Homecoming of the heart

A talk last night which started with a reflection on Eric Dozier’s words from the Thanksgiving weekend about teaching as facilitating the reunion of a soul with its Creator, lead to a deep discussion on the need of constantly coming back to the home of my heart. This morning as I was saying the Long Obligatory Prayer, a new understanding of the words stranger and home came to me:

Thou seest, O my Lord, this stranger hastening to his most exalted home beneath the canopy of Thy majesty and within the precincts of Thy mercy; and this transgressor seeking the ocean of Thy forgiveness; and this lowly one the court of Thy glory; and this poor creature the orient of Thy wealth.

(Baha’u’llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah, p. 317)

Gravel path to the place of Pilgrimage, the shrine of Baha’u'llahI had never put much thought into where that home might be. Clearly, it is a place of closeness to God, and having been on Pilgrimage I often visualize myself walking on the gravel path to the Shrines where I experienced a true homecoming. But what about an average day when the Pilgrimage can only be in my thoughts and dreams? What if this home is indeed the heart?

Thy heart is My home; sanctify it for My descent. Thy spirit is My place of revelation; cleanse it for My manifestation.

(Baha’u’llah, The Arabic Hidden Words)

Accepting my heart as the place of Pilgrimage, the place of closeness to God, puts many things in interesting perspective. Consider this lovely prayer which I used to say before traveling but now find helpful any time I am out of the home of my heart:

O God, my God! I have set out from my home, holding fast unto the cord of Thy love, and I have committed myself wholly to Thy care and Thy protection. I entreat Thee by Thy power through which Thou didst protect Thy loved ones from the wayward and the perverse, and from every contumacious oppressor, and every wicked doer who hath strayed far from Thee, to keep me safe by Thy bounty and Thy grace. Enable me, then, to return to my home by Thy power and Thy might. Thou art, truly, the Almighty, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.

(Baha’u’llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah, p. 257)

If my daily existence is an ongoing vacillation between listening to the mind and allowing the heart to speak, if my physical life does require me to go back and forth between the analytical mind so praised by today’s business and the free-flowing thinking more at home during a morning meditation, then I owe it to myself (and my heart) to supplicate God each morning and ask Him to help me during the excursion between mind and heart. Because the mind can be a dangerous place to reside in for too long (and I have the experience to prove it), with its mind games an over-analytical brain likes to indulge in… But it is the heart where true reunion with God is possible, and it is the heart one needs to keep coming back to in order to be reminded of the spiritual nature of life and its true source of strength.

And going back to the quote from the Long Obligatory Prayer — who is the stranger, then? Isn’t that the mind who feeding the ego attempts to silence the heart?

All that is in heaven and earth I have ordained for thee, except the human heart, which I have made the habitation of My beauty and glory; yet thou didst give My home and dwelling to another than Me; and whenever the manifestation of My holiness sought His own abode, a stranger found He there, and, homeless, hastened unto the sanctuary of the Beloved. Notwithstanding I have concealed thy secret and desired not thy shame.

(Baha’u’llah, The Persian Hidden Words)

Welcome back to my heart 🙂

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