I have been thinking about the concept of friendship lately and the positive impact it can have. Friendship is a powerful force and its influence can extend beyond homes, workplaces, and schools to every setting and scenario imaginable from a visit to the doctor’s office to being on vacation. Imagine living in a world where everyone was welcoming, kindness reigned, individuals of all backgrounds came together and people were frank in their views. Is that only a thought reserved for imaginary utopian societies? I don’t think so.
I feel like this quote from Abdu’l-Baha can be a source of inspiration as we strive to create genuine friendships with everyone:
Do not be content with showing friendship in words alone, let your heart burn with loving kindness for all who may cross your path.
A few weeks ago, I received a phone call from one of my local city council representatives. The council had recently launched a podcast in order to cast the spotlight on how people were adapting to the coronavirus pandemic, and they were wondering if I would speak on the topic of gratitude from the perspective of a person of faith.
It was the perfect chance for me to explore and (strive to) articulate exactly why I was grateful to be a Baha’i, particularly during a time of crisis. The most obvious source of gratitude is that the Baha’i Faith provides me with the guidance, strength and perspective I need to carry forward amidst times of intense difficulty – guidance to seek happiness in the happiness of others, to serve others, and to care for others. It is this outward focus that I truly believe gets us through trying times. It gives us purpose and brings us real joy. As Shoghi Effendi says: Continue reading
The Baha’i World Centre has announced the release of three new short films, companion pieces to A Widening Embrace, an innovative documentary film commissioned by the Universal House of Justice about the community-building efforts of the Baha’i world, as seen through the eyes of local populations. The three films are titled Nurturing Younger Generation, Exploring the Empowerment of Junior Youth, and Communities Learning to Advance Together. Their total running time is approximately 32 minutes. Continue reading
Photo courtesy of the Baha'i International Community
I know we have all been there. That moment (which happens way too often, unfortunately) when you watch or read the news or hear stories about the most terrible violence, injustice and corruption happening right before our eyes, all over the world. You might feel almost powerless, or that no effort you make could save the world from so much pain and suffering. Continue reading
The period of junior youth is one of transition and discovery. No longer children and not yet youth, those in this age group are searching for their identity and yearning for a sense of purpose. The Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program material plays a vital role in assisting these adolescents as they develop a concept of service and discover their place in society. According to the Universal House of Justice, these books “…assist junior youth to navigate through a crucial stage of their lives and to become empowered to direct their energies toward the advancement of civilization.”
The Discovery series of books, written by Scottish author Jacqueline Mehrabi, acts as the perfect complement to the Junior Youth material. The trilogy has been developed to prepare junior youth for the spiritual obligations that come with reaffirming their Faith in Baha’u’llah – using storytelling to familiarise the readers with certain laws and ordinances including fasting and obligatory prayer. We spoke to Jackie about her latest works and what she hopes the books achieve. Continue reading
Participants of a Study Circle in Preah Vihear, Cambodia (Photo credit: Baha'i World Centre)
All of us feel the sadness and pain that the peoples of the world are experiencing in this day and age. Yet as Baha’i’s, we know we must not lose sight of humanities’ bright future, focussing our energies on contributing our part to building a flourishing spiritual and material civilization. In it’s 2015 Ridvan message, the Universal House of Justice wrote: Continue reading
Shadow puppet show in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. (Photo: Baha'i World Centre)
This article is for those of you who either feel “terrified”, or maybe just simply “at a loss” when it comes to integrating the arts into your study circles. You know that we are urged by the Ruhi Institute to “include artistic endeavours in the activity of every study circle”, and that we should not think of these endeavours as “entertainment or as an extracurricular activity…but as an essential element enhancing the spiritual development of the participants”.
But how do we do this when we don’t feel necessarily musical, artistic, or dramatic? Continue reading
Meetup.com is an online social networking portal that facilitates offline group meetings in over 196 countries. It’s typically used by people wanting to practise a new language, meet people in a new city, or dress up as wizards and play dungeons and dragons. So my friends and I thought, why don’t we start a devotional on Meetup.com for people who are interested in having soulful reflections?
We live in Melbourne, Australia, and one year on and we’ve had 105 people express their interest by joining the group. We’ve held 19 Meetups with an average of 11 people attending each time. The diversity of backgrounds and views has made it a fascinating way to meet people from our local area who are looking to have meaningful conversations.
Based on our experience and our learnings, here are five tips for starting a devotional of your own using Meetup.com: Continue reading
With all the activities going on in the Baha’i world, one of the things we really hope to achieve here at Baha’i Blog is to help serve as a resource for Baha’is and their friends, and that’s one of the reasons we launched our very own YouTube channel.
Our first series of videos on Baha’i Blog’s YouTube channel are called Studio Sessions, and the series has been extremely popular and is being met with a lot of support and enthusiasm – so thank you everyone!
Over the years we’ve had a lot of people asking us to help them with ideas of games or arts-and-crafts they can use for their children’s classes, holy days, or other Baha’i-inspired activities, so now that Studio Sessions is well underway, we’re now launching a new series called “Creative Ideas” to help with just that. Continue reading
As Baha’is, we know that education is of three kinds: material, human and spiritual. As a mother, I have always found the first two kinds relatively easy to manage. When it comes to their spiritual education however, I tend to feel a little more uneasy, especially since Abdu’l-Baha refers to this kind of education as the “true” kind when he says:
Divine education is that of the Kingdom of God: it consists in acquiring divine perfections, and this is true education…
The pressure is mounted with the following quote:
Training in morals and good conduct is far more important than book learning. A child that is cleanly, agreeable, of good character, well-behaved – even though he be ignorant – is preferable to a child that is rude, unwashed, ill-natured, and yet becoming deeply versed in all the science and arts. The reason for this is that the child who conducts himself well, even though he be ignorant, is of benefit to others, while an ill-natured, ill-behaved child is corrupted and harmful to others, even though he be learned. If, however, the child be trained to be both learned and good, the result is light upon light.
A few of the mothers in our community recently decided to start a children’s class specifically for those aged between zero and five. These preschool classes aim to encourage the development of morals and good conduct in our young ones, with each lesson based on a different virtue and featuring prayer, singing, stories and crafts.
Below are the 10 main steps we took when starting up the preschool classes: Continue reading