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Forgetting My Own Faults 

O SON OF BEING!  How couldst thou forget thine own faults and busy thyself with the faults of others? Whoso doeth this is accursed of Me.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Hidden Words Arabic 26)

O this is such a hard Hidden Word to put into practice!  I am so good at looking at other people and taking their inventories.  Who wants to look at their own?  Growing up in the western world, I live in a culture that values gossip, backbiting and criticizing.  I’m steeped in it.  It’s the air I breathe.  So this is a helpful reminder.

I love remembering the expression:  when you’re pointing a finger at someone, there are three fingers pointing back at you.  It’s a reminder that whatever I see in someone else is actually a mirror, reflecting myself back at me, and that’s what makes me uncomfortable.  So I don’t have to beat myself up for falling into this trap.  I can just remember I don’t want to be cursed by God and use it to help me grow.

Knowing I can use my judgments against others to busy myself on remedying my own faults, 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 Letting Go of Criticizing Others

 

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The Sins of Others 

O SON OF MAN!  Breathe not the sins of others so long as thou art thyself a sinner. Shouldst thou transgress this command, accursed wouldst thou be, and to this I bear witness.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Hidden Words Arabic 27)

This is such an important injunction to understand and boy am I struggling with it today!  Someone I’m doing business with wronged me and then lied to me and I want to sully their name on social media.  Someone else is spreading lies and slandering my name and I want to defend myself.  Last night I was at a gathering where there was a lot of gossip and backbiting which would have been so easy to get hooked in, and other people were criticizing our hosts and their business partners.  One of my neighbors was partying too loud and another doesn’t pick up after her dog and I want everyone to know how upset it makes me.  It’s enough to make me run back into my cave and not interact with the world! I’m sure you could easily come up with your own list.

It’s easy to feel wronged and our culture promotes sharing our negativity widely, but in this quote we see we can’t even breathe another person’s sins (which I have done in the paragraph above!).

I’m learning that instead of venting my anger outwardly, I can remember that “hurt people hurt people”.  I can give the situation to God and ask for the strength to let go of my indignation and forgive.  I can talk to the person directly.  I can pray for the person and ask God to intervene in their lives.

Knowing there are other ways avoid criticizing others, thereby avoiding God’s wrath, 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 Letting Go of Criticizing Others

 

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Confronting Those Who Hurt Us

Do not complain of others. Refrain from reprimanding them and if you wish to give admonition or advice let it be offered in such a way that it will not burden the hearer.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 453)

Whenever I’m angry it seems natural to nurse the hurt and complain about the injustice.  That’s what society has taught me is normal, after all.  That’s one thing I love about the Bahá’í Faith – it frequently turns everything I thought I knew around, 180 degrees.  In another quote Bahá’u’lláh tells us:

For the tongue is a smoldering fire, and excess of speech a deadly poison. Material fire consumeth the body, whereas the fire of the tongue devoureth both heart and soul. The force of the former lasteth but for a time, whilst the effects of the latter endureth a century.  (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 264)

This helps us to see why we aren’t to complain of others.  We don’t want our hearts and souls to be devoured or the effects of our words to last a century.

Here’s an example from my own life:  when I was very young, I heard my mother say (in a moment of anger and frustration towards life in general and my father particularly):  “I wish she’d never been born.”  This was a dagger to my heart.  I put it on the hamster wheel inside my head, nursed it for over 60 years, used it to prove everything that happened to me, that I was unlovable.  You can bet that affected my relationships in my marriage, and towards my son, family and friends, as all I knew was to push people away.  It would have been much better if my mother could have been angry at my father, in private, about his behaviour towards me, and even then, it should have been couched in words as mild as milk, so it didn’t burden him either.  They didn’t know any better, and I’ve forgiven them and the damage has been done and lasting and both things are true.

Knowing what to do when I’ve taken offence to something someone has said or done to me, 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 Letting Go of Criticizing Others

 

 

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Seeing the Faults in Others 

[‘Abdu’l-Baha] was asked, “How shall I overcome seeing the faults of others – recognizing the wrong in others?” and He replied: “I will tell you. Whenever you recognize the fault of another, think of yourself! What are my imperfections? – and try to remove them. Do this when­ever you are tried through the words or deeds of others. Thus you will grow, become more perfect. You will overcome self, you will not even have time to think of the faults of others”  (‘Abdu’l-Baha, Star of the West, Volume 8, No.10, p.138)

I’m having trouble with 3 of my neighbours, who are engaged in serious addictions, domestic violence and criminal activities, bringing the police to the building on a regular basis.  Yesterday the landlord and victim services met with the tenants to discuss the latest event, which resulted in a full SWAT team swooping in to arrest 3 people charged with armed robbery.  I no longer feel safe in my home.  Several people have suggested I get to know them as people, without judgement or preconceived ideas and each time, I’ve rejected the idea out of hand.  Why would I want to get to know these people?  I’d rather hold on to my fear, judgement, suspicion and resentment.  Ouch!  This is not the behaviour I really want, as a Bahá’í trying to teach the Faith in my community!  So this quote is timely.

This is why it’s so important to call ourselves to account each day, and see what behaviors we’d like to change.  Following ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s advice, I can ask myself:  What is the fear beneath my judgement?  What am I doing to cause people to be afraid of me?  How am I pushing people away?  What are my own addictions that prevent me from living the life, teaching the Faith and being of service to others?  What can I do to be more loving and forgiving?  How can I interact with them in a more positive way?  What changes can I make myself and what do I need God’s help with?  Have I prayed about it?  Have I listened for God’s guidance and acted on it?  I have work to do!  See you tomorrow!

Knowing how to overcome seeing the faults in others, 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 Letting Go of Criticizing Others

 

Help Keep This Site Alive

 

 

Remembering My Own Faults

If the fire of self overcome you, remember your own faults and not the faults of My creatures, inasmuch as every one of you knoweth his own self better than he knoweth others.  (Baha’u’llah, The Persian Hidden Words 66)

This morning, the fire of self is definitely overcoming me.  I believe I know what’s best for everyone around me and am judging them harshly for not taking the actions I think they should take.  I am impatient with the changes that take time.  I forget that it took me into my 60’s before I could start to look at myself more objectively (the good and the bad), so why would I expect younger people to do what I couldn’t do at that age?

There are so many veils between God and I that need tending to, so many things I’ve forgotten to ask His forgiveness for, so many things ahead of me that I need His help with.  Taking care of my own poor self is my full time job and any energy I spend on taking care of others, even just in my own mind, is wasting time.  I am not responsible for other people’s relationship with God.  I’m only responsible for my own.

Knowing I can let go of judging others, I can relax into the day, 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 Letting Go of Criticizing Others

 

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Words and Deeds 

O SON OF SPIRIT!  Know thou of a truth: He that biddeth men be just and himself committeth iniquity is not of Me, even though he bear My name.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Hidden Words Arabic 28)

There are so many quotes in the Bahá’í Writings about the importance of “deeds not words”.  It’s not enough to identify ourselves as Bahá’ís.  Our behavior should show it and if it doesn’t, we aren’t worthy of the name.  YIKES!

It’s so easy to see how other people should solve their problems or to say “you should . . . “.  It’s a lot harder to see how to solve our own.  On days when I’m plagued with apathy or procrastination, I need to remember that nothing happens by words alone.  Action is always needed, but what action?  ‘Abdu’l-Bahá gives us some ideas when He says:

“Enrich the poor, raise the fallen, comfort the sorrowful, bring healing to the sick, reassure the fearful, rescue the oppressed, bring hope to the hopeless, shelter the destitute!  This is the work of a true Baha’i, and this is what is expected of him.”  (Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, pp. 79-87)

In some accounts we see that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá only spent on average 3-4 hours sleep per night and the rest of His time was spent with those who suffer in body or spirit.  It’s a reminder to me, to always pray to be of service, however I can be used.

Remembering that it’s time to stop talking and start doing, 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 Letting Go of Criticizing Others

 

Help Keep This Site Alive