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Avoiding Addictions

 O ye, God’s loved ones! Experience hath shown how greatly the renouncing of smoking, of intoxicating drink, and of opium, conduceth to health and vigour, to the expansion and keenness of the mind and to bodily strength. There is today a people who strictly avoid tobacco, intoxicating liquor and opium. This people is far and away superior to the others, for strength and physical courage, for health, beauty and comeliness. A single one of their men can stand up to ten men of another tribe. This hath proved true of the entire people: that is, mem­ber for member, each individual of this community is in every respect superior to the individuals of other communities. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p 150)

When I first came into the Faith, I didn’t understand why I couldn’t continue my moderate social drinking.  I didn’t drink much but when I was with friends, having a nice meal, I loved red wine and when I was just hanging out, I was particularly fond of brown cows.  I was willing to accept the laws, though, even if I couldn’t embrace them, trusting that God knows more than I do what’s best for me.  That’s why I loved finding this Writing so much, because it explains why:

If I give up smoking, alcohol and drugs, I will have more health and energy.  My mind will be clearer and I’ll be stronger in my body.  I might even be among those who have the most courage and beauty, inside and out, and even, in God’s eyes, superior to others.  But what about other addictive behaviors?

For example, if I give up my addiction to work, perfectionism, people-pleasing, caretaking, approval-seeking, drivenness, adrenalizing, control, manipulation, fear, self-will, self-pity, disappointment and many of the other areas of my life where I put my addictions before my relationship with God, would my life improve too?

We know that every word of the Writings has 70+1 meanings, so I believe that this quote can mean for all addictions.

Giving up the things I’m attached to, opens me up to a better life than I can imagine, 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 Making Friends with Sin and Temptation

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Promoting Health

 But man hath perversely continued to serve his lustful appetites, and he would not content himself with simple foods. Rather, he prepared for himself food that was compounded of many ingredients, of substances differing one from the other. With this, and with the perpetrat­ing of vile and ignoble acts, his attention was engrossed, and he aban­doned the temperance and moderation of a natural way of life. The result was the engendering of diseases both violent and diverse.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, pp. 152-153)

This is a scary quote for me because it means that if I want to have good health, I have to change the way I think about a lot of things:  I need to stop serving my lustful appetites (comfort eating, getting lost in social media, every addiction etc).

I need to be content with simple foods with simple ingredients (no packaged food, casseroles, most recipes).  I wonder what this means for Bahá’í pot lucks in the future!

And I need to stop perpetrating vile and ignoble acts (shameful, depraved, base, despicable, ugly, unworthy, worthless, wretched, evil, morally bad or wrong, immoral, unethical or perverted).

In addition to the more obvious breaking of Bahá’í law, this means I also need to give up things like telling or listening to tasteless jokes, taking advantage of others, selling shoddy goods, being in a bad mood, having a bad attitude, swearing, lying and backbiting.  “Ignoble” also means “common” and “completely lacking nobility in character or quality or purpose”, so in this age of the decline of the old world order, pretty much everything everyone around us is doing, will endanger our health if we don’t align our behavior with the Bahá’í Writings.

To protect myself from violent and diverse diseases, I need to focus on temperance and moderation as a way of life, and I am grateful to know these steps I can take.

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 Making Friends with Sin and Temptation

Help Keep This Site Alive