Stories from Within: Toby San Luis

‘Stories from Within’ is a Baha’i Blog initiative where, through an audio interview and photographs, we share a short intimate piece about a Baha’i.

In this piece we feature Toby San Luis, a Baha’i living on the island of Kailua, Hawaii.

Here are the links if you’d like to watch other ‘Stories from Within’:

  • Emeric Mazibuko’s story can be watched here
  • Karen Gallagher’s story can be watched here

Photography and interview by Nancy Wong.
Editing by Kari Carlson.

Below is a transcript of the interview:

I am Toby San Luis, I live in Kailua, on the island of Oahu, in the State of Hawaii, in United States.

I have been a Baha’i 21 years. In my senior year of college, I sort of started to wake up, if you will, to maybe the spiritual dimension of life that I had been missing. Just kind of really living life on an instinctual level, very reactively through life. A big part of that was drinking that led me to the 12 step programs, and eventually on a search. The first way I got exposed to the Baha’i Faith was through my mom. She knew that I was, you know, I was interested in a, kind of a wide range of spiritual topics. So she handed me a pamphlet and I read it and that kind of exposed me to the Faith, to the name of Baha’u’llah, to some of the concepts.

And then I met my wife Kami, who was a Baha’i, coincidently. I do look at sort of those, you know that serendipity, if you will, as God’s grace in my life.

The 12-step program is the core process to alcoholics anonymous that are just sort of fundamental to transformation, of getting sober, staying sober, but then also growing into something more than somebody who is happy and contributing in life, right?

So the Baha’i Faith has helped me because it expanded the scope and vision and understanding that the 12-steps had sort of primed me for. And the purpose of my life is to build, continue to build and develop spiritual attributes for my soul and to help others do the same.

So that purpose that I’m talking about is the same purpose everyone has, is to continue to grow and transform in acquiring and spreading these virtues throughout the world. I feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be in terms of purpose.

About the Author

Naysan is the editor of Baha'i Blog and he has worked in various avenues of media for two decades. He’s passionate about using the arts and media to support and explore the teachings of the Baha’i Faith and he has produced and collaborated on popular music projects like the "DawnBreaker Collective" and the successful Ruhi-inspired sequence of "MANA" albums. His experience as a producer for CNN was invaluable while working on a number of special projects for the Baha’i World Centre, including the "Building Momentum" and "Pilgrimage: A Sacred Experience" videos. If there’s a media-related Baha’i project out there, chances are that Naysan was involved with it somehow!

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