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Have You Heard of Baha'u'llah?
Joy and Pain

In this world we are influenced by two sentiments, Joy and Pain. Joy gives us wings! In times of joy our strength is more vital, our intellect keener, and our understanding less clouded. We seem better able to cope with the world and to find our sphere of usefulness. 

But when sadness visits us we become weak, our strength leaves us, our comprehension is dim and our intelligence veiled. The actualities of life seem to elude our grasp, the eyes of our spirits fail to discover the sacred mysteries, and we become even as dead beings.

There is no human being untouched by these two influences; but all the sorrow and the grief that exist come from the world of matter --the spiritual world bestows only the joy.  

                                              Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 109

Babies seem to be born with anger that triggers quickly if they don't get what they want. They naturally yell their little heads off when hungry, uncomfortable, bored or lonesome and this tends to bring someone running. Like so many of the faults we will spend the rest of our lives taming, anger is necessary to keep us alive and motivated. Primal as anger feels, many experts say it is always a secondary emotion. What comes first? Often, it is sadness or grief. And what is the sadness a baby feels? It is separation from the gentle rhythms of the womb. It is memories of God. It is yearning for a closeness that seems lost forever when mother walks out of the room.


     As we grow, most of us learn that screaming with rage is less than acceptable behavior. Soon, we know how to ask, cajole, complain, manipulate, try again, try harder, even try something new although, after our first few years, this is rare. If nothing works, most of us (both children and adults) feel sad or depressed which is probably what we felt before we got mad. With luck, we soon cheer up and try again or perhaps we change our goal to something that seems more attainable. Our depression vanishes and we are hopeful and busy again. 

     Some people spend much of their lives being depressed. Perhaps, like babies who cry and no one responds, they quit trying and sadness becomes a way of life. Others never learn to cope with disappointment and failure or have the impression that success should be easy and life is treating them unfairly if it isn't. 

Many, many of us have the idea that being faithful to God means He will make our path smooth and easy. We believe He loves those who are rich and healthy more than those who are poor and sick. No wonder we are cross if we don't get our own way! 

     The Baha'i Writings make it very clear this outlook is unrealistic -- in fact, Baha'u'llah tells us God tests those who love Him.  Still, the idea that a loving God is one who gives us what we want, when we want it, is a hard belief to give up.

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