Connecting all the hearts in the world

Heart to HeartThis morning I was wondering what to write about and thought of sharing a brief review of a wonderful little book I’ve been reading, called “Heart to Heart”. It is a teaching handbook by Jenny and Grant Hindin Miller (yes, the amazingly talented New Zealand songwriter and singer), dedicated to the memory of Martha Root, the itinerant Baha’i teacher. The book starts with a disclaimer: “This is a booklet about sharing the Baha’i Faith. It is not about fancy techniques or salesmanship. It is really a love story. Teaching is an affair of the heart.

While this book focuses on teaching and connecting the hearts, what touched me the most were the stories of Martha Root’s humility before God and the sense of urgency she had about teaching:

Every minute belongs to God, not every other minute. If you begin tomorrow, it may be too late.

But that urgency alone was not what made Martha Root such an example of sharing the message of love. Hers was truly a genuine love and recognition for the nobility of the heart of everyone she met.

So, thinking of this ability — of connecting with others on a deeper level — provided an interesting backdrop for another reading this afternoon: an intriguing New York Times article called “Brave New World of Digital Intimacy”, which explores how the development in social networking has created a new sense of ambient presence, expanded the social circles of people we keep in touch with, and provided a new impetus for reflecting on how we feel, what we do, and who we are.

I am not sure yet how to connect or contrast these two concepts — of connecting the hearts and keeping in touch with friends and strangers alike — but I feel the link is more than superficial. For while I have benefited (and suffered) from the ease of social connections online, I have been reflecting lately on how the heart yearns for a deep, true connection, which seems impossible online. Indeed, the overexposure online has inspired me lately to reflect on, and appreciate, the joy of seeing and noticing the “real life” human beings that surround us every day — the lady at the grocery store counter, the guard of the office building, the postman, the children playing in the park. I have been challenging myself to truly see each one of them and try to connect with their heart by imagining what their soul looks like — perhaps as my daughters would say “a rainbow soul”…

I beg of God to strengthen these spiritual bonds as day followeth day, and make this mystic oneness to shine ever more brightly, until at last all shall be as troops marshalled together beneath the banner of the Covenant within the sheltering shade of the Word of God; that they may strive with all their might until universal fellowship, close and warm, and unalloyed love, and spiritual relationships, will connect all the hearts in the world.
(Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 19)

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