The world of the matrix

My friends are over the moon to hear they’re expecting their first baby and everything’s ready for the new arrival in a few months time.

They’ve discovered it’s a girl and thanks to some pioneering new technology they’ve also seen a very clear image of her features.

They paid for a special scan which shows an amazing 3-dimensional image of the baby growing in the womb and what looks like a smiling face! Seeing this image of my friend’s baby reminded me of a delightful story I read about unborn twins who were having a chat in the womb about whether there really was a mother.

One twin insisted that of course there was a mother, as he could feel her presence with him all the time. The other dismissed the mother, arguing: “Have you ever seen her? Can you prove her existence?” The debate ended a few months later when the twins were born and were embraced in the arms of their emotional mum.

I love the parallels in this story between the womb, the world, and life after death. We can also find this analogy in the Bahá’í Faith when we read about the next life.

According to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, son of Bahá’u’lláh, just as the purpose of life in the womb is for the baby to develop its physical faculties for this world, so the purpose of our existence in this world is to develop our spiritual faculties, in preparation for the next life.

Unfortunately we can’t physically see what’s in store in the next life, and just like the baby in the womb, we have to wait until we arrive.

But although we can’t see the next world,  ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has given us a vivid description of it and, more importantly, what we’ll need when we get there. He described the next world as a place of holiness and light, and spoke of it as a place of spirituality, faith and the love of God, which He said we should strive to develop in this physical world.

He said that the main purpose of our lives was to acquire virtues to equip us for our eternal journey and wrote:

“Exert thyself night and day so that spiritual powers may penetrate thy heart and soul.” 

I’ve discovered I’ve more in common with an unborn baby than I could’ve ever imagined. We’re both preparing in different ways for the new life ahead – one into this world and the other into the next world – but neither of us knows when it will be.

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