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Forgiving Myself 

Change is an evolutionary process requiring loving education, patience with oneself and others, and the passage of time as the believers deepen their knowledge of the principles of the Faith, gradu­ally discard long-held traditional attitudes and progressively conform their lives to the unifying Teachings of the Cause. (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 621)

I’m just learning how harsh I am with myself – I beat myself up so often, especially when I read the Bahá’í Writings.  I see how far I am from being the kind of Bahá’í I want to be, and it fills me with contempt and self-hatred.  I recognize this well-worn rut for what it is – it’s become my addiction.  Putting these negative thoughts on the hamster wheel inside my head and nursing them gives me the adrenaline rush I’ve come to know and depend on, just as an alcoholic depends on the next drink or the drug addict on the next fix.  Something needs to change.  I’m powerless to do it myself.  Along comes this quote, and challenges the voices inside my head.

It’s OK to not be perfect!  Change is an evolution.  I’m not expected to go from awareness to perfection, without the need for further loving education, patience and the passage of time.  Beating myself up is hardly the kind of education that works with anyone.  In fact I would never do to others what I do to myself.  I can take a deep breath, and breathe in God’s love for me and in doing so, letting it rub off on me.  I can cultivate patience.  I can keep deepening my knowledge of the principles of the Faith and gradually, one day at a time, discard these long-held idle fancies as I progressively conform my life to the unifying teachings of the Cause.

Knowing I can discard the drug of self-hatred and adrenalizing and cultivate the drug of love, acceptance, peace, patience, faith and trust, 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

 

 

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Change

Unless the season of winter appear, thunder roll, lightning flash, snow and rain fall, hail and frost descend and the intensity of cold execute its command, the season of the soul-refreshing spring would not come, the fragrant breeze would not waft, the moderation of temperature would not be realized, the roses and hyacinths would not grow, the surface of the earth would not become a delectable paradise, the trees would not bloom, neither would they bring forth fruits and leaves. That fierce inclemency of cold, snow, frost and tempest was the beginning of the manifestation of these roses, hyacinths, buds, blossoms and fruits.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v3, p. 655)

When I was married, I did a lot of growing, educationally, professionally and spiritually but my husband stayed stuck.  He was happy to support me in my endeavors and I was grateful.  I wanted more of an equal partner, though.  Our marriage predictably fell into trouble and I went to 12 marriage counsellors trying to find a way to save it and then all said “there’s no hope.  You have to divorce.”  I knew at the time, that there was one thing I needed to know, which would let me hang in, but I wasn’t able to find it, and the marriage ended.

Many years later, I found the idea of the need for the four seasons.  Many of us marry in spring, where everything is green and fresh and there’s growth everywhere.  When the honeymoon is over, we settle into summer, where everything is warm and cozy.  Then the autumn comes, and change starts to set in.  Leaves begin to change colours.  Instead of being the green we love, I may be yellow and he may be red and I don’t recognize him anymore.  Then winter sets in and everything is cold and dead.  I think most divorces happen in winter, when we forget that winter is always followed by spring.  That’s why I love this quote so much.  It reminds me of the importance of winter.  If I’d understood these things when I was still married, it would have helped me hold on.

Remembering the importance of winter in our lives, I can hold on during times of tests, 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 Making Friends with Sin and Temptation

 

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Coping with Bad News

Being a Bahá’í doesn’t exempt us from bad things happening in our lives:

. . . poverty, disease, bereavement, – they seem to be part of the polish God employs to make us finer, and enable us to reflect more of His attributes!  (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 604)

Let’s face the facts: life is full of both good and bad surprises. You can’t live your life worried about bad news, otherwise you’ll paralyze yourself in fear. Instead, you need to become more resilient and learn how to expect the unexpected.

You really can learn how to cope with unexpected news and become a stronger, more confident person in times of pressure.

Let’s go through some ways to make coping with the unexpected easier.

Expect the Unexpected

Have you ever gotten a call from a friend who cancels a get-together you were looking forward to? This is an extremely trivial example of unexpected news, but it represents what we all deal with on a daily basis.

You may feel disappointed or frustrated, especially if you spent time preparing for the event, but you have two choices: detach from your expectations, move on and make the best of the day, or take offence and allow it to sour your mood and hold you back.

Ask yourself: what do you typically do when you encounter the unexpected?

Well, instead of allowing the change of plans to ruin your day, try to get your mind busy onto something else. Is there a fun activity that you can do at home? Is there something you can do for yourself or your family? You can choose to make the best of things by recognizing the hand of God at work and turning the unexpected into a new opportunity.

Build a Solid Support System

Another way to deal with unexpected news is to turn to your support system. Bad news can come with great pain. If you get the news that someone has passed away, for example, this is something that is going to cause you deep pain and suffering. Of course, it’s normal to feel these very real emotions.

In these times it is important for you to turn to those around you for support. You may need someone to talk to, someone to cry with, or even a helping hand. It’s crucial that surround yourself with positive influences instead of isolating yourself.

Indeed the believers have not yet fully learned to draw on each other’s love for strength and consolation in time of need. The Cause of God is endowed with tremendous powers, and the reason the believers do not gain more from it is because they have not learned to fully draw on these mighty forces of love and strength and harmony generated by the Faith . . .  (Shoghi Effendi, Directives of the Guardian, p. 41)

Using the Power of the Mind to Cope with Bad News

Positive affirmations are another way that you can cope with unexpected news. Affirmations are concise statements that you can use to help you think in a more positive manner.

When bad news is overwhelming you and you don’t know how to cope, you can stop and say:

·I lay all my affairs in thy hand. Thou art my Guide and my refuge.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í Prayers (New American Prayer Book), p. 119.)

·I have renounced my desire for Thy desire, O my God, and my will for the revelation of Thy Will. (Bahá’u’lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, pp. 37-38.)

·Let my movement and my stillness be wholly directed by Thee. (Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations, p. 240.)

·I will be a happy and joyful being. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í Prayers (New American Prayer Book), p.119.

·I will no longer be full of anxiety, nor will I let trouble harass me.(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í Prayers (New American Prayer Book), p.119.)

·I will not dwell on the unpleasant things of life. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í Prayers (New American Prayer Book), p.119.)

·Confidence and assurance, hope and optimism are my prerogative. (Shoghi Effendi, Unfolding Destiny, p. 225.)

·· This will soon pass. (‘Abdu’l-Baha, Star of the West, Vol. 12, No. 181, p. 280.)

When you say these phrases aloud, you’re reaffirming the statement in your mind and you’re re-focusing your energy on solutions, instead of worries. Whether you believe it or not, words have power. Repeating these affirmations may console you and remind you about your strength during difficult situations.

When you use positive affirmations and the other coping techniques mentioned, you will find that you are more confident to deal with whatever life throws your way. Remember, it’s okay to be afraid of uncertainty, but you can equip yourself with the tools, techniques, and support system to overcome any obstacle, challenge, or situation.

What helps you cope with bad news?Post your comments below.