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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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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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Attitude Adjustment 

I hear thou art grieved and distressed at the happenings of the world and the vicissitudes of fortune. Wherefore this fear and sorrow? The true lovers of the Abhá Beauty, and they that have quaffed the Cup of the Covenant fear no calamity, nor feel depressed in the hour of trial. They regard the life of adversity as their garden of delight, and the depth of the sea the expanse of heaven.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 309)

I love to imagine ‘Abdu’l-Bahá writing this as a love note of encouragement to one of the earlier believers.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to get this message in the mail?  It’s as though he could reach into her heart and understand the fear and sorrow she’s feeling.  Next he reminds her of who she is – a true lover of the Abhá Beauty – and the standard to reach for.  This applies to each one of us who are grieved and distressed at the hand that’s dealt us and what’s happening in the world.  We:

  • fear no calamity
  • don’t feel depressed in the hour of trial
  • regard the life of adversity as our garden of delight
  • regard the depth of the sea the expanse of heaven

Easier said than done, perhaps, but when we know where the bar is, we can reach towards it, like a plant reaching towards the sun.

Reminding myself of how to look at my troubles differently, I am at peace, 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 Be Happy

 

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Turning to God 

Close one eye and open the other. Close one to the world and all that is therein, and open the other to the hallowed beauty of the Beloved.  (Baha’u’llah, The Persian Hidden Words)

I am constantly dismayed by the things I see around me – the petty feuds that separate families and lead to war, the materialism that takes people away from God and from their true selves, the extremes of wealth and poverty, the violence and abuse that destroys lives, the addictions that consume individuals, the state of politics and religion, the general state of the world and most of all, the powerlessness I feel about all of it.

When I think of how much of my life has been spent worrying about the things of this world, over which I have no control, and I read this quote, my heart is lightened.  When I open my eyes to the hallowed beauty of the Beloved, I remember that God has a plan, which none of us can know or understand but which necessitates the decline of the old world order so something better can be built in its stead.  When I remember that turning to God and pleading for His intervention can have a positive effect on all of it, my drooping soul is refreshed and strengthened.  God is asking me to close my eyes to the world, so I can see things through His eyes and to remember that He’s in charge.  This is the best way to walk through my life with peace and ease.  This is the best way to forgive it all.

Remembering that God is in charge of everything that happens, 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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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

 

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Choosing Joy

For instance, a merchant may lose his trade and depression ensues. A workman is dismissed and starvation stares him in the face. A farmer has a bad harvest, anxiety fills his mind. A man builds a house which is burnt to the ground and he is straightway homeless, ruined, and in despair.  All these examples are to show you that the trials which beset our every step, all our sorrow, pain, shame and grief, are born in the world of matter; whereas the spiritual Kingdom never causes sadness. A man living with his thoughts in this Kingdom knows perpetual joy.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, pp. 109-110).

Everyone has tests in life – it’s how we grow spiritually.  They remind us to turn towards God and result in developing the virtues we’ll need in the next world.  So they’re just a given.  We all get them.  So how can we be happy in the midst of them?  This quote gives us a clue.  It shows us that it’s our thoughts about the tests that are the problem.  All our sorrow, pain, shame and grief, are born in the world of matter.  Isn’t it interesting that even though these tests are a part of God’s plan, they aren’t meant to cause us sadness.  That’s our choice.  It reminds me of a story, which comes from the Taoist tradition (its origin is unknown.)

It’s a story of a farmer and his horse.  One day his horse runs away. And his neighbor comes over and says, to commiserate, “I’m so sorry about your horse.” And the farmer says “Who knows what’s good or bad?” The neighbor is confused because this is clearly terrible. The horse is the most valuable thing he owns.  But the horse comes back the next day and he brings with him 12 feral horses. The neighbor comes back over to celebrate, “Congratulations on your great fortune!” And the farmer replies again: “Who knows what’s good or bad?”  And the next day the farmer’s son is taming one of the wild horses and he’s thrown and breaks his leg. The neighbor comes back over, “I’m so sorry about your son.” The farmer repeats: “Who knows what’s good or bad?”  Sure enough, the next day the army comes through their village and is conscripting able-bodied young men to go and fight in war, but the son is spared because of his broken leg.  And this story can go on and on like that. Good. Bad. Who knows?

Nothing is accomplished by overanalyzing, overthinking, overplanning, overlabeling.  Labeling something good or bad only keeps me stuck.

When I keep my thoughts in the spiritual Kingdom I feel perpetual joy, no matter what life throws at me, 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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