Faithfully Yours – Retrospective #3

Boundries, man & dog

“God has created the world as one—the boundaries are marked out by man.”

The Baha’i World Faith

Earth by God.  Woofer by judy

“The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens”  

“One of the great reasons of separation is colour. Look how this prejudice has power in America, for instance. See how they hate one another! Animals do not quarrel because of their colour! Surely man who is so much higher in creation, should not be lower than the animals. Think over this. What ignorance exists! White doves do not quarrel with blue doves because of their colour, but white men fight with dark-coloured men. This racial prejudice is the worst of all.”

The Old Testament says that God created man like unto His own image; in the Qur’an it says: “There is no difference in the Creation of God!” Think well, God has created all, cares for all, and all are under His protection. The policy of God is better than our policy. We are not as wise as God”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Baha’i World Faith

http://bahaiteachings.org/

bahai-faithwww.bahai.org/

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“We must not only be patient with others, infinitely patient, but also with our own poor selves.”

‘Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i World Faith

Judgement by Peggy, originally published on Pawsitively Tuesday

A Tidbit 

The “Founder”, Bahá’u’lláh

(1817-1892)

Bahá’u’lláh—the “Glory of God”—is the Promised One foretold by . . . all of the Divine Messengers of the past. Bahá’u’lláh delivered a new Revelation from God to humanity. Thousands of verses, letters and books flowed from His pen. In His Writings, He outlined a framework for the development of a global civilization which takes into account both the spiritual and material dimensions of human life. For this, He endured 40 years of imprisonment, torture and exile.

http://bahaiteachings.org/

bahai-faithwww.bahai.org/

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FAITHfully Yours – Anne Frank & Reflection

 “One hour’s reflection is preferable to seventy years of pious worship

Baha’u’llah

“How noble and good everyone could be, if every evening before falling asleep, they were to recall to their minds the events of the while day and consider exactly what has been good and bad. Then, without realising it, you try to improve yourself at the start of each new day; of course, you achieve quite a lot in the course of time. Anyone can do this, it costs nothing and is certainly very helpful. Whoever doesn’t know it must learn and find by experience that: “A quiet conscience makes one strong!”

Anne Frank, The Diary of Anne Frank: The Revised Critical Edition

Cat ‘n Mouse journaling by Peggy

“Prayer is like the spirit and material means are like the human hand. The spirit operateth through the instrumentality of the hand.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the Baha’i World Faith

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Loving-Kindness

 “Be not content in showing friendship in words alone. Let your heart burn with loving-kindness for all who cross your path.”

Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i World Faith

Loving-kindness Treat ME, by Peggy

The conviction that we belong to one human family is at the heart of the Bahá’í Faith. The principle of the oneness of humankind is “the pivot round which the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh revolve… 

One Human Family 

A Nosh of Baha’i

The Baha’i Faith is the world’s second-most widespread religion after Christianity, spanning the globe and working to unite it. Baha’is have no clergy or churches, gathering together in democratically-led communities and welcoming everyone.

The millions of Baha’is in the world come from every ethnicity, nationality, tribe, age, racial group, religious background and economic and social class. 

Bahá’ís believe the crucial need facing humanity is to find a unifying vision of the future of society and of the nature and purpose of life.

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Independent Search for Truth

“Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, Your words become your actions, Your actions become your habits, Your habits become your values, Your values become your destiny.” In other words, thoughts are most certainly things”

Gandhi

Food for Thought

Baha’is believe in the independent investigation of reality, and encourage everyone to question dogma, tradition and superstition by embarking on a personal search to discover the truth

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 “Be not content in showing friendship in words alone. Let your heart burn with loving-kindness for all who cross your path.”

Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i World Faith

Loving-kindness Treat ME, by Peggy

A Nosh of Baha’i

The Baha’i Faith is the world’s second-most widespread religion after Christianity, spanning the globe and working to unite it. Baha’is have no clergy or churches, gathering together in democratically-led communities and welcoming everyone.

The millions of Baha’is in the world come from every ethnicity, nationality, tribe, age, racial group, religious background and economic and social class. 

Bahá’ís believe the crucial need facing humanity is to find a unifying vision of the future of society and of the nature and purpose of life.

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FAITHfully Yours – Sunday Retrospective #1

“If we take people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat them as if they were what they ought to be, we help them to become what they are capable of becoming”

Goethe 

A Baha’i Bit

Essentially a mystical Faith, the Baha’i teachings focus on the soul’s relationship with the eternal, unknowable essence of God, and recommend daily prayer and meditation to everyone. 

Baha’is believe that the human spirit lives eternally, and so endeavor to illumine their souls with spiritual attributes—kindness, generosity, integrity, truthfulness, humility and selfless service to others.

http://bahaiteachings.org/bahai-faith

www.bahai.org/

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“But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 

1 Corinthians 13:13

“Love is heaven’s kindly light, the Holy Spirit’s eternal breath that vivifieth the human soul.” 

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, (Baha’i World Faith)

Baha’is accept the validity of each of the founders and prophets of the major world religions, whose teachings have provided the basis for the advancement of civilization – Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad. Bahá’u’lláh, the latest of these Messengers, explained that the religions of the world come from the same Source and are in essence successive chapters of one religion from God.

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“Prayer need not be in words, but rather in thought and attitude… words without love mean nothing.”

Abdu’l-Bahá

Loving Touch by Peggy

Baha’i Tidbit

The Baha’i Faith, the world’s newest independent global belief system, teaches the oneness of God, the unity of humanity and the essential harmony of all religions.

http://bahaiteachings.org/

bahai-faithwww.bahai.org/

During the month of November, Baha’i Blogging is hosting a post-a-day-or-so something related to or inspired by Faith.  Because so many of you follow both this blog and CATNIPblog Peggy & I will post our “dailies” here and Sunday “retrospectives” on CATNIPblog.com

The hashtag is #bahaiblogging.

FAITHfully Yours – The Heart of it All

During the month of November, Baha’i Blogging is hosting a post-a-day related to or inspired by Baha’i Faith.  Because so many of you follow both this blog and Curious to the Max Peggy & I will post our “dailies” on CURIOUSblog and Sunday “retrospectives” on CATNIPblog.

We are late joining so here’s our first FAITHfully Yours posts, with “heart”.

“God does not look at colours; He looks at the hearts.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, (Baha’i World Faith)

Take Heart with Woofer-dog, Meowie-cat & Co 

 The hashtag is #bahaiblogging.

What is the Baha’i Faith?

The Baha’i Faith, the world’s newest independent global belief system, teaches the oneness of God, the unity of humanity and the essential harmony of all religions.

Baha’is accept the validity of each of the founders and prophets of the major world religions, whose teachings have provided the basis for the advancement of civilization – Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad. Bahá’u’lláh, the latest of these Messengers, explained that the religions of the world come from the same Source and are in essence successive chapters of one religion from God.

Basic to Baha’i belief are the tenants of:

  • Equality of the sexes 
  • Elimination of all prejudice and racism.
  • Peace
  • Justice
  • Love
  • Altruism 
  • Unity
  • Agreement of science and religion 

http://bahaiteachings.org/bahai-faith

www.bahai.org/

Pawsitively Tuesday-meaning and purpose

“The purpose of life is to discover your gift.
The work of life is to develop it.
The meaning of life is to give your gift away.”

David Viscott

 

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Do you think you are open-minded? Take this quiz

First of all,” he said, “if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it. 

– Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird.

As therapists we walked a fine line between trying to understand and sympathize with clients’ points of view while not taking on their pain.  It taught us to be open-minded.

When I took this short quiz I realized that open-minded is not just defined by “understanding” but can also be about taking action on behalf of others.

 

Here’s the quiz to find out where you stand. Score each answer using a 3 for “often,” a 2 for “sometimes,” or a 1 for “rarely.” Add them up and see where you rank.

  1. I like trying new things, such as foods, restaurants, music, and activities.
  2. I like traveling to places I have never been.
  3. I’m comfortable meeting new people.
  4. If my parent/child wanted to marry someone outside of our race I would be supportive
  5. I’m respectful of people of different cultures, genders, races, sexual orientation and religions.
  6. I’m comfortable if I am the only person of my race in a large gathering.
  7. If someone is being bullied, I speak up for them
  8. I  listen patiently to another’s viewpoint, even when I disagree
  9. When I hear gossip, I get the facts and make up my own mind before making a decision
  10. When I hear racist comments, or see racial injustice, I speak up
  11. I treat everyone with equal respect
  12. I learn about world events and believe we are all connected to some degree
  13. I am open to new ideas

Scoring:

39-33:  Congratulations! You are a world citizen, with an open mind.

32-26:  You try to keep an open mind, but might consider expanding your horizons.

25-13:  You might be closing yourself off too much from the rest of the world.

There are some studies that indicate open-minded people tend to be happier, more successful, and more charismatic than those who close themselves off or isolate.

 

This quiz and the six suggestions below came from a Baha’i blog that I  read to help me think . . . and rethink . . . about my place in the world, my beliefs and whether I am behaving in accord with spiritual tenants.

woofer head:meowi body

Here are the author’s six suggestions:

1. Be more approachable

Being honest, vulnerable and authentic will facilitate more genuine and lasting friendships. Your body language can be an important factor, making you look closed off or open to others.” 

 

2. Let go of your preconceptions about other people and give them a chance

“We often surround ourselves with people like us, but there is a lot to gain from enlarging our social circle. Being respectful of others is the best way to receive it in return. 

3. See things from another perspective

“Walking in another person’s shoes helps to open our minds and makes us less likely to be critical. When we judge less, we are less likely to be judged.”

Meowi head:Woofer body

 

4. Be more flexible and curious

“By being more flexible we trust that we can handle new situations. Being flexible and curious are perfect opportunities for growth.”

The measure of intelligence is the ability to change. – Albert Einstein

Be curious, not judgmental. – Walt Whitman

5. Be more trusting

“Human beings are all basically the same—in fact, we are far more alike than we are different. We share 99.9 % of our DNA. We all have insecurities, fears, talents and beauty. Focus on the positive in people and show them your best:”

 

O children of men! Know ye not why We created you all from the same dust? That no one should exalt himself over the other.  – Baha’u’llahThe Hidden Words, p. 20.

6. Don’t make snap judgements, especially when it comes to people

“According to Business Insider, people typically form a first impression within 7 seconds of meeting someone new. Therefore it takes a conscious, concerted effort to not judge hastily. Try to see each person or situation with unbiased eyes—without letting prejudice, superstition or tradition get in the way. Make your own decisions rather than listening to other’s opinions. Trust yourself once you have investigated for yourself.”

“… every individual member of humankind is exhorted and commanded to set aside superstitious beliefs, traditions and blind imitation of ancestral forms in religion and investigate reality for himself. Inasmuch as the fundamental reality is one, all religions and nations of the world will become one through investigation of reality.”  Abdu’l-BahaThe Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 433.

 

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The HeART of Chronic Conditions (including life)

Curious to the Max blog has been the place where I’ve shared more of my personal journey.  CATNIPblog has largely been dedicated to information Peggy & I have accumulated on emotional & physical health and happiness. (wealth we leave to those who have experienced it!)

Today, I clicked on the blog of a new subscriber, Savannah’s  One Mountain at a Time .  What she shared about her journey with Lupus resonated:

“Though mine is said by my doctor to not be life threatening, my immune system is prone to attacking my healthy joint tissues systemically . . .  pain comes whenever it feels like it. Flares come and go, as do my exhausted days. Describing the pain is difficult but when a flare happens or I’m in pain, it feels like bruises anywhere inside my body, and someone is either jabbing needles in them or pressing them for long periods of time. . . . I take medications and go for jogs. I live a normal, active life despite pain.”

judy’s visual journal

Like Savannah my diagnosis is not life threatening, only life altering. Unlike Savannah, who was diagnosed at 23, I was blessed in my first forty plus years with relatively good health.  In 1995 that changed for me with the diagnosis of fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue.  I admit it’s been a struggle trying to ignore, over-ride or giving in to the daily fatigue, pain and various other “irritants”.  The older I get the harder it’s been.  The best I can describe is feeling like a sandy beach being worn away by unrelenting waves and occasional pounding storms.

In public I look fine and only those who intimately know me would know if I were feeling exhausted, in pain or depressed.  When I’m feeling particularly bad no one knows as I shelter in place – stay home and lick my wounds.  Any contact, even a phone call, can feel overwhelming.

collage by judy

CATNIPblog has been my in-home companion:  A way to connect to the world and my incredibly understanding friends while expending minimal energy;  posts that remind me to eat better, be grateful, and most of all Peggy and her delightful drawings that make me smile.  

Savannah’s faith, above all, is what seems to sustain her.  Me too.  Even on my worst days my question is never “Why me?”.  I ask God for guidance, the wisdom to understand that guidance and the where-with-all to carry it out . . . one day at a time . . . sometimes one hour at a time.

judy’s visual journal

Personally and professionally I learned early on that each of us, in ways large and small, carry physical or emotional pain.  Each of us searches, longs for answers, respite and meaning.  Savannah has found meaning at an early stage in her life.  I salute her.

https://pourforpoverty.wordpress.com/

Pour for Poverty: Savannah makes bags filled with sustainable essentials that she feels serve a beneficial purpose for people living in poverty filled with clothing, food, and hygiene products, written letters, prayers, bible verses and love. She distributes to the poor throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex and occasionally other cities when traveling.

“Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity.

Be worthy of the trust of thy neighbor, and look upon him with a bright and friendly face.

Be a treasure to the poor, an admonisher to the rich, an answerer of the cry of the needy, a preserver of the sanctity of thy pledge.”

(Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 16, The Baha’i World Faith)

 

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Meditate with the Dalai Lama

Meditating is hard for me.  My monkey-mind jumps over and around what I’ve decided to focus on, climbs into places and spaces that have no bearing on anything  and swings from thought-branches I didn’t even know were there. 
 240_f_18373096_zlgbhf2cmavplmkx2hdkkqk4pq0wktsj
When I read this article written by Sanjay Gupta, MD and his invitation to meditate with the Dalai Lama himself I was a bit more reassured.  Here’s the part that caught my attention:  (jw)
“This is hard for me,” I said.
“Me, too!” he exclaimed. “After doing daily for 60 years, it is still hard.”
It was at once surprising and reassuring to hear him say this. The Dalai Lama, Buddhist monk and spiritual leader of Tibet, also has trouble meditating.”

‘”I think you will like analytical meditation,” he told me. Instead of focusing on a chosen object, as in single-point meditation, he suggested I think about a problem I was trying to solve, a topic I may have read about recently or one of the philosophical areas from the earlier sessions.”

“He wanted me to separate the problem or issue from everything else by placing it in a large, clear bubble. With my eyes closed, I thought of something nagging at me — something I couldn’t quite solve. As I placed the physical embodiment of this problem into the bubble, several things started to happen very naturally.”
“The problem was now directly in front of me, floating weightlessly. In my mind, I could rotate it, spin it or flip it upside-down. It was an exercise to develop hyper-focus.
Less intuitively, as the bubble was rising, it was also disentangling itself from any other attachments, such as subjective emotional considerations. I could visualize it, as the problem isolated itself, and came into a clear-eyed view.”
Too often, we allow unrelated emotional factors to blur the elegant and practical solutions right in front of us. It can be dispiriting and frustrating. Through analytical meditation, His Holiness told me, we can use logic and reason to more clearly identify the question at hand, separate it from irrelevant considerations, erase doubt and brightly illuminate the answers. It was simple and sensible. Most important, for me — it worked.”

Meditation for skeptics

“As a neuroscientist, I never expected that a Buddhist monk, even the Dalai Lama, would teach me how to better incorporate deduction and critical thinking to my life — but that is what happened.
It changed me. And I am better for it. I practice analytical meditation every day, usually early in the morning. The first two minutes are still the hardest, as I create my thought bubble and let it float above me. After that, I reach what can best be described as a “flow” state, in which 20 to 30 minutes pass easily.
I am more convinced than ever that even the most ardent skeptics could find success with analytical meditation.”
 
To read the entire article click here.