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Geographic “Cure”

O Son of Man! Wert thou to speed through the immensity of space and traverse the expanse of heaven, yet thou wouldst find no rest save in submission to Our command and humbleness before Our Face.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Hidden Words, Arabic 40)

I love this Hidden Word, even more so when I hear it sung.

There are many ways we “speed through the immensity of space, finding no rest”.  Many people use addictions to escape their problems.  I use work and activity addiction and frequent moves from one location to another, always looking for the grass to be greener in a new location.  I’ve also spent time with numerous alternative health practitioners, looking for a cure for what ails me, before first turning to the Divine Physician.   I have spent my life in self-will, thinking I was aligned with God’s will and failing miserably, repeatedly.

It took a health crisis and major burnout to bring me to my knees and admit that my way, my will, wasn’t working.  I had to let go completely, of everything I thought about the way my life and service to the Faith should be.  I had to greatly slow down and simplify my life, in a world that values speed, multi-tasking and materialism.  I had to stop doing the things I was attached to, till I could sort out my motives to see what was feeding my disease of compulsive caretaking, approval seeking and people-pleasing.  I had to remember that God is my employer, not me or the people who sign my paycheques.  Only when I humbled myself before God, minute by minute, was a given a reprieve and could finally rest, trusting life His way.

Letting go and letting God direct my movement and my stillness, my service and my play, I am grateful!

What jumped out for you as you read through 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 Strengthening Your Relationship with God

 

 

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Reading our Reality

[I]t is only through continued action, reflection and consultation on their part that they will learn to read their own reality, see their own possibilities, make use of their own resources.  (Universal House of Justice, Framework for Action, #16)

I’m in a dilemma as we approach the Bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab, in that when I read my own reality, I don’t know which voices to listen to.  On the one hand, I don’t want to attend the event planned in a town half an hour away, because it is past my bedtime and I don’t see to drive at night, even if I was to lean on God’s energy to stay up later than my body is comfortable with, so I’m judging myself harshly.

On the other hand, I have held two devotional gatherings geared to the success of all the events worldwide, consulted with the organizers of the night event and provided resources and planned an event for the next day, to celebrate it with others who are in a similar situation.

It’s enough!  God doesn’t expect me to do more than I can do.  He knows my weakness and my limitations and loves me just the way I am.  Now I need to be more forgiving and compassionate of my own poor self, trusting I’m doing my part.

Learning how to consult, act and reflect as a way to read my reality, I am at peace and I am grateful!

What jumped out for you as you read through 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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Spiritual Gravity

Just as the earth attracts everything to the centre of gravity, and every object thrown upward into space will come down, so also material ideas and worldly thoughts attract man to the centre of self. Anger, passion, ignorance, prejudice, greed, envy, covetousness, jeal­ousy and suspicion prevent man from ascending to the realms of holi­ness, imprisoning him in the claws of self and the cage of egotism.  The physical man, unassisted by the divine power, trying to escape from one of these invisible enemies, will unconsciously fall into hands of another. No sooner does he attempt to soar upward than the density of the love of self, like the power of gravity, draws him to the centre of the earth. The only power that is capable of delivering man from this captivity is the power of the Holy Spirit. The attraction of the power of the Holy Spirit is so effective that it keeps man ever on the path of upward ascension.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í Scriptures, p. 241)

This is one of my very favorite analogies in the Faith and I’m always sorry I can’t find it in a more acceptable translation.  It may just be that it’s there and I’m just using the wrong search terms to find it, so if anyone has an equivalent quote in something more authoritative, please let me know.

In the meantime, this seems to be the Bahá’í equivalent of the Christian “7 Deadly Sins” (anger, passion, ignorance, prejudice, greed, envy, covetousness, jealousy and suspicion).  It makes sense that each of this prevents us from ascending to the realms of holiness.  I’ve certainly found that when I try to master one, another pops up and I fall into hands of another.  It feels a bit like God’s playing “whack a mole” with me!

Just as man is incapable of defying gravity, so too are we unable to escape from one of these invisible enemies without assistance from a divine power.  It’s not that we need help from the Holy Spirit, but it seems to be that all that’s required from me is that I’m attracted to the power of the Holy Spirit.

Knowing that the attraction of the power of the Holy Spirit is effective in keeping me on the path of upward ascension, I am grateful!

What jumped out for you as you read through 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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Being and Doing

Experience suggests that a discussion about contributing to the betterment of society fails to tap the deepest springs of motivation if it excludes exploration of spiritual themes. The importance of “doing”, of arising to serve and to accompany fellow souls, must be harmonized with the notion of “being”, of increasing one’s understanding of the divine teachings and mirroring forth spiritual qualities in one’s life. (Universal House of Justice, to the Conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellors, 29 December 2015)

As a recovering workaholic, I’ve learned that I use “doing” (work, service, activities) as a drug to numb my feelings.  When I’m not doing, I feel anxious, flooded with emotions from past trauma that I’d rather not feel or experience.  When I’m not using the addiction to “doing”, I numb out with food, reading escape fiction, watching mindless television or playing phone games.  None of this is pure hearted work-as-worship.

I’m learning to include the following in my life to help me “be”, so I can feel spiritually centrered, happy and healthy:  prayer, meditation, fasting, studying the Baha’i Writings, tutoring study circles, journaling, spending time with other Baha’is, and working on my blog and books.  When I take time to “be”, I fill up my bucket and am able to go back to arising to serve and accompany fellow souls, mirroring forth spiritual qualities in a healthy, more God-oriented way.

Knowing that by giving myself permission to just “be”, I am better able to arise to serve and accompany others, 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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Soaring on the Wings of Joy

Soar upon the wings of joy in the atmosphere of the love of God.  (Baha’u’llah, Tabernacle of Unity, p.74)

My first thought when I read that was “how do I do that?”, and then I thought of all the ways I prevent myself from doing it.  I get busy in the things of this world, things I think I “should” do, things I think the world expects me to do.  When I imagine the times I have soared in the atmosphere of the love of God, it’s when I’ve slooooowwwwweeeedddd wwwwwaaaaayyyy down.  I can’t hear God’s will when I reach for the outside things that comfort me in times of distress (work, busyness, food, escape fiction) or I look for my joy in connection with other people at the expense of my relationship with God.  A balanced life needs all of these things, in moderation, but never at the expense of my relationship with God, which always needs to come first.  When it doesn’t, the bucket of my being becomes filled with holes that leak out my energy and I can easily get overwhelmed and burned out.

So the best thing I can do is to slow down, take time for prayer and meditation, remember to consult in all things and be grateful for all of God’s bounties and blessings, so I can be aware of all the ways I’m being buoyed up as I sour in the atmosphere of His love.  Please God!  Help me to remember this, every day, and change my habits so I can put my relationship with you before all else.

Knowing I can choose my priorities differently, so I can soar in the atmosphere of God’s love, I am grateful!

What jumped out for you as you read through 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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Dreams

I beseech Thee, by the potency of Thy will and the compelling power of Thy purpose, to make of what Thou didst reveal unto me in my sleep the surest foundation for the mansions of Thy love that are within the hearts of Thy loved ones, and the best instrument for the revelation of the tokens of Thy grace and Thy loving-kindness.  Do Thou ordain for me through Thy most exalted Pen, O my Lord, the good of this world and of the next. I testify that within Thy grasp are held the reins of all things. Thou changest them as Thou pleasest. No God is there save Thee, the Strong, the Faithful. Thou art He Who changeth through His bidding abasement into glory, and weakness into strength, and powerlessness into might, and fear into calm, and doubt into certainty. No God is there but Thee, the Mighty, the Beneficent.  (Baha’u’llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah, p. 249)

I used to take my dreams very seriously.  I had a pad and pen of paper at the side of my bed so I could write them down before I forgot them.  I had a set of dream cards which guided me through questions about the content of the dream and how it might relate to present day issues and I had a dream dictionary app on my phone, to help me in my understanding of what the dreams were trying to tell me.  As I’ve come to recognize how much of my life is driven by fear and how much I try to figure out and control, instead of just giving it to God to sort out for me, I’ve been somewhat unsettled about continuing this practice.  So I was very happy to find this prayer, which does two things for me:

  1. “to make of what Thou didst reveal unto me in my sleep the surest foundation for the mansions of Thy love . . . and the best instrument for the revelation of the tokens of Thy grace and Thy loving-kindness”: Here I can clearly ask God to use my dreams as a foundation for His grace and loving kindness, Since I’m trying to open my heart for His love more and more, repeating this prayer is a wonderful way to turn over my dream and remember His love.
  1. If this wasn’t enough, the rest of the prayer reminds me of God’s Power and Majesty. It’s a reminder that it’s His job to change my abasement into glory, His job to change my weakness into strength, His job to change my powerlessness into might His job to change my fear into calm and His job to change my doubt into certainty.  It’s not my job!

Remembering whose job it is to change me, I can let go 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 Strengthening Your Relationship with God

 

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