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Reflecting on Inuit Values

I found this in the Nunavut News North, Monday Dec 3, 2012, p.12 as an “Opinion Piece” in a column called “In My View”, written by Harry Maksagak of Cambridge Bay.

As I read it, I couldn’t help but think about how much the Inuit have to teach the Bahá’ís; and the world.

Bahá’ís all over the world are trying to implement Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings and sometimes it’s hard to know how to translate them into action.  The Inuit know how and could teach all of us!

The Government of Nunavut is trying to keep the Inuit values in the forefront of its operations.  These values go back to the historical beginnings and reflect how we should be today.

They are simple but straightforward:

Concepts of serving:  this is central to the Inuit style of leadership as is the measure of maturity and wisdom of an Inuk.  The key here is the understanding that each person has a contribution to make and is a valued contributor to his/her community.

Consensus decision-making:  this concept relies on strong communication skills and a strong belief in shared goals; being able to think and act collaboratively, to assist with the development of shared understandings.

Skills and knowledge acquisition:  capacity building is important to the success of Inuit in a harsh environment.  Demonstrating empowerment leads to a successful and productive life.

Working together for a common cause:  I like to look at this as Inuit having full autonomy both in municipal and territorial governments.  Too often we get southerners moving up North because a friend or relative sends word that it is a piece of cake to get into municipal and territorial politics, or into employment because the community members can’t handle it, well you know what I meant.

Respecting others, relationships and caring for people:  This concept shows how we put ourselves aside and be concerned with others or just letting people know that we care and are willing to help as much as we can.

These are just a few thoughts I thought I’d leave you with as we approach the Christmas season and for us to practice our humanity.

Effects of Bitterness

What are the Effects of Bitterness?


Enmity is darkness in whatsoever abode it dwell.  (Abdu’l-Bahá, Baha’i World Faith, p. 216)

Destruction and Dispersion:

If enmity and hatred exist within [a family] destruction and dispersion are inevitable. This is likewise true of a city.  (Abdu’l-Bahá, Baha’i World Faith, p. 229)

The fierceness of the flame of enmity and hatred cannot but result in strife and ruin.  (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 95)

For strife and warfare are the very destroyers of human foundations.  (Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 98)

Therefore, as strife and dissension destroy a family and prevent its progress, so nations are destroyed and advancement hindered.  (Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 157)

Destructive to Truth:

Antagonism and contradiction are . . . always destructive to truth.  (Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 72)

Health problems:  Bitterness and unforgiveness are the number one blocks to healing. They have been implicated in many health issues, including ulcers, heart attacks and some forms of cancer; or can lead to addictive behaviours (drugs, alcohol, smoking, sex outside marriage, driving too fast . . . ) or even ultimately to suicide.

. . . anger doth burn the liver: avoid [it] as you would a lion.  (Bahá’u’lláh, The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, p. 460)


. . . think ye of hostility and hatred as the torments of hell.  (Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Bahá, pp. 243-246)

Loss of Respect:

Mutual respect will not come about through separatism or antagonism.  (Baha’i International Community, 1988 Aug 01, Rights of Indigenous Populations)

Spiritually Corrosive:

However, to continue dialogue with those who have shown a fixed antagonism to the Faith, and have demonstrated their imperviousness to any ideas other than their own, is usually fruitless and, for the Bahá’ís who take part, can be burdensome and even spiritually corrosive.  (The Universal House of Justice, 1992 Dec 10, Issues Related to Study Compilation)


If we are caused joy or pain by a friend, if a love prove true or false, it is the soul that is affected. If our dear ones are far from us — it is the soul that grieves, and the grief or trouble of the soul may react on the body.  Thus, when the spirit is fed with holy virtues, then is the body joyous; if the soul falls into sin, the body is in torment.  (Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 65-66)

Veils between us and God: Bitterness creates veils between us and God.  Holding on to it is like drinking poison and hoping it will corrode someone else.  The result is separation, and separation from God is too high a price to pay.  It subverts our purpose in life, which is to “know God and worship Him”; to draw closer.

Nearness to Thee is the true life of them who are Thy lovers. (Baha’u’llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah, p. 77)


For more in this series:

Introduction to Bitterness:
Examples of Bitterness:
Bahá’í Quotes on Bitterness:
The 7 Underlings of Bitterness:
How Bitterness Works:
Causes of Bitterness:
Estrangement as an Outcome of Bitterness:
Warning Signs for Bitterness:
Solutions to Bitterness:



5 Ways to Focus and Get Back on Task

In my life coaching practice, I’m often asked what the Bahá’í Writings teach about setting goals and keeping focused on the most important tasks. Each day, there are dozens of tasks calling our names, at work, at home and in our Bahá’í communities. With life being so busy it’s easy to lose focus on the big picture. Shoghi Effendi offered some guidance when he said:

[They] must approach their task with absolute detachment, and must concentrate their attention on the most important and pressing issues. (Principles of Bahai Administration, p. 67)

But, how many times have you gone to bed wondering what you actually accomplished that day? Or have you ever felt like your day was somehow wasted?

To avoid these feelings, you can try a few different methods to get yourself back on track. Rather than bemoaning your wasted time, resolve to regain your focus and get back on task.

There’s a famous quote about focus by the great philosopher Confucius: “If you chase two rabbits, you catch none.” True, there might be people who are able to multitask and do it relatively well; but more often than not, people who split their attention between two different tasks have a more difficult time completing both tasks well.That’s where detachment becomes so important.

Here are five ways to regain your focus and get back on task:

1.Eliminate the distractions. Get rid of the barriers that are causing you to avoid getting things done – it’s that simple! Forget about checking email every five minutes; those emails will still be there when you complete your task. Make a list of distractions and eliminate!

·Turn off the phone and let the voice mail take over.

·Close the blinds in your office.

·Turn off the music if you find yourself singing more than working.

·Simply closing the door to your office can give you more privacy and more focus.

2.Prioritize your work. Rather than working on projects simultaneously, take one thing at a time, focus on it, and worry about all the other projects later. Ultimately, you’ll get a lot more done and you’ll finish it more quickly. You’ll also be recognized by the high quality that you deliver when you’re free from distractions. As the Bahá’í Writings teach:

“Leave the important for the most important” (Shoghi Effendi, Quickeners of Mankind, p. 109)

·Find a way to prioritize that works best for you. Choose either the project that has the earliest deadline or the one with the least components so you can finish it quickly and get it out of the way. There are pros and cons to both systems so tackle it whichever way works for you.

3.Tell everyone to respect your time. There are many nice and respectful ways to tell people to back off. If you’re finding yourself in a time crunch and can’t seem to get away from others, consider letting them know that you need time to finish some important tasks. There are a lot of different ways to do it – just make sure you do!

·Set times that you’ll accept phone calls and even visitors. Tell them to contact you by email and then set a regular time to check your email.

·Set business hours during which people can expect you to return their calls or emails.

4.Set some limitations with your internet access. The internet is wonderful but it can be a huge time waster, especially if you work at a computer all day long. Regain your focus with some self-imposed rules.

·First, close all those windows you’re not using. Avoid MySpace or Facebook, quit searching on eBay, and leave messenger alone!

·Establish certain times each day to use these fun things and just focus on what you have to do. You’ll quickly accomplish more!

5.Have confidence in your abilities. This may seem like a really small thing when it comes to focusing and getting back on task, but believing that you can get everything done that you set out to do puts you in a positive frame of mind and you’ll be less distracted with stress and worry.

·Have confidence that you can complete each task with ease and believe in your ability to deliver. If you’ll just have the confidence, you’re sure to have the focus!

Now that you’ve been introduced to five ways to focus and get back on task, it’s up to you to take action and learn how to focus your thoughts. If you’ve got to get stuff done, follow these steps so you can put yourself – and your goals – first!

What helps you to focus and get back on track?Post your comments here.