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I don’t know why it never occurred to me before, but I have a constant, loving companion. He follows me wherever I go, sees all and knows all.
Of course, that loving companion is God, but I’ve just began to acknowledge His presence in another way.
I always thought of God as being All-knowing (He was well-apprised of my actions) but being so busy with this universe and others yet undiscovered, I didn’t imagine that He bothered to listen to my every inner reflection. As ridiculous as it sounds, I somewhat unconsciously imagined that He came to my side when I said my prayers and such, but not that He was concerned with each of my superfluous thoughts.
But, I recently realized, if God is actually all-knowing and all-loving, then He most certainly could hear and care about every one of my thoughts. This put great joy in my heart—but also great accountability as well. For now, though, I want to focus on the joy.
We are closer to man than his life-vein. – Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 185.
So if God listens and cares about every thought, then I have a Friend to talk and consult with all day, every day! Since the Baha’i teachings describe God as ever-forgiving and all-merciful, He wouldn’t judge me harshly like a stoic king on a throne, instead He would listen like a loving Father. Why hadn’t I considered this before?
All the time I spent talking to myself in my mind, I could have been talking to Him! I realize that God is not just there and listening to me, but He is listening and present for everyone’s thoughts. I used to think that the only way to speak to God was through prayer, but since He listens to my every thought, why not speak to Him throughout the day? I have a Friend to share every moment, every joy and sorrow. Since He is listening and always present, it was only my ignorance that didn’t recognize it. Not only that, I realized that God wants me to talk to Him:
O moving form of dust! I desire communion with thee, but thou wouldst put no trust in Me. The sword of thy rebellion hath felled the tree of thy hope. At all times I am near unto thee, but thou art ever far from Me. Imperishable glory I have chosen for thee, yet boundless shame thou hast chosen for thyself. While there is yet time, return, and lose not thy chance. – Baha’u’llah, The Hidden Words, p. 29.
God being so unknowable and high above me, I used to think it was presumptuous of me to speak to Him so informally. I thought perhaps to commune with Him as a Friend might be considered disrespectful, but in the Baha’i writings, God is often referred to as “the Friend.” He is our closest companion, our Beloved, and always there to call on for strength, love and guidance:
Incline your hearts, O people of God, unto the counsels of your true, your incomparable Friend. – Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 97.
In His mystical book The Seven Valleys Baha’u’llah writes of our journey to God, “stepping into the sanctuary of the Friend,” and reaching a state of such enlightenment that, “nothing will remain save the Friend.”
Of course, communication with our Creator and Friend must always take place with the utmost respect and reverence. Now that I am more conscious that my beloved Friend listens to every thought, I’ve realized that I have a new responsibility to purify those thoughts. I always believed it in theory, but the reality takes me to task. Just as He heard my intentions of love at one time, He also heard me thinking selfishly at another. I don’t want Him hearing this. I need to clean up my act if God is to be the Friend I seek:
O heedless ones! Think not the secrets of hearts are hidden, nay, know ye of a certainty that in clear characters they are engraved and are openly manifest in the holy Presence. – Baha’u’llah, The Hidden Words, p. 43.
O friends! Verily I say, whatsoever ye have concealed within your hearts is to Us open and manifest as the day; but that it is hidden is of Our grace and favor, and not of your deserving. – Ibid.
Now that I consciously recognize that God can always access my heart, everything I feel, and every secret thought in my mind, this carries a great blessing and responsibility. I have a loving Friend to consult for guidance and support at every turn, be it trivial or significant. I can rejoice in communion with Him, delighting in His nearness and companionship, but I must also endeavor mindfully at each moment to keep my thoughts pure and do all that I can to become worthy of such a precious and priceless friendship.