I had a good session with my counsellor this week. These sessions often inspire me to do research either in a book or online – I use Ocean a fair bit when inspired to find something. So I was thinking about the Hidden Word that says;
“Thy heart is My home, sanctify it for My descent…” (Baha’u’llah, Hidden Words, Arabic 59)
I also found a reference in Paris Talks that used “purify” instead of “sanctify”. So I got out my 1924 edition of the “Pocket Oxford Dictionary” It was my mother’s mother’s and I figured the definitions would have been close to the ones used by Shoghi Effendi since he was educated at Oxford – it says ‘sanctify’ means:
consecrate (make sacred – devote to purpose), make holy, free from sin.
to make pure or cleanse, make ceremonially clean, clear of foreign elements.
(In the online Oxford Advanced Learner’s Edition, it just says ‘sanctify’ means to make holy. ‘Purify’ means to purify somebody/something/yourself; to make somebody pure by removing evil from their souls. Hindus purify themselves by bathing in the river Ganges to purify the soul.
Well, we know evil means our lower nature, or in this case, the qualities of our lower nature. Also when I think of sanctifying my heart, it means getting rid of those emotions that I have buried there. According to Patricia Romano McGraw in her book It’s not your Fault: How Healing Relationships Change Your Brain and Can Help You Overcome a Painful Past, I need to attune to these emotions … that is the hard part for me – digging them up, becoming aware of them on a deeper level than I am. I’m not releasing them yet – well only slightly. Patience – they have been buried a long time…
Then I started looking up the other references that popped up in Ocean under “Thy heart is My home”. In the Seven Valleys, He says:
“O friend, the heart is the dwelling of eternal mysteries, make it not the home of fleeting fancies; waste not the treasure of thy precious life in employment with this swiftly passing world. Thou comest from the world of holiness — bind not thine heart to the earth; thou art a dweller in the court of nearness — choose not the homeland of the dust.” (Baha’u’llah, The Seven Valleys, p. 34)
Then I wanted to find something about the heart being the seat of our emotions and I found this fascinating article
So, where, you may ask, am I going with this. Well, if the heart is the seat of our emotions- and to my understanding, these quotes agree with that…:
“When man’s soul is rarefied and cleansed, spiritual links are established, and from these bonds sensations felt by the heart are produced. The human heart resembleth a mirror. When this is purified human hearts are attuned and reflect one another, and thus spiritual emotions are generated.” (Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 108)
“The natural emotions are blameworthy and are like rust which deprives the heart of the bounties of God.” (Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 244)
“The emotions that have possessed my grieving heart are such that they cannot be put into words, and tongue and pen are helpless to describe them.” (Compilations, Bahiyyih Khanum, p. 49)
So what are the natural emotions? In the Writings it says what the divine emotions are:
“These are the divine appearances, the heavenly bounties, the sublime emotions, the love and knowledge of God; universal wisdom, intellectual perception, scientific discoveries, justice, equity, truthfulness, benevolence, natural courage and innate fortitude; the respect for rights and the keeping of agreements and covenants; rectitude in all circumstances; serving the truth under all conditions; the sacrifice of one’s life for the good of all people; kindness and esteem for all nations; obedience to the teachings of God; service in the Divine Kingdom; the guidance of the people, and the education of the nations and races. This is the prosperity of the human world! This is the exaltation of man in the world! This is eternal life and heavenly honor! (Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 79-80)
“… sincerity, justice, humility, severance, and love for the believers of God will purify the mirror and make it radiant with reflected rays from the Sun of Truth.” (Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 244)
“There can be no doubt that whoever is cognizant of this truth, is cleansed and sanctified from all pride, arrogance, and vainglory.” (Compilations, The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, p. 77)
That last quote tells us of three, and then the qualities that make someone a tyrant, a traitor or a thief would also be natural emotions.
…then I need to cleanse my heart of the negative emotions that lay buried there because of the injuries sustained by the tyrants in my past, before it can truly become free to be God’s home. I guess some of those emotions include anger, sadness, self-pity…
And I need to create a much better healthy relationship with God – attune to God – through prayer and meditation.
Did I tell you how this process seemed to start while on pilgrimage – yes I think I did, and as my counsellor said – the starting of making chinks in my armour that has kept my emotions buried. And the work is going slowly, but I’m getting impatient! I have a great coping mechanism – my intellect, according to my counsellor, at keeping my emotions buried, I’ve used it to minimize my abuse – minimizing how devastating it has been.
Thank you Baha’u’llah for allowing me to recognise You, to have saved me from so much I could have suffered from if I hadn’t found the Faith.