It’s funny, as children we have such great visions of the world. Our imagination takes precedence over the realities in which we live and we can see everything with such beauty and splendor. The world is filled with infinite possibilities. Somehow though, as we grow older, we seem to lose this light as we learn more about the difficulties of the world, and the realities of hardship that others face, with no apparent solution. We forget as adults we ever had this idealistic vision “once upon a time” and we begin to lose sight of the bigger picture.
Thankfully for us, we have been offered Messengers with a more significant vision than our own — one where mankind comes together for peace, justice and, most importantly, unity. It is a vision of a world that is fair, equal and progressive. This potent and powerful vision is for people from every race and nationality and it asks us to be inspired with what is possible. This vision is truly remarkable; it is a vision from God, as offered by Baha’u’llah, the most recent Messenger. Abdu’l-Baha explains how this vision is eternal: Continue reading
In 1995 the Baha’i International Community’s Office of Public Information, in Haifa, prepared a statement entitled The Prosperity of Humankind that was distributed for the first time at the United Nations World Summit on Social Development in Copenhagen. The statement, based on insights derived from the Baha’i Writings and an analysis of contemporary society, shares some important concepts and principles for building a strategy for global development. I truly loved reading it and thought of sharing my personal views on the statement in the hope it motivates others to study it if you have not done so yet (in can be read in full online or downloaded from the Baha’i Reference Library). Continue reading
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
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
We are all human and that means we are in the same predicament: we are like a bird that is stuck in the clay of the world, its wings sullied and heavy; we have two selves, one lower, the other higher. So, our task in life is to elevate our souls and escape the grip of the ego. But how?
This is no easy endeavour. But according to the Baha’i Writings, there are a number of ways through which we can grow spiritually. Here are six ways that I’m striving to better myself: Continue reading
There are so many studies that link the power of gratitude to an emotive state of happiness, and many people are seeking to implement acts of gratitude in order to find a more fulfilling life. What is gratitude? An act of gratitude is the process or practice of giving thanks or showing appreciation for things that matter in your life; it can be your family, friends, job opportunities, living conditions, the list goes on. Through a daily act of gratitude, for example waking each morning and writing down five things you are thankful for, we seem to appreciate life more. But what if we are looking at gratitude too simplistically? What if gratitude is more than saying thanks for the material world and is, in fact, prayer – our most important spiritual practice? Continue reading
Many people have strong opinions about the word “feminist” and the whole concept of feminism. These opinions might be based on good or bad experiences that people have had, on things they have heard or read, or on fundamental understandings of the realities of women and men. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and to the reasons behind those opinions.
For this article, we (the authors) are going to focus on only two things: a dictionary definition of “feminism” and some of the statements found in the Baha’i Writings that we feel address aspects of that definition. We hope that you will read with this in mind, gleaning anything you find useful from the post as a jumping off point for continued conversation. Continue reading
Perhaps you are like me. Perhaps there have been times when you have been asked what the Baha’i Faith is and the minute the word “religion” leaves your lips, your listener becomes apprehensive. Perhaps they reply that religion is an opiate for the masses, that it is an outdated fiction that does not meet the needs of today, that it is the cause of unnecessary bloodshed and war, that religion breeds intolerance for people of other religions, or that faith in something greater than ourselves shouldn’t be organized and administered. In honour of World Religion Day, I thought I’d explore what “religion” means in the context of the Baha’i Writings. Continue reading
The dictionary definition of compassion is “concern for the misfortunes of others.” Synonyms include empathy, mercy, and charity. However, to truly observe compassion in action, I need not look further than my own community. Continue reading
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