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Meditation is one of the most mystical experiences we can have in this world. Through meditation, we can receive clarity, inspiration, and enlightenment. It’s a spiritual state that allows us to commune with our creator and be revived with the breath of the Holy Spirit.
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Although the Baha’i writings do not prescribe any set forms of meditation, they do guide us on how to make our daily meditations more effective. Whether you are new to meditating or would like suggestions to aid your current meditation practices, here are nine tips that you might want to try.
1. Meditate Privately
Meditation is a private and personal experience where we free ourselves from all distractions and focus all our attention on God. The Bab, the forerunner and herald of Baha’u’llah, wrote:
The reason why privacy hath been enjoined in moments of devotion is this, that thou mayest give thy best attention to the remembrance of God, that thy heart may at all times be animated with His Spirit, and not be shut out as by a veil from thy Best Beloved.
When you remember God, you heal your soul and kindle a light inside your heart.
2. Pray and Meditate on the Word of God
Baha’is believe that prayer must precede meditation. In prayer, we often ask God for guidance and recite the verses that were revealed by His Manifestations, or prophets, throughout history. Baha’is believe that the word of God has the most power and potency.
Baha’u’llah, the prophet and founder of the Baha’i Faith, wrote:
Every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God is endowed with such potency as can instill new life into every human frame, if ye be of them that comprehend this truth.
In meditation, we ponder the meaning of these holy writings and gain a deeper understanding and knowledge of the divine. Baha’u’llah wrote:
Do thou meditate on that which We have revealed unto thee, that thou mayest discover the purpose of God, thy Lord, and the Lord of all worlds. In these words the mysteries of Divine Wisdom have been treasured.
3. Meditate With Love
Abdu’l-Baha, the son of Baha’u’llah and the authorized interpreter of the Baha’i writings, asked:
If a person talks to you as an unpleasant duty, with no love or pleasure in his meeting with you, do you wish to converse with him?
Of course, we wouldn’t! Likewise, when we try to communicate with God, our words will mean nothing if they are devoid of joy and love. Our love for God is what motivates us to pray and meditate. The Universal House of Justice, the global governing body of the Baha’i Faith, wrote:
The powers latent in prayer are manifested when it is motivated by the love of God, beyond any fear or favour, and free from ostentation and superstition. It is to be expressed with a sincere and pure heart conducive to contemplation and meditation so that the rational faculty can be illumined by its effects.
Our love for God is a light that illuminates our spiritual awareness and understanding.
4. Recite the Names of God
Many people use mantras to calm and focus their minds as they begin meditating. You can also invoke power through the recital of the names and attributes of God in your meditations.
After washing our hands and face, Baha’is recite Alláh-u-Abhá — which we refer to as the Greatest Name — ninety-five times a day. “‘Alláh-u-Abhá’ is an Arabic phrase meaning ‘God the All-Glorious’,” as stated in the Baha’i writings.
The Universal House of Justice suggested that Baha’is use this repetition of Alláh-u-Abhá for our private meditations. They wrote:
Let all experience the spiritual enrichment brought to their souls by this simple act of worshipful meditation.
5. Ask Your Higher Self Questions
Meditation is a powerful time to receive answers to the questions you have. At a talk in London in 1913, Abdu’l-Baha said:
It is an axiomatic fact that while you meditate you are speaking with your own spirit. In that state of mind you put certain questions to your spirit and the spirit answers: the light breaks forth and the reality is revealed.
So, if you have a problem and need a solution, you may want to meditate on it, and the Holy Spirit will inform and strengthen your spirit.
6. Purify Your Mind and Focus Inward
Tuning out from your physical environment and activating your inner spiritual powers of thought and contemplation are important parts of meditation. At a talk in Paris in 1911, Abdu’l-Baha said:
Meditation is the key for opening the doors of mysteries. In that state man abstracts himself: in that state man withdraws himself from all outside objects; in that subjective mood he is immersed in the ocean of spiritual life and can unfold the secrets of things-in-themselves. To illustrate this, think of man as endowed with two kinds of sight; when the power of insight is being used the outward power of vision does not see.
7. Remain in Silent Contemplation
After you purify your mind, focus on God, look inward, and ask questions that you would like to be answered, wait silently to hear divine guidance and inspiration.
Baha’u’llah said that “there is a sign (from God) in every phenomenon: the sign of the intellect is contemplation and the sign of contemplation is silence, because it is impossible for a man to do two things at one time—he cannot both speak and meditate.”
8. Have Faith That God Will Guide You
After we remain in silent contemplation for a few minutes, we should have faith that God will answer and guide us.
“Have faith and confidence that the power will flow through you, the right way will appear, the door will open, the right thought, the right message, the right principle or the right book will be given to you. Have confidence, and the right thing will come to your need,” wrote Ruth Moffett, a Baha’i author, after speaking extensively with Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Baha’i Faith, about the dynamics of prayer.
9. Act on the Inspiration From Your Meditation
Lastly, we must act on the inspiration we receive from our meditation. A letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi in 1957 says:
It is not sufficient to pray diligently for guidance, but this prayer must be followed by meditation as to the best methods of action and then action itself. Even if the action should not immediately produce results, or perhaps not be entirely correct, that does not make so much difference, because prayers can only be answered through action and if someone’s action is wrong, God can use that method of showing the pathway which is right.
As long as we turn to the divine, we must trust that we will be assisted and guided. I hope these nine tips will help you all have profound and powerful meditations!
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Well said, Abdu’l-Baha. That's probably one of the best definitions of meditation I've ever heard. Meditation has a lot to do with awakening our awareness of the mystery of being. Meditation is the art of consciously entering and living in the Kingdom of God.