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Geographic “Cure”

O Son of Man! Wert thou to speed through the immensity of space and traverse the expanse of heaven, yet thou wouldst find no rest save in submission to Our command and humbleness before Our Face.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Hidden Words, Arabic 40)

I love this Hidden Word, even more so when I hear it sung.

There are many ways we “speed through the immensity of space, finding no rest”.  Many people use addictions to escape their problems.  I use work and activity addiction and frequent moves from one location to another, always looking for the grass to be greener in a new location.  I’ve also spent time with numerous alternative health practitioners, looking for a cure for what ails me, before first turning to the Divine Physician.   I have spent my life in self-will, thinking I was aligned with God’s will and failing miserably, repeatedly.

It took a health crisis and major burnout to bring me to my knees and admit that my way, my will, wasn’t working.  I had to let go completely, of everything I thought about the way my life and service to the Faith should be.  I had to greatly slow down and simplify my life, in a world that values speed, multi-tasking and materialism.  I had to stop doing the things I was attached to, till I could sort out my motives to see what was feeding my disease of compulsive caretaking, approval seeking and people-pleasing.  I had to remember that God is my employer, not me or the people who sign my paycheques.  Only when I humbled myself before God, minute by minute, was a given a reprieve and could finally rest, trusting life His way.

Letting go and letting God direct my movement and my stillness, my service and my play, 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 Strengthening Your Relationship with God

 

 

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Race Issues Require a Hundred Times More Consideration

It is difficult for the friends always to remember that in matter[s] where race enters, a hundred times more consideration and wisdom in handling situations is necessary than when an issue is not complicated by this factor.  (Shoghi Effendi, Pupil of the Eye, p. 87)

Even though Baha’u’llah called for the removal of prejudice nearly 200 years ago, and even though important progress has been made, it’s puzzling to me that racial tensions seem to be increasing rather than decreasing.  When we love and value the diversity in the animal and plant kingdoms, what makes us see the variations in skin tones in the human kingdom any different?

Both sides have prejudices to overcome.  Here’s what Shoghi Effendi tells us has to be done:

Let the white man:

  • make a supreme effort in their resolve to contribute their share to the solution of this problem
  • abandon once for all their usually inherent and at times subconscious sense of superiority
  • correct their tendency towards revealing a patronizing attitude towards the members of the other race
  • persuade them through their intimate, spontaneous and informal association with them of the genuineness of their friendship and the sincerity of their intentions
  • master their impatience of any lack of responsiveness on the part of a people who have received, for so long a period, such grievous and slow-healing wounds.

Let the Negroes, through a corresponding effort on their part show by every means in their power:

  • the warmth of their response
  • their readiness to forget the past
  • their ability to wipe out every trace of suspicion that may still linger in their hearts and minds.

Let neither think that:

  • the solution of so vast a problem is a matter that exclusively concerns the other
  • such a problem can either easily or immediately be resolved
  • they can wait confidently for the solution of this problem until the initiative has been taken, and the favorable circumstances created, by agencies that stand outside the orbit of their Faith
  • anything short of genuine love, extreme patience, true humility, consummate tact, sound initiative, mature wisdom, and deliberate, persistent, and prayerful effort, can succeed in blotting out the stain which this patent evil has left on the fair name of their common country.

Let them rather believe, and be firmly convinced, that:

  • on their mutual understanding, their amity, and sustained cooperation, must depend, more than on any other force or organization operating outside the circle of their Faith, the deflection of that dangerous course so greatly feared by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and the materialization of the hopes He cherished for their joint contribution to the fulfillment of that country’s glorious destiny. (Shoghi Effendi, Advent of Divine Justice, p. 40)

We’ve got a lot of work to do, but now we know what our marching orders consist of, and what exactly has to be done to show “a hundred times more consideration and wisdom” than we have in the past.

Knowing there is something concrete I can do to eliminate prejudice, 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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Why We Let Go of Petty Bickerings and Jealousies

Petty bickerings and jealousies make one lose all the traces of spirituality, excommunicate a person from the divine company of the worthy ones, submerge one in the sea of phantasms, suffer one to become cold and pessimistic and throw him headlong into the depths of despair and helplessness! (Abdu’l-Baha, “Star of the West,” Vol. V, No. 1, p. 6)

Wow, this is such a clear warning about all the reasons to let go of our bickering and jealousy:

  • makes us lose all traces of spirituality
  • excommunicates us from the divine company of the worthy ones
  • submerges us in the sea of phantasms (delusions, fantasies, figments of imagination)
  • suffers us to become cold and pessimistic
  • throws us headlong into the depths of despair and helplessness

It’s interesting that bickering and jealousy are paired together here.  In my mind, bickering goes on externally between me and someone else, where jealousy goes on inside my head, and yet both have the same results.

I often find myself jealous of those who are married, have careers and contact with adult children and grandchildren.  According to this quote, I can see that I lose all traces of spirituality by feeling sorry for myself.  I excommunicate myself when I isolate and separate myself from those I envy, not wanting to experience the feelings of “less than” or be pitied.  Focusing on what I don’t have keeps me from being grateful for all that I do have, and from developing a relationship with God as my primary relationship, keeping me from achieving my purpose in life.  When I look ahead and see only more of the same, I definitely become pessimistic and thrown into the depths of despair and helplessness.

Knowing all of this gives me a great motivation to let go of bickering and jealousy and 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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Useless Hairsplittings

If . . . it consists in empty, profitless debates and in a vain concatenation of imaginings that lead to no result except acrimony, why devote one’s life to such useless hairsplittings and disputes.  (Abdu’l-Baha, The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 106)

I love this quote because I absolutely hate being around people who need to be right, and who “devote their lives to useless hairsplittings and disputes” that “lead to no result except acrimony”.  I love being right, too, especially when I have the Writings on my side!

I used to think that people engaged in useless hairsplitting were insecure and needed to be right at the expense of other people and at the expense of unity, but there may be another side.

I looked up the meaning of hairsplitting and found it’s the “drawing of distinctions that don’t make a practical difference”.  Sometimes, though, such distinctions may depend on the context and purpose.  For example, the expression “’the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” may seem like too many words saying the same thing, but it’s possible to  tell the truth without telling the whole truth, or  telling the whole truth without telling nothing but the truth. This is not hairsplitting but making a necessary distinction for the clarity of thought needed for ethical action and prudent action.

Knowing there may be times where we need people who can be precise in their thinking makes me more compassionate and forgiving and 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 Anger and Bitterness

 

 

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When Not to be Kind

 Strive ye, then, with all your heart to treat compassionately all humankind – except for those who have some selfish, private motive, or some disease of the soul. Kindness cannot be shown the tyrant, the deceiver, or the thief, because, far from awak­ening them to the error of their ways, it maketh them to continue in their perversity as before. No matter how much kindliness ye may expend upon the liar, he will but lie the more, for he believeth you to be deceived, while ye understand him but too well, and only remain silent out of your extreme compassion.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Art of Living, p. 74)

I’m helping a friend deal with this situation today.  She’s chosen to not attend her mother’s funeral because an abusive brother has seized control of the mother’s assets and charged her with a crime she didn’t commit.  She’s been made to feel unwelcome at the funeral.  It’s a hard day for her and for me as it brings up a lot of issues around my own brothers doing something similar, causing me to be notified of my mother’s (and father’s) deaths too late to attend, and resulting in my being cut out of my mother’s will too.  We have both chosen to act on this injunction:  to remain silent (and stay away so she isn’t tempted) out of extreme compassion for her own poor self.

Life is not fair!  There are people who are tyrants, liars and thieves and people who have selfish, private motives and diseases of the soul.  In these situations we can be confused about how to act.  Our first thought, after the shock wears off and we come out of denial about what’s been happening, is to want justice.  When we encounter the system in place in our societies today, we are further shocked to discover that the so-called “justice” system is in fact a “legal” system.  Big difference!

In other places in the Baha’i Writings, we see that God has pledged never to forgive another man’s injustice (Bahá’u’lláh, Hidden Words Persian 64)

Knowing I can leave justice in God’s hands, I can let go of my need for revenge, and 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 Overcoming Abuse and Violence

 

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