Tag Archives Prayer

Why Do Baha’is Say “Allah’u’Abha” 95 Times? Some Personal Thoughts

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

My Thoughts on the Mystical Dimension of the Baha’i Faith

Mysticism is often a confused term. To many people it conjures up thoughts of the magical and fanciful. However, most mysticism is concerned with experiencing the ultimate truth in life. There have been mystics from many different religions. Some have used the term “God” to signify the ultimate reality while others have used other terms such as the Absolute, Brahman, Nirvana, the Tao. But what seems to underlie all mysticism is the transcendence from everyday experience and attainment of a higher state of being.

Let me say from the outset that I’m certainly no mystic. At best I’m a mystical aspirant, a mystical wannabe. My investigations into the topic are not based on my own personal experience; they are my reflections on the Bahai Writings, which I strive to put into practice. So, I’d like to share my thoughts on the place of mysticism in the Baha’i Faith.  Continue reading

Global to Local: How My Online Learning Enriches My Local Community

I call Prince Edward Island off the east coast of Canada home. Recently my community gathered on Zoom to study the 9 May 2020 message from the Universal House of Justice. The letter contains important guidance about navigating through this difficult time, but one particular point struck a chord with me, and I’ve been reflecting on it ever since. The section I’m referring to is this:

…while certain possibilities have been temporarily closed, others have opened up, and new means have emerged for strengthening existing patterns of activity. Flexibility has proven to be an asset, but so has vigilance in ensuring that the primarily local character of community activities is not diluted; efforts to nurture flourishing communities within neighbourhoods and villages and across clusters must continue.

Like most of us, I have embraced a more insular lifestyle in the interest of protecting myself and the more vulnerable members of my community. As someone who lives alone, over the last few months I have joined a few online communities and participated in a number of virtual events. Some are local initiatives: holy day commemorations, Nineteen Day Feasts, devotional gatherings and opportunities to study messages like the May 9 message from the House of Justice; others have been regional—I even attended a Zoom wedding this spring! But many have been international in scope, and while they enrich my life significantly, they also require a considerable investment of time and energy, which begs the question: is my participation online diluting efforts to nurture a flourishing community at the local level? How can I find ways to take what I am learning virtually and use it to invigorate my role within my own community? In exploring these questions, another arose: what exactly am I learning? Perhaps identifying the skills I am developing in these online communities, and what I find so enriching about participating in them will help me to identify practical ways that I can better support local activities too.  Continue reading

In This Day – A Short Film About Prayer and Overcoming Tests and Difficulties

In This Day is a poignant and visually stunning short film put together by a team of young adults in New York City (USA). It was made in honour of the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab but its subject and its themes of serving others, the importance of prayer, and of facing tests and difficulties are applicable anytime.

Nava Kavelin is one of the film’s team members and she shared a little with us about the film and what she learned in the process of making it: Continue reading

Some Personal Reflections on Building Community During a Pandemic

As a college student, the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted my education and typical patterns of life, just as it has for countless numbers of souls throughout the globe. I study and serve a community near Boston, but when my school closed, I returned home to live with my family near Washington DC. Like others living and serving in Boston, I have tried to find creative ways to continue to build community, especially during this time when our careers, our work, our social lives, and our health have been impacted by factors outside of our control, often leaving us scared and concerned for both ourselves and for the wellbeing of our communities. Continue reading

My Home of Peace and the Devotional Character of My Neighborhood

I have a 450-square foot studio apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. My bed folds into a discrete cabinet against the wall, and my sink is always full of dishes. I have a tuxedo cat named Emma who doesn’t like anyone except me and has scratched up the ends of my armchair and leaves fuzz and hair wherever she sits. She tracks small pieces of litter across the apartment. My coffee table is covered with plastic bottles, coasters, leftover takeout containers, and graded papers. Working sixty to seventy hours a week, I roll in and out, often too tired to even put my clothes or shoes away in the right place, leaving them instead to hang out in piles on the floor or over my barstools. 

On Fridays, I hurry home from work, turn on bad reality television (Hell’s Kitchen mostly) whilst drinking a frappuccino, and start vacuuming. I sweep up all the white and black cat hairs, and vacuum them out of the sofa and throw pillows. I mop until the floors smell like lemon, sweep and wipe down the bathroom, throw my trash out, put away my recyclables, and finally fold my clothes or put them in the laundry. I take off all the extra things from my coffee table, light a candle, put a record on the turntable, turn on my string lights, change out of my work clothes, and wait for the first guest to arrive.  Continue reading

3 Spiritual Habits to Teach Young Children

Chelsea Lee Smith is the coordinator for online parenting courses for the Wilmette Institute, and Susanne Alexander, in her role as its Chair of the Relationship, Marriage, Parenting, and Family Department, often has the joy and privilege of helping Chelsea create course content. In our courses such as Fostering a Baha’i Identity in Children, Conscious Parenting, and more we help parents learn many practical ways to increase spiritual practices in their homes. Here are three spiritual habits that we love to encourage parents to teach to young children: Continue reading