HEALING THROUGH UNITY NEWSLETTER
A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of
physical and spiritual health envisioned in the Baha'i Teachings.
Volume 2, Issue #1
"Systematization ensures consistency of lines of action based on well-conceived plans. In a general sense, it implies an orderliness of approach in all that pertains to Baha'i service, whether in teaching or administration, in individual or collective endeavour. While allowing for individual initiative and spontaneity, it suggests the need to be clear-headed, methodical, efficient, constant, balanced and harmonious. Systematization is a necessary mode of functioning animated by the urgency to act."
(The Universal House of Justice to the Baha'is of the World, Ridvan Message 155)
AN INDIVIDUAL ATTEMPT AT A SYSTEMATIC PLAN FOR TRANSFORMATION
By Michael Teske, Haifa, Israel
I wish to share with you my attempt at a systematic plan for transformation. First I will give you a little background as to how this developed, and then I will explain the program. Some of you might be familiar with Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America. Well, apparently when he was a young man, he was notorious for his ill manners and poor and rude behavior; he was also quite promiscuous -- leading some to say that he is the father of our country (the United States). Anyway, at some point in his life he wanted to change, but he realized that everytime he tried to change his behavior he would become paralyzed or nothing would happen because he would be trying to change everything at once. He recognized that he could only accomplish a transformation if he focussed on one thing at a time. So he looked at a year, there are 52 weeks in a year, divide by 4 and you have 13. So he chose 13 qualities that he would like to develop or improve within himself and decided to focus on one of these qualities each week. Week number one he only focussed on quality number one; week number two he only focussed on quality number two, and forgot about quality number one, etc... So in this way he worked through all the qualities in 13 weeks and then repeated this four times so that at the end of one year he had worked on each quality a total of four times and could get excited about the progress that he made.
About two years ago, I attempted to put this same program into action here with a slight twist... I chose 13 things about myself that I wanted to develop or strengthen within myself, and then associated these with the names of 13 of the 19 names of the Baha'i months. Well I wrote all of this down on a sheet of paper, and now I do not even remember how much I followed this plan -- perhaps it was only a couple of weeks and then I somehow got distracted and the paper got lost amongst my ever growing stacks of papers. Anyway, about one month ago as I was saying the Long Obligatory Prayer one evening, as is often the case, I was battling stray or seemingly random thoughts. In this case the thought that popped into my mind was wondering about systematic plans as mentioned in this year's Ridvan message 155 from the Universal House of Justice to the Baha'is of the World. Immediately I wondered where this piece of paper was that I had written down this transformation plan some two years before, knowing that it must be in a particular stack of papers. I then fought with myself, saying that hey, I am in the middle of praying here and letting stray thoughts distract me. Just then another thought pops into my mind... In "The Secret of Divine Civilization" Abdu'l-Baha mentions "attributes of perfection" and there seems to be somewhere between 10 to 15 of these -- I wonder if there are 13 and if so maybe I should do the "Benjamin Franklin Transformation Plan" with these "Attributes of Perfection". Oh, hey now I am in the middle of prayer and I am letting myself get distracted again, but I must promise myself to remember to look this up in the morning when I go to work, as my book is in the office.
The next morning when I got to work I immediately counted 13 attributes of perfection... so since then for the last month I have been pursuing a plan of action of focussing on one attribute of perfection a week. I just completed the fourth week and the fourth attribute of perfection.... Now as I proceed I am becoming even more excited, as I realize that in 13 weeks I will have gone through all these 13 attributes of perfection one time; then for the rest of the year I will revise what I have compiled three times.... this seems like a powerful method of developing and reviewing material as well as a potentially potent path towards tremendous transformation. Only time will tell for sure...., but don't necessarily discard those stray thoughts that come to you in prayer... it might be the only time your brain is relaxed enough for God to send you a message.
I hope that you find this useful or that it stimulates you in a different direction useful for your own self, remembering that everything we do is a process towards growth -- my previous attempts at individual systematic plans of transformation have led me to this new stage of development... May Baha'u'llah assist each one of you in your own struggles towards perfection!
ATTRIBUTES OF PERFECTION
(Summarized from "The Secret of Divine Civilization", Abdu'l-Baha, pp. 35-40)
(1) learning and the cultural attainments of the mind
(2) justice and impartiality
(3) to arise with complete sincerity and purity of purpose to educate the masses
(4) to fear God
(5) to love God by loving His servants
(6) to exercise mildness and forbearance and calm
(7) to be sincere, amenable, clement and compassionate
(8) to have resolution and courage, trustworthiness and energy
(9) to strive and struggle
(10) to be generous, loyal, without malice
(11) to have zeal and a sense of honor
(12) to be high-minded and magnanimous
(13) to have regard for the rights of others
(Editor's note: If you have begun a similiar systematic plan for your own transformation, we would be interested to hear and learn from you.)
A DOCTOR'S VIEW OF HEALTH
By Dale Sims, Ontario, Canada
On television, I watched this wise, female obstetrician and gynecologist -Dr. Christiane Northrup - speaking about health. Here are some of the steps to creating health which she prescribes:
1. Listen to your body.
2. To say twice a day to yourself in the mirror - daily for 30 days - "I accept myself unconditionally right now." This will bring out all your 'voices' for nonacceptance of yourself loud and clear.
3. Identify the desire to create and your power of intent.
4. Understand the law of attraction.
5. Embrace the potential of your biology - get in touch and think about something or someone you love unconditionally. Do this regularly.
6. Get support.
7. Walk away from negativity. Don't read the newspaper.
8. Internalize completion regularly. Regularly take account of what you have accomplished and regularly identify your strengths without denying the weaknesses that need work.
9. Don't blame. Forgive. (You forgive to free up yourself.)
10. Appreciate where you are right now and pay attention to it.
It was so refreshing to listen and to learn from her - much of what she had to share was common sense. She ended up with a quote from Albert Schweitzer "All healing is self healing." In the Baha'i Writings it states, "All true healing comes from God." (Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p.19) We are also told "Turn thy sight unto thyself, that thou mayest find Me standing within thee, mighty, powerful and self-subsisting." (Baha'u'llah, Hidden Words, Arabic #13) so perhaps Schweitzer was right.
THE MOST BEAUTIFUL FLOWER
Submitted by Jeff and Jane Rhodes, Aptos, CA, U.S.A.
The park bench was deserted as I sat down to read
Beneath the long, straggly branches of an old willow tree.
Disillusioned by life with good reason to frown,
For the world was intent on dragging me down.
And if that weren't enough to ruin my day,
A young boy out of breath approached me, all tired from play.
He stood right before me with his head tilted down
And said with great excitement, "Look what I found!"
In his hand was a flower, and what a pitiful sight,
With its petals all worn - not enough rain, or too little light.
Wanting him to take his dead flower and go off to play,
I faked a small smile and then shifted away.
But instead of retreating he sat next to my side
And placed the flower to his nose and declared with overacted surprise,
"It sure smells pretty and it's beautiful, too.
That's why I picked it; here, it's for you."
The weed before me was dying or dead.
Not vibrant of colors, orange, yellow or red.
But I knew I must take it, or he might never leave.
So I reached for the flower, and replied, "Just what I need."
But instead of him placing the flower in my hand,
He held it mid-air without reason or plan.
It was then that I noticed for the very first time
That weed-toting boy could not see: he was blind.
I heard my voice quiver, tears shone like the sun
As I thanked him for picking the very best one.
"You're welcome," he smiled, and then ran off to play,
Unaware of the impact he'd had on my day.
I sat there and wondered how he managed to see
A self-pitying woman beneath an old willow tree.
How did he know of my self-indulged plight?
Perhaps from his heart, he'd been blessed with true sight.
Through the eyes of a blind child, at last I could see
The problem was not with the world; the problem was me.
And for all of those times I myself had been blind,
I vowed to see the beauty in life, and appreciate every second that's mine.
And then I held that wilted flower up to my nose
And breathed in the fragrance of a beautiful rose
And smiled as I watched that young boy, another weed in his hand
About to change the life of an unsuspecting old man.
PUSHING AGAINST THE ROCK
Submitted by Susan Gammage, Muskoka, Ontario, Canada
There was a man who was asleep one night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light and the Savior appeared. The Lord told the man He had a work for him to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might. This the man did, day after day. For many years he toiled from sun up to sun down, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock pushing with all his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain.
Seeing that the man was showing signs of discouragement, Satan decided to enter the picture placing thoughts into the man's mind such as; "You have been pushing against that rock for a long time and it hasn't budged. Why kill yourself over this, you are never going to move it? etc." Thus, giving the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure.
These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man even more. "Why kill myself over this?" he thought. "I'll just put in my time, giving just the minimum of effort and that will be good enough." And that he planned to do until one day he decided to make it a matter of prayer and take his troubled thoughts to the Lord. "Lord" he said, "I have labored long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock a half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?"
To this the Lord responded compassionately, "My friend, when long ago I asked you to serve me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push. And now you come to me, your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But, is that really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back sinewed and brown, your hands are callused from constant pressure, and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. Yet you haven't moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your faith and trust in My wisdom. This you have done. I, my friend, will now move the rock."
TRUST IN GOD
By Dr.William Saunders, Smyrna, Georgia, U.S.A.
Trust in Him attracts the divine confirmations, opens new spiritual connections, and unfastens the divine healing power latent within all of us, and which is closer to us than our own life vein. How do we trust God? By practice. Our actions demonstrate in whom we trust. Our thoughts are also actions. Think of Him, thank Him, supplicate Him, praise Him, be patient in Him, love Him, worship Him, and obey Him. Set up simple routines: say the Greatest Name 95 times, God is most glorious, or Allah-u-Abha, intone or chant the short healing prayer, the long healing prayer, as the spirit moves you or as you are instructed by your physician. The effect at first may be unnoticeable, but if you persist, its benefits will blossom forth and become as obvious as the noonday sun.
"O SON OF SPIRIT!
There is no peace for thee save by renouncing thyself and turning unto Me; for it behoveth 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." (Baha'u'llah, Arabic Hidden Words,#8)
"Hold ye fast unto the cord of means and place your trust in God, the Provider of all means." (Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, page 30)
SPIRITUAL HEALTH HABITS
Here are some essential elements for our spiritual and physical health from an eminent physician.
1) Trust in God
2) Consult a skilled physician and follow his instructions
3) Practice detachment from all save God
4) Practice moderation
5) Pray and meditate daily; read the Creative Word morning and evening
6) Be always happy
9) Practice patience
10) Go at your own pace
11) Eat simple, natural plant foods
12) Drink adequate pure water
13) Evaluate progress daily, summarize weekly
Thanks again for sending me this wonderful newsletter. This issue (June 1998) is of particular interest to me. You know how much joy and laughter brings to my heart. It is truly a gift that God has given us and it seems that sometimes we don't appreciate this gift as much as we should. Sometimes we think that we must be serious to be spiritual. Laughter in itself is serious. I think perhaps we make the mistake of thinking that all laughter and humour is foolishness.
Shirlee Smith, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Your lastest issue, June 1998, ( thanks for sending it!) is wonderful. I'm a performing songwriter and use lots of humor in my performances. I think music is an especially healing medium! My new album "Bird" is out......
Susan Lewis Wright, Denver, CO, U.S.A.
I have to add my accolades to those you've already received. It is truly a fabulous newsletter with many ideas, tips, quotations and stories. I'll be looking forward to the forthcoming issues in the Fall.
Natalie Reyes, California, U.S.A.
Thank you so much for your wonderful newsletter. I work in organizational development with General Electric Company and have my PHD in industrial/organizational psychology. I only graduated about 12 months ago and am trying on a mindset of seeing myself as an organizational physician - and your newsletter re-invigorates much of my thinking along those lines.
Thank you so much!
Johanna Merritt, Richmond, Virginia, U.S.A.
The focus of the October, 1998, issue will be on the area of abuse. We would be interested to hear from you if you have explored useful and practical ways in dealing with this difficult and painful subject of abuse. Please share all your responses or if you have other comments for the newsletter, please write to: Frances Mezei by e-mail, -- .
Other than the quoted Writings, the material in this newsletter represents the thoughts and opinions of the writers and has no authority. You are free to copy articles, provided you indicate the source of the article. If you have a change of e-mail address or wish to unsubscribe the newsletter, please let me know. There are 10 issues per year; it is not published during July and August.
It never ceases to amaze me the number of people who wish to join our family. The spirit is catching on and I often find myself saying "Oh Lord, increase my astonishment in Thee!" We are a family and our unity will increase our individual powers a thousand fold, through the power of the Holy Spirit and by following His teachings.
An important part of the newsletter is the exchange of ideas among the readers. Your answers are encouraged and essential because you are thinking your experiences through in a fresh and practical way and then sharing them with the other readers. This will increase our learning, understanding, connections and unity. This will also hopefully assist us to focus on a shift in attitude within ourselves from backing away from sickness to going towards perfect health. To follow this new path is to focus on the Writings of Baha'u'llah, 'Abdu'l-Baha, Shoghi Effendi and The Universal House of Justice which is the essence of our well being and reality.
I am looking forward to our second year of the "Healing Through Unity" newsletter and may we arise to greater heights of spiritual connections, growth and health. Please be assured of my deepest gratitute and respect for each one of you. Be filled with happiness and derive joy from the melody of the word of God.