Saturday, February 21, 2009

committing to peace, joy and certitude

I am getting married in exactly a week! it has been hard to write about all of this. i find myself fighting so many fears and anxieties. It is perhaps the speed of the transition.

We had a very sweet evening recently where we recited the "Remover of difficulties" 500 times together.

"Is there any remover of difficulties save God? Say: Praise be to God. He is God. All are His servants and all abide by his bidding." -The Bab

This is not any kind of a required practice and Baha'is are cautioned against all forms of ritual, but the following passage is found in God Passes By:
`Bid them recite: "Is there any Remover of difficulties save God? Say: Praised be God! He is God! All are His servants, and all abide by His bidding!" Tell them to repeat it five hundred times, nay, a thousand times, by day and by night, sleeping and waking, that haply the Countenance of Glory may be unveiled to their eyes, and tiers of light descend upon them.'
(Shoghi Effendi citing Nabíl citing Bahá'u'lláh in God Passes By, p. 119)

My friends Sham and Joa use this during periods of crisis and have inspired me to try it several times during my life. I generally find that it has a very calming and centering effect and seems to lead to some insight. Wednesday night's sweet experience of reciting it together not only drew us closer together but lead to a strong sense that what would be the most constructive of goodness and rightness would be to commit myself wholly and fully to moving ahead with

peace, joy and certitude

It was quite liberating. The challenge is to honor that commitment which makes me think of the "Dynamics of prayer" which has been attributed to Shoghi Effendi. I found this on Baha'i Perspectives.

Step 1: Pray and meditate about it. Use the prayers of the Messengers of God (Jesus, Mohammed, Krishna, Buddha, Moses, Zoaster, the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh) as they have the greatest power. Then remain in silence of contemplation for a few minutes.

Step 2: Arrive at a decision and hold this. This decision is usually born during the contemplation. It may seem almost impossible of accomplishment, but if it seems to be an answer to prayer or a way of solving the problem, then immediately take the next step.

Step 3: Have determination to carry the decision through. Many fail here. The decision, budding into determination, is blighted and instead becomes a wish or vague longing. When determination is born, immediately take the next step.

Step 4:
Have Faith and confidence that the power will flow through you and the right way will appear, the door will open, the right thought, the right message, the right principle or the right book will be given you. Have confidence, and the right thing will come to your need. Then, as you rise from prayer, take at once Step 5.

Step 5:
Act. Act as though it had all been answered. Then act with tireless, ceaseless energy. And as you act, you, yourself, will become a magnet, which will attract more power to your being, until you become an unobstructed channel for Divine Power to flow through you. Many pray but do not remain for the last half of the first step. Some who meditate arrive at a decision, but fail to hold it. Few have the determination to carry the decision through, still fewer have the confidence that the right thing will come to their need. But how many remember to act as though it had all been answered? How true are those words- "greater than the prayer is the spirit in which it is uttered and greater than the way it is uttered is the spirit in which it is carried out."

From Principles of Bahá'í Administration, p. 90-91.
Excerpted from the pilgrim's notes of Ruth Moffet, an early American Bah

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

forgiveness and acquiescence

"We ought to show something greater than forgiveness in meeting the cruelties and strictures in our lives. To be hurt and forgive is saintly but far beyond this is the power to comprehend and not be hurt. This power we may have...acceptance without complaint and it should be associated with our name. We ought never to be known to complain or lament. It is not that we would "make the best of things," but that we may find in everything, even in calamity, the gems of enduring wisdom. We ought never be impatient. We ought to be as incapable of impatience as one would be of revolt. This not being so much long-suffering as quiet awareness of the forces that operate in the hours of dark or years of waiting and inactivity. Always we ought to move with the larger rhythm, the wider sweep, towards our ultimate goal, in that complete acquiescence, that perfect chord which underlies the spirit of the faith itself."

-- Bahiyyih Khanum, The Greatest Holy Leaf

Sunday, February 01, 2009

dancing for universal peace

Last night our dear friend Tanya rounded several of us up to go the Dance for Universal Peace at the Soma Yoga Center. This is the first I have heard of such a thing and it seems it is a worldwide organization that promotes peace through dance, music and prayer from the various faith traditions in the world.

The evening consisted of learning simple verses from Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Native American faiths and then singing and dancing. It was so sweet, calming, joyous and uplifting.

Ram had a favorite song. It is from a poem of Kabir, an Indian poet who combined Hindu and Muslim themes. The lyrics for this song go like this:

"Fill your cup. Drink it up. Ya Allah Allah.
Fill your cup. Drink it up. Ya Allah Allah.
Ram Ram Ram Ram
Ram Ram Ram Ram
Ram Ram Ram Ram
A fish in the water is not thirsty."

You can see why Ram liked the song so much! I found a session of this song and dance on YouTube. This is just the dance that we did here in little Highland Park though with a much smaller group.