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Hardship

. . . if thy daily living become difficult, soon thy Lord will bestow upon thee that which will satisfy thee. Be patient in time of affliction and trial, endure every difficulty and hardship with a dilated heart, attracted spirit and eloquent tongue in remembrance of the Merciful. Verily this is the life of satisfaction, the spiritual existence, heavenly repose, divine benediction and the celestial table! Soon thy Lord will extenuate thy straitened circumstances even in this world!  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Divine Art of Living, p. 93)

We all have times in life that are difficult.  That’s how we grow spiritually and attain our purpose in life, which is to draw closer to God and acquire the virtues we need in the next life.  In the middle of these times, though, it’s hard to remember.  We often compare ourselves with others, who seem to slide through life with a silver spoon.  Envy only makes things worse.  Here we see what we need to remember:

  • It won’t last forever
  • In the meantime, be patient
  • Endure these times with a dilated heart, attracted spirit and eloquent tongue in remembrance of God

Not only will this make the tests easier to bear, they give us a life of satisfaction, spiritual existence, heavenly repose, divine benediction and the celestial table. That seems reason enough to stop complaining and change my attitude!

Knowing how to survive times of hardship, 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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Aligning with the Will of God 

The true worshipper, while praying, should endeavour not so much to ask God to fulfill his wishes and desires, but rather to adjust these and make them conform to the Divine Will. Only through such an attitude can one derive that feeling of inner peace and contentment which the power of prayer alone can confer.  (Shoghi Effendi, The Importance of Prayer, Meditation and a Devotional Attitude, p. 239)

I used to have a relationship with God that was kind of like my relationship with Santa Claus.  I’d come to Him with a list of things I wanted and hoped that if I was very good, He’d give them to me.  This was a problem as a child, when my wishes were mostly centred on getting Him to stop the abuse and when it got worse, I stopped believing in God.  I’m glad that phase of my life only lasted 10 years!  But even as a Bahá’í, for many years, I didn’t make the link between what I was praying for in person, and what I was praying for when reciting the prayers from the prayer book.  I still wanted what I wanted, and believed that if I was the perfect Bahá’í, He’d give me what I asked for.  Sometimes He did and sometimes I felt like He was playing “Whack a Mole” with me.

With spiritual maturity, I’ve come to understand that all the tests He sent me were actually gifts in disguise.  We can’t grow spiritually without tests.  Think back on the darkest days of your life and see what virtues got you through and you’ll see what I mean.  I love that in Ruhi Book 1 we’re asked to develop the discipline of studying prayers with someone.  From this activity, I learned to dissect the prayer and look at what we’re really asking for when we repeat it.

I’ve also come to realize that with expectations come disappointments, and when I’m expecting a certain result, I’m in self-will, actually telling God what He can do for me.  So I love this reminder that when I ask God to make my wishes and desires conform to His will, I will feel that inner sense of peace and contentment which makes blesses my life and the lives of those around me.

Remembering to conform my will to God’s will, 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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Depression 

 Be not in despair, but rather smile by the mercy of thy Lord; and be not sorrowful when meeting with worldly difficulties and depressions, for they pass away – and thine shall be immortality during ages and centuries, times and cycles.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of Abdul-Baha, p. 177)

Hopeless, helpless despair is my best friend.  It’s where I’ve lived for much of my life.  So many times I’ve been beaten down and so many times I’ve got up again to face another day.  I couldn’t find any joy in my life.  I was just putting one foot in front of the other, waiting, wanting, asking God to take me home.  Everything I knew about the next world sounded so much better and I longed to be there.

Finding Bahá’í Writings such as these helped give me hope, something to hold on to, and a way to start.  All I had to do is allow God’s mercy to help me smile through my pain and disappointment and hurt and betrayal.  As I came to obey the injunction not to despair, I realized that there was a life at the end of the tunnel but I couldn’t go there yet.  I had to be patient and in the meantime, cultivate my relationship with God, so His mercy could continue to smile down on me.  I needed to work on acquiring the virtues and find ways to be of service.  Gradually my life started to improve.  Slowly, I’ve learned to have hope again.

Letting go of despair, and trusting in God’s mercy, 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

Help Keep This Site Alive