Developing a relationship with the Divine through the Baha'i Teachings?

Nov 2015
140
Canada
#1
Hello all. It's been a while but I'm back. I've been struggling more and more lately it seems, haha. To whom much is given much is tested I suppose.

I want to strengthen my faith. I have felt an absence of God in my life lately - it's hard to explain, it's almost like I'm an electronic device that's been disconnected from its power source. My mind can logic out that there is a God, through it is like my heart does not believe it. A Jehovah's witness I work with had given me a quote along the lines of 'the heart is treacherous', which seems to help some, but I'm just tired of feeling this 'empty faith' in my heart.

What does the Faith have to say in terms of feeling closer to God? I know God is beyond our understanding, but is there a way to feel that connection? I see people like my Jehovah's witness friend, who seems like God is 'present' in his life so to speak, and it feels like I'm missing out.
 
Mar 2013
519
Edwardsville, Illinois, USA
#2
Many years ago when I was a new Baha'i, I remember someone giving a suggestion: get up earlier, and say the long obligatory prayer every morning before breakfast. For years I did not follow that advice, and things were kind of OK, but some things I wished would change never did. Then over 2 years ago when we moved to a new town I finally started to follow that advice, and also saying prayers in the evening, and things are much, much better. The change doesn't happen immediately, but it is a connection with God. I certainly feel that I have God in my life.
 
Last edited:
Sep 2012
305
Panama
#3
...My mind can logic out that there is a God, through it is like my heart does not believe it...
Seems a lot of folks at one time or another feel that way, even I can remember saying something to that effect, yet it still seems screwy as all hell.

OK so most normal humans do in fact make major decisions on an emotional level and then proceed to pervert logic to justify what's already been decided. That's why so many folks struggle to support a doomed business plan, they go and fall in love w/ someone else's spouse, or they give their life fighting for a cause that's plain stupid to any reasonable outsider. We don't want to do that. We want to see what's right and then totally give ourselves to serve what's good --and the truth of the object of our love should really be all that matters.

So you can tell I don't do feelings that well, I like computers and machines and when it comes to dealing w/ people's problems my wife usually has to take over --but the idea of overcoming and conforming feelings to what we know is true is a bit of a crusade w/ me.



On a side note, if by any chance the JW would be willing, I'd dearly love to chat w/ him on one of these threads. Bahai's and JW's actually have a lot in common (big list available upon request). Some nearby JW's used to visit us a few years ago and we had some wonderful chats but I finally ran into some obstacles that I'd love to work through here --my thinking being that if we can write and think we can consult better.

Just a thought...
 
Likes: tonyfish58
Aug 2014
1,346
Blue Planet
#4
just like JCC, I have a suggestion for time we feel disconnected or far from God.; two suggestions in fact:

every night before you sleep (just in bed) and every morning when you open your eyes, say "Ya Baha'ul Abha" with all heart and mind and concentration, as if He is near and can hear you and you say that world as if it is a shield and a remedy that lasts through the day.
second, when you are saying the obligatory prayer, no matter which one, imagine as strongly as you can, being fallen on the dust of the threshold of the Manifestation. this one is difficult and it seems weird. but believe me, doing these two things, if they are done strongly and with faith, work magic.
 
Likes: tonyfish58
Sep 2010
4,362
Normanton Far North Queensland
#5
just like JCC, I have a suggestion for time we feel disconnected or far from God.; two suggestions in fact:

every night before you sleep (just in bed) and every morning when you open your eyes, say "Ya Baha'ul Abha" with all heart and mind and concentration, as if He is near and can hear you and you say that world as if it is a shield and a remedy that lasts through the day.
second, when you are saying the obligatory prayer, no matter which one, imagine as strongly as you can, being fallen on the dust of the threshold of the Manifestation. this one is difficult and it seems weird. but believe me, doing these two things, if they are done strongly and with faith, work magic.
This prayer by Abdul'baha and said at His resting place by all pilgrims;

He is the All-Glorious!

O God, my God! Lowly and tearful, I raise my suppliant hands to Thee and cover my face in the dust of that Threshold of Thine, exalted above the knowledge of the learned, and the praise of all that glorify Thee. Graciously look upon Thy servant, humble and lowly at Thy door, with the glances of the eye of Thy mercy, and immerse him in the Ocean of Thine eternal grace.

Lord! He is a poor and lowly servant of Thine, enthralled and imploring Thee, captive in Thy hand, praying fervently to Thee, trusting in Thee, in tears before Thy face, calling to Thee and beseeching Thee, saying:

O Lord, my God! Give me Thy grace to serve Thy loved ones, strengthen me in my servitude to Thee, illumine my brow with the light of adoration in Thy court of holiness, and of prayer to Thy kingdom of grandeur. Help me to be selfless at the heavenly entrance of Thy gate, and aid me to be detached from all things within Thy holy precincts. Lord! Give me to drink from the chalice of selflessness; with its robe clothe me, and in its ocean immerse me. Make me as dust in the pathway of Thy loved ones, and grant that I may offer up my soul for the earth ennobled by the footsteps of Thy chosen ones in Thy path, O Lord of Glory in the Highest.

With this prayer doth Thy servant call Thee, at dawntide and in the night-season. Fulfill his heart's desire, O Lord! Illumine his heart, gladden his bosom, kindle his light, that he may serve Thy Cause and Thy servants.

Thou art the Bestower, the Pitiful, the Most Bountiful, the Gracious, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá

Regards Tony
 
Nov 2015
140
Canada
#6
Thank you all for your replies, I can't begin to say how much it has helped so far!
So far:
I have tried getting up earlier and have been saying the medium prayer instead of the short one which I usually do - I never realized washing my face in the morning would wake me up so quickly, haha. I hope to try the prayer you posted, Tony.

One thing that caught me off guard was the power of Ya Baha'ul Abha. When I had concentrated on it before bed the last couple of nights, I was struck with such a profound feeling of enchantment. It felt like it was something I had been missing out on, so to speak, and I love it.

And Pete, I would very much love to see your list! I'll talk to my friend about coming here.
 
Jun 2014
1,008
Wisconsin
#7
Thank you all for your replies, I can't begin to say how much it has helped so far!
So far:
I have tried getting up earlier and have been saying the medium prayer instead of the short one which I usually do - I never realized washing my face in the morning would wake me up so quickly, haha. I hope to try the prayer you posted, Tony.

One thing that caught me off guard was the power of Ya Baha'ul Abha. When I had concentrated on it before bed the last couple of nights, I was struck with such a profound feeling of enchantment. It felt like it was something I had been missing out on, so to speak, and I love it.

And Pete, I would very much love to see your list! I'll talk to my friend about coming here.
"If you fall into trouble, say, 'Yá Bahá’u’l-Abhá!' If any one oppose you, say, 'Yá Bahá’u’l-Abhá!' Even while at your work, mention 'Yá Bahá’u’l-Abhá!'" ('Abdu'l-Baha quoted in Baha'i Scriptures, pg 502)

Other than what's already been suggested, we are told that "Thou art My lamp and My light is in thee" (and other similar verses), so one possible way to cultivate a relationship with God, if God Himself seems too distant a goal at this point in time, might be to seek to understand that part of yourself which God describes as His light, and through it understanding the creator through yourself as his creation. That might be a method that appeals to those of us with a more analytical perspective on things.
 
Likes: tonyfish58
Jun 2014
1,008
Wisconsin
#8
Oh, and another quote I just stumbled across presents another method of developing a relationship with the divine:

"I rejoice to hear that thou takest pains with thine art, for in this wonderful new age, art is worship. The more thou strivest to perfect it, the closer wilt thou come to God. What bestowal could be greater than this, that one’s art should be even as the act of worshipping the Lord? That is to say, when thy fingers grasp the paint brush, it is as if thou wert at prayer in the Temple" (Tablet from 'Abdu'l Baha)
 
Likes: tonyfish58
Oct 2014
1,763
Stockholm
#9
Trying to implement the teachings - that is, turn them into reality, trying keep myself informed of the spiritual teachings, I must admit that I feel a kind of force within me. I'd never call it "God", but rather a confirmation of my actions at last being in some kind of conformity with our teachings.

gnat
 
Likes: tonyfish58

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