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 team at Baha’i Blog was excited to learn of a new medical study that was conducted specifically on the Baha’i Fast. This mixed methods research project involved specific lab tests and measurements, as well as interviews and questionnaires and it was initiated by Dr. Daniela Koppold and her team in Berlin, Germany. It’s the first time we’ve heard of such a scientific initiative and we were thrilled to find out more!
The Baha’i Writings describe the spiritual benefits of fasting in various passages, but what are the material effects of abstaining from food and drink, from sunrise until sunset, for 19 consecutive days? Dr. Daniela Koppold and her colleagues set out to explore that very question. Here’s what she shared about how they went about their research and what they discovered: Continue reading
If you are someone who follows a defined spiritual path (Catholic, Hari Krishna, Sufi, Baha’i), you will have adopted a set of values and spiritual practices that you believe are true and useful. This does not mean that you have stopped thinking for yourself. But it does entail that you choose to abide by those principles, with mindfulness and intelligence, no doubt.
Quite naturally when we are trying to follow a spiritual path properly, we utilise our conscience to decipher right from wrong. Having a conscience is vital: it is a distinguishing feature of being human. One example of when I rely on my conscience relates to the Baha’i Fast and being sick. Continue reading
Recently I’ve been further wondering what spiritual effects we can expect when we refrain from food. Abdu’l-Baha tells us:
But mere abstention from food has no effect on the spirit. It is only a symbol, a reminder. Otherwise it is of no importance.
The Baha’i Teachings say food or illness do not touch the soul. So why do we fast and how does it enhance our spiritual experience? In this article, I’ll explore some main themes addressing the symbolic nature of abstaining from food, followed by some reflection questions you may find useful. These thoughts are based on my understanding of the Writings, my personal experiences, and my work as a holistic healthcare practitioner (and if you’d like to read more you may wish to check out my book, The Supreme Remedy). Continue reading
As Baha’i Blog ends its seventh year, I can’t help but be amazed at the different perspectives with which a diversity of Baha’i Blog writers have approached the 19 day Baha’i Fast. For example, Kamelia wrote about fasting for love, Collis shared some health tips, Chetan wrote about conquering his fear of fasting, Amy shared her experiences fasting while caring for young children, Naysan wrote about what the Fast helps us strengthen, and I wrote about how you can partake and participate in the Fast, even when you’re eating.
Leading up to, and during the Fast, I like to revisit the compilation called The Importance of Obligatory Prayer and Fasting, and this year, my reading has me thinking about four spiritual benefits of fasting: Continue reading
We are all human and that means we are in the same predicament: we are like a bird that is stuck in the clay of the world, its wings sullied and heavy; we have two selves, one lower, the other higher. So, our task in life is to elevate our souls and escape the grip of the ego. But how?
This is no easy endeavour. But according to the Baha’i Writings, there are a number of ways through which we can grow spiritually. Here are six ways that I’m striving to better myself: Continue reading
The fast is beautiful, spirituality refreshing and hard…and it can get so much harder when you become a parent! Suddenly you not only have to fast but now you have to a be a good parent at the same time (something that can feel pretty impossible even when we’re fully nourished). This year I’ve given myself seven strategies for fasting with three kids with as much mindfulness, patience and good-humour as possible. Continue reading
Every year during March Baha’is observe a 19 day Fast. According to Abdu’l-Baha, fasting symbolizes detachment from earthly things. It is my understanding that fasting is a time for aligning our inner compass with God’s will and getting a grip on our lower nature.
Physical fasting is a symbol of that abstinence, and is a reminder; that is, just as a person abstains from physical appetites, he is to abstain from self-appetites and self-desires.
It seems like the Fast is a perfect time to challenge our insistent self, set some goals and start a journey towards a destination. So why not dedicate the period of Fast for a specific purpose? Continue reading
As we move into the early days of the Fast, here are some Baha’i Blog resources and a few other great finds from around the web dedicated to this special time of year. They include articles that offer a variety of perspectives on the Fast. There’s a diversity of personal reflections, music, videos and a quiz! We hope these resources, listed in no particular order, give you some food for thought (pun intended!) during these spiritually rejuvenating days. Continue reading
As I join Baha’is around the world in celebrating the Baha’i New Year known as Naw-Ruz, the last month of the Baha’i Calendar just before Naw-Ruz is the fasting period for Baha’is, and it was a perfect time for me to reflect on, and plan, what goals I want to set myself for the new year.
As we are encouraged by the Universal House of Justice to adopt a humble posture of learning — learning which takes place through prayer, planning, action and reflection — I thought I would create a list of questions to ask myself in order to help me reflect on and plan my own personal New Year resolutions.
I’ve decided to share this list of questions in case it may be of any use to you, (and I’ve left out my answers), but I’d love to hear about the questions you’ve been asking yourself, and/or what learnings you’ve had over the last year and how you hope to work on them if you think it would be appropriate to share (keeping in mind that it’s not about confessions of course). You can leave your comments in the ‘Comments’ section found at the bottom of this article.
Here’s the list: Continue reading