feeling better now

Yay! I went to the doctor’s office yesterday and, lo and behold, she diagnosed a respiratory infection, and prescribed antibiotics. She also suggested I get a good cough syrup. Wow. Why didn’t I think of that? You know, I love Bahá’u’lláh. When He says you should seek the advice of a competent physician, He knows what He’s talking about. So, yeah. Things are much better now. I can breathe; just got paid for my work on the cranberry site; and I don’t look like Kramer.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention I got a haircut today, too. My hair was getting a little bit long. I went to this basement hair salon I’ve never been to before and got a pretty good cut. The hairdresser was nice, and apparently her sister was the coordinator for the World Youth Day celebrations in the area. Neat! It’s amazing how many connections you can make when you just open up to people.

That World Youth Day celebration was really something else. The experience has stirred up all these ideas, opened up so many doors, and really widened my understanding of the relationship between the different religions. It’s all so clear, and so powerful! There is no difference between a Christian, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Bahá’í. As long as they are true followers, as long as they cut through the veils imposed by the limitations of human expression, and reach out to grasp the essence of the spiritual teachings of the Manifestations of God — rather than being contented with the material elements of religion, which must needs change — they are the followers of the One True God. Throw aside the veils, O people, which stand between you and the Beloved! Ya Bahá’ul-‘Abhá!

Wow I feel good. If you feel like this too, for goodness’s sake, email me and let’s go travel teach!

PS: “Ya Bahá’ul-‘Abhá” means “O Thou Glory of the All-Glorious”. It’s referred to as the Greatest Name of God.

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!

growing pains

it could be so easy to look at a situation of inharmony or disunity and say, “what an awful situation, they should be ashamed of themselves, that’s all wrong, they need to get their act together”. but really, what use would it be to do that?

we had a bit of a scene tonight. we had a meeting where our community got together to consult. there were raised voices, feelings of anger, frustration, and so forth. it’s unfortunate, but it was plainly visible that it had to happen at some point. let’s hope all of us in the community can recognize this occasion for what it really is — a sign of growing pains — and seize the opportunity to acknowledge the issues of this newly formed community, and to grow from that acknowledgment.

I say this because it can be so easy to get emotionally involved in conflict, to take sides, and to miss the entire point. the point of conflict is: we all have different approaches, different experiences, different strengths, and different weaknesses. when there’s conflict, anywhere, it’s just some of those differences that are being made manifest. differences of opinion provide us with opportunities to learn about each other, and to learn about ourselves. the alternative is to get upset, blow up, and estrange ourselves, and then the community falls apart.

the thing that many people fail to consider is that unity is not an end, but the means to an end. our goal isn’t to be united — we must already be united if we want to get anything done.

sometimes people need to get shaken up before they realize the true importance of unity. perhaps, if God wills it, this will be the shake by which we will realize it. somehow I think it might take more time, but there’s always hope. besides, no one can fathom God’s plans. inshallah.

well, I guess I’m saying that we DO need to get our act together, but I don’t mean it in a negative way, just an honest way. 😉

tonight, Bahá’ís commemorate the Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh, that is, His death and the ascension of His soul into the worlds of heaven. it happens at 3 AM wednesday morning, which is the time He passed away.

anyway, it turns out that we won’t be celebrating it as a group because things came up for the person who was supposed to host and she needs her sleep. someone died. doh.

hopefully we will be together in spirit.