This article is an abstract and hypothetical exploration of the far-flung future. Although it’s fantastical and based on my imagination, articulating my thoughts on this subject has broadened my perspective of the Baha’i Faith’s current state, given me a newfound appreciation for the significance of the times we are living in, and heightened my appreciation for the past. I hope you enjoy this exploration of the possibility of unity that extends beyond Earth into interplanetary federations and that it helps you ponder our collective future. Continue reading
When I pay close attention to the timeliness, the sequence and the order to how I strive to apply the Baha’i Writings to my personal life, I feel a significant leap in my spiritual growth and understanding.
I suspect this type of discipline rolled over from my yoga teacher and therapy training, where timeliness and the sequence and order of doing things is the crux behind the “science of spirituality” that yoga is.
I will use the space below to outline what I have observed of how timelines, sequence and order, principles I learned and instituted in my yoga practice, affect my efforts to align my life and daily habits with the laws, teachings and principles of the Baha’i Revelation. These reflections are personal and the experiences shared are solely my own; everyone’s understanding and experiences of these principles will naturally be diverse and nuanced. Continue reading
These are difficult times with the pandemic and climate change erupting in freak storms and heatwaves. Even when “all is calm”, life is still difficult. Even at the best of times some good advice is “stay positive”, especially for someone like me who has a talent for spotting potholes on the road.
Photo courtesy of Samin Todd
As our family made the one hour journey to the world conference in the city of Geelong, Australia, my seven year old son made quite the soul-stirring remark from the rear seat of our car, his high-pitched, raspy voice tugging at our heartstrings.
“Mum, I invited my friend to come along this weekend.”
“Oh really? What did you say?”
“I said, ‘Hey, do you want to come to the conference tomorrow?'”
“And what did he say?”
“He said, ‘What’s it about?’ And I said, ‘To make the world a better place.’ So he said he’d ask his mum.”
My son had become inspired after watching this video released by the United Kingdom about the world conferences. He even wanted to approach his school principal and invite him to the momentous occasion.
There are so many lessons we can reap from this simple yet brazen conversation between two children: courage, friendliness, boldness, love. If only we all had that same level of determination. It is most definitely a gift, and one that we tend to repress as we age and as we become more conscious of the perceptions of those around us.
It is for this reason that I believe it is vital that our global conferences cater as much for our children as they do for the rest of us: that they empower, inspire and spur our children on so that the upcoming nine years and beyond see our children harness their inherent gems and propel them forward with utmost steadfastness.
But how can this be achieved? Here are some ideas from my humble part of the world. Continue reading
It is 6am on another sunny August morning in northern California (USA). I am standing beside my mother looking out through the kitchen window at a hummingbird feeding on the sun-warmed nectar in the throats of the crimson trumpet-shaped hibiscus blossoms on the bush outside. Mom has always loved hummingbirds. Perhaps it is the miracle of these tiny, brightly coloured and graceful beings, who, despite having a heart the size of a fingernail, can fly hundreds of kilometres without pausing to rest that mesmerizes her. Hummingbirds can feed on more than a thousand flowers in a single day. Perhaps because of the intensity with which they live, hummingbirds’ lives are incredibly brief. Like the hummingbird, my mother has always given everything of herself that she could possibly give to life. She has always been strong and resilient. She is a rock for my entire family. However in this delicate moment of reflection, my giant-hearted mother is dying. Unbeknownst to us, in this moment, she has less than a month to live, and so much more that she wants to do in this world that it breaks my heart.
The Baha’i Writings speak a lot about accompaniment. In its 2010 Ridvan Message, the Universal House of Justice said that we need to stand shoulder to shoulder with each other, supporting each other through our struggles and partaking in each other’s joys. We dedicate a great deal of energy learning how to accompany each other during our earthly lives. But as my mother approached the day when her soul would end its association with her physical body, I realized that I knew very little about how to best accompany her as she moved towards the end of her life. Continue reading
Photo courtesy of the Baha'i International Community.
I love architecture with a passion because you can create spaces for people to use and be a part of; it’s more than just designing walls and ceilings, it’s molding shapes and lines to be used, occupied, interplayed, and reinterpreted by people. For instance, you can transform a simple utilitarian ascending tool such as a staircase into a social space used in a multitude of ways by incorporating large landings, green pockets, elongated risers, and so on. In this article, I’d like to offer some examples of the power of architecture, share some words of Abdu’l-Baha, and ponder how architecture can evoke the mystical. Continue reading
I have noticed that when someone mentions an excellent surgeon, the adjective used is often something similar to “highly skilled”. On the other hand, when listening to an excellently played piano concerto on the radio, I often hear people praising the pianist as being very “talented”. Both the surgeon and pianist have probably devoted 30 or more years of their lives painstakingly working, practicing, and honing their skills, so why do we use “skilled” for a surgeon (or other professions) and “talented’” for musicians? One word implies training and practice and other implies an innate ability. In this article, I explore this seeming dichotomy from a scientific perspective and by studying the Baha’i Writings. Continue reading
The month of Loftiness (which is also the period of the Baha’i Fast) is the final month in the Baha’i calendar year. Loftiness means to be elevated in character and spirit; to have noble ideals—to rise to great height. The Baha’i month of Loftiness culminates at sunset the day before Spring Equinox in Tehran, the birth place of Baha’u’llah. In the northern hemisphere, this is the time when the invisible work that has been happening below ground all winter is visibly manifested as tiny buds along tree branches and the green tips of early spring flowers pressing skyward. Just as the natural world where I live prepares to emerge from what outwardly appears to be a period of dormancy, I observe the Baha’i Fast—a time of prayer, reflection, and heightened awareness of my spiritual reality and purpose. Outwardly it involves hardship and sacrifice. I abstain from consuming food and drink from sunrise to sunset, and from indulging personal desires that I know are not conducive to spiritual growth. During the month of Loftiness, I also actively engage in acts of devotion that will help me to better serve my family and community in the new year.
To me the month of Loftiness and the Baha’i Fast are inextricably intertwined and mutually complementary. There are innumerable ways in which the last month of the Baha’i year prepares us for another year of service ahead. Here are four that stick out to me: Continue reading
The month of Dominion is the second to last month of the Baha’i calendar. Dominion means to have absolute ruling or controlling power. In our physical world it is often used to refer to absolute power over things of limited duration—countries, people, cities…but in the Baha’i Writings, Dominion is used to refer to spiritual power, and the domain of this power is the human heart. Baha’u’llah says:
He hath refused to reserve for Himself any share whatever of this world’s dominion. To this He Who is Himself the Eternal Truth will testify. The things He hath reserved for Himself are the cities of men’s hearts, that He may cleanse them from all earthly defilements, and enable them to draw nigh unto the hallowed Spot which the hands of the infidel can never profane. Open, O people, the city of the human heart with the key of your utterance. Continue reading