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Lately I’ve been experiencing an intense longing to “go home” to the next world.  Despite the taboo in our culture against talking about death,I think my desire is pretty normal, for 4 reasons:

  1. Bahá’u’lláh tells us that if we were told what has been ordained for us in the next world, our whole being would instantly blaze out in our great longing to attain that most exalted, sanctified and resplendent station:

If any man be told that which hath been ordained for such a soul in the worlds of God, the Lord of the throne on high and of earth below, his whole being will instantly blaze out in his great longing to attain that most exalted, that sanctified and resplendent station.  (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 155)

I’ve studied the Bahá’í Writings a LOT, and have an inkling of what’s to come; and it’s certainly enough to set my whole being ablaze with longing!

  1. A friend once asked ‘Abdu’l-Bahá: “How should one look forward to death?”  He answered:

How does one look forward to the goal of any journey? With hope and with expectation. It is even so with the end of this earthly journey.   (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London, p. 95)

That’s how I’m looking forward to the day of my passing!  With hope and expectation for my next great adventure!

  1. Those with knowledge and power seek out the glory of heaven, spiritual distinction, and the life that never dies:

He who hath knowledge and power will rather seek out the glory of heaven, and spiritual distinction, and the life that dieth not. And such a one longeth to approach the sacred Threshold of God; for in the tavern of this swiftly-passing world the man of God will not lie drunken, nor will he even for a moment take his ease, nor stain himself with any fondness for this earthly life.    (Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 220)

  1. Wise men eagerly wish for death, in order to be freed from sorrows and afflictions:

The wise man, therefore, doth not attach himself to this mortal life and doth not depend upon it; at some moments, even, he eagerly wisheth for death that he may thereby be freed from these sorrows and afflictions. (‘Abdul-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdul-Bahá, p. 200)

I’m not alone in my longing!  Even the Manifestations of God longed to be delivered from this world!  The Báb said:

Grant that the day of attaining Thy holy presence may be fast approaching.  (The Báb, Bahá’í Prayers, p. 165)

And Bahá’u’lláh echoed his sentiment:

Hasten, by Thy grace and bounty, my passing, O my Lord … (Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations, p. 18)

Even ‘Abdu’l-Bahá gives me permission when He suggests I:

. . . long at every moment to give up your lives. (Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Bahá, pp. 243-246)

Please be assured: I’m not going to take my life.  I’ll just have to develop patience and wait for God’s timing!

I thought I’d share with you some of my reasons, as I’ve come to understand them through the lens of the Bahá’í Writings.  Maybe some of them will resonate with you.

If you are feeling suicidal, please get some help instead of reading this!

This article might be more suitable:  Suicide 

I’m Weary of this World 

I have been subjected to the stress and strain of this world to such a degree, that my greatest wish is for deliverance from it:

That honourable man hath been so subjected to the stress and strain of this world that his greatest wish was for deliverance from it. Such is this mortal abode: a storehouse of afflic­tions and suffering. (‘Abdul-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdul-Bahá, p. 200)

My tests are rigorous, and heavy to bear:

It is easy to approach the Kingdom of Heaven, but hard to stand firm and staunch within it, for the tests are rigorous, and heavy to bear.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 274)

It is very hard to be subject to illness, particularly a mental one:

It is very hard to be subject to any illness, particularly a mental one. However, we must always remember these illnesses have nothing to do with our spirit or our inner relation to God.  (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 281)

In the next world, I will be freed from the disabilities under which I now suffer:

In the next world, man will find himself freed from many of the disabilities under which he now suffers. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London, p. 95)

I know that no comfort can be secured by anyone in this world:

It is ignorance that binds man to it, for no comfort can be secured by any soul in this world, from monarch down to the most humble commoner. If once this life should offer a man a sweet cup, a hundred bitter ones will follow; such is the condition of this world. (‘Abdul-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdul-Bahá, p. 200)

I haven’t learned to trust or draw on other people’s love for strength and consolation in time of need:

Indeed the believers have not yet fully learned to draw on each other’s love for strength and consolation in time of need. The Cause of God is endowed with tremendous powers, and the reason the believers do not gain more from it is because they have not learned to fully draw on these mighty forces of love and strength and harmony generated by the Faith.”  (Shoghi Effendi, Living the Life, p. 8).

There’s no one to visit or take care of me when I am sick, in sorrow and suffering:

We should all visit the sick. When they are in sorrow and suffering, it is a real help and benefit to have a friend come. Happiness is a great healer to those who are ill . . . This has greater effect than the remedy itself. You must always have this thought of love and affection when you visit the ailing and afflicted.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 204).

I Know What’s Coming!

I know that God loves me and sorrows for me; even when I don’t feel loved in this world, and I long to be in a place where I can feel all the atoms of the earth declaring His love for me:

I sorrow for thee in thy grief, and lament with thee in thy tribulation… I bear witness to the ser­vices thou hast rendered Me, and testify to the various troubles thou hast sustained for My sake. All the atoms of the earth declare My love for thee.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 309)

I want my tests and sorrows to pass away, and my abiding glory and eternal life to remain unchanged forever:

Now ye, as well, must certainly become my partners to some slight degree, and accept your share of tests and sorrows. But these episodes shall pass away, while that abiding glory and eternal life shall remain unchanged forever. Moreover, these afflictions shall be the cause of great advancement.  (Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 238-239)

I want to be in a place where I can see my reward for the care and trouble I have undergone for my son:

Also a father and mother endure the greatest troubles and hardships for their children; and often when the children have reached the age of maturity, the parents pass on to the other world. Rarely does it happen that a father and mother in this world see the reward of the care and trouble they have undergone for their children. (Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 231-232)

I want to forget all my earthly cares and find each one of them amply compensated by God’s expressions of praise and favour:

These days shall pass away. We will, please God, in the Abha Kingdom and beneath the sheltering shadow of the Blessed Beauty, forget all these our earthly cares and will find each one of these base calumnies amply compensated by His expressions of praise and favour. From the beginning of time sorrow and anxiety, regret and tribulation, have always been the lot of every loyal servant of God. Ponder this in thine heart and consider how very true it is. Wherefore, set thine heart on the tender mercies of the Ancient Beauty and be thou filled with abiding joy and intense gladness…. (Bahiyyih Khánum, p. 7)

I want the days of blissful joy and heavenly delight that are assuredly in store for me:

Sorrow not if, in these days and on this earthly plane, things contrary to your wishes have been ordained and manifested by God, for days of blissful joy, of heavenly delight, are assuredly in store for you. (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 329)

I want to see worlds, holy and spiritually glorious, unveiled to my eyes, and partake of their benefits, share in their joys, and obtain a portion of their sustaining grace:

Worlds, holy and spiritually glorious, will be unveiled to your eyes. You are destined by Him, in this world and hereafter, to partake of their benefits, to share in their joys, and to obtain a portion of their sustaining grace. To each and every one of them you will, no doubt, attain.  (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 329)

I want the darkness of this gloomy night to pass away:

The darkness of this gloomy night shall pass away.   (‘Abdul-Bahá, Baha’i Scriptures, p. 547)

I want the promised peace to come:

These are the darkest hours before the break of day. Peace, as promised, will come at night’s end.  (The Universal House of Justice, Ridván Message150, 1993)

I want that glorious future which awaits me, more brilliant than any I can imagine:

Do not despair, nay be assured that a glorious future awaits you all, more brilliant than any you can imagine.  (Shoghi Effendi, The Light of Divine Guidance v I, p. 97)

I want a life of spiritual enjoyment:

But the life of man is not so restricted; it is divine, eternal, not mortal and sensual. For him a spiritual existence and livelihood is prepared and ordained in the divine creative plan. His life is intended to be a life of spiritual enjoyment.  (Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 184)

I want to discover the mysteries of this earthly world; be informed of the secret of truth; and discover the people with whom I’ve been associated:

The mysteries of which man is heedless in this earthly world, those will he discover in the heavenly world, and there will he be informed of the secret of truth; how much more will he recognize or discover persons with whom he hath been associated. Undoubtedly, the holy souls who find a pure eye and are favored with insight will, in the kingdom of lights, be acquainted with all mysteries, and will seek the bounty of witnessing the reality of every great soul. Even they will manifestly behold the Beauty of God in that world. Likewise will they find all the friends of God, both those of the former and recent times, present in the heavenly assemblage.  (Abdu’l-Baha, Tablets of Abdu’l-Baha v1, p. 205)

I want to be much more effective, knowing my work will be sanctified from time and place:

Those who have passed on through death, have a sphere of their own. It is not removed from ours; their work, the work of the Kingdom, is ours; but it is sanctified from what we call ‘time and place.’ Time with us is measured by the sun. When there is no more sunrise, and no more sunset, that kind of time does not exist for man. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London, p. 95)

I want the men of God to not lie drunken, nor stain themselves with any fondness for this earthly life:

And such a one longeth to approach the sacred Threshold of God; for in the tavern of this swiftly-passing world the man of God will not lie drunken, nor will he even for a moment take his ease, nor stain himself with any fondness for this earthly life.  (Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 220)

My Favorite Reason

I’ll be able to recount all that I’ve been made to endure in the path of God, to the Maids of Heaven; inmates of the loftiest mansions; the Prophets of God and His chosen ones:

The Maids of Heaven, inmates of the loftiest mansions, will circle around it, and the Prophets of God and His chosen ones will seek its companionship. With them that soul will freely converse, and will recount unto them that which it hath been made to endure in the path of God, the Lord of all worlds. (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 155)

This one always makes me laugh, though, because by the time I’ve attained all the other bounties, this won’t matter!  🙂

My Goals In The Meantime

The purpose of my life, as I see it, is 4-fold:

  • To know God
  • To worship Him
  • To attain my share of the flood of grace which God is pouring forth
  • To acquire the virtues I’ll need in the next life

So I’ll concentrate on those things!

In the meantime, I’m striving to conduct myself with the utmost submission, resignation and calmness; so that if you didn’t know anything about my troubles, you would think that I was happy, tranquil and in the perfect ease of soul.  I want to show the world that I have something that gives me comfort, strength and peace:

However, relying upon God, we conducted ourselves with the utmost patience and submission, resignation and calmness; so much that if one did not know anything about these matters, he would have thought that we were in perfect ease of soul, enjoying the tranquility of heart mind, and were engaged in happiness and felicity.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v1, p. 45)

… Show the world that in spite of the utmost suffering, poverty, sickness, you have something which gives you comfort, strength and peace—that you are happy—serene—satisfied with all that is in your life.  (‘Abdu’l-Baha, Star of the West, Volume 9, p. 86)

The Virtues I’m Acquiring While I Wait

In addition to all the other virtues I’m working on in other parts of my life, this particular test of patience as I wait is surely developing other virtues such as:

  • Acceptance that God’s answer is “not yet”
  • Alert and mindful to new opportunities
  • Anticipation of the great adventure ahead
  • Content and satisfied with whatever God has destined for me
  • Contented to wait and enjoy the time I’ve still got on this earth
  • Dedicated and disciplined in my work and service
  • Detachment from my obsessive thinking about my deep longing
  • Determination to take advantage of every moment
  • Embracing adventures here for me in this world
  • Encouraging of others
  • Enthusiastic about the bounties in my life now
  • Forgiving towards God, others and self
  • Gentle and nurturing towards myself
  • Genuine and open with others
  • Glowing and radiant with the love of God
  • Grounded in the present moment
  • Growing everything I need to guarantee a better life in the next world
  • Happy and joyful
  • Hopeful
  • Instructive and sharing as I pass on God’s life-giving remedies to others
  • Kind and loving to others
  • Neighborly and involved in my community
  • Peaceful
  • Prayerful and God Centred
  • Resignation
  • Service-oriented
  • Smiling and laughing often
  • Steadfast and obedient to God’s commands, which include patience!
  • Submissive to the Will of God
  • Trust in God’s timing

Please God, let my face shine brightly with these virtues, so I can attract others to your cause!

Prayers I Can Say While I Wait

  1. O Lord! Grant deliverance through Thy mercy, and reckon me among such servants of Thine as have gained salvation. (The Báb, Baha’i Prayers, p. 28)

 

  1. Dispel my grief by Thy bounty and Thy generosity, O God, my God, and banish mine anguish through Thy sovereignty and Thy might.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Baha’i Prayers, p. 25)

 

  1. O my Lord, my Beloved, my Desire! Befriend me in my loneliness and accompany me in my exile. Remove my sorrow. . . (‘Abdul-Bahá, Baha’i Prayers, p. 31)

 

  1. O God! Refresh and gladden my spirit. Purify my heart. Illumine my powers. I lay all my affairs in Thy hand. Thou art my Guide and my Refuge. I will no longer be sorrowful and grieved; I will be a happy and joyful being. O God! I will no longer be full of anxiety, nor will I let trouble harass me. I will not dwell on the unpleasant things of life.  O God! Thou art more friend to me than I am to myself. I dedicate myself to Thee, O Lord.  (‘Abdul-Bahá, Baha’i Prayers, p. 151)

When My Time Comes, This Is What I’d Like from Everyone Reading This

Consecrate to my name the services you render to your fellow human beings; and teach the Message of Baha’u’llah:

If you will consecrate to their memory your services to your fellow human beings, and, above all, your efforts to teach the Message of Baha’u’llah, you may be sure that this will rejoice them in the worlds beyond.    (Universal House of Justice to an individual believer 10 August 1988)

Perform good works in my name:

‘Abdu’l-Bahá has stated that good works performed in the names of those who have passed on assist their progress in the next life. Therefore, if you will consecrate to their memory your services to your fellow human beings, and, above all, your efforts to teach the Message of Baha’u’llah, you may be sure that this will rejoice them in the worlds beyond.    (Universal House of Justice to an individual believer 10 August 1988)

I’d Like You to Remember Me This Way

Susan Gammage was of the blessed souls.  The best time of her life was spent in the path of God.  She had no other aim except the good pleasure of the lord and no other desire except the attainment to the Kingdom of God.  During her lifetime she bore many trials and vicissitudes, but she was very patient and long-suffering.  She had a heart most illuminated, a spirit most rejoiced; her hope was to serve the world of humanity; during the days of her life she strove as much as she could – she never failed – until she witnessed the lights of the Kingdom of Abhá and she was guided by the lights of Guidance.  She summoned the people to the religion of God; she wrote books and epistles regarding the proofs and evidences of the Manifestation of Bahá’u’lláh.  In reality she has left behind her certain signs which will never be forgotten throughout ages and cycles.  In reality she is worthy of respect.  The traces she leaves behind will ever shine and she will not be forgotten.  For the present, her worth is not known but in the future it will be inestimably clear.  Her sun will ever be shining, her stars will ever bestow the light.   (adapted from a talk given by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá about Thornton Chase, in Ramona Allen Browne’s, Memories of ‘Abdul-Bahá, p. 21-23)