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Achieving, Believing, Celebrating

By Rachel Perry with research by Susan Gammage

This greatness within me, an awareness of Divine Light, a whisper and a knocking within me, asking me, pleading with me to overcome these feelings of inadequacy so that I may Shine with the Light of God – this greatness within me, greets me each morning and tempts me to smile despite the sense of confusion which dominates every cell in my being.  I pray:

O Lord! Have pity on my weakness and strengthen me with Thy power. O Lord! Have pity on my impotence and assist me with Thy might and majesty. O Lord! Should the breath of the Holy Spirit confirm the weakest of creatures, he would attain all to which he aspireth and would possess anything he desireth. Indeed, Thou host assisted Thy servants in the past and, though they were the weakest of Thy creatures, the lowliest of Thy servants and the most insignificant of those who lived upon the earth, through Thy sanction and potency they took precedence over the most glorious of Thy people and the most noble of mankind. Whereas formerly they were as moths, they became as royal falcons, and whereas before they were as brooks, they became as seas, through Thy bestowal and Thy mercy. They became, through Thy most great favor, stars shining on the horizon of guidance, birds singing in the rose-gardens of immortality, lions roaring in the forests of knowledge and wisdom, and whales swimming in the oceans of life. Verily, Thou art the Clement, the Powerful, the Mighty, and the Most Merciful of the merciful.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Quickeners of Mankind, p. 95)

When a someone writes from their hearts, there is Power in those words that reaches into the crevasses of people’s Minds and Hearts and it takes hold of a thought they thought was private and says “I see you!” and once seen it cannot hide and once seen it becomes part of the Universal Mind and once seen it transforms from a ghost to a spirit and once transformed it becomes alive with the fragrance of Divine Light – bounding from obscurity into the endless meadow of recognition, the boundless field of True Life.

What a power is love! It is the most wonderful, the greatest of all living powers.  Love gives life to the lifeless. Love lights a flame in the heart that is cold. Love brings hope to the hopeless and gladdens the hearts of the sorrowful.  (Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 179)

The space between my Divinity and my Poverty was so great a divide it seemed I was two people, torn apart by the cutting of violent words and disillusioned purposelessness.

As reality is one and cannot admit of multiplicity, therefore different opinions must ultimately become fused into one.  (Abdu’l-Bahá, Baha’i World Faith, p. 285)

It was Divine Love Who held me in Her Angel Arms and said “You are One” and gave me the hope to try just one more day. Just one more day, just one more day, just one more day, just one more day.

Florence Khanum relates two sayings she heard from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. On one occasion He said to her ‘”Sabr kun; mithl-i-Man bash” – be patient, be as I am. The other was when someone expressed discouragement to Him, saying they could not possibly acquire all the qualities and virtues that Baha’is are directed to possess, and the Master replied, “Kam Kam. Ruz bih ruz” – little by little; day by day.’  (Honnold, Annamarie, Vignettes from the Life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá)

Then I arrived here. In this moment, where there is union now between my Divinity and my Poverty. Where I am both Rich and Poor at the same time, both Exalted and Humble, both Powerful and Weak, both Mighty and Minute, both Great and Insignificant.

[Life] brings each one of us crises as well as victories. Our own lives and even the lives of the central Figures of the Faith have been fraught with agony as well as blessing, with failure and frustration and grief, as frequently as with progress. This is the nature of life.  (Universal House of Justice, Quickeners of Mankind, p. 117)

This union was the path for me to freedom, freedom from the trappings of a world that will have me think I am in a race to have a great house-a great car-a great family-and a great reputation in the community.

Some men’s lives are solely occupied with the things of this world; their minds are so circumscribed by exterior manners and traditional interests that they are blind to any other realm of existence, to the spiritual significance of all things! They think and dream of earthly fame, of material progress. Sensuous delights and comfortable surroundings bound their horizon, their highest ambitions centre in successes of worldly conditions and circumstances! They curb not their lower propensities; they eat, drink, and sleep! Like the animal, they have no thought beyond their own physical well-being. It is true that these necessities must be despatched. Life is a load which must be carried on while we are on earth, but the cares of the lower things of life should not be allowed to monopolize all the thoughts and aspirations of a human being. The heart’s ambitions should ascend to a more glorious goal, mental activity should rise to higher levels! Men should hold in their souls the vision of celestial perfection, and there prepare a dwelling-place for the inexhaustible bounty of the Divine Spirit.      (Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 98)

But all that is being torn down now. Without the American Dream what will the world set its sights on?

You see all round you proofs of the inadequacy of material things — how joy, comfort, peace and consolation are not to be found in the transitory things of the world. Is it not then foolishness to refuse to seek these treasures where they may be found? The doors of the spiritual Kingdom are open to all, and without is absolute darkness.  (Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 110)

I wish it would ascend above these selfish aims and reach into its own Soul and find Divine Generosity and with that begin to share everything, without hesitation with everyone in the world.

He, verily, shall recompense the charitable, and doubly repay them for what they have bestowed.  (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings, CXXVIII)

Imagine we just did that? Imagine we walked away from our jobs, or even better, that our jobs paid us to make resolving these issues of poverty, of education, of violence and made it so important that we could just devote our EVERYTHING to this Divine Cause? What would that look like?

Consider a pearl which shineth by virtue of its inherent nature. If it be covered with silk, its luster and beauty will be concealed. Likewise, man’s distinction lieth in the excellence of his conduct and in the pursuit of that which beseemeth his station, not in childish play and pastimes. Know that thy true adornment consisteth in the love of God and in thy detachment from all save Him, and not in the luxuries thou dost possess. Abandon them unto those who seek after them and turn unto God, He Who causeth the rivers to flow.  (Baha’u’llah, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 62)

Everyone turned towards One Goal? Feed the children, Educate the Mothers, Stop the Violence! What would that look like? Putting egos aside, putting the race towards wealth at the bottom of the list of priorities and making the end goal accomplished only when we are all no longer hungry.

How many kings have flourished in luxury and in a brief moment all has disappeared! Their glory and their honor are forgotten. Where are all these sovereigns now? But those who have been servants of the divine beauty are never forgotten. The result of their works is everywhere visible. What king is there of two thousand years ago whose kingdom has lived in the hearts? But those disciples who were devoted to God – poor people who had neither fortune nor position – are to-day trees bearing fruit. Their banner is raised higher every day.  (Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy, p. 137)

These children, their hunger is my hunger. Their pain is my pain. Their suffering is my suffering. How can I eat a good dinner, watch TV, and tuck myself into a warm bed without thinking of the children who do not have enough to eat, who are cold, who sleep in beds that are neither comfortable or dignified? How can I awake to my world, filled with the luxuries of the engine of Canada’s economy and how can I not think of those who are waking up without the basic necessities of life?

Fear the sighs of the poor and of the upright in heart who, at every break of day, bewail their plight, and be unto them a benignant sovereign. They, verily, are thy treasures on earth. It behoveth thee, therefore, to safeguard thy treasures from the assaults of them who wish to rob thee. Inquire into their affairs, and ascertain, every year, nay every month, their condition, and be not of them that are careless of their duty.  (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 236)

So imagine if everyone, all at once, realized it was over – the gig was up – and the purpose of life was not to collect the most “stuff” but that the meaning we find in life is in the meaning we give life . . .

One must remember that the purpose of this life is to prepare the soul for the next.  (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 359)

. . . and it is when we are Compassionate and Loving to others that we truly begin to discover who we REALLY are.

You must have infinite love for each other, each preferring the other before himself. The people must be so attracted to you that they will exclaim, “What happiness exists among you!” and will see in your faces the lights of the Kingdom; …You must love your friend better than yourself; yes, be willing to sacrifice yourself . . . I desire that you be ready to sacrifice everything for each other, even life itself.  (‘Abdul-Bahá, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 218)

We must focus all our energies on uplifting the human condition.

They must concentrate every ounce of their energy, and focus their entire attention, on the tasks immediately ahead, resolved to work unremittingly and unflinchingly until the goals of the present Plan are achieved.  (Shoghi Effendi, Letters from the Guardian to Australia and New Zealand, p. 72)

Humanity is asleep and we must awake our friends and our families and our loved ones and the strangers and our friends.

The people in general are all asleep; they are all inadvertent; they are all slumbering, because their thoughts are confined to materialism; they are not at all thoughtful of God’s thoughts.   (Compilations, Baha’i Scriptures, p. 372-373)

We must give a thought not to what we can do for our own comfort and entertainment but what we can do to transform the lives of someone who is disadvantaged by the physical conditions of their worldly experience.

The poor in your midst are My trust; guard ye My trust, and be not intent only on your own ease.  (Baha’u’llah, The Persian Hidden Words, 54)

We are given a choice in this life. Our choice is to focus on the betterment of ourselves (by which we accumulate greater wealth or power) or to work towards the betterment of the world. This is really at the core of all of our other choices. From this core, all other choices will stem.

Aim high, choose noble ends . . .  (Abdu’l-Bahá, The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 104-105)

If we choose to focus on the betterment of the world, then we have an important task ahead of us that will seem daunting and terrible and will challenge the very fibre of our being.

These are the immutable laws of God, from which there is no escape: ‘For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.’  (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 135)

If you experience this horrible excruciating pain then you are doing the right thing!

[Life] brings each one of us crises as well as victories. Our own lives and even the lives of the central Figures of the Faith have been fraught with agony as well as blessing, with failure and frustration and grief, as frequently as with progress. This is the nature of life.  (Universal House of Justice, Quickeners of Mankind, p. 117)

That is because those who are NOT feeling pain are trapped in the old institutions of “numbing” – we numb with prescription drugs, we numb with TV, we numb with alcohol, we numb with an obsession for self-gratification, we numb with work-a-holic approach to life, etc.

Food, drink, shelter and a degree of material comfort are essential, but human beings cannot and never will find fulfillment in these necessities. Nor is contentment to be found in the somewhat more intangible material attainments such as social recognition or political power. Ultimately, not even intellectual achievement satisfies our deepest needs.  (Baha’i International Community, 1995 Oct, Turning Point For All Nations)

If you are feeling pain, then you are NOT numb and that in itself is worth celebrating! Feeling the pain will show you a light on a path free from all pain. But we must travel through the pain to experience True Painlessness – It is the only way to truly discover who we are.

Grief and sorrow do not come to us by chance, they are sent to us by the Divine Mercy for our own perfecting.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 50)

Suffering is both a reminder and a guide. It stimulates us better to adapt ourselves to our environmental conditions, and thus leads the way to self improvement. (Shoghi Effendi, Unfolding Destiny, p. 434)

Once we know Who We Are – Truly – then we will know exactly the right way for us to be the most Compassionate and Loving towards others.

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

Once we know exactly the best way for us to be Compassionate and Loving towards others we will discover that fulfilling this deep craving of our heart will bring us more Joy than we ever thought possible.

If you wish the joy, happiness and the composure of the spirit and the peace of the conscience of Abdul Bahá, strengthen the bonds of union and harmony amongst yourselves so that all of you may become the waves of one sea, the drops of one river, the flowers of one garden, the links of one cuirass, soaring in the atmosphere and breaking forth into one glad song.  (‘Abdul-Bahá, Baha’i Scriptures, p. 379)

We cannot choose how to be Loving and Compassionate until we know who we are really, and once we know who we are really, all other choices become very easy. When all other choices become easy we will be Giving of ourselves in every moment, exactly the way we should be, in a constant stream of Divine Life that improves the condition of humanity moment by moment.

… for any movement animated by love moveth from the periphery to the centre, from space to the Day-Star of the universe. Perchance thou deemest this to be difficult, but I tell thee that such cannot be the case, for when the motivating and guiding power is the divine force of magnetism it is possible, by its aid, to traverse time and space easily and swiftly. (Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 197)

that is because I shared with you, from my heart, from the Divine Light that shines in me, some reflections that the spirit asked me to share. And if you feel inspired, then that is your spirit asking you to do the same in this new moment that brings us to the end of this letter. With your inspiration, smile, from your lips to your heart to all the cells of your body, smile through the pain, smile through any illness, smile through any fear, smile through any discord and anxiety. Smile in gratitude that you are awake and aware.

A bright and happy face cheers people on their way. If you are sad, and pass a child who is laughing, the child, seeing your sad face, will cease to laugh, not knowing why. If the day be dark, how much a gleam of sunshine is prized; so let believers wear smiling happy faces, gleaming like sunshine in the darkness.  (Abdu’l-Bahá, Abdu’l-Bahá in London, p. 124-125)

Believe that you are better in this moment than you were a moment ago and will continue to experience increased conditions of being better in every moment that follows.

Let each morn be better than its eve and each morrow richer than its yesterday.  (Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 138)

The path to painless is only found through pain.

If adversity befall thee not in My path, how canst thou walk in the ways of them that are content with My pleasure? If trials afflict thee not in thy longing to meet Me, how wilt thou attain the light in thy love for My beauty?  (Baha’u’llah, The Arabic Hidden Words 50)

The path to courage is only found through excruciating fear.

Whatever decreaseth fear increaseth courage.  (Baha’u’llah, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 32)

The path to joy is only found through horrific depression.

From the beginning of time sorrow and anxiety, regret and tribulation, have always been the lot of every loyal servant of God. Ponder this in thine heart and consider how very true it is. Wherefore, set thine heart on the tender mercies of the Ancient Beauty and be thou filled with abiding joy and intense gladness.  (Compilations, Bahiyyih Khanum, p. 5)

The path to enlightenment is only found through mind-boggling confusion.

Let not the clamour of a confused and distracted world deter you from contributing your uttermost to this spiritual enterprise.  (Universal House of Justice, 10 Jan 2009, to the Friends gathered at the two Regional Conferences in Canada)

So if you feel these things, at any time, somewhere in you, you may begin to be aware of a Divine Light that says it is okay.

I ask God to strengthen thee in comprehending the mysteries deposited in the reality of existence, to lift up the veil from before thee and thy sister, so that the concealed mystery and the hidden reality become manifest as the sun at noon, and to confirm thy sister and thy husband in entering the Kingdom of God, and heal thee from all physical and spiritual disease in the world of creation.  (Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of Abdu’l-Bahá v1, p. 56)

And when you believe it is okay you will begin to be able to Celebrate through your personal suffering.

Buddha had disciples and he wished to send them out into the world to teach, so he asked them questions to see if they were prepared as he would have them be. “When you go to the East and to the West,” said the Buddha, “and the people shut their doors to you and refuse to speak to you, what will you do?” — The disciples answered and said: “We shall be very thankful that they do us no harm.” — “Then if they do you harm and mock, what will you do?” — “We shall be very thankful that they do not give us worse treatment.” — “If they throw you into prison?” — “We shall still be grateful that they do not kill us.” — “What if they were to kill you?” the Master asked for the last time. “Still,” answered the disciples, “we will be thankful, for they cause us to be martyrs. What more glorious fate is there than this, to die for the glory of God?” And the Buddha said: “Well done!”  (Abdu’l-Bahá, Abdu’l-Bahá in London, p. 63-64)

When you hold suffering and celebrating in your heart at once, you discover Divine Grace.

Only he who is severed from the world shall achieve this ultimate grace, he who is a captive of divine love, empty of passion and self, from every aspect true unto his God, humble, lowly, supplicating, in tears, submissive in the presence of the Lord.  (Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 242)

And when you discover Divine Grace, your destiny to being a deeply Compassionate and Loving human being will be the most easy thing for you to do and you will find yourself completely free from all suffering. Is this not the deepest longing of every heart? Is this not the goal which we all seek to achieve? The good news is, moment by moment, we are indeed achieving it.

 

How to Get What You Want out of Life

Different people look at life in entirely different ways. While some people let things happen to them, others go out and make things happen. It’s very important to have an understanding of which group you belong to.

If you are driven by a compelling vision, you have a greater chance to feel good about yourself.

If you have a true mission, you have a better chance to know where you are going in your life.

When you feel you are in control of your life and events, you will naturally feel more confident and motivated to achieve more.

Life Coaches love to ask questions, to help people come to their own answers. The following is a series of questions for you to ask yourself in order to do some soul searching and to give yourself some insights into what you are all about and why you are here. Having the right question, and answering it well, is one way to get what you want out of life:

1. As a child, what did you dream of becoming?

2. Which three people do you think have influenced your life the most and why?

3. If you could choose your career and get paid whatever you wanted, what would you opt for?

4. What are your top three achievements in life so far? What was so special about them?

5. Doing what makes you the happiest in life?

6. Who are the three people who you admire the most? What are their characteristics and qualities you admire so much?

7. Have you ever helped someone less fortunate than you? If yes, what did you do? If no, why not?

8. List out your greatest strengths?

9. What steps should you take in life to maximise your strengths?

10. What is that one thing for which you would be willing to put everything on the block for? Why?

11. Imagine that all the time you spent till now comes back to you. How would you utilize it now? What would you do with the time this second time round?

12. There are sure to be results/ events in your life you are happy about? What are these? Which are the results/ events you are unhappy about?

13. Is there a word of advice you have picked up from your life so far that you want to pass on to the world?

14. Name one thing you value the most in life?

15. What would you really like to do with your life?

The whole point of getting you to think about those questions was to really get you to think about what you want now and what you wanted for your life when you were younger.

Is it easier for you now, after answering these questions, to realize what you want from life and how you are going to get it?
Research has shown that when you identify a goal and tell another person about it, you’re more likely to carry it out. To make you accountable for moving forward, I’d like you to set a goal from this new learning, and post your comment here, and then when you’ve achieved it, I’d like you to tell us that too.
To order the ebook, click here.

The Secret of Getting Motivated

Have you ever heard these old sayings?

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.
Leave nothing for tomorrow which can be done today.If you’re like me, you’ve probably heard them a hundred times before.Are you one of those people who always put things off till later? Have there been times when you felt you lacked the confidence and skills to do a certain task? Well, you’re not alone! This is a problem that almost everyone goes through at least sometime in their life.Here is a simple equation that you can apply whenever you are faced with the responsibility of taking a decision as to whether something should be done or not.

This is how it goes…

D x V x P > C

­DISSATISFACTION WITH STATUS QUO

First of all, you must be really discontent with the way things are at present.

VISION

You should have a clear vision of the situation that you look forward to attaining through the change. You should also be clear as to why you want it.

PRACTICAL STEPS

You should be aware of the steps involved to implement the change. An action plan detailing the things you need to do has to be drawn up.

D x V x P is the formula of your desire for change.

COST OF CHANGING

What will you have to let go in order to make way for the change? How much will the change cost you? Will it affect your beliefs and ideologies?

The underlying rule is this: you will proceed with the change only if your desire to change is greater than the costs of the change.

Once you’ve decided the cost is worth it, take action. Motivation will provide that inner drive you need to achieve your goals.

Assignment:
Research has shown that when you identify a goal and tell another person about it, you’re more likely to carry it out. To make you accountable for moving forward, I’d like you to set a goal from this new learning, and post it here, and then when you’ve achieved it, I’d like you to post that too.
Are you struggling with motivation in one area of your life? I’m here to help! Contact me for a 30 min free get-acquainted session.