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Portraits in Faith – Video Interviews About Faith from Around the World

I wanted to share with everyone a wonderful initiative a couple of my friends told me about. It’s called Portraits in Faith, and it’s a series of video interviews and portrait photographs aimed at taking a look into the lives of people of faith around the world.

Created by Daniel Epstein, a Marketing Director who was born and raised a Jew, Portraits in Faith was carried out as a sort of spiritual exercise where Daniel would keep his own faith alive by gaining from the experience of others – regardless of their religion or beliefs. By interviewing and documenting their spiritual experiences and the role of faith in their own personal lives and told in their own words, now, nine years, 27 countries and 400 spiritual journeys later, Portraits in Faith delivers a new Portrait each week.

I decided to get in touch with Daniel Epstein to ask him more about this wonderful initiative: Continue reading

The Food of the Future

What will be the food of the future?

This was a question that was once asked of Abdu’l-Baha.

Although what constitutes the optimal diet for good health has been debated for centuries, it has become a particular concern for many in today’s society, as the average waistline gets larger and, for the first time in a thousand years, we face the possibility of a decline in our life expectancy.

In a recent article on diet and health, I looked at what the Baha’i Writings say about the important role of diet in both preventing and treating disease. The natural question that then arises is this: which diet, among the hundreds out there, is recommended by the Baha’i Faith? Continue reading

‘Refresh & Gladden My Spirit’ by Angela Bryan

This song is based on a prayer by Abdu’l-Baha. Music composed and sung by Angela Bryan and recorded in her home city of Hobart in Tasmania, Australia, with acoustic instruments. Her husband Adrian produced the song and plays the guitar and other instruments on this piece, and their son Jonathon plays the flute part.

Special thanks to Angela and her family creating the piece and for allowing Baha’i Blog to make this song available to everyone.

“Tehran and Portland: Cities of Light” two Baha’i couples’ stories (With Persian subtitles با زیرنویس)

Through the use of animation and live-action footage, “Tehran and Portland: Cities of Light” two Baha’i couples’ stories, is a documentary film which tells the stories of two Baha’i couples: one of whom was imprisoned in Iran for their beliefs in the Baha’i Faith, and the other who lives in the United States, and their hopes and efforts to contribute to the construction of a better world.

The video is in English and also includes Persian (Farsi) and English subtitles.

For Persian or English subtitles, press the “cc” button. (برای انتخاب زیرنویس فارسی یا انگلیسی، کلید cc زیر فیلم را فشار دهید.)

Lemon Soul Trio

Inspired by the Baha’i Writings, Lemon Soul Trio’s debut album delivers a new ethnic-jazz repertoire of 9 sacred texts to music, with a majority of the tracks in French.

The band’s motto is “un antidote contre le blues” (which roughly translates as “an antidote for the blues”) – a clever turn of phrase considering their jazzy, bluesy, world-music style.

The group is composed of three very talented musicians: Margaret Harmer, a percussionist; Nicolas Leroy, a guitarist; and Yasmin Farhoumand, a vocalist.

Check out Baha’i Blog’s interview with Lemon Soul Trio here: Music with Zest – An Interview with Lemon Soul Trio

You can buy physical or digital versions of the album here from 9 Star Media.

Reach Out: A New Album by Karim Rushdy

Best known for being one half of the Baha’i hip-hop and RnB duo Nabil & Karim, Canadian-based rapper and producer Karim Rushdy has released a new solo album containing 14 tracks that are sure to get you talking about positive change in the world!

Karim introduces his new album by saying:

It is inevitable that life will throw challenges our way. what’s important is how we chose to deal with our struggle – whatever that may be. I believe that we are all noble beings with infinite potential, we just get bogged down by so many distractions that it sometimes feels impossible to change. This album attempts to capture those trans-formative moments where hopelessness becomes courage, and a pebble becomes a pearl. My hope is that by listening to this, you will be reminded of what you struggle with, yet be inspired by the greatness that you inherently possess to rise above whatever situation you’re in and Reach Out to help someone else in need.

I decided to catch up with Karim and ask him a few more questions about his new album Reach Out: Continue reading

Learning to Be Still: A Personal Reflection on Meditation in the Baha’i Faith

37 seconds. I have been sitting still for 37 seconds now. I am not kidding. And with my eyes closed all this time. Well, nearly all this time. I had to open them to see how many hours minutes seconds (sigh) had passed. I close them again. Focus, I tell myself. Concentrate. I am aware that my foot is itching. Now I am aware that I am focusing on my foot instead of…? What am I supposed to be focusing on? Now I am just feeling irritated. I open my eyes again. 52 seconds.

Clearly this is not working.

Meditation: something that I have been struggling to learn for years. I call to mind the simple and direct plea from TS Eliot’s ‘Ash Wednesday’: “Teach us to sit still.”

The words resonated deeply with me those many years ago in my high school poetry class, just as they do today. How do we learn to ‘sit still’, to truly be still, particularly in the midst of the mayhem and madness of life?

What does it mean to meditate? Continue reading

Praise His Name – Walter Heath

The soulful sound and melodies of this beautiful album by singer and songwriter Walter Heath is inspired by the Sacred Writings and Teachings of the Baha’i Faith.

Having been raised as the son of a preacher, Walter’s musical journey in church choirs, do wop groups and bands in clubs, eventually led Walter to Los Angeles where he became a Baha’i, and where he learned to play the guitar, eventually touring the US with several groups including Seals & Crofts.

This definitely one of those albums not to be missed.

You can also purchase physical copies of this CD or a digital version of the album here on 9 Star Media.

The Passing of Baha’u’llah and His Covenant

Baha'u'llah's bed in the Mansion of Bahji, located just outside of Akko, Israel. (Photo: Bahai.us via Flickr)

In the early hours of 29 May 1892, Baha’u’llah, the Founder of the Baha’i Faith, passed away in the Mansion of Bahji (located just outside of the prison city of Akko in present day Israel), where He had been a prisoner for nine years. Baha’is around the world commemorate the day of Baha’u’llah’s passing as one of the nine holy days where work should be suspended, and it is known to Baha’is as ‘The Ascension of Baha’u’llah’.

Just after sunset on the day He passed away, Baha’u’llah was buried in a simple room in a house next to the Mansion of Bahji, turning it into the holiest place on earth for Baha’is and making it the place where Baha’is the world over turn towards in prayer, and come from all corners of the earth to pay their respects as Pilgrims.

As I join fellow Baha’is around the world in commemorating the Ascension of Baha’u’llah, I am reminded of the fortune we as Baha’is have in knowing that Baha’u’llah’s successorship was made so explicit, and as a result, this has protected us from schisms. Compared to the passing of other Messengers of God, this is what has made the Baha’i Faith truly unique: The fact that for the first time in history, the founder of a world religion had made His successorship explicitly clear to His followers. Continue reading

Baha'i Arts, Stories and Media