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December, 1999


A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of

physical and spiritual health envisioned in the Baha'i Teachings.

Volume 3, Issue #4





- Detachment From This World

- The Exchange

- Stress Mastery in Changing Times

- A Response about Skilled Physicians

- Laughter Room

- Health Habits

- Letters

- Community

- Question of the Month

- Purpose of the Newsletter

- Website




Taken from 'Trustees of the Merciful, by Adib Taherzadeh, pp. 46-48 

"It is often attachment to this world which clouds the vision and makes the individual proud, arrogant and self-centered. Obedience to Baha'u'llah, humility and submissiveness towards the Institutions will, in the end, confer inestimable blessings upon the soul. Attachment to this world is often mistakenly understood to be the possession of earthly goods. "Should a man," Baha'u'llah explains to His followers, "wish to adorn himself with the ornaments of the earth, to wear its apparels, or partake of the benefits it can bestow, no harm can befall him, if he alloweth nothing whatever to intervene between him and God, for God hath ordained every good thing, whether created in the heavens or in the earth, for such of His servants as truly believe in Him."

There is a story in Persian which throws some light on the nature and meaning of detachment from this world. It is the story of a King and a dervish. The King had many spiritual qualities but in his heart he envied the dervish who seemed to have no attachment to this world. For all that a dervish possessed was a basket in which he carried his food. He spent his time roaming around town chanting the praises of his Lord and having mystical communion with HIm. He had no home and no belongings yet he considered himself to be so rich that he owned the whole world. To this way of life the King was attracted, so he invited a dervish to his palace in order to learn some lessons in detachment. The dervish came and stayed for some time. At last the King decided to give up his throne and live the life of a dervish. Putting on some old clothes, he disguished himself as a poor man and left his palace with his guest. 

They had walked together some distance when the dervish realized that he had left his basket behind in the palace. He explained to the King that he could not go without the basket and that they had better go back and fetch it. It was by this incident that the dervish was finally tested and found to be attached to this world. The King had left behind his palaces and his treasures and was treading the path of detachment, whereas the dervish preaching this very virtue for a life-time proved in the end to be attached to his small basket.

Attachment is an attitude of mind and is not necessarily related to riches. The pride which the individual may have in his learning and knowledge, his accomplishments in this life, his position in the community, his fame and popularity, the love of his own self and of his possessions could all become barriers between his soul and God."





In the November issue, the question was:

There are many references in the Baha'i Writings about detachment from all save God. What is your understanding of this? How can we be detached and live a spiritual life in this world? What kind of things do you think can turn us away from God?


On our way to our pioneering post to Costa Rica in 1969; as we drove from California through Mexico and Central America, we listened to a tape of a talk given by Hand of the Cause, Mr. Faizi, on the "Hidden Words". 

He told a story about a woman he met while teaching in India, who told him: "Every day I awaken. Prepare the morning meal for my family. Gather up the wash for the day. Go to the river where I wash my clothes, and on my way, meet my neighbor who joins me. Thence I return to my home and continue the work of my day. Through each of these events, I carry Baha'u'llah with me, and find myself in the utmost joy, every day of my life."

"O Son of Being! Love Me that I may love thee. If thou lovest Me not, My love can in no wise reach thee. Know this, O servant." ( Baha'u'llah, Hidden Words, Arabic #6)

What is turning away from God? When we forget the above-mentioned Hidden Word and try to get through life by our own devices, that, it seems to me, is turning away from God. But what I have learned, is that the moment I become aware of this, and turn toward Baha'u'llah, and live in a state of gratitude for whatever may be taking place in my life, I am instantly forgiven, and His protection permeates my soul, once again.   - Jeanette Roberts, New Mexico, U.S.A



Quotes from Different Religions on Detachment

"He unto whom all desires enter as waters into the sea, which, though ever being filled is ever motionless, attains to peace and not he who hugs his desires." (Hindu: Bhagavad Gita 2:70 p.128)

"Do not rely on property and the goods of this world, for property and the goods of this world are like a bird that flies from one tree to another and stays on none." (Zoroastrian: Pahlavi Texts, Counsels of Adhurbadh p. 105, v 89)

"Empty the boat of your life, O man; when empty it will swiftly sail." (Buddhist: Dhammapada, 25:369 p. 87)

"None of you can be a disciple of Mine without parting with all his possessions." (Christian: New Testament of the Bible, Luke 14:33)

"What little has been given you is only for a while; but that which is with God is greater and more lasting." (Islam: Quran 42:36 sec.219)

"No man shall attain the shores of the ocean of true understanding except he be detached from all that is in heaven and on earth." (Baha'i: The Kitab-i-Iqan; Baha'u'llah, p. 3)

- Taken from "Comparable Quotes from the Major Religions: Compiled to promote Religious Unity and to Reduce Religious Prejudice", author unknown.



A Story about Detachment

"One day, my son brought a gerbil home to live with us. We put it in a cage. Some time later, the gerbil escaped. For the next six months, the animal ran frightened and wild through the house. So did we - chasing it. "There it is. Get it!" we'd scream, each time someone spotted the gerbil. I, or my son, would throw down whatever we were working on, race across the house, and lunge at the animal hoping to catch it.

I worried about it, even when we didn't see it. "This isn't right", I'd think. "I can't have a gerbil running loose in the house. We've got to catch it. We've got to do something." A small animal, the size of a mouse had the entire household in a tizzy.

One day, while sitting in the living room, I watched the animal scurry across the hallway. In a frenzy, I started to lunge at it, as I usually did, then I stopped myself. No, I said. I'm all done. If that animal wants to live in the nooks and crannies of this house, I'm going to let it. I'm done worrying about it. I'm done chasing it. It's an irregular circumstance, but that's just the way it's going to have to be.

I let the gerbil run past without reacting. I felt slightly uncomfortable with my new reaction - not reacting - but I stuck to it anyway. I got more comfortable with my new reaction - not reacting. Before long, I became downright peaceful with the situation. I had stopped fighting the gerbil. One afternoon, only weeks after I started practicing my new attitude, the gerbil ran by me, as it had so many times, and I barely glanced at it. The animal stopped in its tracks, turned around, and looked at me. I started to lunge at it. It started to run away. I relaxed. 

"Fine", I said. "Do what you want." And I meant it. One hour later, the gerbil came and stood by me, and waited. I gently picked it up and placed it in its cage, where it has lived happily ever since. The moral of the story? Don't lunge at the gerbil. He's already frightened, and chasing him just scares him more and makes us crazy. Detachment works." 

This story was taken from the book, "The Language of Letting Go", by Melody Beattie, pp. 344-45. She is also the author of "Co-dependent No More" and "Beyond Codependency".




By Robin S. Sharma, LL.M., Ontario, Canada (Editor's Note: This article is taken from 'Sharma Leadership Report', Volume 2, No. 5, by Robin Sharma. He has also written two excellent and highly recommended books, 'The Monk who Sold His Ferrari' and "Leadership Wisdom from The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari'. Website is:

We live in a high-pressure world. Your customers demand more from you than ever before, your colleagues expect greater results in less time and by the time you have mastered one technology, it's often obsolete. The constant change in the marketplace and in society is so vast it makes your head spin. More new information was produced in the past 30 years than in the entire 5000 year period from 3000 BC to 1965. The effect of these new challenges has been to create an invisible epidemic, one that has the potential to rob you of your productivity, creativity and effectiveness like no other. The name of this culprit? Stress.

Here are seven lessons you can apply to master stress and stay focused in these turbulent times:

1. Reframe the Negative as Positive. Stress is essentially a matter of perception. While giving a presentation to a group of 100 prospects might strike fear in the heart of one sales professional, it will be viewed as a superb business opportunity to another. Stress mastery is all about thought mastery and the more effectively you can reframe seemingly negative events as positive circumstances, the more inspired, productive and energetic you will remain. When a stressor appears, ask yourself: "is there a better way of interpreting this situation?" or "will this really matter 3 years from now?" Remember, all setbacks offer growth lessons and all failure is essential to success.

2. Continuously Grow. The best way to manage change is to keep on growing. Ironically, by clinging to old pathways of thought and action in the hope of finding a little security in these change-crazed times, you are actually putting yourself in the most insecure position possible. The pace of change in our world will only increase as we advance into the new millennium so accept and embrace it. Make the decision to become a change master and begin to see yourself as a lifelong student. Read for 30 minutes a day, go to training seminars and listen to educational and motivational audiocassettes in your car. By expanding your own professional knowledge base you will not only thrive on the change that you will inevitably face, you will be in a position to add greater value to your organization.

3. Focus the Essential. With all the demands on your time, you simply cannot do everything. The person who tries to do everything ultimately achieves nothing. Or as Confucius noted so many years ago: "The man who chases two rabbits catches neither." Peak performers have a clear sense of the activities that are worthy of their time and those that contribute little to their professional and personal missions. They then have the self-discipline to focus only on their best activities, the ones that create the results they desire. Focusing on the essential is the golden key to time management and life fulfillment. As management guru Peter Drucker observed: "There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all."

4. Plan Your Time. If you don't make the time to schedule your priorities in your daily planner, someone else's priorities will get scheduled into your daily planner. All peak performing men and women understand that time is their most precious resource and guard it wisely. Set aside 30 minutes every Sunday night for your weekly planning session and ask yourself this very powerful question: "What goals do I need to accomplish over the next 7 days for me to feel this week was a success?" Write these small but essential goals down and schedule a time for their achievement into your daily organizer. Remember, the days slip into weeks and the weeks slip into months and the months slip into years. If you don't act on life, life will act on you. Get control of your time and make your weeks count.

5. Work Smarter, Not Harder. Tear yourself away from the outdated mindset that says "to be more productive, you must work harder." In these pressure filled times, that's a recipe for disaster. Adopt a new, more enlightened way to manage yourself and understand that the key to increased effectiveness is to work smarter. Stop focusing on the time spent behind your office desk and, instead, begin concentrating on getting results.

6. Manage Your Environment. We live in an increasingly negative world. Massive corporate downsizing, ever-increasing levels of competition and constant access to mind-numbing news stories are only a few of the influences that can adversely affect our attitudes and thought-processes if left unchecked over time. To master stress and maintain high levels of enthusiasm, meticulously guard the information you expose yourself to. Ruthlessly assess the nature of your environment to ensure that you are surrounding yourself with the best influences available. Associate with positive people. Make your office an oasis of excellence and inspiration. Make your car a mobile learning center through tapes and energizing messages. Avoid anything that detracts from the clear, focused mindset you know will lead you to success. As Gandhi said: "I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet."

7. Make Time for Yourself. Ultimately, the best way to manage stress effectively is to manage yourself effectively. Have the wisdom to understand that success on the outside truly begins within. Carve out time every week to commune with nature or listen to beautiful music or get a relaxing massage. Discover the renewing power of visualization and meditation and ensure that you find a few minutes during your busy week to enjoy a little silence. Time invested in revitalizing your self is never a waste of time. Rather, it is an excellent use of your time as it makes every remaining hour of your week far more productive and dynamic. Begin to manage yourself better. Get to know yourself and craft a serious action plan for personal development. You will quickly meet with higher levels of success and feel far less stress. As Churchill said: "The price of greatness is responsibility."


"So long as the thoughts of an individual are scattered he will achieve no results, but if his thinking be concentrated on a single point wonderful will be the fruits thereof. One cannot obtain the full force of the sunlight when it is cast on a flat mirror, but once the sun shineth upon a concave mirror, or on a lens that is convex, all its heat will be concentrated on a single point, and that one point will burn the hottest. Thus it is necessary to focus one's thinking on a single point so that it will become an effective force." (Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, pp. 110 -11)




By Annette Cox, Tennessee, U.S.A.

The important question of what could be the criteria for patients to find out who could be considered a "skillful physician" and who should not, has only been touched on the surface and has not yet been discussed thoroughly. What should be considered before a decision is made as to whether to visit a specific physician? Some examples include: formal education at Universities, a doctor's title, reported healing successes by other patients and other factors. ( from the article: 'A Response on Different Issues Covered in the Newsletter", Volume 3, Issue #3)

As a side note to my comment below, I want to share that I am a Physical Therapist with a master's degree in Physical Therapy. I have changed in my attitude toward MD's over the years for a variety of reasons. I have chosen Alternative healing methods over Allopathic ones because they work (generally). However, I do use physicians such as MDs or DOs, Chiropractors, Acupuncturists, Homeopaths, Massage Therapists and Herbalists (plus anyone who seems to have a body of knowledge about any particular subject) to provide me with choices, options, and information because Baha'u'llah, Abdu'l-Baha, and Shoghi Effendi urge us to consult skilled physicians.

I have established a few criteria by which I choose or reject my physicians because I am not necessarily qualified to assess their training. Therefore, I must rely on my assessment of their spiritual and psychological profile.

1 Does the physician really listen to what I say or seem to be humoring me, just waiting to get past me and do his/her thing?

2 Does the physician ever say. . . I don't know, but I will find out?

3. Does the physician get insulted if I ask questions such as why?, is there any alternative treatment?, are there any negative side effects?, and what consequences will occur if I don't follow your advice?

4 Is the physician either skilled in or if not skilled in them - positive in their assessment of Alternative Healing methods?

5 Does the physician give me an opportunity to be an active part of the healing process or is it clear he/she feels she will heal me despite myself?

6 Does the physician believe in God and will he/she allow me to ask for prayer before surgery or major treatments? Does he/she offer prayer as a help in healing?

I have found that I can use a very technically skilled physician who doesn't meet all the criteria but I cannot get good care from one who doesn't meet the first three criteria. I believe that all persons should take responsibility for their own health and that of their children which necessitates developing a set of criteria by which one does assess their healers.




The following excerpts are taken from an article called "Comic Relief" from the magazine "Country Living's Healthy Living", September/October 1999 issue, printed in the U.S.A. Leslie Martin, who wrote the article, looks at the very real connection between humor and healing.

"...Humor is healing, scientists now know. Here's why: When we laugh our body temperature rises, our pulse and blood pressure drop, our breathing deepens, and our muscles relax. Plus, our immune system is invigorated. How so? A bout of robust laughter activates our immune-cell infantry - via the lymphocytes( also called T-cells) that battle invading microorganisms - and accelerates the production of both immunity-boosting gamma interferon and new immune cells. Laughter also releases endorphins, our natural painkillers, while it markedly decreases levels of stress hormone cortisol, which can sabotage the immune system.

Though this technical explanation reads about as humorously as a page from the 'Physician's Desk Reference', the message is a merry one. In a word: Laugh. That's the advice of a clinical psychologist Paul Pearsall, who includes a quotation from 17th-century physician Thomas Sydenham in his book, 'The Pleasure Prescription'. "The arrival of a good clown exercises more beneficial influence upon the health of a town than 200 asses laden with drugs."

Fast forward nearly 400 years: Today clowns abound in medical centres and clinics across the United States. "For babies and kids especially, hospitals are horrifying environments," says pediatrician John Woolley, M.D. "What a gift when someone imaginative can distract young patients from their terror and pain. Laughter energizes them and literally gets them out of bed." Stanford Medical Centre in Palo Alto, California, where Woolley practiced from the late 1960s through the 70s, was one of the first hospitals in the country to introduce a play program in the children's ward.

Among Woolley's most poignant memories are those of the frizzy-wigged Play Lady and the magical effect her games and tricks had on frightened, desperately sick children. "I'd enter a ward expecting to find one of my young leukemia patients fearing the next IV hookup or a burn victim in extreme discomfort after an operation," he recalls. "Instead, much to my alarm, I'd see a vacant bed. Sure enough, no matter how sick they were, these little kids - 2 - and 4-years-old - would be off in the playing room with the Play Lady, giggling, their faces bright and their minds taken off the terror of spinal taps and transfusions."

The Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit tours 11 pediatric hospitals from New York City to Seattle, performing such procedures as red-nose transplants, kitty-CAT scans, and chocolate-milk transfusions. "A child's natural need to laugh can get lost in the tangle of hospital procedures," says Big Apple Circus cofounder Michael Christensen, who created the unit 13 years ago. So the 64 "doctors of delight", professional clowns who undergo rigorous training for their hospital duties, dispense laughter as the chief medical treatment, helping their young audience fight fears along the way. "When a child begins to laugh, it means he's probably beginning to feel better," observes John M. Driscoll Jr., M.D., the pediatrics-department chairman of Babies and Children's Hospital at Columbia Presbyterian Centre in Manhattan. "I see clowns as healers."

It's not only children who benefit from laughter in a hospital setting. "When we on the medical staff call on own sense of play and self-parody, everyone around us can relax and laugh, too," comments Daniel Doolan. R.N. Doolan makes the rounds in northern California hospitals on a unicycle, executing fancy tricks with a yo-yo as much to the delight of his colleagues as to that of patients in trauma units or psychiatric wards and their families. "And what a joy to watch a smile brighten a worried mother's face," he says.

Reverend Gina Rose Halpern, the executive director of Healing Through Arts, based in Berkeley, California, often dons a scarlet-red clown's nose and, in a silly falsetto, croons to many ill patients - children and adults. "Laughter opens people's hearts. It's a truly holistic form of healing," she observes. Halpern's skills served her well during her 1995 visit to Russian hospitals, orphanages, and homeless shelters with Patch Adams, the physician, clown, and social activist. (Editor's Note: There is a recent movie available on video titled "Patch Adams" which is about his life.)

...While most of us aren't hooked up to an IV, suffering from debilitating illness, or administering to the sick, we can still reap the benefits of a good laugh. And we don't have to break into a side-splitting guffaw, either. Even an optimistic outlook does wonders for general health. In 'Relax: You May Only Have a Few Minutes Left', lecturer Loretta LaRoche, a member of the Mind/Body Medical Centre in Boston, advises readers to reframe stressful events with humor. The next time your stress level elevates - whether it's triggered by a conniving worker or an epic traffic jam - she suggests writing an impromptu sit-com episode about the problem. This exercise will help you detach from situations that make you crazy - and even find humor in them. It also nurtures new habits - difficult but doable - that can positively affect your sense of well-bring. "Finding even a hint of comedy in tragedy goes a long way toward putting things in perspective, "Daniel Doolan offers. "Both in the hospital and out, compassionate laughter and a positive attitude are keys to wellness, to healing, and to preventing ailments."

So in sickness and in health, laughing matters. And, unlike most medicine, it requires no prescription, causes no side effects, and carries no risk of overdose: No one, after all, has ever really died laughing."




Here are some essential elements for our spiritual and physical health provided by a physician who has practiced for more than 35 years under the guidance of the Baha'i teachings.

Trust in God

Consult a skilled physician and follow his instructions

Practice detachment from all save God

Practice moderation

Pray and meditate daily; read the Creative Word morning and evening

Be happy always



Practice patience


Eat simple, natural plant foods

Drink adequate pure water

Evaluate progress daily, summarize weekly




We would like to thank you for sharing the Healing Through Unity newsletter with our community. It was sent just on time....we will be translating it and putting it in our News Bulletin. We are truly not aware of the spiritual power that surrounds us. Thank you again. 
- Office of the Secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Turkey


It is a rainy Sunday afternoon here in southern Chile and quite by accident I ran across the "Healing Through Unity" newsletter and wanted to get a little more information about it if possible. I am a Naturopathic Doctor and Master Herbalist and have been pioneering in Chile for 27 years now and practicing as a Health Care Professional here for 15 years. I was happy to see your efforts over the web. As isolated as we are down here, I've felt that there weren't too many Baha'is involved in the Natural Healing field, so I never made much of an extensive effort to get in touch with the friends who might be serving and working this way.....I would greatly appreciate any news, contacts, seminars, get togethers, pioneers working in this field, etc. that you might be able to put me in touch with. 
- Dr. Reed Chandler, Chile


Although I live in the Marshall Islands, located in the midmost heart of the Pacific Ocean, I just read about your newsletter "Healing Through Unity" in the Alaska Baha'i News, so one never knows where a message may end up.... 
- Carol Curtis, Marshall Island




(Editor's Note: When I read this poem, it brought to mind what we are striving to do as a world community through the "Healing Through Unity" Newsletter to bring health and healing for ourselves and each other. May you enjoy it, too.)


by Starhawk, 'Dreaming in the Dark'

Somewhere, there are people 
to whom we can speak with passion
without having the words catch in our throats.
Somewhere a circle of hands will open to receive us,
eyes will light up as we enter, voices will celebrate with us
whenever we come into our own power.
Community means strength that joins our strength
to do the work that needs to be done.
Arms to hold us when we falter.
A circle of healing. A circle of friends.
Someplace where we can be free.




"All art is a gift of the Holy Spirit. When this light shines through the mind of a musician, it manifests itself in beautiful harmonies. Again, shining through the mind of a poet, it is seen in fine poetry and poetic prose. When the Light of the Sun of Truth inspires the mind of a painter, he produces marvelous pictures. These gifts are fulfilling their highest purpose, when showing forth the praise of God." (Extract from a reported utterance of Abdu'l-Baha in 'The Chosen Highway' by Lady Blomfield, p. 167)

How can music, poetry, dance and the arts be used as a healing medium? How can these mediums be applied in our everyday lives? How are you affected when being creative?




"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 Holy 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.

Please send your stories, comments, suggestions or "Question for the Month" ideas to Frances Mezei by e-mail: -- .


Many thanks to all of you who sent such wonderful contributions for "Healing Through Unity" Newsletter. The decision to select and edit material submitted for publication is determined by the editor and editorial board.




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