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Waiting on God’s Direction

However, relying upon God, we conducted ourselves with the utmost patience and submission, resignation and calmness; so much that if one did not know anything about these matters, he would have thought that we were in perfect ease of soul, enjoying the tranquility of heart mind, and were engaged in happiness and felicity.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v1, p. 45)

It’s hard for me to rely on God when I’m impatient for something to happen or a quick decision to be made and I’m learning that it’s at these times I need to hold tight to His cord even more.  Test number one!

It’s even harder to do it with patience, let alone “utmost patience”.  Test number two!

It’s harder still to submit to God’s will, especially if I have to be “utmost patient” for years, as I’ve had to do with several important issues that apparently, it’s not within my power to rush.  And even harder when God’s given me a disappointing NO!  Test number three!

It’s also hard to be resigned (or worse yet, radiantly acquiescent) in the face of so many tests.  Test number four!

And calm?  Really, God?  On top of everything else, you want me to be calm, when so many emotions are churning around inside me? Test number five!

And finally, to not let anyone know I’m struggling, to wear that “Feast face”, so that everyone around me would think that I’m “in perfect ease of soul, enjoying the tranquility of heart mind, and were engaged in happiness and felicity”.  Test number six!

So many tests embedded in that one quote.

Knowing that reliance on God comes with other things I have to consider, and that all He wants is for me to strive, I am grateful!

What jumped out for you when you read this passage?  Please share your thoughts below.

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The Reason We Have Tests

The more difficulties one sees in the world the more perfect one becomes. The more you plough and dig the ground the more fertile it becomes. The more you cut the branches of a tree the higher and stronger it grows. The more you put the gold in the fire the purer it becomes. The more you sharpen the steel by grinding the better it cuts. Therefore, the more sorrows one sees the more perfect one be­comes. That is why, in all times, the Prophets of God have had tribula­tions and difficulties to withstand. The more often the captain of a ship is in the tempest and difficult sailing the greater his knowledge be­comes. Therefore I am happy that you have had great tribulations and difficulties… Strange it is that I love you and still I am happy that you have sorrows. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of the West, Vol. XIV, No. 2, p. 41).

I’ve always loved this quote, because it uses practical examples that are easy to understand, but the thing I love best is when `Abdu’l-Bahá tells us “Strange it is that I love you and still I am happy that you have sorrows”.  It seems such an odd way to end this quote.  The clue is in the middle though:  “the more sorrows one sees the more perfect one be­comes.”

Why is it important for us to become more perfect than we were?  I think it’s so we can increase our capacity and be better fit for service; better soldiers in the Army of God.  We know we’re never going to be perfect.  That’s a station reserved for `Abdu’l-Bahá, but we can become more perfect as we accept the tests instead of railing against them, feeling punished by God or sorry for ourselves.  When I’m being tested (as I am today!), I need to remember to let go, trust God and enjoy the ride, remembering it all serves a purpose.

Knowing the purpose of my tests, I can relax into them, and 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 Learning How to Be Happy

 

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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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Patience

We must not only be patient with others, infinitely patient, but also with our own poor selves, remembering that even the Prophets of God sometimes got tired and cried out in despair!  (Shoghi Effendi, Unfolding Destiny, p. 456)

As a recovering perfectionist, who likes to think she’s in control of her world, I often find myself impatient with others who don’t move as quickly as I do, who don’t do things the way I would do them or don’t do them the way I want them done.  Worse, I am often impatient with God, and when He doesn’t answer my prayers fast enough, I take them back and try to solve them myself!  I think that living in a world of instant communication and drive through fast food restaurants, I forget that the journey is more important than the destination; the process is more important than the event.

In God’s world, there is no time; no past or present.  There’s just now, and in this moment, I have all the time, money, love and energy I need to take the next right action.  When I’m looking for a certain result, I’m in self-will and functioning from my ego and when I take time to pause, pray, meditate, give my life over to God, breathe and take the next right action, there’s no need for impatience.  When I find myself impatient, I can remember this quote and not beat myself up because I know that if it’s OK for the Manifestations to get tired and cry out in despair, God still loves me when I’m in this state.

Relaxing into the moment, trusting God with the journey and all the obstacles in my path, 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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Patience 

We must not only be patient with others, infinitely patient, but also with our own poor selves, remembering that even the Prophets of God sometimes got tired and cried out in despair!  (Shoghi Effendi, Unfolding Destiny, p. 456)

I love this quote!  As someone who realizes that the standards of the Faith with regards to my behavior towards others is very high, this quote tells me that it’s equally important to be patient with myself.  Change takes time.  I want what I want and I want it now and when I can’t have it, I use my mind to find a solution or a way around the obstacle in my path, trying to push things forward that can’t be pushed.  I’ve driven myself to exhaustion with my impatience.

Now I need to meditate on the times when the Prophets of God got tired and cried out in despair and two times come immediately to my mind.  When Jesus Christ had been on the cross for nine hours, He said:  “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  We see Bahá’u’lláh pouring His heart out to God in absolute despair when we read the Fire Tablet.

Knowing that I don’t have to be perfect, I can relax and be 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 Letting Go of Criticizing Others

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