The Bicentenary Meditation Project – An Interview with Nahal Haghbin

Nahal Haghbin is the creative force behind a meaningful initiative inspired by the bicentenary anniversaries of the Births of the Bab and Baha’u’llah. Called The Bicentenary Meditation Project, Nahal’s collaborative endeavour is a tremendous undertaking and a generous gift to the world. Not that long ago, Nahal wrote about the practice of meditation and the teachings of the Baha’i Faith on Baha’i Blog (you can read her fantastic article here) and she graciously agreed to tell us about her project. Here’s what she shared: Continue reading

Finding Yourself in Service to Others

Photo courtesy of the Baha'i International Community.

So many people in the world, especially young people, are looking for their calling and something to cling to, something that gives life context and a purpose, something that bathes everything else in meaning, magically making sense of life. For me, this yearning for a deeper meaning to life is a sign that humans have souls, and it is a reminder that we are not content with simply getting on with life. We seek connections and a path to channel our energies. This search for deeper meaning can lead to wonderful things: some examples that come to my mind are when people become very devoted to their field of work, which leads to much-needed discoveries and advancement, or when people dedicate their lives to the spiritual education of children and empowering junior youth.

But what is finding oneself really? And how does one find oneself? Continue reading

Remembering ‘Milly’ – A Tribute to Amelia Collins

Amelia Engelder Collins (7 June, 1873-1 January, 1962). Photo courtesy of the Baha'i International Community.

The very first time I heard of Amelia Collins was when I was a child, maybe five or six, visiting the Holy Land with my family. We were walking along the wide path in Bahji, the only sound our footsteps on the white pebbles, and before us towered a beautiful wrought-iron gilded gate, leading to the Shrine of Baha’u’llah.

‘This is the ‘Collins Gate’’, my mother whispered to me. ‘Named after Amelia Collins.’

In my child’s mind’s eye, Amelia Collins too, was a figure who towered above me like this enormous gate. When I finally saw photos of her, it surprised me that, as described by Hand of the Cause Mr Abu’l-Qasim Faizi, she was, in fact, quite small – ‘a slender, white-haired, very upright, elderly lady.’ When I began to read about her life, however, I realised that this incredible woman was, indeed, like this gate: strong, upright and truly a spiritual giant. Mr Faizi goes on to describe the gate itself as standing ‘silently…as a loving remembrance of the one who adored the Guardian of the Faith – Shoghi Effendi.’ Continue reading

The Independent Investigator – Resource Books for Junior Youth

Tahirih Lemon has written a series called The Independent Investigator that is inspired by the peerless Some Answered Questions, but it is for junior youth readers. She’s currently working on the third title in the series and she needs our help!

In the interview below, Tahirih shares with us about The Independent Investigator and what we can do to help her with the third book.

Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I was born in Virginia in the United States, and when I was eleven my family immigrated to Australia. I’ve lost most of my accent and occasionally people ask me if I’m Canadian.

I currently live in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia. I have also lived in Tonga, teaching at the Ocean of Light International School for a semester in 2005, and I spent a year in Tauranga, New Zealand.

Although, I am a trained primary teacher and obtained a Master of Education, I have been working in the field of child protection for the past decade following a passion to seek assistance for vulnerable children.

I have two now adult children, Nadim and Adia. Adia, the youngest who still lives at home, started her first year of university which transitioned to online learning due to the pandemic after the third week. Another member of our family is our cat Zeba, who rules the house, and thinks she’s a human. I have recently caved into my daughter’s ceaseless requests for a puppy, apparently her ‘therapeutic pet’ to cope during these challenging times.

Continue reading

The Month of Honour: Reflections on the Nobility of the Human Soul  

The sixteenth month of the Baha’i calendar is the month of Sharaf. The word ‘sharaf’ is Arabic for ‘honour.’ In his A Dictionary of the English Language, Samuel Johnson defined ‘honor’ as the ‘nobility of the soul.’ When I am trying to get a better grasp on a spiritual principle I look out into the world around me for reflections of it. For some reason looking outwards for concrete examples of otherwise abstract concepts ultimately helps me to reach a deeper internal understanding, and to find ways to integrate new ways of being into my own life. Often I find instruction in the natural world. But sometimes human beings most clearly exemplify a quality I’m trying to better comprehend.

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The Gratitude List – A Journal & Mindfulness Tool Created by Lily Samii

I know I am not alone in my love of beautiful journals and stationery of all kinds. Lily Samii has created a journal, available in an array of colors, aimed at fostering gratitude and mindfulness every day and she shared with us all about her journals, their purpose, how she created them and how she hopes people will use them. Here’s what she said:

Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

As a citizen of the world, I was inspired to create a universal tool of happiness that is fit for the world we live in today and the future: beautiful and sustainable. With the support of over 30k followers, I created The Gratitude List – an evidence-based journal that helps you be happier and create a life you love.

Baha’i Blog: What inspired you to create a gratitude journal?

I believe in rituals that make us feel happy and calm: whether it’s going for a walk first thing in the morning, chatting with a friend over lunch, enjoying a rooibos cup of tea by the fire, baking a cake – we all wish we had more of those moments. The Gratitude List is the gratitude journal I wish existed. It helps you form positive mindful habits and live in a beautiful state.

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21 Resources Relating to the 100th Anniversary of the Baha’i Faith in Australia

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Baha’i Faith in Australia, so in celebration, we thought we’d bring together 21 resources that honor this historic occasion! Some of the resources listed are our own content, written or created by the Baha’i Blog team of collaborators, some are from Baha’i institutions, and some are individual initiatives that we’ve showcased and curated on Baha’i Blog.

Whether you’re Australian or not, we hope you find this list helpful and inspiring, and for our Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander friends, before you scroll any further, a warning that some of the resources listed below feature photographs of people who have since passed away.

Now on with the list! Continue reading

The Chosen Path: Tahirih of Persia and Her Search for God – A Book For Junior Youth

Not that long ago Hussein Ahdieh and Hillary Chapman wrote a scholarly work about Tahirih, the poetess and Baha’i heroine, called The Calling: Tahirih of Persia and Her American Contemporaries (you can read all about it here). They have now created a work about her for young readers. It is titled The Chosen Path: Tahirih of Persia and Her Search for God and it includes the artwork of Ivan Llyod and Simina Rahmatian (whose work you can see here on Baha’i Blog). We are much obliged to Hussein for taking the time to tell us about his new book. Here’s what he shared:

Baha’i Blog: What inspired you to create this book?

Tahirih has been an inspiration for me all my life and for as long as I can remember. Learning more about her and sharing what I learn with others has been a big part of my life.

Tahirih, the Pure One, was a gifted teacher and was at the vanguard of spreading the Bab’s teachings. She was the only female Letter of the Living. She unceasingly proclaimed the Babi Faith and brought a deeper understanding of its teachings to the rapidly growing number of followers. Her courageous act at the Conference of Badasht signaled a break with the past and is a key moment in the history of our Faith.

She wrote vibrant poetry that eloquently and powerfully gave voice to her spiritual longing and reflected the vitality of the new spirit of her age. She emerged as the only woman and the most outspoken of the Babi leaders. The authorities responded by having her murdered in the middle of the night. The memory of her life survives in her poems.

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Embracing the Transformative Power of Daily Prayer: Some Personal Reflections

Best known for his fantasy Narnia series, famed author C.S. Lewis was also a scholar, broadcaster, and devout Christian. Never one to compromise his values and convictions (and following repeated challenges to his commitment to faithful daily prayer) Lewis presented a careful and calculated perspective:

I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time — waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God. It changes me.

I often revisit this quotation and contemplate its true meaning. Through the years, the words have always resonated with me — offering insight and clarity during moments of pure joy, as well as solace and succor while mired in the depths of despair.

Like all Baha’is, I am, of course, bound by guidance of the Blessed Beauty to engage in daily prayer and meditation. Beyond merely reciting one of the Obligatory Prayers, I’ve come to realize that further daily reflection is both essential and intensely beneficial. This understanding, however (as with many other aspects of my spiritual life) is and has been a work in progress that will never be entirely completed.  Continue reading