- Baha’is abstain from food and drink between sunrise and sunset for 19 days. While this abstention from food and drink is a test of one’s will and discipline, the Fast is not just about abstaining from food. The Fast is, primarily, a spiritual practice.
Mind & Soul Matters is a new podcast from a group of Baha’i friends in Perth, Australia. Through conversations with everyday people, the podcast aims to broaden our understanding of mental health and spirituality, and to deepen our insights into the challenges and meaning of our lives.
I got in touch with the podcast creators, Maya Rose, Farah Feeney and Nasim Kasiri, to find out more about the podcast, and here’s what they shared:
Baha’i Blog: Hi Maya, Farah and Nasim. Can you tell us a little bit about ‘Mind & Soul Matters’ and how it began?
A group of friends from Perth who are interested in mental health and the role of spirituality first got together in 2017 with a goal to explore how we could contribute to the discourse on mental health in society from each individual’s respective professional or personal perspective. A smaller group of individuals then went on to form a team where we looked at the development of Baha’i contribution to the discourse from the time of Baha’u’llah, through to the current work of the Baha’i International Community.
And eventually the podcast, ‘Mind & Soul Matters’ was launched in early 2021 as a means of contributing to the public discourse in the area of mental health.
The topics we’ve covered so far have included things like COVID19 and mental health, realising our potential, moving from grief to compassion, the use of creativity, medication management, and creating healthy families.
Baha’i Blog: Why was it important for you all to make this happen, and what was the inspiration behind it?
Baha’u’llah writes: “Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and centre your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements.”
Reflecting on this quote and seeing the prevalence of mental health challenges in our society today, brought about the inspiration to create something to address this need, the need to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness and infuse spirituality into the equation, and encourage conversations around this area.
Baha’i Blog: What’s something that really touched you, or that you’ve personally learned during the process of working on this initiative?
Something that’s touched me is seeing how each guest has their own unique journey, whether they are an educator, or an artist, or a parent, everyone has something to contribute based on their learnings, and this has been inspirational for me to listen to.
The importance of perseverance, when starting any project or service, there can be obstacles and challenges, but the importance of relying on prayer, and detachment and the concept that we try to be a ‘hollow reed’ and try to be guided by how Baha’u’llah wants us to serve, rather than how we feel comfortable serving, and allowing our confidence to come from Baha’u’llah’s inspiration instead of our own set of skills.
Baha’i Blog: What do you hope listeners will gain from this initiative?
Hope. Plus some practical and spiritual strategies to implement in their everyday life, and broadening their understanding or conceptualisation of spirituality.
Yes, also removing the stigma around the word ‘spirituality’.
Baha’i Blog: What has the response been like so far and how has it been received?
It’s been well received so far, and it’s been downloaded in various countries including United States, Malaysia, Singapore, United Kingdom, India, Israel, Canada, New Zealand, Spain…and many more.
We’ve had lots of positive feedback, for example, a person contacting us and saying they had a tough week, and listening to the podcast helped them through their difficult time. Another person reached out sharing some of the struggles they had with their medication, and how the podcast has helped them through some of their challenges. Generally lots of positive feedback and encouragement.
Baha’i Blog: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
We’ve done some recordings for a second season which includes topics such as a refugee story, and spiritual parenting, to be released from March 2022.
We’d also like to share how grateful we are to Bahai Blog for sharing our podcast and supporting us, and Shadi Touloui-Wallace, musician and host of the ‘Cloud 9’ podcast, who guided and encouraged us in the commencement of this initiative.
We are all learning in this process, and it’s been really wonderful working in a team where everyone is dedicated and passionate about this topic!
Baha’i Blog: Thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview Maya, Farah and Nasim, and congratulations on this wonderful new podcast.
You can listen to the trailer for the ‘Mind & Soul Matters’ podcast below, and check out all the episodes here: Mind & Soul Matters
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