My favourite part of the Baha’i Faith is that we are offered so many avenues and analogies as ways in which we can all traverse our own paths of truth towards God. One important analogy that I have read throughout so many of the Writings are the references made by Baha’u’llah in His words and His Revelation to the ocean. Continue reading
What is a true friend? Someone who is always there for us? Someone who never lets us down? Someone who is completely sincere? I think that a true friend is all of these things.
On the one hand, a true friend is someone who doesn’t need to force themselves to be your friend because friendship is about sincerity. But on the other hand, a true friend is someone who doesn’t let you down, and this does require effort – to meet, visit, and stay in touch. Inevitably, since we are only human, we will sometimes let each other down. I know I have felt let down by friends, and I’m sure that I have let my friends down too, and probably in ways that I’m not even aware of.
This can make us feel quite alone, like our friends are not really there for us. But this feeling of aloneness and abandonment is also a gift. All of us, whether we believe in God or not, must at some time face ourselves and feel our aloneness because while we do live together on this earth, we all live within the prism of our own consciousness. And if we do happen to believe in God, in that place of aloneness, we are perhaps even better able to see that God is our True Friend.
So, in what way is God our True Friend? Here are five things I’ve learned: Continue reading
Horns honk, text messages ding, there’s a new deadline to meet, college assignment to complete, a relative needing attention, a service commitment to carry out, or sadness to process with a friend who just got divorced. Our minds get so full of noise that becoming conscious of something can be difficult. I find it takes me a lot of quiet, alone time to even focus on something for a short time.
I recently re-read a quotation that I’ve read countless times before, and the phrase “acutely conscious” struck me. The passage relates to how young people can consciously create a better future, but I think it’s worth everyone’s time and attention. The Universal House of Justice tells us (the bolding is mine): Continue reading
The body is great at telling us when something isn’t functioning. Aches, pains, rashes, lumps… all of these tell us that something is wrong with the body and we need to find out what it is. The symptoms are signs leading to a deeper underlying problem. But we don’t just have a body; we also have a soul. In fact, we are souls living with a body. So, if there are signs in the body of good and bad health, are there similar signs in the soul?
The perplexing thing about the soul is that it is so elusive and mysterious. We cannot see or touch it. Baha’u’llah says of the soul:
Verily I say, the human soul is exalted above all egress and regress. It is still, and yet it soareth; it moveth, and yet it is still. ((Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p.161))
I got married about 8 months ago but I realise I have no advice yet to give on marriage itself. I am a bit clueless and my husband and I are just trying to deepen our very limited understanding of what marriage is and how to keep building our fortress of well-being. Marriage is a beautiful adventure that we cherish and enjoy so much, and I know many of us also want to embark on this journey. However, it is the pre-courtship and courtship phase that many of my friends have challenges with. How many times have you said or heard someone say, “there is no one, no one I could get to know in the Baha’i community or elsewhere”? Continue reading
Many of us may have heard about Baha’u’llah’s call for the future adoption of an international auxiliary language. However, the implementation of the idea seems so far away that most of us haven’t thought much about the specific guidance on its implementation and the role it will play in society.
What do the terms “international auxiliary language” mean? Do we pick a language or create one? Will it be an organic process or a more intentional one? My aim with this article is to look through the Baha’i Writings for guidance and clues as to how Baha’u’llah envisioned the international auxiliary language and to answer 10 questions I had on the topic. I hope you will find my exploration interesting. Continue reading
Our friends at Bahaiteachings.org have recently started a podcast called “Cloud9”, which shines a light on the artistry and creative process of artists around the world.
The host of the series is Shadi Toloui-Wallace, the Arts Editor of BahaiTeachings.org and an incredible artist in her own right. We’ve interviewed Shadi before about her music (such as her most recent album, Daughters of the Kingdom), and she was also a guest on the Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson. This time we wanted to hear more about Cloud9 and Shadi graciously obliged, so here’s what she shared with us: Continue reading
It’s funny, as children we have such great visions of the world. Our imagination takes precedence over the realities in which we live and we can see everything with such beauty and splendor. The world is filled with infinite possibilities. Somehow though, as we grow older, we seem to lose this light as we learn more about the difficulties of the world, and the realities of hardship that others face, with no apparent solution. We forget as adults we ever had this idealistic vision “once upon a time” and we begin to lose sight of the bigger picture.
Thankfully for us, we have been offered Messengers with a more significant vision than our own — one where mankind comes together for peace, justice and, most importantly, unity. It is a vision of a world that is fair, equal and progressive. This potent and powerful vision is for people from every race and nationality and it asks us to be inspired with what is possible. This vision is truly remarkable; it is a vision from God, as offered by Baha’u’llah, the most recent Messenger. Abdu’l-Baha explains how this vision is eternal: Continue reading
Like all animals, we are naturally pleasure-seeking creatures. The desire for pleasure drives, and has driven, many of our endeavours. And we might even say that in the technological age we live in, it drives us even more. But what if we realised that our task in life is not to pursue our own pleasure, but instead to pursue God’s? Baha’u’llah counsels us:
O SON OF MAN! If thou lovest Me, turn away from thyself; and if thou seekest My pleasure, regard not thine own; that thou mayest die in Me and I may eternally live in thee.
O SON OF HIM THAT STOOD BY HIS OWN ENTITY IN THE KINGDOM OF HIS SELF! Know thou, that I have wafted unto thee all the fragrances of holiness, have fully revealed to thee My word, have perfected through thee My bounty and have desired for thee that which I have desired for My Self. Be then content with My pleasure and thankful unto Me.
These are beautiful words. But they can be hard to follow. In today’s world, for many people, desires can be quickly met. We want a coffee; we buy one on the go. We want to be entertained; we find something interesting to watch on YouTube. I think that we have become accustomed to having our desires instantly satiated, so the notion of pleasing God, instead of ourselves, can be a completely foreign concept. Continue reading
The path to finding a mate for life is not easy. Through my personal life and my work as a marriage and relationship educator and coach, I have seen how perseverance, courage, discernment, and commitment are all essential. We and the world need strong, happy marriages that are fortresses of well-being.
We are not yet living in a world that has established a common pattern of courtship based on the Baha’i Teachings. As a result, individuals and couples are experimenting and trying to find their way – sometimes joyfully and sometimes with more difficulty.
As you know, courtship practices differ greatly from one culture to another, and it is not yet known what pattern of courtship will emerge in the future when society has been more influenced by Baha’i Teachings. However, there is no indication that it will resemble the practices extant in existing cultures…. In this interim period, the friends are encouraged to make great efforts to live in conformity with the Teachings and to gradually forge a new pattern of behavior, more in keeping with the spirit of Baha’u’llah’s Revelation.
The challenge we face is how to engage in patterns of courtship that strive to implement Baha’i principles in a world that is “a bewildering moral environment” and in “a society in which materialism, self-centeredness and failing marriages are all too common.”
So, when we look at what possibly aligns with Baha’i courtship, what is important? Continue reading