Shoghi Effendi said, that one of the goals of the Fast is to “refresh and reinvigorate the spiritual forces latent in our souls.” We have been talking about prayer, meditation, and action; however our thoughts affect each of these. Thought is one of those spiritual powers that usually precedes action. Hopefully, we think and then we act.
In Paris Talks, Abdul-Baha explains: “The reality of man is his thought, not his material body. The thought force and the animal force are partners. Although man is part of the animal creation, he possesses a power of thought superior to all other created beings.
Abdul-Baha highlights some of those powers: “Man has also spiritual powers: imagination, which conceives things; thought, which reflects upon realities; comprehension, which comprehends realities, memory, which retains whatever man imagines, thinks, and comprehends.” (4) ”
We also have outward powers, the power of the senses. However, today, in light of brevity, I have focused on just one of the five spiritual powers, that of Thought. Consider what the Holy Teachers have said about “Thought”:
The Bible teaches: “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he… (1)” Reflect on the partnership of both the thought force and the heart. The Buddha taught, “Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts.”(2) So today, observe your thoughts and notice what you are feeling in your heart.
Thoughts are spiritual powers that can be used for us or against us. Think of thoughts as seeds that will produce more of their kind: negative or positive, hateful or loving, fearful or faithful, excluding or unifying, or, despairing or hopeful. When we think powerless thoughts, we feel powerless, and we become impotent.
In those times, it helps to remember our powers given to us at creation. Humans move in the direction of what they think about, so what are you thinking about today? What are you focusing on today? What are you feeling (hoping or fearing) today? There is a connection between what you think about, how you feel, and what you will be able to attract and accomplish.
Not only did Baha’u’llah teach us that we were “created noble,” but also reminds us:
“Man is the supreme Talisman. Lack of a proper education hath, however, deprived him of that which he doth inherently possess. Through a word proceeding out of the mouth of God he was called into being; by one word more he was guided to recognize the Source of his education; by yet another word his station and destiny were safeguarded.
The Great Being saith: Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value. Education can, alone, cause it to reveal its treasures, and enable mankind to benefit therefrom. If any man were to meditate on that which the Scriptures, sent down from the heaven of God’s holy Will, have revealed, he would readily recognize that their purpose is that all men shall be regarded as one soul…”(3)
And again the Buddha taught: “All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.” (5)
Abdul-Baha clarifies even further:
If a man’s thought is constantly aspiring towards heavenly subjects then does he become saintly; if on the other hand his thought does not soar, but is directed downwards to centre itself upon the things of this world, he grows more and more material until he arrives at a state little better than that of a mere animal. Thoughts may be divided into two classes:
(1st) Thought that belongs to the world of thought alone.
(2nd) Thought that expresses itself in action.
Some men and women glory in their exalted thoughts, but if these thoughts never reach the plane of action they remain useless: the power of thought is dependent on its manifestation in deeds.”(6)
In service, as we walk the spiritual path together. Fasting is more than just not eating
(1) Proverbs 23:7 King James Version (KJV)
(3) (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 259)
(4) (Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i World Faith – Abdu’l-Baha Section, p. 317)
(6) (Abdu’l-aha, Baha’i World Faith – Abdu’l-Baha Section, p. 317