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Have You Heard of Baha'u'llah?

Light and Dark

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O God! Refresh and gladden my spirit. Purify my heart. Illumine my powers. I lay all my affairs in Thy hand. Thou art my Guide and my Refuge. I will no longer be sorrowful and grieved; I will be a happy and joyful being. Oh God! I will no longer be full of anxiety, nor will I let trouble harass me. I will not dwell on the unpleasant things of life.

 

O God! Thou art more friend to me than I am to myself. I dedicate myself to Thee, O Lord. 


'Abd'ul-Baha

 

     Anyone who is even occasionally depressed knows that sadness is  accompanied by dark thoughts:


- I'm a failure

- nothing ever works for me

- God doesn't love me

- maybe God doesn't exist and the universe is meaningless.


     Anger, sadness, fear and questioning are all quite normal. They are part of this life, as are joy and satisfaction when things go our way. The trick, as I see it, is to "grow out" of them. A two year old tantrum can be amusing but the same thing, in a grown adult, is no fun for anybody.


     How do we decide if an event is good or bad and whether we should react with sadness or anger, fear or doubt? Can the same event be one or the other, both, or neither? That the answer is "yes" is clearly illustrated in the Chinese story about an old farmer whose neighbors feel sorry for when his mare escapes into the mountains. "How sad for you!" they exclaim and are surprised when he answers, "Maybe. We'll see". 


     A few weeks later, the mare returns. Not only is she pregnant but she has brought a strong, young stallion with her. The neighbors cry out "what great luck you have"  but the farmer only says, "Maybe. We'll see".


     Then, the farmer's son tries to ride the stallion. He is thrown off and breaks his leg. The neighbors shake their heads at this terrible luck but the old farmer replies, "Maybe, we'll see". 


     Soon after, a great warlord sweeps into the village and conscripts every young male into his army. Of course, the farmer's son is left behind because of his broken leg.  The neighbors weep with grief and frustration at the loss of their sons and envy the farmer who nods  his head wisely and says, "Maybe, we'll see"...


     This story is, of course, about the changes and chances that effect everyone on this earth. None of us can claim to understand the purpose and outcome of any event.  We label it "good" or "bad" from our own narrow perspective.


     Baha'is (unlike the villagers in the story who knew fortune and misfortune when they saw it -- but were always wrong) are advised to see ALL things as positives because, as 'Abd'ul-Baha says:



"This phrase of Baha'u'llah's

 

Say: all things are of God

 

cleanses the heart of enmity and hatred."


So, here's the question: 

 

 

 

     Are we going to believe our dark thoughts (the product of our upbringing, our genetics, our worst choices) and call them

 

 

"the Truth" 


or are we going to turn to God and accept that whatever is happening is right for us?


     The part of us that doesn't believe in a loving God is referred to in the Baha'i Writings as our lower self. Without it, we would not attach to earthly things which means we would be unwilling to stay here long enough to learn the lessons of this world. But Baha'u'llah assures us the lower self will not exist in the worlds after this one. Probably that's why it is also the part of us that fears death. 


    It's a matter of direction. Do we turn to God or away?  We have nothing to lose but our depression.


 


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