In this issue – Divorce
Would You Rather Be A Flower Or A Ray Of Sunshine?
I was asked to say a few words to the dear South African believers who are here today. I thought I could tell you about a tablet, a very short tablet, revealed by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. The contents of this Tablet are as follows: the Master says the relationships of the believers to the Cause of God are of two kinds. One kind is like the relationship of the flower to the garden. The other relationship is that of the ray of the sun to the sun. “I hope”, Master says, “that your relationship will be of the second kind”. And that is the end of the Tablet!
Now, I have been thinking about this Tablet, and I have been wondering why ‘Abdu’l-Bahá says that he prefers the second kind to the first kind. There is nothing wrong in being a flower in the garden of Bahá’u’lláh. In fact, we have prayers, “O God, make me a flower in Thy garden”. Why is it that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá prefers the other type, which is the ray of the sun?
The sun is the Cause of God, and the ray emanates from it. So I am offering my views, my humble views, about this beautiful, simple tablet of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.
I thought like this, I said, OK, we have a flower in a garden, the flower says, “I like this garden”, in other words, we say, we like the Cause. “I like this garden, I grow in this garden, I am proud of my garden, I am named after this garden”. (I am a Bahá’í) OK, this is all good.
We take the ray of the sun. The ray says exactly all these things, he says, “I am from the sun, I am proud of the sun, I depend everything, all my life on the sun,” etc, etc, exactly the same thing.
But, if you bring one ray and you bring a second ray, what happens? The two rays become one. But if you bring one flower and you bring another flower, they remain two flowers. If on an Assembly or a Bahá’í committee, you bring nine rays and bring them together, they become one strong united ray. But if you bring nine flowers and bring them together, they are a beautiful bouquet, a beautiful flower arrangement, but they are nine different flowers.
If we credit the flower with some thinking, some intelligence and some ego, the flower will say, “Really, I don’t want to say, but I think I‘m better than the others. I think I‘m more beautiful, I think I have a more beautiful scent. I don’t want to talk about it, but… never mind…” This is what the flower will do. Why, because of the ego. The ego is inside. And believe me, this animal ego is in all of us. If we have 20 people in this room, there are 20 egos, no exception. And this ego will be with us till the very last breath. When we go to the next world, we separate, we say goodbye. But until that day, it is with us, it suggests things to us, it deviates us from the right path, because that is the animal in us, it wants everything for itself.
OK, let’s go to the ray now. The ray says, “I have no name, it doesn’t matter. I don’t have colour, it doesn’t matter. I am from the sun. My job is to be faithful and to carry the light of the sun, the heat of the sun. That is my duty. And I am doing it.” It is so pure that if you take a chair, and you go outside where there is the sun, you say, “I am sitting in the sun.” Ha! You are not sitting in the sun. The sun is up there! But the ray is so faithful, so pure, that it carries all the qualities of the sun, in a pure way, so much so that you say I am sitting in the sun.
Now, another difference is that the flower is on the receiving end.” Soil, give me good soil, water, give me good water, light and sun, I want more light.” It’s all the time receiving. “Give me.”
What does the ray do? It doesn’t want anything, the ray gives, it helps the flowers to grow. Big difference between the two!!
So, that is why I think ‘Abdu’l-Bahá says, “It’s good to be a flower in the garden, but better still is to be a ray of the sun. This is my first choice for you, this is what I prefer you to be. To be a ray from the sun, so that you give to others, you are a way of helping others. You are not thinking of yourself. You are thinking of others, to assist others all the time, to give the light, to give the heat, the warmth. (Ali Nakhjavani, Pilgrim’s Notes)
Prayer for Unity
Bring them together again, O Lord, by the Power of Thy Covenant, and gather their dispersion by the Might of Thy Promise, and unite their hearts by the dominion of Thy Love! Cause them to love one another so as to sacrifice their spirits, expend their money and give up their desires for each other’s sake! O Lord, make to descend upon them quietness and tranquillity! Shower upon them the clouds of Thy Mercy in full abundance, and make them to characterize themselves with the characteristics of the spiritual! O Lord, hold us firm in Thy noble command, and bestow upon us Thy Gifts through Thy bounty, grace and beneficence! Verily, Thou art the Generous, the Merciful, and the Benevolent. (‘Abdu’l-Baha, Star of the West, Volume 5 – Issue 15)
This month, we look at the music of Zia Holte – a singer songwriter with a clear, versatile, vocal range. To listen to her version of this love song called “I will Love You” by Fisher
Letters From Your Angels
If you had a direct connection to angels, what would you want, or even need them to say?
This month’s book selection, “Letters From Your Angels” by Zia Holte, is a collection of stunning, non-denominational images, carefully combined with heart-warming words of love, comfort and hope… Words we all need to hear from time to time, but especially during the many challenges life can confront us with.
Read it from beginning to end for a guided journey through the wisdom your angels want to share. Or open to any page to receive the message your angels want you to hear most, at this moment. This book is a gift of love and joy for yourself, loved ones, and anyone who needs an infusion of angelic light—no matter your background or faith.
Zia describes how this book came into being:
In February 2013 my step-father, Roger Harvey, the only Dad I had ever truly known, was murdered. As horrific as this was, the event was all the more traumatic for the fact that he was killed by my very ill brother. In the grief that ensued, I had to turn to my angels like never before… and I could feel them close, comforting me. While the pain and sadness was debilatating, I had a strong sense that somewhere in the mire there would be meaning. I had that hope and clung to it, looking for every gift, every tiny moment of joy, I could. Somewhere along the way I was inspired to start writing a series of “letters”. As I drove up and down Vancouver Island for the funeral arrangements, court procedures and more… I found myself recording more and more letters on my iPhone’s voice memo app. That was the start of “Letters From Your Angels.”
Reza Mostmand Calligraphy
Reza Mostmand is a Persian-Canadian whose calligraphy is an art of discipline and grace. As you can see, his work is a mix of drawing/painting and writing, which allows him to transcend cultural traditions and expectations about the interplay of words and images on the canvas. Many of his pieces are inspired by words from the Baha’i writings, which explore the mysteries of spiritual and material realms of existence. In this digital age, everything he does, is still done by hand.
In the piece above, called ‘Valiant Horseman II’, the calligraphy and picture are based on this quote:
O ye servants of the Sacred Threshold! The triumphant hosts of the Celestial Concourse, arrayed and marshalled in the Realms above, stand ready and expectant to assist and assure victory to that valiant horseman who with confidence spurs on his charger into the arena of service. Well is it with that fearless warrior, who armed with the power of true Knowledge, hastens unto the field, disperses the armies of ignorance, and scatters the hosts of error, who holds aloft the Standard of Divine Guidance, and sounds the Clarion of Victory. By the righteousness of the Lord! He hath achieved a glorious triumph and obtained the true victory. (Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 264)
In an interview with Baha’i Blog, he describes the process he uses:
Often I start with a verse that I like and resonates with me, and depending on the length of the verse I sketch different layout options on paper, and choose the best. Then I determine the steps that are required to create the piece. I usually start by making a light sketch of the design on the final paper and decide where the writings and the visual elements go, the size of the pen I should use and the colours that would suit best. Once the Verse is written and drawings are done, I erase the pencil marks, add colours if necessary and look at the piece from far away to see how well it balance and if it needs any more elements. When the work is done I spray a matte coating over the piece which protects the ink and the paper and makes the piece last longer, and then worry about a complementary matte and frame.
Thanks to all who write in! Your encouragement really keeps me going!
By the way, I accept donations! If you like the materials in these newsletters and on my website, please consider making a donation. Your help and feedback is GREATLY appreciated, to defray the costs of making these available to you!!! There’s a PayPal “Donate” Button at the bottom of every page on my website. Thank you!!!
See you next month! Hope it’s a month filled with light!