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Overeating

Nabil Moghaddam is in his final year of a three-year program in Homeopathy, Health Sciences and Nutrition through the Canadian College of Homeopathic Medicine who are regulating the homeopathic profession in Ontario, and his thorough training matches the competencies required by the College of Homeopaths of Ontario.

He’s combining his knowledge of the Writings, with the learning he is getting in his program.  It’s the first time I’ve seen anyone attempt to balance science and religion on this topic.

Here is what the Writings have to say about homeopathy as a scientific discipline:

One of the friends of Persia wrote to Shoghi Effendi and asked this question: “Is it true that ‘Abdu’l-Baha has said that biochemical homeopathy, which is a form of food medicine, is in conformity with the Bahá’í medical concept?” The beloved Guardian’s reply to this question in a letter dated 25th November, 1944 was as follows: “This statement is true, and the truth thereof will be revealed in the future.”   (Shoghi Effendi and Universal House of Justice, The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, p. 485).

The Importance of Good Self-Care

 

There are so many demands made on Bahá’ís at this time in history, when the needs of the Faith are so great and the workers so few.  Many people try to do it all, burn out, and then become inactive.  Let’s look at some ways to avoid this.

Moderation:

Baha’u’llah tells us we need to have moderation at all times, and not to overstep its bounds:

In all circumstances they should conduct themselves with moderation. (Bahá’u’lláh, Lights of Guidance, p. 294)

Overstep not the bounds of moderation. (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 235)

When our lives are out of balance, we won’t be able to exert a beneficial influence on the world.

Whatsoever passeth beyond the limits of moderation will cease to exert a beneficial influence. (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 216)

Rest:

Taking care of your health is the best means to enable you to serve the Faith:

You should not neglect your health, but consider it the means which enables you to serve. It—the body—is like a horse which carries the personality and spirit, and as such should be well cared for so it can do its work! You should certainly safeguard your nerves, and force yourself to take time, and not only for prayer meditation, but for real rest and relaxation.  (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 296)

Time to rest is essential or you will become weak and powerless and unable to work:

I understand you have been ill and obliged to rest; never mind, from time to time rest is essential, otherwise, like unto ‘Abdu’l-Bahá from excessive toil you will become weak and powerless and unable to work. Therefore rest a few days, it does not matter. I hope that you will be under the care and protection of the Blessed Beauty.  (Amatu’l-Bahá Ruhiyyih Khanúm, The Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, from a tablet to Shoghi Effendi written by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá)

What did ‘Abdu’l-Bahá do?  Sometimes he hid from others while he recuperated!

‘Abdu’l-Bahá moved, on the 27th, to the hotel in Rue Lauriston where He had stayed before. He was very tired, and needed a few days’ rest before people learned where He resided.  (H.M. Balyuzi, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá – The Centre of the Covenant, p. 393)

Sleep

Shoghi Effendi suggests that most of us need a minimum of 8 hours sleep each night; and tells us we should protect our health by sleeping enough:

Regarding your question: there are very few people who can get along without eight hours sleep. If you are not one of those, you should protect your health by sleeping enough. The Guardian himself finds that it impairs his working capacity if he does not try and get a minimum of seven or eight hours.  (Shoghi Effendi, Compilation of Compilations, V I, p. 459-488)

When we sleep, it should be to rest the body so we can be better teachers and servants, and when we orient ourselves in this way, the confirmations of the Holy Spirit will surely reach us, we will be able to withstand all who inhabit the earth:

If he sleep, it should not be for pleasure, but to rest the body in order to do better, to speak better, to explain more beautifully, to serve the servants of God and to prove the truths. When he remains awake, he should seek to be attentive, serve the Cause of God and sacrifice his own stations for those of God. When he attains to this station, the confirmations of the Holy Spirit will surely reach him, and man with this power can withstand all who inhabit the earth.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 384)

We Can’t Do Everything:

This is a faith of universal participation – everyone has a part to play; and one person can’t do it all:

A unity in diversity of actions is called for, a condition in which different individuals will concentrate on different activities, appreciating the salutary effect of the aggregate on the growth and development of the Faith, because each person cannot do everything and all persons cannot do the same thing. This understanding is important to the maturity which, by the many demands being made upon it, the community is being forced to attain.  (The Universal House of Justice, A Wider Horizon, Selected Letters 1983-1992, p. 80)

Conclusion:

‘Abdu’l-Bahá asked us to consider the human body as an example, and this was absolutely key to my understanding that the advent of the Most Great Peace was not on my shoulders alone.

In the same way consider the body of man. It must be composed of different organs, parts and members. Human beauty and perfection require the existence of the ear, the eye, the brain and even that of the nails and hair; if man were all brain, eyes or ears, it would be equivalent to imperfection. So the absence of hair, eyelashes, teeth and nails would be an absolute defect, though in comparison with the eye they are without feeling, and in this resemble the mineral and plant; but their absence in the body of man is necessarily faulty and displeasing.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 129)

I came to understand that I was just a big toenail; not the whole body.  I didn’t have to feel badly because I couldn’t see or walk, any more than the knee would expect to see; or the ear expect to walk.  But if I didn’t do my job as big toenail to the best of my ability, the whole body would suffer.

What body part best describes you?  Post your comments here:

Setting Boundaries

 

This week, in my Bahá’í-inspired life coaching practice, I was working with a woman who felt taken advantage of by her 3 teenagers and husband, in their seemingly endless demands on her time and energy, to the point that she was feeling angry and resentful and didn’t know what to do. She asked about setting boundaries. Was there guidance from the Writings on this topic?

She knew about the principles of the oneness of humanity and the quotes that talked about being loving, selfless and long-suffering, but wondered if there were any quotes to support setting up boundaries, to prevent people from walking all over her and so that she could stop feeling like a doormat. What was she supposed to do?

If we’re all one, where are the lines between where one person stops and another starts? Perhaps the key is in frank and loving consultation. The proponents of “tough love” tell us that loving someone doesn’t always feel good, and speaking our truth frankly takes many of us outside our comfort zones.

Like most women, she’s uncomfortable expressing anger – she doesn’t like how it makes her feel. She’s afraid of being not loved or being too self-centred for wanting some time to herself. She feels that if she gets angry, she will somehow come across as “holier than thou”. She wonders that if she looks at their good qualities and overlooks their faults, is she being stupid or spiritually healthy?

We spoke about ‘Abdul-Bahá’s comment:

When Christ’s said; “Whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the left one also,” it was for the purpose of teaching men not to take personal revenge.
‘Abdul-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 270

Revenge wasn’t what she was after; she just was tired of being taken advantage of: a common refrain of most women!

She was trying to be selfless and sacrificial but wondered if doing things for them all the time was exceeding the bounds of moderation, especially if she was doing things they could and should be doing for themselves.

If the reality of man is his thoughts, then perhaps it’s a matter of how we think about the actions we choose. For example, if we see ourselves as putting up with whatever other’s ask of us, we’re being a victim and if we deliberately choose to develop the virtue of being long suffering, we’re being virtuous. If we dwell on the unpleasant things of life, we make them bigger and our resentment grows, when instead we can choose to focus our thoughts on love and unity.

So then we looked at:

If one person assaults another, the injured one should forgive him.
‘Abdul-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 270

She was willing to forgive. That wasn’t the issue. We remembered the story of a time when someone took advantage of ‘Abdul-Bahá for 25 years, and all the time, ‘Abdul-Bahá would pay his medical bills and make sure his family had something to eat. Here was a time when ‘Abdul-Bahá didn’t throw up His hands and say He’d had enough. He just kept being patient, loving and forgiving.

Sometimes it’s easy to look to the idea of boundary setting rather than to focus on love and unity but if we truly want to bring about the Kingdom of God on earth, we have to start somewhere.

What are your thoughts on boundary setting? Post your comments here.

Teaching Children to Have High Moral Standards

 

One of the clients in my Bahá’í-inspired life coaching practice posed this question: How do we encourage our kids to have higher moral standards than society around us, without making them feel isolated from their classmates?Perhaps the first thing is to be a good role model ourselves. Our children must see that our deeds match our words. If we don’t drink, do drugs, smoke, or have extra-marital sex, our children will accept this is the norm and be uncomfortable around people who do.

Get them into a junior youth program, so they can discuss these issues with their peers and a youth animator, who is slightly older.

It’s helpful to study these compilations with them and get their comments:

  • Youth Can Move the World
  • A Chaste and Holy Life
  • Individual Rights and Freedoms.

There is a powerful protection for our souls in saying the Obligatory prayers and 95 Alláh-u-Abhás each day, so encouraging our children to recite these prayers will ensure they are protected, and that way, the job is in God’s hands.

Moderation is a wonderful virtue! It’s easy to become outraged by the lyrics on the music they listen to, or by the sexually explicit music videos they watch, or the computer games and movies they view. A natural tendency would be to ban them all.

Recently I came across the concept of vertical vs. Horizontal influences. Vertical influences are the ones which raise our souls up to our Creator, and horizontal influences are ones that keep us trapped in the prison of self. If there is a balance between the 2 influences in our children’s lives, they should feel connected both to their peers and to God.

How do you teach your kids to have high moral standards? Post your comments here: