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 #4
Author Unknown - submitted by Daryoush Yazdani, Japan
Like any good mother, when Karen found out that another baby was on the way, she did what she could to help her 3-year-old son, Michael, prepare for a new sibling. They found out that the new baby was going to be a girl, and day after day, night after night, Michael sings to his sister in Mommy's tummy.
The pregnancy progresses normally for Karen, an active member of the Panther Creek United Methodist Church in Morristown, Tennessee. Then the labor pains come. Every five minutes... every minute. But complications arise during delivery. Hours of labor. Would a C-section be required?
Finally, Michael's little sister is born. But she is in serious condition. With sirens howling in the night, the ambulance rushes the infant to the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Mary's Hospital, Knoxville, Tennessee. The days crawl by. The little girl gets worse. The pediatrician tells the parents, "There is very little hope. Be prepared for the worst." Karen and her husband contact a local cemetery about a burial plot. They have fixed up a special room in their home for the new baby; now they plan a funeral.
Michael keeps begging his parents to let him see his sister, "I want to sing to her," he says.
Week two in intensive care. It looks as if a funeral will come before the week is over. Michael keeps nagging about singing to his sister, but children are never allowed in Intensive Care. But Karen makes up her mind; she will take Michael whether they like it or not. If he doesn't see his sister now, he may never see her alive. She dresses him in an oversized scrub suit and marches him into ICU. He looks like a walking laundry basket, but the head nurse recognizes him as a child and bellows, "Get that kid out of here now! No children are allowed."
The mother in Karen rises up strong, and the usually mild-mannered lady glares steel-eyed into the head nurse's face, her lips a firm line. "He is not leaving until he sings to his sister!"
Karen tows Michael to his sister's bedside. He gazes at the tiny infant losing the battle to live. And he begins to sing. In the pure hearted voice of a 3-year-old, Michael sings: "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are grey --- " Instantly the baby girl responds. The pulse rate becomes calm and steady.
"Keep on singing, Michael", Karen urges.
"You never know, dear, how much I love you, Please don't take my sunshine away---" The ragged, strained breathing becomes as smooth as a kitten's purr.
"Keep on singing, Michael", Karen repeats.
"The other night, dear, as I lay sleeping, I dreamed I held you in my arms..."
Michael's little sister relaxes as rest, healing rest, seems to sweep over her.
"Keep on singing, Michael", Karen whispers. Tears conquer the face of the bossy head nurse. Karen glows.
"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. Please don't, take my sunshine away."
Funeral plans are scrapped. The next day - the very next day - the little girl is well enough to go home!
Woman's Day magazine called it "The Miracle of a Brother's Song." The medical staff just called it a miracle. Karen called it a miracle of God's love!
"When at the bedside of a patient, cheer, and gladden his heart and enrapture his spirit through celestial power. Indeed, such a heavenly breath quickeneth every moldering bone and reviveth the spirit of every sick and ailing one." (Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p.151)
"Of the two other kinds of healing which are spiritual -- that is to say, where the means of cure is a spiritual power -- one results from the entire concentration of the mind of a strong person upon a sick person, when the latter expects with all his concentrated faith that a cure will be effected from the spiritual power of the strong person, to such an extent that there will be a cordial connection between the strong person and the invalid. The strong person makes every effort to cure the sick patient, and the sick patient is then sure of receiving a cure. From the effect of these mental impressions an excitement of the nerves is produced, and this impression and this excitement of the nerves will become the cause of the recovery of the sick person. So when a sick person has a strong desire and intense hope for something and hears suddenly the tidings of its realization, a nervous excitement is produced which will make the malady entirely disappear. In the same way, if a cause of terror suddenly occurs, perhaps an excitement may be produced in the nerves of a strong person which will immediately cause a malady. The cause of the sickness will be no material thing, for that person has not eaten anything, and nothing harmful has touched him; the excitement of the nerves is then the only cause of the illness. In the same way the sudden realization of a chief desire will give such joy that the nerves will be excited by it, and this excitement may produce health." ( Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 255)
In the November, 1998 issue, the question was asked: "What are some of the practical ways to deal with stress?"
The first thing that comes to my mind is the use of prayer and having the knowledge that when we turn to Baha'u'llah and ask for His help it will come in some shape or form. The difficult part is in trusting that help will come and then recognizing it when it does come. Also Baha'u'llah has told us that we will never be tested beyond our means, so whatever we come up against we know that we have the strength to cope with it. The main reason we feel stressed is because of the way we think about a certain situation. According to Richard Carlson, in his book "You Can Be Happy No Matter What" we think first, then we feel. It is our thinking not our circumstances that determines how we feel. We are in control of our thoughts, therefore we can have a lot of control of how we feel. To put it in Carlson's own words "Stress is not something that "happens to us", but rather something that develops from within our own thinking." So with the knowledge that we are responsible for how we feel and that we have Bahaullahs help when things get really bad - there is no reason for us not to go through life without being overwhelmed by our cares and responsibilities.
Jean Owen, Wales
Here is another answer on the subject of abuse asked in the September, 1998 issue.
A HALLOWEEN MEMORIAL
People have been encouraging me for a long time that I needed to do something ceremonial to put the experiences of cult abuse behind me, but until this year, I wasn't ready. With the grace of God, and the assistance of a couple of dear friends, the idea of a memorial service came together effortlessly.
A great deal of the cult abuse was done on halloween and this has been a difficult time of year for me as an adult. This halloween, I had a memorial service, to honour my brother who was 4 years old and my daughter, who were killed by the cult when I was a child. The memorial was very powerful. It was very healing to have so many peoplestand with me as I acknowledged the lives of my brother and daughter, and released the hold they had on me by virtue of having to remain silent and alone with the memories for so long. I really felt surrounded by love and was encouraged by the support. That was the most powerful healing: not to be alone with the pain and the secrets any more.
About 12 people gathered at the memorial site. In addition, there were people praying simultaneously from eleven places literally around the world. There were 4 other ritual abuse survivors participating, and honouring the people they knew who had been killed in cults. It was for my benefit, but also for a much higher purpose, I think. I'm hoping and believing, that the Concourse on High was busy that night, spreading sweet savours of healing all around the world.
Slowly I am hearing back from those who attended. One person said that she felt very peaceful afterwards. She hadn't wanted to come, and was greatly impressed with the way we had done it. Another person came, despite an estrangement between her and one of the other guests. She told me later that the hurts she had sustained had been healed as a result and said that the whole community would benefit from what happened that night. Another participant has since gone onto the web to educate herself about ritual abuse, so that she can speak for those of us who can't.
A couple of days before the memorial, I received an article called "Chasm of Belief", written by Barbara McLellan from New Zealand which mentioned ritual abuse a great deal. A friend who was my primary support took a quote from the article and used it in his introduction to the group. It said: "If we have people in the Baha'i community who have terrible stories to tell and they have no one who will listen to them, how then will we become true community? How will we be enriched by their courage and their will to live in the face of denial, if we do not hear their stories? I believe we have a lot to learn from people who have suffered trauma because we will learn how to be truly human as God has intended us to be."
He read it 3-4 times to explain why we were doing what we were doing that night. People were blown away by it, and several people have asked for copies of the program, to share with friends who are also isolated and alone with their pain.
Personally, I had hoped to feel more settled after doing it. I'm sure it was an important part of my healing, but it hasn't given the closure I had hoped. Instead it feels like I've just lopped off the tip of the iceberg, and the rest is pushing to make itself heard. But then, this is my "severe mental test" that 'Abdu'l-Baha promised, and I guess it will be with me, to assist in my perfection, for the rest of my life. I am profoundly grateful to the friends who made it possible, to those who attended and to those who participated from afar.
FREED TO SERVE
By Hannah Rishel, Arizona, U.S.
Do you suffer from depression, anxiety, and a sense of inability to serve the Faith adequately? Have you taken responsibility for many Baha'i endeavors, then felt abandoned by others who felt less responsible? Do you often wonder how to attain "radiant aquiescence;" how to be as selfless as the martyrs? Could you be called codependent, depressed, anxious, or in possession of an overactive guilt complex?
Maybe you are experiencing "Baha'i Fatigue Syndrome." This is a tongue-in-cheek term for a debilitating condition experienced by numerous Baha'is who have served the Faith for years, and find themselves growing less joyful and less able to serve. It is distressing, because we read in the Writings, "The spiritual world bestows only the joy," "Be light and untrammeled as the breeze," and countless other admonitions toward joy and selfless service. We read it, we remember bounties of service, we see others who demonstrate radiant acquiescence. But somehow, we've lost it.
What is the cause? Many causes, including:
--Spiritual testing, either because of our own mistakes, or God's test to purify our souls
--Inadequate response to the tests arising from other people
--Being children of the half-light; serving in old-world ways, failure to transcend hurts from our upbringing
--Physical components such as a physically disabling condition, inadequate exercise, nutrition and self-care, and other physical ailments
What is the outcome? Unchecked, such people can become so debilitated that they cannot serve the Faith, their family, or themselves well. For all the feeling of responsibility, they become progressively unable to do their part.
This is an illness. What is the remedy?
Baha'u'llah tells us, "Whenever ye fall ill, refer to competent physicians." ( Compiled by the Universal House of Justice, "Health and Healing", p. 1) Depression, anxiety, and fatigue may have physical causes, for which a physician is best trained to evaluate and treat.
'Abdul'l-Baha teaches,"an illness caused by affliction, fear, nervous impressions, will be healed more effectively by spiritual rather than by physical treatment. Hence, both kinds of treatment should be followed; they are not contradictory." ( ibid, pp. 11- 12) Further, Baha'u'llah stated that "The healer of all thine ills is remembrance of Me, forget it not." ( ibid, p. 3) Any or all three components may be necessary to recover from "Baha'i Fatigue Syndrome."
For my recovery, two competent physicians were exceedingly helpful guides. One physician provided daily "listening" and feedback by e-mail. He prescribed hourly recitation of the prayer starting, "O God, refresh and gladden my spirit..." and use of "Allah'u'abha" to banish each negative, hurtful, or stressful thought. The other physician identified physical/nutritional components and prescribed appropriate nutritional support. Both were encouraging, both urged letting go of responsibilities and nurturing my own needs. Both made it clear that I could not serve others until I was restored.
God is the true Healer. He utilized the clear channels of two physicians, a Counselor, wise friends and family, and my own soul & volition. These are some valuable insights gained:
1. Do say the prescribed prayers, very often. How else can we apply, "Thy Name is my healing, O my God, and remembrance of Thee is my remedy."?
2. Learn how to say "no" to requests and needs. Learn to define how and how much we're able to assist with a particular need. Learn to deflect and defer requests. Practice tabling a decision, until the next day, the next week, or until after prayer and meditation. Observe others who have learned to say no, but still demonstrate other admirable qualities. Just because someone has a problem doesn't mean I must solve it.
3. Learn what my unique priorities and needs are. For example, only I can be my children's mother. Their needs must sometimes take priority over other needs.
4. "Selfish desire" is not synonymous with taking care of myself. And only I can take care of myself. Not my husband, friend, Local Spiritual Assembly, Auxiliary Board Member, or anyone else can take care of my unique needs.
And what is the outcome? When one's heart is connected to Baha'u'llah, He will guide us into new paths of service. Paths we had not anticipated. New ways of being, more calm, radiant, grateful, and inclusive of others; not shouldering responsibilities alone. Our service will be restored.
HOW DO WE RECEIVE DIVINE CONFIRMATION AND RECOGNIZE IT?
By Michael Teske, Haifa, Israel
An area that attracts my thoughts is the idea of confirmation. How do we receive divine confirmation and recognize it? My imagination tells me that there are infinite possibilities to this, and that one may receive these confirmations in many different forms. What we have to do is to increase our sensitivity to receiving, recognizing and understanding the guidance, which is no easy task; it requires vigilance, determination, persistence and experience.
In my own life I have seen a progressive realization and development of this sensitivity, but it all adds up to a drop in the ocean of being a clear channel of receptivity. One of the things I have noticed is the speed at which this guidance seems to come. Someone once told me that whenever obstacles arise, there are clear messages in them as it is not the right direction at the time or it is necessary to make a detour to circumnavigate the obstacle. And how does one ever really know 100 percent? Hindsight usually gives us a good indication. Sometimes the guidance comes as a distracting thought in the middle of a prayer (perhaps this is the only time we relax enough for guidance to come to our conscious mind). Other times it comes by a fast sequence of events that seems to steer you in the right direction.
An example of this happened to me recently. I had previously agreed to help someone by performing a task. I was driving to meet the person when the car broke down. There was not enough time to call for a tow truck and fulfill the obligation. Within minutes someone stopped and gave me a lift all the way to the designated meeting place, going out of the way to get there and we could barely communicate as this individual had only a few English words and I had even fewer Hebrew words.
Sometimes the guidance may come as an intense, almost overpowering feeling. In my case I have felt this a few times as an indescribable sense of joy and love. And I have heard numerous stories about people getting sick, which in turn prevents them from doing something they shouldn't do or from going somewhere they shouldn't be going. Other times this guidance may come as a powerful thought with no inkling of doubts lurking in the background....
What are some of the ways you have received guidance or that you have heard from others? This is a fascinating subject to explore.
The overriding rule that I have found to be most effective in my life so far in trying to purge myself of doubts and to become more receptive to receiving and understanding the constantly flowing guidance that more often than not remains elusive is first to be completely honest and sincere in whatever one is doing -- then whatever one is doing, whether it be the correct thing or the incorrect thing to do, God will steer you into the right path. What are some of the patterns you have discovered work for you?
Some wonderful advice a dear friend gave me several years ago is to pursue all the things that you want to do and feel inspired to do, then God will steer you into what you are supposed to be doing. In other words, don't close any doors yourself... let them be closed for you, or in pursuing your goals the ones that you are supposed to be following will naturally unfold at a faster pace than the others. Some Christian friends quite some time ago used this phrase which I love: "Even God can't steer a parked car!" ... you have to be moving... so my prayer is that each and every one of you will be so inspired and moved as to dedicate yourselves to encouraging and supporting each other in spurring on your chargers towards greater and greater acts of service.
CONSULTATION ON THE TABLET TO A PHYSICIAN
( A reader asked these questions to Dr. Saunders, Georgia, U.S. and suggested that others may have similar questions. This Tablet to a Physician by Baha'u'llah was printed in the May, 1998 issue.)
(Reader) I was reading the Tablet to a Physician by Baha'u'llah, the unauthorized translation, and had some questions. I'm trying to change my diet, and would like to understand better this Tablet. When Baha'u'llah says "If two diametrically opposite foods are put on the table do not mix them"; what do you think "diametrically opposite foods" means?
Dr Saunders (Dr.) Since it is the word of God, it can have infinite meanings. In an explanatory Tablet (untranslated) Baha'u'llah gives an example that if two heavy foods were given to a person with a weak constitution they may be incompatible, that is, too strong for his weak constitution, therefore two foods which disagree with an individual's constitution are incompatible.
(Reader) It would be so nice if there was a list of "diametrically opposite foods"?
(Dr.) Baha'u'llah's writings give universal guidance and lay down principles which can be applied in infinitely many different ways to suit each individual's needs. Detailed instructions place limitations upon individual choices. There is no list of diametrically opposite foods because it is dependent upon the constitution of the patient and should be determined for each individual under the supervision of a physician skilled in this science.
(Reader) Also, when He says "The compounding of one food with another is a danger of which you must beware", is this the same meaning as the above "diametrically opposite foods" or what exactly does this mean?
(Dr.) It is very closely related. The principles are moderation and simplicity. In the Kitab-i-Badi, Baha'u'llah states: "In all circumstances they should conduct themselves with moderation; if the meal be only one course this is more pleasing in the sight of God; however, according to their means, they should seek to have this single dish be of good quality." (Complied by the Universal House of Justice, "Health and Healing", p. 2)
(Reader) What is "one food"?
(Dr.) Could be a single dish, course, or edible substance.
(Reader) I've heard that we should not drink water during or right after a meal. Have you heard this? It's interesting because Baha'u'llah says "Take first liquid food before partaking of solid food." Do you think He meantfor all the meals we should take something liquid first?
(Dr.) No, He does not state that something liquid should be eaten at each meal. He is giving the order in which food is to be eaten. The literal translation of this passage is that light food is to be eaten before heavy food, and liquid food before solid. He does not state that water should not be taken before the meal.
(Reader) Do you think water counts? Or are we not to drink water during meals?
(Dr.) Water is a very special substance, and is probably not the same as food, and certainly not the same as liquid food, including juices and beverages
(Reader) And "Do not drink after you have retired to sleep". I'm assuming that we can't drink if we've fallen asleep, so does He mean a certain amount of time before we actually lay down? Like once we start getting ready for bed?
(Dr.) This is not clearly stated in the Tablet, leaving the individual free to apply it to suit his individual needs.
(Reader) When He says "The main thing is to cleanse the body of its wastes", what does that mean? Fasting? Or some other methods?
(Dr.) Could have many meanings. The original word in Arabic is related to "enema", opening the possibility of cleansing by enemas or colonic irrigation. This is an area for further investigation.
(Reader) Finally, when He says "for the primary substance will remain in its pristine purity and no change will occur in the normal proportion of one-sixth, and one-sixth of one sixth, and the twin active agents (qualities, properties) and the twin passive agents will remain intact." What does that mean? Is the "substance" the food, or the body? What are the two passive agents?
(Dr.) A much deeper subject, cannot be adequately answered at present, this refers to the older science of medicine and the "four elements" represented in the body as black bile, yellow bile, blood and phlegm. Requires extensive study and investigation now and in the future.
I want to thank you so much for the very dignified, helpful newsletter you provide to so many people. It is of such a high calibre, and always so moving to read. Thank you for this tremendous service!
Meim Smith, Auxiliary Board Member for Southern Ontario, Canada
I have been so engrossed in reading the copies of past newsletters you were kind enough to send. How inspiring, how enlightening, how uplifting! The variety, the diversity, and the wisdom conveyed by the contributors is refreshing and marvelous.
Audrey Diggs, Illinois, U.S.
Thank you for your lovely journal, today. I spent hours studying and absorbing the pathophysiology of the endocrine system. Your issue came as a lighthearted balance to the heavy work of pathophysiology.
Anne Grove, Nurse Practitioner student, Ohio, U.S
A friend has just shared copies with us of your last two newsletters on "Healing Through Unity". We are delighted, in particular, with the stories of those who have met crises with practical applications of guidance found in the Baha'i Faith.
We know so many people who are going through severe mental stresses, yet deprive themselves of the real source of healing because they aren't ready for the huge leap of faith required to join a religious community. This newsletter is most useful as a soft and compassionate approach in helping souls to take one step at a time towards God and this wonderful Faith, through those who have suffered before them and found re-affirmations of all those promises.
Thank you for this terrific assistance.
Steve and Iris Bennett, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
QUESTION OF THE MONTH
The question for this month is:
"What methods can assist individuals and families who are dealing with mental health issues?"
Please share all your stories or if you have other comments for the newsletter or "Question for the Month" ideas, 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.
Something very special is happening. It appears that a network is developing among the friends. I have often been called to act as a liaison or messenger between the friends to forward messages and information to the writers of the articles. It is very heartening to know that the friends wish to be in touch with each other. It is a general policy that I do not give out any e-mail addresses unless with permission to insure confidentiality. It is hoped that when you receive the newsletters, the recipient lists are always suppressed. If this has not been the case, please do inform me as it may be due to computer errors. I would be happy to forward messages on your behalf to any friends to develop this networking of consultation and sharing.
Occasionally, I receive articles from subscribers which have been forwarded on from other sources such as a great healing story from a magazine or another newsletter. While these articles can be very important to our subscribers, it is important as well that the original source be mentioned re name of magazine, the author and the date. In this way, the article preserves its integrity and provides the subscribers with a reference for future research.
There is a large number of friends reading the newsletter who serve in the health professions. These include: physicians, nurses, pharmacists, chiropractors, naturopaths, homeopaths, massage therapists, dentists, psychotherapists, counsellors, and other alternative healing specialists. The various disciplines and practices have much to educate and train us. It is essential to recognize and honour the different ways of healing. Therefore, your contributions about your treatments, experiences and knowledge would be most valuable. With this consultation, we can explore ways to bring healing to more and more people.
I have been very impressed with the caliber of the articles people have written about very intimate and important healing matters and am amazed at the quality of the striving of individuals today. I admire your strength and courage to grow physically and spiritually. Thank you for your excellent contributions.
May you be blessed with health and happiness,