Growing up I followed Buddha’s teachings, where I learned about the mind and tried to search for the heart to discover my true nature – then I discovered the Baha’i Faith, which captured my heart.
I’m from Taiwan, and my language holds so many concepts about the human heart(心). In Chinese, we have many different expressions related to the heart, such as conscious mind (意識心),vain imagination (妄心),true heart (真心),one mind(一心), troubled mind(煩惱心), and many more. When I found the love of God and became a Baha’i, I realized the differences between the mind and the heart, but in Chinese we use the same word “心”.
The Baha’i teachings say:
It is incumbent upon these servants to cleanse the heart, which is the wellspring of divine treasures, of every marking; turn away from imitation, which is following the traces of their forefathers; and shut the door of friendship and enmity upon all the people of the earth. – Baha’u’llah, The Seven Valleys, in The Call of the Divine Beloved, pp. 15-16.
This kind of detachment, which Baha’u’llah encouraged every spiritual seeker to develop, recognizes that God is holy – so in order to commune with Him we need to not only engage our worldly minds, but also open our hearts.
Prayer and meditation, asking questions to God and waiting for inspiration, allows me to calm my mind, concentrate, and let my heart receive that spiritual input. The more I’m inspired through prayer and meditation, the more I learn the meaning of using my true heart, with sincerity and honesty. Prayer and meditation help me find that true heart, which the Buddha showed to his disciples, and which the Baha’i teachings encourage us all to search for and find:
Incline your hearts, O people of God, unto the counsels of your true, your incomparable Friend. The Word of God may be likened unto a sapling, whose roots have been implanted in the hearts of men. It is incumbent upon you to foster its growth through the living waters of wisdom, of sanctified and holy words, so that its root may become firmly fixed and its branches may spread out as high as the heavens and beyond. – Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 97.
Honesty and sincerity allow us to lay the results of our ego in front of God. Only God can judge. So in the process of prayer and meditation we face God. Every time I see God forgive what my ego does, I see the mercy of God.
The love of God has the power to help me overcome my fear, and be willing to humble myself in front of Him and ask for forgiveness. It helps me let go of the feeling of victimization, which is how it feels when the ego begins to die. The love of God helps me open my heart more and not be afraid. His love also helps me leave behind the dismay I feel. I know that the judgment of God helps me remove my attachments and heal the wounds from the past.
The more I learn, the more I pray for guidance in the process. The joy which God showers upon me every time I do as He pleases, especially by forgiving others, that grace helps me to live under His power and be submerged in His love. In this process of detachment, I witness God’s forgiveness, patience, kindness, and mercy, which is the grace of God and His beauty.
When I follow the Baha’i principles through difficulty I behold the glory of God, and I receive God’s guidance through His judgment. My heart is touched by His love, and wants to love Him back. Here I learn to open my heart to trust Him and to rely on Him. Here I learn to submit myself to follow the Divine Physician’s prescriptions. Here, in love with the Creator and free in spirit, I can begin to heal the wounds of the past:
Love accepteth no existence and wisheth no life: In death it seeth life, and in shame it seeketh glory. To merit the madness of love, one must abound in sanity; to merit the bonds of the Friend, one must be free in spirit. – Baha’u’llah, The Seven Valleys, in The Call of the Divine Beloved, p. 19.
O Son of Being! Thy Paradise is My love; thy heavenly home, reunion with Me. Enter therein and tarry not. This is that which hath been destined for thee in Our kingdom above and Our exalted dominion. – Baha’u’llah, The Hidden Words, p. 5.