Tender heart, tender herb
As the Baha’i Fast is approaching its closure, I am reflecting on the experience of my heart these past few weeks. A sweet video that was sent by a friend captures it very nicely — “The Baha’i Fasting: 51 Reasons Why”.
I particularly like this reason:
During fasting the heart becomes tender and the spirituality of man increases.
And so, here are a couple of more readings to supplement this thought:
“Make me ready, in all circumstances, O my Lord, to serve Thee and to set myself towards the adored sanctuary of Thy Revelation and of Thy Beauty. If it be Thy pleasure, make me to grow as a tender herb in the meadows of Thy grace, that the gentle winds of Thy will may stir me up and bend me into conformity with Thy pleasure, in such wise that my movement and my stillness may be wholly directed by Thee.”
— Baha’u’llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah, p. 240
And a poem by Rumi:
There is a unseen sweetness in the stomach’s emptiness.
We are lutes. When the soundbox is filled, no music can come out.
When the brain and the belly are burning from fasting,
every moment a new song rises out of the fire.
The mists clear, and a new vitality makes you
spring up the steps before you.
Be empty and sing as a reed instrument.
Be empty and write secrets with a reed pen.
When satiated by food and drink, an unsightly metal statue
is seated where your spirit should be.
When fasting, good habits gather like helpful friends.
Fasting is Solomon’s ring. Don’t give in to illusion and lose your power.
But even when all will and control have been lost,
they will return when you fast, like soldiers appearing out of the ground,
or pennants flying in the breeze.
A table descends to your tents, the Lord’s table.
Anticipate seeing it when fasting, this table spread with a different food,
far better than the broth of cabbages.
— Poem by the 13th century Persian poet Jalal’u’ddin Rumi