Category Archives Baha’i Life

Celebrating the Upcoming Bicentenary of Baha’u’llah’s Birth

The Bab and Baha’u’llah were Twin Manifestations in a spiritual sense, as they both unfurled the Baha’i Dispensation, but also in a temporal sense, due to the closeness of their ages and birthdays. The anniversaries of their birthdays fall on consecutive days; this year, they occur on Saturday, October 21 (the Birth of the Bab), and Sunday, October 22 (the Birth of Baha’u’llah). The Twin Birthdays are always commemorated as Holy Days, anniversaries when Baha’is are asked to suspend work in honor of the occasion’s sanctity.

Early last year, Baha’is around the world were reminded by the Universal House of Justice, the international Baha’i administrative body, that two bicentennial anniversaries were approaching: the 200th birthday of Baha’u’llah, born in 1817 in Tehran, Iran, and the 200th birthday of the Bab, born in 1819 in Shiraz, Iran. Baha’is around the world are taking the opportunity afforded by this year’s Bicentenary to reflect on how our communities can share the teachings of the Bab and Baha’u’llah. Continue reading

Purity of Motive in Worship and Service

(Photo courtesy: Baha'i International Community)

“It’s the thought that counts” is a common English expression. Perhaps we give someone a present that we think they will love, and either they already have it, or they just don’t like it. The person is (hopefully) pleased anyway because they know that we meant well.

Abdu’l-Baha says that purity of motive is extremely important:

Your hearts must be pure and your intentions sincere in order that you may become recipients of the divine bestowals… This is the day when pure hearts have a portion of the everlasting bounties and sanctified souls are being illumined by the eternal manifestations.

So, in regards to the “failed” present, it doesn’t matter so much that the present was not loved or needed by the recipient. It is that we gave it out of the goodness of our heart.  Continue reading

Reflections on Participating in Discourses of Society

Photo taken in Biharsharif, India. (Courtesy Baha'i World Centre)

Participation in the prevalent discourses of society is one of the three areas of activity that the worldwide Baha’i community is trying to learn about (the other two being expansion and consolidation and social action). Broadly understood as a contribution to the evolution of thought, there are several principles and ideas that can help us understand how to contribute most effectively to the discourses around us. These are a few of my reflections on this weighty subject.  Continue reading

Reflection, Planning and Action in Our Daily Lives

As the activities of the Baha’i community have grown and developed in complexity, a pattern of action has emerged. Baha’is all around the world are engaged in cycles of activity that are guided by reflection, planning and action. This creates a collective rhythm and unifies a diversity of activities, such as devotional meetings, children’s classes and study circles.

I learned from the fifth book in Ruhi Institute sequence of courses, Releasing the Powers of Junior Youth, that living an integrated life means placing service at the centre and integrating other facets around it. To me, this means that we can benefit from using these three capacities and can add the rhythm of reflection-planning-action to our personal lives. In addition to service, we can also focus on other things we wish to include and develop in our daily lives.  Continue reading

The Value of Silence and Fewness of Words

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

A Personal Reflection on Miscarriages and Stillbirths

There are many friends and family members I know of who have suffered either a miscarriage or stillbirth, oftentimes with multiple pregnancies. I recently felt compelled to write an article addressing the matter and sharing some insights from the Baha’i Writings in the hopes that perhaps it might provide some comfort or solace to a family suffering this rarely-discussed but heartbreaking loss.  Continue reading

A Personal Reflection on Forgiveness

What does it mean to forgive those who wrong us personally or do terrible things to others in the world? Abdu’l-Baha affirms that,

Inasmuch as God is clement and loving to His children, lenient and merciful toward our shortcomings, why should we be unkind and unforgiving toward each other?

And:

Let not your heart be offended with anyone. If someone commits an error and wrong toward you, you must instantly forgive him. Do not complain of others. Refrain from reprimanding them, and if you wish to give admonition or advice, let it be offered in such a way that it will not burden the bearer. Turn all your thoughts toward bringing joy to hearts. Beware! Beware! Lest ye offend any heart.

Continue reading

My 9 Tips for Creating Imaginative Spaces for Elevated Conversation

Shoghi Effendi tells us “everyone is a potential teacher. He has only to use what God has given him” and when the Universal House of Justice speaks of “people hailing from every human group, inspired by the Revelation of Baha’u’llah” that will “give expression to patterns of thought and action engendered by His teachings” and evolve “new elements of culture,” it is talking about you!

A few months ago I hosted an art show birthday party to usher in my 29th year. I wanted to accomplish many things, mostly to unite my spiritual and artistic communities in an uplifting atmosphere of elevated conversation. I really wanted my guests to be encouraged to have meaningful conversations from the get-go.  Continue reading

Is There a Netiquette for Baha’is?

Netiquette is a popular term used to describe guidelines for polite and courteous online dialogue. While there is no prescriptive “Baha’i Netiquette,” there are spiritual principles found in the Writings of Baha’u’llah that we might apply to interactions online. After much personal reflection, we’ve decided to provide our thoughts and observations on this topic, as well as some of our favourite quotes. We hope that it will contribute to an ongoing conversation. Continue reading