hoppity hop

Today (technically last night) is my three-month anniversary of living in Victoriaville. It’s been three months since the feast of Jamál (Beauty) when I set foot on this blessed piece of earth to stay. I look back on it now and I don’t regret it for a moment.

My AOL access ran out today, so I’m back to using email at the library. It’s not so bad now, because it’s about a five-minute walk there. When I move it’ll probably be about ten minutes. Exercise! Gotta love it. My bike has a flat, apparently. I’ll have to work that out with the person who I loaned it to. Bicycles are indispensible. They save on gas and money, they help you get exercise and keep you healthy, and so on and so forth. If someone knows a good way to exercise one’s arms and upper body, please email me and let me know. I have to work on my upper body strength. My legs are fine because I’ve walked and run and cycled so much in my life, but I don’t often work with my arms and the rest. And my abdomen, too.

Spiritually, life is okay. I am really enjoying taking Ruhi Book 3. Like all the books, it’s not only useful for learning skills of service, but also for changing your own perspective on spirituality. Perhaps accepting to take on the role of servant for the Cause teaches you how to live a better life — the spirit of service animates and gives life to divine civilization. If only more people understood that, right? That’s why it’s our duty to teach the Cause as well as serve. I am in the process of learning how to teach people about the Bahá’í Faith. At first I didn’t really know how or why it’s done. But it must be important since Bahá’u’lláh has prescribed it as a duty to each and every one of us, no? Start from that fact and learn how to reconcile it with your life, and then learn how to carry it out.

I’m also starting to realize that the more I think of myself as being here to “educate”, “teach”, or “enlighten” people about life, the more I cheat myself of the vital experience of learning about life, which I desperately need. Perhaps I can teach people lots of things. But no man, except the Manifestation of God, is only a teacher. All of us are learning and sharing our knowledge and wisdom as much as we can.

Another thing I’m learning is that unity is so important. So much more important than everything else. It doesn’t matter if the way we work is inefficient or crazy or wrong — the fundamental prerequisite for any successful action is unity. And if we are united and we turn our faces towards God, then He will guide us and the truth will be unveiled. Personal confrontations, pet peeves, prejudices, none of it matters. All of it will fall away before the face of God. Having trust in God and complete reliance on Him is our duty, and this is His bounty to us.

Anyway my hour is up soon. I’m glad I’m back from New York. I don’t think I’m cut out for life in the big city. This place is so beautiful and so appealing.

Today I got a photo from the study circle in Ruhi Book 1 that Elham and I tutored back in February-March of this year. What a nice reminder of such a great experience. The participants were Persian students from the Bahá’í Institute for Higher Education in Iran, the one that has weathered such severe attacks from the Iranian government recently. What a group of unforgettably friendly and spiritual people. It seems like the greatest thing about Bahá’ís is that no matter who you are or where you are in the world, if you can find a Bahá’í, then you’ve found a friend. Everyone should strive to attain that degree of selflessness and all-embracing love for humanity. Imagine the result!

fifth avenue slush

so I woke up in yet another stranger’s house this morning, in Montreal. actually what was once a little suburb of Montreal called Verdun. Carl, the son of the Bahá’ís I’m staying with in Victoriaville, has interviews here this morning, and since I was coming into town anyway, I drove him in early. but now I don’t have much to do except blog until 6 pm. 😉 not a very well-planned day.

Montreal is a city with lots of character, a character that still seems a little foreign. row housing is something a little new to me. I grew up in the suburbs, where everybody has houses. everything here is apartments. just the whole feeling of the city seems out of my element. I don’t know if I can place it. maybe it’s just because I’m not used to REALLY being in the city, you know, as opposed to living out in the quiet part of town, and taking the bus half an hour to go to university.

I feel like I’m facing a bunch of burly guys who want to beat me up, and it’s for my own good. that’s how life is, isn’t it? you get beat up, but you learn from the pain and discomfort and you start to be able to deal with it better, and eventually overcome it. not that life is full of burly guys who want to beat you up. unless you owe money to the mafia.

hmm, I called Hoda today and we had a discussion about the Ruhi circle that I’m taking, and whether or not I’m losing something by not sticking with one group for the entirety of the study circle. I can understand the concern there. this isn’t just a lecture, where there’s information to be memorized. it’s meant to be a process by which you interact with a group and explore the Bahá’í Writings through consultation — shared learning, perhaps. so I guess the options are, go back to the old group I was in and stick with them through the whole book, or wait for an intensive course that’s coming up in the next month or so. I guess the bottom line is that I’d like to go through the material and have the full experience while trying to use as little gas as possible. there’s never a perfect situation, I guess. there are just situations that work. consultation! that’s how you find the truth. so let’s consult.