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All over the world one hears beautiful sayings extolled and noble precepts admired. All men say they love what is good, and hate everything that is evil! Sincerity is to be admired, whilst lying is despicable. Faith is a virtue, and treachery is a disgrace to humanity. It is a blessed thing to gladden the hearts of men, and wrong to be the cause of pain. To be kind and merciful is right, while to hate is sinful. Justice is a noble quality and injustice an iniquity. That it is one’s duty to be pitiful and harm no one, and to avoid jealousy and malice at all costs. Wisdom is the glory of man, not ignorance; light, not darkness! It is a good thing to turn one’s face toward God, and foolishness to ignore Him. That it is our duty to guide man upward, and not to mislead him and be the cause of his downfall. There are many more examples like unto these.


But all these sayings are but words and we see very few of them carried into the world of action. On the contrary, we perceive that men are carried away by passion and selfishness, each man thinking only of what will benefit himself even if it means the ruin of his brother. They are all anxious to make their fortune and care little or nothing for the welfare of others. They are concerned about their own peace and comfort, while the condition of their fellows troubles them not at all.

 

Unhappily this is the road most men tread.

 

But Bahá’ís must not be thus; they must rise above this condition. Actions must be more to them than words. By their actions they must be merciful and not merely by their words. They must on all occasions confirm by their actions what they proclaim in words. Their deeds must prove their fidelity, and their actions must show forth Divine light.

 

Let your actions cry aloud to the world that you are indeed Bahá’ís, for it is actions that speak to the world and are the cause of the progress of humanity.

 

If we are true Bahá’ís speech is not needed. Our actions will help on the world, will spread civilization, will help the progress of science, and cause the arts to develop. Without action nothing in the material world can be accomplished, neither can words unaided advance a man in the spiritual Kingdom. It is not through lip-service only that the elect of God have attained to holiness, but by patient lives of active service they have brought light into the world.

 

Therefore strive that your actions day by day may be beautiful prayers. Turn towards God, and seek always to do that which is right and noble. Enrich the poor, raise the fallen, comfort the sorrowful, bring healing to the sick, reassure the fearful, rescue the oppressed, bring hope to the hopeless, shelter the destitute!

 

 This is the work of a true Bahá’í, and this is what is expected of him. If we strive to do all this, then are we true Bahá’ís ...


'Ab'dul-Baha Paris Talks

 

     Cathy's story: I think i'm a pretty normal person, no big hangups or anything but I just wasn't happy. I was raised Baha'i and considered myself a Baha'i but without much enthusiasm, sort of ho hum, if you want to know the truth. The way a lot of people are about their religion, I guess. 


When I was around 16 years old I got in with some new friends and started drinking and partying. My parents worried of course but pretty much left me to work it out.


     Anyway, when I was about 19 years old, I was tired of partying and really felt depressed with no idea about what to do next. Or why.  Someone suggested I see a counsellor and I figured that might help so I went. After a few sessions, this is what she said to me:


      "I think your problem is that you believe in this religion of yours but you are not doing it." 


      Lol. That was a shock and when I thought about it I realized it was true. 

I had been taking it for granted that Baha'i was my parent's religion and did not even think much about my part in it. In fact, I was probably being a bit teen rebellious. Anyway, I got serious about being a Baha'i and this quote from the Writings pretty much says it all:


    

 

O SON OF SPIRIT! 

There is no peace for thee save by renouncing thyself and turning unto Me; for it behooveth thee to glory in My name, not in thine own; to put thy trust in Me and not in thyself, since I desire to be loved alone and above all that is.

 

      I am now back in school, active in the Baha'i community and I share my beliefs with people who are interested. One of my best friends just told me she wants to attend study classes! This feels really good. I have a plan and a purpose for my life but it really is all dependent on "turning to God" and loving Him instead of just fussing about myself and my problems.  


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     Mel's story: I come from what they call a 'dysfunctional family' and grew up with old time country music where everything is about love gone wrong. To me that was life in a nutshell.  


      Along the way, I got the idea unless you were madly in love with someone then that's not real love so ditch her and find a new one. Looking back I can't believe I was so stupid but I really believed that.


      A few marriages later, I finally married a very kind and patient woman who knew about my string of divorces but took me on anyway. 


      About a year into the marriage (like all the others) I suddenly felt depressed and hopeless because I no longer felt "in love" with my new wife. Actually I knew I loved her but more like a friend and hey that's not love or so I thought.  Real love was crazy in love and I wasn't feeling that. 


      Well for one thing my "girl" was 40 years old and not interested in the drama. She had a career, friends to keep up with, and other activities that were important to her. I was very high on her list but not the whole list. 


      So I started to push her away. It was very important to me that she leave me and not the other way around. I was nasty (looking back) but I didn't know it at the time. I just thought she wasn't right for me and I had to run around looking for the perfect one who was out there somewhere.


      She refused flatly. This time there wasn't going to be a divorce unless I did it myself. I didn't like that because it didn't fit with my image of myself. I was the victim!  She was supposed to abandon me and she wouldn't do it. 


      Then somebody gave me a copy of The Flying Boy: Healing the Wounded Man  by John Lee. Talk about nail me. 


      I am very aware of the need for peace and unity in a marriage and know first hand what an ugly thing divorce is. Yet something in me wanted another one. It was crazy and I knew it. I prayed a lot which helped but I really needed some way to figure out what the heck was going on inside me because I had no idea. John Lee's books did that for me and I believe they were a gift from God.


      We have now been married for nearly 20 years and some my ex-wives wonder if they should have kept me since I've turned out better than anyone expected! 


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     Emily's story: I'm only 12 but I had a big problem and I found a way to solve it! My problem was at school. I am usually pretty popular with the other kids and the teachers. Then my teacher got sick and we got a really grumpy substitute. Nobody liked her and that made her even meaner. I couldn't stand the idea of being in her class for the rest of the year.

      I talked it over with my mom. She is into New Age stuff and she reads a lot.  She said most grumpy people are not really mean but they are sensitive and have had their feelings hurt in the past so they are defensive. Her advice was to go out of my way to be nice to the teacher. Not be phoney just treat her as if deep down she was actually a nice person and see if that worked. Mom said people are doing the best they can and maybe I could teach her a better way. 

      At first I didn't want to follow this advice. I guess I wanted revenge for how mean she was to me and my friends. My mom pointed out this is how wars start so I decided to give it a try. 

      I started by sending positive thoughts to the teacher. Whenever I noticed anything good about her I sent a positive thought about it. After a few days I noticed she wasn't such a bad person except for grumpy. For example, she had nice colour sense in her clothes. For another, she treated the shy kids pretty well. It was the confident ones she was not so nice to and I realized she was a bit afraid of them. Us. 

      Oh another thing was I was worried I would look bad with my friends if I was nice to this teacher. My mom and I role played some ideas about how to be nicer without looking like I was sucking up.

      Actually it worked!  I said a prayer in the morning that I would be able to find a way to connect with her heart. When I talked to her I made eye contact and gave her a little smile (not phoney!). Once I picked up something that had fallen off her desk. I even snuck a flower onto her desk but she didn't know it was me! Am I making you sick?

       I came back after class and asked for her help a few times. She was pretty nice about it.

      After a few weeks even if she was still grumpy with some kids it didn't bother me. The next year she was a full time teacher in a different grade. I think we became friends almost. I even think she relaxed a bit and was less grumpy with the other students. I don't think that's all because of what I did. She probably also got more confident about her teaching. 

      It was fun changing a grumpy adult into one I could live with. It made me feel more confident in my future because now I know an important life skill.

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     Sharon's story: My whole family is given to craziness and I'm no exception. I don't know whether it's bad genes, stinkin' thinkin' or (most likely) a combination of the two. Alcoholism and other addictions, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, incest and abuse. It's all there in the family tree.

     The most sensible diagnosis I've received is Borderline Personality Disorder and, believe me, that's no fun. Also, it's often said to be incurable.

      Anyway, I doubt very much that I'd meet the criteria for that diagnosis today. After a solid 20 years of work (starting about age 35) I feel happy most of the time, my relationships are good, and each day is an improvement on the last.  I have found a lot of things that helped but becoming a Christian (now I know God loves me!)  and NLP are at the top of the list and some techniques have been useful almost every day since discovering them. Patience, tenacity, or pig stubborness -- call it what you will. Take a break when you need to but  DO NOT quit. If I can do it, so can you. Simple as that.