If we allow our attention and energy to be taken up in efforts to keep others right and remedy their faults, we are wasting precious time. We are like ploughmen each of whom has his team to manage and his plough to direct, and in order to keep his furrow straight he must keep his eye on his goal and concentrate on his own task. If he looks to this side and that to see how Tom and Harry are getting on and to criticize their ploughing, then his own furrow will assuredly become crooked. (From a letter dated 12 May 1925 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, in Living the Life, pp. 5–7)
I love this quote because I seldom see Shoghi Effendi use English idioms such as “Tom, Dick and Harry”. It seems unlikely that Tom and Harry are Persian names! So everytime I read this quote, it makes me giggle. I also love the imagery. It’s so easy to see the ploughmen looking to this side and that, and the furrows weaving all over the place. Don’t we all do that? Don’t we all have a tendency to look around and compare ourselves to others, and either feel superior or less-than? I’ve heard it called “compare and despair” and that’s what it feels like to me. When I’m in despair, I lose motivation to do anything, which is definitely wasting precious time. As Bahá’ís, we don’t have any time to waste. You may remember memorizing this quote in Ruhi Book 4:
There is no time to lose. There is no room left for vacillation. Multitudes hunger for the Bread of Life . . . God’s own Plan has been set in motion. It is gathering momentum with every passing day . . . Such an opportunity is irreplaceable . . . To try, to persevere, is to insure ultimate and complete victory. (Shoghi Effendi, Messages to America, #75)
We’ve been given a Plan, which all of the Institutions are asking us to win in the next few months. That’s the big goal we need to keep focused on. With God’s help, we’ll win it, to honor the efforts of the Bicentennials.
Remembering where to keep my eye focused, 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 Criticizing Others