Category Archives Baha’i Life

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.

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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

Feeling Boundless Love for Others

Photo: courtesy of the Baha'i International Community

Shed the light of a boundless love on every human being whom you meet, whether of your country, your race, your political party, or of any other nation, color or shade of political opinion.

– Abdu’l-Baha

The security of people of Middle Eastern and South Asian descent living in the United States seems to be on thin ice: bearing brown skin and a “foreign” name are dangerous liabilities. Evidence comes in recent hate crimes like February’s Kansas killing. Engineers Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani were attacked by a man who told them to “get out of my country.” Kuchibhotla died. The attacker later disclosed that he thought his victims, who were natives of India, were Iranian. In March, Hasel Afshar returned to his Oregon town from vacation to discover his home ransacked and hateful messages coating the walls of his house. The messages indicated that the attackers believed Afshar to be Muslim. He is actually a Baha’i refugee from Iran. Persecuted for his faith in his homeland—attacked for his foreignness in his refuge.  Continue reading

Illustrated Reflections on Organic Growth

Untitled, watercolour & ink, December 2016

A few years ago, in late February, I laid out a bunch of tiny Starbucks cups with a handful of dirt and little seeds in each of them under a desk lamp in my apartment.

I didn’t undertake this on my own; I was part of a group of friends who wanted to learn more about the idea of organic growth. We had been saying these words, “organic”, “process” and “growth”, a lot in the Baha’i community but we wanted to go a little deeper into their meaning and define their characteristics. The following are my own reflections on that experience, as well as my current experience watching the growth of my son.  Continue reading

7 Ways to Celebrate the Festival of Ridvan at Home

Children showing their artwork in Norte del Cauca, Colombia. (Photo: courtesy of the Baha'i International Community)

Now that my eldest is four years old, she understands a lot more about the significance of Baha’i holy days. This has made me increasingly reflect on how we commemorate these special days as a family aside from attending our community’s events. In the first volume of The Revelation of Baha’u’llah, Adib Taherzadeh describes the Ridvan Garden in Baghdad with these words:

There, Baha’u’llah appeared in the utmost joy, walking majestically in its avenues lined with flowers and trees. The fragrance of roses and the singing of nightingales created an atmosphere of beauty and enchantment.

This year we will be celebrating the King of Festivals by adding some beauty and enchantment to our daily lives in the following 7 ways:  Continue reading

The Divine Springtime: A Personal Reflection

Perhaps you live in a place like I do where the weather is a big topic of conversation. You could be in line at the market or among friends. No matter the situation: casual talk always begins with a commentary on the weather of the hour and its forecast.

As the Fast draws to a close, Baha’is celebrate the New Year when the vernal equinox begins in Tihran, the cradle of the Baha’i Faith. While snowstorms may still rage in my corner of the world and while any greenery is still dormant and hidden, spring has nevertheless sprung. One of my favourite Writings is:

The Divine Springtime is come, O Most Exalted Pen, for the Festival of the All-Merciful is fast approaching. Bestir thyself, and magnify, before the entire creation, the name of God, and celebrate His praise, in such wise that all created things may be regenerated and made new.

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My 7 Tips for Fasting When You Have Young Children

The fast is beautiful, spirituality refreshing and hard…and it can get so much harder when you become a parent! Suddenly you not only have to fast but now you have to a be a good parent at the same time (something that can feel pretty impossible even when we’re fully nourished). This year I’ve given myself seven strategies for fasting with three kids with as much mindfulness, patience and good-humour as possible.  Continue reading

Dedicating the Fast to a Goal

Every year during March Baha’is observe a 19 day Fast. According to Abdu’l-Baha, fasting symbolizes detachment from earthly things. It is my understanding that fasting is a time for aligning our inner compass with God’s will and getting a grip on our lower nature.

Physical fasting is a symbol of that abstinence, and is a reminder; that is, just as a person abstains from physical appetites, he is to abstain from self-appetites and self-desires.

It seems like the Fast is a perfect time to challenge our insistent self, set some goals and start a journey towards a destination. So why not dedicate the period of Fast for a specific purpose?  Continue reading