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Is your daily routine so busy and full of activities that it’s causing you stress and agitation?  We’ve all heard of the health risks associated with too much stress, but how can you reduce that stress and find peace in your life?  Thankfully, the Bahá’í Faith requires us to take time everyday, for the gift of prayer and meditation.

There are many benefits to meditation and prayer:

1. Stress reduction. Both meditation and prayer are wonderful for reducing stress. You’ll find that it helps you learn how to get away from the worries of life to a more peaceful state of mind.

• Just 15 minutes a day can make a huge difference by bringing peace and relaxation to your body and mind. A few minutes each day isn’t much, considering that the positive effects will last hours.  If we say a couple of prayers in the morning and at night, plus the short obligatory prayer and 95 Alláh-u-Abhás mid-day, we will live in a state of prayer all day, and it won’t take more than 15 minutes total.

Supplication to God at morn and eve is conducive to the joy of hearts.  (Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, vol. 1, p. 186)

2. Improved health. Many studies have proven that prayer and meditation foster vibrant health. Usually these health benefits, such as lower blood pressure and decreased risk of heart disease, occur because of the lowered stress levels.

• Physical problems are often a symptom of turmoil on the inside and prayer and meditation can help to overcome that turmoil.

3. Better control over your thoughts. Having negative thoughts from time to time is part of being human. Many people who are stressed don’t believe they’re able to control what they think. The stress mounts, tempers flair, and before long arguments ensue.

However, by bringing prayer and meditation into your life, it’s possible to control your thoughts and stop negative thinking as soon as it happens. This helps keep your mind at peace.

4. Happiness. Both peace of mind and happiness are true benefits of meditation and prayer. Everyone is seeking happiness in their lives, and when you’re able to find peace of mind through prayer and meditation, you’re also welcoming happiness into your life.

By spending some time in personal reflection, you’ll gain a greater wisdom of your mission in this life, and you’ll be better able to appreciate all that you’ve been given, both good and bad. Meditation and prayer help banish those negative thoughts that threaten your peace of mind.

As the Bahá’í Writings teach us:

At that hour will the mystic Herald, bearing the joyful tidings of the Sprit, shine forth from the city of God resplendent as the morn, and, through the trumpet-blast of knowledge, will awaken the heart, the soul, and the spirit from the slumber of negligence.  Then will the manifold favours and outpouring grace of the holy and everlasting Spirit confer such new life upon the seeker that he will find himself endowed with a new eye, a new ear, a new heart, and a new mind.  He will contemplate the manifest signs of the universe, and will penetrate the hidden mysteries of the soul.  Gazing with the eye of God, he will perceive within every atom a door that leadeth him to the stations of absolute certitude.  He will discover in all things the mysteries of divine Revelation and the evidences of an everlasting manifestation.   (Bahá’u’lláh, Kitáb-I-Iqán  p. 125-6)

5. Better concentration. As you pray and meditate, you welcome peace and tranquility into your mind, which then affects how you live your life. When you alleviate the stresses in your life, you’re better able to concentrate on the things that are important, such as family or work.

• Continued prayer and meditation will help you expand your focus to multiple areas of your life.

Although prayer and meditation can provide peace in your life, it can be hard to make the time at first, but it’s easier than you think. Simply find a quiet place in your home and allow yourself to relax and feel at peace for 10-15 minutes. You deserve those 15 minutes of peace each day!

Should a person recite but a single verse from the Holy Writings in a state of joy and radiance, this would be better for him than reciting wearily all the Scriptures of God . . .  Recite ye the verses of God in such measure that ye be not overtaken with fatigue or boredom.  Burden not your souls so as to cause exhaustion and weigh them down, but rather endeavour to lighten them, that they may soar on the wings of revealed Verses unto the dawning-place of His signs.  This is conducive to nearer access unto God, were ye to comprehend.  (Bahá’u’lláh, The Importance of Prayer, Meditation and a Devotional Attitude, p. 3)

While there are plenty of positive benefits of prayer and meditation, it may take practice and perseverance to achieve them. Over time you’ll begin to experience this wonderful gift in your own life and you’ll be thankful that you did!

What have you noticed when you pray and meditate?  Post your comments here: