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Overcoming Depression

Mrs. H:  How can I attain to greater stability? I feel terribly discouraged and depressed at times?

Master:  Whenever you feel depressed, go alone into a secret chamber, read one of the Hidden Words and with utmost supplication, beg of Baha’u’llah, to impart to you that happiness which is essential for the future.  Pray with great humbleness:

O God!  Free me from these fetters.  Release me from all these toils.  Make me pure and sanctified.  Illumine me.  Fill my heart with Thy love and attach me to Thyself, so that I may become a captive to Thy love.   May I not seek ought but Thee!  May I not search but for Thy love and may I walk always in Thy path!

Then you will attain to a glorious state – then you will obtain a condition which you would not exchange for the whole world.

Mrs. H:  My great desire is to have more faith.

Master:  This very prayer will bring you the pearl of great price.  (Conversation between the Master and Mrs. Henlay, Feb. 10, 1913, ‘Abdu’l-Baha in France, p. 358)

I love how synchronicity works.  This week, one of my readers asked:

I am interested in perspectives on the healing of the mental and spiritual stresses placed on so many by the forced isolation caused by the pandemic.

While I was pondering how to respond, another reader sent the quote above, thinking I could possibly use it.  Indeed I could!  I was struggling with an issue of injustice that was causing a great deal of anxiety and depression when I finally had a chance to read it, and it helped me in that moment and inspired me to use it to help my reader.

I love the Hidden Words and at one time, had them all memorized.  I used to love playing Spiritual Pursuit, because I always got those questions right.  I’m not going to tell you which one I chose, because it will be different for everyone, but I did put my finger in randomly, and remembered why I loved reading them so much.

There is no prison worse than depression (which I like to think of as self-pity), because when I recognize I’m in the prison of self, I remember I put myself in there and the Bahá’í prayers and Writings are the keys and my “get out of jail free” card.

Knowing there is a simple prayer to remove depression and increase faith, 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 Be Happy

 

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Healing the Stress Caused by Forced Isolation

One of my readers asked:

I am interested in perspectives on the healing of the mental and spiritual stresses placed on so many by the forced isolation caused by the pandemic.

It’s absolutely true, that isolation is not our normal state, and as we go into the 4th wave of the COVID pandemic, with all of the increase in variants, it’s easy to be discouraged with no end in sight.

Baha’is are lucky because the House of Justice has kept us informed every step of the way.  Studying their letters over the past year we see their suggestions.  I especially thought the Naw Ruz letter to the Baha’is of the World a year ago gave us lots of ideas:

. . . ye must rise above the horizon of firmness and steadfastness with illumined faces and radiant brows in such wise that, God willing, the gloom of fear and consternation may be entirely obliterated, and the light of assurance may dawn above the manifest horizon and shine resplendently.  (paragraph 3)

Ask yourself:

  • What helps you rise above your problems?
  • What helps you have illumined faces and radiant brows that people can hear in your voices and see above your masks?
  • How can you provide the light of assurance to your friends, family and neighbors?

Though having to adapt to new circumstances, the believers have used creative means to strengthen bonds of friendship, and to foster among themselves and those known to them spiritual consciousness and qualities of tranquility, confidence , and reliance on God.  (paragraph 3)

Ask yourself:

  • How can I continue to strengthen bonds of friendship?
  • How can I foster spiritual consciousness and qualities of tranquillity, confidence and reliance on God in myself, so I can pass these on to someone else?

The elevated conversations that have occurred as a result, whether remotely or in person, have been a source of comfort and inspiration to many.  (paragraph 3)

Ask yourself:

  • Who can I have an elevated conversation with today? Tomorrow?  Next week?  Make a list and work through it systematically and then repeat.

May your minds be ever bent upon the needs of the communities to which you belong, the condition of the society in which you live and the welfare of the entire family of humanity, to whom you are all brothers and sisters.  (paragraph 5)

Ask yourself:

  • To which communities do I belong (religious, social, recreational, work, school etc)?
  • What are the needs of each community?
  • What can I do to help?

And in your quiet moments, when no course of action other than prayer seems possible, then we invite you to add your supplications to our won and ardently pray for the relief of suffering.  (paragraph 5)

Ask yourself:

  • Which prayers can I say?
  • Who can I pray with?
  • Who can I study a prayer with?

I think carefully studying this letter and answering the questions above and acting on them will be the best possible healing of the mental and spiritual stresses placed on so many by the forced isolation caused by the pandemic.

Knowing there are practical things the House of Justice is asking us to do during the pandemic, 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 Fear into Faith:  Overcoming Anxiety

 

If You Like What You Read, Please Help Keep This Site Alive

Reading the Book of Myself

One must, then, read the book of his own self, rather than some treatise on rhetoric. Wherefore He hath said, “Read thy Book: There needeth none but thyself to make out an account against thee this day. (Bahá’u’lláh, Seven Valleys and Four Valleys, p. 51) 

Over the years I’ve spent building up my website and my blog and trying to publish my books, I’ve had many steep learning curves and I’ve always turned to guru’s to help me, rather than take my problems to God.  This has caused an inordinate amount of stress and frustration as I’ve literally willed my way through the obstacles and blocks until I just couldn’t do it anymore.  I’d ruined my health and my will.

As I recover from workaholism and an addiction to the adrenaline rush of doing things my way, myself, I’m learning to “read the book of myself”, by listening to my body’s wisdom.  I ask:  what is this ache and pain trying to tell me?  What is God’s will for me in the moment?  What’s the next right action I need to take?  Am I living in the present (the home of serenity) or in the future (the home of anxiety)?

I’m also learning that what other people think of me is none of my business.  I don’t have to be perfect for anyone, including God.  I don’t need anyone’s approval, except God’s.  I can let go of all caretaking, approval seeking and people-pleasing and focus on building a relationship with God and with myself.

God’s opinion and guidance are all I need for today, 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 Getting to Know Your Lower Nature

 

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Ways to Combat Stress

. . . in view of these passages, you may wish to focus some of your reading and meditations on the lives and sufferings of the Cen­tral Figures of the Faith. Similarly, we are assured by the Guardian that the Tablet of Ahmad, the Healing Prayer and the Fire Tablet each have a special potency, and you will doubtless wish to avail yourself of them, if you are not already doing so. It is interesting to note as well that Shoghi Effendi encouraged the believers to study the Dawn-Break­ers, which he described as an “unfailing instrument to allay distress.”  (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, 23 October, 1994)

As someone who suffers from adrenal fatigue I need to avoid all forms of stress, good and bad, while my adrenals recover.  If I don’t, I will never have the energy I need to serve the Faith I love so dearly.  This quote helped give some some great ideas on ways to allay distress:

  • focus some of my reading and meditations on the lives and sufferings of the Cen­tral Figures of the Faith
  • Recite the Tablet of Ahmad, the Long Healing Prayer and the Fire Tablet
  • study the Dawn-Break­ers 

I love all of these suggestions but I have a special connection to the Fire Tablet, because it’s like reading about Bahá’u’lláh’s bad day and the way He poured His heart out to God about all the things that were going wrong, and God answered back, very gently, reminding Him of the purpose of His tests and that His purpose was to “bear and endure”.  I also love the Dawn Breakers, because reading about the early believers and all the things they had to endure, puts my “first world problems” into perspective and I feel more grateful for the life I have with all its bounties and blessings, and I’ve learned that gratitude is one of the best ways to beat stress.

Knowing there are some concrete tools I can use to overcome stress, 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 Fear into Faith:  Overcoming Anxiety

Help Keep This Site Alive

 

 

Letting Go of Stress

Once a professor began his class by holding up a glass with some water in it. He held it up for all to see and asked the students, “how much do you think this glass weighs? ’50gms!’?…’100gms…’125gms’….

Put the Glass Down

By Dr.Claude Shema-Rutagengwa, Pr.Dr.Udaya Kumar and Pr.Dr.Dietrich

Once a professor began his class by holding up a glass with some water in it. He held it up for all to see and asked the students, “how much do you think this glass weighs? ’50gms!’?…’100gms…’125gms’….

The students answered, “I really don’t know unless I weigh it.”

The professor said, ‘now, my question is: What would happen if I held it up like this for a few minutes?’

‘Nothing’ the students said.

“OK what would happen if I held it up like this for an hour?” the professor asked.

“Your arm would begin to ache” said one of the students.

“You’re right, now what would happen if I held it for a day?”

“Your arm could go numb; you might have severe muscle stress & paralysis; have to go to hospital for sure! Ventured another student”, all the students laughed.

“Very good. But during all this, did the weight of the glass change?” Asked the professor.

“No” was the reply of all the students.

“Then what caused the arm to ache; the muscle to stress?” After a pause the professor asked “Before my arm ache, what should I do?”

The students were puzzled.

“Put the glass down!” said one of the students.

“Exactly!” said the professor, “Life’s problems are exactly like this. Hold it for a few minutes in your head; they seem OK. Think of them for a long time; they begin to ache. Hold it even longer; they begin to paralyze you. You will not be able to do anything.”

It’s important to think of the challenges (problems) in your life, but EVEN MORE IMPORTANT to ‘put them down’ at the end of every day before you go to sleep. That way, you are not stressed, you wake up every day fresh; strong; can handle any issue, any challenge that comes your way!

Remember to put the glass down everyday!