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5 Steps to Overcoming Setbacks

We note that, as learning accelerates, the friends grow more capable of overcoming setbacks, whether small or large—diagnosing their root causes, exploring the underlying principles, bringing to bear relevant experience, identifying remedial steps, and assessing progress, until the process of growth has been fully reinvigorated.  (Universal House of Justice, to the Conference of the Continental Boards of Counselors, 29 December 2015)

I always LOVE learning practical steps I can take in times of need, and this quote is one I want to have handy all the time.  Embedded in it are 5 steps I can take whenever life throws me a curve ball:

  1. diagnose the root cause
  2. explore the underlying principles
  3. bring in relevant experience
  4. identify remedial steps
  5. assess progress

The wonderful thing about having something concrete to do, is that I often become paralyzed when obstacles are put in my path, or think I have to figure everything out myself, which feels more like paddling upstream.  I might think the roadblocks means it’s not God’s will or it’s not the right time, so I procrastinate or give up my goals entirely.

The House of Justice has given this quote to the Counselors, to guide us towards achieving the goals of the plan, but I think it can be used for anytime I’m faced with a hurdle to get over.

Knowing what to do when life puts obstacles in my path, 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 Fear into Faith:  Overcoming Anxiety

 

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Every Good Thing Hath Been Created For You

Let not the happenings of the world sadden you. I swear by God! The sea of joy yearneth to attain your presence, for every good thing hath been created for you, and will, according to the needs of the times, be revealed unto you.  (Baha’u’llah, quoted in Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice, p. 82)

There are 3 points in this quote, each of which I’d like to address separately.

  1. Let not the happenings of the world sadden you: Most of what I read in the press and social media seems deliberately designed to frighten me and forget that God is in charge of the process, even of the decline of the old world order, and that, since mankind has not accepted the authority of His Latest Messenger, things have to get so bad that the “limbs of mankind will quake” before things can get better.  When I remember this, I’m better armed with the tools I need to help elevate the conversations around me and when I’m not, it is so easy for me to get pulled under by the undertow of all the fear and negativity around me.  I need a lot of alone time to recharge and go back out into the world better prepared to teach and be of service.  This time with God is absolutely essential for me to pass this test.
  1. The sea of joy yearneth to attain your presence: This is a reminder that God yearns to attain my presence and indeed my soul longs to attain His presence too.  When I get caught up in the business of my life, it’s easy to forget.
  1. for every good thing hath been created for you, and will, according to the needs of the times, be revealed unto you: When I’m stepped in self-pity and victimhood and “poor me”, I am blind to the good things in my life, which is why it’s been so important to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.  When I pay attention, moment by moment to all the good things in my life, and in this moment, which is the only moment I’ve got, everything is fine.  Everything has always been fine.  The hard times have been the times of my greatest spiritual growth and have brought me to today, and the future is totally in God’s hands.  When I live in the present it’s much easier to see God’s gifts and be grateful.

Remembering God’s love for me and all of His bounties and blessings, 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 Learning How to Forgive

 

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The Path to Real Happiness

They have not properly understood that man’s supreme honor and real happiness lie in self-respect, in high resolves and noble purposes, in integrity and moral quality, in immaculacy of mind. They have, rather, imagined that their greatness consists in the accumulation, by whatever means may offer, of worldly goods.  (Abdu’l-Baha, The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 18)

It’s so hard to be raised in a culture steeped in materialism and consumerism, where comparing myself to my neighbors is the norm.  I’ve grown up learning that I will be happy when. When I have the next greatest thing.  When I have the best of things.  When I have more.  When I have better than those around me.  When, when, when!

So I love that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá reminds me that my supreme honor and real happiness is a choice not the result of circumstances.  I can make a decision in any moment to be happy and if I don’t know how to do it, this quote is a great place to start because it gives me concrete steps I can take.  What can I do in this moment that will give me:

  • self-respect?
  • high resolves?
  • noble purposes?
  • integrity?
  • moral quality?
  • immaculacy of mind?

Now, don’t you feel happier already?  I know I do!

Knowing there is a secret to happiness and I’ve got it, 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 Learning How to Be Happy

 

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Resources for the Bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab

Excerpts from Messages of the Universal House of Justice Concerning the Bicentenary Celebrations

From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to all National Spiritual Assemblies, 18 May 2016:

… these Holy Days should be viewed as special opportunities for the friends to reach out to the widest possible cross-section of society and to all those with whom they share a connection—whether through a family tie or common interest, an occupation or field of study, neighbourly relations or merely chance acquaintance—so that all may rejoice in the appearance, exactly two hundred years before, of One Who was to be the Bearer of a new Message for humankind.

The locus of activity for the bicentenaries is to be at the local level. The House of Justice anticipates that in countless places across the world, both rural settings and urban centres, the friends will find creative ways to honour the Twin Manifestations Whose lives and sacred missions will be recalled on Their anniversaries. … the most distinguishing feature of these bicentenaries will be a tremendous flourishing of activity by Bahá’ís and their friends in local communities. …

At the heart of these festivities must be a concerted effort to convey a sense of what it means for humanity that these two Luminaries rose successively above the horizon of the world. Of course, this will take different forms in different contexts, extending to a myriad artistic and cultural expressions, including songs, audio-visual presentations, publications and books. Such initiatives, coupled with widespread celebrations that are both uplifting and reverent, are also sure to spark the curiosity and wonder of many who may as yet be unfamiliar with the names of the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh. However, the real transformative power of the Faith is likely to be perceived more readily still if people experience how worship and meaningful service are being woven into the fabric of the lives of Bahá’ís everywhere. Indeed, from the community-building activities of the Five Year Plan emerges a pattern of collective life within which anyone can discern the vivifying influence of the divine teachings brought by God’s Manifestations. Each bicentenary will doubtless kindle a spirit of faithful endeavour that will permeate all the noble undertakings of the friends.

From a letter of the Universal House of Justice to the Bahá’ís of the World, 31 October 2017:

… We urge you to see in each person who responded to your invitation a potential protagonist in the community-building process. Consider how conditions may be created that would enable many to walk this path together. Connected to the transformative power of the Revelation, every soul can draw closer to Bahá’u’lláh, grow in capacity, find joy in service, and learn to assist others. …

2018 Ridván Message to the Bahá’ís of the World:

… This is a period in which to recall the extraordinary heroism of the Martyr-Herald of our Faith, Whose dramatic ministry thrust humanity into a new era of history. Though separated from our own time by two centuries, the society in which the Báb appeared resembles the present-day world for the sense of oppression and for the longing of so many to find answers to slake the soul’s thirst to know. In considering how this two-hundred-year anniversary might befittingly be marked, we recognize that these festivities will have a special character of their own. Nevertheless, we anticipate a flourishing of activity no less rich and no less inclusive than that which accompanied the bicentenary just passed. It is an occasion to which every community, every household, every heart will undoubtedly look forward with eager expectation.

The months ahead will also be a time for calling to mind the lives of the Báb’s intrepid followers—heroines and heroes whose faith was expressed in matchless, sacrificial acts that will forever adorn the annals of the Cause. Their qualities of fearlessness, consecration, and detachment from all save God impress themselves upon everyone who learns of their ventures. How striking, too, is the young age at which so many of those lionhearts made their indelible mark on history. During the coming period, may their example give courage to the entire company of the faithful—not least to the youth, who are once more summoned to the vanguard of a movement aimed at nothing less than the transformation of the world.

This, then, is our bright, bright hope. In the six cycles that lie between this Riḍván and the next bicentenary—indeed, throughout the remaining three years of the current Plan—let the same all-consuming, all-surpassing love that spurred the Báb’s disciples to the diffusion of the divine light inspire you to great deeds. …

2019 Ridván Message to the Bahá’ís of the World:

The prospects for advancing this spiritual enterprise are made the more thrilling by the approach of the bicentenary of the Birth of the Báb. Like the bicentenary that preceded it, this anniversary is a moment incalculably precious. … The measure of what might be possible in the coming two cycles is known to all from the experience of the bicentenary two years ago, and all that was learned on that occasion must be channelled into the plans for the Twin Holy Birthdays this year. As the two-hundred-year anniversary draws near, we will offer frequent supplications on your behalf in the Sacred Shrines, praying that your efforts to befittingly honour the Báb will succeed in advancing the Cause He foretold.

Additional Resources:

Dawn of the Light Movie and Bicentenary 2019 Resources

Bahá’í Media Bank Special Bicentenary Collection 

 Official Resources

Bicentenary Resources

Marking the Bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab

Bicentennial Resource Library

Resources for the Bicentennial of the Birth of the Bab

Baha’i Teachings Articles on the Bab

Baha’i Blog Articles on the Bab

Special Ideas Bahai Bicentenary Materials

Luke Slott – Gate of Heaven

9 Star Media

Bicentenary Poems and Prose

Which quotes and resource sites are your favorites?  Are you aware of any I’ve missed?  Post your comments below.

Praying for Those Who’ve Hurt Us

O God, my God! Lowly, suppliant and fallen upon my face, I beseech Thee with all the ardor of my invocation to pardon whosoever hath hurt me, forgive him that hath conspired against me and offended me, and wash away the misdeeds of them that have wrought injustice upon me. Vouchsafe unto them Thy goodly gifts, give them joy, relieve them from sorrow, grant them peace and prosperity, give them Thy bliss and pour upon them Thy bounty.  Thou art the Powerful, the Gracious, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting!  (Abdu’l-Bahá, The Will and Testament, p. 19)

‘Abdu’l-Bahá teaches “If someone commits an error and wrong toward you, you must instantly forgive him.”  (Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 453)  For a long time I harbored a LOT of anger and resentment and bitterness to those who abused me as a child and stole my adulthood.  I couldn’t “instantly forgive”.  I wasn’t ready to let them off the hook.  I wanted justice.  I wanted revenge!  Slowly, I learned about the importance of forgiveness, not for the other person, but for ourselves.  I wanted peace in my heart.  I wanted to be obedient to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s injunction.  For a long time, the most I could do was to ask God to forgive them for me, because I couldn’t (or wouldn’t). I was happy to find this prayer when I needed it.

I love that it asks God to forgive but then goes an important step further – that He give them 6 things:

  • His goodly gifts
  • Joy
  • To be relieved from sorrow
  • peace and prosperity
  • His bliss
  • His bounty

Then He reminds us that He has the power and is gracious enough to use it for me.  He’s the one I turn to when my soul and heart are in peril and He’s all I need.  I love the endings to these prayers too.  They help me draw closer to God as I think that if He’s willing to give His enemies these gifts, please God, may He give them to me too.

Knowing how to pray for those who hurt me, 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 Learning How to Forgive

 

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