On our second date, I invited the man who is now my husband to pray with me.
I wanted to know whether he had the ability to tune in to God in general, and along with me in particular. He agreed, and prayer together has become a treasured part of our lives.
Over time, I’ve observed Phil’s amazing ability to tune in and become clear about the will of God for him before he acts. His ability to do that reminds me of this quotation from the Baha’i writings:
Make me ready, in all circumstances, O my Lord, to serve Thee and to set myself towards the adored sanctuary of Thy Revelation and of Thy Beauty. If it be Thy pleasure, make me to grow as a tender herb in the meadows of Thy grace, that the gentle winds of Thy will may stir me up and bend me into conformity with Thy pleasure, in such wise that my movement and my stillness may be wholly directed by Thee. – Baha’u’llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah, p. 240.
Over the last year, as my husband Phil has built a consulting business focused on helping companies thrive with innovation systems, he began an experiment of asking for help from others besides just God. He started by first praying for help from those he knew and had worked with who had passed on. These included his father, his uncle who build a successful business, W. Edwards Deming who was a consultant at General Motors working with him, Stuart Pugh who taught him conceptual engineering, instructors who helped him get into and succeed at the US Military Academy at West Point, and more.
Can we address our prayers to those who’ve passed on to the next world of spiritual existence? Why not? Phil shared with me that he felt their encouragement and affirmation that he was on a good business path.
Phil’s next level of experimenting was to begin to pray to amazing people he had never met: Einstein, Tesla, Edison, Michelangelo, the founding fathers of the United States, and more. Inspiration poured through him onto his favorite way to record ideas: 3-inch x 5-inch index cards. He would have to slow down the prayers at times because the flood of ideas was so overwhelming and he couldn’t see for tears of gratitude in his eyes.
The Baha’i teachings tell us that the souls who have passed on are just waiting for us to ask for help. They are not separated from our world, just no longer visible or tied to their physical bodies:
In prayer there is a mingling of station, a mingling of condition. Pray for them as they pray for you! When you do not know it, and are in a receptive attitude, they are able to make suggestions to you …. It is not with the physical ear that you heard; the spirit of those that have passed on are freed from sense-life, and do not use physical means. – Abdu’l-Baha, Abdu’l-Baha in London, p. 96.
Living in our sensory world, it’s easy to feel at times as if we are alone with no one to help us. The Baha’i teachings seem to indicate that there is actually a host of souls for us to draw on, including of course Baha’u’llah. Phil has been praying to him as well Jesus and Muhammad.
We recently found a quotation that perfectly expressed what Phil feels is happening in his life, “conscious at-one-ment”:
The purport of our subject is that, just as man is in need of outward education, he is likewise in need of ideal refinement; just as the outer sense of sight is necessary to him, he should also possess insight and conscious perception; as he needs hearing, at the same time memory is essential; as a body is indispensable to him, likewise a mind is requisite; one is a material virtue, the other is ideal. As human creatures fitted and qualified with this dual endowment, we must endeavor through the assistance and grace of God and by the exercise of our ideal power of intellect to attain all lofty virtues, that we may witness the effulgence of the Sun of Reality, reflect the spirit of the Kingdom, behold the manifest evidences of the reality of Divinity, comprehend irrefutable proofs of the immortality of the soul, live in conscious at-one-ment with the eternal world and become quickened and awake with the life and love of God. – Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 328.
I’m very grateful and amazed in experiencing this process with my husband. Marriage in the Baha’i Faith is designed to be eternal companionship between the partners. I’m grateful Phil is “tuned in”!