Unfortunately, not only average people, but average Bahá’ís are very immature; gossip, trouble-making, criticism, seem easier than the putting into practice of love, constructive words and cooperation. (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 90)
It’s so true! It’s a lot easier for me to gossip and criticize. We live in a climate that encourages gossip and backbiting, and for many years, I got a false sense of intimacy with other people, by falling into this trap to hold onto friendships.
Three ideas helped me put a stop to this behavior: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (Lights of Guidance, p. 88) tells us that “the worst human quality and the most great sin is backbiting”. In the Iqan (p. 193) Bahá’u’lláh tells us that “Backbiting quencheth the light of the heart, and extinguisheth the life of the soul”. In The Hidden Words (Arabic 27), we learned that even breathing the sins of others causes us to be “accursed” by God.
Thankfully, these ideas are helping me get a better handle on staying clear of gossip. Being around it anymore, feels like immersing myself in poison, so I avoid it like the plague, but criticism is a lot harder for me to let go of. So much of my life I’ve been disheartened at the way things turned out, that I’ve come to expect to be disappointed. My default reaction is to see what’s wrong instead of seeing what’s right. Fortunately Abdu’l-Baha (Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 93) reminds me that “the imperfect eye beholds imperfections.” When I remember to look to God, and His perfections, I feel more grounded and more able to stay positive and avoid falling into the trap of criticism.
When I remember that everything is perfect just as it is, and my only job is to love, use constructive words and cooperate with others, 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 Letting Go of Criticizing Others