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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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Seeing the Next Goal 

As we almost never attain any spiritual goal without seeing the next goal we must attain still beyond our reach. He urges you, who have come so far already on the path of spirituality, not to fret about the distance you still have to cover! It is an indefinite journey, and, no doubt in the next world the soul is privileged to draw closer to God than is possible when bound on this physical plane.  (Shoghi Effendi, Unfolding Destiny, p. 461)

The Bahá’í Faith places great emphasis on setting goals, making plans, executing them with a humble posture of learning, trying them out for a period of time, reflecting on their efficacy and then making new plans, all in 3 month cycles.  That’s why I love this quote so much.  It reminds me that we seldom see the end in the beginning.

When Shoghi Effendi was designing the gardens around the shrine of Bahá’u’lláh, he didn’t know anything about horticulture or landscape gardening, so he developed the 5 Steps of Prayer for Solving Problems, where he gives us a structured way to set a goal.  We pray, meditate, determine a course of action, have faith that the right things will come to our aid, have the determination to carry it out and to act as if it had all been answered.  Then repeat as needed.

All of these tools help us when we’re setting our goals, to make sure we aren’t paralyzed by indecision and fretting about not knowing everything when we start.  The biggest thing to remember is that we are all soldiers in God’s Army.  He’s the one in charge.  We are only His foot soldiers.  As long as we’re moving forward prayerfully, we can’t fail.

Knowing that each goal achieved brings me closer to God, 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 Serenity

The point is this:  that to gain control over physical bodies is an extremely easy matter, but to bring spirits within the bonds of serenity is a most arduous undertaking.  This is not the work of everybody. It necessitates a divine and holy potency, the potency of inspiration, the power of the Holy Spirit. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Promulgation of Universal Peace, pp. 276-277)

When I read this quote I’m struck by the first part:  How do we gain control over our physical bodies and what makes it easy?  Just for today, I need to accept it as truth.

I want God’s serenity.  It helps me accept the things I can’t change.  I’m willing to do the work.  Every day, I get up and look at all the things on my “to do” list.  Many days I am in overwhelm and can easily fall into self-pity.  At those times, it’s hard to remember that happiness is a choice.  I can choose to be a happy and joyful being.  I can choose to not let trouble harass me.  I can choose to no longer be full of anxiety.  I can remember to turn to God, trusting that He’s got my back.  Those things all lead to serenity but this quote suggests I need more than just awareness and choice.  I also need inspiration and the power of the Holy Spirit.  I don’t have to do this alone.

Knowing I can ask God to help me bring my spirit within the bonds of serenity, 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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Unanswered Prayers

Although you seem to feel that your prayers have not so far been answered, and do no longer have any hope that your material condi­tions would ameliorate, the Guardian wishes you nevertheless not to allow such disappointments to undermine your faith in the power of prayer, but rather to continue entreating the Almighty to enable you to discover the great wisdom which may be hidden behind all these suf­ferings. For are not our sufferings often blessings in disguise, through which God wishes to test the sincerity and depth of our faith, and thereby make us firmer in His Cause? (Shoghi Effendi, The Importance of Prayer, Meditation and a Devotional Attitude, p. 239)

There have been times in my life when I believed that God hadn’t answered my prayers, and I fell into a great deal of self-pity.  I started questioning the sincerity of my belief, and even my faith in God himself.  As a result, it was easy to move away, little by little, from doing the things necessary for my spiritual growth and development.  I was going into this place recently, when I was praying for financial rescue that didn’t seem to come.  Fortunately a wise friend encouraged me to make a list of all the financial gifts that came my way every day.  Some days it might only be finding a dime on the ground.  Other days it was free food from being able to eat at the soup kitchen and have leftovers to take home.  Some days it was a bill that I’d budgeted for, and for some reason I didn’t have to pay.  Another time it was an unexpected cheque in the mail or a temporary job.  All in all, it added up and somehow the bills got paid.  When I allowed myself to think ahead about the big ticket items and couldn’t see how they would be covered, I fell into fear, but when I focused on all the blessings and bounties coming my way, my heart was full of gratitude and life was a lot more fun.

In today’s quote we see that there are several steps we can take when our prayers don’t seem to be answered:

  • Don’t allow disappointments to undermine your faith in the power of prayer
  • Continue asking God to enable you to discover the wisdom hidden behind your suf­ferings
  • Recognize that suffering is often a blessing in disguise so God can test the sincerity and depth of my faith, and make me firmer in His Cause

Recognizing that unanswered prayer is just another one of God’s tests, 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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Getting Out of Debt  

 

I hope thou wilt become as a rising light and obtain spiritual health — and spiritual health is conducive to physical health — so that thou mayest be enabled to liquidate thy debts and be strengthened to attain the blessing of the Forgiving Lord; that thou mayest become a mirror of truth and reveal the spiritual brilliancy of the heavenly universe to all eyes, direct large numbers of people under the shadow of the Powerful Lord and guide all thy family and relations unto the Greatest Guidance; and that thou mayest be honored with a visit to the Holy Threshold after having attained to all these gifts.  (‘Abdu’l-Baha, Tablets of Abdu’l-Baha, v2, p. 305)

In the western world, many of us carry heavy credit card debt and struggle with finding ways to pay it off.  Many have considered bankruptcy because they saw no other way out.  That’s why I love this quote – it shows us that the focus shouldn’t be on the money owed, but rather on our spiritual and physical health.  We’ve been putting our focus on the wrong things!

Embedded in the quote is also the bounties that will come our way as a result of liquidating our debts:

  • We’ll attain God’s forgiveness and blessing
  • We’ll become a mirror of truth
  • We’ll reveal the spiritual brilliancy of the heavenly universe to all eyes
  • We’ll direct large numbers of people under the shadow of the Powerful Lord
  • We’ll guide all our families and relations unto the Faith
  • We’ll be honored with an ability to go on pilgrimage

Starting today, I’ll focus on my spiritual and mental health, trusting that God will show me how to liquidate my debts 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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God Knows Me

Ye are better known to the inmates of the Kingdom on high than ye are known to your own selves. Think ye these words to be vain and empty? Would that ye had the power to perceive the things your Lord, the All-Merciful, doth see.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, pp.  316-317)

Whenever I called myself to account at night, I used to see only the defects and never the assets or virtues.  That changed the day someone reminded me that the root word “account” was found in the word “accountant”, and that accountants always looked at both assets and liabilities when putting together any balance sheet.  You couldn’t have one without the other.

That still didn’t help me much, because, before learning the language of the virtues, I didn’t have a framework to think more positively about myself, and when I took the facilitator training for the Virtues Project, I assumed that the virtues applied to everyone else, but not to me too.

Now I’m learning to “be fair in my judgement”, to trust in God’s infinite love for me; to believe that He created me noble AND He created me to be a sinner and that both things are true.  I’m human.  I make mistakes, just like everyone else.

My prayers these days are:  “Help me to see my worth through your eyes”.

God sees me with all my sins and imperfections and He loves me just the way I am 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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