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Bury Your Fears

Let no excessive self-criticism or any feeling of inadequacy, inability or inexperience hinder you or cause you to be afraid. Bury your fears in the assurances of Bahá’u’lláh.  (Universal House of Justice, Ridván Message, April 1995)

This is not a Faith for the faint-hearted.  I don’t think I’m alone in sometimes feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of the tasks in front of us as Baha’is.  All the laws, injunctions and ordinances we need to pay attention to and implement in our lives, all the messages we need to read, absorb and act on; all the community building activities we need to engage in, all while learning how to serve and consult; juggling education, career and family life and somehow trying to live in a place of moderation, can be more than any of us can bear!  This global enterprise at the grass roots level has never been done before.  Of course we don’t know what we’re doing!  Of course we have moments where we feel inadequate, inexperienced and unable to do the tasks in front of us!  This is only natural.

The thing we need to remember is that we’re not doing it alone.  God is directing it, the Concourse on High is assisting us, the Universal House of Justice is continually giving us guidance to steer the course, the Institutions are charged with implementing the plans for the community to carry out.  Although this is a Faith of individual initiative, all of our initiatives are assisted by so many people seen and unseen.  We can do this, as long as we remember to “bury our fears in the assurances of Baha’u’llah”.  We need to remember that “armed with the power of Thy name, nothing can ever hurt me.”

Remembering I’m not in charge of moving the world towards the most great peace, I can bury my fears in God, 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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5 Ways to Overcome Setbacks

We note that when learning accelerates, the friends grow more capable of overcoming setbacks, whether small or large – diagnosing their root causes, exploring the underlying principles, bringing to bear relevant experience, identifying remedial steps and assessing progress . . . (Universal House of Justice, Framework for Action, p. 35)

I love how the House of Justice is always giving us practical tools we can apply to our lives!  This quote is really about the community building process, but it’s easily transferable to any setback we have, not just in our Baha’i service.

A setback I’ve had recently is spending money on something I thought I had budgeted for, but after paying for it, I realized I didn’t.  Being debt-free and solvent is a high value of mine so this was a big deal.  With the help of this quote, here are the steps I took:

  1. diagnose the root causes: I’d forgotten that while there was money previously allocated for this purpose, I’d used it to cover a previous expense last month.  I’d recorded it, but forgot I’d done it, and forgot to check the budget.
  2. explore the underlying principles: I wanted to cross this item off the “to do” list before going on holidays (my will not God’s).  I ignored my intuition to check the budget first.
  3. bring relevant experience to bear: Having made mistakes in the past, and wanting to not beat myself up about it, thereby feeding my addiction to adrenaline, I reminded myself to forgive myself and ask God to find a way to cover the expense, from His hidden treasury, which He has done for me many times in the past.
  4. identify remedial steps: There was nothing I could do before leaving, except to give it to God and let Him work His magic.
  5. assess progress: When I get home, I can anticipate that God will show me ways to cover this expense.

Remembering to use the tools we’ve been given to help solve problems and move from the lower nature to the higher, I am grateful!

What setback are you experiencing in your life today and how can this process help?  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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Overcoming Fear

. . . the fears and anxieties that distract their minds . . . are among the formidable obstacles that stand in the path of every would-be warrior in the service of Bahá’u’lláh, obstacles which he must battle against and surmount in his crusade for the redemption of his own countrymen. (Shoghi Effendi, Citadel of Faith, p. 149)

Recently I made a list of fears that held me back and I was astonished to come up with a list of 125!  Some were obvious (fear of losing my health or my income, fear of authority figures, fear of angry people, fear of success); some were eye-opening (fear of God’s disapproval and punishment, fear of asking for help, fear of letting other people down) and others I had been completely unaware of (fear of making friends, fear of taking up space in the world, fear of moving out of my comfort zone).  The list went on and on!

What fears boil down to, though, is just two things.  We’re afraid of losing what we have or afraid of not getting what we want.   These fears, especially if we are unaware or oblivious to them, are always on the hamster wheel inside our brains, and as the quote reminds us, they distract us and stand in the way of being able to accomplish what we want to do.  They are “formidable” and yet we must all battle against them and surmount them if we want to be of service to our fellow-man.  We can’t do this without God’s help and mercy and we can’t ask for it if we aren’t aware.  So go ahead.  Make your own list!  This will give you some ideas.

Remembering to ask God to help me surmount my many fears, 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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God’s Wings

Rest assured in the protection of God. He will preserve his own children under all circumstances. Be ye not afraid nor be ye agitated. He holds the scepter of power in His hand, and like unto a hen He gathereth his chickens under His wings . . . Now, friends, this is the time of assurance and faith and not fear and dread.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of the West, Vol. 8, No. 19, p. 241)

Recently I came across a list of 541 common fears and phobias and no doubt, more are being identified all the time.  As part of my recovery from workaholism, I had to put together a list of my own fears, and was challenged to come up with at least 100 and with the help of that online resource, it wasn’t hard.  I had no idea my life (and other people’s too) was ruled by so much fear.

It doesn’t help the the news and social media are fanning the flames of fear about terrorism, crime, health and safety concerns, climate change, identity theft, immigration, global warming, nuclear war, economic disaster and more.  It’s easy to make fear our god and let it rule our lives.  In that moment, it’s easy to forget to turn to God.

The world isn’t going to come to an end.  Bahá’u’lláh has promised that His Revelation is moving us towards the Golden Age and the Most Great Peace.  Everything happening in the world is just the necessary decline of the old world order, so something better can be built up in its stead.

Whenever I’m feeling afraid and lonely, I remember that this moment is all there is and in this moment, everything is perfectly fine.  In this moment, I have a roof over my head and food in my belly.  I can rest in the assurance of the protection of God.

Knowing I can ask ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to gather me under His wings whenever I’m afraid,  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

 

Help Keep This Site Alive

 

 

Newsletter – on Anxiety

Welcome to the Month of Dominion 171

In this issue – Anxiety

Articles – Please click on the title of the article you want to read

What is Fear?

Anxiety – it’s all an Illusion

Conquering Anxiety with Conscious Happiness

Finding Peace in Life’s Tests

Living in the Present

What Makes us Susceptible to Fear?

What is the Purpose of Fear?

Reactions to Fear

Doubt and Fear

Fight, Fright and Freeze

What are We Afraid Of?

Overcoming Fear

Overcoming Fear Through Changing your Thoughts

Overcoming Your Fear Through Courage

Overcoming Fear with Faith

Overcoming Fear by Focusing on the Virtues

Overcoming Fear Through Forgiveness

Overcoming Fear with Love

Overcoming Fear with Patience

Overcoming Fear with Prayer

Overcoming Fear by Reading the Writings

Overcoming Fear Through Teaching and Service

Overcoming Fear through Tests and Difficulties

Overcoming Fear by Turning to God

Overcoming Fear Through Using Role Models

Checklist for Overcoming Fear

Prayers to Eliminate Fear

Understanding the Link Between Fear and Sin

On Dealing With Anxiety: Finding Peace By Understanding Sin

What Can Others Do to Help Those Who Are Afraid?

Featured Story:

On Overcoming Anxiety

Bahá’u’lláh could trust ‘Abdu’l-Bahá with the most difficult of tasks as He knew He would never waver. One such task was that of building a Shrine for the Bab on Mount Carmel, above what was then the small town of Haifa, facing the Mediterranean Sea. One of many obstacles which developed was the owner of the plot, influenced by scheming Covenant-breakers, would not readily consent to sell the land. ‘”Every stone of that building, every stone of the road leading to it,” He, many a time was heard to remark, “I have with infinite tears and at tremendous cost, raised and placed in position.” “One night,” He, according to an eye-witness, once observed, “I was so hemmed in by My anxieties that I had no other recourse than to recite and repeat over and over again a prayer of the Bab which I had in My possession, the recital of which greatly calmed Me. The next morning the owner of the plot himself came to Me, apologized and begged Me to purchase his property.”  (Honnold, Annamarie, Vignettes from the Life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá)

Featured Prayers:

For Overcoming Anxiety

Pour forth upon all them that are dear to Thee what will preserve them from fear and trembling after me. Powerful art Thou to do whatsoever may please Thee. No God is there except Thee, the All-Glorious, the All-Wise.  (Baha’u’llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah, p. 18)

Lauded be Thy name, O Lord my God! I entreat Thee by Thy Name through which the Hour hath struck, and the Resurrection came to pass, and fear and trembling seized all that are in heaven and all that are on earth, to rain down, out of the heaven of Thy mercy and the clouds of Thy tender compassion, what will gladden the hearts of Thy servants, who have turned towards Thee and helped Thy Cause.  Keep safe Thy servants and Thy handmaidens, O my Lord, from the darts of idle fancy and vain imaginings, and give them from the hands of Thy grace a draught of the soft-flowing waters of Thy knowledge.  Thou, truly, art the Almighty, the Most Exalted, the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Generous.   (Baha’u’llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah, p. 72)

Turn, then, O my God, their fear into the evidences of Thy peace and Thy security, and their abasement into the sovereignty of Thy glory, and their poverty into Thine all-sufficient riches, and their distress into the wonders of Thy perfect tranquillity. Vouchsafe unto them the fragrances of Thy might and Thy mercy, and send down upon them, out of Thy marvelous loving-kindness, what will enable them to dispense with all except Thee, and will detach them from aught save Thyself, that the sovereignty of Thy oneness may be revealed and the supremacy of Thy grace and Thy bounty demonstrated.  (Baha’u’llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah, p. 335)

Featured Book:

Falling Into Grace  by Justice St. Rain of Special Ideas takes an honest look at the many things in the Bahá’í Community that can test your faith from the fellow Bahá’ís that make you want to scream to the difficult laws that make you want to give up trying the kinds of tests that you are afraid to share with your friends and even those you are afraid to admit to yourself. It shines a bright light on these tests, and in illuminating them, it reduces their power. This book says “you are not alone,” and, even better, “you are not a bad Bahá’í for struggling with these issues.” Struggling with these tests is what ennobles us, and sharing our struggles is what helps us create a real feeling of community. As the title suggests, we must be willing to fall before we can be lifted up through grace.

Here is what some of his readers have said:

  • This book has helped over 5,000 Bahá’ís feel “normal” again and reconnect with their communities with more joy and less shame than ever before. It makes a great gift for new Bahá’ís, long-time Bahá’ís, estranged Bahá’ís, and even serious seekers.
  • It is one of my favorite Bahá’í books. I read it four times in a row, (which I never do), because finishing it was like a painful separation from a best friend and I wasn’t ready to let go! It was easy to read, made sense, described my experience, reminded me of how much I am loved and drew me closer to God.
  • Justice writes straight from the heart in an engaging and approachable style, as he documents the daily tests and trials that many of us go through. I HIGHLY recommend it for any Baha’i who is starting to feel the stress and challenges of life. I can’t say enough good things about this book! I hope you’ll enjoy it too!

To get your copy 

Because the Fast is quickly coming up, I also wanted to mention this book which comes highly recommended:

The Supreme Remedy: Applying the Healing Arts to the Baha’i Fast by Deborah Walters

In Deborah’s own words:

When I first started fasting, I wondered why there wasn’t much written on the subject?  I longed for guidance, insight and I was so curious about its effects and what I experienced.  I found very few people even desired to talk about the subject.  The difficulties and questions I had personally led me to hours of research and experimentation, and to obtain a degree as a Doctor of Naturopathy.  I thought I would then share with others not only what I learned but the joy I received in fasting and how I now look forward to it with confidence.  How can someone enjoy fasting when the body is so sick? How can you hear the spirit when emotionally you are so messy?

I believe that fasting is one of the best remedies for healing. Although it is increasingly used in medical centers, and has been part of treatment in some European and Asian countries for many years, the medical field in the English-speaking world has not used it enough because of lack of understanding and information about fasting. It’s well known that we need breaks during the day to work more efficiently, and vacations to recharge our batteries. Any time we do anything in excess, we eventually need a break from it in order to regain balance. And in Western cultures eating has become excessive and a source of addiction. Fasting has traditionally been a religious practice. It’s a tool of devotion, obedience and love, to gain spiritual power and vision and draw nearer to God. Historically, it’s also been a physical healing tool. Fasting can have various intentions: to regain health, to lose weight, to have clarity of mind. It’s possible for these purposes to work together.

To get your print copy

Kindle

 

Featured Video:

 

Shadi Toloui-Wallace, a singer-songwriter from Australia, now living in Canada, has toured much of North America, Australia and the Pacific, touching hearts through her honest and reflective music. Her ability to creatively express her devotion and love evokes a sense of reverent joy, unique to her work. Shadi draws inspiration from her beliefs, exploration of self, the environment and human interaction. Her work has always placed unity of faith and family at the core.

In this month’s selection, we hear her sing “When Sorrow Comes” which includes a touching rendition of a verse to be read in times of natural disasters or calamities: “Dominion is God’s The lord of the seen And the unseen, The lord of creation” (known in Persian as Yá Alah-u-al Mustagath)

About this prayer, Baha’u’llah tells us:

In Islam a special prayer was ordained to be said in times of natural phenomena which cause fear, such as earthquakes.  This has been annulled, and in its place a Bahá’í may say “Dominion is God’s, the Lord of the seen and the unseen, the Lord of creation”.  (Baha’u’llah, Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 58)

I can attest to the power of this prayer to remove anxiety! Recently I was feeling incredible anxiety and couldn’t find a way out; and spent a couple of nights repeating this prayer over and over until I finally fell asleep. The issue hasn’t yet resolved; but I’m feeling much more peaceful with the situation, and content with the will of God!

 

 

To see her homepage

To read about her new song, dedicated to the Yaran 

To find her on Facebook

To listen to more of her music and download it from CD Baby

Featured Coach:

Looking for a Matchmaker?

Dr Mieko Bond is a matchmaker and family lawyer, who hopes to find the perfect match for you based on her extensive network of contacts and genuine passion to help people find love and happiness.  She will use her intuition and consider your personalities and criteria for a partner. The service begins with an initial Skype Session after you have filled out an online interview form. She will choose from her portfolio a selection of matches and you can choose which ones you would like to contact. It is a confidential service, you will not be on the website, and your identity won’t be revealed except to those people you are matched with. You can also purchase additional coaching and dating advice sessions over Skype with the Matchmaker.

To read more about her service 

To find her on Facebook 

And Twitter 

And Linkedin   

Featured Business:

Deborahs Healing Arts

 

Our “Featured Author” this month, Deborah Walters is also a homeopathic doctor, who specializes in anxiety, depression, chronic pain, sleep challenges, arthritis, chronic conditions and life transitions. She uses a combination of homeopathy, botanical remedies and naturopathy.

To visit her website

To hear her talk about her practice and what to expect during your first appointment

 

To listen to other talks she’s given on YouTube

To find her on Facebook

To find her on Linkedin

To find her on Twitter 

Our Readers Write:

Congratulations Susan – such a beautiful stack of 17 books! Grateful grateful for your superb service and contributions which benefits us all so much! (Jeannie Ritchie)

Ah Susan!  I just LOVE that photo of all of your books!!  I’m sending a big enthusiastic cheer for you!  You GO girl! With love and joy for your accomplishments! (Heather Acres)

Thank you so much for this beautiful issue. I was really feeling like this and your issues always open my eyes. Lots of love.  (Mahtab Yeganegi)