‘To Know Thee And To Worship Thee’

I sometimes think prayer is a simple reminder of our relationship with the One from whom our plural existence has emanated.  So each day between the hours of noon and sunset (apart from when I forget..). I recite this short prayer revealed by Bahá’u’lláh for this purpose.

I bear witness, O my God, that Thou hast created me to know Thee and to worship Thee. I testify, at this moment, to my powerlessness and to Thy might, to my poverty and to Thy wealth. There is none other God but Thee, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.

Short Obligatory Prayer

‘The World Of Dreams’

The psychologist Carl Gustav Jung commented famously on the phenomenon of premonition in the dream state:

…in the spring and early summer of 1914, I had a thrice-repeated dream that in the middle of summer an Arctic cold wave descended and froze the land to ice. I saw, for example, the whole of Lorraine and its canals frozen and the entire region totally deserted by human beings. All living green things were killed by frost. This dream came in April and May, and for the last time in June, 1914. In the third dream frightful cold had again descended from out of the cosmos. This dream, however, had an unexpected end. There stood a leaf-bearing tree, but without fruit (my tree of life, I thought), whose leaves had been transformed by the effects of the frost into sweet grapes full of healing juices. I plucked the grapes and gave them to a large, waiting crowd…On August 1 the world war broke out.

From Jung’s autobiography Memories, Dreams, Reflections.

`Abdu’l-Bahá confirms this phenomenon of premonition and also equates the dream state with spiritual travel:

The other manifestation of the powers and actions of the spirit is without instruments and organs. For example, in the state of sleep without eyes it sees; without an ear it hears; without a tongue it speaks; without feet it runs. Briefly, these actions are beyond the means of instruments and organs. How often it happens that it sees a dream in the world of sleep, and its signification becomes apparent two years afterward in corresponding events. In the same way, how many times it happens that a question which one cannot solve in the world of wakefulness is solved in the world of dreams. In wakefulness the eye sees only for a short distance, but in dreams he who is in the East sees the West. Awake he sees the present; in sleep he sees the future. In wakefulness, by means of rapid transit, at the most he can travel only twenty farsakhs an hour; in sleep, in the twinkling of an eye, he traverses the East and West. For the spirit travels in two different ways: without means, which is spiritual travelling; and with means, which is material travelling: as birds which fly, and those which are carried.

Some Answered Questions Page 227-228

`Abdu’l-Bahá reminds us however that dreams are not always of spiritual significance:

The mind and the thought of man sometimes discover truths, and from this thought and discovery signs and results are produced. This thought has a foundation. But many things come to the mind of man which are like the waves of the sea of imaginations; they have no fruit, and no result comes from them. In the same way, man sees in the world of sleep a vision which becomes exactly realized; at another time, he sees a dream which has absolutely no result.

Some Answered Questions page 251

‘A Difference Of Opinion’

I think we have a tendency to personalise differences of opinion and ignore the fundamental humanity that unites us all.  The advice of `Abdu’l-Bahá seems particularly wise in this regard-

Do not allow difference of opinion, or diversity of thought to separate you from your fellow-men, or to be the cause of dispute, hatred and strife in your hearts. Rather, search diligently for the truth and make all men your friends.

Paris Talks

The Fundamental Purpose Of Religion

I love this definition of the purpose of religion from the writings of Bahá’u’lláh – to bring us together- not to be used as an excuse for division…

The fundamental purpose animating the Faith of God and His Religion is to safeguard the interests and promote the unity of the human race, and to foster the spirit of love and fellowship amongst men. Suffer it not to become a source of dissension and discord, of hate and enmity

The Tabernacle Of Unity 2.34