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Spirituality

Life and Death: The Greatest Mysteries

Mahin Pouryaghma | Jun 15, 2024

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Mahin Pouryaghma | Jun 15, 2024

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the authoritative views of the Baha'i Faith.

Life is really a mystery — and one can never solve it, at least in this physical world. These past few weeks, so many strange, mysterious things have been happening to me, and I’ve been trying to figure them out.

Two of my dear friends, who up until recently appeared to be in good to great health, are suddenly facing life-threatening health issues — and here I am, someone who was supposed to die a long time ago, still (somewhat) functioning. 

Why do these things happen? None of us knows. What a mystery life is!

RELATED: Death: Summoned to a Reckoning

Physically, my cancer is advancing, and I am becoming weaker and am easily and more tired. I need to sleep longer and longer, which makes my usefulness decline. I am struggling with keeping my promise to my Maker of laying all my affairs in His hand, as in this prayer attributed to Abdu’l-Baha:

O God! Refresh and gladden my spirit. Purify my heart. Illumine my powers. I lay all my affairs in Thy hand. Thou art my Guide and my Refuge. I will no longer be sorrowful and grieved; I will be a happy and joyful being. O God! I will no longer be full of anxiety, nor will I let trouble harass me. I will not dwell on the unpleasant things of life.

O God! Thou art more friend to me than I am to myself. I dedicate myself to Thee, O Lord.

When I pray, I have the urge to ask God to shorten my stay in this physical world. Then I ask myself these questions: who am I to dictate to God what to do? Where is my absolute humility toward my Maker?

Some people would view my situation — a diagnosis of terminal and incurable cancer while slowly dying in a nursing home — as the worst possible calamity. But Baha’u’llah, the prophet and founder of the Baha’i Faith, wrote that “My calamity is My providence. Outwardly it is fire and vengeance but inwardly it is light and mercy.” He also teaches us that: “I have made death  a messenger of joy to thee. Wherefore dust thou grieve? I made light to shed on Thee its splendor. Why dost thou veil thyself therefrom?” 

So, I look at my situation entirely differently. I think: Isn’t it wonderful that it took the closeness of my own death to become free, joyful, and at peace — well, at least most of the time? I now realize that there is no need for me to impress anyone, to seek approval from anyone, to put on any sort of facade, to compete with anyone. What freedom! I have the freedom to love, the freedom to accept the offer of love without second-guessing, questioning, or suspecting anyone’s motives. 

My impending death has set me free. 

One of my most beloved caregivers, who now feels like my true daughter in my heart, works here at night. She has told the other caregivers and I that she wants to be with me when I am transitioning — she wants to be informed as soon as it begins so she can be at my side. That is my wish, too. Also, another caregiver told me today that she will work here until I transition, and then she will look into different kinds of work because it is too hard to endure the losses. 

All these wonderful, loving mysteries are happening to me due to the benefit of the process of dying. 

God, the All-merciful Father, is opening wide the portal of freedom. Maybe I could call it freedom from self for me. It is wonderful. Can I complain about anything?  My discomfort and pain, even when severe, becomes a minor inconvenience in the light of these great gifts. When I look at the bounty of God that He constantly showers upon me, even bearing that discomfort becomes  a little easier. Thank you God! Thank you God! Thank you!!

RELATED: Can We Die Joyously?

Anyway, back to those strange mysteries — I’m discovering them mostly in my inner self. Even though I am enjoying a sense of peace in this last stage of my physical existence here on Earth, I do become irritated when, on a daily basis, things do not go the way my ego thinks they should go. Usually, I don’t lose my temper, or even speak up, but inside I can feel grumpy and critical — then I question myself about my honesty. It is so difficult to become detached from my negative emotions. The human ego is too strong for me to become completely free, but the Baha’i teachings tell me that I have to continue to struggle against its ill effects.

The great majority of the time, I live in the present, but then the unbidden past interrupts. Eckhard Tolle calls this the “pain body” — the unresolved trauma of childhood or adulthood intruding into my thoughts. When that happens, I become unhappy, and then I become unhappy with myself. I am trying very hard to leave the past behind, to clean up my emotions and clean up my soul, so when I do go to the next world, I have more gold nuggets in my suitcase of spiritual attributes, which may help me be less handicapped in functioning in the next world.  I’m trying really hard to get to a state of humility and acceptance.

I know that few human beings can achieve that humility, but I do know that we should strive to be as close to it as we can. I increasingly recognize that the ego, which comes in the form of my attachment to this world and its fleeting qualities, is the stumbling block between my mind and my soul and even my body. That ego is, perhaps, the only real source of pain and suffering for me. Without the strong pull of the ego, even physical pain can lose its power over me. So, is my reason for remaining on this Earth to struggle further to reduce my ego? I keep asking myself that question — and on those rare occasions when, momentarily, I seem to overcome my ego, it feels so wonderful. 

For instance, when the slightest negative comment about me truly does not bother me, or the strongest positive comment does not make me swell with pride, it feels so enjoyable — like absolute freedom. So I better get back to that prayer, “I lay all my affairs in Thy hand, Thou art my Guide and my refuge” and let what comes in the next world be my highest goal.

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Comments

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  • Wendy Scott
    Jun 21, 2024
    -
    Best wishes! It sounds like you have prepared for your journey very well.
  • Michael Cavitt
    Jun 17, 2024
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    Hi Mahin
    Thank you for reminding me of the prayer "O God! Refresh ...."
    I had quit saying it.
    Michael
  • Zachary L. Zavid
    Jun 15, 2024
    -
    Such an inspiring read ❤️
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