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Reassurance

 

I swear by My life! Nothing save that which profiteth them can befall My loved ones. To this testifieth the Pen of God, the Most Powerful, the All-Glorious, the Best Beloved.  (Shoghi Effendi, Advent of Divine Justice, p.  69)

This is a really hard quote for those who want answers to “why is this happening to me?”  No matter what life throws at us, the bottom line is that it’s happening to profit us.  Somehow, it’s for our good, and that can be hard medicine to swallow, especially when we’re going through really hard times.  I’ve come to understand that all of our tests serve 2 purposes:  to draw us closer to God and to help us acquire the virtues we’ll need in the next world.

When my brother was killed and my daughter died and I suffered through years of emotional, physical and sexual abuse, I felt like a victim and even for many years, blamed God.  If there was a God, (and for many years I couldn’t accept that there was), how could He do these things to me?  I’ve come to realize that God doesn’t think the way we do.  I will never understand why He gave us free will and then stood by watching what mankind would do with it.  But with these quotes, and others like it, I’ve come to recognize that my life is better with God in it.  I can more easily handle everything that comes my way, I can appreciate that it’s strengthened my relationship to him, and no doubt I’ve developed a lot of virtues, resilience among them.

Knowing that all my tests are for my benefit, 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 Fear into Faith:  Overcoming Anxiety

 

 

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How to Be Happy

Never become angry with one another.  Love the creatures for the sake of God and not for themselves. You will never become angry or impatient if you love them for the sake of God. Humanity is not perfect. There are imperfections in every hu­man being, and you will always become unhappy if you look toward the people themselves. But if you look toward God you will love them and be kind to them, for the world of God is the world of perfection and complete mercy. Therefore, do not look at the shortcomings of anybody; see with the sight of forgiveness. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 93)

I don’t think I’m alone in thinking how difficult it is to “never become angry with one another.”  I’ve been immersed in a culture that models this behavior so well.  I don’t know what a peaceful interaction with everyone would be like or how to get there.  I love this quote because it gives me some tools.  All I have to do is “love them for the sake of God.”  Just as God loves me, no matter what I do, I can extend that same love to all my fellow men and when it seems almost impossible, I can do it “for the sake of God”, not because they deserve it.

There are many people who’ve let me down, many more who I feel superior towards.  I may think I feel temporarily happy to be righteously angry and to hold onto my bitterness but in the end, it just comes back to bite me.  When I can see with the sight of forgiveness and be kind to them and love them for the sake of God, it’s a much more delicious sort of happiness.

Discovering the secret of how to be happy and starting to apply the formula, 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 Letting Go of Anger and Bitterness

 

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Choosing Love and Mercy 

The attributes of God are love and mercy; the attribute of Satan is hate. Therefore, he who is merciful and kind to his fellowmen is manifesting the divine attribute, and he who is hating and hostile toward a fellow creature is satanic.  (Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 40)

This quote seems clear – our job is to be loving and forgiving, especially when the world wants us to be hating and hostile.  Sometimes easier said than done!  I’m going through a situation now that I’m trying to deal with in the right way and some of the people around me are so angry at what’s happened that they are taking sides and drawing swords and ready to do battle on my behalf.  I’ve had to talk some of them back from the edge, and do it without gossiping or backbiting at a time when I am hurting from the sting of what happened.  It’s been a day-by-day decision to apply the attributes of God.

When I remember the slogan “hurt people hurt people”, it helps me to be more compassionate and understanding.  When I remember that I can give the problem to God and pray for the one who hurt me, I can love her for the sake of God and not be hypocritical.  In addition to extending love and mercy to others, I also need to remember to show it to myself.

Knowing I have a choice to be loving and merciful to myself and others, 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 Getting to Know Your Lower Nature

 

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Forgiveness by Individual vs. Community

An individual has no right to seek revenge, but the body politic has the right to punish the criminal. Such punishment is intended to dissuade and deter others from committing similar crimes. It is for the protection of the rights of man and does not constitute revenge, for revenge is that inner gratification that results from returning like for like. This is not permissible, for no one has been given the right to seek revenge.   On the contrary, he should show forgiveness and magnanimity, for this is that which befits the human world.  (Abdu’l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, 2014 ed. p. 77)

When we feel hurt, angry and betrayed when someone wrongs us, we want these painful feelings to be relieved.  The desire to inflict pain on those who have harmed us is a powerful internal force, which seems to be wired into our very DNA.  It demands an emotional release in the hopes that the inner gratification that comes from returning like for like will either help us feel better or help us gain closure, but in fact, it has the opposite effect.  Instead of quenching hostility, revenge prolongs the unpleasantness of the original offense.  We end up punishing ourselves because we can’t heal.  It’s like the sayings:

  • Revenge is like grabbing a hot coal to throw it at someone else and you are the one that gets burned.
  • Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

Bahá’u’lláh came to bring unity to the world, and our job is to help Him achieve it.  We can’t have unity with revenge.  We can only have it with forgiveness and love.  This is what’s so important about today’s quote.  It gives us something we can do instead.

The fact that we want to take revenge implies that it still matters so first we need to recognize the emotion and the attachment.  This can be hard to do without support, so when we lean on God and ask for the virtues we want instead, in this case forgiveness and magnanimity, we’re actually turning the test to our advantage and achieving our purpose in life.

Leaving justice to the institutions and to God, I know I can grow spiritually 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 Forgive

 

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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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The Sins of Others 

O SON OF MAN!  Breathe not the sins of others so long as thou art thyself a sinner. Shouldst thou transgress this command, accursed wouldst thou be, and to this I bear witness.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Hidden Words Arabic 27)

This is such an important injunction to understand and boy am I struggling with it today!  Someone I’m doing business with wronged me and then lied to me and I want to sully their name on social media.  Someone else is spreading lies and slandering my name and I want to defend myself.  Last night I was at a gathering where there was a lot of gossip and backbiting which would have been so easy to get hooked in, and other people were criticizing our hosts and their business partners.  One of my neighbors was partying too loud and another doesn’t pick up after her dog and I want everyone to know how upset it makes me.  It’s enough to make me run back into my cave and not interact with the world! I’m sure you could easily come up with your own list.

It’s easy to feel wronged and our culture promotes sharing our negativity widely, but in this quote we see we can’t even breathe another person’s sins (which I have done in the paragraph above!).

I’m learning that instead of venting my anger outwardly, I can remember that “hurt people hurt people”.  I can give the situation to God and ask for the strength to let go of my indignation and forgive.  I can talk to the person directly.  I can pray for the person and ask God to intervene in their lives.

Knowing there are other ways avoid criticizing others, thereby avoiding God’s wrath, 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 Letting Go of Criticizing Others

 

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