In this age of liberalism, obedience can seem like a backward notion. It is true that blind obedience can cause havoc to the world, especially if you submit yourself to a misguided cause, or if you follow others blindly without investigating the truth for yourself. But when you recognize a person or a cause that is truly noble, devoting your time, your energy and your will to it can contribute meaningfully to a better world.
According to my limited understanding of the Baha’i perspective, true obedience is when a person devotes themselves wholeheartedly to the Manifestations of God because the Manifestations are the voice of God and the Divine Physicians who know the remedy for the ailments of the day in which they live: Continue reading
Photo courtesy of the Baha'i International Community
Prayer is an integral component of Baha’i life. It is the very foundation upon which our lives as spiritual beings are built. In my opinion, without prayer, we weaken the vessel which acts as our connection to the divine realm and revert to being physical beings living a solely physical life.
There are many different settings in which we can pray as Baha’is. But before we delve into some of these, it is important to explore what prayer is. Continue reading
Nahal Haghbin is the creative force behind a meaningful initiative inspired by the bicentenary anniversaries of the Births of the Bab and Baha’u’llah. Called The Bicentenary Meditation Project, Nahal’s collaborative endeavour is a tremendous undertaking and a generous gift to the world. Not that long ago, Nahal wrote about the practice of meditation and the teachings of the Baha’i Faith on Baha’i Blog (you can read her fantastic article here) and she graciously agreed to tell us about her project. Here’s what she shared: Continue reading
Best known for his fantasy Narnia series, famed author C.S. Lewis was also a scholar, broadcaster, and devout Christian. Never one to compromise his values and convictions (and following repeated challenges to his commitment to faithful daily prayer) Lewis presented a careful and calculated perspective:
I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time — waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God. It changes me.
I often revisit this quotation and contemplate its true meaning. Through the years, the words have always resonated with me — offering insight and clarity during moments of pure joy, as well as solace and succor while mired in the depths of despair.
Like all Baha’is, I am, of course, bound by guidance of the Blessed Beauty to engage in daily prayer and meditation. Beyond merely reciting one of the Obligatory Prayers, I’ve come to realize that further daily reflection is both essential and intensely beneficial. This understanding, however (as with many other aspects of my spiritual life) is and has been a work in progress that will never be entirely completed. Continue reading
Meditation and all things meditative are really close to my heart so I wanted to learn more about the invocation “Allah’u’Abha” which Baha’is say 95 times a day. In this article, I’d like to share some of my thoughts based on what I’ve read in the Baha’i Writings on what “Allah’u’Abha” means, why this meditative practice is carried out every day, why it involves repetition, when it’s said, and why it’s repeated 95 times as opposed to any other number. Continue reading
Prayer and meditation are often jointly mentioned as one of the primary requisites for spiritual growth. For example, the Universal House of Justice tells us:
In His Writings, Baha’u’llah states clearly the essential requisites for our spiritual growth, and these are reiterated and amplified by Abdu’l-Baha in His talks and Tablets. They can be summarized briefly as prayer and meditation, the endeavor to conform one’s behavior to the exalted standard set forth in the Baha’i Teachings, participation in the life of the Baha’i community, teaching the Faith and contributing to the Baha’i Fund. Different individuals, according to their natures, will follow these paths in varying ways, but all are essential to spiritual growth.
I personally have had many conversations about prayer, but very little about meditation and so I wanted to explore what the Baha’i Writings say about meditation. Continue reading
The Baha’i World Centre has recently released a new compilation on prayer and devotional life which can be read online at the Baha’i Reference Library here. Prepared by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, this compilation features extracts from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, the Bab, and Abdu’l-Baha and the letters of Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice. 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))
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
In today’s world and in my culture, it is often the talkative who are popular and at the centre of attention. Those who don’t speak a lot are considered shy and even boring. It is normal that when people are together, they talk the whole time. Any silence is awkward and has to be filled with chatter.
Of course, speech is a marvellous skill. In another article on Baha’i Blog, I explained the high station that language has in the Baha’i Faith.
But here I would like to discuss the place of silence in the life I am striving to live. Words are useful for certain purposes and if used in the right way (as the before-mentioned article highlights), but beyond that, I think they can be destructive. Continue reading