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Giving Thanks from the Heart

But real thankfulness is a cordial giving of thanks from the heart. When man in response to the favors of God manifests susceptibilities of conscience, the heart is happy, the spirit is exhilarated. These spiritual susceptibilities are ideal thanksgiving.  (Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 236)

When I was a child, I learned to write “bread and butter” letters whenever someone gave me something.  I was taught that this letter of thanks was proper etiquette and plain duty.  It was kind of formulaic and definitely wasn’t from the heart.  Most of the time I didn’t know or didn’t even like the person who’d sent it, but it was my duty.  I suppose it was better than nothing.

That’s why I love this quote so much.  When I’m constantly looking for evidences of God’s bounties and blessings and holding out my receptacle to catch them all, it’s easy to be effusive in my gratitude and it is definitely more sincere and from the heart.

Want to be happy?  Want to exhilarate your spirit?  It’s as simple as moving from the lower nature to the high, moving from obligation (in the head) to gratitude (from the heart.)

Knowing another way to be happy I am grateful!

What jumped out for you as you read through today’s meditation?  I’d love it if you would share so we can all expand our knowledge of the Writings!

If you liked this meditation, you might also like my book Getting to Know Your Lower Nature

 

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Moving with the Rhythm of Life

We ought not to resist the shocks and upheavals of life, nor run counter to obstacles, we ought never to be impatient, we ought to be as incapable of impatience as we would revolt, this not being so much long‑suffering as a quiet awareness of the forces that operate in the hours, days, or years of waiting and inactivity. Always we ought to move with the larger rhythm, the wider sweep towards our ultimate goal, in the complete acquiescence, that perfect accord which underlies the spirit of the Faith itself.  (Bahiyyih Khánum, Bahá’í World, vol. 5, p.185)

I’m feeling a lot of impatience these days.  I’m registered for a conference I want to attend, I’ve got a partial scholarship and a potential person to carpool with, and yet, I’m still several hundred dollars short to fill in the missing pieces.  I’ve been in this place before, and God has come through and I want to trust that this time will be the same.  I have 5 days before confirming my attendance or I’ll lose my scholarship.  I’m not attached, either way.  There are equal pros and cons for going or staying home, and yet, I want God to make His will known and the only way I think I’ll know for sure is whether the money comes through or not.

So today’s reading is a reminder to continue to be aware of forces that operate while I wait, and instead of fretting, move with the day, finding ways to be of service to myself and others, and trust that in this moment, there is no fear, only love and acceptance.

Remembering to keep moving with the rhythm of life, I can relax and be grateful!

What jumped out for you as you read through today’s meditation?  I’d love it if you would share so we can all expand our knowledge of the Writings!

If you liked this meditation, you might also like my book Learning How to Be Happy

 

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How to Transform from a Gnat into an Eagle

Be constantly attached to and seek always the confirmations of Bahá’u’lláh for these turn the drop into a sea and convert the gnat into an eagle.  (‘Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 103)

I wasn’t sure how much I could say about this quote, because it seems almost like a throw-away comment, but the part that made me pause was the “how to” instruction of being able to convert a gnat into an eagle.  This is an image that really appeals to me, when I look at my own insignificance and desire to transform a life of abasement into a life of teaching and service. I love Writings that tell me “how to”.  So here is how I can do it:

  1. Be constantly attached to Baha’u’llah: I can do this through prayer and meditation, to carefully studying the Baha’i Writings and through obedience to His laws
  1. Always seek the confirmations of Bahá’u’lláh: I can do this by developing an attitude of gratitude, looking for things to be grateful for many times a day.  I have a success buddy and we check in once a week by phone, listing at least 10 examples of how, with God’s help we’ve moved closer to the eagles we want to be.  This keeps me inspired by her growth and keeps me focused on the positive.  Many times we’re easily able to magnify each other’s efforts and celebrate the victories and it’s not uncommon to hear us say:  “O God, increase my astonishment!”

On days when I feel “single, alone and lonely”, these practices help me to see that I’m not a drop, but a part of God’s ocean, getting stronger and stronger every day.

Knowing how to transform from a gnat into an eagle, I am grateful!

What jumped out for you as you read today’s meditation?  I’d love it if you would share so we can all expand our knowledge of the Writings!

If you liked this meditation, you might also like my book Strengthening Your Relationship with God

 

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Molding the World and Being Affected By It

We cannot segregate the human heart from the environment outside us and say that once one of these is reformed everything will be improved.  Man is organic with the world.  His inner life molds the environment and is itself also deeply affected by it . . . Through them [the Baha’i teachings] will the human heart be changed, and also our social environment provides the atmosphere in which we can grow spiritually and reflect in full the light of God.  (on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, Compilation of Compilations, V1, #3.3)

I had to read this quote several times before I thought I might understand what Shoghi Effendi is saying.  Starting from the end and moving backwards, it reminds me that my social environment provides the atmosphere in which I can grow spiritually, but it also deeply affects my inner life.

As a highly sensitive introvert, I can only be out in the world a short time before the world’s negativity draws me under like an undertow and I need to isolate myself for awhile before I can regain my equilibrium and go out into the world again.  I’m like a cell phone that’s near the end of its life, unable to hold a charge for very long without needing to be plugged in again.

I used to compare myself to others, and to other Writings which urge us to be more and do more, which fed my addiction to beating myself up.  Now I’m more gentle with myself, forgiving myself, understanding that God created me as an introvert, and gave me unique tests to shape my character.  He knows my weakness and frailties and yet, He chose me to be part of His army of light, so it’s OK to need time to recharge my battery.

Now that I’m conscious of my own motives and God’s mercy and forgiveness, there’s no need to beat myself up, and I am grateful!

What jumped out for you as you read today’s meditation?  I’d love it if you would share so we can all expand our knowledge of the Writings!

If you liked this meditation, you might also like my book  Learning How to Forgive

 

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How to Make Everyone Your Friend  

Do not allow difference of opinion, or diversity of thought to separate you from your fellow men, or to be the cause of dispute, hatred and strife in your hearts. Rather, search diligently for the truth and make all men your friends.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, pp. 53-54)

Recently the police have made many visits to our apartment building to deal with issues such as domestic disturbance, disturbing the peace, drug dealing and harboring criminals.  On one occasion, there was even an entire SWAT team securing our building while they were making an arrest.  All of these situations were at my previously quiet end of the hallway.  It’s been very distressing and even triggering old childhood trauma, where I didn’t feel safe in my house.  I found myself judging these neighbours harshly and insisting the landlord take action to have them evicted.  A social worker representing the landlord took me aside and quietly encouraged me to get to know them as people, instead of seeing only their faults and problems and how they were impacting me.  Two other tenants told me the same thing.

Ouch!  I’m the Bahá’í, a homefront pioneer, representing the Faith in this post.  I’m the one who should be remembering this and helping my neighbors remember it too.  It was a hard pill to swallow.

Knowing that I have this quote to memorize and put into action, I am grateful!

What jumped out for you as you read through today’s meditation?  I’d love it if you would share so we can all expand our knowledge of the Writings!

If you liked this meditation, you might also like my book Letting Go of Criticizing Others

 

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