quotes for the feast of questions

The All-Knowing Physician hath His finger on the pulse of mankind. He perceiveth the disease, and prescribeth, in His unerring wisdom, the remedy.

Every age hath its own problem, and every soul its particular aspiration. The remedy the world needeth in its present-day afflictions can never be the same as that which a subsequent age may require.

Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and center your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements.

Baha’u’llah
Immerse yourselves in the ocean of My words, that ye may unravel its secrets, and discover all the pearls of wisdom that lie hid in its depths.

Baha’u’llah
It is an axiomatic fact that while you meditate you are speaking with your own spirit. In that state of mind you put certain questions to your spirit and the spirit answers: the light breaks forth and the reality is revealed.

The meditative faculty is akin to the mirror; if you put it before earthly objects it will reflect them. Therefore if the spirit of man is contemplating earthly subjects he will be informed of these. But if you turn the mirror of your spirits heavenwards, the heavenly constellations and the rays of the Sun of Reality will be reflected in your hearts, and the virtues of the Kingdom will be obtained.

Abdu’l-Baha
Take ye counsel together in all matters, inasmuch as consultation is the lamp of guidance which leadeth the way, and is the bestower of understanding.

Baha’u’llah
Consultation bestoweth greater awareness and transmuteth conjecture into certitude. It is a shining light which, in a dark world, leadeth the way and guideth.

Baha’u’llah
In this Cause consultation is of vital importance, but spiritual conference and not the mere voicing of personal views is intended… Parliamentary procedure should have for its object the attainment of the light of truth upon questions presented and not furnish a battleground for opposition and self-opinion. Antagonism and contradiction are unfortunate and always destructive to truth.

Abdu’l-Baha
The essence of all that We have revealed for thee is Justice, is for man to free himself from idle fancy and imitation, discern with the eye of oneness His glorious handiwork, and look into all things with a searching eye.

Baha’u’llah

looking for reflections

Into a brand new
Realm of
Existence we go
As we stand and
Look deeply into the
Light that shines
Yellow from street lamps
As we breathe and
Meditate on the
Space we take at this
Time on this earth
Under the supernal sky
Calmly cultivating our
Knowledge of eternity

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autocorrect

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paras 4-5

para.4:

“How pleased we are to note the many insights the believers are gaining from their endeavours.” The House of Justice is watching over us, following our progress as we build up our capacity to serve humanity.

The unfoldment of the Plan is a “dynamic”, “complex” process that “does not lend itself to ready simplification.” How many times have we been reminded that there are no shortcuts, no pre-planned scripts to follow? This process requires us to transform ourselves, to develop spiritual perception, discernment, patience, wisdom, and constancy.

How does the process move forward? As we increase our ability to (1) raise up human resources, that is, help people to arise to serve; and to (2) coordinate and organize well the actions of those who arise.

New initiatives and features of programs of growth (for example, canvassing neighbourhoods, or home visiting campaigns, or projects to reach out to specific populations) require special attention for a time, and eventually, once we gain experience with them, they become just one part of our toolbox. They don’t become less important or necessary, and we use them when we need them.

Sometimes, the need to invest energy in developing a certain tool in our toolbox means that a lot of people focus on a certain activity for a while. But conditions and goals change from one cycle of growth to the next, and not everyone needs to “be occupied with the same aspect of the Plan”. We should stay alert and learn how to discern when conditions require us to develop new tools, at the same time allowing for the development of a wide variety of paths of service in our community—as individuals contribute to the unfoldment of the Plan using those tools with which they best show mastery.

para.5:

“Furthermore, the friends are conscious that the work of the Cause proceeds at different speeds in different places and for good reason–it is, after all, an organic phenomenon–and they take joy and encouragement from every instance of progress they see.” We must not be dismayed if things proceed more slowly than we would like. Progress will come in time, and we must learn to take joy with what we are given. The measure of some is but a cup, and others, a gallon-measure, and ours is the duty to be filled to the brim.

Each person contributes something valuable to the progress of the whole; “the service rendered by each one, in keeping with the possibilities created by a person’s circumstances, is welcomed by all.”

Reflection meetings become the scene of “earnest and uplifting deliberation” on “the community’s efforts, in their entirety”. Our consultations show sincerity and intense conviction. We “learn what has been accomplished overall”, understand our own personal efforts in that light, and come to understand better the process of growth through the “counsels of the institutions” and the “experience of [our] fellow believers”.

“…progress is most easily achieved in an environment imbued with love–one in which shortcomings are overlooked with forbearance, obstacles are overcome with patience, and tested approaches are embraced with enthusiasm.” The quality of love is key to everything we do. Love begets attraction and unity. People who love each other work together, grow together and overcome difficulties.

“And so it is that, through the wise direction of institutions and agencies of the Faith functioning at every level, the friends’ exertions, however modest individually, coalesce into a collective effort to ensure that receptivity to the call of the Blessed Beauty is identified quickly and nurtured effectively.” Nothing more to say about that for the time being but it’s awesome. Food for further thought.

paras 1-3

Now it is the beginning of a fantastic journey!!

This will (hopefully) be a complete study of the 2013 Ridván message from the Universal House of Justice.

Feel free to follow along! To save space, I won’t copy down entire paragraphs, just my own notes on them.

Ridvan 2013

para.1:

Today is “the day of union and ingathering.” This is happening through the agency of God’s Plan & has been foretold throughout the ages in all religions.

“Incline your ears, O friends of God, to the voice of Him Whom the world hath wronged, and hold fast unto whatsoever will exalt His Cause.” Listen to & heed Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings—they’re what will redeem and unify mankind. This (redeeming & unifying mankind) is an important job, so let’s focus our steadfast efforts onto whatever will make it happen—whatever will exalt the eternal Cause of God.

“With the utmost friendliness and in a spirit of perfect fellowship take ye counsel together…” Unity, friendliness and fellowship is paramount. People today find so many reasons to be against each other, be enemies, be strangers & not care. Let’s inspire hope through our example. This is a big job requiring full exercise of our spiritual capacities, but we can do it.

“…dedicate the precious days of your lives to the betterment of the world and the promotion of the Cause…” There you go. Why? Because, again, this is the work that will redeem & unify mankind and build a new world that’s honestly built on justice, oneness and unity.

para.2:

Response to the Plan is appearing from everywhere. What we’re doing is effective, is bearing fruit and generating learning.

“…the power possessed by the Word of God is ascendant in the hearts of women and men, children and youth, in country after country, in cluster after cluster.” The way that people respond to the Plan and arise to serve, the way their hearts are kindled and set ablaze, the joy with which they participate, shows what happens when we do it right: the power of God is at work & aids us in our efforts, as promised.

para.3:

Wow long one.

“A worldwide community is refining its ability to read its immediate reality, analyse its possibilities, and apply judiciously the methods and instruments of the Five Year Plan.” The fact that this is happening is incredible. Has this ever happened in the history of the world?

“…experience is most rapidly accumulating in clusters where the frontiers of learning are being consciously advanced.” The hard work that we’re doing is consciously advancing learning. Many of the things we’re doing in Ottawa are super intense, but we’re doing them on purpose in order to learn how the process of growth works. And the more we create that learning, the more experience we gain.

Let’s list some of the “distinctive salient features which characterize” the most advanced clusters. These are also evident in communities which are at earlier points in their development.

  • A vibrant training institute (mainstay of our efforts!) in which skills & abilities learned are quickly deployed to the field. i.e. You take Book 1, you get right out there and study a prayer with someone—that’s how you learn to serve. Being and doing.
  • Teaching takes place everywhere. Some people encounter receptive souls in everyday social interactions; some work within receptive villages or neighbourhoods, possibly relocating there to help them along.
  • More and more people arise to shoulder responsibility, whether by acting as tutors, animators, or teachers of children; serving in the administration or coordinating; or doing other kinds of work (transportation, food, logistics, etc…)
  • People are committed to learning. How do we know this is happening? When they are constant in their own endeavours, and are willing to accompany others.
  • People “get” the pattern of action, and understand it from two different perspectives:
    • Three-month cycles of activity; and the
    • Three-stage process of education for children, junior youth, and youth/adults.
  • “While understanding clearly the relationship that connects these three stages, the friends are aware that each has its own dynamics, its own requirements, and its own inherent merit.”
  • People are conscious of powerful spiritual forces.

slam jam time

come on and slam
and welcome to the jam
come on and slam
if you wanna jam.

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Our purpose in …

Our purpose in sharing these passages with you is to seek the aid of the members of the Auxiliary Boards and the assistants, in drawing the attention of the believers to the responsibilities, privileges and opportunities which are now before them, and in reassuring the believers that the teachings of the Faith indicate unmistakably that mankind will definitely traverse this period of unprecedented turmoil and will establish the Lesser Peace as a prelude to the ultimate proclamation of the Most Great Peace.

The believers will find their true salvation, their abiding happiness and their ultimate well-being through unremitting dedication to pursuit of the goals of the Plan rather than through paralyzing inertia at the prospect of further disruption of those institutions and conditions that impede the forward march of the Cause of God.

International Teaching Centre

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