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Baha'i update --- need some guidance!

Posted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:12 pm
by briren08
Hello again!

I posted a few months ago and I hope that the response will be the same as when I posted before.
I've been doing the Ruhi course book 1 with a Baha'i in my area and the more I go, the more I love the Baha'i religion. I haven't yet signed the card or anything, but I know I will soon.
Anyway. I've been trying so hard to follow the teachings of Baha'u'llah, but I'm having difficulty. I'm having trouble living chaste. My boyfriend and I have been together nearly three years, and it's difficult for us both to just stop being together on a physical level. I've been praying for guidance. Any words of wisdom and encouragement would be appreciated.

Also, I'm having difficulty saying the obligatory prayers. Somedays I get so caught up in life, I completely forget them. (I know, ouch.)

Sorry if I'm rambling, I just need some support!


Re: Baha'i update-need some guidance!

Posted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:51 pm
by Fadl
Hi Brittany!

So glad to hear about Ruhi, and your walking down the Baha'i path! Don't worry that you're not perfect: nobody is. Developing a prayerful attitude and habit takes time and effort. Don't give up and you'll acheive it. There are three prayers with different rules so you can work with it and accomodate your busy schedule.

Its easy to fall in love with Baha'u'llah, but to be a Baha'i, for many of us, takes a life time of struggle to acheive it. Keep trying, and always remember Baha'u'llah in everything. That's the source from where all things become possible.

Re: Baha'i update-need some guidance!

Posted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 11:45 pm
by nharandi
Hi Brittany,

welcome back, you're story sounds wonderful! you're not rambling at all! don't feel overwhelmed with everything coming at you, you have a ton of time to take things slowly and to really take in the beauty of the Faith and all it has to offer. Ruhi book 1 is an excellent way to do this.

I agree with Loren. People aren't perfect, and you aren't expected to be. The most important thing is to first understand what a blessing it is for you to have come this far and to continue to deepen yourself and develop the "prayerful attitude" that Loren mentioned. I understand how hard it may be, but as you do this you will begin to feel the power of what results. You seem to be doing great.

As far as obligatory prayers go, we all understand the difficulty in making this sort of transition. However, keep in mind that however busy you are, the prayers really don't take much time at all. The short obligatory prayer, for example, is only a few lines. If you're having trouble remembering, try to make a routine! Perhaps right before dinner (as long as you don't eat very late -- remember the short prayer is to be said between noon and sunset). Or you could even set an alarm, maybe even on your phone, for a time before sunset where you usually aren't too busy, say 1 o'clock? Try your best and I'm sure other people have more to say. :)

Re: Baha'i update-need some guidance!

Posted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 12:53 am
by BritishBahai
Further to what nharandi said, if a Bahai told you that they said their obligatory prayer every single day of their life, theyd be lying! We're human after all -- we're bound to forget stuff.
Like nharandi said, the best thing is to get yourself in a routine...

But the good thing about the obligatory prayer is that there's always a back-up plan.
So, say you always said the short obligatory prayer at work when you were on your lunch break, but on a particular day you had a really stressful day at work (chaos in the office, boss going through mid-life crisis, etc) and on the way home from work while driving you realise you forgot to say it, theres still plan B: the long obligatory prayer.
the long oblig.prayer takes about 15 minutes.

personally, this is what ive always done - just say it before having my lunch.
Do it before you eat, or immediately after. Dont say to yourself "oh, i'll do it in an hour's time" because you might forget.
But in all honesty, even if you do forget to say it, its not a big deal. Purity of motive has much more weight.
So, its not like you intentionally keep forgetting

In my opinion, the reason why we have obligatory prayers is probably because God's testing us. He's probably saying something like, "I wonder who is able to live their day-to-day lives, but still at the same time be detatched from this world and remember to worship Me".

Re: Baha'i update-need some guidance!

Posted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 3:38 pm
by Keyvan
One important thing that needs to be said because this is a common discussion.

Yes no one is perfect and is bound to mistakes, etc etc.

However, the fact of that alone does not mean we can accept a margin of imperfection for ourselves. We have to keep striving for perfection, and never consciously break laws.

If we find ourselves failing to live up to the Baha'i moral standards, which are high, then we have to keep working at it through deep study of the writings and assistance from Baha'i friends and the administration.

Spiritual growth is not a recipe, its a constant yearning for perfection.

Re: Baha'i update-need some guidance!

Posted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 3:47 pm
by Keyvan

This is very understandable and I totally relate. That's why we have the "Short Obligatory Prayer." It takes 15 seconds in the afternoon. Surely you can find 15 seconds in the afternoon (break from work, closing your eyes at your desk, or right before you start your car.

Baha'i's must also say "Allah'u'Abha" 95 times in a 24 hour cycle. I do this right before I go to bed and have beads on my nightstand. Just try to form a habit out of it by working it into your cycle, like brushing your teeth, or taking a shower. It will be a habit soon enough.

**We also have to read the Writings every morning and every evening. Again, this works best by just keeping a Book on your nightstand and reading just a few lines, maybe a paragraph before and after bed. This will also quickly become a habit.

Re: Baha'i update-need some guidance!

Posted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 3:48 pm
by Keyvan
This is the official position of the Baha'i Faith on unmarried couples living together:

1270. Regarding Couples Living Together without Being Married

"When considering cases of couples who are living together without being married it is important to distinguish those who started this association after becoming Bahá'ís from those who were in this condition already at the time of accepting the Faith. The House of Justice is sure that your Assembly is aware that it is not permissible for Bahá'ís to enter into such an immoral relationship and that any believers who do so must be counselled by the Assembly and warned to correct their conduct, either by separating or by having a Bahá'í marriage ceremony in accordance with the provision of Bahá'í Law. If, after repeated warnings, the believers concerned do not conform to Bahá'í Law, the Assembly has no choice but to deprive them of their voting rights. "The situation of those who were living in such a relationship when they accepted the Faith is less clear-cut, and the House of Justice has instructed us to send your Assembly the following summary of the applicable principles which was prepared in response to a similar question by another National Spiritual Assembly.

1. In general, marriages entered into by parties prior to their enrollment in the Faith are recognized as valid under Bahá'í Law, and in such cases an additional Bahá'í marriage ceremony is not permitted. This applies whether the marriage was established under civil or religious law or under tribal custom.  380 

2. A couple living together merely as man and mistress when either or both become Bahá'ís are not married in the eyes of Bahá'í Law, and must either have a Bahá'í marriage in accordance with the provisions of Bahá'í Law, or cease living together. In other words, the Assembly must deal with the situation as it would in any other case of immoral behaviour, explaining the requirements of the law, giving repeated warnings, and ultimately, if the offender does not comply, he must forfeit his voting rights.

3. Because of unusual conditions in certain countries and certain cases it sometimes happens that a person will become a Bahá'í when he or she is living in a situation which does not clearly fit within either of the above definitions. Such a case occurs, for example, where a couple have established firm ties of union and are living together in such a way that they appear to be married and are accepted as such by those around them; the union has stood the test of time and there may even be children, and yet, in fact, the couple are not actually married in any of the ways defined above. The principle followed here is that we do not pry into people's lives and insist on their undoing those ties they have established before becoming believers, but the union is accepted as a marriage in the eyes of Bahá'í Law. The Guardian upheld this principle in situations which arise in some catholic countries where, because of the relationship between church and state divorce is impossible, and none or both of the parties may still be legally married to someone else. Where it is possible for such a couple to regularize their position in civil law by having a civil marriage ceremony, they may certainly do so, but it is neither necessary nor permissible for them to have a Bahá'í marriage ceremony, since, in the eyes of Bahá'í Law, they are already united in marriage."

(From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of Panama, September 7, 1981)

(Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 379)

Re: Baha'i update-need some guidance!

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 12:05 am
by brettz9
In addition to the excellent comments already made, I wanted to offer to point out, Brittany, that all of the laws of Baha'u'llah were made for our protection and happiness.

As Baha'is, we do not believe in soul-mates. There's no need (nor desirability) to wait around for some magical thunderbolt. We make a choice about someone--if we find them generally "pleasing" to us (as 'Abdu'l-Baha says), we have ascertained their character, and we obtain the blessing of the families which bore us, we will have the opportunity to enjoy the security and bliss of a wonderful marriage, so why not enjoy it sooner rather than later if we already feel close enough to a person?

And if, on the other hand, we have serious reservations about their character, if they are not willing enough to commit to loving us, or if our parents will not consent, isn't it better for us to solve our dilemma quickly and start living a new unhampered life, and one which will let us begin to focus on preparing ourselves for the spouse who will hopefully be our love forever (even if it might be the same person down the road)?

Of course, unity is better than division, if it can be a sustainable unity... But in such a case, again, why not take advantage of the fact that this is a law of Baha'u'llah, and let it motivate you to start enjoying such a true unambiguous union with your would-be husband more quickly (and lift your consciences in the process)... :)

warmest regards,

Re: Baha'i update-need some guidance!

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 3:23 pm
by briren08
Thank you for all of your support and comments.

To Keyvan: I'm not quite sure why you quoted the letter to me, because we aren't living together. We barely see each other, and would it still be immoral if we had a chaste relationship? That's what was confusing to me. But I thank you just the same.

To Brett: We've discussed marriage, but we don't have the finances to get married. We both work in retail and are still pay off a lot of debt that we've piled up. I'm also going to start college soon and that is much more important to me than getting married.

To everyone: I greatly appreciate everyone's responses and support. I'll just have to persevere in my prayers and ask God for guidance.

Re: Baha'i update-need some guidance!

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 11:28 pm
by Keyvan
Oh you aren't? I guess I misread your post. Sorry about that.