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The State of the Soul

In addition, we know from the Bahá’í writings that man’s soul ‘is independent of all infirmities of body or mind’, and not only continues to exist ‘after departing from this mortal world’, but progresses ‘through the bounty and grace of the Lord’.  (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, 2 December, 1985)

This quote is a great comfort to those of us suffering from “infirmities of the body or mind”, which is possibly the majority of the population at any given time.  It’s at these times when we may find it hard to feel close to God, or to take care of our spiritual obligations.  How many of us feel guilty or like “bad Bahá’ís” because of this?  I know I do!  So it’s very comforting to know that we have a loving, compassionate, understanding God, who takes care of our souls for us, when we can’t.

I’ve spent my life trying to earn “spiritual brownie points” in order to get closer to God, so my many acts of service over the years were done from impure motives.  I was like a little child trying to attract the attention of her parent – look at this wonderful thing I’ve done, Mommy – in order to earn her love.  I’m learning through quotes like this that God isn’t like our parents at all.  I don’t have to do anything to earn His love.  It’s with me always.

Knowing that my soul will progress through God’s bounty and grace, I can relax 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 Learning How to Be Happy

 

 

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Unconditional Love

At all times do I speak of you and call you to mind. I pray unto the Lord, and with tears I implore Him to rain down all these blessings upon you, and gladden your hearts, and make blissful your souls, and grant you exceeding joy and heavenly delights.  (Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 17)

Wow!  On days when I feel unlovable, this quote changes my stinking thinking in a flash.  Because of my traumatic childhood, where I didn’t feel the love of my parents and felt abandoned by God, too, I got used to being alone and lonely.  I told myself that it didn’t matter.  I drowned my sorrow in work, service, escape fiction, food, self-pity, victimization, beating myself up and many other ways to soothe my broken heart.  I pushed people away when they got too close, because being loved didn’t fit the story I believed about myself.  This quote challenged all that.

Now I try to imagine being so loved by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, that I’m always on His mind.  At every moment, He’s asking God to rain down His blessings, gladden my heart, make blissful my soul and grant me exceeding joy and heavenly delight.  What if these bounties and blessings have been streaming forth for me all along?  My hunch is that I’ve only accepted a thimble-full (or less) when I could have been accepting a gallon bucket or even a giant dumpster full.  Today, I’m going to remember this love and these blessings and I’m going to look for them, accept them and be warmed by them.

Knowing how much I’m loved unconditionally by the only people that matter, 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 Learning How to Be Happy

 

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Overcoming Confusion

All humanity is disturbed and suffering and confused; we cannot expect to not be disturbed and not to suffer – but we don’t have to be confused. On the contrary, confidence and assurance, hope and optimism are our prerogative. The successful carrying out of our vari­ous Plans is the greatest sign we can give of our faith and inner assur­ance, and the best way we can help our fellow-men out of their confu­sion and difficulties.  (Shoghi Effendi, Unfolding Destiny, p. 225)

I try to avoid the news as much as possible, because it takes me down into hopeless, helpless despair.  Last night, though, I watched a documentary about the state of the world’s affairs and it was truly heartbreaking.  There were glimmers of hope, though, as I watched the youth organizing and arising to overcome injustice in their communities.  All the way through the movie, I repeated the Baha’i prayer for disaster (Yá Allahu’l-Mustaghath)   It felt good to know there was something I could do too.  I was worried that I would go to bed with the negative images seared on my brain, disturbing my sleep, so I asked God to take care of the world, and let me nestle under the wings of His protection and I did indeed sleep well.

I also called to mind something I’d heard in one of Tom Price’s talks.  He said that whenever he was disturbed by something terrible going on in the world, he reminded himself if was the “decline of the old world order.”

We are indeed blessed in this Faith, to know that God’s got His finger on the pulse of the world and it’s all leading us to the Most Great Peace.  It may not be happening as fast as I’d like, but I’m not in charge of the world!

The Writings give me the hope and optimism, assurance and confidence to help myself and others out of the confusion caused by the problems in the world, 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 Learning How to Be Happy

 

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Attitude Adjustment 

I hear thou art grieved and distressed at the happenings of the world and the vicissitudes of fortune. Wherefore this fear and sorrow? The true lovers of the Abhá Beauty, and they that have quaffed the Cup of the Covenant fear no calamity, nor feel depressed in the hour of trial. They regard the life of adversity as their garden of delight, and the depth of the sea the expanse of heaven.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 309)

I love to imagine ‘Abdu’l-Bahá writing this as a love note of encouragement to one of the earlier believers.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to get this message in the mail?  It’s as though he could reach into her heart and understand the fear and sorrow she’s feeling.  Next he reminds her of who she is – a true lover of the Abhá Beauty – and the standard to reach for.  This applies to each one of us who are grieved and distressed at the hand that’s dealt us and what’s happening in the world.  We:

  • fear no calamity
  • don’t feel depressed in the hour of trial
  • regard the life of adversity as our garden of delight
  • regard the depth of the sea the expanse of heaven

Easier said than done, perhaps, but when we know where the bar is, we can reach towards it, like a plant reaching towards the sun.

Reminding myself of how to look at my troubles differently, I am at peace, 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 Learning How to Be Happy

 

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We’re Never Alone

Know ye of a certainty that the powers of the kingdom of Abha are with you. The hosts of the heaven of truth are with you. The cool breezes of the Paradise of Abha are wafting over your heated brows. Not for a moment are ye alone. Not for a second are ye left to yourselves. The beauty of Abha is with you. The Glorious God is with you. The King of Kings is with you.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Lights of Guidance, p. 570)

I’ve had a very stressful couple of months, with lots of BIG tests and difficulties and losses that have pulled up many of the false beliefs I took from my childhood trauma and gave them a chance to be aired out and healed.  It hasn’t been fun going through and I wasn’t happy to see so many of my defects of character piling up one after another for me to look at.  I really felt, in the present, the same feelings of abandonment and neglect I felt as a child, which plunged me into hopeless, helpless despair and paralyzed me.  In truth, I even felt abandoned by God.  I was powerless to solve the tests myself and too ashamed to be able to reach out to others for help.

Along came one of God’s angels, who sent me this quote, not knowing anything about what I was going through!  It came through just exactly at the right time, from the right person, and helped me remember how much I’m loved, supported and protected by God, at all times, and under all conditions.  The problems are still there and I still need to pass a few of the outstanding tests and it’s easier knowing that God is with me.

Knowing I can lean on God for support when going through my 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 Learning How to Be Happy

 

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