Finding Pleasure in God’s Pleasure

Like all animals, we are naturally pleasure-seeking creatures. The desire for pleasure drives, and has driven, many of our endeavours. And we might even say that in the technological age we live in, it drives us even more. But what if we realised that our task in life is not to pursue our own pleasure, but instead to pursue God’s? Baha’u’llah counsels us:

O SON OF MAN! If thou lovest Me, turn away from thyself; and if thou seekest My pleasure, regard not thine own; that thou mayest die in Me and I may eternally live in thee.

O SON OF HIM THAT STOOD BY HIS OWN ENTITY IN THE KINGDOM OF HIS SELF! Know thou, that I have wafted unto thee all the fragrances of holiness, have fully revealed to thee My word, have perfected through thee My bounty and have desired for thee that which I have desired for My Self. Be then content with My pleasure and thankful unto Me.

These are beautiful words. But they can be hard to follow. In today’s world, for many people, desires can be quickly met. We want a coffee; we buy one on the go. We want to be entertained; we find something interesting to watch on YouTube. I think that we have become accustomed to having our desires instantly satiated, so the notion of pleasing God, instead of ourselves, can be a completely foreign concept.  Continue reading

The Ink of Light Baha’i Writers’ Festival

Several months ago I was invited to participate in a one-day festival called “The Ink of Light Baha’i Writers’ Festival” held in May in Brisbane, Australia, about an hour from where I currently live. Unfortunately I was overseas at the time, but I was so excited to hear about this initiative, as it’s the first I’d ever heard of such a festival. As an avid reader and as the editor of Baha’i Blog where we publish thousands of posts and articles, writing is definitely something I’m passionate about!

“The Ink of Light Baha’i Writers’ Festival” was the brainchild of Brisbane photographer and author, Ian Hallmond, and I heard so many great things about the festival. When I returned to Australia, I met up with Ian to find out more about the initiative: Continue reading

Creating a New Culture for Singles Who Want to Marry

The path to finding a mate for life is not easy. Through my personal life and my work as a marriage and relationship educator and coach, I have seen how perseverance, courage, discernment, and commitment are all essential. We and the world need strong, happy marriages that are fortresses of well-being.

We are not yet living in a world that has established a common pattern of courtship based on the Baha’i Teachings. As a result, individuals and couples are experimenting and trying to find their way – sometimes joyfully and sometimes with more difficulty.

As you know, courtship practices differ greatly from one culture to another, and it is not yet known what pattern of courtship will emerge in the future when society has been more influenced by Baha’i Teachings. However, there is no indication that it will resemble the practices extant in existing cultures…. In this interim period, the friends are encouraged to make great efforts to live in conformity with the Teachings and to gradually forge a new pattern of behavior, more in keeping with the spirit of Baha’u’llah’s Revelation.

The challenge we face is how to engage in patterns of courtship that strive to implement Baha’i principles in a world that is “a bewildering moral environment” and in “a society in which materialism, self-centeredness and failing marriages are all too common.”

So, when we look at what possibly aligns with Baha’i courtship, what is important?  Continue reading

An Interview with Omid Gollmer About ‘The Nightingale Sessions’

Omid Gollmer is the creator behind “The Nightingale Sessions”, a series of devotional videos that put excerpts from the Baha’i Writings to music. Based in Stuttgart, Germany, these videos were made in commemoration of the bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah. (If you’d like to see one, we showcased it on Baha’i Blog’s video section here.)

Omid kindly agreed to tell us a little about these moving musical pieces and the production of their videos. I hope you enjoy our conversation!

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Consulting Detective: A Crime Novel by Alan Manifold

A new Baha’i-inspired crime novel has recently been published by my dear friend, Alan Manifold, and to be honest, this is the first time I’ve ever heard of a novel of this kind being released, so I’m so excited to share this everyone!

Alan Manifold is the author of Consulting Detective, a murder mystery set in contemporary United States, and it’s centred around a Baha’i character whose actions are guided by principles and teachings of the Baha’i Faith. We eagerly chatted with Alan about his new crime novel, and here is our conversation:

Baha’i Blog: Hi Alan, can you tell us a little bit about the book?

Consulting Detective is quite possibly the first murder mystery to feature a Baha’i detective. Police Detective Mihdi Montgomery is called to investigate the murder of a Jewish Rabbi in a synagogue in his Chicago suburb. Montgomery works to find the murderer amongst all those with a motive and opportunity. Mihdi questions people to determine how and to what extent they are involved, but he also uses the Baha’i process of consultation with multiple groups to tap into the power of collective experience and wisdom.

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Letter from the Universal House of Justice for the Dedication of the Colombia Temple

Photo courtesy of the Baha'i International Community

The Universal House of Justice has written a letter for the momentous occasion of the dedication of the House of Worship in Norte del Cauca, Colombia. The letter powerfully describes what the edifice signifies and what its construction demonstrates in terms of the development of its communities. I do not wish to paraphrase such a masterfully written letter so I have quoted it in full below. You can also read it on the official website of the Universal House of JusticeContinue reading

Baha’i Temples: A Brief Introduction

Baha’i Houses of Worship (or temples, as they often called) are places of prayer built by Baha’is, but open to people of all faiths, religions and beliefs. In the Baha’i Writings, they are also referred to as Mashriqu’l-Adhkar, which is Arabic for “The Dawning Place of the Mention of God”, and they are not simply buildings, but are considered sacred institutions. Baha’u’llah describes this sacred institution with these words:

O people of the world! Build ye houses of worship throughout the lands in the name of Him Who is the Lord of all religions. Make them as perfect as is possible in the world of being, and adorn them with that which befitteth them […]. Then, with radiance and joy, celebrate therein the praise of your Lord, the Most Compassionate. Verily, by His remembrance the eye is cheered and the heart is filled with light.

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How Bullet Journalling Helps Me Be a More Consistent & Systematic Baha’i

Baha’is all over the world are striving to systematize their efforts and to be methodical about their endeavours to “effect a transformation in the whole character of mankind, a transformation that shall manifest itself both outwardly and inwardly”. We are given Plans by the Universal House of Justice and are encouraged to think in quarterly cycles of action, reflection, and planning. On the personal level, Baha’u’llah tells us to “bring [ourselves] to account each day”, to strive to “let each morn be better than its eve and each morrow richer than its yesterday”, and Abdu’l-Baha encourages us to “be constant in offering [daily] obligatory prayer”. The theme of systematic action has also been further explored here on Baha’i Blog.

Bullet journaling has helped me to be reliable, methodical and systematic both in my personal devotions, as well as in my service to the world at large; it has helped me create my personal plans and be organized in my efforts and participation in community building initiatives. Of course, bullet journaling isn’t the only way to be systematic on a personal level, but I’d like to share my personal experience here in the hope that others might find something useful in it.  Continue reading

A Tribute to Bahiyyih Khanum, The Greatest Holy Leaf

Resting Place of the Greatest Holy Leaf (1846 - July 15, 1932), Bahiyyih Khanum, the daugher of Baha’u’llah, in the Monument Gardens on Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel. Photo: courtesy of the Baha'i International Community.

Dearly-beloved Greatest Holy Leaf! Through the mist of tears that fill my eyes I can clearly see, as I pen these lines, thy noble figure before me, and can recognize the serenity of thy kindly face. I can still gaze, though the shadows of the grave separate us, into thy blue, love-deep eyes, and can feel in its calm intensity, the immense love thou didst bear for the Cause of thine Almighty Father, the attachment that bound thee to the most lowly and insignificant among its followers, the warm affection thou didst cherish for me in thine heart.

The tenderness and profound love in the description of those “blue, love-deep eyes” is one that has stayed in my mind and heart years after I read Shoghi Effendi’s moving and poignant love letter in remembrance of his beloved great aunt, the Greatest Holy Leaf, Bahiyyih Khanum.

Described by her Father, Baha’u’llah, as “one of the most distinguished among thy sex”, with “a station such as none other woman hath surpassed”, Bahiyyih Khanum is regarded as the most outstanding heroine of the Baha’i dispensation.  Continue reading

Can I Be Spiritual and Care About My Clothes?

I was once explaining to someone about how my work as an image consultant supports people to find authenticity in themselves and in their clothes — and they were incredulous: “But, Glynis, humanity is sliding off a cliff and you want us to pay attention to what we wear?”

In considering the general state of the world around us, this is a perfectly understandable response. The very serious issues eroding and degrading the planet present an immediate responsibility to each of us to make conscious efforts to address them. For this reason, many concerned and deep-thinking people feel that there are more important areas to focus on than the seemingly superficial and materialistic subject of clothes.

In this article, I’d like to explore ideas of discovering and expressing our true selves through the clothes we choose to wear.  Continue reading