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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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Finding the Strength to Weather the Storm

He feels that, if you close your eyes to the failings of others, and fix your love and prayers upon Bahá’u’lláh, you will have the strength to weather this storm, and will be much better for it in the end, spiritually. Although you suffer, you will gain a maturity that will enable you to be of greater help to both your fellow Bahá’ís and your children. (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 604)

This quote reminds me yet again (I seem to need daily reminder), that I need to close my eyes to the failings of others and pray that I may turn towards Baha’u’llah and through Him, towards God.  This is the entire purpose of my life (to know and worship God), as I remind myself every day in the short obligatory prayer, so you’d think I’d remember it, but it’s amazing how easy it is to get caught up in this material world and forget the spiritual, especially when I’m going through the storms in my life.

Another tool that’s helping me a lot is this:  for every problem that comes my way I make a list of 6 positive things that come out of it.  It’s not always easy and requires me to be in a real humble posture of learning.  An example from my life today:  I want to rehome one of my cats, who is attacking the other.  I have zero tolerance for violence of any kind in my home and think she’d do better in a home with no other animals.  I have prayed, consulted with others and advertised in many places, but so far, these prayers have not been answered. I’m frustrated and even mad at God for not answering my prayers. The six things on my list today are:

  1. I get to have more time with a cat I love
  2. My cat gets more time to correct her behavior
  3. I get to develop patience
  4. I get to strengthen my trust in God’s timing
  5. I can see where my self-will might not be aligning with the will of God
  6. I can put my request in the God jar, let God work out the details and get on with my day, instead of focusing on “poor me”.

Remembering to turn towards God and trust his timing, will get me through the storms, I am grateful!

What’s a storm in your life today and what are 6 positive things you’re getting because of it?  Share your successes below.

Note:  Shortly after doing this exercise, I found a perfect home for my cat and she’s doing very well.  I think I needed to pass this test first.

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

 

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Dreams

I beseech Thee, by the potency of Thy will and the compelling power of Thy purpose, to make of what Thou didst reveal unto me in my sleep the surest foundation for the mansions of Thy love that are within the hearts of Thy loved ones, and the best instrument for the revelation of the tokens of Thy grace and Thy loving-kindness.  Do Thou ordain for me through Thy most exalted Pen, O my Lord, the good of this world and of the next. I testify that within Thy grasp are held the reins of all things. Thou changest them as Thou pleasest. No God is there save Thee, the Strong, the Faithful. Thou art He Who changeth through His bidding abasement into glory, and weakness into strength, and powerlessness into might, and fear into calm, and doubt into certainty. No God is there but Thee, the Mighty, the Beneficent.  (Baha’u’llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah, p. 249)

I used to take my dreams very seriously.  I had a pad and pen of paper at the side of my bed so I could write them down before I forgot them.  I had a set of dream cards which guided me through questions about the content of the dream and how it might relate to present day issues and I had a dream dictionary app on my phone, to help me in my understanding of what the dreams were trying to tell me.  As I’ve come to recognize how much of my life is driven by fear and how much I try to figure out and control, instead of just giving it to God to sort out for me, I’ve been somewhat unsettled about continuing this practice.  So I was very happy to find this prayer, which does two things for me:

  1. “to make of what Thou didst reveal unto me in my sleep the surest foundation for the mansions of Thy love . . . and the best instrument for the revelation of the tokens of Thy grace and Thy loving-kindness”: Here I can clearly ask God to use my dreams as a foundation for His grace and loving kindness, Since I’m trying to open my heart for His love more and more, repeating this prayer is a wonderful way to turn over my dream and remember His love.
  1. If this wasn’t enough, the rest of the prayer reminds me of God’s Power and Majesty. It’s a reminder that it’s His job to change my abasement into glory, His job to change my weakness into strength, His job to change my powerlessness into might His job to change my fear into calm and His job to change my doubt into certainty.  It’s not my job!

Remembering whose job it is to change me, I can let go 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 Strengthening Your Relationship with God

 

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Knowing Myself

He hath known God who hath known himself.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 178)

Of all of the quotes that encourage us to get to know ourselves, this is perhaps the most compelling for me, since the purpose of our lives is to know God!

For most of my life, when I wasn’t mad at God for not stopping the abuse or for not letting me do what I’d been praying fervently for assistance to do, I believed only in a punishing God or a God who kept score, so I had to constantly be earning “spiritual brownie points” to guarantee myself a better life in the next world.  “Knowing” this kind of God gave me all the permission in the world to continue the abuse I’d known as a child, by beating myself up for not being able to reach an impossibly high standard!

With this quote, I have all the permission I need, to get to know myself, and to see myself through the eyes of a loving God, who wants only the best for me.  How do I do this?  There are many ways, and each person will find their own way.  I do it through prayer and meditation, service, writing these meditations, therapy, and 12-Step Recovery.

Knowing God helps me to know myself, 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 Overcoming Abuse and Violence    Kindle

 

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God’s Timing

Do ye not look upon the beginning of affairs; attach your hearts to the ends and results. The present period is like unto a sowing time. Undoubtedly it is impregnated with perils and difficulties, but in the future many a harvest shall be gathered, and benefits and results will become apparent. When one considers the issue and the end, inexhaustible joy and happiness will dawn.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Divine Art of Living, p. 92)

Whenever I start a new project, I’m impatient and expect instant results, forgetting that seeds take a long time to germinate and before the harvest, there are lots of weeds and bugs and weather and other things to contend to.  I want to go straight from seeds to harvest without the messy stuff in the middle.

This quote reminds me to stop rushing, to slow down, to pray and meditate, to take the next right action, to keep my eyes on the goal, to be fully present to the moment and to not let my worries take over.  With God on my side, I have nothing to fear.  In this moment, all is well.  God knows all the tiny little steps I need to take in between, and the virtues I’ll collect along the way.  My job is to enjoy the process and let go of the results.

Knowing that when I remember to consider the issue and the end I will be a happy and joyful being, 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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