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The Power of God’s Healing 

Thy name is my healing, O my God, and remembrance of Thee is my remedy. Nearness to Thee is my hope, and love for Thee is my companion. Thy mercy to me is my healing and my succor in both this world and the world to come. Thou, verily, art the All-Bountiful, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 261)

During this pandemic, my energy level has gone way down.  Instead of welcoming all the Zoom meetings I’m being invited to, I dread another invitation.  As an extreme introvert, I can’t cope with the volume of emails, phone calls, text messages and invitations being sent to me.  I want to respond to them all, and I can’t.  Not only that, but my bandwidth for participating in my usual meetings has gone way down.  Now instead of 5-6 events in a day, I can only handle 1 or 2.  I’m having to make difficult choices about which ones I will attend, which ones I will limit my time on, and which ones I will have to say no.  This week I found myself having to say no to a devotional gathering over the phone, which has been going on every week with a dear friend, for almost 20 years. I didn’t want to cancel but I knew I couldn’t handle it.  I was trying to talk myself out of it, saying:  “nothing is better than saying prayers and immersing yourself in the Words of the Writings.  It will be good for you.”  Everything inside of me said NO!  I couldn’t do it.

I decided to say the short healing prayer by myself instead.  It’s a prayer I’ve memorized and said many times over the 35 years I’ve been a Bahá’í, and yet several phrases really stood out for me:

  • Thy name is my healing . . . remembrance of Thee is my remedy: Sure, immersing myself in the Writings is healing.  Participation in the core activities is healing.  But so is remembering Him and repeating His Holy Name.  I don’t have to do more than that.
  • Thy mercy to me is my healing and my succor: I don’t have to do anything to please God.  If I don’t attend the devotional gathering (or Feast or a Holy Day), I’m not going to lose out on His love.  There’s nothing I have to do to earn His love.  His mercy to me is my healing; not what I think I have to do to deserve it.

Knowing I can relax into God’s mercy and stop judging myself, 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 God – Strengthening Your Relationship with God

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Becoming More Steadfast

I supplicate God that day by day thou mayest become more steadfast, so that like unto an impregnable stronghold thou mayest withstand the surging of the ocean of tests and trials. The people of the world are like unto trees. Those that are rootless are toppled by the slightest breeze, while those that grow deep roots and become strong and firm are not shaken by violent winds, and in time bring forth leaves and blossoms and fruit. (From a Tablet of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá—translated from the Persian, from Give me Thy Grace to Serve Thy Loved Ones, Compilation for the 2018 Counsellors’ Conference, [22])

What does it mean to be steadfast and how do we know we’re becoming more steadfast?  These are two questions I ask myself when I read this quote.  The dictionary uses the following words to describe steadfastness, which gives me some clues:

  • adherence to something to which one is bound by a pledge or duty
  • attachment, commitment, dedication, devotion, faith, loyalty
  • fondness and affection for
  • determination, resolution, firmness
  • reliability, trustworthiness

So I can use these as benchmarks to assess how steadfast I’m becoming.  When I became a Bahá’í, I agreed to follow the Covenant.  The more committed I became, the more attached I became to “doing the right thing”.  This increased my dedication and devotion and I became more and more loyal as I increased my teaching and service.  As I met more and more Bahá’ís, I developed a real fondness for being around “my people”, but sooner or later my faith was tested.  That was the moment I really needed to lean on my determination, resolution and firmness.  People needed to know I would be reliable and trustworthy, even in moments of severe tests.

The imagery in this quote reminds me of a song written in the late 1990’s by Nancy Ward, a Canadian Bahá’í singer-songwriter called “The Grass Endures”.  In it she shares why she doesn’t want to be an oak tree, which gets upended in a storm.  Instead she wants to be a blade of grass, which bends in a storm and endures.

It also reminds me of a song written by a friend of mine, called “This Love is a Weed”.     In it, he makes a case why it’s better to be a weed than a rose, because the rose blooms and fades, but the weed is hard to kill.

Recognizing the need for steadfastness, I stand taller, 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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How to Love One Another

The purpose of the appearance of the holy Manifestations hath ever been the establishment of fellowship and love in the world of humanity. The friends should therefore lay down their lives in this arena that they may exhilarate the people of the world with the wine of love for one another and may gladden the hearts of the whole human race. (From a Tablet of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá—translated from the Persian, from Give me Thy Grace to Serve Thy Loved Ones, Compilation for the 2018 Counsellors’ Conference, [15])

Bahá’ís easily accept that Bahá’u’lláh came to bring unity to the world.  I don’t know about you, but I often get lost in the Ocean of details in the Writings, forgetting that every aspect leads back to this one principle.  Even when I can wrap my head around it, I frequently forget that to get to unity, I need to manifest fellowship and love, not only among my friends and family, but even more importantly, to those who hurt me and reject the Faith.

It’s easy to get so lost in my own problems and the day-to-day minutia of my “to do” list and need to be productive, that I forget all about the importance of building relationships.  I get scared at the thought of laying down my life in learning how to have fellowship and love for others.  It’s easier when I think about laying down my “to do” list for a minute, and reach out to someone who might need help.  I can be the change I want to see, one kind action at a time.  If each of us does it, surely the whole human race will become gladdened and exhilarated and want what we have.

Remembering that teaching is easier when I take time to build relationships, 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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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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Every Good Thing Hath Been Created For You

Let not the happenings of the world sadden you. I swear by God! The sea of joy yearneth to attain your presence, for every good thing hath been created for you, and will, according to the needs of the times, be revealed unto you.  (Baha’u’llah, quoted in Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice, p. 82)

There are 3 points in this quote, each of which I’d like to address separately.

  1. Let not the happenings of the world sadden you: Most of what I read in the press and social media seems deliberately designed to frighten me and forget that God is in charge of the process, even of the decline of the old world order, and that, since mankind has not accepted the authority of His Latest Messenger, things have to get so bad that the “limbs of mankind will quake” before things can get better.  When I remember this, I’m better armed with the tools I need to help elevate the conversations around me and when I’m not, it is so easy for me to get pulled under by the undertow of all the fear and negativity around me.  I need a lot of alone time to recharge and go back out into the world better prepared to teach and be of service.  This time with God is absolutely essential for me to pass this test.
  1. The sea of joy yearneth to attain your presence: This is a reminder that God yearns to attain my presence and indeed my soul longs to attain His presence too.  When I get caught up in the business of my life, it’s easy to forget.
  1. for every good thing hath been created for you, and will, according to the needs of the times, be revealed unto you: When I’m stepped in self-pity and victimhood and “poor me”, I am blind to the good things in my life, which is why it’s been so important to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.  When I pay attention, moment by moment to all the good things in my life, and in this moment, which is the only moment I’ve got, everything is fine.  Everything has always been fine.  The hard times have been the times of my greatest spiritual growth and have brought me to today, and the future is totally in God’s hands.  When I live in the present it’s much easier to see God’s gifts and be grateful.

Remembering God’s love for me and all of His bounties and blessings, 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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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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