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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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Time off Work 

   

You are encouraged to follow the advice of your therapist in regard to the absences which you should take from your employment in order to facilitate your healing from the trauma you experienced in the past. The time taken away from work beneficial to society would doubtless be more than compensated for by the increase in effectiveness with which you will be able to perform such functions when your healing is more advanced.  (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to me, 22 December, 1992)

I’ve come to realize that I’ve been driven by work and activity addiction for most of my life, in order to run away from my past.  This has resulted in several major “burn-outs” and recently in total adrenal exhaustion.  In 1992, when I could see it coming, I wrote to the House of Justice, reluctant to take time off work directly related to the social and economic development of our area.  I knew I needed to take time off but I was putting my job, and service to the Faith first, before my own health.  The above quote is from the letter they sent.

I find their reassurance very comforting: that there will be positive benefits to stepping away from work and service for a period of time.  If I hadn’t taken time off in 1992, I never would have started this blog ten years ago.  If I hadn’t burned out 2 years ago, I never would have had the insights and recovery I’ve enjoyed since.

Much though I’d love to know where the story of my life ends, I realize I’m just in the middle.  God knows the ending.  My job is to let it unfold, one day at a time, letting my movement and my stillness be wholly directed by Him.

Taking time off to heal from the trauma of the past is beneficial, 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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The Need to Retreat 

In the early days of Our arrival in this land, when We discerned the signs of impending events, We decided, ere they happened, to retire. We betook Ourselves to the wilderness, and there, separated and alone, led for two years a life of complete solitude. From Our eyes there rained tears of anguish, and in Our bleeding heart there surged an ocean of agonizing pain. Many a night We had no food for suste­nance, and many a day our body found no rest . . . for in Our solitude We were unaware of the harm or benefit, the health or ailment, of any soul. Alone, We communed with Our spirit, oblivious of the world and all that is therein.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Kitáb-i-Íqán, pp. 250-251)

As a recovering workaholic, and someone committed to recovering from childhood abuse, I sometimes burn out and need months and even years to regroup and recharge.  I used to beat myself up for this mercilessly, especially after tutoring a Ruhi Book or reading a message from the House of Justice.  Phrases such as these would intensify my self-flagellation:  “The time is short”; “there are too few workers”; “we need to make a herculean effort”; “we need to accomplish all these goals by the end of the plan” etc.  Living in an inactive cluster, I took it upon myself to do the work of those who weren’t able to and there was never enough time to do the things that were mine to do.  I felt guilty when I was in these times of pulling back from service.

This quote reminded me that there is an ebb and flow to everything.  It’s such a comfort to remember that Bahá’u’lláh took time away, where He too was “unaware of the harm or benefit, the health or ailment, of any soul”.  Maybe when I’m taking care of my own needs, I’m not being selfish after all!  Thank you God for this reminder!

Knowing I can retreat and not feel guilty, 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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God’s Timing

Do ye not look upon the beginning of affairs; attach your hearts to the ends and results. The present period is like unto a sowing time. Undoubtedly it is impregnated with perils and difficulties, but in the future many a harvest shall be gathered, and benefits and results will become apparent. When one considers the issue and the end, inexhaustible joy and happiness will dawn.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Divine Art of Living, p. 92)

Whenever I start a new project, I’m impatient and expect instant results, forgetting that seeds take a long time to germinate and before the harvest, there are lots of weeds and bugs and weather and other things to contend to.  I want to go straight from seeds to harvest without the messy stuff in the middle.

This quote reminds me to stop rushing, to slow down, to pray and meditate, to take the next right action, to keep my eyes on the goal, to be fully present to the moment and to not let my worries take over.  With God on my side, I have nothing to fear.  In this moment, all is well.  God knows all the tiny little steps I need to take in between, and the virtues I’ll collect along the way.  My job is to enjoy the process and let go of the results.

Knowing that when I remember to consider the issue and the end I will be a happy and joyful being, 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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Everything in its Proper Time

There is one season to harrow the ground, another season to scatter the seeds, still another season to irrigate the fields and still an­other to harvest the crop. We must attend to these various kinds of activities in their proper seasons in order to become successful.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Consultation, p. 7)

I love this quote!  I forget the natural order of things.  I so often plant the seeds and expect the harvest to arrive immediately.  The material world has taught me to expect instant meals, instant banking, instant shopping – impulses are met quickly.  But God’s world is different.

It’s a reminder to slow down.  Stop rushing.  Stop being driven by the “to do” list.  Pray.  Listen to the promptings of the spirit for the next right action.  Remember that everything I am and everything I do is under the watchful care of a loving Father.  All’s right with the world.  This moment is perfect just as it is.  Breathe.  Take time to enjoy and be grateful for every season.  There’s no need to push things before they’re ready.  God’s got my back.  He’s in charge.

Remembering there’s no need to rush, 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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