HEALING THROUGH UNITY
A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of
physical and spiritual health envisioned in the Baha'i Teachings.
Volume 2, Issue #10
- A Letter from the Editor
- My Home is the Home of Peace
- The Exchange
- Six Types of Healing - Type Four
- Spiritual Healing
- The Cure of My Macular Degeneration
A LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
The second year of the newsletter has been one of growth and expansion. There are now 1,050 listed subscribers from 90 countries. I am once again in awe of the 'unity and diversity' demonstrated in the exchange of information and ideas - truly an example of being one family. We are becoming united as one soul which brings healing through unity. We are expressing a diversity in the range of topics, the different voices and the wide geographic area which is very exciting. We are discovering and practicing the many paths and tools of health and healing by reading and following the teachings of Baha'u'llah, the Prophet Founder of the Baha'i Faith.
There have been about 55 copies of the 'Healing Through Unity' Course kits purchased and are now being used in different areas of the world. This course is now available on the website and we hope you will use it in your community. You can look it up at: www.healingthroughunity.org. We would love to have feedback on the use of these health kits. Please write to us and share your views on this course.
I wish to thank the excellent reviewers of the newsletter - Counsellor Patricia Coles from Poland, Dr. William Saunders from U.S.A., Dale Sims, Bill Sims, and Mary Hougham from Canada, and Kim Bowden-Kerby from Fiji. Each one of these reviewers have served an important role in the development of the newsletter. I wish to thank them all for their kind and loving encouragement which I could not have done without!
A special thanks to Russ Novak for designing the beautiful website and for maintaining it. Also, a thank you to Orval Minney who has been presenting his thoughtful and educational views on the six types of healing as mentioned by Abdu'l-Baha in the book 'Some Answered Questions'.
On behalf of the reviewers and myself, we have received so much encouragement in this "Healing Through Unity" endeavour, and we want to thank you for that. You will be happy to know that the newsletter is growing with a loyal subscribership. Please continue to share your news, stories, and thoughts over the summer. We will return to you in September, 1999 and look forward to our third year of the 'Healing Through Unity' newsletter.
With warmest greetings for a wonderful summer,
MY HOME IS THE HOME OF PEACE
While 'Abdu'l-Baha was dictating tablets this morning, an Arab was announced and after a few minutes another one came in. 'Abdu'l-Baha instantly saw that these grown-up children of nature were not friendly with each other and as a subtle master of human nature, he started immediately to establish conciliation between them. Each of them sat there inwardly growling at his enemy. At first 'Abdu'l-Baha spoke to them in such a manner as to make them laugh. They did not want to laugh, neither did they want to look at each other, but they could not help doing both. Then with his deep insight into their hearts he said
"Are not men really children? The life of men is but a few days; then death overtakes them. Is it not foolish to attach one's heart to the worldly love and hate? Why should we let envy and hatred separate us? The strange part of it is that they have no outward existence. Happiness is the king of our hearts. Let us not part from it. If the candle of happiness is ignited in the chamber of our heart, all the forboding gloom of evil suggestions will be dispelled.
'My home is the home of peace. My home is the home of joy and delight. My home is the home of laughter and exultation. Whosoever enters through the portals of this home, must go out with gladsome heart. This is the home of light; whosoever enters here must become illumined. This is the home of knowledge: the one who enters it must receive knowledge. This is the home of love: those who come in must learn the lessons of love; thus may they know to love one another.'
Whenever I see people exercise love and good-fellowship among themselves, my heart is exceedingly rejoiced. ... God willing, you will always love one another. Praise be to God, that you are brothers in faith. You are the citizens of one country, the inhabitants of one town. The members of your families have known one another for years. Why then this feud? Why this ill-feeling? Why this mutual hatred?"
Then he related to them story after story, making them now laugh and now become serious. Finally when he observed the time had come, he got up from his seat and asked them to kiss one another and be true friends ever afterwards. "Is it not better to be friends than enemies?" 'Abdu'l-Baha asked them. Then He went into another room and brought candy and two silk hankerchiefs for each one. "By this token you are plighted together forever."
"We are the slaves of Abbas Effendi. We will do thy holy bidding. It seems God directed our steps to your home this morning," they said. They left the house laughing and holding one another's hands."
Story written by Mirza Ahmad Sohrab, with quotes of Abdu'l-Bahá Star of the West, Bounded Vol 5, Volume IX, No. 3, pages 39-40. Parts re-quoted in
later compilations from the Universal House of Justice
In the May, 1999 issue, the question was asked:
It is commonly known that laughter is excellent medicine. What are some of the spiritual, mental and physiological benefits of laughter? You can share your humorous stories, jokes and experiences.
You mentioned 'humorous stories'. Well I have some delightful moments that have been stored in my heart for many years.
These situations occurred about 25 years ago when I was practicing as a rural physician. When we first arrived in the area the clinic was in the same building as our home. The distance between home and the office was a closed door, and possibly a key-hole.
One Labor Day week-end I said to my two small children, "Now what day is it today?" (I was trying to fulfill my duty as educator of my kids). They both thought for a while, and then one cheerfully said, "I know, I know, it's Maternity Day."
Now this was in the days when the fetal stethoscopes were short trumpet-like pieces of metal. I came out of the clinic to find both kids on the stairs. My son was lying on his back on the stairs and my daughter was carefully listening to his fetal heart through a long wooden block.
A few years went by and changes took place. The children were now in school and the clinic was now located in a separate building quite close to the school. I often had visits from them on their way home.
My blood pressure machine had been acting up and leaking some of its mercury. I had collected this carefully in a little box and kept it in a drawer in my desk. My son was fascinated by this and would often ask to see it. One day he arrived and said "Mummy, can I have a look at your Jupiter?"
I have been wanting to share these dear stories for 25 years. I think the time has come to share them with you.
- Anne Parsons, Newfoundland, Canada
Here is a humorous story which also reflects how deep racism runs in our society.
An Embarrassing Lesson
On a recent weekend in Atlantic City, the woman related, she won a bucketful of quarters at a slot machine. She took a break from the slots for dinner with her husband in the hotel dining room. But first she would stash the quarters in her room. I'll be right back and we'll go to eat," she told her husband and she carried the coin-laden bucket to the elevator. As she was about to walk into the elevator she noticed two men already aboard. Both were black. One of them was big... Very big... An intimidating figure.
The woman froze. Her first thought was: These two are going to rob me. Her next thought was: Don't be a bigot, they look like perfectly nice gentlemen, even if one of them is awfully black. But racial stereotypes are powerful, and fear immobilized her.
She stood and stared at the two men. She felt anxious, flustered, ashamed. She hoped they didn't read her mind but knew they surely did; her hesitation about joining them on the elevator was all too obvious. Her face burned. She couldn't just stand there, so with a mighty effort of will she picked up one foot and stepped forward and followed with the other foot and was on the elevator. Avoiding eye contact, she turned around stiffly and faced the elevator doors as they closed. A second passed, and then another second, and then another. The elevator didn't move. Panic consumed her. My God, she thought, I'm trapped and about to be robbed!
Her heart plummeted. Perspiration poured from every pore. Then one of the men said, "Hit the floor." Instinct told her: Do what they tell you. The bucket of quarters flew upwards as she threw out her arms and collapsed on the elevator carpet. A shower of coins rained down on her. Take my money and spare me, she prayed. More seconds passed. She heard one of the men say politely, "Ma'am, if you'll just tell us what floor you're going to, we'll push the button." The one who said it had a little trouble getting the words out. He was trying mightily to hold in a belly laugh. She lifted her head and looked up at the two men.
They reached down to help her up. Confused, she struggled to her feet. "When I told my man here to hit the floor," one of the men, the average sized one, told her, "I meant that he should hit the elevator button for our floor. I didn't mean for you to hit the floor, ma'am. "He spoke genially. He bit his lip. It was obvious he was having a hard time not laughing.
She thought: My God, what a spectacle I've made of myself. She was too humiliated to speak. She wanted to blurt out an apology, but words failed her. How do you apologize to two perfectly respectable gentlemen for behaving as though they were robbing you? She didn't know. The three of them gathered up the strewn quarters and refilled her bucket. When the elevator arrived at her floor they insisted on walking her to her room.
She seemed a little unsteady on her feet, and they were afraid she might not make it down the corridor. At her door they bid her good evening. As she slipped into her room she could hear them laughing while they walked back to the elevator. The woman brushed herself off. She pulled herself together and went downstairs for dinner with her husband. The next morning flowers were delivered to her room ~ a dozen roses. Attached to each rose was a crisp one hundred dollar bill. A card said: "Thanks for the best laugh we've had in years."
It was signed, Eddie Murphy and Bodyguard.
- submitted by Nona Simons, Nevada, U.S.A.
Many years ago, Norman Cousins was diagnosed as "terminally ill." He was given six months to live. His chance for recovery was one in 500. He could see the worry, depression and anger in his life contributed to, and perhaps helped cause his disease. He wondered, "If illness can be caused by negativity, can wellness be created by positivity?"
He decided to make an experiment of himself. Laughter was one of the most positive activities he knew. He rented all the funny movies he could find - Keaton, Chaplin, Fields, the Marx Brothers. (This was before VCRs, so he had to rent the actual films.) He read funny stories. He asked his friends to call him whenever they said, heard or did something funny. His pain was so great he could not sleep. Laughing for 10 solid minutes, he found, relieved the pain for several hours so he could sleep.
He fully recovered from his illness and lived another 20 happy, healthy and productive years. (His journey is detailed in his book, 'Anatomy of an Illness'.) He credits visualization, the love of his family and friends, and laughter for his recovery.
Some people think laughter is a waste of time. It is a luxury, they say, a frivolity, something to indulge in only every so often. Nothing could be further from the truth. Laughter is essential to our equilibrium, to our well-being, to our aliveness. If we're not well, laughter helps us get well; if we are well, laughter helps us stay that way.
Since Cousins' ground-breaking subjective work, scientific studies have shown that laughter has a curative effect on the body, the mind and the emotions. So, if you like laughter, consider it sound medical advice to indulge in it as often as you can. If you don't like laughter, then take your medicine - laugh anyway. Use whatever makes you laugh - movies, sitcoms, Monty Python, records, books, New Yorker cartoons, jokes, friends.
Give yourself permission to laugh - long and loud and out loud - whenever anything strikes you as funny. The people around you may think you're strange, but sooner or later they'll join in even if they don't know what you're laughing about. Some diseases may be contagious, but none is as contagious as the cure. . . laughter.
- by Peter McWilliams from Chicken Soup for the Surviving Soul
Copyright 1996 by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Patty
Aubery & Nancy Mitchell, R.N.
A giggle a day keeps the doctor away!
It's no joke that laughter is the best medicine ... for having a good giggle can apparently do wonders for your health. Not only does it make you feel better, it relieves stress, provides an internal massage and can even put romance into your life, says stress consultant and pyschologist Robert Holden, founder of the first ever National Health Service Laughter Clinic in Birmingham, U.K.
Research has shown that laughter can result in improved immunity to illness and that people who regularly use laughter, humour and play as coping strategies for everyday events have a significantly higher count of a particular immunity antibody.
The act of laughing ventilates the lungs and leaves muscles, nerves and heart warm and relaxed, according to Dr. Willliam Fry Jr, an American who has spent more than 30 years researching its therapeutic properties. He reckons that 100-200 laughs a day is equivalent to about 10 minutes of rowing or jogging.
Victor Borge once said laughter is the shortest distance between two people. It helps develop friendships and is brilliant for romance. Research shows that a sense of humour attracts us to partners and may give away our whole philosophy on life. You can tell a lot about a person by what they find funny. Laughter also has spiritual benefits, he notes.
[the above is extracted from a newspaper article by Hannah Stephenson (UK)]
The following quote tells us how to act:
"Even as the clouds let us shed down tears, and as the lightning flashes let us laugh at our coursings through east and west. By day, by night, let us think but of spreading the sweet savours of God. Let us not keep on forever with our fancies and illusions, with our analysing and interpreting and circulating of complex dubieties. Let us put aside all thoughts of self; let us close our eyes to all on earth, let us neither make known our sufferings nor complain of our wrongs. Rather let us become oblivious of our own selves, and drinking down the wine of heavenly grace, let us cry out our joy, and lose ourselves in the beauty of the All-Glorious."
[Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, p.236]
The following is Abdu'l-Baha's reflections on a fellow believer:
The Prison was a garden of roses to him ( Mirza Ja'far i Yazdi), and his narrow cell a wide and fragrant place. At the time when we were in the barracks he fell dangerously ill and was confined to his bed. He suffered many complications, until finally the doctor gave him up and would visit him no more. Then the sick man breathed his last. Mirza Aqa Jan ran to Baha'u'llah, with word of the death. Not only had the patient ceased to breathe, but his body was already going limp. His family were gathered about him, mourning him, shedding bitter tears. The Blessed Beauty said, "Go; chant the prayer of Ya Shafi - O Thou, the Healer and Mirza Ja'far will come alive. Very rapidly, he will be as well as ever." I reached his bedside. His body was cold and all the signs of death were present. Slowly, he began to stir; soon he could move his limbs, and before an hour had passed he lifted his head, sat up, and proceeded to laugh and tell jokes.
He lived for a long time after that, occupied as ever with serving the friends. This giving service was a point of pride with him: to all he was a servant. He was always modest and humble, calling God to mind, and to the highest degree full of hope and faith. Finally, while in the Most Great Prison, he abandoned this earthly life and winged his way to the life beyond. (Abdu'l-Baha, Memorials of the Faithful, pp. 157-58)
- submitted by Thelma Batchelor, Leatherhead, U.K.
SIX TYPES OF HEALING - TYPE FOUR
By Orval H. Minney, California, U.S.A.
I have been presenting my views on the six types of healing (four spiritual and two material) as mentioned by Abdu'l Baha in Some Answered Questions. Of spiritual healing; Type One was through contagion of health (March, 1999 issue); Type Two, was by transfer of a magnetic force from the healer to the patient (April, 1999 issue), and Type Three was 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. (May, 1999 issue)
The fourth type of healing is "...produced through the power of the Holy Spirit. This does not depend on contact, nor on sight, nor upon presence; it is not dependent on any condition. Whether the disease be light or severe, whether there be contact of bodies or not, whether a personal connection be established between the sick person and the healer or not, this healing takes place through the power of the Holy Spirit." (Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 256)
The ingredients of this type of healing involve Faith, Prayer and the Mercy of God. We, or the healer, pray for the healing of the one ill relying on the Mercy of God and the Holy Spirit. This requires great Faith, not only in the power of prayer, but in God's Mercy and the healing power of the Holy Spirit. We have discussed before that the body tries to maintain a state of health which we call Homeostatic Balance or a state of Homeostasis. This is controlled by the endocrine system which is controlled by the nervous systems. We also know our nervous systems are controlled by our minds and by the energy forces in the universal matrix.
When we pray, with complete Faith, vibrations are sent from our brains outward as well as throughout our bodies. These vibrations become part of the cosmic energy matrix which is the true essence of all creation. Since they are thoughts they are instantly everywhere. No creation ever came into being that was not preceeded by a thought. In his revolutionary book , 'A New Science of Life", Rupert Sheldrake presents a new "hypothesis of formative causation" involving morphogenetic fields. "These fields are molded by the form and behavior of past organisms of the same species through direct connections across both space and time", He calls the process "morphic resonance". In layman's terms, thoughts set up a resonance in the universe that affects actions, either singly or by a group, elsewhere in time and space. Prayer is a means of creating this morphic resonance and will be specifically directed in the healing process by what we understand as the Holy Spirit. Thus is not dependent on contact, time or space.
Two healers I have known, heal from a distance by invoking the Holy Spirit through meditation and prayer, then they visualize their prayer as a flow of light to the ill one. One caveat is, the ill one must be in a receptive mental state through their own Faith so that the prayers of the healer, or well wishers, will enable the Holy Spirit to use the vibrations to excite the nerves of their innate healing system.
A competent physician knows that he or she does not heal, they merely implement the body's natural healing processes. Therefore, they should, before attempting any type of healing therapy invoke, through prayer and meditation, the power of the Holy Spirit to guide them, and to balance and attune the innate healing systems of all their patients, whether present or not.
This concludes my thoughts on "Spiritual Healing", and after the two months break we will explore "Material Healing" which will be much more scientific as presently understood, and less esoteric.
By Dr. Wm Saunders, Atlantic, U.S.A.
The articles on the various forms of spiritual healing are rational, scientific explanations of spiritual realities regarding healing, a mighty step towards the eventual reconciliation of science and religion. Pure spiritual healing, however, such as that via the Holy Spirit, cannot be encompassed. This unlimited spiritual power cannot be understood by the intellect; it is a mystery, but it is not illogical, it transcends the intellect. It cannot be understood in its essence, but only through its actions. How can we systematically increase our understanding of this spiritual power? Perhaps through our actions: by systematically working together in love and unity to put His teachings into practice. Electricity flows through conductors connected to form a complete circuit. Perhaps we can learn how to form spiritual connections through which the Holy Spirit can flow. The formation of small teams of souls willing to work together in love and unity to find more ideal solutions to similar health problems is a pioneering effort in that direction. There is no place for the ego in this spiritual circuit, it must be sacrificed.
THE CURE OF MY MACULAR DEGENERATION
By Eugenia Pritchard, Florida, U.S.A.
Our goal in life is to attain the presence of God. Baha'u'llah says in The
Hidden Words Arabic # 6,
"O Son of Being! Thy Paradise is My love; thy heavenly home, reunion with Me. Enter therein and tarry not. This is that which hath been destined for thee in Our kingdom above and Our exalted Dominion."
In the world of creation there are many forces. There is cohesion in the mineral kingdom, growth in the plant kingdom, sensory perception in the animal kingdom and intellect in man. Material laws govern all of the forces.
The spirit of faith comes to us through the Holy Spirit. Through this spirit we learn of spiritual attributes and eternal life. This kingdom is governed by spiritual laws. However, there is an interaction between the laws of creation and the spiritual laws.
On page 58 of "The Divine Art of Living", U.S. (1944), Abdul-Baha states, "The powers of the sympathetic nerve are neither entirely physical nor spiritual, but are between the two. The nerve is connected with both. Its phenomena shall be perfect when its spiritual and physical relation are normal. When the material world and the divine world are well correlated, when the heart becomes heavenly and the aspirations become pure and divine, perfect connection shall take place. Then shall this power produce a perfect manifestation. Physical and spiritual diseases will then receive absolute healing."
I was diagnosed as having macular degeneration. I went to an optometrist and about five ophthomologists and attended 2 workshops concerning my diagnosis. They told me my eyes remained in a stable condition but offered no encouragement that they would improve but rather would only deteriorate from this point. However, I knew in my heart that God could conquer all and that my eyes would improve. I was aware that it was necessary for me to learn detachment from myself, be acquiescent to His will and put the problem entirely in God's hands. This was a very difficult test since my husband had just recently passed away and I was living alone. I have always had a love for reading and writing which of course were not possible to do. Consequently, I had a great deal of time to turn to God and pray. There were many times when I felt hopeful and hopeless. It was a continuous process that enabled me to fortify my strength in God. If ever, I felt discouraged God would bring forth a light to help me persevere in strengthening myself to pass this ultimate test of faith. One confirmation occured when I was miraculously given the bounty of acquiring a vision magnifier for the seeing impaired. This was quite an event because I was at the bottom of the list for recipients, but somehow was chosen. This greatly enlightened my spirit as I could at long last resume limited reading again. Then, I took some classes on eye exercises and the value of different colored lights, as well as electric stimulation. One eye exercise which proved to be extremely useful was to massage my eyes while reciting the Greatest Name. I continued to develop the discipline of meditation and reliance on God alone. This progress was rewarded with a computer and scanner which enabled me to enter a book or text which would in turn read back what was fed into the computer. This greatly enlivened my spirit as I gained a greater freedom for my expression and was able to acquiesce not only my condition but to Gods will, too.
After five years, I was able to place the situation entirely in Gods hands and to tell Him that I would abide by His will. When I felt I had truly detached myself from all save Him, my good eye which was about 20/200 improved to enable me to read the chart at 20/100. I knew I was on the road to success at that point. I could see to open my mailbox without having to feel for the keyhole.
After this progress I realized that I had more spiritual lessons to learn. In the Hidden Words, Arabic #8 stated by Baha'u'llah, I read "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." After meditating on the power of God and my faith in Him, I noticed that I could see things on the 20/70 line on the chart.
Once again, I knew that I was on the road to improvement and searched for some further enlightment which I found in the Hidden Words, Arabic # 33 by Baha'u'llah, "O Son of Spirit! With the joyful tidings of light I hail thee: rejoice! To the court of holiness I summon thee; abide therein that thou mayest live in peace for evermore." I was aware of Gods great light in our physical bodies that we can call on. Shortly after that I was able to see on the 20/50 line. This was confirmed by Ruth Moffets, In the Call to Prayer. She explained that the divine spirit enters the unobstructed channels of the soul through sincere prayer and the cells of the body become radiant with light.
My greatest joy was the spiritual growth that took place in my being and to attain to greater heights of nearness to and love for Him that I had not known previously. This was achieved through the hard work to improve my health. I would gladly repeat this test or any others to have the priviledge of gaining this depth of understanding into Gods laws.
I am so fortunate to have the guidance of my wonderful doctor Dr. Saunders to guide me on this spiritual path which is achieved via e-mail. Also, we are fortunate to have each other for support and comfort. I love all of you very much and look forward to our beautiful newsletter.
SPIRITUAL HEALTH HABITS
Here are some essential elements for our spiritual and physical health provided by a physician who has practised for more than 35 years under the guidance of the Baha'i teachings.
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 happy always
9) Practice patience
10) Eat simple, natural plant foods
11) Drink adequate pure water
12) Evaluate progress daily, summarize weekly
Thank you always for the wonderful 'Healing Through Unity' newsletters you send out. I enjoy every one of them. This month was especially wonderful as my daughter and granddaughter are both taking alternative healing courses. My granddaughter will soon be opening her own business and I copied out most of the newsletter so she will have some spiritual thoughts, ideas and answers as well as the practical ones to have on hand..... Thanks again.
Maddie Wingett, Ontario, Canada
We want to acknowledge receipt and thank you warmly for the May issue of 'Healing Through Unity' which we deeply enjoy.
Livia De Sanctis, Secretary, National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Panama
This is a worthwhile and helpful journal. How wonderful that Baha'is are speaking of the real and the sacred.....I have passed your journal on to others.
Linda Popov, The Virtues Project, British Columbia, Canada
(Editor's note: There will be an article describing The Virtue Project in a future issue. You can look it up at their website: www.virtuesproject.com)
Once again, I must thank you for this wonderful service....Each month I find it worth my time and energy to read your newsletter from top to bottom. You seem to maintain just the right balance of new-age spiritualism and solid practical advice.
Justice St Rain, IN, U.S.A.
PURPOSE OF THE NEWSLETTER
"Healing Through Unity" is published for the purpose of sharing thoughts, comments and experiences on how the teachings of the Baha'i Faith are being applied to our physical and spiritual health. 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 inform me. There are 10 issues per year; it is not published during July and August. The newsletter is produced in Ontario, Canada.
You can visit the website and obtain back issues at:
Please send your stories, comments, suggestions or "Question for the Month" ideas to Frances Mezei by e-mail: -- .