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Avoiding Denial

Please God, that we avoid the land of denial, and advance into the ocean of acceptance, so that we may perceive, with an eye purged from all conflicting elements, the worlds of unity and diversity, of variation and oneness, of limitation and detachment, and wing our flight unto the highest and innermost sanctuary of the inner meaning of the Word of God.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Kitáb-i-Íqán, p. 160)

There’s a lot of things we can be in denial about but when I read this quote, I think about my acceptance (or avoidance) of the effects of my childhood abuse on my present.  Much of my Bahá’í life, I’ve chosen denial, wanting to look like and even be a “good Bahá’í”, teaching the Faith or finding ways to be of service.  I’ve used work and service and busyness compulsively as a way to avoid dealing with my feelings or accepting the realities of how it’s effected me.  So this quote reminds me that accepting what is, is not only Bahá’í-like, it’s also Bahá’í-approved!  This isn’t to say you’ll find approval among your fellow Bahá’ís, but that’s a topic for another day.

On the days I can look at what happened and see how it continues to rule my present in ways that aren’t pleasing to God, I do wing my flight to a higher plane.  Here’s an example:  Because I was so beaten down as a child, I learned to confuse love with abuse, so as an adult, because no one else was beating me up, I had to do it to myself.  This was not only abasing, but fed my anxiety and depression.  Once I came out of denial about what I was doing and why, it became much easier to stop.  It also helped me see this behaviour in others, which drew me closer to them as I recognized our common experience or oneness.  I was able to name and defend other people’s behavior and educate others, all because I was willing to face my own demons.

Knowing I can learn to accept myself and others by coming out of denial, 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 Violence and Abuse:  Reasons and Remedies      Print    Kindle

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Ways of Knowing the Truth

 

There are five outward material powers in man which are the means of perception—that is, five powers whereby man perceives material things. They are sight, which perceives sensible forms; hearing, which perceives audible sounds; smell, which perceives odours; taste, which perceives edible things; and touch, which is distributed throughout the body and which perceives tactile realities. These five powers perceive external objects.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 56)

Early on in my therapy, when I didn’t remember and couldn’t talk about what happened to me as a child, my therapist introduced me to the BASK model of recovering repressed memories.  B was for behaviour; A was for affect; S was for senses; and K was for knowledge.  I learned that it was possible to have a behavior or a sensory response or feeling but not remember what happened.  For example, I can never have a certain brand of soap in my house.  I avoid public campfires, especially on Halloween.  I don’t like white noise such as bathroom fans, designed to drown out other things.  I don’t like apple juice or tapioca and I don’t like being hugged, even by people I know.  All of these things trigger memories of past abuse.  Without a memory to prove it right, though, these things would just seem confusing.  With a memory, it all comes together in one big “aha”!

So I loved finding this quote, where religion backed up science.  I looked up the meaning of the word “perception” and found it means “insight, awareness and discernment”, so I can reword the first sentence of the quote to read:  “I have five outward powers which give me insight, awareness and discernment about what happened to me as a child.” 

“Powers” means “abilities, capacities, strengths, rights and drives”, so I have the ability and the right to use these God-given powers to perceive what happened. 

Knowing our senses drive us to discernment, 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 Violence and Abuse:  Reasons and Remedies  Print        Kindle

Help Keep This Site Alive