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May, 2002

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of

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

Volume 5, Issue #9




- "Go Forward"
- Balancing our Lives - A Pilgrim's Story
- Mastering Stress: How to Beat Burnout and Enjoy Life
- The Exchange
- A Response to Dealing with Weight
- Readers' Responses to Dealing with Carpel Tunnel Syndrome
- A Response About Diabetes
- Book Review: "Recreating the World: A Practical Guide to Building
Sustainable Communities"
- Announcements
- Question of the Month
- Website
- Purpose of Newsletter




A Parable by Sri Ramakrishna (Samhita Gupta, Grade X In Vedanta Society of Toronto, March 2002 Newsletter. Printed with kind permission.)

There once lived a woodcutter who was hard-working and very poor. Day after day he chopped wood all morning and when dusk came he carried it to the village market to sell. But the wood from the nearby forest was worth an amount so small that he could barely feed his wife and children properly. Though he was of a tall and strong build, his health suffered from the daily physical exhaustion and his body was reduced to skin and bones. One day as he was gathering wood a 'sadhu' (holy man) happened to pass by. He took pity on the hapless woodcutter and said to him "Go Forward". He then went away. The woodcutter pondered over the holy man's words for a while and decided to obey his instruction. On wandering a short distance into the forest he suddenly found himself surrounded by sandalwood trees. He was overjoyed. >From that day on he began selling sandalwood, which being several times more valuable than the ordinary wood he had been selling, earned him a lot of money. His standard of living improved. A few days later, on reflection the woodcutter said to himself, "The holy man advised me to go forward. I should not stop here." Hence, he proceeded further into the forest and stumbled upon silver mines. He made a considerable amount of money on selling the silver and became a rich and happy man.

However, his newly found fortunes did not allow the woodcutter to forget the words of the 'sadhu' . He ventured deeper into the forest and, much to his delight, came across a gold mine. He soon became an immensely wealthy man and lived in luxury. He began feeling that it was needless now to proceed any further in the forest as there could not be anything more to find. But the words of the holy man rang in his mind and he came to the conclusion that it was not wise for him to stop. He must go ahead. On continuing further from the gold mine, he discovered precious stones and further ahead there lay before him mines of priceless diamonds. With these he reached the pinnacle of prosperity. Even the kings began to envy him. 

Our soul is covered by a forest of ego and worldly attachments. God is residing in our souls like the diamond mine deep in the forest. To reach 'God' we must, like the woodcutter, pierce through the forest. Other attractions like gold mines must not deviate us from the path or make us stop in our journey, mistaking them to be the perfection to be achieved. We must maintain a constant effort to rise higher in consciousness until we reach the Truth. This is the spiritual significance that lies in the Master's two words "Go Forward." 




Taken from "Parenting in the New World Order", Volume 1, Issue #2, October, 1991

As Baha'is we know it is very difficult to find the balance between serving the Faith, serving our families, dedication to our work and finding time for relaxation as well!

Following is a story from a pilgrim believer who had the privilege and bounty of meeting with the Guardian, Shoghi Effendi, back in the early 50s.  This story has no authenticity and is simply a story, but we have found that the point it makes has helped us in our family life and service to the Faith.

This believer, who served on a National body and loved the Faith deeply, mentioned to the Guardian, Shoghi Effendi, that he believed there were four areas of service in one's life: service to your vocation, service to the Faith, service to the family and service to your avocation. He also said that service to the Faith was the most important service for a Baha'i to render. The Guardian replied that there were many areas of service in one's life that must be attended to. The pilgrim again pressed the Guardian by saying that surely service to the Faith was the most important. The Guardian replied that "we could not neglect our responsibilities for our privileges." The pilgrim was bewildered and asked the Guardian how does one find the balance? The Guardian pointed to him and said "you must find the balance." 

This little interchange between the Guardian of the Faith and the believer deeply affected him and he would retell other believers as they struggled to find their own balance in serving the Faith and their other responsibilities.


For our family, the above story proved to be a great assistance to our own dilemma of how to serve the Faith, care for our children, nourish our marriage, maintain our home, dedicate ourselves to our work and still be happy! We decided that we would have to balance our lives in a conscious way. Once a month we would go to a quiet spot by ourselves, without the children, to a park or to a restaurant, and look at our life under the four headings mentioned above (we could have had many more headings but we tried to simplify as much as we could.) We bought a lined book and divided it into four sections looking at each one and assessing their condition and what we felt needed to be done in service to the Faith, service to our vocation, service to the family and service to our avocation (hobbies and relaxation). We made decisions for each area and wrote them down in our book under each section. Then we returned to the busyness of our lives and tried to implement our decisions. Each month we would again go back to our private meeting and review our progress and needs in all of these sections. 

We did this for several years as the family, along with all our other responsibilities grew. We soon had a history, of sorts, of the progress of our lives. We discovered that the balance between the Faith, family, marriage, work and avocation was never static but always changing. One month the children would be the prime focus, the next month, it would be the Faith. We were keeping a record of the growth of our family by the decisions we agreed to implement. The decisions were many times small - (Was it time to buy one of the boys a bike? - Were there more ways and means to serve healthy meals?) to, what we considered, fairly large decisions - (Should we start our own business?" Should we pioneer?) All these decisions, actions and results traced the pattern of our unfolding lives.

One underlying theme in our decisions was that we both had to be in full agreement with it. This allowed us to feel that we were co-partners in the shaping of the family and all other aspects of life we would encounter....It allowed us to focus on different areas in our lives in a detached way and after prayer and consultation, make unified decisions.


"Nothing is too much trouble when one loves," He has been heard to say, "and there is always time." (H.C. Ives re 'Abdu'l-Baha, Portals to Freedom, P. 52)





Taken from "The Complete Guide to Your Emotions and Your Health: New Dimensions in Mind/Body Healing", by Emrika Radus and the editors of Prevention magazine, pp. 279 - 282


Establishing clear goals is the first order on the agenda of self-management. Write them down. And review them every month or two and reconfirm them or revise them (remember that life is constantly changing and so, too, do our goals and priorities). Also, while it's natural to have more than one goal at any time, too many goals - or conflicting or competing goals - is certain to lead to frustration and distress. So be very selective and keep each goal in its proper perspective. 

Some of your goals will no doubt be very concrete and specific: take a self-defense class, buy a new car, paint the kitchen. Others may be more vague and philosophical: be a better parent, expand your circle of friends, improve your feeling of self-worth. And then there are your long-term goals: become financially independent, get in shape and achieve spiritual fulfillment.

Long-term goals are top priority on everyone's scale. But with so many more immediate concerns, we often lose sight of them and as a result they may never become realized. That is why setting priorities and planning are essential to any stress management program. "Control starts with planning," says Alan Lakein in his book "How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life" (Peter H. Wyden, Inc.).  "Planning is bringing the future into the present so you can do something about it now." Lakein begins and ends every workday with a plan. He makes a "To Do" list of everything he wants to accomplish that day. Then he reviews them in terms of his goals and determines the order of priority. The 'A' tasks are those that are of highest priority - the important things that are absolute 'musts' in order to achieve our goals, including our life goals. "I make it a point to do something every day toward my life goal," says Lakein.

'B' tasks are of secondary importance. "If I have time, I'll tackle them," says Lakein. "But not before all of the As are taken care of first. And C tasks are those that when you really think about them, you realize that they're not significant at all. According to Lakein, 80 percent of the items on any To Do list are insignificant and unnecessary. "Concentrate your effort on these high priority items" he explains. Don't get bogged down in the C tasks no matter how quick and easy they are to do.

As with most things, however, moderation is the key. "If you think that trying to 'get control' of your time and your life means becoming super-organized, super-busy or preoccupied with every moment as it slips by, let me assure you that is not the case. Lakein explains"...too much organization is as ineffective as too little." "The ideal is balance." 

Balance. That's the word that every stress manager lives by. People who know how to balance work with play, wakefulness with sleep, stress with relaxation, activity with rest, giving with receiving, have discovered the key to health and happiness, they say. Balance blocks the road to burnout and opens the pathway to peak performance. 

Bringing your life into balance requires self-control and time-management. Time to relax, to spend with family and friends, to play, even to do nothing doesn't happen. You've got to plan for it just as you do work activities. "One of the most difficult conflicts is finding enough time and energy to do everything we want. Work can eat up our time and energy, sometimes leaving us with little left over for our family," say Drs. Jaffe and Scott. "Tragically, working people too often make their family and personal relationships their lowest priority..." Yet people who are successful at managing stress and remaining healthy are often those who make their personal and family lives a priority and are able to say 'no' to some outside demands. Setting priorities to give importance to both work and family is a cornerstone of balanced life and self-renewal."

Sometimes, says physician Rick Ingrasci, M.D., setting those priorities requires that you first develop new, more flexible attitudes toward yourself and your work. You've got to realize that you don't have to do everything yourself and, in fact, that you're more effective if you don't. By accepting that premise and developing contacts, networking, support groups - whatever you need to help you get your work done and problems solved - you can free yourself up to do more of the things that you enjoy doing and that you're good at.





How we can deal with the stresses and responsibilities in our lives? How can we have a more simple and joyful lifestyle?


I think much of our stress comes from our tendency to live our lives as "human doings" rather than "human beings." To counteract this, I've found a few thoughts and exercises helpful: First, my therapist told me once that life was a gift, not a debt. This simple observation left me in tears the first time I heard it, and has helped reorient my thinking whenever I remember it.

Second, I like to think that I was given one mission when I was born - not to DO anything in particular, but to become my true self. The doing comes as a natural consequence of becoming, not the other way around. When I get caught up in frantic activities, I can ask myself what they have to do with my becoming my true self. 

Third, I like to make up mantras/affirmations using phrases from the Baha'i writings. I repeat the words "refresh and gladden my spirit" over and over when I'm driving my car or standing in line. Another friend says "The sea of joy yearneth to attain Thy presence." These are more powerful than made-up mantras or affirmations, but easier to remember and use than full-length prayers. 
- Justice St. Rain, Indiana, U.S.


The importance of rest and relaxation:

" should not neglect your health, but consider it the means which enables you to serve. It - the body - is like a horse which carries the personality and spirit, and as such should be well cared for so it can do its work! You should certainly safeguard your nerves, and force yourself to take time, and not only for prayer and meditation, but for real rest and relaxation." (From a letter dated 23 November 1947 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, Health and Healing, p. 40)




By Kim Bowden-Kerby, Fiji

I did a research paper on dieting as an exercise when I was teaching research writing a few years ago. I found a website that had a very interesting page about health conditions which are better than average in obese people - They have a much lower rate of osteoporosis, they also have a lower rate of suicide! The website is NAAFA - National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance. One especially pithy quote is below:

"Just being fat does not signify poor health. In fact, research shows that the health risks once associated with weight may instead be attributable to yo-yo dieting. Because fatness is most often caused by heredity and dieting history, and because 95-98% of all diets fail over three years, it is becoming apparent that remaining at a high, but stable weight and concentrating on personal fitness rather than thinness may be the healthiest way to deal with the propensity to be fat." 


For the "hopelessly fat" - this site will likely be a lot more helpful than additional suggestions and advice on dealing with their weight.





Dear "Anonymous", (paraplegic woman suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome).

>From personal experience, I can reassure you that many, MANY times, a Chiropractor or Osteopath is capable of bringing about a complete resolution without the need to ever have surgery. You should look for one who specializes not only in the diagnosis and treatment of the spinal column, but also in the extremities. Many times in the situation of carpal tunnel syndrome, the whole shoulder mechanism, elbow, wrist and hand joints can be slightly mal-positioned, often with no indicating pain. The gentle re-positioning of these bones and their adjacent soft-tissues, can provide a relief of pressure on the nerves and blood vessels which pass through the tunnel. In addition, if the Doctor of choice also has a physical therapy department, some micro-current therapy, or ultrasound often speeds the recovery. Many times, using manganese, vitamin C, and the herb arnica can be helpful. So choosing a Doctor who practices nutritional and herbal therapies will also speed your progress. Best of luck and God speed!  - Anonymous


I am responding to the problem one lady has with Carpel Tunnel Syndrome. I found the use of acupressure very helpful in relieving pain and relieving the symptoms itself. I use acupressure as a cure for a stiff neck (after my chiropractor did not relieve the problem). The book I am using is called: "Acupressure's Potent Points, a guide to self-care for common ailments" by Michael Reed Gach a Bantam trade paperback $18.95.

Since my problem was caused by overuse of my wrist by using the mouse on my computer and playing a lot of tennis, I found that a wrist support alleviated the stress on the wrist. You can buy those at Staples or Office Depot. Also at night I put a magnet on my wrist and keep it on there overnight with a bandage loosely wrapped as not to cut off the circulation. - Walter Klein, Florida




- Anonymous

There was a question from one of the readers as to how to take care of diabetes. It is very important that individuals read up about one of the very important research that has been done in National Institute of Health (NIH) long time ago, in finding out why particularly in the U.S., there is so much health problems compared to Europe and other parts of the world. 

Concerning insulin dependent individuals, any treatment will not necessarily get them off of insulin, rather threaten their other problems. Insulin dependents for the most part have lost the ability to make insulin. There is another side to the coin, which is good to know. 

What NIH found, was that in the U.S., because of the abundance of the consumption of corn oil in many processed foods, and restaurants, and households, it's one of the main factors of obesity, diabetes (especially type 2), some of the cancers and the list goes on. 

Essentially, what they have found out, when analyzing diseased vs. healthy tissue, is that the omega 6 content is way higher than its European healthy tissue. Corn oil is all omega 6 and has no omega 3. They have determined that in healthy tissue the ratio to omega 6 to omega 3 must be 4 to 1 . In the U.S. the average ratio is 20 omega 6 to 1 omega 3. Essential fats are essential; if we don't get them we lose our health. Furthermore if we don't get it in the right ratio we will lose our health. So they have proved that in a 20 to 1 ratio, the insulin receptors on the living cell almost come to non existent. In some insulin dependent individuals, taking insulin will not help their condition, because the cells are not responding, essentially there is plenty of key but no keyhole to insert the key, this is where disease takes hold. Some of the readers gave other solutions, which in fact are part of this bigger puzzle. Chromium was mentioned, which is a key factor with the usage!

Use of insulin at the cellular level, and reducing the need of extra insulin production. Flax oil was mentioned, which is mostly omega 3 than omega 6. If someone already has too much omega 6, by taking flax oil a better balance is achieved. Going back to NIH, they have also found that Omega 6 is one of the most powerful blood thickeners, and conversely omega 3 one of the most powerful blood thinners. No wonder then, why some individuals after a big meal can end up with a blood clot in their brain or heart or elsewhere. 

Another important thing to note, is this, that in the United States, cattle are fed corn, if I am not mistaken, essentially to fatten them up, so that is why the beef in the U.S. makes us fat and gives us heart attacks. Individuals that eat game meat don't get the same problems as the rest of us. Another important finding was that when the omega 6 content got much higher than normal, that is where breast cancer showed its ugly head.  Cancer cells were in fact more able to penetrate other tissue. For now eating fish is much better than eating meat. 

We don't know what jewels Baha'u'llah and Abdu'l-Baha have given us in the writings about health and healing. I have understood the meaning of a few, hopefully others have understood the meaning of the rest, and are sharing it with us in this forum.  


It is, therefore, evident that it is possible to cure by foods, aliments and fruits; but as today the science of medicine is imperfect, this fact is not yet fully grasped. When the science of medicine reaches perfection, treatment will be given by foods, aliments, fragrant fruits and vegetables, and by various waters, hot and cold in temperature. (‘Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, pp. 258-259) 

At whatever time highly-skilled physicians shall have developed the healing of illnesses by means of foods, and shall make provision for simple foods, and shall prohibit humankind from living as slaves to their lustful appetites, it is certain that the incidence of chronic and diversified illnesses will abate, and the general health of all mankind will be much improved. This is destined to come about. In the same way, in the character, the conduct and the manners of men, universal modifications will be made. (‘Abdu'l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá, pp. 152-156)





By Pat Verge, Canada (Pat Verge is the author of an excellent book "Angus >From the Heart: The Life of Counsellor Angus Cowan", 1999, ISBN 0-9685893-0-8)

“And yet, is not the object of every Revelation to effect a transformation in the whole character of mankind, a transformation that shall manifest itself both outwardly and inwardly, that shall affect both its inner life and external conditions?” (Baha’u’llah, Kitab’i’Iqan, p. 241.) 

When I first read the title of Michael and Judie Bopp’s new book about community development, "Recreating the World: A Practical Guide to Building Sustainable Communities" (Calgary, Alberta: Four Worlds Press: 2001), I wondered if the words “recreating the world” were too audacious. But then I  remembered the quote above, which speaks about the great transformation that must occur in communities everywhere through the influence of the new Revelation from God.

In this book, the Bopps, community development specialists, describe tools that have emerged from more than 15 years of work in partnership with many tribal and other communities in North and South America, Africa and the Asian-Pacific Region. They present a mind-expanding vision: 

“We invite you to think of community development not as merely rearranging (the proverbial) deck chairs on the Titanic, but as a process of transforming ourselves and our communities into new models of living that are truly life-promoting and life-enhancing for us, for others with whom we share the planet, and for future generations.”

This is a textbook, written for practitioners of community development, but

it is nonetheless very accessible by the lay person. Beautifully designed,

with many illustrations, charts and practical examples, its contents are

described in a nutshell:

“In this volume, we have tried to provide a weave of three things we have

found to be useful in the work of facilitating community development


1. maps and models which tell what the various pieces of the development puzzle are and how they fit together;

2. principles, which tell us how we must work; and 

3. practical tools, strategies, stories, examples,  instruments and games to use in educating others  about community development.

In “Maps and Models”, there are descriptions of two main models the Bopps have found useful. The first is the medicine wheel or hoop of life described by North American tribes. The second, called “Four Aspects of Human Systems Transformation”, is the writers’ own synthesis of recent scientific models and theories, mostly from biology and physics, concerning how transformation of any system in the natural world, including the human system, occurs. 

In the next section, 16 principles for human and community development are described. The authors write: “A principle-centered approach is a way of working that forces us to look again and again at what are we really trying to achieve, as well as at what is really required for development processes to be effective.” The principles include “development comes from within”; “no vision, no development”; “development processes must be rooted in the culture of the people”.

In the section called “Nuts and Bolts”, the book explores the day-to-day work and 12 areas that need attention in any healthy community development process. These include such issues as harnessing community tension, developing a common vision of a sustainable future, maintaining unity and healthy human relations, facilitating learning, networking and reflection on the process. This section also has many examples of activities such as “Kitchen Table Meetings: a Community Entry and Start-Up Strategy” and “The Community Story Framework: A Community Consultation and Planning Tool”.

The Resource Pages contain a rich collection of stories, games, activities and tools that can be used in the three areas above.

Recreating the World will appeal to those involved in community development as a profession, as well as to the larger community. In 1996, the Universal House of Justice wrote: “Since Baha’is everywhere are at the very beginning of the process of community building, enormous attention must be devoted to the tasks at hand.” This book is based on practical application of spiritual principles and extensive experience, and will make a valuable contribution to our understanding of the vital processes of creating community. 

(Recreating the World is available from Four Worlds Press, P.O. Box 395,  Cochrane, Alberta T4C 1A6; phone 403-932-0882; email





(Editor's note: A number of readers have suggested that the website "Words Can Heal" be shared in the newsletter. It is an informative and excellent website for us to visit. Here is a Baha'i quote about the importance of words: "Every word is endowed with a spirit, therefore the speaker or expounder should carefully deliver his words at the appropriate time and place, for the impression which each word maketh is clearly evident and perceptible. The Great Being saith: One word may be likened unto fire, another unto light, and the influence which both exert is manifest in the world. Therefore an enlightened man of wisdom should primarily speak with words as mild as milk...." Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, pp. 172-173) 

The description below is taken from the website:

"Words Can Heal is a national campaign to eliminate verbal violence, curb gossip and promote the healing power of words to enhance relationships at every level. At a time when so many feel that outside events are beyond their control, we offer concrete tools and know-how to dramatically rebuild our communities and relationships through the words we speak and the way we communicate. At a time of national crisis, as we re-evaluate our lives and re-order priorities, the Words Can Heal message resonates even more forcefully. 

Words Can Heal has captured the imagination and commitment of an unprecedented coalition. Our board includes the top leadership, leading diplomats, Wall Street's most influential CEO's, America's leading clergy, Hollywood celebrities and community leaders of every stripe. Visit for more ideas on how to heal with words". Irwin Katsof, Executive Director 



"Extracts from The Writings Concerning Health, Healing and Nutrition" compiled by The Research Department of the Universal House of Justice compilation is available online at It can also be found in the Healing Through Unity website at



Those that can read German can check the following website:

"The book 'Grosse Gesundheits Konz' quotes many people who were cured from many serious diseases and thanked Franz Konz, the author for his contribution. The author (72 years) lives by his own advice and healed himself from serious cancer (carcinoma ventriculi) 36 years ago and enjoys perfect health." Submitted by Sebastiaan van Doorn, Germany 




Summer time is when most of us think of the various way to rejuvenate ourselves for our well-being and health. What are some of the important reasons for taking a vacation, attending Baha'i summer school, going to camp and taking time away from normal routine?




You can visit the website, obtain back issues and the Healing Through Unity Course at:




"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 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. 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:


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