Trusting in God is important and potentially challenging for Baha’is. We might think this is particularly true because, every now and then, we face tests and difficulties and life gets rough.
But this raises a question: what does it mean to trust in God? To trust in someone, as I understand it, is to expect some action or inaction from them. When I trust that Jeff will tell me if a particular piece of clothing makes me look fat, I expect something from him – in this case, an honest opinion.
But what should we expect God to do when we trust in Him?
Some might think this question sounds odd. We’re not God, so how blasphemous is it to then think that we can expect God to do things as if we know what God would will? Continue reading
When human beings commit atrocities, whether individually or as a group, we are quick to judge our human race as nothing better than bestial, unable to control our grosser animal instincts. The fact that there exist people who are able to exhibit nobler qualities may, we reason, simply indicate that they are able to do this solely because they have not been pushed to their limits, but that they could easily descend to their brutish natures if provoked. However, Abdu’l-Baha tells us:
Signs of both these natures are to be found in men. In his material aspect he expresses untruth, cruelty and injustice; all these are the outcome of his lower nature. The attributes of his Divine nature are shown forth in love, mercy, kindness, truth and justice, one and all being expressions of his higher nature. Every good habit, every noble quality belongs to man’s spiritual nature, whereas all his imperfections and sinful actions are born of his material nature.
(Photo: courtesy Baha'i World Centre)
On July 12th, Malala Yousafzai celebrated her 19th birthday. This Nobel Peace Prize winner (the world’s youngest) caught the world’s attention in 2012 when she was shot in the face by the Taliban for attending school and for championing the right of girls to be educated. On her 16th birthday, Malala gave a speech at the United Nations — the first after the attack on her life — renewing her commitment to fight for the right of children to go to school. The UN dubbed that July 12th as “Malala Day” and some have celebrated it since.
Education is a universal right. Abdu’l-Baha states:
The education of each child is compulsory…. In addition to this wide-spread education each child must be taught a profession, art, or trade, so that every member of the community will be enabled to earn his own livelihood. Work done in the spirit of service is the highest form of worship…
The education of girls is a principle distinctly upheld in the Baha’i Writings. It is a subject that I think of often, and it is a subject more complicated than a simple Baha’i Blog article can address. Here are a few of my thoughts about the education of girls and how this goal is linked to the equality of men and women and the importance of children’s classes. Continue reading
In a world that is being governed more and more by the words of those leaders and individuals who prove “skillful at appealing to superficial emotion”, we are called to lofty heights, to rise above the sea of slogans to a spiritual distinction that is defined by our deeds. These slogans are nullifying our ability to act and rise beyond our “natural inertia” and become those beings of light that are distinguished by their actions.
It is in this world of gross materialism, the mud of our current reality, that the lotus of action must bloom. It must be our actions that distinguish us as those who truly believe: people who “do as they say”. The deeds of our lives are those that distinguish our moral selves and continually imbue us with the principle of an unwavering commitment to integrity. Here are three ways that our deeds can define us: Continue reading
The wind blows. Clouds move across the sky. Winter leeches colours from the leaves. Life is movement and change! Or in the words of the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus: “No man ever steps in the same river twice.”
When I wandered the lonely and confusing plain between atheism and theism as a spiritual seeker, I reached a stage where I felt bewildered with the transitory nature of the world. I stopped and questioned the very nature of life: change. “Why?” I asked myself, “is there movement and change at all?” It seems like a silly question but when you think about it, God could have created any type of universe, so why did He create one that was ever-changing and impermanent?
Only some years later did I receive my answer: change is progress. Abdu’l-Baha explains that “Change is a necessary quality and essential attribute of this world, of time and place.” The reason that change is necessary, He explains, is that “the world of existence is progressive”. Continue reading
When I first started working as a medical intern I used to place a prayer book in my bag for work. At the time I thought I might have the opportunity to say a prayer for a sick patient or share a prayer with a family if they asked. Unfortunately a hospital is a busy place, and being an intern even more so. I put prayer and spirituality to one side, focusing on the material, scientific healing I was trained to practice. But maybe that is an excuse and I, like many of my colleagues, don’t put enough stock in the effects of spiritual healing. Continue reading
For our Earth’s sake, for our future’s sake, for our own sake…I will be talking trash!
Trash is something we consider unwanted, no longer needed or useful, therefore: it should be thrown out! But thrown out where? While we clean our homes and our streets (depending on where we live), we somehow consider some parts of this planet, our own loving, giving “mother” Earth – landfill. Landfill is where we dump all our trash. Sadly, what’s put in landfill accumulates over time and some things turn into something else. For example as organic waste decomposes in landfill, it produces the greenhouse gasses such as methane (54%) and carbon dioxide (40%). Did you know that methane is 24 times more damaging as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide? Continue reading
Did you know that June 1st has been designated the International Day to celebrate YOU? Although I’d like to call it the “Global day of Validation and Appreciation for Awesome Parents”, the official title is the “UN Global Day of Parents”:
The Global Day provides an opportunity to appreciate all parents in all parts of the world for their selfless commitment to children and their lifelong sacrifice towards nurturing this relationship.
And before you jump into thinking, “But am I really making a selfless effort? Am I really sacrificing enough?”, can we be real for a moment?
This is no easy job. Abdu’l-Baha says: Continue reading
When we aspire to live up to the teachings of Baha’u’llah and strive to emulate the immense array of virtues, we can become a little overwhelmed. It can be helpful to limit the range of qualities we focus on. Luckily, there are four qualities that Baha’u’llah especially liked.
Baha’u’llah is said to have often remarked:
There are four qualities which I love to see manifested in people: first, enthusiasm and courage; second, a face wreathed in smiles and a radiant countenance; third, that they see with their own eyes and not through the eyes of others; fourth, the ability to carry a task once begun, through to its end.
There are so many virtues that we are called to develop, so why did Baha’u’llah single out these four qualities? Here are my thoughts: Continue reading
One analogy that has developed in my head and heart recently is the notion that reading the Baha’i Writings can be analogous to watering the garden of our soul. This article was inspired by Haylee Navidi’s insightful post on farming as an analogy for community building, based on the 29 December 2015 message from the Universal House of Justice and other excerpts from the Writings, as well as recently being charged with the duty of watering a new garden where I live. Like I mean, the green stuff that grows outside. I actually had to water it. Continue reading