the mystic is a disciple of love. We are mentally disciplined to believe that there is no problem love cannot solve. Holiness is an internal state, a whole” way of seeing. When our minds are no longer fragmented by the illusion of our separation from each other, but healed by the truth of our oneness, we are awakened to a new dimension of compassion. Within the mantle of that love, there is literally nothing we cannot do. We have remembered who God is. We have remembered who we are. Finally, we are whole at last.

Quote on Oneness
Our relationship with God is our relationship with ourselves, for in no way are we separate from Him. Aligned with Him, we are firm within our own power, thinking ourselves separate from Him, we are cast into internal chaos and fear. To know that we are one with God is to know that we are infinite love. When we are not loving, we are literally not being ourselves. Infinite love is not an attribute of our being, but rather the essence of our being. Our only real problem is that we have forgotten who we are. – Marianne Williamson, Everyday Grace: Having Hope, Finding Forgiveness and Making Miracles

21 June 2005

The Virtue of Discipline

Thoughts from this morning's walk and communion with God:

Baha'u'llah, Prophet and Founder of the Baha'i (Bahai) Faith says:

"Truthfulness is the foundation of all human virtues."

This week I am practicing the virtue of discipline, and here is the word I got today.

Though truthfulness is the foundation of all human virtues, the truth is that it takes the discipline to change bad or undesirable habits that are not working for you in your life and replace them with habits that will lead you to the fulfillment of your goals and heart's desire.

Have you taken the plunge?

Go ahead and practice the virtue of discipline this week or another virtue of your choosing.

Just for your information, virtues are those things/attributes that you will be able to take with you when you leave this plane of existence for the next one.

Practicing virtues in this world will make you spiritually stronger for your lifetime in eternity. Mastering virtues means you won't be handicapped when you transition to that other world of the spirit.

That's the word and I'm sticking to it :)-

Have a disciplined filled day!

I gotta run....