We cannot segregate the human heart from the environment outside us and say that once one of these is reformed everything will be improved. Man is organic with the world. His inner life molds the environment and is itself also deeply affected by it . . . Through them [the Baha’i teachings] will the human heart be changed, and also our social environment provides the atmosphere in which we can grow spiritually and reflect in full the light of God. (on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, Compilation of Compilations, V1, #3.3)
I had to read this quote several times before I thought I might understand what Shoghi Effendi is saying. Starting from the end and moving backwards, it reminds me that my social environment provides the atmosphere in which I can grow spiritually, but it also deeply affects my inner life.
As a highly sensitive introvert, I can only be out in the world a short time before the world’s negativity draws me under like an undertow and I need to isolate myself for awhile before I can regain my equilibrium and go out into the world again. I’m like a cell phone that’s near the end of its life, unable to hold a charge for very long without needing to be plugged in again.
I used to compare myself to others, and to other Writings which urge us to be more and do more, which fed my addiction to beating myself up. Now I’m more gentle with myself, forgiving myself, understanding that God created me as an introvert, and gave me unique tests to shape my character. He knows my weakness and frailties and yet, He chose me to be part of His army of light, so it’s OK to need time to recharge my battery.
Now that I’m conscious of my own motives and God’s mercy and forgiveness, there’s no need to beat myself up, 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 Forgive