HEALING THROUGH UNITY
A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of
physical and spiritual health envisioned in the Baha'i Teachings.
Volume 5, Issue #10
- Shoghi Effendi Finds Solace in the Mountains
- Fifteen Healthy Reasons to Take a Vacation
- Prayer for Balance
- The Principle of Moderation
- What are Glyconutritionals?
- Letter from the Editor
- Purpose of Newsletter
SHOGHI EFFENDI FINDS SOLACE IN THE MOUNTAINS
Taken from The Priceless Pearl, by Rúhíyyih Rabbani, pp. 57-60
On 8 April the Greatest Holy Leaf wrote a general letter ... "Since the ascension of our Beloved ‘Abdu'l-Bahá Shoghi Effendi has been moved so deeply ... that he has sought the necessary quiet in which to meditate upon the vast task ahead of him, and it is to accomplish this that he has temporarily left these regions. During his absence he has appointed me as his representative,..."
It all looked very calm on paper but behind it was a raging storm in the heart and mind of Shoghi Effendi. "He has gone", the Greatest Holy Leaf wrote, "on a trip to various countries." He left with his cousin and went to Germany to consult doctors. I remember he told me they found he had almost no reflexes, which they considered very serious. In the wilderness, however, he found for himself a partial healing, as so many others had found before him. Some years later, in 1926, to Hippolyte Dreyfus, who had known him from childhood and whom he evidently felt he could be open with as an intimate friend, he wrote that his letter had reached him "on my way to the Bernese Oberland which has become my second home. In the vastnesses and recesses of its alluring mountains I shall try to forget the atrocious vexations which have afflicted me for so long...It is a matter which I greatly deplore, that in my present state of health, I feel the least inclined to, and even incapable of, any serious discussion on these vital problems with which I am confronted and with which you are already familiar. The atmosphere in Haifa is intolerable and a radical change is impracticable. The transference of my work to any other centre is unthinkable, undesirable and in the opinion of many justly scandalous...I cannot express myself more adequately than I have for my memory has greatly suffered.
In the early years after 'Abdu-l-Baha's passing, although Shoghi Effendi often travelled about Europe with the restless interest of not only a young man but a man haunted by the ever-present, towering giants of his work and his responsibility, he returned again and again to those wild, high mountains and their lofty solitude...
While in Switzerland Shoghi Effendi stayed with a gentleman. This man was an old Swiss guide in whose house on the main street Shoghi Effendi had rented a tiny room, the attic under the eaves, for which he paid about one franc a night. The ceiling was so low that when his uncle-in-law, a big man, came to see him, he could not stand upright. There was a small bed, a basin and a pitcher of cold water to wash with. Interlaken is in the heart of the Bernese Oberland and the starting point for innumerable excursions into the surrounding mountains and valleys. Often long before sunrise Shoghi Effendi would start out, dressed in knee breeches, a Norfolk jacket and black wool puttees on his legs, sturdy mountain boots, and a small cheap canvas rucksack on his back and carrying a cane. He would take a train to the foot of some mountain or pass and begin his excursion, walking often ten to sixteen hours, usually alone, but sometimes accompanied by whichever young relative was with him; they could seldom stand the pace and after a few days would start making excuses. From here he also climbed some of the higher mountains, roped to a guide. These expeditions lasted practically up to the time of his marriage."
FIFTEEN HEALTHY REASONS TO TAKE A VACATION
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. 315 - 319
"I need a vacation." It's what you say when you're at the end - the very end - of your rope. But is a vacation really the answer to your problems? Won't they be just the same when you get back? Fortunately, no. Because you'll be different. Whether you're taking off for the Alps or a mountain lake 30 miles from home, the pink beaches of some tropical island or the pink back porch of your cousin's cottage at the shore - your vacation is going to change you for the better. According to psychologists, getting away from it all - breaking free from routine - can bring new perspectives to old dilemmas and put a positive charge in your mental outlook - even help to fan those waning embers of enthusiasm. You'll also get to know yourself a little better. And when you return home, you'll be happier, healthier, and much more effective in coping with stress. Sounds like a tall order. But vacation can fill it. Here are 15 reasons why.
"Just the act of getting away from your daily frustrations will relax you," says Richard I. Curtis, author of "Taking Off". "Even if you come up against some new problems on your trip, you can treat these like a game. They're temporary. The important thing is, you are getting out of your day-to-day rut", continues Curtis.
Edward Heath, Ph.D., professor in the department of recreation and parks of Texas A & M University, agrees: "When you take a vacation, you escape the humdrum of daily life. You leave your troubles behind you. Even if all you do is sit on the edge of the river and watch the water move, it's a valuable change of place. You're going to recharge your batteries. You'll return refreshed and renewed."
2. STIMULATION OF NEW SIGHTS
Richard Curtis says, "Almost any travel is good. Staying at home for too long tends to crimp our awareness. We need the exposure to new sights and experiences. Think of the first time you saw mountains, or the sea, or the desert, or the Grand Canyon - I don't mean pictures. I mean actually being there, in a place which is totally different from anything you're used to." New sights of things around us can give us new insights, too, according to Dr. Heath. "You can get a broader view, a new perspective on your own world, if you visit a different place. For example, if you live at the mouth of the Mississippi, or the Hudson, or some other great river, you may understand your own region better after visiting the headwaters of the river. You may learn something about yourself, too, namely, that you might like to move to that new area. Lots of people take advantage of their vacations to look over other regions they might like to move to someday."
3. MEETING NEW PEOPLE
"We're very social animals," Dr. Heath says. "A vacation gives us the opportunity to form new friendships - or just to satisfy our curiosity about how other people live. This gives us a broader perspective on our own lives." Richard Curtis agrees: "The more people you know, the more eyes you can borrow to look on the world. And the further those eyes are from are from your own world, the better."
4. FELLOWSHIP AND CAMARADERIE
"Sharing an adventure with other people allows us to share their enthusiasm, too. It's positive reinforcement for our own enthusiasm about life," Dr. Heath says. "But it doesn't necessarily have to be easygoing. Shared hardships also form bonds of love and friendship and give us something to look back on with pride and pleasure. "Every year thousands of people meet at one spot in Canada and form a caravan with their recreational vehicles and eat each other's dust all the way to Alaska. Then they're back again the next year. "Twenty years from now, you'll remember and talk about the canoe trip where the weather suddenly changed and you spent two days huddled over a campfire, shivering. "There's also a benefit in associating with like-minded people in some competitive event. People travel thousands of miles to cheer their team in the Super Bowl or the playoffs.
"You may need or want to learn new skills on your vacation," Dr. Heath says. "You may decide to learn a new language before travelling to a foreign country. Or you may learn as you go along in order to communicate with people there. You may decide to learn snorkeling, or tennis or golf, or skiing, or mountain climbing, or hang gliding, or any new skills."
"Travel returns a sense of adventure to your life," says Curtis. "Pulling yourself off your native turf is going to make demands on your resourcefulness - to find suitable lodging and food. But you're also allowed to experiment with your personality and lifestyle without having to live with the consequences. If you're usually too shy to say hello and smile at strangers, you may allow yourself the adventure of doing just that on your vacation in a new place. It may then become a habit you can bring home with you."
The element of risk is also a part of many vacation adventures, according to Dr. Heath, "Most travel involves accepting and meeting challenges. You test yourself against a new environment. You can improve your self-esteem by taking on challenges that everyday life doesn't offer. Of course, sometimes everyday life may involve greater risk. Water-skiing, mountain climbing, skydiving - all seem quite scary. But though they may be more thrilling, they actually are safer than driving on the freeway."
"It is the unexpected in life that we learn from," says Curtis. "We gain the most when we put ourselves on the line and remain open to new experiences. On a trip you have to adapt very quickly. You bring much of that enhanced adaptability home with you. "Not to mention the stories of all your surprises, which you'll remember for many years.
"When you're standing in the middle of a beautiful environment, and you open your eyes to it, you start to feel in tune with it. You can actually begin to feel beautiful yourself. You share in some of the beauty and power," Dr. Heath says, "You may have such a peak experience in a natural setting, like the Grand Canyon - or your awe might be inspired by the beauty of some man-made edifice such as the Vatican, or a bridge, or a whole city. "These experiences we never forget are very important to our enjoyment of life."
Have we got you itchin' to hit the road for action and adventure and new people, places, and things? Are you so excited you can't wait to plan your vacation? Good, because that's part of the benefit of a vacation. "Your vacation," according to Dr. Heath, "is more than the actual time spent away from home. The planning and preparations are also good for you. Many vacations are actually year-long projects. A person may prepare for a fishing trip, for example, by tying flies. The anticipation is pleasurable. The trip is, too, because you reap the rewards of extensive preparation."
"Your life is enriched before, during, and after a vacation. Dr. Heath says. "You'll always have the joy of reflecting on pleasant memories."
"A vacation gives us the freedom to do what we want to do," says Dr. Heath. "Our bodies have the remarkable ability to recognize a deficiency and try to compensate for it," notes Curtis. "For instance, North American Indians who lived in northern regions where sources of vitamin C were rare compensated by eating pine needles. The mind seems to have a myriad of ways to deal with psychological problems, too, without necessarily consulting the brain's owner. Our desire for change occurs regularly. Even if you are generally satisfied with your life and work, you may still feel the need for something more. You may feel closed in. Take a vacation and you will realize your own freedom.
"A vacation can be a great opportunity for sorting out life's experiences," Dr. Heath says. "You can shut off the sensory overload that may be your everyday life and get away to a deserted beach or a mountain stream. "You can let your soul talk to itself. The dialogue you carry on with yourself is very important. You need it to develop your creativity and your inner peace and harmony."
13. APPRECIATION OF THINGS TAKEN FOR GRANTED
"You'll be surprised at the things for which you become homesick," Curtis says. "You'll crave the simple pleasure of finding someone who speaks your language. I have felt almost sick for the sight of a lilac, for a maple leaf, for ice cream sodas, for a long, hot shower, etc. "When you get home, you will get more from life. You'll see the miracles where you live."
14. TIME STANDS STILL
"If you're really enjoying yourself," Dr. Heath says, "time does not progress in equal units. You stop thinking about everything else but what you're doing then and there. "You get lost in the activity of the moment. You may be catching fish, or trying to keep dry while canoeing through the rapids, or looking for pretty shells along the beach. "Time is standing still for you and that's good. There's evidence that happy people are those who can give full attention to what's going on at that moment."
We saved the most important reason for last: "The major goal of a vacation is happiness," says Dr. Heath. "Your leisure time should make you happier. A vacation is not a necessary evil you endure to enable you to work harder when you get back. Your leisure makes up a large segment of your life, and it can and should be a valuable force for good. You should like your life a little better after a vacation."
Happiness is a great healer:
You must be happy always. You must be counted among the people of joy and happiness and must be adorned with divine morals. In large measure happiness keeps our health while depression of spirit begets diseases. The substance of eternal happiness is spirituality and divine morality, which has no sorrow to follow it. (‘Abdu'l-Baha, quoted in 239 Days: ‘Abdu'l-Baha's Journey in America, p. 94)
PRAYER FOR BALANCE
By Leslie Gabriel Mezei, Ontario, Canada
To channel the light,
without being blinded.
To transmit the power,
without grabbing it.
To fan the flames of fire,
without burning up.
To know greatness,
without forgetting how small I can be.
To put it in words,
without losing the feeling.
To focus on myself,
without ignoring anyone.
To take great steps
without stepping on others' toes.
To quicken to life,
without deadening those around me.
without holding back.
To fully enjoy,
without exploiting others.
To be all I can be,
without being self-absorbed.
To be patient,
To be humble,
without false modesty.
To ask for what I need,
without demanding it.
To be excited,
without becoming hyper.
To be still,
without being depressed.
To learn from opposition,
without forgetting to help myself.
without letting my brain take control.
To observe the world,
without losing the world within.
To give support to others,
without making them dependent.
To be ever a beginner,
without envying those seeming further along,
without looking down at those appearing to be behind.
To be in awe of the mystery of it all,
without losing sight of the miracle of being at all.
THE PRINCIPLE OF MODERATION
Reprinted with kind permission from Maxwell International Baha'i School. (A monthly e-newsletter from Maxwell International Baha'i School in Shawnigan Lake, BC, Canada, dedicated to addressing educational issues and sharing our experience with developing a school "wherein the children, whether Baha'i or other, will be educated to such a degree as to become God's gifts to man..." 'Abdu'l-Baha. To subscribe to this e-newsletter, write to email@example.com)
"The quality of being moderate and avoiding extremes; the trait of avoiding excesses; temperance" (dictionary)
"Whatsoever passeth beyond the limits of moderation will cease to exert a beneficial influence". (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 216)
In a society that commonly uses the word 'extreme' as a compliment, it is increasingly difficult to persuade children and youth that 'moderation' is a virtue, and that a lack of moderation can lead to distraction, and even to obsession and addiction. Even in schools, where we are constantly being called to greater efforts to achieve excellence, due regard for the importance of moderation tends to lead to greater results. We now know that we tend to learn better and faster if we study in moderate 'chunks' of time, with breaks in between. The effects tend to be even greater when the breaks include moderate physical activity, and if a balanced diet is followed. 'Cramming' in a great deal of study time, especially at the expense of rest and sleep, tends to produce only small and short-term gains. It seems that as we strive toward a philosophy of 'moderation in all things', and try to develop a more balanced lifestyle, we generally also become more productive and healthy.
This idea is being increasingly recognized, even in the most elite academic circles. For example, many universities and colleges have begun to acknowledge that more balanced, well-rounded individuals can often better manage their academic lives than can those who have focused almost exclusively on their grades. These schools are taking an increased interest in how balanced or well-rounded applicants are - rather than simply considering their academic scores. One of our students received two perfect scores on the Scholarship Aptitude Tests and was accepted to both Yale and Harvard with scholarships, but we believe it was his service activities and teaching English in China that made him stand out. Interests in other areas, hobbies, service activities, sports, or travel often make the difference when universities are choosing amongst applicants and make for a more interesting and well-rounded life.
Another form of moderation that assists with a more balanced life, and which tends to support academic excellence, is in relationships. Adolescence is a time when we explore and develop relationships with others, as well as our understanding of ourselves. While it is important to learn about others, to create healthy friendships and to come to terms with our changing bodies during this time, taking a moderate approach to relationships can prevent a great deal of distraction and stress. For those willing to choose to maintain warm but celibate relationships, the emotional highs and lows are much less severe, and the potentially devastating effects of unplanned parenthood, or the contraction of disease are entirely avoided. Our experience at the secondary school level is that there are benefits not only to a celibate lifestyle at that age, but that the avoidance of exclusive relationships entirely ('boyfriends' and 'girlfriends') greatly assists youth to feel safer and freer to explore each other's character as friends and really get to know each other before the distracting and complicating elements of exclusivity come into play.
Encouraging children and youth toward the principle of moderation provides them with a positive and helpful guide for most situations. Striving to apply moderation in speech helps them to neither be shy or unassertive, nor to dominate or hurt others with harshness. Moderate dress and hairstyle helps them to look presentable and attractive without being intimidating, sexually provocative or comical, and may tend to free them from feeling a need to spend more than necessary on clothes, jewelry or makeup, or to develop an unhealthy attachment to fashion trends or images.
There are many references to moderation in the Baha'i Writings, including the following which encourages "...the exercise of moderation in all that pertains to dress, language, amusements, and all artistic and literary avocations." (Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice, p.25)
Moderate diets, exercise, rest, and recreation also support a healthy lifestyle.
When mentoring or developing programs for today's youth, it is helpful to remember and encourage the principle of moderation in all things.
WHAT ARE GLYCONUTRITIONALS?
By Nan L. Hsieh, British Columbia, Canada (Editor's note: A number of readers asked "What are glyconutritionals?" so I asked Nan Hsieh who wrote a response about diabetes in the April, 2002 issue to explain this to us based on her experience.)
What are glyconutritionals?
Very simply, glyconutritionals are simple natural sugars or carbohydrates that are used for energy and are essential to communication in our bodies at the cellular level. The relatively new science of Glycobiology has determined that not only are these simple sugars a source of energy but that there are at least eight of them that are considered to be essential for cell to cell communication and health.
How do glyconutritionals work?
In essence glyconutritionals function like the letters of the alphabet and are used by the cells to communicate with each other in their process of running the health of the body. Recent scientific research has shown that eight simple dietary sugars (monosaccharides), most of which are no longer found in abundance in the standard modern diet, combine with proteins and fats to create glycoforms that coat the surface of virtually every cell in the body. In 1996, the 24th edition of Harper's Biochemistry (a medical text) showed the body's use of these eight sugar molecules to produce complete glycoforms. Glycoforms function as cellular recognition molecules that communicate the messages a body needs to function in health.
How much do you need to take?
Since glyconutritionals are simply purified foods, there is no specific amounts that a person has to take. Responses are dependent upon the person's body metabolism and his or her current state of health and to some extent to how long the person has been ill. Some people need very little amounts and others require substantial amounts. The good news is that since these products are simply foods, there has been no demonstrated toxic levels even when taken in huge amounts. Another bonus is that they do not interfere with the functioning of prescribed medications.
What happens if we lack glyconutritionals?
Without ample glyconutritionals the cells in our body lack the letters of the alphabet with which to communicate accurately, resulting in miscommunication between cells. The consequence of this miscommunication is that our body's immune system functions less and less efficiently and over time we develop chronic health challenges such as, arthritis, diabetes, lupus, cancer, chronic fatigue, just to name a few of the multitude of chronic health challenges that plague us as a society.
What are glyconutritionals used for?
Because they form the basis of multicellular intelligence by assisting cells to communicate and work together, glyconutritionals are used to keep our bodies healthy and balanced. They are useful in keeping those who are healthy, functioning at their optimum. And for those who are dealing with health challenges, glyconutritionals have been shown to lower cholesterol, increase lean muscle mass, decrease body fat, accelerate wound healing, ease allergy symptoms, and allay autoimmune diseases such as arthritis, psoriasis, and diabetes. Viral and bacterial infections, including recurrent ear infections, flu and HIV have responded positively to the addition of glyconutritionals into the diet. Symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and Gulf War syndrome have been shown to frequently abate after adding glyconutritionals. And, for cancer patients, glyconutritionals have been shown to decrease the toxic effects of radiation and chemotherapy while augmenting their cancer-killing effects, resulting in prolonged survival and improved quality of life.
Where can I learn more about glyconutritionals?
The following sources provide resource information on glyconutritionals and how and why they work.
3.Sugars That Heal -- a book by Emil I. Mondoa, M.D.
4.Harper's Biochemistry Textbook, 1996 edition, chapter 25.
How much do they cost and where can I obtain glyconutritionals?
The cost per month varies depending on the individual, his or her condition and the body's response. For the average healthy person who wishes to stay healthy and takes the glyconutritionals as a preventative measure, the cost would average $50 per month. Someone dealing with a chronic health condition may need to spend more. The products are available through some health food stores and pharmacies who work directly with the Research and Development company to get these products out to the public. For the most part, the majority of people purchase their products directly from the company with the initial assistance of another person who is already an associate.
Where can I find out more? firstname.lastname@example.org
Many thanks for sending this newsletter to me each month. Although I am not a health professional, I enjoy reading the very informative articles that it contains, and learning from the pearls of wisdom that shine in it too. For example, the story about restorative justice in Solomon Islands in the South Pacific was fascinating. That would probably never happen in a city like Melbourne where I live, a city which usually thinks of itself as being very civilized. Again many thanks, for the wonderful service that you are performing. - Peter Seery, Australia
Thank you for this wonderful and spirit-filled newsletter that you have devoted yourself to. As I have been a reader for maybe a year now, I am so impressed with the quality of content, the obvious huge desire to aid and assist, and the ability to coordinate the Baha'i writings with the most basic, yet complicated of human conditions: health. I sincerely thank you for this. As a health professional of 24 years experience, maybe I can contribute more in the future to your newsletter. I am only two years and three months into the writings of the Faith, but I have a solid foundation in holistic, alternative health options. - Evelyn Berringer, Paraguay
I can only say that I look forward each month to the newsletter. It is superb and I heartily congratulate you on your consistent dedication and persistent effort to keep it going. - Richard Witter, Washington DC, U.S.A.
This is just a great big thank you for doing this wonderful newsletter! I work at a hospital on Cape Cod and have put an offer in the hospital mailing system offering free copies of the newsletter to any interested persons. I have ten people on my list at present (all women!) -- the chaplain of the hospital, some nurses and some secretaries. I know they are using the information and sharing with others. - Judith Partelow, U.S.A.
(Editor's note: You are free to copy articles, provided you indicate the source of the article.)
Wonderful newsletter; diverse, informative! Very helpful for the individual and the community! - Esther Detally, U.S.A.
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
The fifth year of the Healing Through Unity newsletter covered many diverse topics such as: breast cancer, dealing with grief and death, children and stress, music therapy, understanding dreams, creating a culture of encouragement, community development, restorative justice, the Native North American Drum, dealing with weight issues, diabetes, carpel tunnel syndrome, balancing and simplifying our lives, vacation, etc. It is encouraging to read the wealth of knowledge and experience of the diversity of health issues, struggles, and victories in the application of the principles of the Baha'i Faith in everyday life. It is important that we try to cover a wide variety of topics in order to meet the different needs of the readers. If there is a topic that we have not yet covered, please let me know.
I would like to thank the reviewers of the newsletter who have done an excellent job in reviewing the issues each month. Their assistance and guidance have been invaluable over the years. Dale Sims and Bill Sims from Ontario, Canada and Meryl Cook from Nova Scotia, Canada. Russ Novak, Mexico, has continued to be a great asset in serving and maintaining the website of the newsletter in which he has dedicated in honor of his deceased wife who passed away several years ago.
Since the newsletter is not published during July and August, this is our last issue of the fifth year, until September 2002. On behalf of the reviewers and myself, thank you for your wonderful and excellent contributions of articles, stories, and letters of the past year. Your efforts for this newsletter as well as your words of encouragement that you have sent us are heartwarming. Please write to us over the summer and share your thoughts and ideas. Hope you have a wonderful summer and look forward to your participation in the newsletter in September.
Frances Mezei, Editor
You can visit the website, obtain back issues and the Healing Through Unity Course at: http://www.healingthroughunity.org.
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 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: email@example.com.
Many thanks to all of you who send such wonderful contributions for "Healing Through Unity" Newsletter. The decision to select and edit material submitted for publication is determined by the editor.
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