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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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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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Knowing Myself

He hath known God who hath known himself.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 178)

Of all of the quotes that encourage us to get to know ourselves, this is perhaps the most compelling for me, since the purpose of our lives is to know God!

For most of my life, when I wasn’t mad at God for not stopping the abuse or for not letting me do what I’d been praying fervently for assistance to do, I believed only in a punishing God or a God who kept score, so I had to constantly be earning “spiritual brownie points” to guarantee myself a better life in the next world.  “Knowing” this kind of God gave me all the permission in the world to continue the abuse I’d known as a child, by beating myself up for not being able to reach an impossibly high standard!

With this quote, I have all the permission I need, to get to know myself, and to see myself through the eyes of a loving God, who wants only the best for me.  How do I do this?  There are many ways, and each person will find their own way.  I do it through prayer and meditation, service, writing these meditations, therapy, and 12-Step Recovery.

Knowing God helps me to know myself, 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 Overcoming Abuse and Violence    Kindle

 

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Confronting our Abusers

Consort with all men, O people of Bahá, in a spirit of friend­liness and fellowship. If ye be aware of a certain truth, if ye possess a jewel, of which others are deprived, share it with them in a language of utmost kindliness and good-will. If it be accepted, if it fulfil its purpose, your object is attained. If any one should refuse it, leave him unto himself, and beseech God to guide him. Beware lest ye deal un­kindly with him. (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 289)

When I was confronting my parents about the abuse I sustained as a child, I unfortunately took my examples from the prevailing wisdom of the day, which said, tell them what you remember, what you want from them and what you will do if they don’t comply.  Needless to say, this approach got their backs up; they attempted to have me declared crazy and have my son taken away from me, and then when that didn’t work, they put a wedge between my siblings and I and cut me out of their lives.  I never saw any of my family after that.

As a good Bahá’í, it always bothered me that this action created so much estrangement in our family.  If I couldn’t have unity in my own family, how on earth could I help bring it to the world?

I wish I’d had the awareness and spiritual maturity called for in today’s quote.  Inside of coming on strong with threats, I could have approached them from a place of kindness and curiosity.  Unfortunately I was so full of hate and resentment and unforgiveness that there was no place in my heart for God, or love or friendliness or fellowship.  I have left them to themselves and pray for them.  It’s the best I can do for my family, but I have learned from my mistake and take care of the forgiveness first, before talking to anyone about a difficult matter.

Knowing I can talk to people kindly and if I’m rebuffed, I can leave them in God’s hands, I am filled with 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 Violence and Abuse:  Reasons and Remedies      Kindle

 

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Reading the Book of Myself

One must, then, read the book of his own self, rather than some treatise on rhetoric. Wherefore He hath said, “Read thy Book: There needeth none but thyself to make out an account against thee this day. (Bahá’u’lláh, Seven Valleys and Four Valleys, p. 51) 

Over the years I’ve spent building up my website and my blog and trying to publish my books, I’ve had many steep learning curves and I’ve always turned to guru’s to help me, rather than take my problems to God.  This has caused an inordinate amount of stress and frustration as I’ve literally willed my way through the obstacles and blocks until I just couldn’t do it anymore.  I’d ruined my health and my will.

As I recover from workaholism and an addiction to the adrenaline rush of doing things my way, myself, I’m learning to “read the book of myself”, by listening to my body’s wisdom.  I ask:  what is this ache and pain trying to tell me?  What is God’s will for me in the moment?  What’s the next right action I need to take?  Am I living in the present (the home of serenity) or in the future (the home of anxiety)?

I’m also learning that what other people think of me is none of my business.  I don’t have to be perfect for anyone, including God.  I don’t need anyone’s approval, except God’s.  I can let go of all caretaking, approval seeking and people-pleasing and focus on building a relationship with God and with myself.

God’s opinion and guidance are all I need for today, 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 Getting to Know Your Lower Nature

 

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