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