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HEALING THROUGH UNITY
January 1998

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of

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

Volume 1, Issue #6
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PRAYER
This article was written by Ranzie Mensah who lives in Aosta, Italy.

Is my soul atrophied ?
Is my soul hungry?
Is my soul thirsty?
Is my soul in anguish?
Is my soul wandering in the desert of heedlessness
Blinded by the veils of my vain imaginations?
Are my wings sullied
By my attachment to worldly desires?

What is prayer?
Why must we pray?
Why is humanity not praying anymore?

All the religions of the past have taught us that the fundamental purpose of prayer is for us to draw closer to God. The essence of the human creation is his soul, and this soul will return to its Maker. Our heaven will be the degree of our closeness to Him and our hell will be the degree of our separation from Him.

"...in separation from Whom hearts and souls have melted..."
(Baha'u'llah, Long Obligatory Prayer, Bahá'í Prayers, 1985 edition, p. 9)


"...separation from Thee hath destroyed me, and remoteness from Thee hath consumed me." (ibid, p.13)

The cardinal purpose of our lives on this earthly plane is to know God and to worship Him. One of the ways to achieve this is through prayer. "I bear witness, O my God, that Thou hast created me to know Thee and to worship Thee." (ibid, p.4)

When the seed is sown, the pure water and the brilliant rays from the sun will cause the seed to sacrifice itself and become the tree, giving forth blossoms, flowers and finally its fruit. The purpose of the creation of the seed will have been fulfilled. The seed will have become utter nothingness.

"...O My servants! Be as resigned and submissive as the earth, that from the soil of your being there may blossom the fragrant, the holy and multicolored hyacinths of My knowledge."
(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings CLII)

We pray so that the fire of the power of the Word of God will burn away our idols of vain imaginings.

"...to make of my prayer a fire that will burn away the veils which have shut me out from Thy beauty, and a light that will lead me unto the ocean of Thy Presence." (Baha'u'llah, Long Obligatory Prayer, Baha'i Prayers, p.8)


We must teach our children to learn the prayers and the Sacred Writings by heart. 'Abdu'l-Bahá exhorted many of the early believers to commit the prayers and Tablets to memory. We must be an example for our children and youth. These words will be engraved on their hearts forever and will strengthen them in the Covenant. I will always remember when the martyrs in Iran were thrown into prison, all their belongings taken away from them, including their Baha'i books. They all knew prayers by heart and chanted them in their prison cell and prepared their souls to meet their heart's desire. In the next world, we will pray. We will pray for our beloved ones who are still on this earthly plane as they will pray for us. We will take with us, not the prayer books, but the prayers that are engraved on our hearts.

"...whereby I may live as long as Thy sovereignty endureth, and may make mention of Thee in every world of Thy worlds." (ibid, 9)

Our prayers must lead us to the shores of detachment. But before we reach this station, we must be ready to surrender our will to His Will. And this is sometimes a life-long enterprise. That is why we repeat these phrases everyday when we recite the Long Obligatory Prayer on pages 8 and 9 in Bahá'í Prayers.

"Behold me standing ready to do Thy will and Thy desire..."

"I have desired only what Thou didst desire, and love only what Thou dost love."

Only when the dross is cleared from the mirror will it reflect the face of the Beloved.
Only when the veils are removed from the lamp will the light shine.
Only when the dust is shaken from our feet may we tread the threshold of His bounties.
Only when we have removed every trace of wordly desire will we come home.

"Be light and untrammeled as the breeze, that ye may obtain admittance into the precincts of My court, My inviolable Sanctuary."
(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings CLII)
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THE EXCHANGE
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Here are more enlightened responses to the September 1997 question: "What are some of the treatments to re-establish a balance in our bodies to prevent sickness?"

In "Some Answered Questions" pp. 254-56, 'Abdu'l Baha speaks of six types of healing; four are spiritual and two are material. Spiritual healing comprises 1) contagion of health from the healthy to the one slightly 'out of sorts' 2) transfer of a magnetic force from a healer to the one ill, for example to place one's hand upon his head or heart 3) through the concentrated belief of the healer and the patient that a cure will occur, and 4) through the Holy Spirit. Material healing is by means of medicine and by aliments, fruit and vegetables and waters, hot and cold.

He speaks in the same reference that the body is in a state of equilibrium and that an imbalance causes disease while balance of the elements involved restores or perpetuates it. As a scientist working on problems of life support, environmental and radiation protection systems for the United States Space program, I have become aware that the health of the Astronauts or future space travelers became of paramount importance. As a Baha'i, I turned to the Baha'i Writings instead of the current medical literature for guidance and took as my basic assumption if balance is established and maintained that the body will heal itself.

The body is in a state of dynamic homeostasis, that it is constantly adjusting for all the changes occurring from microbic and viral invasions, environmental assaults, positive or negative thinking, and finally to our attitude toward life and our spiritual beliefs and commitments. True equilibrium is a static state and is only observed several hours after death when all life activity comes to a halt. Therefore, balancing the body to heal or maintain health requires all aspects of the six healing methods referenced above. Let me explain.

Essentially, the body's homeostasis is controlled by the endocrine and immune systems, through release of the chemicals or phagic bodies that fight invasions of foreign or toxic materials. But even the immune system must rely on a proper supply of the elements necessary for it to do its work. The endocrine system is controlled by the autonomic nervous system which has two parts, the sympathetic and the parasympathetic system. One increases reactions while the other suppresses them. The autonomic system acts independently through the subconscious but also has a linkage to our central nervous system. Most religious traditions also say it is connected to our soul or spiritual nature. The autonomic system balance is affected from above by our thoughts, beliefs and attitudes and from below by unfriendly foreign organisms, toxic substances, either entering the body or being produced by the body and not eliminated, and by adverse climatic conditions to which the body is subjected. Therefore, you can see that each of the methods of healing mentioned above can contribute to the homeostasis of the body and restore or maintain health. If appropriate methods are used in combination and if the patient truly believes they will be healed, the body will re-establish a dynamic homeostasis and heal itself. A competent physician should understand these principles but modern medical practice concentrates primarily on repairing injuries and trying to reduce the effects of invading germs and inflamations through drugs with little concern on strengthening the body's ability to heal itself through restoring those elements missing in its chemistry by aliments, foods and fruits. Based on this understanding, a colleague once remarked that in the United States a convention of competent physicians could be held in a telephone booth.

The subject is weighty, but I have tried to be brief and not too scholarly. Each of the methods of healing based on this assumption and explanation could be an article by themselves. If anyone wishes to ask questions my e-mail is orvalm@usa.net. Orval H. Minney, DSc, California, U.S.A.

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I would like to say that eating organic foods, no meat, dairy, and little wheat has brought myself and my daughter to a better place health wise. I use herbs now for onset of illness, and rarely see the illness actually take hold!
"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 science of medicine reaches perfection, treatment will be given by foods, ailments, fragrant fruits and vegetables, and by various waters, hot and cold in temperature." (Some Answered Questions, pp. 257-59) Diana Kite, Washington, U.S.A
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Here are more answers to the November 1997 question: "How can we encourage ourselves and other people to develop imagination, creativity and initiative?"

STIMULATING OTHERS

When we realize how profound our influence is on each other, how our very thoughts nurture or deflate others, we have a tremendous opportunity -- and challenge.

We learn in consultation to be prayerful together, to pray silently, and we see the blessings which shower upon us as we struggle together to communicate and create. The nascent House of Justice (the Baha'i Local Spiritual Assembly) is the creative spirit of our day. How triumphant when we can feel that Unity in the outcome of consultation!

As we begin to strive to function using these new spiritual principles of unity and consultation, we will become more and more sensitive to each other, to the positive and to the negative. Then we can consciously send our love/unity/spiritual connection to others and cultivate detachment from our insecurities if we encounter negativity. It is a new way of being and an exciting way of being together. The fruits are all around us, made manifest in seeing others' unfolding hearts when we bathe them in love.

To generate greater creativity and imagination in others, we have only to bathe them in the love we have unleashed from our own hearts/minds and then share in their returned supporting thoughts. It is the greatest adventure of our time! How blessed is this Day!
Linda Foust, Atlanta, U.S.A

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Children are basically curious and creative. This curiosity and creativeness are stifled by not answering their questions or forbidding, by direct command or teasing, their flights of imagination. Our schools regimentize them to be 'good citizens' in the current mold of mediocre society. Genius or creativity are portrayed in the media as 'mad professors', eccentrics, or comic characters. We do not read fairy tales, or fantasy. We can start helping others by encouraging children's curiosity, creativity and initiative. Open their minds and encourage them to dream dreams and see visions.

How about we adults? We can read the revealed Word and other writings that will open up new thoughts. Eliminate our fear of rejection, accept positive, and ignore negative criticism. Play games not based on chance alone but that require visual acuity and strategy where we must see and plan ahead. Think circularly, not linear, and accept no boundaries to the universe in determining solutions. That is, see in our mind's eye the problem, the solution and all the steps in between as one entity, develop scenarios of what could happen, and settle for optimization rather than hoping for a single 'right' answer. Test it, reject it quickly if it doesn't work, no matter how much we were involved or convinced about it. Practice word association and build up our vocabulary. Exercise our mind just as we would do with our muscles. Stretch our imaginations, create 'what ifs'. Meditate and achieve that glimpse into the universe that makes one a 'knower', an 'enlightened one', and then rely on our intuition backed up by fact or experiment.

When I first entered the space program, our manager made us sit and read Science Fiction for months before we ever started working on problems. He was opening our minds from earth bound thinking to universal thinking and exposing us to the sci-fi writers who were the most imaginative persons of the time.

If you awoke one morning and were unable to contact another Baha'i anywhere in the world, you would be responsible to God for the entire plan of Baha'u'llah. What would you do?

Civilization collapses, anarchy reigns in your community and people turn to you and say, help us to re-establish civilization. How would you build the Divine Civilization?

You're standing at a transit stop and a fellow passenger says, tell me about the Baha'i Faith. You look up and see the bus coming so you only have less than five minutes. What do you say?

Perhaps you might wish to develop scenarios for these 'what ifs' and develop your own 'what ifs' and share your answers in the newsletter.
Orval Minney, California, U.S.A
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LETTERS
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Your newsletter sounds interesting. I am a nutritionist, and involved in a number of little development projects here in Ecuador, South America, which have to do with health.
Sam DuBois, Ecuador, South America
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Thank you for your promptness in sending me 4 issues (Sept -Dec 97) of the wonderful, touching, practical newsletter.
K.F. Yip, Taiwan
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What a beautiful and touching newsletter! When I read it I feel like I am drinking honey, so soothing, so healing for my physical and spiritual being. It really touches my soul. Thank you for your love.
SiewSim Chin, Ontario, Canada
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Just a quick note of appreciation and admiration for your wonderful initiative of starting the "Healing Through Unity" magazine.....I know for a fact that there is a great need for disseminating the Writings on health and healing as well as articles connecting to our spiritual healing process to the divine Teachings. Your initiative may very well be part of such sorely needed responses.......Shahkar Arjomand, Auxiliary Board Member for Southern Ontario, Canada
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It is with great joy that I receive the news of the "Healing Through Unity" newsletter..I can't tell you how much I need it - when I saw the email from Baha'i Announce, I cheered and cried both! Ya Baha'ul-Abha!
"...We must all strive with heart and soul until we have the reality of unity in our midst, and as we work, so will strength be given to us.."
(Paris Talk, p. 54) Phoebe Stark, Puerto Rico
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Thank you very much for sending me "Healing Through Unity". Based on a quick read through the issues, I am sure it will be a most valuable resource for my classes and for the Baha'i community. The students and I shall study it together in depth.
Nancy Barnes, Daystar International School, Japan
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Editor's note: Please feel free to forward this newsletter to other people so we can assist them and include them in this beautiful circle of love. The newsletter, which travels with the speed of light, is only available through electronic means. This brings this quote to mind:

" A mechanism of world inter-communication will be devised, embracing the whole planet, freed from national hindrances and restrictions and functioning with marvelous swiftness and perfect regularity." (Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 203)

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QUESTION FOR THIS MONTH
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The question for this month is: What are some divine ways of serving individuals who are ill or in need for our assistance.

Please share all your responses or if you have other comments for the newsletter, please write to: Frances Mezei by e-mail, -- .

Much love, prayers and spiritual connection,
Frances Mezei
Ontario, Canada
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HEALING THROUGH UNITY
February 1998

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of

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

Volume 1, Issue #7
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IN THE SERVICE OF LIFE
By Rachel Naomi Remen

In recent years the question "How can I help?" has become meaningful to many people. But perhaps there is a deeper question we might consider. Perhaps the real question is not "How can I help?" But "How can I serve?"

Serving is different from helping. Helping is based on inequality; it is not a relationship between equals. When you help you use your own strength to help those of lesser strength. If I'm attentive to what is going on inside of me when I'm helping, I find that I'm always helping someone who is not as strong as I am, who is needier than I am. People feel this inequality. When we help we may inadvertently take away from people more than we could ever give them; we may diminish their self-esteem, their sense of worth, integrity and wholeness. When I help I am very aware of my own
strength. But we don't serve with our strength, we serve with ourselves. We draw from all of our experiences. Our limitations serve, our wounds serve, even our darkness can serve. The wholeness in us serves the wholeness in others and the wholeness in life. The wholeness in you is the same as the wholeness in me. Service is a relationship between equals.

Helping incurs debt. When you help someone they owe you one. But serving, like healing is mutual. There is no debt. I am as served as the person that I am serving. When I help I have a feeling of satisfaction. When I serve I have a feeling of gratitude. These are very different things.

Serving is also different from fixing. When I fix a person I perceive them as broken, and their brokeness requires me to act. When I serve I see and trust that wholeness. It is what I am responding to and collaborating with.

There is distance between ourselves and whatever or whomever we are fixing. Fixing is a form of judgment. All judgment creates distance, a disconnection, an experience of difference. In fixing there is an inequality of expertise that can easily become a moral distance. We cannot serve at a distance. We can only serve that to which we are profoundly connected, that which we are willing to touch. This is Mother Teresa's basic message. We serve life not because it is broken but because it is holy.

If helping is an experience of strength, fixing is an experience of mastery and expertise. Service, on the other hand, is an experience of mystery, surrender, and awe. A fixer has the illusion of being casual. A server knows that he or she is being used and has a willingness to be used in the service of something greater, something essentially unknown. Fixing and helping are very personal; they are very particular, concrete and specific. We fix and help many different things in our lifetimes, but when we serve we are always serving the same thing. Everyone who has ever served through the history of time serves the same thing. We are servers of the wholeness and mystery in life.

The bottom line, of course, is that we can fix without serving. And we can help without serving. And we can serve without fixing or helping. I think I would go so far as to say that fixing and helping may often be the work of
the ego and service is the work of the soul. They may look similar if you're watching from the outside, but the inner experience is different. The outcome is often different too.

Our service serves us as well as others. That which uses us strengthens us. Over time, fixing and helping are draining, depleting. Over time we burn out. Service is renewing. When we serve, our work itself will sustain us.

Service rests on the basic premise that the nature of life is sacred, that life is a holy mystery, which has an unknown purpose. When we serve, we know that we belong to life and to that purpose. Fundamentally, helping, fixing, and service are ways of seeing life. When you help you see life as weak, when you fix, you see life as broken. When you serve, you see life as whole. From the perspective of service, we are all connected. All suffering is like my suffering and all joy is like my joy. The impulse to serve emerges naturally and inevitably from this way of seeing.

Lastly, fixing and helping is the basis of curing, but not of healing. In 40 years of chronic illness I have been helped by many people and fixed by a great many others who did not recognize my wholeness. All that fixing and helping left me wounded in some important and fundamental ways. Only service heals.

This article was submitted by Susan Gammage who came across it in her local Community News, issue #16, October 97. It serves Muskoka, Haliburton and Parry Sound regions, Ontario, Canada.
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THE EXCHANGE
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Question:
These are inspiring and practical responses to the Janaury 1998 question: "What are some divine ways of serving individuals who are ill or in need of our assistance?"

Answers:
Divine ways... Well, since humans are created in the Divine Image, I'll touch on human ways. I have a friend who has post-polio. She was scheduled, earlier this winter, to have surgery on one of her feet, which was collapsing due to lack of muscle tone resulting from the nerve damage from the polio. She had spent a long time in the hospital as a child, and the prospect of being in the hospital, and the relative loss of independence after release, scared her half to death.

In the last several years, we have become very close friends. I know her as well as I know my own family. And I knew she needed company. I was able to visit her twice while she was in the hospital, (it was in another city) and frequently after her release, since I was staying in her town for a couple months. There were times when she would be frightened or angry or just plain in a bad mood. And there were times when she'd push away and act as if she didn't want anyone around. All those times, I hung in there with her. If she had to cry, I let her cry, because I know that the release of sadness is much better than keeping it in. If she had to yell, I let her yell, knowing that she needed her anger for healing. I also knew that nothing she expressed would hurt me.

She was often apologetic for "being bad company." I told her that I only expected her to be real. I reminded her of all the trials she had succeeded in weathering. How strong this woman is! And how grateful I am to be her friend! I know that my presence in her life helped her get through the ordeal of her surgery and recovery. She tells me so every time we're together. It was not hard or heroic for me to spend time with her. I love her. She's a dear friend. And the times we have spent together, even when one or both of us have been "at our worst" have been catalysts for both of our spiritual growth. That says it all.

If I were to sum up the one quality that stands out in this situation, it would be unconditional acceptance.
Rachel Cammack, Washington, USA

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Remember the saying: 'Of all the pilgrimages, the greatest is to relieve the sorrow-laden heart.'" ('Abdu'l-Baha, Translated by Shoghi Effendi, Star of the West, Vol. XlV #1)

We are told: "Indeed the believers have not yet fully learned to draw on each other's love for strength and consolation in time of need. The Cause of God is endowed with tremendous powers, and the reason the believers do
not gain more from it is because they have not learned to fully draw on these mighty forces of love and strength and harmony generated by the Faith" (Shoghi Effendi, Directives of the Guardian, p. 27)

How can we learn to accomplish this? "We should all visit the sick. When they are in sorrow and suffering, it is a real help and benefit to have a friend come. Happiness is a great healer to those who are ill. In the East it is the custom to call upon the patient often and meet him individually . . . This has greater effect than the remedy itself. You must always have this thought of love and affection when you visit the ailing and afflicted." ('Abdu'l-Baha, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 204)

"When at the bedside of a patient, cheer and gladden his heart and enrapture his spirit through celestial power. Indeed, such a heavenly breath quickeneth every mouldering bone and reviveth the spirit of every sick and ailing one." ('Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, p. 151)

"...if a doctor consoles a sick man by saying, "Thank God you are better, and there is hope of your recovery," though these words are contrary to the truth, yet they may become the consolation of the patient and the turning point of the illness. This is not blameworthy." ('Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 215-6) Susan Gammage, Ontario, Canada

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It has become a habit within our family at the sound or sight of an ambulance, fire-engine or other emergency service vehicle to stop whatever we are doing and to say some prayers hopefully to ease the suffering or panic of those in peril, and to bring them some measure of comfort. It is the least we can do, and is something we would encourage us all to do. Charles Boyle, Townsville, Australia

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The question of the month for January brought to mind the experience of our family during the terminal illness of my father over the last year and a half. My father was Ron Parsons, known to many of you. As his terminal illness progressed, he became unable to leave his bed, or read the Baha'i Writings that had always been so dear to him.

It was because of his great love for the Word, that his family and Baha'i community set up a cassette player in his room. When nobody could physically be present to say prayers or be with him, tapes of Baha'i music, but also of prayers and of the World Congress in New York were played, even while he was asleep. His soul was, then, surrounded by the breaths of the spirit constantly: "...in this new age the Manifest Light hath, in His holy Tablets, specifically proclaimed that music, sung or played, is spiritual food for soul and heart." (Selections from the Writings of Abdul Baha, p.112)

Besides the physical care we could give my father at home, this was one way in which we could feel assured that healing for his soul could also be provided. Ann Murdoch, British Columbia, Canada

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A Man's Heart was Touched by a Caring Comment

There is an instance of a husband who for many years was caring for his wife suffering from a terminal illness. He also had many other responsibilities looking after their two children, the household and a job. He tried to keep on an even keel, be supportive to everybody and to avoid self-pity. One day, on a visit to the ill wife with her family, a teenage girl looked in his eyes: "I know how hard this must be for you." He was deeply touched. While everyone else gave support to the wife, this young woman remembered him. Ever since, he often recalls this validation of his own value, and has shared the story with many others.

As shared by another reader. "How much love and healing can be felt in a single look, a gentle touch, a kind word and a reassuring presence! These precious spiritual feelings leave a mark on our hearts and souls."
Anonymous

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(Editor's note: This story of 'Abdu'l-Baha was shared by Mr Aziz Yazdi, retired Counsellor and former member of the International Teaching Centre, at a Baha'i Pre-Youth Winter School held December 6 - 8, 1991 in Puslinch,
Ontario, Canada. It is taken from "Parenting in the New World Order", Vol. 1, Issue #6)

"Now I am going to tell you an interesting story about the Nineteen Day Feast. The Feast would be in the same room (next to the Shrine of the Bab) and after the prayers, 'Abdu'l-Baha spoke to us. There would be a big table near the door full of good things, fruits and sweets. 'Abdu'l-Baha Himself would stand next to this table. Then we would come, one by one, He would put some fruit and other good things with His own hands into our hands. We would go out, we would kiss the fruit and eat them and enjoy them. It was very good fruit.

Now one of these Nineteen Day Feasts, I had a young brother. He was only six years old. He was sick and he could not come. But he is a child - and all these people - who would remember him? I thought nobody would remember
him. When my turn came, I got my share and kissed it. I was going out to eat it and enjoy it.

'Abdu'l-Baha stopped me. He gave me another share and said, Please give this to your brother who is sick and at home." Oh! You have no idea how happy this made me. That 'Abdu'l-Baha remembered my little brother, without
anyone telling Him that he was sick. We didn't! But He knew it. This is 'Abdu'l-Baha!

I was so excited! I wanted to run and tell my father who was outside that 'Abdu'l-Baha remembered my little brother. Before I could move He stopped me again and gave me another one. Guess for whom this one is? He said, 'This is for your mamma who stayed home to look after your brother."

You see how thoughtful and kind He is? For everyone. He remembered everyone. And I can tell you - be rest assured that even now if you turn your heart to Him and pray to Him, He will not forget you. Ask for His help and assistance. Please ask for His assistance - especially! He will almost take your hand and show the way to you. It's so beautiful, so beautiful."
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Question:
This is an interesting perspective to the September 1997 question: "What are some of the treatments to re-establish a balance in our bodies to prevent sickness?"

Answer:
I am always amazed by the statement of Baha'u'llah in the Kitab-i-Aqdas (Baha'u'llah, The Most Holy Book, K145, 158) "Take heed that ye enter no house in the absence of its owner, except with his permission." If I look at the concept of "another man's house" beyond the simple property, to include his feelings, business, emotions, beliefs,
opinions, then I see a further wisdom and meaning. Indeed if I extend this to include my body in the sense of not permitting anything to enter it (by way of food or drink) except those things which it needs or would allow (give permission), placing a responsibility on me to determine what things are appropriate to allow to enter.

There is of course throughout the revelation of Baha'u'llah the recurrent theme of duty and responsibility - in this case a duty to maintain good health, and a personal responsibility to determine in what way our health may be best maintained. This responsibility can by extension be taken further to include the provision of health and educational facilities and/or programmes to facilitate the decisions we may wish to make. Indeed the entire Kitab-i-Aqdas can be viewed as a blueprint for social and economic development, placing upon us the various duties required of Baha'is, and the responsibilities required to see those duties are carried out. It may also be seen as a charter for self-empowerment and development. Charles Boyle, Townsville, Australia

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LETTERS
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I have a very old but reliable printer that is painstakingly slow and while I realize that I could read your newsletter on my computer, I want the pages in my hands, and so I stand at the printer reading each page trying not to hurry through the words but my spirit is hungry and races over the pages as they come out. I want the printer to fly and the words to never stop and I am sad when the newsletter finally ends. Thank you for your time and the gift of this wonderful communication. I have been sharing your newsletter with many of the friends and they are as thrilled with it as I am. Lilwen Hodson, British Columbia, Canada
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Just received via e-mail this beautiful, beautiful newsletter. The contents of it are so precious. I forwarded it to some of my friends that are in the "nickname file". This is the first time I've heard of it....and would like some details on how I can receive this regularly..." Evelyn Watts, Coburg, Ontario, Canada
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I am writing to ask that I be placed on the mailing list for the "Healing Through Unity" newsletter. I am a Baha'i Pioneer in Rankin Inlet, NWT, Canada. I am a nurse and Health Consultant. I am the Community Wellness Coordinator here, and am applying Baha'i teachings and principles to assist in healing in the community. Your newsletter sounds wonderful and I am eagerly waiting to read it. Gerry Pflueger, Northwest Territories, Canada
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I want to thank you for all your inspirational material that you send us. Faye Rouhani, Florida, U.S.A.
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QUESTION FOR THE MONTH
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The question for this month is: "The cycles of growth involves both crises and victories. What are some examples of this spiritual process and how does it affect our lives? What does this pattern of growth look like?"

You are encouraged to ask questions for future issues of the newsletter. Please share all your responses or if you have other comments for the newsletter, please write to: Frances Mezei by e-mail, -- .

Other than the quoted Writings, the material in this newsletter represents the thoughts and opinions of the writers and has no authority. You are free to copy articles, provided you indicate the source of the article.

May God grant you boundless health, security and comfort,
Frances Mezei,
Ontario, Canada
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HEALING THROUGH UNITY
March 1998

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of

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

Volume 1, Issue #8
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A DREAM

"...this immortal human soul is endowed with two means of perception: One is effected through instrumentality; the other, independently. For instance, the soul sees through the instrumentality of the eye, hears with the ear, smells through the nostrils and grasps objects with the hands. These are actions or operations of the soul through instruments. But in the world of dreams the soul sees when the eyes are closed. The man is seemingly dead, lies there as dead; the ears do not hear, yet he hears. The body lies there, but he - that is, the soul - travels, sees, observes... It
often happens that a man in a state of wakefulness has not been able to accomplish the solution of a problem, and when he goes to sleep, he will reach that solution in a dream. How often it has happened that he has dreamed, even as the prophets have dreamed, of the future; and events which have thus been foreshadowed have come to pass literally." ('Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 416)

It is a gift to know that there is a host of holy souls just waiting to be called into action to assist us. There is an interesting dream in the book "Tristan" on page 184 by Suzanne Schuurman. Tristan was born physically and mentally disabled and through his ability to understand and accept his limitations and sufferings, he became spiritually adept. He was born in Iqualuit, Northwest Territories, Canada.

"I was in the other worlds of God and one of the heavenly host was showing me around what looked like a celestial control center. There were big monitor screens on tables at which sat an angel, or heavenly being. Each screen monitored a person on earth who was that angel's particular responsibility. The singular thing about the screen was that it showed only good deeds, altruistic conduct, self-sacrifice and the like. Some of the angels were obviously bored sitting before totally blank screens. On some screens, however, there was so much activity that other heavenly beings, who were not busy, came to look and consult about the next course of action. The conversation I overheard went something like this:

‘Look at that wonderful reaction!'
‘Do you think they are ready for the next test?'
‘They have just had a real dilly!'
‘Well, it's "my soul" and I think it can handle it. After all, the more it learns the better. Are you forgetting that there is a time limit here?' The next test would be sent down and several angels would gather at the console to watch the soul's response and progress.
‘Beautiful! I knew it could do it!"
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THE EXCHANGE
______________________

Question:
In the February, 1998 newsletter the question was asked: "The cycles of growth involve both crises and victories. What are some examples of this spiritual process and how does it affect our lives? What does this pattern of growth look like?"

Answers:
CYCLES OF GROWTH

In the normal cycles of the advancement of the Faith two phases are prominent, crisis and victory. Crisis is always followed by victory, and victory is always followed by crisis. This is the normal course of the divine process, and is manifest in all aspects of life. Both of these phases are essential for completion. They are complementary opposites;
these two are the same, yet they are different. In the field of health this process is manifest as a healing crisis followed by a cure. All true healing comes from God, Who has deposited within us a divine healing power which automatically heals us of all disease if we simply abide by His laws. This healing is an active, powerful process, which can be very painful if it is delayed sufficiently to require an intense response. In other words, healing hurts. It is not a passive comfortable process. Why? Because it involves severe changes, and all changes to which we have not adapted ourselves are uncomfortable, regardless of whether they are positive changes or negative changes. Thus, some sports trainers have the saying, "No pain, no gain." Because of this inherent discomfort asociated with the intense healing phase, our materialistic society has labeled the healing crisis as being the disease, and seeks to alleviate the symptoms by aborting the healing, thus leading to the development of chronic disease. In the natural cycles of growth and the acquisition of health perfections, we move through successively higher levels of perfections, and at each level we are taken apart, purified, and put back together again at the higher level, somewhat analagous to an automobile being taken apart, worn parts replaced, and reassembled. This is a spiritual process, which is also manifest in this physical world. We have explicit instructions from Baha'u'llah telling us how to acquire perfect health. Each of us can become as a regiment, and live to be a hundred and ten years or longer.
Dr. William Saunders, Smyrna, Georgia, U.S.A

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We can learn from the Manifestation of God, His son 'Abdu'l-Baha and His great grandson Shoghi Effendi who had a firm anchor on things on how to cope with life's many crises and victories. Ruhiyyih Khanum in her book, "The Priceless Pearl" mentions that the Guardian, Shoghi Effendi, would be so deeply affected by events swirling around Him that He would sometimes wrap himself up in a coat of Baha'u'llah and lie absolutely motionless. This story which shows a fine balance was brought to our attention. "Yet who can doubt that all the central Figures demonstrated to the whole of mankind an assured and happy way of life? Here is where their example seems particularly precious. To rise above the disappointments, obstacles, and pain which we experience in serving the Cause is difficult enough, but to be called on, in doing so, to be happy and confident is perhaps the keenest spiritual test any of us can meet. The lives of the Founders of our Faith clearly show that to be fundamentally assured does not mean that we live without anxieties, nor does being happy mean that there are not periods of deep grief when, like the Guardian, we wrap
ourselves in a blanket, pray and supplicate, and give ourselves time for healing in preparation for the next great effort." (A letter from the National Spiritual Assembly of Canada quoted in Quickeners of Mankind p. 117)

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I have been in a year of patience since May, and it has been the most trying and exhilarating time in my life. The pain of separation from my dearly-loved husband of 16 years has been equalled by what we have both learned from the experience, and perhaps far surpassed by what we still stand to learn before we are reunited. We have been blessed by having a skillful counselor, caring friends, a mature and forward-thinking Assembly in our area, and prayers from all over the world.

One ramification of these tests and this learning has been that I am physically and emotionally healthier than I have been in years. I have begun taking care of myself as I have striven to take care of others for a long time. I have begun to learn the correlations between love and discipline and health. I have begun to learn appropriate ways of expressing even unpleasant feelings, so that I can be obedient to Baha'u'llah's exhortations not to lose our tempers and to speak humbly. I have begun, along with my husband, to be able to teach our children (now adolescents) many of the things we weren't taught as children. And today I can truly say that, while I am still experiencing the pain of separation, I am happy and contented.

"Through that Word the realities of all created things were shaken, were divided, separated, scattered, combined and reunited, disclosing, in both the contingent world and the heavenly Kingdom, entities of a new creation." (Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations, pp. 295-96)
Rachel Cammack, Washington, U.S.A

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As a midwife, the pattern of growth in pregnancy fits perfectly! Not only the labor and birth process, but the actual pregnancy, during which the woman and her family go through many crises and victories as they prepare for this new life. Unquestionably, her life is irreparably changed! Just as I encourage this woman with reassurance that her unique experience is also held in common with generations of women, and remind her that she can do this - that her body was designed to accomplish this most sacred task. Similarly, God has designed us all to work through the gestation of our
souls, so that we can birth ourselves into His spiritual world. The knowledge of how a mother's life style affects her developing child is being continuously unfolded for us. Her diet, exercise, life stressors and thoughts all have an impact. Every choice we make impacts our souls. The process is unique to each of us, and yet, generations have worked it through and we are assured by the Blessed Beauty (Baha'u'llah) that we have the capacity. Choose wisely my brothers and sisters!
Karen Sadar Watt, The Midwifery Network, Louisiana, U.S.A.

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I would like to share my own experience with friends and perhaps be of some help to you to go through crises with an eternal hope of spiritual growth. My life has been a succession of crises and victories...I will share a couple of them.

In one year, I lost both my fiance and roommate who died in very dramatic circumstances. I was also very far from God and religion. I was raised as a Catholic. When my fiance died, his parents asked me to organize a religious ceremony at church. I was not very convinced of it but did my best to organize something he would have liked, i.e. joyful and hopeful . I didn't know what to choose as far as songs were concerned and for some mysterious reason, I chose a song about the return of Christ ("When will He come back to walk on our path?") This song was so powerful that during the following year everytime I was thinking of my fiance, I started to sing it again and again. Only when I discovered Baha'u'llah for the first time, years later did I stop singing it.

When my roommate died - she was a very religious Christian - she left a gift for me which I discovered a few days after her death, her own Bible. These two deaths led me unconsciously to search for the truth. One year later, still suffering from the death of my two dearest friends, I met two Catholic priests at a party who became friends and offered to say a mass for my two friends . After the mass, these priests came to my home with a Jewish friend and we started to talk about religion. I had become more open to it and the conversation was very intense. At some stage, the Jewish friend said to me: " I know what you are, you are a Baha'i " and he explained to me about the Baha'i Faith. I discarded it since I didn't want to hear about any new religion since I was returning to the Catholic Church.

During the same time, I was having a very difficult time in my professional life. I had been fired from my job which I thought was the job of my life. As a result, I decided to start my own company, a travel agency. I started it at the worse time during the Gulf War. I really thought about stopping it but for some reasons I went on despite all the financial difficulties and very hard work. Thank God I did it since this new company gave me travelling opportunites around the world and nearly on every trip I came across the Baha'i Faith...I did a Christian pilgrimage to the Holy Land which ended on Mount Carmel. When I returned home, I declared myself a Baha'i. I can't thank God enough for all the hard times I went through. Because without all those times, I would never have met Baha'u'llah. Now every time, hard time comes I get excited because I know that at some stage if I manage to go through it, I will grow spiritually and be gratified. I feel blessed and so happy in spite of what I went through.

May this story help a lot of people who go through difficult times to grow and keep hope.
Laurence de Closets, Paris, France
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Question:
Here is another answer to the January, 1998 question: "What are some divine ways of serving individuals who are ill or in need of our assistance?"

Answer:
I would like to offer the following ideas:
1. Show love to them
2. Pray for them
3. Encourage them
4. Find ways to make them happy
5. Find ways to spread and share a healthier way of life with everyone. The more each person gets support, the easier it is for them to feel better.

As an example for number four, one way I found to uplift my own spirit is by exercising to classical music, which makes the sometimes heavy task of exercising more fun and enjoyable.

I feel that all of the above five ideas apply to all the dear friends involved in "Healing Through Unity", the selfless efforts of the physicians and the generous sharing of ideas by all...
Mina Khaze, England
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A Person's Victory with her Health

For over a year now, Dr. Saunders, Georgia, U.S.A, has been my doctor, and this wonderful approach to spiritual and physical health has changed my whole life. Since I had been in such poor health before, I have since had many opportunities to share this process with friends.

Everybody says that it is difficult to start this health program; some friends say it is impossible: 'How can we not eat kabab, chicken, tah cheen, fessenjun, etc., or cheese, yogurts, cake, chocolate, tea, etc.?' And it is true. Really, it seems impossible, if we think from this point of view, which is looking at the short-term way of enjoyment.

However, if we look at it from the long-term result of it, we find it a much better and more enjoyable way of life. Putting aside the main (spiritual) aspect of it and only considering the physical benefits, we see that it is much healthier, we will enjoy the taste of each food more. We will have more time because we spend less time in the kitchen. We spend less money on our food, and we generally find life easier to live. Having considered this side of things, we will give up our attachment to the short-term view, and sacrifice our cravings. As we know at the start of
any change, there is a need for some sacrifice. As the Writings say, we have to give up the important for the most important....

I feel that besides the physical point of view, it is the most effective way to progress spiritually. Just like fasting and obligatory prayers, it improves our will power and steadfastness, our patience, our detachment, our reliance upon God, and our obedience to His Covenant. It is in fact the effects of the spiritual side of this diet that I find the most
interesting...the main purpose is to apply the Creative Words in my daily life.
Mina Khaze, England
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SPIRITUAL HEALTH HABITS
__________________________

Here are some essential elements for our spiritual and physical health.

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
7) Simplify
8) Focus
9) Practice patience
10) Eat simple, natural plant foods
11) Drink adequate pure water
12) Evaluate progress daily

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LETTERS
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Dearly beloved family,
"Baha'u'llah says in the Hidden Words #16 of the Arabic, "O Son of Light! Forget all save Me and commune with My spirit. This is of the essence of My command, therefore turn unto it." No matter what our illness, if we turn to God, enter His court, supplicate, pray and meditate on His Word, He will guide us. Our test is to become detached from ourselves and place our affairs in His hand. If we do this we can feel Baha'u'llah's strength and have inner peace. As we submit to God's will, our purpose in life will be fulfilled. We will be assured and confident."
Eugenia Pritchard, Florida, U.S.A
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"I want to thank you for sending the newsletter. Yesterday, I received no.7 and we used it as a basis of discussion in our meeting, in the evening. Everybody agreed on the quality of the teaching of the newsletter. Thank you again and God bless you for this very important work."
Gilles Gauthier, Granby, Quebec, Canada
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"I would like to thank you so much for your newsletters. Not only do I learn a lot from them, but it is also a wonderful link between the friends and an extraordinary way to unite people from all over the world. I live in France
where the number of Baha'is is small. I am so happy to share with many people from the whole world. Thanks so much."
Laurence de Closets, Paris, France
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QUESTION OF THE MONTH
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The question for this month is:
"How do we bring ourselves into account?"

O Son of Being!
Bring thyself to account each day ere thou art summoned to a reckoning; for death, unheralded, shall come upon thee and thou shalt be called to give account for thy deeds."
(Baha'u'llah, Hidden Words, #32)

Please share all your responses or if you have other comments for the newsletter, please write to: Frances Mezei by e-mail, -- .

Other than the quoted Writings, the material in this newsletter represents the thoughts and opinions of the writers and has no authority. You are free to copy articles, provided you indicate the source of the article.

With most loving greetings,
Frances Mezei
Ontario, Canada
--




HEALING THROUGH UNITY
APRIL 1998

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of

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

Volume 1, Issue #9
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"Man, therefore, on the plane of the contingent world is the most perfect being. By man is meant the perfect individual, who is like unto a mirror in which the divine perfections are manifested and reflected. But the sun doth not descend from the height of its sanctity to enter into the mirror, but when the latter is purified and turned towards the Sun of Truth, the perfections of this Sun, consisting of light and heat, are reflected and manifested in that mirror. These souls are the Divine Manifestations of God." ( 'Abdu'l-Baha, Selections From The Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, p. 62)

LIGHT OF SELF
By Marcus Bach, Ph.D., D.D.

One of life's greatest discoveries is that you carry a light and that this light is seen by those who see you. This light is the true you. How you dress, what make-up you use, what you say, the life-style you develop may be reflections of the light, but the true light is deeper than all these. It is innate. You really can't see it the way you see yourself in a mirror. It is best seen by others. It is that which betrays and reveals the real you.

Call it an aura, an emanation, an energy, radiance, spirit, charisma or what you will - you carry a light. The way you feel, think, believe, the mood you are in, the thoughts you harbor, the way you treat your physical body, the reach of your mind, the consciousness of your spiritual awareness, all reflect themselves in this light of self.

The light is not only seen by others, it is felt. It is caught by an inner eye, recognized by something intuitive, triggered by something psychic, responds to something spiritual. Whatever it is, the more you walk in the light of honesty, truth, health and well-being, the greater is the reflection. The Galilean said", You are the light of the world" and those who understood Him knew that here was a Man who saw the commonly unseen and who knew that the deep things of life are never obvious. The outer self is often the make-believe, a masquerade. The real self is the light and the challenge is to live so that you show forth the Light, not righteously, but naturally...as naturally as the sun lights the world.....

Seen through the eyes of religion or science, you carry a light and this light is seen by those who see you. Baha'u'llah, founder of the Baha'i Faith,... more than 100 years ago He made a statement worthy of an atomic physicist. He said, 'Split an atom and you will find the universe.' Baha'i literally means: a follower of the Light.

In this connection I had an unforgetable experience several years ago in Australia when I attended a Baha'i meeting one Sunday afternoon. The speaker was a black from Nigeria, an official in the Baha'i movement named Enoch Olinga (Hand of the Cause of God). I was sitting in the auditorium among Baha'i followers. He was on the platform speaking when I gradually saw his aura, a golden-white emanation encircling his body. I am not an auric reader and there are only rare occasions I can attest to seeing these luminous manifestations. This one was so vivid and real that I moved from one part of the auditorium to another in order to assure myself it was not a matter of lights and shadows in the room or merely a reflection of some kind. Apparently it was real. Very real, and the luminosity ebbed and flowed with the passion of his speech.

After the meeting I hesitated speaking to him because he was continually surrounded by his friends. At one point, however, our eyes met and we were involuntarily drawn to each other. As we shook hands, I said to him, 'May I
tell you that I saw your aura this afternoon?' He put his arms around me and I instinctively put my arms around him as he whispered, 'I know, I know.'

What does it mean to me? What does it mean to you? Simply this: we are living in a highly sensitized age in which we are being forced to add new dimensions and new perspectives to life. We are being compelled to live the life that we profess. The gap is closing between profession and practice, between faith and work, between science and religion. The real you eventually comes to light because it is the Light! The integrated, orderly life cannot be staged for long. It must be lived in order to endure. One thing good about science and religion is that both eventually come face to
face with God's love and eventually brings everything to light.

Let us learn to work from the center of that Light. Let us fix our mind on that Light. When things are dark in the world or in our mind, let us turn on that inner Light. Let us follow the Light and learn that we will not walk in darkness. ( The above is an excerpt from the article that appeared in Today's Chiropractic, March-April 1975, p. 26)
_______________________

THE EXCHANGE
_______________________

Question:
In the March, 1998 issue, the question was asked: "How do we bring ourselves into account?"

Answers:
One woman tried something new. She always kept a journal which she reviewed periodically to review the growth and struggles of life. This year she decided to try an experiment when she received a new journal from her
niece. On pilgrimage she learned from a member of the Universal House of Justice that we do not bring our negative qualities to the next world but only positive attributes. "The soul carries with it divine attributes and spiritual qualities to the next world, but cannot take with it bad qualities for badness has no existence of its own; it is only the lack of goodness." (Adib Tahirzadih, The Human Soul, p. 13) This person had always considered bringing herself to account was to reflect both the positive and negative aspects of the day. She felt that she was very good at seeing the
negative aspects of herself and thought she would attempt to only write about the positive aspects of bringing herself to account each day. At first she felt very doubtful, and decided to give this experiment one year to try it out.

Two months later, she reflected that each time she reviewed the journal it uplifted her soul. She perceived how it simplified and purified her attitude when she looked back on past events and how encouraging it was to her spiritual journey. Focusing on her inner and outer accomplishments now serves as a basis to give her strength to do her service and to validate her own value. She encourages us all to try this. This quote from Velda Piff Metelmann, Denmark, demonstrates this explicitly.

"To bring oneself to account is essentially to find one's strengths, abilities and nobility so that one can value these attributes sufficiently to use them for others. One cannot advance on the spiritual path on one's drawbacks - just as one cannot invest debt for profit. We need to be conscious of ourselves as God's creation - noble beings, capable of
reflecting His Glory - in order to act well. Any set of books that shows only liabilities and does not include assets is useless. Even if, when we evaluate our lives, our faults seem overpowering, still by the grace and mercy of God, we can go forward. Each soul is unique, with a precious, individual point of view, a way of seeing and speaking no other soul can do. If we withhold these inner gifts, it is the whole of mankind - the Cause of God itself - that suffers. The Cause will triumph without us, but our note in the great orchestra of life will not be sounded."

Dorothy Baker, Hand of the Cause of God, said: "I tell myself that one's powers must be turned to creative impulses, not to negativity even of oneself. Lingering on one's frailties is pure egotism."
( Ilona Weinstein,Tending the Garden, p. 84)

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A local 5th grade class has come up with a wonderful way to bring themselves to account each day and to strive to better serve others. The class decided to have each student keep a journal of the good deeds he/she had done. Each day the student would enter something they had done that they considered to be a good deed. The goal of the class was to have many good deeds at the end of the year. Now, mind you, nobody is judging these good deeds - they are private and confidential journals. The children aren't rewarded for quantity or quality of these deeds and nobody is
encouraging boastfulness.

Each day the students sit down to write in their journals and think about what they did that day. No doubt they are excited about the good things they have done, and disappointed in the opportunites they have missed. Even better, throughout the day they are more conscious of the opportunities that pop up - opportunities to do a good deed.

And there is one more thing these students have learned - they feel good about themselves when they serve others. And that makes me feel good, too!
Kendra Steel, Topsham, Maine, U.S.A.

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A SHORT STORY

The Wemmicks were small wooden people. Each of the wooden people was carved by a Woodworker named Eli. His workshop sat on a hill overlooking their village. Every Wemmick was different. Some had big noses, others had large eyes. Some were tall and others were short. Some wore hats, others wore coats. But all were made by the same carver.

And all day, every day, the Wemmicks did the same thing; they gave each other stickers. Each Wemmick had a box of golden star stickers and a box of grey dot stickers. Up and down the streets all over the city, people could be seen sticking stars or dots on one another.

The pretty ones, those with smooth wood and fine paint, always got stars. But if the wood was rough or the paint chipped, the Wemmicks gave dots. The talented ones got stars too. Some could lift big sticks high above their heads or jump over tall boxes. Still other knew big words or could sing very pretty songs. Everyone gave them stars. Some Wemmicks had stars all over them! Every time they got a star it made them feel so good that they did something else and got another star. Others, though, could do little. They got dots.

Punchinello was one of these. He tried to jump high like the others, but he always fell. And when he fell, the others would gather around and give him dots. Sometimes when he fell, it would scar his wood, so the people would give him more dots.

He would try to explain why he fell and say something silly and the Wemmicks would give him more dots. After a while he had so many dots that he didn't want to go outside. He was afraid he would do something dumb such as forget his hat or step in the water, and then people would give him another dot; in fact, he had so many grey dots that some people would come up and give him one without reason.

'He deserves lots of dots', the wooden people would agree with one another. 'He's not a good wooden person.'

After a while, Punchinello believed them. 'I'm not a good Wemmick.' he would say. The few times he went outside, he hung around other Wemmicks who had a lot of dots. He felt better around them.

One day he met a Wemmick who was unlike any other he'd ever met. She had no dots or stars. She was just wooden. Her name was Lucia. It wasn't that people didn't try to give her stickers, it's just that the stickers didn't stick. Some admired Lucia for having no dots, so they would run up and give her a star. But it would fall off. Some would look down on her for having no stars, so they would give her a dot. But it wouldn't stay either.

'That's the way I want to be,' thought Punchinello. I don't want anyone's marks.' So he asked the stickerless Wemmick how she did it.
'It's easy,' Lucia replied, 'Every day I see Eli'
'Eli?'
'Yes, Eli. The wood-carver. I sit in the workshop with Him.'
'Why?'
'Why don't you find out for yourself. Go up the hill. He's there. And with that the Wemmick with no marks turned and skipped away.

'But he won't want to see me!' Punchinello cried out. Lucia didn't hear. So Punchinello went home. He sat near a window and watched the wooden people as they scurried around giving each other stars and dots.

'It's not right.' he muttered to himself. And he resolved to go see Eli. He walked up the narrow path to the top of the hill and stepped into the big shop. His wooden eyes widened at the size of everything. The stool was as tall as he was. He had to stretch on his toes to see the top of the workbench. A hammer was as long as his arm. Punchinello swallowed hard.
'I'm not staying here!' and he turned to leave. Then he heard his name. 'Punchinello?' The voice was deep and strong. Punchinello stopped.
'Punchinello! How good to see you. Come and let me have a look at you.'
Punchinello turned slowly and looked at the large bearded craftsman. 'You know my name?' the little Wemmick asked.
'Of course I do. I made you.'
Eli stooped down and picked him up and set him on the bench. 'Hmm,' the maker spoke thoughtfully as he inspected the grey circles. 'Looks like you've been given some bad marks.'
'I didn't mean to, Eli I really tried hard.'
'Oh, you don't have to defend yourself to me, child. I don't care what the other Wemmicks think.'
'You don't?'
'No, and you shouldn't either. Who are they to give stars or dots? They're Wemmicks just like you. What they think doesn't matter, Punchinello. All that matters is what I think - and I think you are pretty special.'
Punchinello laughed. 'Me, special? Why? I can't walk fast. I can't jump. My paint is peeling. Why do I matter to you?'
Eli looked at Punchinello, put his hands on those small wooden shoulders, and spoke very slowly. 'Because you're mine. That's why you matter to me.'
Punchinello had never had anyone look at him like that - much less his maker. He didn't know what to say.
'Every day I've been hoping you'd come,' Eli explained.
'I came because I met someone who had no marks.'
'I know. She told me about YOU.'
'Why don't the stickers stay on her?'
'Because she has decided that what I think is more important then what they think. The stickers only stick if you let them.'
'The stickers only stick if they matter to you. The more you trust my love, the less you care about the stickers.'
'I'm not sure I understand.'

'You will but it will take time. You've got a lot of marks. For now, just come to see me every day and let me remind you how much I care.'
Eli lifted Punchinello off the bench and set him on the ground.
'Remember,' Eli said as the Wemmick walked out the door, 'You are special because I made you. And I don't make mistakes.'
Punchinello didn't stop, but in his heart he thought, 'I think he really means it.'
And when he did a dot fell to the ground.
(This story is taken from "Magazyn Baha'i Polsce" (Polish Baha'i Magazine) English Edition, January 1998, Vol 4, No.1, pp 10-11)
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HEALTH AND HEALING SEMINAR

Our community organized for the first time a seminar on 'Health and Healing' and to our joy it attracted many friends from the local area. A chiropractor who is a Baha'i and works at a Community Health Centre, discussed the evolution of medicine, alternatives in health care such as homeopathy, isopathy, diet and food combining, the need for harmony between science and religion as it relates to medicine and new methods of diagnosis. He prepared a very attractive handout containing many quotes from the Baha'i writings related to spiritual and physical health. There
was a dynamic spiritual force occuring in the room. The participants felt free to express their views and questions. They requested that the speaker return in the Fall for a follow up. What was new to them was the religion component to the field of medicine. We are excited that we identified a topic that interests our community and we encourage you to organize a similar event. We would be delighted to hear of your experiences of applying the healing teachings in your community and will include them in the newsletter. This quote by 'Abdu'l-Baha stresses this importance.

"Thou shouldst endeavour to study the science of medicine. It is extremely useful and serveth as the greatest instrument for the dissemination of the Cause." ('Abdu'l-Baha, From a Tablet - translated from the Persian)
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LETTERS
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The staff at "Health for Humanity" would like to thank you for sending us copies of your "Healing through Unity" Newsletter. There are always wonderful insights in the articles offered by the contributors, and it is good to have a place where questions can be asked and answered. It is very important to have established an ongoing dialogue among those of us who are concerned with the spiritual as well as the physical healing of mankind.
Caterina Bosio, Health for Humanity, Glencoe, Illinois, U.S.A
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Thank you for your beautiful initiative. I was touched by the content of your newsletter and by your own story and hope this endeavour will be blessed with continuity, inspiration and discoveries.
Denise Belisle, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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(Editor's note: The following are responses to the Ayyam-i-Ha greetings.)

We learn from each other's experiences and in this way we grow in spirit and it helps us all to become more united, to love and enjoy fellowship with all without fear and restriction. Baha'is are called upon to be the Community of the Most Great Name, to be a model of unity, so we have to start with ourselves as nobody else is going to do it for ourselves. Little by little, day by day, this Community tries to live up to the law of unity, and in so doing we grow bonds of unity around the world.

Thank you once again for all that you are doing through your newsletter. We are grateful that you have included Papua New Guinea on your list. Perhaps you can consider some practical way to foster "Healing Through Unity"
seminars in different areas around the world. People everywhere are basically looking for spiritual health although outwardly they think and believe that their material well-being and physical health is what really matters.
Mariette & Ho-San Leong, Papua New Guinea
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Thank you for your wonderful scroll and words. Our family sat down last night and the children with a great deal of love and laughter created 50 origami balloons from paper they had washed with watercolour. They then carefully inserted small bookmarks with 'illuminated' Hidden words that are laminated. Tomorrow night they will distribute them to all the friends at our Community party. It was wonderful to me to see my children having such a marvellous time making such simple gifts and the true love they have for so many friends. (They are 6 and 7) Jane Baker Jones, Palmerston, NT, Australia
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You don't know how my heart has been cheered by your healing newsletter which contains so many priceless rays of hope and comfort. Your Ayyam-i-Ha quotes were just icing on the cake.
Brit Regan, Scarborough, Ontario, Canada
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QUESTION OF THE MONTH
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The question for this month is: How can we arrange to make the time for prayers and devotions special?

Please share all your responses or if you have other comments for the newsletter, please write to Frances Mezei by e-mail: -- .

Other than the quoted Writings, the material in this newsletter represents the thoughts and opinions of the writers and has no authority. You are free to copy articles, provided you indicate the source of the article.

Love to your wonderful and blessed self,
Frances Mezei
Ontario, Canada
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HEALING THROUGH UNITY
May 1998

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of

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

Volume 1, Issue #10
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LISTENING TO OUR BODY
by Frances Mezei

"O Son of Man!
The temple of being is My throne; cleanse it of all things, that there I may be established and there I may abide." (Baha'u'llah, Hidden Words, Arabic #59)

The body is the temple of the human soul. It is important to have knowledge and understanding about our body, feel it, take care of it, like it and allow it to be healthy. Today the condition of our body is influenced by the perceptions and attitudes of our society's view of illness. Most of us grew up with little training on how to honour and nurture our body. Our bodily signs are often ignored mostly because we do not understand the deeper implications of them. We often resort to a quick fix and think that the problem will resolve on its own. There is a lot of pressure to believe
the advertisements that tell us to pop a pill and continue with life's many duties; that popping pills is the only cure.

Our illnesses or chronic diseases such as headaches, allergies, high blood pressure, asthmas, etc are among the greatest trials and sacrifices. We often think it is impossible to find a cure and to eradicate the disease. In the Baha'i Writings, there is much guidance from Baha'u'llah to take care and cleanse the body of its wastes as exhorted in this quote:

"...You 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)

When our body senses tiredness, heaviness, pain or discomfort, it is asking for our loving and kind attention. It demands that we listen to these bodily signs. We can rest, relax and pray, allowing the body to stop and do nothing. Some days we can have complete rest by staying in bed. This will assist the system to heal itself, adjusting severe imbalances which require a great amount of focus and energy. By putting our trust in God, this total relaxation will strengthen the healing power to perform its divinely ordained function. The stress is caused by trying to do something beyond the normal capability at that time. This is simply the natural God-given healing process; some of us call it a healing or spiritual crisis.

This story tells of a woman who is learning to take care of herself: Mary has been suffering from headaches and migraines for about 20 years. Each time a headache would surface, she would immediately take a pill. The pain
would lessen and then she would carry on with her duties. However, the headache would return, and Mary would continue to increase her intake of pills. She was very concerned about her dependency on pills which at times affected her stomach. She tried all kinds of alternative treatments and her headaches still persisted. Then she consulted with a doctor who educated her about the benefits of a healing crisis and that all true healing comes from God.

She is trying an experiment. Whenever she feels a headache, she will increase her intake of water, rest and take no pills. One month ago, Mary had a migraine and she was determined not to take one pill. She was pain-ridden for two days, wore a woolen hat and faced her internal battles of fears which were manifested through her headaches. It was a critical time which demanded bravery and reliance on Baha'u'llah. She faced it fair and square and emerged victorious, clear-eyed and triumphant. She discovered hidden and evident insights, thus liberating her. Mary also
noticed afterwards that her energy level increased and she was able to complete her tasks with a greater sense of simplicity and focus. She wants to continue to strive to practice these spiritual healing habits. She feels this is the key to beat this chronic disease and achieve detachment from pills.

Mary's consciousness has increased. She learned from her physician that when the headaches are suppressed by drugs the healing stops and the underlying imbalance remains, only to emerge at a later time. The headaches
continued to grow worse, and compounded over the years. This encouraged her to search for new solutions such as rest, drinking lots of water and saying prayers. She has learned how to welcome, abide and accept the healing process and thus safeguard her body which is the temple of the soul.
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GOD'S PERSONAL MESSAGES - THROUGH THE BODY
By William Saunders, M.D., Smyrna, Georgia, U.S.A

All true healing comes from God, and God has deposited within us His trust, the rational soul, the human spirit, He is closer to us than our own life vein, and He is constantly, uninterruptedly, sending us messages through our physical and spiritual senses. Listening to your body means to pay attention to the message He is sending and to respond to it in the way He wishes. Everyone receives His messages, He ensures that it is the proper response that is important. If we do not learn to respond, He increases the intensity: slight fatigue will gradually increase to total exhaustion, and mild discomfort to debilitating pain. The problem is not the unwelcomed message, which we have been taught to regard as a disease, to be destroyed at all costs, even our self destruction. The real problem is our lack of awareness to His divine health laws, which causes no discomfort and is not disagreeable. We adapt and learn to enjoy these
transgressions, we become attached to them, and refuse to detach ourselves from these practices which are squandering our innate resources, our strength and health, and depriving us of the God-given power to serve Him
at full power for a lifetime. Pain and discomfort do not result from these actions, they follow the attempts to continue to function at the level we were capable of achieving before we squandered our health by conforming to the standards of society. His messages are simple and clear, if you are sleepy, sleep, if you are tired, rest, if you are thirsty, drink pure water, and he has given specific written instructions. In the Most Holy Book is the injunction:
"Resort ye, in times of sickness, to competent physicians."

Abdu'l-Baha interprets this as follows:
"According to the explicit decree of Baha'u'llah one must not turn aside from the advice of a competent doctor. It is imperative to consult one even if the patient himself be a well-known and eminent physician. In short, the point is that you should maintain your health by consulting a highly-skilled physician."
(Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 156)

"It is incumbent upon everyone to seek medical treatment and to follow the doctor's instructions, for this is in compliance with the divine ordinance, but, in reality, He Who giveth healing is God." (ibid, p. 156)

In the Tablet to a Physician (included in this issue), written to a Persian physician more than a century ago, Baha'u'llah gives general and specific advice about health and healing. Of paramount importance is the advice:
"Treat disease first of all through diet, and refrain from medicine."

Equally important is the next statement:
"If you can find what you need for healing in a single herb, do not use a compound medicine."

The original of the Tablet is far more comprehensive than the translation implies, the word used is 'ahad', the Arabic word for 'one', 'a single unit', and could therefore apply to anything required: herb, drug, medicine, food or dish. Its essence is simplicity.

This advice is for physicians, and for the wise in the absence of physicians. Physicians should learn how to do this, and patients should demand that it be done. This will be a sign of the maturity of mankind and will carry us into the medicine of the future, and that future is now, if we dedicate ourselves to making it a reality through our actions, our
unity, and our obedience to His will.
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TABLET TO A PHYSICIAN
This unauthorized translation of the entire Tablet by Baha'u'llah is published in "Star of the West", Vol.13, No.9, p.152, Dec.1922.

O God! The Supreme Knower!
The Ancient Tongue speaks that which will satisfy the wise in the absence of physicians.
Say! O people! Do not eat except when you are hungry. Do not drink after you have retired to sleep. Exercise is good when the stomach is empty; it strengthens the muscles. When the stomach is full it is very harmful. Do not neglect medical treatment when it is necessary, but leave it off when the body is in good condition. Do not take nourishment except when (the process of) digestion is completed. Do not swallow until you have thoroughly masticated your food. Treat disease first of all through diet, and refrain from medicine. If you can find what you need for healing in a single herb, do not use a compound medicine. Leave off medicine when the health is good, and use them in case of necessity.
If two diametrically opposite foods are put on the table do not mix them. Be content with one of them. Take first the liquid food before partaking of solid food. The taking of food before that which you have already eaten is digested is dangerous. The compounding of one food with another is a danger of which you must beware. Begin meals with "In My Name, the All Glorious." End with "In the Name of the Possessor of heaven and earth." When you have eaten, walk a little, that the food may settle. That which is difficult to masticate is forbidden by the wise. Thus the Supreme Pen commands you. A light meal in the morning is as a light to the body. Avoid all harmful habits; they cause unhappiness in the world. Relate the diseases to their causes. This statement in this connection is a conclusive decree.

Verily the most necessary thing is contentment under all circumstances; by this one is preserved from morbid conditions and from lassitude. Yield not to grief and sorrow; they cause the greatest misery. Jealously consumeth
the body and anger doth burn the liver; avoid these two as you would a lion.

The main thing is to cleanse the body of its wastes, but in the temperate season. He who overeats, his illness becomes more severe. We have arranged for each thing a cause and we have bestowed upon it an effect. All this is from the effulglence of My Name which permeates all things. Your God is the Ruler in all things. Say! By adhering to that which we have set forth the humours of the body will not depart from their equilibrium nor will their set measure be upset by various conditions, for the primary substance will remain in its pristine purity and no change will occur in the normal proportion of one-sixth, and one-sixth of one sixth, and the twin active agents (qualities, properties) and the twin passive agents will remain intact; and in God must our trust be. There is no God but Him, the Healer, the Knower, the Helper.

The Supreme Pen has not written such words but for love of thee, that thou mayest know that grief has not siezed upon the Blessed Beauty. He is not sorrowful because of what has befallen Him from the nations. Sadness is for
him who loses his chance when it appears. Nothing on earth or in heaven is outside the grasp of God.

O physician! In treating the sick, first mention the Name of God, the Possessor of the Day of Judgement and then use what God hath destined for the healing of His creatures. By My Life! The physician who has drunk from the Wine of My Love, his visit is healing, and his breath is mercy and hope. Cling to him for the welfare of the constitution. He is confirmed by God in his treatment.

This science (of the healing arts) is the noblest of all the sciences, for it is the greatest means from God, the Life-Giver to the dust, for preserving the bodies of all people, and he has put it in the forefront of all sciences and wisdoms. It is indeed the most potent instrument provided by God, He Who breathes life into bones, for the protection of the bodies of men. He hath given it the foremost rank among all sciences and the knowledge of the wise. However, this is the day for thee to arise to help My Cause, while fully detached from all the worlds. Say! Thy name is my healing, O my God, and remembrance of Thee is my remedy. Nearness to thee is my hope, and love for Thee is my companion. Thy mercy to me is my healing and my succor in both this world and the world to come. Thou, verily, art the All-Bountiful, the All-Knowing, the All Wise.
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INFORMATION ON HOW COMMON MENTAL ILLNESS IS
Submitted by Nona Lynn Simons, Reno, Nevada, U.S.A,

Following is a synopsis of some important statistics on how common mental illness is in America, based on The National Institute of Mental Health Agenda, Web Page called "Mental Illness in America"
(http://www.nimh.nih.gov/research/amer.htm):

"...the most severe mental illnesses affect some 5 million American adults, causing inestimable suffering to these patients and their families.

"But these severely ill patients...represent only a part of a broader problem from which few families are immune, for mental disorders can and do occur from childhood to old age..." "Overall, one in ten Americans experience some disability from a diagnosable mental illness in the course of any given year."

"An analysis conducted for the Senate Appropriations Committee projected that appropriate and timely treatment of severe mental disorders would produce a 10 percent decrease in the use and cost of medical services by people with these illnesses, yielding savings greater than the cost of providing these treatment services."

"Affective (Mood) Disorders affect nearly 18 million Americans age 18 and older each year..."

This information points to a need for mental health awareness in this country, since so many people experience some disability from mental illness, and this also affects their family members and peers. Thus, I think this is a common problem which is important for us not to ignore. By educating ourselves about mental illness, I believe we can begin to learn strategies for coping with the family members or friends we are bound to encounter who are afflicted with some sort of mental disorder. As Baha'is, I believe we are obligated to learn more about this subject, as a way to help foster the growth of mature Local Spiritual Assemblies (Baha'i Institutions) who are loving shepherds to the friends in their communities. There are a few references on how Local Spiritual Assemblies and the friends can deal with mental illness in statements on this subject prepared by the Baha'i International Community.

It is hoped this information will be helpful to you in some way.
____________________________

THE EXCHANGE
____________________________

Question:
Here is another answer to the question asked in the March, 1998 issue: "How do we bring ourselves to account?"

Answer:
My 14 year old son and I review our day together when we say our evening prayers. We come up with at least one good thing and one thing we'd like to improve, and then we come up with at least three things we are grateful for in our day. "If we should offer a hundred thousand thanksgivings every moment to the threshold of God. . . we would fail to express our gratitude sufficiently." (`Abdu'l-Baha, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 37)

I'd been doing it on my own, but we started doing it together about 3 or 4 years ago, when I realized that for him to learn to do it, I had to model it. It's practically the only time of day we can be guaranteed to have any "real" dialogue. It really keeps the doors of communication open and he learns that I am not perfect. We often problem solve together - he helps me to strategize on improving my conduct in the days to come, as I help him.
Susan Gammage, Ontario, Canada
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THE VIRTUE OF ORDER
This is taken from Sacred Moments, Daily Meditation on the Virtues by Linda Kavelin Popov. It is a beautiful story about the art of focus.

"I have faced my fear of heights by climbing mountains, feel energized by speaking to large audiences, gladly take financial risks for the sake of a worthy venture and regularly take on my personal dragons. What sets my heart to fibrillating and weakens my knees is adminophobia - the fear of all the little tasks undone that grow like mold, that mock and whine, "You're not enough. You'll never get done." One morning after returning from a trip, an anxiety attack woke me early. Bleary-eyed, I got up and went to my prayer corner. "Help!", I said aloud, "I need real help! I just can't face the pile on my desk." I saw in my mind's eye a holy figure in the distance standing on a beach where I often saw him. He was smiling at me and beckoning. As I approached him, I noticed something colorful in his right hand, glinting in the sunlight. It was a set of pick-up-sticks, a game I played as a child. He lifted his head and raised his eyebrows, directing me to watch closely. He tossed the sticks onto the sand where they landed in a jumbled pile. He put his thumb and forefinger together and shook them with a wry expression which said "Watch this!" He bent
slightly from the waist and, without disturbing the rest of the pile, carefully and effortlessly picked up one red stick. He held it up with a triumphant smile and looked deep into my eyes. I quickly journaled the meditation, writing "One thing at a time." When I walked into the office, there was the expected pile left by my secretary. As my computer hummed to life, I picked up one thing from the teetering pile with thumb and forefinger. I handled it with calm,
focused concentration. By noon, my out-basket was brimming and my desk was mercifully clear.
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SPIRITUAL HEALTH HABITS
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Here are some essential elements for our spiritual and physical health from an eminent physician.

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
7) Simplify
8) Focus
9) Practice patience
10) Eat simple, natural plant foods
11) Drink adequate pure water
12) Evaluate progress daily
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LETTERS
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You are doing a great service to the community and I hope you will get lots of interest and support...This is an exciting project which I am sure will make the Writings of the Faith accessible and relevant to the friends.
Anne Maund, Editor - Baha'i Journal UK, United Kingdom
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Thank you for your warm welcome. I have printed all the newsletters and will distribute them via the National Spiritual Assembly to all the friends here.
Dr. Ramin Mohjir, Oman
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Thank you for sending the newsletter out to the world. You are doing a great and wonderful job. God bless you.
Joakim Larsen, Denmark
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I would like to subscribe to the Healing Through Unity Newsletter. My Mother forwarded the April, 1998 issue and the good works and thoughts presented in it have kept my mind working for weeks. Thank you very much.
Beverly Ketcham, Austin, Texas, U.S.A.
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QUESTION OF THE MONTH
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The question for this month is:
"How can we use humour and joy to assist with our health and well-being?"

"The star of happiness is in every heart; we must remove the clouds so that it may twinkle radiantly."
(Quoted by Martha Root in Star of the West, vol 13, p. 128)

Please share all your responses or if you have other comments for the newsletter, please write to: Frances Mezei by e-mail, -- .

Other than the quoted Writings, the material in this newsletter represents the thoughts and opinions of the writers and has no authority. You are free to copy articles, provided you indicate the source of the article. If you have a change of e-mail address or wish to unsubscribe the newsletter, please let me know. There are 10 issues per year; it is not published during July and August.

With most loving greetings,
Frances Mezei
Ontario, Canada
--




HEALING THROUGH UNITY
June 1998

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of

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

Volume 1, Issue #11
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"BEYOND THE TEARS IS SUNSHINE"

Stanwood Cobb, the renowned educator, wrote, "This philosophy of joy was the keynote of all Abdu'l-Baha's teachings. "Are you happy?" was His frequent greeting to his visitors. "Be Happy!" 'Those who were unhappy (and who of us are not at times!) would weep at this. And Abdu'l-Baha would smile as if to say, "Yes, weep on. Beyond the
tears is sunshine." "And sometimes He would wipe away with His own hands the tears from their wet cheeks, and they would leave His presence transfigured.' In California it was observed that 'despite the Master's fatigue at times, and His physical ailments, He welcomed everyone with a beaming smile, and in His pleasing and vibrant voice would ask,"Are you happy?"' He loved the sound of laughter and often told stories and anecdotes to make us laugh. When we heard Him laugh, we knew that He or someone else had told an amusing story, and the sound of His laughter made us all happy. Once the Master told us that during the most dangerous and trying times of His imprisonment Baha'u'llah would ask each member of the family to relate the most amusing incident or story they had experienced or heard that day. After the tale had been told, they would all roar with laughter." ( AnnaMarie Honnold, Vignettes from the Life of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 127 and Ramona Brown, Memories of Abdu'l-Baha, p.38)
__________________________

THE EXCHANGE
__________________________

Question:
In the May, 1998 issue, the question was asked: "How can we use humour and joy to assist with our health and well-being?"

Answers:
I would like to share with you a quote I have been pondering since the last Feast (April 8/98). The theme of the Feast was joy. Our consultation was centered on how to bring more joy into our own lives and into the life of the community.

This quote is from "Paris Talks" page 109.
"Joy gives us wings! In times of joy our strength is more vital, our intellect keener, and our understanding less clouded. We seem better able to cope with the world and to find our sphere of usefulness. But when sadness visits us we become weak, our strength leaves us, our comprehension is dim and our intelligence veiled. The actualities of life seem to elude our grasp, the eyes of our spirits fail to discover the sacred mysteries, and we become even as dead beings."

Such power joy gives us. The term "sphere of usefulness" jumped out for me. Also the idea that we fail to discover the sacred mysteries when our joy leaves us. How excited I was when I found this glorious Cause. How happy and intense I became, reading everything I could get my hands on, reveling in every new discovery and meaning. Our consultation centered more on how do we bring that spirit into our community to become attracting beacons of hope; so the community can help us from not becoming dead beings. As individuals we can read, meditate, say our prayers and draw closer to God but how do we translate that into the community? How do we find our sphere of usefulness as a community?

Sometimes our community gets bogged down and the light dims dangerously low. The only way out of a bog is to fly out. So if we need to fly we need wings and joy gives us wings. How do we create joy within the community? Sometimes just having the Feasts and Holy Days aren't enough, the event is held but the joy is missing.

If you have any ideas or thoughts about this please pass them on. I'm sure we all have had times when we have had to feed the flames of joy.
Lyda Greer, Hay River, Northwest Territories, Canada

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HAPPINESS IS A GREAT HEALER

Joy gives strength, has a healing effect. Unhappiness weakens and causes disease. True happiness resides in the spiritual world and is eternal, whereas all unhappiness resides in this material world of existence, therefore the more we detach ourselves from the material world and attach ourselves to the spiritual world, the more happy and spiritually strong we become. The direct means of achieving this is by detachment from all save God. Another powerful tool is the prayer "O God, refresh and gladden my spirit.." (Baha'i Prayers, U.S.A.,1985 edition, p. 152)
A very simple physical technique is simply to laugh daily. "One man, Norman Cousins, in his efforts to overcome a painful and debilitating disease, resorted to the exercise of positive emotions such as laughter. With the help of his physician he collected comic films and humorous books which he used regularly in order to laugh his illness away: 'I made the joyous discovery that ten minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anaesthetic effect and would give me at least two hours of pain-free sleep. When the pain-killing effect of the laughter wore off, we would switch on the motion-picture projector again, and, not infrequently, it would lead to another pain-free sleep interval.' "(Rusty Wright and Linda Wright, 500 Clean Jokes and Humorous Stories, p.21) How much more effective laughing can become when it is spiritualized! Thus you can see how interrelated these components are, each tied to all the others, supporting and being supported. This is not a "diet" or a treatment, it is a way of life. Be happy always.

"You must be happy always. You must be counted among the people of joy and happiness and must be adorned with divine morals. In a 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)
Dr. William Saunders, Smyra, Georgia, U.S.A.

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I have many humourous jokes and stories sent to me by email. The ones I like, I print out and put together in a humour journal. Then when I need to lift my spirits, they are all there for me to see.

I also subscribe to an online "Joke of the Day" list. These are clean jokes. * To join or leave the list, email:
<laughalot-request@graceweb.org> Send the message: Subscribe or Unsubscribe. (No other words!)
Susan Gammage, Ontario, Canada
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SUPPORT FOR FRIENDS IN NEED
By Nona Simons, Reno, Nevada, U.S.A

"We should all visit the sick. When they are are in sorrow and suffering it is a real help and benefit to have a friend come. Happiness is a great healer to those who are ill....The people in the East show the utmost kindness and compassion to the sick and suffering. This has greater effect than the remedy itself."
(Abdu'l-Baha, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 204)

How often do we think of our friends who are ill or indisposed and in need of extra help? It can be very comforting and an aid to healing for a person who is ill or indisposed to receive phone calls, visits, and help with practical things such as shopping, cooking, and house cleaning. Even though we all have busy schedules, we can all benefit from thinking about and helping our friends who really need it. The person who is giving the assistance to the one in need can receive all kinds of intangible benefits from showing their care and concern for another human being. The person receiving the assistance might feel a little less lonely and a little more loved, contributing to a positive attitude which aids in healing. When I was recuperating from a serious surgery several years ago, the phone calls I received were an
important highlight of the day, making me feel more connected to the world. One of my friends took me shopping when I couldn't drive, and I was able to buy things I wanted and needed, which aided in my recovery. Giving assistance to our friends and neighbors is something enjoined upon us by 'Abdu'l-Baha, and the example he has set in his life is one which all of us can try to follow. Not only does this sort of service aid the people involved directly, but the benefits can effect an entire Baha'i community, serving to increase unity, and helping the friends feel more connected and loved.
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ADVANCES IN HEALTH AND MEDICINE
By Cindy Moriarty-Schieven
Program Director and Nutritionist
Waters of Life Therapy Centers Inc., Hawaii
email: cindyms@interpac.net
web site: www.kshin.com/waterslife.html

"It is certain that in this wonderful new age the development of medical science will lead to the doctors' healing their patients with foods."
(Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 155)

This wondrous age, inspired by the lifegiving outpouring of energy and knowledge through the revelation of Baha'u'llah has inspired great advances in science, medicine and surgery. Not least among the great upwelling of
knowledge has been advances in understanding nutrition and health. But like all social and scientific processes, knowledge can be present and available long before the social and legal structures are present to make them available to humanity. Twenty three years ago when I was a sick young person I began to investigate health techniques that would help me. I was born with a congenital heart condition and had open heart surgery at the age of six. Although the surgery and medical techniques were truly new and miraculous, allowing me a life that would have ended in previous times, medical knowledge of the time did not understand the negative effects that surgery and drug therapy can have on a child and I suffered for years from serious health concerns including chronic infections. At age 18, I suffered a cardiac arrest with CPR for 2 hours and a period of coma. By intensive study and the assistance of a few health practitioners I developed a lifestyle that allowed me to remain strong despite frequent surgery, chronic heart problems and other continuous challenges and learned to prevent heart disease related to coronary artery disease. I share this personal information to illustrate how times change and new knowledge becomes known and accepted. Twenty years ago when I investigated nutrition as a supportive step to health my doctors warned me not to listen to quacks. If I had not researched and learned to apply this excellent knowledge, I would have been a very sick person indeed and Baha'u'llah has presented challenges to help me to continue to learn and develop new techniques.
Now doctors and the public are aware of nutrition and holistic techniques and reccomend nutrients to the level that I used them 20 years ago. Take vitamin E and C. Use herbs for colds, etc. This is heartening but also frustrating because 20 years of research and knowledge has gone on during this process and the knowledge is quite staggering and incredibly helpful. We now understand nutrition related syndromes that cause mental illness which leads from depression to Schizophrenia which is actually a linked disease process. They are due to specific imbalances in the body.

( Editor's note: The author has written a description and a summary of symptoms of various illnesses such as Pyroluria, Histadelia, Histapenia, Cancer, HIV/Aids and other Ills which could not be included here due to lack of space. However, if you wish to read this information, please e-mail her at cindyms@interpac.net or write her at Waters of Life Therapy Centers Inc. HCR 1 Box 5352 Kea'au, Hawaii )
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HEALING THROUGH UNITY IN THE U.S. SPACE PROGRAM
By Orval H. Minney, DSc
Santa Maria, CA, U.S.A.

In a previous issue (January, 1998), I spoke of the six methods of healing mentioned by Abdu'l Baha in "Some Answered Questions" and referenced some of my experience using these concepts in my work on the U.S. Manned Space Program. This raised the question of how these Healing Through Unity ideas were applicable. Obviously, they were not officially recognized by the NASA as the source of our pursuit but were my own interpretations and
utilizations as a scientist researching the problems of maintaining the health, well being and optimal functioning of the astronauts .

The greatest contribution of the Apollo Project, which landed man on the moon, is recognized by scholars of civilization's evolutionary history as not the landing itself but the management and control system developed by
government, academia and industry to integrate the work of thousands of companies and organizations developing hundreds of thousands of material and psychological units, parts and elements into a single goal oriented program and achievement. Compare this to the human mind developing and maintaining the dynamic balance or homeostasis, spoken of by Abdu'l-Baha, of millions of cells, tissues, systems, organs and structures into an evolving and functional human being able to perform at levels never before seen in evolutionary creation. As a life scientist, this was the vision of my quest.

The challenge to place a man on the moon, to go where no human had ever gone before, meant a new paradigm had to be developed and pursued. We had to develop spiritual, psychological and physical criteria for the first explorers or astronauts. Then, it was necessary to develop training programs and improve and maintain their health, mental alertness and physical acumen at the pinnacle of human achievement. As a member of the original Apollo research team, I turned to the Baha'i Writings. Nothing in academia had prepared us for the task we faced. Man was being sent, not only as a integral functioning subsystem in a totally integrated mission system, but was expected to be a guinea pig and observer as well. Medical practice was oriented toward curing diseases, but we were expected to make healthy men healthier and keep them that way under conditions of stress never before experienced. It was this challenge that caused me to consider the six methods of healing as a guideline for developing criteria for use in my research.

If we consider a human as being of four elements; material (the physical body), spirit (the animating force or energy of the body), mind (the non-material mental or thought processes), and soul (the transcendent and true essence of the individual), then it was necessary to consider not just the functioning or treatment of any one of these elements but to integrate and optimize all of them into a single holistic self. Each experiment provided data on the process or element being tested or trained but then had to be integrated and optimized with the total psyche, physique and functional abilities of the subject being tested. Our work included elements of eastern philosophy and yoga, allopathic and alternative biomedical practices, modern psychology and psychometrics, and bioenvironmental sciences.

In the Apollo Space Program we explored the unknowns of Healing Through Unity in that complex organism called man as a holistic entity within a equally unknown and integrated artificial environment in a hostile space environment.
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SPIRITUAL HEALTH HABITS
__________________________

Here are some essential elements for our spiritual and physical health from an eminent physician.

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
7) Simplify
8) Focus
9) Practice patience
10) Eat simple, natural plant foods
11) Drink adequate pure water
12) Evaluate progress daily
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LETTERS
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What a beautiful surprise to see on my email this morning such an outstanding newsletter. My heart just soared and I had to call my mother and read it to her. She was so excited and said, " Wow I was just reading about that". Thanks so much for the breath of fresh air. I am the coordinator for The Power of Race Unity project that is taking place for
the first time in Alaska and after reading your newsletter I now have many more ideas as well I plan to share it with other fellow members. Thanks so much for the hard work, time and very obvious devotion. My love and prayers will be with you.
Vinita and Travis Norman, Fairbanks, Alaska, U.S.A
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The newsletters are getting better and better with each issue....It is so spiritually uplifting and its incredible how each person's contribution is so enriching!
Ranzie Mensah, Aosta, Italy
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I enjoy so much receiving this wonderful newsletter you've put together. What a wonderful service you are providing to a large and growing number of people!
Meim Smith, Auxiliary Board Member for Southern Ontario, Canada
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Dearest Friends,

It is the end of the first year of the ‘Healing Through Unity' newsletter. It has been so beautiful to observe and admire the exchange of information, caring and sensitivity among the friends. How fortunate we are to have this
type of healing and support during our struggles and victories. Each one of you has been led to ‘Healing Through Unity' to enhance, encourage, serve and sweeten each other and the larger community. Each one of you has contributed a wealth of knowledge and experience of the diversity of the acquisition of perfect health. "...God willing, be freed from all spiritual afflictions, and may attain unto perfect health..." (Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 108) Together as one united spiritual family, we are learning to understand the implication and wisdom of the Baha'i Writings on the subject of physical and spiritual health as delineated in the emerging World Order of Baha'u'llah.

There are now 400 listed subscribers from 42 countries/territories. Please continue to share your news, stories and ideas over the summer. I wish you a joyful and happy summer while basking in the sunshine and love of God. I look forward to our second year of ‘Healing Through Unity' which will resume in September and to the treasures of the future in the field of medicine.

My heart is very grateful for your warmth,
encouragement and support.
Frances Mezei
Ontario, Canada
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HEALING THROUGH UNITY NEWSLETTER

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of

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

September 1998

Volume 2, Issue #1

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"Systematization ensures consistency of lines of action based on well-conceived plans. In a general sense, it implies an orderliness of approach in all that pertains to Baha'i service, whether in teaching or administration, in individual or collective endeavour. While allowing for individual initiative and spontaneity, it suggests the need to be clear-headed, methodical, efficient, constant, balanced and harmonious. Systematization is a necessary mode of functioning animated by the urgency to act."

(The Universal House of Justice to the Baha'is of the World, Ridvan Message 155)

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AN INDIVIDUAL ATTEMPT AT A SYSTEMATIC PLAN FOR TRANSFORMATION

By Michael Teske, Haifa, Israel

I wish to share with you my attempt at a systematic plan for transformation. First I will give you a little background as to how this developed, and then I will explain the program. Some of you might be familiar with Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America. Well, apparently when he was a young man, he was notorious for his ill manners and poor and rude behavior; he was also quite promiscuous -- leading some to say that he is the father of our country (the United States). Anyway, at some point in his life he wanted to change, but he realized that everytime he tried to change his behavior he would become paralyzed or nothing would happen because he would be trying to change everything at once. He recognized that he could only accomplish a transformation if he focussed on one thing at a time. So he looked at a year, there are 52 weeks in a year, divide by 4 and you have 13. So he chose 13 qualities that he would like to develop or improve within himself and decided to focus on one of these qualities each week. Week number one he only focussed on quality number one; week number two he only focussed on quality number two, and forgot about quality number one, etc... So in this way he worked through all the qualities in 13 weeks and then repeated this four times so that at the end of one year he had worked on each quality a total of four times and could get excited about the progress that he made.

About two years ago, I attempted to put this same program into action here with a slight twist... I chose 13 things about myself that I wanted to develop or strengthen within myself, and then associated these with the names of 13 of the 19 names of the Baha'i months. Well I wrote all of this down on a sheet of paper, and now I do not even remember how much I followed this plan -- perhaps it was only a couple of weeks and then I somehow got distracted and the paper got lost amongst my ever growing stacks of papers. Anyway, about one month ago as I was saying the Long Obligatory Prayer one evening, as is often the case, I was battling stray or seemingly random thoughts. In this case the thought that popped into my mind was wondering about systematic plans as mentioned in this year's Ridvan message 155 from the Universal House of Justice to the Baha'is of the World. Immediately I wondered where this piece of paper was that I had written down this transformation plan some two years before, knowing that it must be in a particular stack of papers. I then fought with myself, saying that hey, I am in the middle of praying here and letting stray thoughts distract me. Just then another thought pops into my mind... In "The Secret of Divine Civilization" Abdu'l-Baha mentions "attributes of perfection" and there seems to be somewhere between 10 to 15 of these -- I wonder if there are 13 and if so maybe I should do the "Benjamin Franklin Transformation Plan" with these "Attributes of Perfection". Oh, hey now I am in the middle of prayer and I am letting myself get distracted again, but I must promise myself to remember to look this up in the morning when I go to work, as my book is in the office.

The next morning when I got to work I immediately counted 13 attributes of perfection... so since then for the last month I have been pursuing a plan of action of focussing on one attribute of perfection a week. I just completed the fourth week and the fourth attribute of perfection.... Now as I proceed I am becoming even more excited, as I realize that in 13 weeks I will have gone through all these 13 attributes of perfection one time; then for the rest of the year I will revise what I have compiled three times.... this seems like a powerful method of developing and reviewing material as well as a potentially potent path towards tremendous transformation. Only time will tell for sure...., but don't necessarily discard those stray thoughts that come to you in prayer... it might be the only time your brain is relaxed enough for God to send you a message.

I hope that you find this useful or that it stimulates you in a different direction useful for your own self, remembering that everything we do is a process towards growth -- my previous attempts at individual systematic plans of transformation have led me to this new stage of development... May Baha'u'llah assist each one of you in your own struggles towards perfection!

ATTRIBUTES OF PERFECTION

(Summarized from "The Secret of Divine Civilization", Abdu'l-Baha, pp. 35-40)

(1) learning and the cultural attainments of the mind

(2) justice and impartiality

(3) to arise with complete sincerity and purity of purpose to educate the masses

(4) to fear God

(5) to love God by loving His servants

(6) to exercise mildness and forbearance and calm

(7) to be sincere, amenable, clement and compassionate

(8) to have resolution and courage, trustworthiness and energy

(9) to strive and struggle

(10) to be generous, loyal, without malice

(11) to have zeal and a sense of honor

(12) to be high-minded and magnanimous

(13) to have regard for the rights of others

(Editor's note: If you have begun a similiar systematic plan for your own transformation, we would be interested to hear and learn from you.)

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A DOCTOR'S VIEW OF HEALTH

By Dale Sims, Ontario, Canada

On television, I watched this wise, female obstetrician and gynecologist -Dr. Christiane Northrup - speaking about health. Here are some of the steps to creating health which she prescribes:

1. Listen to your body.

2. To say twice a day to yourself in the mirror - daily for 30 days - "I accept myself unconditionally right now." This will bring out all your 'voices' for nonacceptance of yourself loud and clear.

3. Identify the desire to create and your power of intent.

4. Understand the law of attraction.

5. Embrace the potential of your biology - get in touch and think about something or someone you love unconditionally. Do this regularly.

6. Get support.

7. Walk away from negativity. Don't read the newspaper.

8. Internalize completion regularly. Regularly take account of what you have accomplished and regularly identify your strengths without denying the weaknesses that need work.

9. Don't blame. Forgive. (You forgive to free up yourself.)

10. Appreciate where you are right now and pay attention to it.

It was so refreshing to listen and to learn from her - much of what she had to share was common sense. She ended up with a quote from Albert Schweitzer "All healing is self healing." In the Baha'i Writings it states, "All true healing comes from God." (Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p.19) We are also told "Turn thy sight unto thyself, that thou mayest find Me standing within thee, mighty, powerful and self-subsisting." (Baha'u'llah, Hidden Words, Arabic #13) so perhaps Schweitzer was right.

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THE MOST BEAUTIFUL FLOWER

Submitted by Jeff and Jane Rhodes, Aptos, CA, U.S.A.

The park bench was deserted as I sat down to read
Beneath the long, straggly branches of an old willow tree.
Disillusioned by life with good reason to frown,
For the world was intent on dragging me down.

And if that weren't enough to ruin my day,
A young boy out of breath approached me, all tired from play.
He stood right before me with his head tilted down
And said with great excitement, "Look what I found!"

In his hand was a flower, and what a pitiful sight,
With its petals all worn - not enough rain, or too little light.
Wanting him to take his dead flower and go off to play,
I faked a small smile and then shifted away.

But instead of retreating he sat next to my side
And placed the flower to his nose and declared with overacted surprise,
"It sure smells pretty and it's beautiful, too.
That's why I picked it; here, it's for you."

The weed before me was dying or dead.
Not vibrant of colors, orange, yellow or red.
But I knew I must take it, or he might never leave.
So I reached for the flower, and replied, "Just what I need."

But instead of him placing the flower in my hand,
He held it mid-air without reason or plan.
It was then that I noticed for the very first time
That weed-toting boy could not see: he was blind.

I heard my voice quiver, tears shone like the sun
As I thanked him for picking the very best one.
"You're welcome," he smiled, and then ran off to play,
Unaware of the impact he'd had on my day.

I sat there and wondered how he managed to see
A self-pitying woman beneath an old willow tree.
How did he know of my self-indulged plight?
Perhaps from his heart, he'd been blessed with true sight.

Through the eyes of a blind child, at last I could see
The problem was not with the world; the problem was me.
And for all of those times I myself had been blind,
I vowed to see the beauty in life, and appreciate every second that's mine.

And then I held that wilted flower up to my nose
And breathed in the fragrance of a beautiful rose
And smiled as I watched that young boy, another weed in his hand
About to change the life of an unsuspecting old man.

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PUSHING AGAINST THE ROCK

Author unknown

Submitted by Susan Gammage, Muskoka, Ontario, Canada

There was a man who was asleep one night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light and the Savior appeared. The Lord told the man He had a work for him to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might. This the man did, day after day. For many years he toiled from sun up to sun down, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock pushing with all his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain.

Seeing that the man was showing signs of discouragement, Satan decided to enter the picture placing thoughts into the man's mind such as; "You have been pushing against that rock for a long time and it hasn't budged. Why kill yourself over this, you are never going to move it? etc." Thus, giving the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure.

These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man even more. "Why kill myself over this?" he thought. "I'll just put in my time, giving just the minimum of effort and that will be good enough." And that he planned to do until one day he decided to make it a matter of prayer and take his troubled thoughts to the Lord. "Lord" he said, "I have labored long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock a half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?"

To this the Lord responded compassionately, "My friend, when long ago I asked you to serve me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push. And now you come to me, your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But, is that really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back sinewed and brown, your hands are callused from constant pressure, and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. Yet you haven't moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your faith and trust in My wisdom. This you have done. I, my friend, will now move the rock."

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TRUST IN GOD

By Dr.William Saunders, Smyrna, Georgia, U.S.A.

Trust in Him attracts the divine confirmations, opens new spiritual connections, and unfastens the divine healing power latent within all of us, and which is closer to us than our own life vein. How do we trust God? By practice. Our actions demonstrate in whom we trust. Our thoughts are also actions. Think of Him, thank Him, supplicate Him, praise Him, be patient in Him, love Him, worship Him, and obey Him. Set up simple routines: say the Greatest Name 95 times, God is most glorious, or Allah-u-Abha, intone or chant the short healing prayer, the long healing prayer, as the spirit moves you or as you are instructed by your physician. The effect at first may be unnoticeable, but if you persist, its benefits will blossom forth and become as obvious as the noonday sun.

"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." (Baha'u'llah, Arabic Hidden Words,#8)

"Hold ye fast unto the cord of means and place your trust in God, the Provider of all means." (Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, page 30)

__________________________

SPIRITUAL HEALTH HABITS

__________________________

Here are some essential elements for our spiritual and physical health from an eminent physician.

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 always happy

7) Simplify

8) Focus

9) Practice patience

10) Go at your own pace

11) Eat simple, natural plant foods

12) Drink adequate pure water

13) Evaluate progress daily, summarize weekly

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LETTERS

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Thanks again for sending me this wonderful newsletter. This issue (June 1998) is of particular interest to me. You know how much joy and laughter brings to my heart. It is truly a gift that God has given us and it seems that sometimes we don't appreciate this gift as much as we should. Sometimes we think that we must be serious to be spiritual. Laughter in itself is serious. I think perhaps we make the mistake of thinking that all laughter and humour is foolishness.

Shirlee Smith, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

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Your lastest issue, June 1998, ( thanks for sending it!) is wonderful. I'm a performing songwriter and use lots of humor in my performances. I think music is an especially healing medium! My new album "Bird" is out......

Susan Lewis Wright, Denver, CO, U.S.A.

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I have to add my accolades to those you've already received. It is truly a fabulous newsletter with many ideas, tips, quotations and stories. I'll be looking forward to the forthcoming issues in the Fall.

Natalie Reyes, California, U.S.A.

................................

Thank you so much for your wonderful newsletter. I work in organizational development with General Electric Company and have my PHD in industrial/organizational psychology. I only graduated about 12 months ago and am trying on a mindset of seeing myself as an organizational physician - and your newsletter re-invigorates much of my thinking along those lines.

Thank you so much!

Johanna Merritt, Richmond, Virginia, U.S.A.

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OCTOBER ISSUE

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The focus of the October, 1998, issue will be on the area of abuse. We would be interested to hear from you if you have explored useful and practical ways in dealing with this difficult and painful subject of abuse. Please share all your responses or if you have other comments for the newsletter, please write to: Frances Mezei by e-mail, -- .

Other than the quoted Writings, the material in this newsletter represents the thoughts and opinions of the writers and has no authority. You are free to copy articles, provided you indicate the source of the article. If you have a change of e-mail address or wish to unsubscribe the newsletter, please let me know. There are 10 issues per year; it is not published during July and August.

Dearest Friends,

It never ceases to amaze me the number of people who wish to join our family. The spirit is catching on and I often find myself saying "Oh Lord, increase my astonishment in Thee!" We are a family and our unity will increase our individual powers a thousand fold, through the power of the Holy Spirit and by following His teachings.

An important part of the newsletter is the exchange of ideas among the readers. Your answers are encouraged and essential because you are thinking your experiences through in a fresh and practical way and then sharing them with the other readers. This will increase our learning, understanding, connections and unity. This will also hopefully assist us to focus on a shift in attitude within ourselves from backing away from sickness to going towards perfect health. To follow this new path is to focus on the Writings of Baha'u'llah, 'Abdu'l-Baha, Shoghi Effendi and The Universal House of Justice which is the essence of our well being and reality.

I am looking forward to our second year of the "Healing Through Unity" newsletter and may we arise to greater heights of spiritual connections, growth and health. Please be assured of my deepest gratitute and respect for each one of you. Be filled with happiness and derive joy from the melody of the word of God.

Frances Mezei

Ontario, Canada

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HEALING THROUGH UNITY NEWSLETTER

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of

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

October 1998

Volume 2, Issue #2

_____________________________________________________

"HEALING THROUGH UNITY" COURSE NOW AVAILABLE

By Dale Sims and Frances Mezei

In Puslinch, Ontario, Canada, Dale Sims and Frances Mezei had the bounty of giving a "Healing Through Unity" Course. The course's mandate was on spiritual education, training and application of the Baha'i teachings on health and healing. There were 17 participants and the course was held for four consecutive weeks. Each class was two hours long. We covered topics such as: Dealing with Imbalance, Spiritual and Material Healing, Specific Solutions toward Healing, Causes of Disease and the Effect of Disease on the Soul. We were striving to follow this new path of healing by focusing on the Baha'i Writings rather then on our own personal opinions. We would break the class into two groups and each group would have their own Writings to study as well as to consult how they could develop skills for their health based on the quotes studied. This course also included other creative and enjoyable exercises. We would serve simple refreshments such as fruits, nuts and water or juice to drink. There was a keenness about this subject of health which was very positive and infectious. We were amazed at the wealth of understanding that is in the participants and were happily verified and strengthened with focusing on the quotes. A lot of sharing, insights and practical tips were a great benefit to us all. Here are some comments from the participants at the end of the course.

One person said "I learned about balance and simplicity". Another person shared "This method to study the quotes by asking questions helped me to detach from my own views and get a handle on the words in the Writings. I had to learn discipline". One person said "They had learned to focus on the word "competent" when thinking of a physician."

Due to the success of the course, we came up with the idea to prepare kits so anyone in your community could give the course. A kit costs $15.00 Cdn Funds if mailed to an address in Canada or $15.00 U.S. Funds if mailed outside Canada. It would be a practical and useful way for different communities located in various countries to conduct this course and then perhaps share their findings and insights to the other readers of the "Healing Through Unity" newsletter. This would advance the process in systematic sharing of insights on health. We hope you will consider this exciting possibility.

If you are interested in receiving the "Healing Through Unity" Course kit, please write to Frances Mezei at -- .

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( Editor's note: In the September, 1998 issue, people were encouraged to share their insights and experiences on the subject of abuse.)

THE HEALING POWER OF THE LOCAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY AND THE INSTITUTIONS OF THE FAITH

"Name Withheld"

Bringing a problem to a Local Spiritual Assembly, and receiving the prayers and support of that Institution of our Beloved Faith, can be a very healing process for the individual involved. This is a concept I have worked with on all levels of our Baha'i Administration, with astonishingly successful results......I have also come to believe that prayer outreach and support for the friends can be a very important service for an Assembly to perform. The following quotations from our writings seem to back up the idea that we have a wonderful power in our teachings and institutions.

Abdu'l-Baha has stated: "'Abdu'l-Baha is constantly engaged in ideal communication with any Spiritual Assembly which is instituted through divine bounty, and the members of which are in the utmost devotion turning to the divine kingdom and are firm in the Covenant. To them He is heartily attached and with them He is united by everlasting ties." ( The Universal House of Justice, The Local Spiritual Assembly, An Institution of the Baha'i Administrative Order, p. 6)

"These Spiritual Assemblies are aided by the Spirit of God...From them the spirit of life streameth in every direction. They, indeed, are the potent sources of the progress of man, at all times and under all conditions." (ibid, p. 6)

...In the mid 1990's, I had my first encounter with an Assembly which extended an invitation to the friends in its orbit who needed prayer support to meet with that Assembly for prayers. When the invitation to receive support from that Assembly was extended to me, I gladly accepted, as I was dealing with healing from the discovery of a problem of incest in my biological family. It was such a painful process, that it was difficult to find a place where I could cry safely.

When I met with that lovely Assembly, I was showered with prayers and love for at least 45 minutes, and was able to have a needed cry. I did not want to burden that Assembly, as they resided in a different jurisdiction from my own community, but would occasionally meet with them, or send a written prayer request which they acknowledged. Their prayers made me feel loved and cared about, a concept which I tried to introduce to my own Assembly of jurisdiction when I was going through the process of severing ties with my biological relatives. I felt that if I told my story to an Institution of God and received validation, that my wounded heart might receive some sort of healing. My local Assembly gave careful consideration to my comments, however, could not validate my desire to "divorce" my biological family as there were no specific teachings on this subject. This led to my reframing the request to receiving support for obtaining a Waiver of Familial Obligations, and submitting the reframed request to a higher institution, the National Spiritual Assembly....The process of compiling the requested material and submitting it to an Institution of God was astonishingly healing. As a result of telling my life story to an Institution of God (in a 3-1/2 inch 3 ring binder providing a history of my situtation, descriptions of past life events, copies of correspondence between me and several family members, a list of the spiritual principles involved and a list of books I read and seminars I attended to become educated on these issues), I received a profound spiritual healing which included being relieved of a problem of free-floating fear/anxiety in the workplace which I had been plagued with for over 20 years. I also became less afraid to speak my truth and became an advocate for other survivors of abuse. While awaiting for a response from the National Spiritual Assembly, I continued a correspondence on these matters that I had been engaging in with the Universal House of Justice, and asked for prayers from the House regarding my experiences which I felt could help other incest/abuse survivors with similar problems to mine, to heal from their wounds. The prayers of the House sustained me during this period of waiting. Additionally, I remained high functioning in the workplace and my marriage remained intact...The National Spiritual Assembly could not rule specifically on the issue of whether a Waiver of Familial Obligations could be granted, however, the magnitude of the suffering of my family members and myself were acknowledged and validated, and I received wonderful deepening materials on the subject that are hard to find in the current published Baha'i literature. My sense of feeling abandoned and sad over the loss of my biological family was greatly reduced as a result of receiving the written and prayerful support of the National Spiritual Assembly. This is because I felt loved and cared for by an Institution that responded to every care and concern I had....

I would look forward to communicating with any lay or professional people who are interested in the spiritual outlook, about how this subject can be further explored and developed.

(Editor's Note: If you are interested in communicating with the author, please forward your e-mail address to the "Healing Through Unity" newsletter with a brief note and we will forward it to the author's address.)

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The Baha'i Network on AIDS, Sexuality, Addictions and Abuse has a website at http://www.globweb.com/bnasaa/. The abuse section contains a number of articles written by the House of Justice, as well as articles on various aspects of abuse, all from the Baha'i Writings. These articles cover the following issues: Types of abuse, Value in Recalling Events which happened long ago, Effects on the individual, Effects on the Abuser, The Recovery Process, Severe Mental tests, Role of Others, and Breaking the Cycle of violence and abuse. This section is wonderful for those dealing with this issue, but is generic enough to cover a broad spectrum of issues relating to spiritual transformation as well.

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BAHA'U'LLAH I've Got The Blues

By Lyda Greer, Hay River, Northwest Territories, Canada

Laden with tests. You say are good for me
I know You would never overburden my soul
Your healing message isn't getting through to me
That's my problem I know
I'm stuck here in my humanness
Baha'u'llah I've got the blues
You wish me joy and happiness
You let no harm beset me in times of tests
These promises of Yours I know
And in my heart believe
For now I'm trapped within my humanness
Baha'u'llah I've got the blues
You are my Remover of my difficulties
The Dispeller of my grief
And all You ask of me
Is that I bare witness to my belief
Yet I can't rise above my humanness
Baha'u'llah I've got the blues
You offer me wings of joy
And hold me as I weep
You call me to a higher place
But my feet are planted deep into my humanness
Baha'u'llah I've got the blues
You befriend me in my loneliness
You refresh my drooping soul
You deprive me not of Thy Wonderous Grace
Still I revel in my humanness
Baha'u'llah I've got the blues
My spirit crawls along the ground
My soul cries out in pain
Only now can I put pen and paper to proclaim Your Name
The paint explores my humanness and sets my spirit free
Baha'u'llah Thank-you for the blues.

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"WOMEN'S BODIES, WOMEN'S WISDOM

By Dale Sims, Ontario, Canada

I wish to share with you excerpts from "Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom" written by Dr. Christian Northrup (obstetrician and gynecologist), 890 pages - revised in March, 1998 which I find extremely helpful and thought that you may too. Despite the focus on women and their bodies, this book would be enjoyed by men as well.

FEELINGS

* Feelings are facts. Pay attention to them.
* Once an experience is consciously named and internalized, physically and emotionally, it can no longer influence us unconsciously.
* Many times healing cannot begin until we allow ourselves to feel how bad things are (or were in the past).
* We take responsibility for our own feelings and our own life.
* Part of creating health is allowing others to go through their own learning process.
* Hope, self-esteem and education are the most important factors in creating health daily.
* You don't need to know why your heart is racing or why you feel like crying. Understanding comes after you have allowed yourself to experience what you're feeling.
* The purpose of emotions, regardless of what they are, is to help us feel and participate fully in our own lives. To become aware of our inner guidance system, we must learn to trust our emotions. This isn't always so easy, because many of us have been taught to live our lives as though we were in a constant emergency situation.
* Remember, it is not the emotion itself that causes the problem - it is the inability to express the emotion fully, release it, and respond to the situation in a healthy, adaptive fashion.
* We cannot feel the heights of our joy unless we have felt the depths of our sadness.

OUR MINDS AND BELIEFS

* Though each of us is bombarded by millions of stimuli daily, our central nervous system and sense organs function in such a way as to choose and process only those stimuli that reinforce what we already believe about ourselves.
* The mind is located throughout the body.
* The mind can no longer be thought of as being confined to the brain or the intellect; it exists in every cell of our bodies.
* The intellect works best in service to our intuition, our inner guidance, soul, God, or higher power - whichever term we choose for the spiritual energy that animates life.
* Thoughts are just one part of our body's wisdom. A thought held long enough and repeated enough becomes a belief. The belief then becomes biology. Beliefs are energetic forces that create the physical basis for our individual lives and our health.
* It is important to understand that our beliefs go much deeper than our thoughts, and we cannot simply will them away. Many beliefs are completely unconscious and are not readily available to the intellect.
* It is a leap of faith that acknowledges the fact that all of us have inner guidance available within us and that this guidance has the power to remove our harmful beliefs.
* For a woman to change or improve her reality and her state of health, she first has to change her beliefs about what is possible.

HEALING OURSELVES

* Curing, which is what doctors are called upon to do, usually consists of an external treatment; medication or surgery is used to mask or eliminate symptoms. This external treatment doesn't necessarily address the factors that contributed to the symptoms in the first place. Healing goes deeper than curing and must always come from within.
* By the "wisdom of the body", I mean that we must learn to trust that the symptoms in the body are often the only way that the soul can get our attention. Covering up our symptoms with external "cures" prevents us from healing the parts of our lives that need attention and change.
* For healing to occur, we must come to see that we are not so much responsible for our illnesses as are responsible to them. The healthiest people I know don't take their diseases or even their lives too personally. They spend very little time beating themselves up about their illnesses, their life circumstances, or anything else.
* Healing can occur in the present only when we allow ourselves to feel, express, and release emotions from the past that we have suppressed or tried to forget. I call this emotional incision and drainage.
* When a woman comes to me because she is having panic attacks or crying spells, I know that some emotional material is ready to come up to be processed. To observers who haven't experienced the deep process, she may appear to be "losing it", "going off the deep end," or "getting out of control". She is not "out of control" however; she is simply allowing a healing process to arise within the body. Only the intellect has lost control - it has taken a back seat to the innate wisdom of the body.
* Our bodies function best when we're doing work that feels exactly right to us. If we want to know God's will for us, all we have to do is look to our gifts and talents - that is where we will find it.
* I learned that when I take care of myself, everything else takes care of itself.

____________________________________________________

This poem was written by Hand of the Cause of God Adelbert Muhlschlegel, translated into English by his daughter.

Climb on unceasingly
For if you tried to shun the heights
To seek in gardens fair delights
You'd wander restlessly
So, climb unceasingly
Be your own self, be free
Whatever tempts you left or right
Alluring, teasing, twinkling bright
It scatters instantly
So be yourself, be free
Climb on unceasingly
And if it trying, do not moan
It is your path, your path alone
So be yourself, be free
And climb unceasingly.

_________________________

SPIRITUAL HEALTH HABITS

__________________________

Here are some essential elements for our spiritual and physical health from an eminent physician.

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

7) Simplify

8) Focus

9) Practice patience

10) Eat simple, natural plant foods

11) Drink adequate pure water

12) Evaluate progress daily, summarize weekly

-------------------------------

LETTERS

-------------------------------

Thank you very much for your beautiful newsletter. My sincere love surrounds you.

Our goal should be to enter into the Kingdom of God and have all of our activities centered in that realm. Abdul'Baha tell us that in order to do this we should develop qualities such as: the love of God, truthfulness, steadfastness, faithfulness, holiness and chasity and the sacrifice of life. These virtues are mentioned in page 282 of Some Answered Questions.

Baha'u'llah gives us some quidelines on how to accomplish this by using the power of the Most Great Name. He writes, "Walk thou high above the world of being through the power of the Most Great Name, that thou mayest become aware of the immemorial mysteries and become acquainted with that wherewith no one is acquainted. Verily, thy Lord is the Helper, the All Knowing, the All-Informed. Be thou as a throbbing artery, pulsating in the body of the entire creation, that through the heat generated by this motion there may appear that which will ignite the hearts of those who hesitate." (p.242 Writings of Baha'u'llah, The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of India)

Eugenia Pritchard, Florida, U.S.A.

..........................

I would like to thank you for the lastest issue (Volume 2, Issue#1) of "Healing Through Unity". I try to encourage as many of my friends as possible to read this inspirational newsletter and I will use parts of it in a fireside I will be giving in December, 1998.

Mary Tabarsi Tsang, Hong Kong

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Just to say a big Thank You for the last 3 issues of your wonderful newsletter. It is full of gems of wisdom and illuminating comments. I hope to print some of the material and share them with my friends.

Venus Alae Carew, Dumfries, Scotland

...............................

It really is so good to see the start of another year of healing for our body and soul, and strengthening bonds of unity around the world through this wonderful newsletter.

Mariette and Ho-San Leong, Papua New Guinea

................................

I recently received an e-mail of the "Healing Through Unity" newsletter, May 1998 issue which contained an article that you wrote titled "Listening to our Body". I wanted to tell you that I really enjoyed the e-mail and I am interested in subscribing to the newsletter.

I work as a Doctor of Chiropractic so health issues are a very big part of my life. As a new Baha'i I have been rather excited with the Baha'i writings regarding health. They are very much the principles that chiropractic has been teaching for the last 100 years, mind you not all chiropractors are teaching these principles. The founder of chiropractic, D.D. Palmer, has written in 1910 that the principles of health that he teaches came to him from the spirit world. This occured around 1895. Since becoming a Baha'i this statement carries a much greater meaning to me. When I understand that Baha'u'llah was the source of all the new knowledge that humanity enjoys today, I start to see the big picture and it makes my service as a Doctor of Chiropractic that much more rewarding.

Dan Boyle, Stirling, Ontario, Canada, ( www.intranet.ca/~adio/ )

....................................

I thought you might be interested in the new "Three Tools for Healing" art print I recently produced. It is a full-color 8-1/2 x 11" sheet with quotations about Medical Treatment, Prayer and Joy & Laughter interwoven around calligraphy titles. On the back is a short pamphlet about balancing physical, mental and spiritual healing. It is designed to catch the attention of people in the healing professions as well as anyone concerned about their own health.

You can see a picture of it at http://www.special-ideas.com

It is listed with poster-pamphlets.

Justice St Rain, Special Ideas, 1-800-326-1197

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QUESTION OF THE MONTH

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The question for this month is:

"What methods do the native culture and indigenous populations use to assist with our healing and development?"

Please share all your responses or if you have other comments for the newsletter or "Question for the Month" ideas, please write to: Frances Mezei by e-mail, -- .

Other than the quoted Writings, the material in this newsletter represents the thoughts and opinions of the writers and has no authority. You are free to copy articles, provided you indicate the source of the article. If you have a change of e-mail address or wish to unsubscribe the newsletter, please let me know. There are 10 issues per year; it is not published during July and August.

With most loving greetings,

Frances Mezei

Ontario, Canada

--




HEALING THROUGH UNITY NEWSLETTER

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of

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

November 1998

Volume 2, Issue #3

_____________________________________________________

CHINESE MEDICINE

Chinese medicine? You mean acupuncture, right? Well, yes, but there's more. Its approach is totally different than what we're used to in the West. Here, a doctor cures diseases. But in China, traditionally, a doctor was responsible for health. The two ideas aren't exactly the same. For example, we only go to a doctor when we feel sick. He or she diagnoses our problem, and prescribes a remedy. Whether we get better or not, we pay for the service. But according to what someone told me, in a traditional Chinese village, the doctor was paid only when everyone was in good health. He made regular visits to the villagers to make sure they stayed healthy. If someone fell sick, he wouldn't receive his salary that week.

Believe it or not, there is a doctor in Santiago who seems to follow this method. She is an acupuncturist, and uses other natural healing methods too. But she only accepts payment when her patients get well. Her name is Gisela Salves. When she was young, an Israeli doctor saved her life with Chinese medicine. He used acupuncture to cure her of leukemia. She was so grateful she decided to devote her life to healing. For 20 years she lived in Israel, studying and developing her skills in acupuncture and natural medicine. Recently she decided to return home to Chile, and now works in a small clinic in Providencia. When you walk into her office, the first thing you notice is that there is no receptionist. She handles everything. Five patients at a time follow her into the treatment room. Some sit in chairs, some lie down. During the half hour it takes for the acupuncture needles to work, she educates her patients. She talks about wholeness. She explains how the healing process works, how the right food can keep you healthy. After treatment, she makes small chiropractic adjustments and prescribes herbal and homeopathic remedies. She often recommends particular foods to eat or avoid. Natural healing takes time. It could require weekly visits to the clinic. But no matter how much you insist, she won't accept any payment until the healing process is complete, and you are strong and healthy.

(This article was submitted by Daryoush Yazdani from Japan. He came across it in "Success in English" which is a resource for developing English language skills produced by Robert Mackay Mcllvride.)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"The bounty of good health is the greatest of all gifts."

('Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, p. 151)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"O thou distinguished physician!... Praise be to God that thou hast two powers: one to undertake physical healing and the other spiritual healing. Matters related to man's spirit have a great effect on his bodily condition. For instance, thou shouldst impart gladness to thy patient, give him comfort and joy, and bring him to ecstasy and exultation. How often hath it occurred that this hath caused early recovery. Therefore, treat thou the sick with both powers. Spiritual feelings have a surprising effect on healing nervous ailments."

(Helen Hornby, Lights of Guidance, pp. 285-286)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It is incumbent upon everyone to seek medical treatment and to follow the doctor's instructions, for this is in compliance with the divine ordinance, but, in reality, He Who giveth healing is God.

(Abdu'l-Baha: Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p.156)

____________________________________

THE EXCHANGE

____________________________________

Question:

In the October, 1998 issue, the question was asked:

"What methods do the native culture and indigenous populations use to assist with our healing and development?"

Answers:

I have been blessed to have been able to work with a number of the Native people in British Columbia and Northern Canada. There is an element of non-spoken healing through different cermonies and practises that I have come to rely on and respect as part of my own healing process. I won't get into a lot of details here but I would like to share an experience with a drum dance that took place at the local Drug and Alcohol Treatment Centre here on the reserve. Every Saturday night, when the residents are not on the land there is a AA meeting followed by a drum dance open to everyone in the community. At one of these drum dances there were a number of inmates from the local jail as well as the residents of the Treatment Centre. The atmosphere was heavy and oppressive. When the drummers came and lined up to start the drum dance the change in the mood was so palitable that I awoke the next morning with a painting and poetry of the event in my heart and mind. I spent the day working on it, then had it framed and gave it to the treatment centre. It has flowers in the four corners and a drum and drum stick drawn in the middle of it. Over the drum the following poem is written.

THE POWER OF THE DRUM

Vacant eyes, shuffling feet
downcast faces, reflect defeat.
Weighty worries, sagging shoulders
so much sadness, makes us older.
The drummers come lined in a row;
heads come up, spirits grow
eyes light up, the beat begins.
The soul responds to let the healing in.
Slowly one by one the dance begins;
the steady beat resounds within
connects us to Mother Earth.
The ancient rhythm does its work,
it's the heartbeat of the universe.
Our souls and God converse;
it is the beat that has stood the test of time
to the soul, it is the ultimate wine.
Every atom does proclaim
to the greatness of His Name.
The darkness leaves, the pain subsides;
the drugs, the alcohol, these are alive
but powerless to touch our souls.
As the beat continues to grow,
the drummers drum in a row.
Their healing message freely flows
this is the power of the drum.

Lyda Greer,Hay River, NWT Canada

************************************

THE FOUR WORLDS ELDERHEALTH PROGRAM

( This is one of the current programs offered by Four Worlds International Institute for Human and Community Development, Alberta, Canada)

"Elderhealth" was developed in response to a crisis in tribal communities created by the untimely death of many native elders. Not only did these deaths generate great sadness at the loss of dearly loved relatives, but it also meant that greatly needed knowledge and wisdom was rapidly disappearing, just when tribal communities were beginning to seriously address their social and economic challenges.

Through Four Worlds discretionary funds and with the generous support of the Canadian Government (Health Canada), Four Worlds was able to undertake a seven year research and development process in partnership with native elders and communities. The result is a "comprehensive elder wellness and leadership development program" that addresses the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health of elders, but also builds the support systems at the family and community level to sustain the wellness gains made through participation in the program.

The results of this program have seemed almost miraculous: the severity of diabetes (type B - a big killer in tribal communities) was significantly reduced in many cases, physical stamina and strength was greatly improved (from walks around the room to walks of three to five miles). Beyond these benefits, relatively inactive elders became active agents of health promotion in their families and communities. The most exciting aspect of this program is to see the vitality, sense of purpose and energy return to the elders. The program is simple, but comprehensive. It addresses nutrition, exercise, mental health, spiritual well-being and leadership skills. A carefully crafted curriculum guide makes program implementations relatively easy for any community willing to invest modest amounts of money and human energy into preserving a precious living resource: the elders.

Phil Lane Jr., International Co-ordinator, Alberta, Canada

( If you would like further information on Four Worlds, please visit the web site: http://nucleus.com/4worlds )

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TRADITIONAL HEALING WAYS OF THE PEOPLE IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA (PNG)

First of all I would like to share that in PNG, the Most Holy Book is not yet translated into the Nalik language, although one day in the future it will surely be so. The Bahai communities everywhere have a great reverence for the Kitab-i-Aqdas, and so they go to great lengths of preparation to receive it in their respective community, building a spirit or sacred house for it.

The people of PNG have over the years taught themselves how to use the curative healing powers of plants and herbs. While "western" medicine is now used widely in health centres and aid posts, they have not forgotten nature and how much their lives depend on it. In this sense, they are especially close to nature and its environment, and therefore, spiritually inclined with the healing powers that are "hidden" in the fruits, flowers, roots and plants that are found in their village gardens and forests. From the frangipani tree, they use the sap extracted from the leaf to cure them of asthma. The leaves of the guava tree, for instance, when minced, give a juice that helps to get rid of a sore throat. The pawpaw, or papaya, leaf is used in brewing a tea to ward off malaria; the pawpaw seeds, crushed and dried, are also used for the same purpose. At night in the village the people burn a certain kind of grass that gives off a smoke that keeps mosquitoes away. The common cold, and flu are also treated in a similar manner, using leaves of a certain bush plant. The leaves are warmed over the fire, and the juice extracted, and you drink it, which alleviates the illness and soon makes it go away! Some leaves are chewed, and you just suck on its juice; it has similar effect of getting rid of your cold. There are special herbs that are crushed into a pulp, and the juice is force-fed through the nose, to cure mouth ulcers, and equally, mouth cancers. A certain plant is known to help cure syphillis and related sexually transmitted diseases, while other plants are used to help mothers have easy natural births. There are other plants, by contrast, that are used for natural birth control!

Mariette & Ho-San Leong, Papua New Guinea

*********************************

When I was adopted as a Tlingit, in the great Yukon Territory of Canada, my wonderful Indian mother reminded me that both physical and spiritual healing can be heightened through prayer, in the hour before dawn. Having practiced it now for many years, I understand her great wisdom, and will be thankful to her for that advice through all the worlds of God. The next paragraph will perhaps give people an insight into what this adopted son, of Ida Calmegan, now understands about the power of prayer in the hour before dawn.

In the hour before dawn, in that moment of most solitude, the love of God begins to stir within me. In the quiet of that darkest hour, my longing heart sings out its praises. At once I am transported beyond this mortal world and into the arms of The Great Spirit. And it is a feeling beyond belief. In that myriad of time found in the twinkling of an eye, a single wisdom flashes before me. It is but a drop from the bottomless ocean of the Creator's wisdom. And my drowning in its depths, is with pleasure. For a brief eternity, the Oneness that admits to no duplicity, refreshes my spirit, rejuvenates my soul, and re-establishes my fear of Him. For it is fear alone; fear of remoteness from God, that helps me polish the mirror of my heart, and enables the depths of my obedience and submission to grow ever more bottomless. In the span of eternity, the hourglass of time will record our greatest steps forward to have taken place after prayer, in the hour before dawn.

Glenn Darling, Sidney BC, Canada

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DEAFNESS.......IN MUSIC!!

By Jean-Christophe Casu, Aosta, Italy

Many friends have asked me to write what follows. I finally decided after two years of encouragement and persuasion to talk about this personal matter. I became convinced that my experience could be a comfort to manypeople who were ill and perhaps give a ray of hope to the suffering.

I lost my hearing completely in October 1996. I underwent a surgical operation to remove a chronic ear infection. After a while, I began hearing in my right ear (where I had lost the hearing completely since 1969), apart from the usual noises, music! I was astonished! It had nothing to do with music that I had already heard, where one would think of a phenomenon linked to memory. This music was completely new! I asked my ear specialist how this was possible but he was unable to give any answer except joking about the fact that during the operation the doctors might have forgotten to switch off the radio!

As I concentrated on what I was hearing, I gained an increased awareness that they weren't just noises that gave an illusion of being music because the noises were there in my ears and I was still hearing the music at the same time. Further proof came when the music I began to hear were voices! Voices that were singing to the music, like a choir! The most surprising thing was when a tenor voice began to sing to lead the music and the choir, just as in an opera. Sometimes there are two solo voices doing a duet. These are not reminiscences because I have never heard these pieces before!

I woke up one morning with a piece of music (still in my right ear) that was so celestial, uplifting and exalted that I was moved to tears. Only the word "divine" can render remotely the beauty of this music. The music of Mozart, Beethoven, J.S Bach express a human touch even in their most spiritually uplifting pieces whereas the music I was hearing was completely devoid of any human touch. It belonged to another world, at least that's how it seemed to me.... The following dreams confirm this.

FIRST DREAM

A young man is singing in a square full of people. I realize that these people are Baha'is. The gentleman is singing beautiful classical music. All of a sudden I see my mother among the crowd (My mother passed away two years ago). She beckons to a group of persons with whom I am to come and sit in a certain place where there are seats. The tenor performs wonders with his voice. His song is powerful and so beautiful that at a certain point I wake up and realize that I am hearing the same music and song in my ears!

SECOND DREAM

There is a very large gathering at an important event in an immense park. A well-known singer is asked to sing. He accepts and begins to sing a magnificent song with a Baha'i theme entitled "One Mankind" (This song has nothing to do with any known song composed by Baha'is). The crowd is ecstatic! I wake up with the song permeating my whole being. I was literally vibrating from the energy emanating from the song coming out of my ears!

THIRD DREAM

I am walking along a path on a hillside holding a stick in one hand and a branch adorned with leaves in the other. It is a hot and sunny day. As I approach a little wall overlooking a valley, I hear music of unspeakable beauty as I climb the wall with a wondrous sensation of victory! This stupendous music uplifts me and transmits a great feeling of elation. When I wake up I have exactly the same music in my ear....

The above demonstrates that the music of the dreams and what I am hearing in my ear belong to the same realm. This is indicated in the Baha'i Writings.

"... your eyes have been opened to the light of guidance and your ears attuned to the music of the Company above; and blessed by abounding grace, your hearts and souls have been born into new life." ( Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 35)

"When the song is of the Kingdom, it rejoiceth the soul." (ibid, p. 180)

"The field larks are become the festival's musicians, and lifting wondrous voices they cry and sing to the melodies of the Company on high." (ibid, p. 255)

"Only the perceiving eye beholdeth the rays of the sun, only the listening ear can hear the singing of the Concourse on high." (ibid, p. 22)

The music and the singing are not only limited to classical and religious music. Sometimes I hear African music or Persian music with chanting. Sometimes it is only a piano playing, other times it is jazz music and frequently it is music that I am unable to describe. Music coming from an immense and infinite realm. It is always comforting music, conveying very rich emotional sensations of a very high level. The same pieces of music are heard more than once and each time they have the same effect on me. They take me back to Africa, to Iran, to France.... The strange thing is that because I hear this music continuously, I have the impression that I am not deaf. Therefore, I am surprised that I cannot hear the voices of the people around me! I hope you will get the chance to experience this wondrous celestial music which is available to us all.

_________________________

SPIRITUAL HEALTH HABITS

__________________________

Here are some essential elements for our spiritual and physical health from an eminent physician.

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

7) Simplify

8) Focus

9) Practice patience

10) Eat simple, natural plant foods

11) Drink adequate pure water

12) Evaluate progress daily, summarize weekly

--------------------------------

LETTERS

--------------------------------

I recieved the news of your wonderful newsletter and I really enjoyed your first article that was sent to me by e-mail. I am the coordinator of the Baha'i Health Agency of South Africa and would like to subscribe to your newsletter and let the other Baha'i health professionals of South Africa know about your wonderful articles.

Dr Roya Shams, South Africa

.............................................

I read your newsletter for Sept and Oct and loved them, especially the poems and stories. I believe that these are the best means for helping people make paradigm shifts and thus look upon life through new eyes. I honour your service to our worldwide community in producing this newsletter. Speaking of paradigm shifts I would like to share with you a story from a few months of my life last year.

A friend suggested I read 'Seven Habits of Highly Effective People' by Stephen Covey. Through completing an exercise from this book where I imagined myself at my own funeral and listened to a friend, a family member, and a community member speak of my life. What would I like to hear them say. From this exercise I was able to set my long term life goals. I came to the realisation that without regular prayer and meditation I could not be an effective mother, friend, sister or community member. I now use this book as a teaching tool for, after much paradigm shifting material and exercises Mr. Covey stresses the need for a balance in our lives of intellectual, spiritual and physical health.

Sue Haselhurst, Australia

..................................

We have received your e-mail newsletter, "Healing Through Unity" and are very impressed. We are pioneers in the Northern Mariana Islands and are for the most part isolated. There is a large group in Guam, over 100 miles away, and we see them maybe once a year. We have been pioneering for almost 25 years in a number of places and most of that time was also isolated in very primitative situations. (We love it) Our deepening is limited because my husband and I think so much alike and we need outside influences to aid us in deepening. Your newsletter and deepening kit will help. I have some medical friends that are willing to take these deepening courses with us.

Anna Crawford, Northern Mariana Islands, U.S.

........................................

I notice the offer from Justice St. Rain to check out "Three Tools for Healing" (see October, 1998 issue). Readers may be interested in knowing that the Northern Ohio Baha'i community recently gave away about 5000 copies of this art print at the Whole Life Expo, an exposition focused on healing, peace, new age types of themes, etc. held in the Cleveland area. Its beauty had a strong impact on people.

A main booth at the entrance to the expo was so impressed with it, they asked to keep a stack of the prints at their booth for people to take. They are beautifully presented for the healing professions.

Susanne Alexander, Freelance Journalist, Ohio, U.S.

__________________________________________________

WHERE DOES OUR "HEALING THROUGH UNITY" NEWSLETTER GO?

You might be interested to know the newsletter now goes to 53 countries/territories:

Canada, United States, Israel, Poland, Denmark, Italy, Belarus, Papua New Guinea, England, Cyprus, Japan, Belgium, Taiwan, South Africa, Bolivia, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Kenya, Ecuador, France, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Australia, Austria, Switzerland, New Zealand, Chile, Solomon Islands, Spain, Malaysia, Germany, South Korea, Ireland, Thailand, Puerto Rico, Belize, The Netherlands, Scotland, Wales, Oman, China, Alaska, Hawaii, Portugal, Turkey, Dominican Republic, Trinidad & Tobago, Mongolia, Iceland, Northern Mariana Islands.

(If we have missed your country/territory, please kindly let us know)

There have been 30 copies of the "Healing Through Unity" Course kits sent out to the readers. We look forward to hearing the results of these courses.

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QUESTION OF THE MONTH

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The question for this month is:

"What are some of the practical ways to deal with stress?"

Please share all your stories or if you have other comments for the newsletter or "Question for the Month" ideas, please write to: Frances Mezei by e-mail, -- .

Other than the quoted Writings, the material in this newsletter represents the thoughts and opinions of the writers and has no authority. You are free to copy articles, provided you indicate the source of the article. If you have a change of e-mail address or wish to unsubscribe the newsletter, please let me know. There are 10 issues per year; it is not published during July and August.

Warmest greetings and prayers,

Frances Mezei

Ontario, Canada

--




HEALING THROUGH UNITY NEWSLETTER

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of

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

December 1998

Volume 2, Issue #4

_____________________________________________________

LOVE

Author Unknown - submitted by Daryoush Yazdani, Japan

Like any good mother, when Karen found out that another baby was on the way, she did what she could to help her 3-year-old son, Michael, prepare for a new sibling. They found out that the new baby was going to be a girl, and day after day, night after night, Michael sings to his sister in Mommy's tummy.

The pregnancy progresses normally for Karen, an active member of the Panther Creek United Methodist Church in Morristown, Tennessee. Then the labor pains come. Every five minutes... every minute. But complications arise during delivery. Hours of labor. Would a C-section be required?

Finally, Michael's little sister is born. But she is in serious condition. With sirens howling in the night, the ambulance rushes the infant to the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Mary's Hospital, Knoxville, Tennessee. The days crawl by. The little girl gets worse. The pediatrician tells the parents, "There is very little hope. Be prepared for the worst." Karen and her husband contact a local cemetery about a burial plot. They have fixed up a special room in their home for the new baby; now they plan a funeral.

Michael keeps begging his parents to let him see his sister, "I want to sing to her," he says.

Week two in intensive care. It looks as if a funeral will come before the week is over. Michael keeps nagging about singing to his sister, but children are never allowed in Intensive Care. But Karen makes up her mind; she will take Michael whether they like it or not. If he doesn't see his sister now, he may never see her alive. She dresses him in an oversized scrub suit and marches him into ICU. He looks like a walking laundry basket, but the head nurse recognizes him as a child and bellows, "Get that kid out of here now! No children are allowed."

The mother in Karen rises up strong, and the usually mild-mannered lady glares steel-eyed into the head nurse's face, her lips a firm line. "He is not leaving until he sings to his sister!"

Karen tows Michael to his sister's bedside. He gazes at the tiny infant losing the battle to live. And he begins to sing. In the pure hearted voice of a 3-year-old, Michael sings: "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are grey --- " Instantly the baby girl responds. The pulse rate becomes calm and steady.

"Keep on singing, Michael", Karen urges.

"You never know, dear, how much I love you, Please don't take my sunshine away---" The ragged, strained breathing becomes as smooth as a kitten's purr.

"Keep on singing, Michael", Karen repeats.

"The other night, dear, as I lay sleeping, I dreamed I held you in my arms..."

Michael's little sister relaxes as rest, healing rest, seems to sweep over her.

"Keep on singing, Michael", Karen whispers. Tears conquer the face of the bossy head nurse. Karen glows.

"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. Please don't, take my sunshine away."

Funeral plans are scrapped. The next day - the very next day - the little girl is well enough to go home!

Woman's Day magazine called it "The Miracle of a Brother's Song." The medical staff just called it a miracle. Karen called it a miracle of God's love!

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"When at the bedside of a patient, cheer, and gladden his heart and enrapture his spirit through celestial power. Indeed, such a heavenly breath quickeneth every moldering bone and reviveth the spirit of every sick and ailing one." (Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p.151)

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"Of the two other kinds of healing which are spiritual -- that is to say, where the means of cure is a spiritual power -- one results from the entire concentration of the mind of a strong person upon a sick person, when the latter expects with all his concentrated faith that a cure will be effected from the spiritual power of the strong person, to such an extent that there will be a cordial connection between the strong person and the invalid. The strong person makes every effort to cure the sick patient, and the sick patient is then sure of receiving a cure. From the effect of these mental impressions an excitement of the nerves is produced, and this impression and this excitement of the nerves will become the cause of the recovery of the sick person. So when a sick person has a strong desire and intense hope for something and hears suddenly the tidings of its realization, a nervous excitement is produced which will make the malady entirely disappear. In the same way, if a cause of terror suddenly occurs, perhaps an excitement may be produced in the nerves of a strong person which will immediately cause a malady. The cause of the sickness will be no material thing, for that person has not eaten anything, and nothing harmful has touched him; the excitement of the nerves is then the only cause of the illness. In the same way the sudden realization of a chief desire will give such joy that the nerves will be excited by it, and this excitement may produce health." ( Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 255)

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THE EXCHANGE

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Question:

In the November, 1998 issue, the question was asked: "What are some of the practical ways to deal with stress?"

Answer:

The first thing that comes to my mind is the use of prayer and having the knowledge that when we turn to Baha'u'llah and ask for His help it will come in some shape or form. The difficult part is in trusting that help will come and then recognizing it when it does come. Also Baha'u'llah has told us that we will never be tested beyond our means, so whatever we come up against we know that we have the strength to cope with it. The main reason we feel stressed is because of the way we think about a certain situation. According to Richard Carlson, in his book "You Can Be Happy No Matter What" we think first, then we feel. It is our thinking not our circumstances that determines how we feel. We are in control of our thoughts, therefore we can have a lot of control of how we feel. To put it in Carlson's own words "Stress is not something that "happens to us", but rather something that develops from within our own thinking." So with the knowledge that we are responsible for how we feel and that we have Baha’u’llah’s help when things get really bad - there is no reason for us not to go through life without being overwhelmed by our cares and responsibilities.

Jean Owen, Wales

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Question:

Here is another answer on the subject of abuse asked in the September, 1998 issue.

A HALLOWEEN MEMORIAL

"Name Withheld"

People have been encouraging me for a long time that I needed to do something ceremonial to put the experiences of cult abuse behind me, but until this year, I wasn't ready. With the grace of God, and the assistance of a couple of dear friends, the idea of a memorial service came together effortlessly.

A great deal of the cult abuse was done on halloween and this has been a difficult time of year for me as an adult. This halloween, I had a memorial service, to honour my brother who was 4 years old and my daughter, who were killed by the cult when I was a child. The memorial was very powerful. It was very healing to have so many peoplestand with me as I acknowledged the lives of my brother and daughter, and released the hold they had on me by virtue of having to remain silent and alone with the memories for so long. I really felt surrounded by love and was encouraged by the support. That was the most powerful healing: not to be alone with the pain and the secrets any more.

About 12 people gathered at the memorial site. In addition, there were people praying simultaneously from eleven places literally around the world. There were 4 other ritual abuse survivors participating, and honouring the people they knew who had been killed in cults. It was for my benefit, but also for a much higher purpose, I think. I'm hoping and believing, that the Concourse on High was busy that night, spreading sweet savours of healing all around the world.

Slowly I am hearing back from those who attended. One person said that she felt very peaceful afterwards. She hadn't wanted to come, and was greatly impressed with the way we had done it. Another person came, despite an estrangement between her and one of the other guests. She told me later that the hurts she had sustained had been healed as a result and said that the whole community would benefit from what happened that night. Another participant has since gone onto the web to educate herself about ritual abuse, so that she can speak for those of us who can't.

A couple of days before the memorial, I received an article called "Chasm of Belief", written by Barbara McLellan from New Zealand which mentioned ritual abuse a great deal. A friend who was my primary support took a quote from the article and used it in his introduction to the group. It said: "If we have people in the Baha'i community who have terrible stories to tell and they have no one who will listen to them, how then will we become true community? How will we be enriched by their courage and their will to live in the face of denial, if we do not hear their stories? I believe we have a lot to learn from people who have suffered trauma because we will learn how to be truly human as God has intended us to be."

He read it 3-4 times to explain why we were doing what we were doing that night. People were blown away by it, and several people have asked for copies of the program, to share with friends who are also isolated and alone with their pain.

Personally, I had hoped to feel more settled after doing it. I'm sure it was an important part of my healing, but it hasn't given the closure I had hoped. Instead it feels like I've just lopped off the tip of the iceberg, and the rest is pushing to make itself heard. But then, this is my "severe mental test" that 'Abdu'l-Baha promised, and I guess it will be with me, to assist in my perfection, for the rest of my life. I am profoundly grateful to the friends who made it possible, to those who attended and to those who participated from afar.

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FREED TO SERVE

By Hannah Rishel, Arizona, U.S.

Do you suffer from depression, anxiety, and a sense of inability to serve the Faith adequately? Have you taken responsibility for many Baha'i endeavors, then felt abandoned by others who felt less responsible? Do you often wonder how to attain "radiant aquiescence;" how to be as selfless as the martyrs? Could you be called codependent, depressed, anxious, or in possession of an overactive guilt complex?

Maybe you are experiencing "Baha'i Fatigue Syndrome." This is a tongue-in-cheek term for a debilitating condition experienced by numerous Baha'is who have served the Faith for years, and find themselves growing less joyful and less able to serve. It is distressing, because we read in the Writings, "The spiritual world bestows only the joy," "Be light and untrammeled as the breeze," and countless other admonitions toward joy and selfless service. We read it, we remember bounties of service, we see others who demonstrate radiant acquiescence. But somehow, we've lost it.

What is the cause? Many causes, including:

--Spiritual testing, either because of our own mistakes, or God's test to purify our souls

--Inadequate response to the tests arising from other people

--Being children of the half-light; serving in old-world ways, failure to transcend hurts from our upbringing

--Addictions, compulsions

--Physical components such as a physically disabling condition, inadequate exercise, nutrition and self-care, and other physical ailments

What is the outcome? Unchecked, such people can become so debilitated that they cannot serve the Faith, their family, or themselves well. For all the feeling of responsibility, they become progressively unable to do their part.

This is an illness. What is the remedy?

Baha'u'llah tells us, "Whenever ye fall ill, refer to competent physicians." ( Compiled by the Universal House of Justice, "Health and Healing", p. 1) Depression, anxiety, and fatigue may have physical causes, for which a physician is best trained to evaluate and treat.

'Abdul'l-Baha teaches,"an illness caused by affliction, fear, nervous impressions, will be healed more effectively by spiritual rather than by physical treatment. Hence, both kinds of treatment should be followed; they are not contradictory." ( ibid, pp. 11- 12) Further, Baha'u'llah stated that "The healer of all thine ills is remembrance of Me, forget it not." ( ibid, p. 3) Any or all three components may be necessary to recover from "Baha'i Fatigue Syndrome."

For my recovery, two competent physicians were exceedingly helpful guides. One physician provided daily "listening" and feedback by e-mail. He prescribed hourly recitation of the prayer starting, "O God, refresh and gladden my spirit..." and use of "Allah'u'abha" to banish each negative, hurtful, or stressful thought. The other physician identified physical/nutritional components and prescribed appropriate nutritional support. Both were encouraging, both urged letting go of responsibilities and nurturing my own needs. Both made it clear that I could not serve others until I was restored.

God is the true Healer. He utilized the clear channels of two physicians, a Counselor, wise friends and family, and my own soul & volition. These are some valuable insights gained:

1. Do say the prescribed prayers, very often. How else can we apply, "Thy Name is my healing, O my God, and remembrance of Thee is my remedy."?

2. Learn how to say "no" to requests and needs. Learn to define how and how much we're able to assist with a particular need. Learn to deflect and defer requests. Practice tabling a decision, until the next day, the next week, or until after prayer and meditation. Observe others who have learned to say no, but still demonstrate other admirable qualities. Just because someone has a problem doesn't mean I must solve it.

3. Learn what my unique priorities and needs are. For example, only I can be my children's mother. Their needs must sometimes take priority over other needs.

4. "Selfish desire" is not synonymous with taking care of myself. And only I can take care of myself. Not my husband, friend, Local Spiritual Assembly, Auxiliary Board Member, or anyone else can take care of my unique needs.

And what is the outcome? When one's heart is connected to Baha'u'llah, He will guide us into new paths of service. Paths we had not anticipated. New ways of being, more calm, radiant, grateful, and inclusive of others; not shouldering responsibilities alone. Our service will be restored.

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HOW DO WE RECEIVE DIVINE CONFIRMATION AND RECOGNIZE IT?

By Michael Teske, Haifa, Israel

An area that attracts my thoughts is the idea of confirmation. How do we receive divine confirmation and recognize it? My imagination tells me that there are infinite possibilities to this, and that one may receive these confirmations in many different forms. What we have to do is to increase our sensitivity to receiving, recognizing and understanding the guidance, which is no easy task; it requires vigilance, determination, persistence and experience.

In my own life I have seen a progressive realization and development of this sensitivity, but it all adds up to a drop in the ocean of being a clear channel of receptivity. One of the things I have noticed is the speed at which this guidance seems to come. Someone once told me that whenever obstacles arise, there are clear messages in them as it is not the right direction at the time or it is necessary to make a detour to circumnavigate the obstacle. And how does one ever really know 100 percent? Hindsight usually gives us a good indication. Sometimes the guidance comes as a distracting thought in the middle of a prayer (perhaps this is the only time we relax enough for guidance to come to our conscious mind). Other times it comes by a fast sequence of events that seems to steer you in the right direction.

An example of this happened to me recently. I had previously agreed to help someone by performing a task. I was driving to meet the person when the car broke down. There was not enough time to call for a tow truck and fulfill the obligation. Within minutes someone stopped and gave me a lift all the way to the designated meeting place, going out of the way to get there and we could barely communicate as this individual had only a few English words and I had even fewer Hebrew words.

Sometimes the guidance may come as an intense, almost overpowering feeling. In my case I have felt this a few times as an indescribable sense of joy and love. And I have heard numerous stories about people getting sick, which in turn prevents them from doing something they shouldn't do or from going somewhere they shouldn't be going. Other times this guidance may come as a powerful thought with no inkling of doubts lurking in the background....

What are some of the ways you have received guidance or that you have heard from others? This is a fascinating subject to explore.

The overriding rule that I have found to be most effective in my life so far in trying to purge myself of doubts and to become more receptive to receiving and understanding the constantly flowing guidance that more often than not remains elusive is first to be completely honest and sincere in whatever one is doing -- then whatever one is doing, whether it be the correct thing or the incorrect thing to do, God will steer you into the right path. What are some of the patterns you have discovered work for you?

Some wonderful advice a dear friend gave me several years ago is to pursue all the things that you want to do and feel inspired to do, then God will steer you into what you are supposed to be doing. In other words, don't close any doors yourself... let them be closed for you, or in pursuing your goals the ones that you are supposed to be following will naturally unfold at a faster pace than the others. Some Christian friends quite some time ago used this phrase which I love: "Even God can't steer a parked car!" ... you have to be moving... so my prayer is that each and every one of you will be so inspired and moved as to dedicate yourselves to encouraging and supporting each other in spurring on your chargers towards greater and greater acts of service.

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CONSULTATION ON THE TABLET TO A PHYSICIAN

( A reader asked these questions to Dr. Saunders, Georgia, U.S. and suggested that others may have similar questions. This Tablet to a Physician by Baha'u'llah was printed in the May, 1998 issue.)

(Reader) I was reading the Tablet to a Physician by Baha'u'llah, the unauthorized translation, and had some questions. I'm trying to change my diet, and would like to understand better this Tablet. When Baha'u'llah says "If two diametrically opposite foods are put on the table do not mix them"; what do you think "diametrically opposite foods" means?

Dr Saunders (Dr.) Since it is the word of God, it can have infinite meanings. In an explanatory Tablet (untranslated) Baha'u'llah gives an example that if two heavy foods were given to a person with a weak constitution they may be incompatible, that is, too strong for his weak constitution, therefore two foods which disagree with an individual's constitution are incompatible.

(Reader) It would be so nice if there was a list of "diametrically opposite foods"?

(Dr.) Baha'u'llah's writings give universal guidance and lay down principles which can be applied in infinitely many different ways to suit each individual's needs. Detailed instructions place limitations upon individual choices. There is no list of diametrically opposite foods because it is dependent upon the constitution of the patient and should be determined for each individual under the supervision of a physician skilled in this science.

(Reader) Also, when He says "The compounding of one food with another is a danger of which you must beware", is this the same meaning as the above "diametrically opposite foods" or what exactly does this mean?

(Dr.) It is very closely related. The principles are moderation and simplicity. In the Kitab-i-Badi, Baha'u'llah states: "In all circumstances they should conduct themselves with moderation; if the meal be only one course this is more pleasing in the sight of God; however, according to their means, they should seek to have this single dish be of good quality." (Complied by the Universal House of Justice, "Health and Healing", p. 2)

(Reader) What is "one food"?

(Dr.) Could be a single dish, course, or edible substance.

(Reader) I've heard that we should not drink water during or right after a meal. Have you heard this? It's interesting because Baha'u'llah says "Take first liquid food before partaking of solid food." Do you think He meantfor all the meals we should take something liquid first?

(Dr.) No, He does not state that something liquid should be eaten at each meal. He is giving the order in which food is to be eaten. The literal translation of this passage is that light food is to be eaten before heavy food, and liquid food before solid. He does not state that water should not be taken before the meal.

(Reader) Do you think water counts? Or are we not to drink water during meals?

(Dr.) Water is a very special substance, and is probably not the same as food, and certainly not the same as liquid food, including juices and beverages

(Reader) And "Do not drink after you have retired to sleep". I'm assuming that we can't drink if we've fallen asleep, so does He mean a certain amount of time before we actually lay down? Like once we start getting ready for bed?

(Dr.) This is not clearly stated in the Tablet, leaving the individual free to apply it to suit his individual needs.

(Reader) When He says "The main thing is to cleanse the body of its wastes", what does that mean? Fasting? Or some other methods?

(Dr.) Could have many meanings. The original word in Arabic is related to "enema", opening the possibility of cleansing by enemas or colonic irrigation. This is an area for further investigation.

(Reader) Finally, when He says "for the primary substance will remain in its pristine purity and no change will occur in the normal proportion of one-sixth, and one-sixth of one sixth, and the twin active agents (qualities, properties) and the twin passive agents will remain intact." What does that mean? Is the "substance" the food, or the body? What are the two passive agents?

(Dr.) A much deeper subject, cannot be adequately answered at present, this refers to the older science of medicine and the "four elements" represented in the body as black bile, yellow bile, blood and phlegm. Requires extensive study and investigation now and in the future.

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LETTERS

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I want to thank you so much for the very dignified, helpful newsletter you provide to so many people. It is of such a high calibre, and always so moving to read. Thank you for this tremendous service!

Meim Smith, Auxiliary Board Member for Southern Ontario, Canada

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I have been so engrossed in reading the copies of past newsletters you were kind enough to send. How inspiring, how enlightening, how uplifting! The variety, the diversity, and the wisdom conveyed by the contributors is refreshing and marvelous.

Audrey Diggs, Illinois, U.S.

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Thank you for your lovely journal, today. I spent hours studying and absorbing the pathophysiology of the endocrine system. Your issue came as a lighthearted balance to the heavy work of pathophysiology.

Anne Grove, Nurse Practitioner student, Ohio, U.S

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A friend has just shared copies with us of your last two newsletters on "Healing Through Unity". We are delighted, in particular, with the stories of those who have met crises with practical applications of guidance found in the Baha'i Faith.

We know so many people who are going through severe mental stresses, yet deprive themselves of the real source of healing because they aren't ready for the huge leap of faith required to join a religious community. This newsletter is most useful as a soft and compassionate approach in helping souls to take one step at a time towards God and this wonderful Faith, through those who have suffered before them and found re-affirmations of all those promises.

Thank you for this terrific assistance.

Steve and Iris Bennett, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

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QUESTION OF THE MONTH

---------------------------------------------

The question for this month is:

"What methods can assist individuals and families who are dealing with mental health issues?"

Please share all your stories or if you have other comments for the newsletter or "Question for the Month" ideas, please write to: Frances Mezei by e-mail, -- .

Other than the quoted Writings, the material in this newsletter represents the thoughts and opinions of the writers and has no authority. You are free to copy articles, provided you indicate the source of the article. If you have a change of e-mail address or wish to unsubscribe the newsletter, please let me know. There are 10 issues per year; it is not published during July and August.

Dearest Friends,

Something very special is happening. It appears that a network is developing among the friends. I have often been called to act as a liaison or messenger between the friends to forward messages and information to the writers of the articles. It is very heartening to know that the friends wish to be in touch with each other. It is a general policy that I do not give out any e-mail addresses unless with permission to insure confidentiality. It is hoped that when you receive the newsletters, the recipient lists are always suppressed. If this has not been the case, please do inform me as it may be due to computer errors. I would be happy to forward messages on your behalf to any friends to develop this networking of consultation and sharing.

Occasionally, I receive articles from subscribers which have been forwarded on from other sources such as a great healing story from a magazine or another newsletter. While these articles can be very important to our subscribers, it is important as well that the original source be mentioned re name of magazine, the author and the date. In this way, the article preserves its integrity and provides the subscribers with a reference for future research.

There is a large number of friends reading the newsletter who serve in the health professions. These include: physicians, nurses, pharmacists, chiropractors, naturopaths, homeopaths, massage therapists, dentists, psychotherapists, counsellors, and other alternative healing specialists. The various disciplines and practices have much to educate and train us. It is essential to recognize and honour the different ways of healing. Therefore, your contributions about your treatments, experiences and knowledge would be most valuable. With this consultation, we can explore ways to bring healing to more and more people.

I have been very impressed with the caliber of the articles people have written about very intimate and important healing matters and am amazed at the quality of the striving of individuals today. I admire your strength and courage to grow physically and spiritually. Thank you for your excellent contributions.

May you be blessed with health and happiness,

Frances Mezei

Ontario, Canada

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HEALING THROUGH UNITY

January, 1999

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of

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

Volume 2, Issue #5

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THE POWER OF POWERLESSNESS

By Dr. William Saunders, Georgia, U.S.A

Beloved Friends,

You are participating in a mighty process, but were you chosen because of your personal prowess? Probably not, according to the way His Will works. You will probably be called upon to function in that capacity in which you are most deficient:

the blind shall see the victory of His Cause,
the dumb shall speak in great assemblies,
the deaf shall hear celestial sounds,
the unstable shall stand firm as a mighty mountain,
the fearful shall roar across the seven seas in His name,
the weak shall rise with great strength and perform mighty deeds,
the timid shall excel in assertiveness,
the lame shall walk,
and the depressed shall be exalted to the pinnacles of spiritual power.

Look at Mulla Husayn, a frail, weak student, whose hands shook, and how God transformed him into a mighty warrior, who, when an enemy soldier hid behind a tree, holding his rifle before him as further protection, cleaved the tree, the rifle and the soldier with one mighty sweep of his sword.

In the spiritual world you shall achieve greater victories, in this greatest of all Days, you are at the forefront, in the vanguard of His Hosts, and this program will assist you to achieve the health perfections enabling you to accomplish your exalted mission.

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A BAHA'I VIEW OF DISABILITY

Paul Booth has written a beautiful and heart-warming article, "A Baha'i View of Disability". It conveys a positive, authentic and healthy view on the various aspects of disabilities; physical, mental, and spiritual using a wonderful collection of the Baha'i' Writings. Here are some excerpts from his article:

"A poet friend of mind, Paul Bura, observed in one of his books that polio was the best thing that ever happened to him! He explained that because of it he was perforce, less active than his fellows which meant he spent more time on the sidelines watching others. This served to enhance and develop his powers of observation; an attribute so vital to the art of the poet."

"If we look at this world, the disabilities people suffer can indeed seem like the "fire and vengeance" referred to in " My calamity is My providence, outwardly it is fire and vengeance, but inwardly, it is light and mercy." (Baha'u'llah, The Hidden Words, Arabic, # 51) However, from the perspective of the life of the soul which, the Baha'i teachings state, continues to progress for all eternity, we can see that it is indeed "light and mercy" if we use it as God intended."

This article is highly recommended. It was recently printed in the Baha'i Journal UK, October, 1998 issue. You can look it up at his website:

www.nur.win-uk.net/disabil1.htm

For those unable to access the web Paul would be happy for you to e-mail him at: pmb@nur.win-uk.net and please indicate whether you would like to receive it in HTML or MS Word 6 format.

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THE EXCHANGE

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Question:

In the December, 1998 issue, the question was asked:

"What methods can assist individuals and families who are dealing with mental health issues?"

Answers:

I work as a caregiver in the home of an elderly lady who is both psychotic and bedfast. I prepare her meals and assist her daughter with many of the functions of her life. I am finding, as time goes on, that one of the best things I can do to help her reconnect with sanity is to encourage her that being sane is a pleasant experience. She is learning to enjoy the quiet, pleasant chats we have while she's eating. She listens for my voice when several people are working on her and listens when I ask for her help, as with transfers to and from her bed. Thanks and encouragement of effort go a long way here. Her daughter, too, is finding that my methods are getting better results and is starting to imitate them. The result will eventually be a more peaceful home, but these are early days yet.

"We must associate with all humanity in gentleness and kindliness. We must love all with love of the heart. Some are ignorant; they must be trained and educated. One is sick; he must be healed. Another is as a child; we must assist him to attain maturity. We must not detest him who is ailing, neither shun him, scorn nor curse him, but care for him with the utmost kindness and tenderness..." (Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 63)

Nancy Myers, Eureka, CA, U.S.

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A BRILLIANT MADNESS: LIVING WITH MANIC-DEPRESSIVE ILLNESS

By Patty Duke and Gloria Hochman

Here is the back cover information about this excellent and useful book. (Published in 1992, A Bantam Book)

"Patty Duke shared her long-kept secret: The talented, Oscar-winning actress who won our hearts on "The Patty Duke Show" was suffering from a serious - but treatable - mental illness called manic depression. For nearly twenty years, until she was correctly diagnosed at age thirty-five, she careened between periods of extreme euphoria and debilitating depression, prone to delusions and panic attacks, temper tantrums, spending sprees, and suicide attempts.

Now in 'A Brilliant Madness' Patty Duke joins with medical reporter Gloria Hochman to shed light on this powerful, paradoxical, and destructive illness. From what it's like to live with manic-depressive disorder to the latest findings on its probable causes, its wide range of symptoms, and its most effective treatments, this compassionate and eloquent book provides insight into the challenge of mental illness. And through Patty's story, which ends in a newfound happiness with her cherished family, it offers hope for all those who suffer from mood disorders and for the family, friends, and physicians who love and care for them."

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MENTAL ILLNESS IS NOT SPIRITUAL

"...mental illness is not spiritual, although its effects may indeed hinder and be a burden in one's striving toward spiritual progress. In a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to a believer there is this further passage: 'Such hindrances (i.e. illness and outer difficulties), no matter how severe and insuperable they may at first seem, can and should be effectively overcome through the combined and sustained power of prayer and of determined and continued effort.'

That effort can include the counsel of wise and experienced physicians including psychiatrists. Working for the Faith, serving others who may need you, and giving of yourself can aid you in your struggle to overcome your sufferings. One helpful activity is, of course, striving to teach the Cause in spite of personal feelings of shortcomings, thus allowing the healing words of the Cause to flood your mind with their grace and positive power."

(From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, June 15, 1982) Taken from Lights of Guidance, Helen Hornby, # 955)

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DISEASE IS OF TWO KINDS

"Disease is of two kinds: material and spiritual. Take for instance, a cut hand; if you pray for the cut to be healed and do not stop its bleeding, you will not do much good; a material remedy is needed. Sometimes if the nervous system is paralysed through fear, a spiritual remedy is necessary. Madness, incurable otherwise, can be cured through prayer. It often happens that sorrow makes one ill, this can be cured by spiritual means."

(Abdu'l-Baha in London, Addresses and Notes of Conversations, p. 65)

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TEMPORARILY DISCONNECTED!

Ashley Alvis from Atlanta, GA, U.S. wrote this poem in response to the article about "Baha'i Fatigue Syndrome" in the December, 1998 issue.

We regret to inform you, that
your service to the Faith
has been, temporarily
disconnected.
Please do NOT seek any refunds.
If you were expecting a return
on your investments of money,
time, or energy, then
that is probably why
your service is
currently disconnected.
If you were expecting others
to be as enthusiastic as you are
about what captures your interest
that may indeed be another reason
why you currently feel so cut-off.
If you have in the past
achieved great success
when others followed your lead,
Perhaps it is time you became a follower.
If you perceive that your community
is providing you with inadequate guidance,
Perhaps it is time you took a leading role.
Be not dismayed,
nor troubled over this matter.
The currents in the affairs of humanity,
even more so in the affairs of God,
are constantly changing.
Do thou likewise.
If you find all doors closed on you,
be aware that those are only
the ones familiar to you.
Try looking down a different hall.
But don't forget about the ones
you've used before.
Chances are, that once your service
is again restored and reconnected,
all doors will be opened to you at once.
Then you can worry!
And search your heart and His
and your community's heart, until
you choose the one which serves best.
Until then, be aware, that time off for good behavior,
is indeed granted on rare occasions.
Enjoy your vacation! Relax! Have Fun!
Love Love; Fellowship, Fellowship; Unity, Unity!;
Be happy, Be happy, Be happy,
and return to His service refreshed and recreated!
Currently! Currently! Currently!
You are only a channel, my friend.
Reconnection involves two poles;
the Source, and your service.
Current flows best when your attachments,
at both ends!
are cleanly and firmly grasped,
and when your channel is pure
and uncluttered.
Restoration is your business, not ours!
and yet we stand ready to assist each other
in all ways, humanly, and divinely possible.
Ask for what you need from the friends,
just like beseeching your Lord,
with no time frame imposed,
and open to whatever may come in answer.
Let us serve you for a change!
Learn how to receive,
while giving forth your light;
And your filament
in the vacuum bulb of self
need never burn out again.

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THE GUARDIAN OF THE BAHA'I FAITH - SHOGHI EFFENDI

The following is an excerpt from the "The Priceless Pearl" written by Ruhiyyih Rabbani, pages 57-58, describing an honest account of Shoghi Effendi in dealing with his mental anguish as a result of his heavy work and responsibilities in being the Guardian for the Baha'i Faith. When he would become exhausted he would go to the mountains in Switzerland to seek out healing and relaxation.

"On 8 April the Greatest Holy Leaf ( Bahiyyih Khanum, aunt of Shoghi Effendi) wrote a general letter...'Since the ascension of our Beloved Abdu'l-Baha 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 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 center 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 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."

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A VIRTUE GAME

By Annegret Hallanzy, Psychotherapist, Munich, Germany

I would like to share a family or partnership game on the use of these virtues. Write down 21 of these virtues on a card.

sense of perfection, inspiration, sense of harmony, profoundness depth, empathy / sensitivity, courage, detachment dedication, trustworthiness, faithfulness, supportiveness honesty, acceptance, joyfulness, enthusiasm, intensity warmth, perseverance, patience, compassion

Close your eyes and pull out one card and do not show your card to the others. The others do the same. Now, you have two weeks to perform your chosen virtue with utter perfection until the others can tell you which virtue you are practising. It's possible!!! The effect of the game is to see the others in a positive and enlightening way because you are aware that they are struggling to live a certain virtue! Have fun.

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VIRTUES ARE THE GEMS WITHIN US - AN EXERCISE FOR CHILDREN

By Sue Haselhurst, Australia

I have recently come across two virtuous activities which help one experience how the use of virtues can empower our children. A friend of mine once said "When you practice a virtue you are plugging into God." A reader of the newsletter shared this perspective "Mental health is based on the healthy expression of emotions through the use of virtues." The first one leads on to the second.

1. Prepare a blackline master with the drawing of an outline of two people/children. Write underneath the first figure "This person is practising virtues" and under the second figure "This person is not practising virtues". Ask each child to glue each centre with glitter and cover the second figure with tracing paper. Get each child to talk about what the activity represents to him/her. For me it represents an empowering image in that we all have the virtues inside us; we just need to polish them by using them. My daughter once said she was too tired to practise courtesy (and say thank you). With the above picture in mind I acknowledged her tiredness but still asked her to find courtesy. I said "This is an opportunity to learn how to find courtesy even though you are tired - to dig deep, because I know it's in there." It took a while but she eventually found it and from this experience we both learned that she could overcome other emotions to practise a virtue. This leads to empowerment because she learned that she could choose how to behave in that situation and that I believed in her ability. This leads to the second activity which I like to use as a follow up to the first.

2. Fill two thirds of a container with rice (or similiar) and add several pretend gemstones - the more the merrier. Ask a child to "Think of a virtue that is really easy for you to find today". Child responds with love. "Look, there it is right on the top; you pick out the gem of love for me." Child selects a gem from near the top of the rice and is fascinated when you say that it is the love gemstone. Now ask "Can you tell me a virtue that is really hard for you to find today?" Child says patience. "Ok, now I want you to put your hand deep into the container and see if you can dig down deep and find patience for me." Child pulls out a gem. "Wow, there is patience. I honour you for diggingdeep and finding patience." Do this activity with each child and then talk about how on some days it can be very difficult to find any virtues and we have to struggle all day and on other days it's easy.

My daughter (who is four now) said last week that she was digging to find a particular virtue and was just not quite reaching it. As she said this she was mimicking with her hand as if she was trying to reach into her heart to find the virtue but her hand just couldn't quite reach. This activity is great for children, adults and grandparents aged between 3 - 93. It can change the paradigm of many parents from thinking that they have to fill up their child with good behaviours rather than to draw forth those desirable ones which they already possess. I showed this activity to the principal of my daughter's school and he asked all the teachers to offer it to every child in the school.

To sum up, when we practise virtues our gems shine through and when we don't practice virtues it is hard to see them.

'What is the purpose of our lives?' Abdu'l-Baha. -- 'To acquire virtues.' ( Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 177)

"Thus, when the spirit is fed with holy virtues, then is the body joyous, if the soul falls into sin, the body is in torment!" (Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talk p. 65)

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INFORMAL NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) REPORT ON THE EXPERT GROUP MEETING ON: WOMEN AND HEALTH: MAIN STREAMING THE GENDER PERSPECTIVE INTO THE HEALTH SECTOR

By Elizabeth L. Bowen, MD, EdD., Georgia, U.S.A.

This meeting was co-sponsored by the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women and the World Health Organization (WHO) on 28 September to 2 October, 1998, in Tunis, Tunisia. This paper summarizes a report to the Geneva Committee on the Status of Women presented on October 12 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva by Elizabeth L. Bowen, M.D., Ed.D., who represented the Baha'i International Community and Health for Humanityat the Expert Group Meeting.

Approximately 50 individuals participated in the Expert Group Meeting, including 15 invited experts, 12 representatives of UN agencies, 9 WHO staff, 6 governments’ representatives, 5 NGO representatives.

Women and Health is a priority theme of the March 1999 Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the UN. The purpose of the Expert Group Meeting was to develop a framework to integrate the gender perspective into health care policies and programs. Many national action plans contain concrete action-oriented proposals for the health sector. However, many countries face difficulties and are asking for assistance in designing and implementing gender-sensitive national action plans for the health sector.

The Platform for Action identified women and health as one of twelve critical areas of concern and defined five strategic objectives:

1. To increase women’s access throughout the life cycle to appropriate, affordable, and quality health care;

2. To create and strengthen preventive programs to protect and promote women’s health;

3. To promote research and disseminate information on women’s health;

4. To undertake gender-sensitive initiatives to address sexual and reproductive health issues; and

5. To monitor follow-up and implementation of the Platform of Action, especially increasing resources.

For example, some five years ago, in the United States, the National Institutes of Health established a gender focal point and found that only 13% of medical research was for women’s health. Inequalities must be addressed worldwide. A World Bank study showed a gender differential in the five leading causes of young adults’ disease burden in developing countries: For women, they are maternal morbidity and mortality, sexually-transmitted diseases, tuberculosis, HIV infection, and depressive disorders. For men, they are HIV infection, tuberculosis, motor vehicle injuries, homicide, violence, and war.

How do we know when we have achieved the mainstreaming of gender into the health sector? When policy planners, researchers, and health practitioners have internalized a gender perspective, we will be able to:

1. Identify risk factors for women and men. For example, the risk of acquiring HIV and AIDS upon exposure is higher in women.

2. Identify conditions that affect women and men differently. For example, 75% of new cases of HIV and AIDS worldwide are women.

3. Identify conditions that are more serious in women than in men. For example, certain sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea and chlamydia can lead to life-threatening pelvic inflammatory disease, and ectopic pregnancies. Infertility in women is life threatening but is rarely life-threatening in men.

4. Identify conditions that are more prevalent in men than in women. For example, certain forms of substance abuse such as tobacco and alcohol, are more common in men, yet are increasing among women.

5. Develop different interventions for women and men.

The NGO community has a vital role to play in the process of improving the health of women and girls, especially human rights-based approaches, for example, in the acceleration of the elimination of female genital mutilation.

In summary, the Expert Group Meeting participants reached consensus on specific recommendations to present at the CSW, (the Commission on the Status of Women), which is meeting at the UN in New York City from March 1-19, 1999. The recommendations have been published along with a full report of the meeting by the UN Division for the Advancement of Women. For further information, please refer to: http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw

Fax: (212) 963-3463. E-mail: daw@un.org

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"The world of humanity has two wings - one is women and the other men. Not until both wings are equally developed can the bird fly. Should one wing remain weak, flight is impossible. Not until the world of women becomes equal to the world of men in the acquisition of virtues and perfections, can success and prosperity be attained as they ought to be." ( Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 302)

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SPIRITUAL HEALTH HABITS

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Here are some essential elements for our spiritual and physical health from an eminent physician.

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

7) Simplify

8) Focus

9) Practice patience

10) Eat simple, natural plant foods

11) Drink adequate pure water

12) Evaluate progress daily, summarize weekly

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LETTERS

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I would like to use this opportunity to thank you for the service you do, and would like to ask you to put the following question on my behalf to the readers of the "Healing Through Unity". This way, I may be able to get some responses from the friends, which hopefully would be of some help to me.

"Within the last few years, I have met a number of people who have through death lost someone close to them. I would like to learn or receive some tips on how I can help my friends in times of bereavement. I notice on the issue of grief that not many people like to talk about it and it is a subject which is not dealt with but rather is avoided, hoping it will go away by itself. I would like to know for example if it is a good idea to organise a 'self help group'? And how can I go about organizing it?"

Mojgan Agahi, Lauben, Germany

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My gratitude to you....this newsletter is short and succint, and at the same time, packed with critical information for us in the Western world. I feel that virtually all of us are struggling with the "severe mental tests" that Shoghi Effendi predicted that the Baha'is of the West would undergo in their preparation for the Lesser Peace and beyond. As painful as all this is, I know that what we endure was predicted many years ago as being equivalent to the physical pain that the Babi marytrs endured. It is our time to shine in the fire of tests, and to use His wonderful Writings andprayers to heal - first ourselves and then, God Willing, others.

Lisa Armstrong

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I was forwarded a copy of the "Healing Through Unity" newsletter. I really liked it and I hope there is always the honouring of different ways of healing that I sensed in this one. It is such a refreshing thing to know that there are friends who are willing to share very intimate experiences (e.g. dreams, ceremonies, etc) in the context of 'healing', the healing process, etc. I feel that each nation, each peoples, somewhere in the process of history had been given 'ways' to enter and access into that 'special place and space' for healing, remembering, forgiveness, dreaming and honouring for those 'special and sacred forces'.

Ted Lew and June Iron Hawk-Lew, Mandaree, ND, U.S.A.

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Thanks very much for addressing the issues many of us are concerned about in your newsletter. The fact that it is reaching so many people in administrative positions is very significant. Dealing with personal pain and healing is something we are not yet very good at . . .hopefully your newsletter will help us take steps to bring it out of thedarkness into at least the half-light.

Terry Poirier, Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada

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QUESTION OF THE MONTH

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The question for this month is:

"What are homeopathic remedies?" "How can they successfully cure various illnesses?"

Please share all your stories or if you have other comments for the newsletter or "Question for the Month" ideas, please write to: Frances Mezei by e-mail, -- .

Other than the quoted Writings, the material in this newsletter represents the thoughts and opinions of the writers and has no authority. You are free to copy articles, provided you indicate the source of the article. If you have a change of e-mail address or wish to unsubscribe the newsletter, please let me know. There are 10 issues per year; it is not published during July and August.

A WEBSITE TO BE DEVELOPED

Due to the "Healing Through Unity" newsletter's growth and expansion, it has been suggested that a website be developed. It would be helpful, practical and marvelous if a reader who has the expertise and interest in building a website for the newsletter could take upon this task and responsibility. If you are interested in serving in this capacity, please contact me at -- . Also, if you have any ideas, suggestions or insights on what to include in the website, please feel free to share them with me. Thank you!

With warmest loving greetings,

Frances Mezei

Ontario, Canada

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HEALING THROUGH UNITY

February, 1999

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of

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

Volume 2, Issue #6

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Just Clay!

Author Unknown - submitted by Daryoush Yazdani, Japan

A couple vacationing in Europe went strolling down a little street and saw a quaint little gift shop with a beautiful teacup in the window. The lady collected teacups and she wanted this one for her collection, so she went inside to pick up the teacup, and as the story goes the teacup spoke and said: "I want you to know that I have not always looked like this. It took the process of pain to bring me to this point. You see, there was a time when I was just clay and the master came and he pounded me and he squeezed me and he kneaded me and I screamed: "STOP THAT". But he just smiled and he said, "Not yet".

Then he took me and put me on the wheel and I went round and round and round and round ... and while I was spinning and getting dizzier and dizzier I screamed again and I said, "Please get me off this thing ...please get me off!!!" And the master was looking at me and he was smiling, as he said, "Not yet".

Then he took me and walked toward the oven and he shut the door and turned up the heat and I could see him through the window of the oven and it was getting hotter and hotter and I thought, "He's going to burn me to death". And I started pounding on the inside of the oven and I said, "Master, let me out, let me out, let me out", and I could see that he was smiling as he said "Not yet".

Then he opened the door and I was fresh and free and he took me out of the oven and he put me on the table and then he got some paint and a paintbrush. And he started dabbing me and making swirls all over me and I started to gag and I said: "Master, stop it ... stop it ... stop it please ... you're making me gag" and he just smiled as he said "Not yet".

Then very gently he picked me up again and he started walking toward the oven and I said, "Master, NO! Not again, pleeeeease". He opened the oven door and he slipped me inside and he shut the door and this time he turned the heat up twice as hot as before and I thought. "He's going to kill me", and I looked through the window of the oven and I started to pound saying, "Master ... Master, please let me out ... please let me out ... let me out... let me out". And I could see that he was smiling, but I also noticed a tear trickle down his cheek as I watched him mouth the words. "Not yet!"

Just as I thought I was about to die, the door opened and he reached in ever so gently and took me out, fresh and free and he went and placed me on a high shelf and he said: "There, I have created what I intended. Would you like to see yourself?" I said "Yes", so he handed me a mirror and I looked and I looked again and I said, "That's not me, I'm just a lump of clay" And he said: "Yes, that IS you, but it took the process of pain to bring you to this place. "You see, had I not worked you when you were clay, then you would have dried up. If I had not subjected you to the stress of the wheel, you would have crumbled. If I had not put you into the heat of the oven you would have cracked. If I had not painted you there would be no color in your life. But, it was the second oven that gave you the strength to endure. And now you are everything that I intended you to be - from the beginning."


And I, the tea cup, heard myself saying something I never thought I would hear myself saying: "Master, forgive me, I did not trust you, I thought you were going to harm me, I did not know you had a glorious future and a hope for me. I was too shortsighted, but I want to thank you. I want to thank you for suffering. I want to thank you for the process of pain. Here I am! I give you myself - fill me, pour from me, use me as you see fit. I really want to be a vessel that brings you glory within my life"

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"When I contemplate, O my God, the relationship that bindeth me to Thee, I am moved to proclaim to all created things "verily I am God"; and when I consider my own self, lo, I find it coarser than clay!" (Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p.234)

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"The mind and spirit of man advance when he is tried by suffering. The more the ground is ploughed the better the seed will grow, the better the harvest will be. Just as the plough furrows the earth deeply, purifying it of weeds and thistles, so suffering and tribulation free man from the petty affairs of this wordly life until he arrives at a state of complete detachment. His attitude in this world will be that of divine happiness. Man is, so to speak, unripe: the heat of the fire of suffering will mature him. Look back to the times past and you will find that the greatest men have suffered most." (Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 178 )

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"In this day, everyone must be tested, as the time of the 'chosen ones' to prove their worth is indeed very short. The day of attainment is drawing to a close for them. The 'first fruits' must be ripened in spirit, mellowed in love, and consumed in their self-sacrifice and severance. None other are acceptable as first fruits, and all who fail to attain to the standard through the tests are relegated to the 'many who are called'." (Abdu'l-Baha, Star of the West, Book 4, Vol. 6, #6)

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A NEW TABLET
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27 April 1998: The Research Department has found that this is an authentic Tablet revealed by Bah·'u'll·h in the Arabic language, and this is the copy of the authorized translation.

In His Name, the Exalted, the All-Highest, the Most Sublime!

Glorified art Thou, O Lord my God! O Thou Who art my God, and my Master, and my Lord, and my Support, and my Hope, and my Refuge, and my Light. I ask of Thee, by Thy Hidden and Treasured Name, that none knoweth save Thine own Self, to protect the bearer of this Tablet from every calamity and pestilence, and from every wicked man and woman; from the evil of the evil-doers, and from the scheming of the unbelievers. Preserve him, moreover, O my God, from every pain and vexation, O Thou Who holdest in Thy hand the empire of all things. Thou, truly, art powerful over all things. Thou doest as Thou willest, and ordainest as Thou pleasest.

O Thou King of Kings! O Thou kind Lord! O Thou Source of ancient bounty, of grace, of generosity and bestowal! O Thou Healer of sicknesses! O Thou Sufficer of needs! O Thou Light of Light! O Thou Light above all Lights! O Thou Revealer of every Manifestation! O Thou the Compassionate! O Thou the Merciful! Do Thou have mercy upon the bearer of this Tablet, through Thy most great mercy and Thine abundant grace, O Thou the Gracious, Thou the Bounteous. Guard him, moreover, through Thy protection, from whatsoever his heart and mind may find repugnant. Of those endued with power, Thou, verily, art the most powerful. The Glory of God rest upon thee, O thou rising sun! Do thou testify unto that which God hath testified of His own Self, that there is none other God besides Him, the Almighty, the Best-Beloved.

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THE EXCHANGE
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Question:
In the January, 1999 issue, the question was asked: "What are homeopathic remedies?" "How can they successfully cure various illnesses?"

Answers:
All alternative medicines tend to be linked together in people's minds and homeopathy is no exception. It is often confused with herbalism, faith healing, aromatherapy etc. which it is not. Homeopathy is one of the most scientific and precise forms of medicine available. Discovered by Samuel Hahnemann in the 18th century, it is based on the concept that "like cures like". Being a true scientist, he then proceeded to test his theory by years of "provings". Initially, these were done by giving various substances to healthy people and recording the effects on them. Later, in an attempt to find the lowest dose which would elicit a response, he discovered that the more dilute the "potency" the more dramatic the effect. Conventional medicine, whether using antipathy (the treatment by opposites to neutralize a disease symptom) or allopathy (the treatment by an unrelated substance to try to alter the body's response to disease) is totally different in this respect. If one dilutes below the usual dose the efficacy is lost. His method of systematic serial dilution and succussion successfully eliminated the dangers of toxicity in poisonous substances while amplifying the medicinal value of the substance. This process produces what homeopathic practitioners today call remedies. They are classified first by their botanical or elemental name in Latin and then by their method and number of dilution. Thus, Arnica 30c is a Tincture made by diluting Arnica ( a poisonous plant also known as leopard bane) one in one hundred parts, thirty times. Succussion is performed each time and is believed to be the key to the successful transfer of the medicinal quality of the herb while removing the harmful qualities. In fact none of the original organic compound remains, only it's "essence" imprinted on the diluent (usually pure water and/or alcohol).

A significant difference between homeopathy and allopathic medicine is that homeopathy works not by counteracting the body's reaction to disease (called symptoms) but by mobilizing the body's natural defenses to correct imbalances and/or overcome the causative agents.

The other significant difference is that homeopathy must always treat the entire patient, including, physical, mental and emotional symptoms. Since illness or dis-ease is seen as an imbalance in the energy or life force of each individual being, a similar imbalance may produce very different symptoms in different beings. Only when the whole person (or animal) is considered can the correct remedy be chosen. The potency given to the patient is then based on the length and duration of all symptoms, and progress or cure is viewed only when a return to health (rather than the elimination of symptoms) is seen.

Homeopathy is an extremely complex method of healing to use and should be used only by trained persons. It is not a replacement for orthodox medicine but an adjunct to it. Naturopathic Doctors (in Canada) must complete up to seven years of schooling to learn this (among other things). Please refer to a professional about the use of these remedies.
Jean Huffman, Wholistic Animal Health Consultant, Ontario, Canada

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It's not easy to describe within a few lines on Homeopathy, which is not common to our way of thinking. I'll just try to give some basic information on this kind of treatment. Already Hippocrates, the 'father of medicine', advocated that there are two ways of healing. One can heal with a remedy working against a symptom or disease (i.e. with anti-biotics, anti-diabetics etc) or with a remedy which urges the body to fight the disease by its own innate healing-forces. This second way is used by Homeopathy. It applies pharmacological substances from natural sources (mainly plants and minerals) in very small dosages to the patient. Prior to this the patient and his/her condition has to be exactly and carefully analysed and examined as a psychosomatic whole. It is not the symptoms or the diseases which are treated, but the patient as a whole with his/her very special individuality and way of expressing the imbalance, which has occurred and led to the disease. The purpose is not just to treat a malady, but to heal and cure the patient. There are no negative side effects of the remedy. In opposition to allopathy, where the physician usually can never be sure about the possible side effects of a certain remedy and the possible damage it may inflict. Homeopathy applies strictly to the oath of Hippocrates, which says that any damage to the patient should be avoided.

Critics say, because of the very small dosage of substances used in homeopathy, that it is just a placebo. It's true, that the way of preparing (homeopaths call it 'potenticing') the remedies leads in certain cases to the point, that no trace of the original substance can be found in the dissolution (carrier substance of the remedy itself) by the usual ways of biochemical analysis. But homeopaths disagree maintaining that it is not a question of the material substance in this case, but a biophysical, energetic phenomenon. The dissolution carries the information of the original substance within it, it is impregnated with it. Biophysical analysis of homeopathic remedies in recent years, measuring its electromagnetic and energetical state, reinforce this view.

What is, from strictly chemical viewpoint, the difference between the same computer with and without a program? You won't find the difference, because the way of analysing the difference is inadequate. Similarily homeopaths maintain this about their remedies. The information is the aspect which counts. Furthermore, there are already plenty of "lege artis" studies on the University level, which prove the effectiveness of homeopathy. Some of these studies prove its effectiveness, even with animals and lower organisms, like microbes. In this connection, to simply talk about placebo-effects does not seem to be logical. Finally, millions of patients around the world every year, treated and being cured by homeopathy, believe simply in the fact that whoever cures is right. Naturally, homeopathy also has its limitations. It is true, as I can tell clearly from my own experiences, that it quite often cures so-called 'incurable' diseases, but it is not a supernatural miracle-performer. Moreover, it will not evolve to be, in my humble opinion, the major part of the medicine of the future as its supporters uphold, because it is a curing of people, who are already sick. It is not a preventive medicine. The medicine of the future has to be first of all preventive and include mainly, according to 'Abdu'l-Baha, nutrition and hydrotherapy. Furthermore, neither allopathy nor homeopathy usually consider the importance and major role of spiritual healing.

Dr. Bernhard Koppold, M.D., Volos, Greece

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We keep a full set of homeopathic biochemic tissue salts in our first aid supply and use them by following the symptom/treatment guidance found in "The Biochemic Handbook" ISBN 0-89378-051-0 and "Biochemic Tissue Salts" by Dr. Andrew Stanway ISBN 0-7225-1156-6. There are 12 separate Tissue Salts and we purchase them in tablet form in bottles of 500 or 1000. For hiccups, nose-bleeds, crankiness associated with infant/toddler teething, a wide range of mild headaches, cough & cold symptoms, etc. these are incredibly effective. My eternal gratitude to Sarah Ma'ani, a pioneer in South Africa, from whom I first learned of them.
Carol Bowie, British Columbia, Canada

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I first came across homeopathy some 30 years ago, shortly after becoming a Baha'i. It was a Baha'i friend in England, Sydney Barrett, who introduced me to the subject and I am for ever grateful to him for demonstrating to me what homeopathy was about. In the mid 1960s homeopathy was as mysterious and unknown a subject as was the Baha'i Faith. Now matters have changed and homeopathic remedies are sold in the majority of pharmacies in the U.K. This is a far cry from 30 years ago when remedies could only be obtained from one or two London pharmacies.

To me it has become an interesting and fascinating branch of medicine. I have absolutely no medical qualifications but as a "devotee" of homeopathy, I have used it to treat myself and my family over the years. Children's ailments, the usual coughs, colds and sore throats, sprains, strains, sicknesses of various kinds, have all been treated successfully by means of homeopathy. Having lived overseas in sometimes hostile conditions and climates, the use of homeopathy has literally proved itself to be a godsend. If the problem is more complicated, then we have always consulted a competent homeopathic doctor. I have to say that some of the cures have actually been nothing short of miraculous!

Thelma Batchelor, Leatherhead, Surrey, England

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ASSISTING OTHERS IN GRIEF
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A reader asked us this question: "Within the last few years, I have met a number of people who have lost someone close to them through death. I would like to learn or receive some tips on how I can help my friends in times of bereavement. I notice on the issue of grief that not many people like to talk about it and it is a subject which is not dealt with but rather is avoided, hoping it will go away by itself. I would like to know for example if it is a good idea to organise a 'self help group'? And how can I go about organizing it?"

A reader shared these comments. "Similar with the sick and dying, being ready to listen can be helpful. Active listening, feeding back the feelings, or beginning with 'it must have been hard for you....' And, being able to tolerate silences. I think there have been some groups for widows and widowers formed in some places. When and if a person is ready to join a group, or organize a group, depends on the individual."

"Brenda Ueland says listening is a great and powerful thing, a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. She writes "Think how the friends that really listen to us are the ones we move toward, and we want to sit in their radius as though it did us good, like ultraviolet rays. She says that when we are listened to, really listened to as if what we have to say means something, ideas actually begin to grow within us and come to life. When we have problems, who is it that we go to? she asks. Not to the hard, bossy practical ones who can tell you exactly what to do, but to the listeners: that is, the kindest, least censorious, least bossy people that you know. It is because by pouring out your problem to them, you then know what to do about it yourself." (Brenda Ueland, 'Tell Me More' in Utne Reader, Nov/Dec 1992)This was taken from "Chasm of Belief" written by Barbara McLellan from New Zealand. It is also useful to be familiar with the grieving process.

"The grief process, says Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, is a five-stage process: denial, anger, bargaining, sadness, and finally acceptance. That's how we grieve; that's how we accept; that's how we forgive; that's how we respond to the many changes life throws our way. Although this five-step process looks tidy on paper, it is not tidy in life. We do not move through it in a compartmentalized manner. We usually flounder through, kicking and screaming, with much back-and-forth movement --until we reach that peaceful state called acceptance.

"When we talk about 'unfinished business' from our past, we usually are referring to losses about which we have not completed grieving. We're talking about being stuck somewhere in the grief process. Usually, for adult children and codependents, the place where we become stuck is denial. Passing through denial is the first and most dangerous stage of grieving, but it is also the first step toward acceptance. "We can learn to understand the grief process and how it applies to recovery. Even good changes in recovery can bring loss and, consequently, grief. We can learn to help ourselves and others by understanding and becoming familiar with this process. We can learn to fully grieve our losses, feel our pain, accept, and forgive, so we can feel joy and love."

(Melody Beattie, The Language of Letting Go, p. 318-19)

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INVOCATION TO USE FOR POWERFUL PRAYER
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By Nona Simons, Reno, Nevada, U.S.A.

When preparing a lesson for Baha'i students, I ran across the most wonderful quote from "Dawnbreakers" page 552-553. It appears in the story of a dedicated and wise early Babi believer named Hujjat and his fellow Babi's who were living in a fort in Zanjan during the time of the Bab. They were under serious threat of attack, and Hujjat instructed the guards at the gates to "repeat nineteen times, each night, each of the following invocations:"

Allah-u-Akbar [God the Great]

Allah-u-A'zam [God the Most Great]

Allah-u-Ajmal [God the Most Beauteous]

Allah-u-Abha [God the Most Glorious]

Allah-u-Athar [God the Most Pure]

After the invocations were repeated by the Babis, their attackers became startled and agitated, dropped what they were doing, left their barracks, and ran and hid in houses in the environs of the governor's residence, afraid to attack the Babis at that time. When the Babis uttered these powerful words, they were mysteriously protected.

For the commemoration of the Birth of the Bab, October 20, 1819, which was held in my home last night, for part of the readings, we uttered these invocations, nineteen times each, and there was a wonderful spirit generated by doing so. The friends seemed truly happy after the readings ended. When I utter these powerful words, I do not want to stop, because it feels so wonderful just to say them.

It is possible that much healing could result from uttering these invocations and I am sharing them with you in this spirit. I would be happy if people might want to share their experiences upon uttering these marvelous invocations/supplications to and praise for God.

**********************
FASTING
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During the Baha'i month of Loftiness beginning sunrise March 2nd, the Baha'is over 15 years of age fast from sunrise to sunset for nineteen days. Exempted from the Fast are children under 15, those who are ill, over 70, travelling, pregnant or nursing women, women in their courses or those doing heavy labour. The Fast ends at sunset March 20, Naw-Ruz (Baha'i New Year).

Abdu'l-Baha tells us that "prayer and fasting is the cause of awakening and mindfulness and conducive to protection and preservation from tests." (Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, pp 69-70)

Prayer and fasting "act as stimulants to the soul, strengthen, revive, and purify it, and thus insure its steady development." (Shoghi Effendi, Principles of Baha'i Administration, p.8)

The Guardian, Shoghi Effendi writes, "it (the fasting period) is essentially a period of meditation and prayer, of spiritual recuperation, during which the believer must strive to make necessary readjustments to his inner life, and to refresh and reinvigorate the spiritual forces latent in his soul. Its significance and purpose are, therefore, fundamentally spiritual in character. Fasting is symbolic, and a reminder of abstinence from selfish and carnal desires." (Shoghi Effendi, Principles of Baha'i Adminstration, p. 9)

THE FAST

Written by Stephen Newbegin and published in the June 1975 issue of the California Regional Newsletter

O My loving companions on the Path
Think ye that the fast is a burden?
Even should you waste into nothingness,
This would be a joy beyond compare.
For those that enjoy this mystic meal,
The True Fast begins at sunset.
If it be that thy stomach groans
And thy tongue is a desert,
Eat and drink thoughts of thy Beloved
Whose sweet fresh water cleanses
And heavenly food strengthens.
And as thy body empties itself, so too
Empty the cup of the heart of self and passion.
And in thy growing weakness
Feel thy humility before God and thy fellows.
And as the dreary hours pass along,
Think of what store of patience
Ye may gather for the coming year.
And as thy body begins to lighten,
Let thy soul float like a kite
In the breezes of the spirit
Though still attached to the form
Which is fulfilling its daily duties.
And when you desire something,
Think of the One Desired,
Who has created all of what thou hast ever desired.
And as your hunger grows,
Think of those less fortunate souls
Who cannot replenish their flesh
During the sleeping of the sun.
And when you break bread,
Think of thy fellow Baha'is all around the world
In unity with your actions.
____________________________

SPIRITUAL HEALTH HABITS
____________________________

Here are some essential elements for our spiritual and physical health from an eminent physician.

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
7) Simplify
8) Focus
9) Practice patience
10) Eat simple, natural plant foods
11) Drink adequate pure water
12) Evaluate progress daily, summarize weekly

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"PARENTING IN THE NEW WORLD ORDER " NEWSLETTER
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We wish to inform you about a newsletter entitled "Parenting in the New World Order." This bi-monthly newsletter is dedicated to raising families with strong spiritual values and is published for the purpose of sharing thoughts, comments and experiences on how the teachings of the Baha'i Faith are being applied to the task of parenting and family life. "Parenting in the New World Order" began slowly with a few families in 1991 and gradually expanded until it was being read around the world. It is now only available on e-mail at no charge to interested subscribers. Your articles, stories, and thoughts are warmly welcomed. If you are interested, please e-mail Nima and Negin Anvar who are the new editors of this newsletter at: allamanda@caribsurf.com.

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LETTERS
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I have received and glanced at your newsletter "Healing Through Unity". I would like to congratulate you for this worthy undertaking and wish to subscribe it.
Counsellor Jabbar Eidelkhani, Bangladesh
...................................

We would like to thank you for the inspiring, uplifting, and timely newsletter. Congratulations on your initiative. I'm sure many hearts are being touched. This came as an answer to my prayers. Have already found much inspiration in the quotes and stories you included. Honduras is passing through a healing process and needs as much spiritual support and nurturing as possible. Please include us in your membership list.
Gloria (nee Perd?) and Donald Drysdale, National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Honduras
(Editor's Note: If you wish to send a note or a prayer to the people in Honduras, I would be happy to forward it to Gloria.)
.......................................

I would like to subscribe to the "Healing Through Unity" Newsletter. I am a pioneer in Honduras. I really like your approach; applying Baha'u'llah's teachings to the reality of our situation. So often as Baha'is we try so hard to be "model" Baha'is - examples to others as we are told to be, but as a consequence don't give enough importance to our feelings and to find the true causes of our conflicts. Or to just listening and validating other's experiences and feelings-sharing! I hope to participate, too. Thanks!
Jackie Schwart Rajabian, Honduras
.......................................

Thank you for the complimentary copy of the "Healing Through Unity" newsletter, subscriptions to which you are providing as a very generous service to the friends worldwide. We will be delighted to be on your mailing list for this very uplifting magazine and intend to distribute it to all Local Spiritual Assemblies on email. You may well also receive requests from friends in New Zealand to have their email addresses added to your mailing list. We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on this wonderful initiative, and to wish you well in its future development.
Suzanne Mahon, Secretary, National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of New Zealand
.....................................

As a dentist and secretary of the Association of Medicale Baha'is in France, I would like to receive the newsletter so I can resend it to the other members of our association, and other Baha'i health professionals.
Thank you very much.
Albert Mirabelle, France

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QUESTION OF THE MONTH
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"What is the role of a chiropractor? How do the principles and treatments of chiropractic assist us with our health?
If you have a question that you would like answered, you can e-mail this to -- .

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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.

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

The website for the newsletter is now being developed and the details will be shared in the March issue.

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STARTING "HEALING THROUGH UNITY" TEAMS
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A reader shared this comment: "It would be very helpful if there would be some links to people suffering from the same kind of illnesses, because none understands you better than a person who went through the same hell."

Dr. William Saunders from Atlantic, U.S.A. has generously offered his service to coordinate the concept of the teams which has been tried out during the past few years around the globe with great success. Dr. Saunders, who has practiced as a medical doctor for 30 years, will share his present health care prescriptions which are based, to a large extent, on simple foods, prayer and balance in one's life. He has an extraordinary ability to search for the truth in the body's ability to heal itself based on spiritual healing.

The "Healing Through Unity" newsletter was also a vision of Dr. Saunders. Two years ago, in 1997, after I (Frances Mezei) joined his health program to assist with my health and healing process, he asked two other friends and myself if one of us would be willing to continue the newsletter he was doing. I took on this service and the newsletter started in September, 1997.

If a number of individuals (say three to four people) have the same objective, such as the cure of a particular disease or condition, a team can be formed. This team would consult via e-mail with Dr. Saunders functioning as the guide and skilled physician using the healing teachings of the Baha'i Faith. A general treatment program would be developed by this common experience of the team to travel the path toward health perfection and to learn to apply physical and spiritual health habits. We are also familar with the value of consulting with other inidividuals who have common experiences. As well, the team concept may be useful for certain health professionals to form a team and use the power of consultation to advance the process of healing.

If you wish to participate in a team with friends who are dealing with similar illnesses, disabilities, struggles or issues, please write to me at: -- and identify your specific needs to be placed in the right treatment program. Some examples include high blood pressure, diabetes, migraine, depression, grief, cancer, blindness, etc. Also, if you wish to join the doctors and health professionals team, please inform me. There is an annual membership fee of $35.00 U.S. payable to Dr. Saunders. Individual consultations with Dr. Saunders are also available at $35.00 U.S. a week. If you have any questions about this program, we would be happy to answer your questions.
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Best wishes for a fruitful and spiritually enriching Fast.
Frances Mezei
Ontario, Canada




HEALING THROUGH UNITY
MARCH, 1999

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of
physical and spiritual health envisioned in the Baha'i Teachings.

Volume 2, Issue #7
_______________________________________________________


TO "BEE" OR NOT TO "BEE"
By Sally Caldwell, Alaska, U.S.A.

A bee flew into the car one day while the family was stopped at a traffic light. Try as they might to get it out through an open window, it insisted on buzzing blindly into the windshield.

When the family got home, they tried again to get it to leave, but this only made the bee buzz angrily against the rear window. Again and again, the family tried to direct the bee outside through the open windows and doors. Yet, each time it evaded them. Afraid of injuring the bee by trying any further, the family left the car with the windows open
and parked it next to a flowering bougainvillea vine, hoping this would entice the bee to freedom.

Alas, the next morning they found the little creature dead on the back dash under the rear window, mortally exhausted from its desperate efforts. This poor bee was so sure it had the answer to its dilemma and so it buzzed with greater and greater intensity into the window. It stubbornly maintained that it could solve its own problem, when the truth was that the bee's way got it nowhere. All the bee had to do to reach the flowers outside the car was admit personal powerlessness. At that point the family could have taken it gently from the midst of its prison and released
it to the sweetness of freedom.

And how often do we humans try to solve a problem on our own, trying harder and harder to overcome some perceived difficulty? It is rather sobering to realize that whatever predicament we are now facing, it was our best
thinking that got us there and it is our best thinking that is keeping us there, just like that little bee. Let go and let God.

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THE BUTTERFLY
**************************
Author Unknown - submitted by Susan Gammage, Canada

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared, and he sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther. Then the man decided to help the butterfly, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly
spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly. What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were God's way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If God allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. And we could never fly.
________________________

THE EXCHANGE
________________________

Question:

In the February , 1999 issue, the question was asked:
"What is the role of a chiropractor? How do the principles and treatments of chiropractic assist us with our health?

Answers:

Chiropractic is a branch of the healing arts which is concerned with human health and disease processes. It is based on scientific fact that the nervous system controls the function of every cell, tissue, organ and system of the body. The nervous system consists of the brain, spinal cord and millions of nerves. Many everyday activities from trauma to chemical and/or mental stress can upset the mechanics of the spine, which in turn can create pain, restriction of movement and other symptoms, such as backaches, neck aches, pain in the extremities, headaches, asthmatic
syndrome, digestive malfunctions, carpel tunnel syndrome, and nervousness, to name but a few. Some people may not know that chiropractic treatment has very favorable results with earaches in children.

The term chiropractic (Greek for "done by hand") was coined by its founder Daniel David Palmer in 1895 when he gave his first "adjustment" to a man who had been deaf for 17 years after falling downstairs. Following the chiropractic adjustment the man's hearing was restored. After that chiropractic was born as a teachable art and science. Thus began what later became the first Chiropractic College in the world in Davenport, Iowa, United States. Now there are sixteen Colleges in North America and several in other parts of the world. In fact, a World Federation of Chiropractors is currently being set up. The accrediting agency for chiropractic colleges was approved by the U.S. Department of Education in 1974. Chiropractors are primary health care providers and their services are covered by most insurance companies in the U.S.

The philosophy of chiropractic is in harmony with the concepts taught in the Baha'i Faith. Chiropractors are taught that there is a Universal Intelligence, and that within each person is an innate or inborn intelligence. They believe that this intelligence can manifest itself best if all interference is removed, thus allowing a person's nervous,
vascular, muscular, energy (meridians, etc.) and other systems to function optimally. Homeostasis, equilibrium and balance are key words in natural healing.

Chiropractic is the largest drug and surgery-free approach to healing in the world. During a chiropractor's five years of training, he/she is taught all the basic sciences - modern diagnostic procedures and treatment methods, including regard for good nutrition, and the adverse effects of a polluted environment, drugs, alcohol and mental stress. X-ray is a compulsory subject and each chiropractic college has its own treatment clinic and laboratory where blood work can be carried out. There are many techniques to adjust the spine and extremities, including soft-tissue approaches. Thus people ranging from infants to the elderly, who are sometimes fragile, can take advantage of chiropractic care.

Chiropractors often have massage therapists on their staff, and may utliize other therapies as well, including hot and cold compresses, depending on the patient's condition. Traditionally people sought a chiropractor for neck and back pain, but now many are going for other health problems. The pendulum is swinging towards trying the natural approach. Having said that, chiropractors are aware there is a need for all branches of healing and the allopathic method is definitely essential.

Chiropractors are required to attend continuing education studies annually as there is new information being released constantly. In my practice, in addition to adjusting the spine I do sacro-cranial work, polarity work, applied kinesiology, neuro-emotional work, homeopathy, nutritional counseling and other natural methods of healing. It is a very rewarding profession and I often find that patients are searching for spiritual answers as well. I often give them a copy of the Healing Prayer or "O God! Refresh and gladden my spirit". Many patients have heard of and read about Baha'u'llah. I try to be kind, compassionate and understanding, and have soft music playing in my office to help people relax. I feel they come not only to be freed from pain, but to unwind and become regenerated after struggling in a stressful world. I try to educate my patients that the Power that made the body heals the body, and we with our free-will must respect and love ourselves as part of God's creation. I often share Baha'u'llah's Hidden Word, Arabic, #23 "O Son of Spirit! Noble have I created thee, yet thou hast abased thyself. Rise then unto that for which thou wast created." with them. Such concepts assist patients who are sad and/or suffer from low self-esteem. Miracles happen every day.

"Unveiled and unconcealed, this Wronged One hath, at all times, proclaimed before the face of all the peoples of the world that which will serve as the key for unlocking the doors of sciences, of arts, of knowledge, of well-being, of prosperity and wealth."
( Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 96)

"The powers of the sympathetic nerve are neither entirely physical nor spiritual, but are between the two (systems). The nerve is connected with both. Its phenomena will be perfect when its spiritual and physical relations are normal."
( Abdu'l-Baha, Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Baha, p.309)

Lynette Frieden, Chiropractor for 30 years, California, USA


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He feels you should certainly think of your future and earning your living, and if chiropractic is the work you wish to go in for, you should continue your education; when you are finished it would be highly meritorious to enter the pioneer field, as for many years to come Baha'i teachers will be needed in distant lands.
( Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, 31 March 1947, Health and Healing,p. 39)

********************************

I am not qualified to answer the question as a practitioner but I am a Physical Therapist who has come to appreciate and utilize the services of a Chiropractor when I cannot correct my own physical dysfunctions with my own knowledge of the body. I am not sure I would choose a Chiropractor as my primary physician but I have a great deal of confidence in their abilities with some problems. I have referred patients whose problems are not responding to my treatment and their gratitude has been an affirmation of the efficacy of Chiropractic treatments. I have observed my chiropractor's ability to relieve the problems of a dog who had lost control over its bladder, the reduction of the effects of stress on a friend, and the reduction of pain associated with Tempo-Mandibular malalignment.

I'm given to understand, the impingement on the autonomic nervous system is the source of many problems and thus mobilization of the spine to relieve that impingement is the source of the relief. I am told it can be effective in many ailments not apparently having physical causation.

As a practitioner of one of the healing arts, I offer this admonition to any who seek any health care from any field of healing.
* Be open to approaches to healing that initially may seem to be nonsense, since tradition can blind us to truth.
* Choose the practitioner more carefully than you would choose a mechanic for your vehicle.
* Don't assume their certificate of qualification has made them a "healer", they may lack the intuitive/spiritual/dedicated sense.
* Listen with both your head and your heart to their advice.
* Don't expect magic cures from anyone but don't be afraid to reject a healer that does not seem to be addressing your problem.
* Don't put your health into anyone's hands before you have accepted responsibility for it yourself - or you will be prey for quacks and incompetents.
In other words, as I've been told, the Quran admonishes - Trust in God but tie your camel.
Annette Cox, Tennessee, U.S.A.
===============================================

Here is another answer to the question asked in the January, 1999 issue.
"What are homeopathic remedies?" How can they successfully cure various illnesses?'

When my daughter was five years old she developed Bell's Palsy. I first noticed something wrong when her left eye would not close properly, then the left side of her mouth became immobile making her look as if she had suffered a stroke. I took her to our local doctor who sent us straight to the local hospital (over 20 miles away!) The local doctor had never seen Bell's Palsy in a child before and at the hospital I was informed that in 90% of cases the condition cleared up within three months and that there was nothing that could be done medically. We returned home and the 'word' soon got around the local Baha'i community. One of the community members suggested that I try homeopathic medicine. After reading a text I decided to browse for a remedy for my daughter and with prayer and contemplation
this is what I did. The remedy that evoked a positive reaction was Opium (which surprised me) so I went to the local chemist and found that homeopathic opium could be obtained - and it was within two days. My daughter recovered from the condition within a week of taking the remedy.

Since then I have consulted qualified homeopaths on several occasions when my children have been ill and have found that their general health has improved greatly. I used tissue salts when my son was teething and they certainly seemed to help. Childrens' bodies should not be unnecessarily polluted with antibiotics, as this reduces their own resistance to disease (as I myself am living proof of). All medicine has its place in our society but children should be treated with care and their bodies given the chance to build up resistances to 'life'.

As regards the issue of legalising cannabis (in the UK) for MS sufferers, could not a homeopathic cannabis remedy be used? Thus removing the necessity of legalising a drug that can be abused and can lead to a distancing of the soul.
Lady Julie Van-Dungey, Oxford, England.

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OFFERING ASSISTANCE
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By Kathy Gilbert, New Zealand

I have Multiple Sclerosis. I was diagnosed in 1993 after several attacks mostly with blindness, blackouts and spasms in my legs. After many tests it was shown that I had 15 lesions in my brain mostly in the areas which affect motor control but also in many other areas. I have been following a particular path of management that works well, made up by me and suited to my personality. I am not medically trained in any way. I have not had a severe exacerbation for nearly four years now. I use prayer, relaxation techniques, natural medicines and kinesiology. If anyone would like to
know more of this technique, please feel free to contact me at my e-mail address: kathyg@xtra.co.nz

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SIX TYPES OF HEALING
**********************************
By Orval H. Minney, California, USA

Editor's note: Orval Minney, a retired U.S. Space Scientist from California, U.S.A., has kindly agreed to write a series of six articles describing the six methods of healing stated by Abdu'l-Baha in "Some Answered Questions", pages 254 - 259. This is an excellent opportunity to study, consult and share our experiences, insights and comments on this very important subject. These six types of healing will serve as our guidance to educate us on how to prevent and cure our many diseases and illnesses. Your contributions will be printed in the next issues.

To recap from my original article of January 8, 1998, Volume 1, Issue # 6, in "Some Answered Questions", Abdu'l Baha speaks of six types of healing; four are spiritual and two are material.

Spiritual healing comprises:
1) contagion of health from the very healthy to the one slightly ill,
2) transfer of a magnetic force from a "healer" to the one ill,
3) the concentrated belief of the healer and patient that a cure will occur,
4) the power of the Holy Spirit.

Material healing occurs:
5) by means of medicines and surgical procedures,
6) by aliments, fruits, vegetables, and hot and cold waters.

He speaks in the same reference that the body is in a state of energy and chemical equilibrium and that an imbalance causes disease while balance restores the equilibrium. Scientifically, the body is in a state of homeostasis, or dynamic energy/chemical balance, which is controlled by the autonomic nervous system through the endocrine system. This balance is affected by thoughts, beliefs and attitudes and by invading organisms, toxins, allergies and structural changes from subluxations to broken bones or lacerations.

The first type of spiritual healing discussed in this issue is "contagion of health". Abdu'l Baha says: "...in man both health and sickness are contagious. The contagion of disease is violent and rapid, while that of health is extremely weak and slow. If two bodies are brought into contact with each other, it is certain that microbic particles will pass from one to the other. In the same way that disease is transferred from one body to another with rapid and strong contagion, it may be that the strong health of a healthy man will alleviate a very slight malady in a sick person. That
is to say, the contagion of disease is violent and has a rapid effect, while that of health is very slow and has a small effect, and it is only in very slight diseases that it has even this small effect. The strong power of a healthy body can overcome a slight weakness of a sick body, and health results. This is one kind of healing."
(Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 254)

If we consider that the homeostasis or equilibrium can be upset by our attitude, then the positive, cheerful attitude and presence of a healthy person can be contagious to one who is "out of balance", changing their outlook so that it affects their internal equilibrium. From an energy viewpoint however, contagion implies a transfer of something between persons. An ill person has an imbalance from either a shortage or an overabundance of elements which is sometimes caused by their attitude. Their innate self is then receptive to receiving the necessary energy to restore the equilibrium. A healthy person exudes energy. In their presence the ill person draws on that energy and feels better which changes their equilibrium and assists in restoring the balance. The proviso is that they must have the proper nutrients in their system for the endocrine system to act on. So, this type of healing will help and should be part of every healer's modus operandi, however, for very slight cases of illness or depression, other types of healing must be used.

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SOME THOUGHTS FROM THE "SEAT OF THE SOUL"
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Editor's note: Dale Sims, Ontario, Canada, took these notes from "Seat of the Soul" by Gary Zukav published by Simon and Schuster. I thought you might enjoy them. These notes encourage us to release old pain, old fears, old insecurities that have been trapped inside our bodies for years. We can choose to be no longer with them when they have come to our consciousness. When our reality becomes aware of our fears, we can consciously release them. We may think that our anxieties and insecurities are blocking our service or process when in reality they are our gifts from God. Our anxieties are acting as a stimulus to cast aside the shackles and limitations within ourselves which often disappears when we respond in a more acceptable way to God.

* Every experience that you have and will have upon the Earth encourages the alignment of your personality with your soul.
* There is much joy in the nonphysical world when the soul releases major negativity and the quality of its consciousness shifts upward into higher frequencies of Light.
* The first step to awareness is becoming aware of what you are feeling. Following your feelings will lead you to their source. Only through emotions can you encounter the force field of your own soul.
* This requires that you clear yourself each day of your emotional impacts. Just as you dispose of your physical body wastes and toxins, so too, dispose of your emotional wastes and toxins by finishing emotionally unfinished business, by not going to bed in anger, by seeing that you do not feel contaminated emotionally, and by learning to work with and to honour your emotional currents of energy.
* Trust allows you to call forth your negativity in order to heal them. It allows you to follow your feelings through your defenses to their sources, and to bring to the Light of consciousness those aspects of yourself that resist wholeness, that live in fear. The journey to authentic power requires that you become conscious of all that you feel. The unearthing and healing of your negativities may appear to be an endless process, but it is not. Your vulnerabilities and weaknesses and fears are not different from those of your fellow humans. Do not despair because your humanness awakens.
* When you pray, you draw to you and invoke grace. Grace is uncontaminated conscious Light, it is divinity. Prayer brings grace and grace calms you. Grace is the tranquilizer of the soul. With grace comes a knowing that what you are experiencing is necessary. It calms you with a sense of knowing.
* Authentic needs belong to the soul. You need, for example, to love and to be loved. You need to express your creativity, whether that is in raising a family or leading a country. You need to cultivate your spirit, to work
consciously at aligning your personality with your soul. You need to be counseled with the impersonal wisdom of your nonphysical teachers, and the guidance of your nonphysical guides. These are some of your authentic needs.
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ESSENTIAL REQUISITES FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH
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Baha'u'llah has stated quite clearly in His Writings the essential requisites for our spiritual growth, and these are stressed again and again by Abdu'l-Baha in His talks and Tablets. One can summarise them briefly in this way:

1. The recital each day of one of the Obligatory Prayers with pure-hearted devotion.

2. The regular reading of the Sacred Scriptures, specifically at least each morning and evening, with reverence, attention and thought.

3. Prayerful meditation on the Teachings, so that we may understand them more deeply, fulfil them more faithfully, and convey them more accurately to others.

4. Striving every day to bring our behaviour more into accordance with the high standards that are set forth in the Teachings.

5. Teaching the Cause of God.

6. Selfless service in the work of the Cause and in the carrying on of our trade or profession.
( Written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice, 1 September 1983, 'Messages from the Universal House of Justice', p. 589)

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SPIRITUAL HEALTH HABITS
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Here are some essential elements for our spiritual and physical health from
an eminent physician.

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
7) Simplify
8) Focus
9) Practice patience
10) Eat simple, natural plant foods
11) Drink adequate pure water
12) Evaluate progress daily, summarize weekly

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NEW WEBSITE
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Russ Novak has graciously offered to do the website for the "Healing Through Unity" newsletter. He works for a start-up firm, Coastal Datalink Corp., that does website development in California, U.S.A. You can visit the website at: http://www.healingthroughunity.org. Back issues, your comments page, and a subscription page can be found at the website. New features will be included in the future. I wish to express my thanks to Russ for his time, expertise and dedication in designing the website.

It is an honour to dedicate the website to the loving memory of Russ' wife, Maria Novak, who passed away in June, 1998.

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LETTERS
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The newsletter published by you is of great interest for this country. We decided to provide the Russian translation of "Healing Through Unity" and send it out to all Belarussian communities.

Thank you for such a wonderful newsletter, people can use it for holding firesides, children's classes or private reading.
Vassily Kislyak, Secretary, National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Belarus
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The NSA of the Baha'is of Moldova received your letter and it would like to convey to you the fact that it would be more than happy to receive your newsletter.
Ludmila Zaichenko, Secretary, National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Moldova
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I find "Healing Through Unity" very interesting, and I've sent messages to all my Baha'i friends who have e-mail about it. Also, there are not many people in Panchgani who have e-mail access, but we have a Baha'i community
of around 150. So I've decided to print out a copy of your newsletter and share it with the friends at the Feasts.
Adore Talukder, Panchgani, India
.......................................
Here is a new website for Baha'i Mental Health:
http://members.xoom.com/BahaiMH/ The website is an online magazine and resource center for Baha'is concerned with mental health issues. Content will be updated monthly in each of the four columns, and there will be a new featured article.

This month they are proud to offer a special feature, "Self-Criticism and Mental Health" by Phyllis K. Peterson - author of "Assisting the Traumatized Soul: Healing the Wounded Talisman" - a spring offering of the Baha'i Publishing Trust.
Submitted by Susan Gammage, Ontario, Canada

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QUESTION OF THE MONTH
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How can we arrange to make the time for meditation special? What are some of the practical exercises to do meditation? What are some of the effects and benefits of meditation?

If you have a question that you would like answered, you can e-mail this to: -- .

********************************************
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.

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



HEALING THROUGH UNITY

April, 1999

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of

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

Volume 2, Issue #8

_______________________________________________________

A STORY ABOUT SERVICE DESPITE ADVERSITY

Author Unknown - submitted by the Bauman Family

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room's only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation. And every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window. The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his view would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside. The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color of the rainbow. Grand old trees graced the landscape, and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance. As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene. One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man couldn't hear the band he could see it in his mind's eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Days and weeks passed. One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away. As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone. Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the world outside. Finally, he would have the joy of seeing it for himself. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed. It faced a blank wall. The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She said, "Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you."

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"Let them purify their sight and behold all humankind as leaves and blossoms and fruits of the tree of being. Let them at all times concern themselves with doing a kindly thing for one of their fellows, offering to someone love, consideration, thoughtful help." (Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 1)

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A STORY IN OVERCOMING SEVERE CHALLENGES

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By Renett GrovÈ, Johannesburg, South Africa

Recently I celebrated my 41st birthday. I had such a wonderful day and I spent time in prayer thanking God for all I have to be thankful for. I fell asleep during the praying and when I awoke I realised I had spent about half an hour listing all I am grateful for before I had fallen asleep yet I was not even ten percent of the way through the list. I never thought I would have 41 years to learn the lessons in this physical garment because since childhood I was told my life expectancy was very short. I have been physically challenged since infancy due to a condition called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), which is a progressive neuro-muscular disease. I experienced rapid degeneration in childhood and have lived my entire life from a wheelchair, and for the past year, mostly from my bed. I have lived a fulfilled and productive life. Through God's mercy, I have never looked at what I do not have but have found it more productive to focus on what I do have. I have worked in telesales and marketing since the age of 15 and for the past 15 years I have been privileged to be involved in developing and presenting motivation, telephone and general communication training courses for companies and work-seekers. Early last year it became obvious that I had developed an additional serious neurological problem. My face and upper body went into severe spasms - almost convulsions - and I was hospitalised for most of the year. Although I now spend the majority of my time in bed, I am still able to enjoy the blessing of Worship through work and my life is very full and satisfying.

I accepted the Bah·'Ì Faith in 1992 and found in the Baha'i Writings confirmation of the outlook and techniques that have often assisted me through difficult days. I also found in the Baha'i Writings a great deal of inspiration and encouragement especially with regards to the age we are living in and how through the love, knowledge and worship of God we can be assisted on the journey to detachment and understanding this physical realm. I have had times in my life when the burden of battling through every day has felt as if it is too hard to bear and will crush me. Now, however, not only do I experience "the peace that passes all understanding" but I have a joy that just bubbles, and bubbles out of me. This has happened, I believe because friends carried me through "a dark night of the soul" wrapped in prayer and love. I pray when I am in pain, when fears of future or guilt from the past enters my mind or when loneliness and longing for the dear ones who have departed this physical garment takes over me. I recite the Greatest Name when I have no words to offer and my thoughts are jumbled through over-medication or distress. I recite the Long Healing Prayer often as well as the Tablet of Ahmad and try to say as many times a week as possible the two prayers that contain the words "Armed with the power of Thy Name nothing can ever hurt me, and with Thy love in my heart all the world's afflictions can in no wise alarm me" and "Send down upon me as a token of Thy Grace, Thy vitalising breezes throughout the daytime and in the night season, O Lord of bounty." It has also become very clear to me that God has provided tools for us to be able to teach, serve the Cause and participate fully in the Baha'i Community even when physical circumstances threaten to isolate us. I would gladly share more about this with anyone who wishes to write to me at: rgrove@global.co.za

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"Anybody can be happy in the state of comfort, ease, health, success, pleasure and joy; but if one will be happy and contented in the time of trouble, hardship and prevailing disease, it is the proof of nobility." (Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith, p. 363)

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THE EXCHANGE

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In the March, 1999 issue, the question was asked:

"How can we arrange to make the time for meditation special? What are some of the practical exercises to do meditation? What are some of the effects and benefits of meditation?"

Answers:

REQUISITES FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH

This letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice, 1 September 1983, includes a section on Prayer and Meditation, 'Messages from the Universal House of Justice', p. 589-90 "It is striking how private and personal the most fundamental spiritual exercises of prayer and meditation are in the Faith. Baha'is do, of course, have meetings for devotions, as in the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar or at Nineteen Day Feasts, but the daily obligatory prayers are ordained to be said in the privacy of one's chamber, and meditation on the Teachings is, likewise, a private individual activity, not a form of group therapy.

In His talks Abdu'l-Baha describes prayer as "conversation with God", and concerning meditation He says that "while you meditate you are speaking with your own spirit. In that state of mind you put certain questions to your spirit and the spirit answers: the light breaks forth and the reality is revealed." (Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 174)

There are, of course, other things that one can do to increase one's spirituality. For example, Baha'u'llah has specified no procedures to be followed in meditation, and individual believers are free to do as they wish in this area, provided that they remain in harmony with the Teachings, but such activities are purely personal and should under no circumstances be confused with those actions which Baha'u'llah Himself considered to be of fundamental importance for our spiritual growth. Some believers may find that it is beneficial to them to follow a particular method of meditation, and they may certainly do so, but such methods should not be taught at Baha'i Summer Schools or be carried out during a session of the School because, while they may appeal to some people, they may repel others. They have nothing to do with the Faith and should be kept quite separate so that enquirers will not be confused.

...The House of Justice suggests that for their private meditations they may wish to use the repetition of the Greatest Name, Allah-u-Abha, ninety-five times a day which, although not yet applied in the West, is among the Laws, Ordinances and Exhortations of the 'Kitab-i-Aqdas'". (See p. 46 of the "Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas".)

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Guidance from the Writings

Meditation is often viewed as a goal in itself, a nirvana-like state representing the pinnacle of dedication and practice. An alternative viewpoint considers meditation more like a tool than a destination. Abdu'l-Baha informs us that: "Meditation is the key for opening the doors of mysteries." (Paris Talks, p. 175).

To describe how meditation works He uses an analogy: "The meditative faculty is akin to the mirror; if you put it before earthly objects it will reflect them... But if you turn the mirror of your spirits heavenwards, the heavenly constellations and the rays of the Sun of Reality will be reflected in your hearts..."(ibid,p. 176).

As well as being a tool, the meditative faculty appears to be a gateway allowing access to the Divine: "This faculty of meditation frees man from the animal nature, discerns the reality of things, puts man in touch with God." (ibid,p. 175). In fact, `Abdu'l-Baha goes even further and categorically states: "Through the faculty of meditation man attains to eternal life..." (ibid,p. 175).

The capacity for meditation is one of our definitive features and without it we would not be human: "You cannot apply the name `man' to any being void of this faculty of meditation; without it he would be a mere animal, lower than the beasts."`(ibid,p. 175).

Further, meditation seems to be an essential means for developing a sense of spirituality which, in turn, is a prerequisite for 'living the life'. It seems that without the practice of meditation we are not truly 'alive': "The first thing to do is to acquire a thirst for Spirituality, then Live the Life! Live the Life! Live the Life! The way to acquire this thirst is to meditate upon the future life. Study the Holy Words, read your Bible, read the Holy Books, especially study the Holy Utterances of Baha'u'llah; Prayer and Meditation, take much time for these two. Then will you know this Great Thirst, and then only can you begin to Live the Life!" (Abdu'l-Baha, Star of the West Vol. 19, No. 3, p. 69)

The Baha'i Writings encourage each of us to meditate but no particular form is advocated. The choice of meditation style is an entirely personal affair and leaves room for experimentation to find the method with which one is most comfortable: "As to meditation: This also is a field in which the individual is free. There are no set forms of meditation prescribed in the teachings, no plan as such, for inner development. The friends are urged - nay enjoined - to pray, and they also should meditate, but the manner of doing the latter is left entirely to the individual." (Shoghi Effendi, Directives of the Guardian, p. 34-35).

While we are exhorted to meditate, we are cautioned about overly elaborate practices. Simplicity of form, and balance in practice seem to be the guideposts: "Meditation is very important, and the Guardian sees no reason why the friends should not be taught to meditate, but they should guard against superstitions or foolish ideas creeping into it." (Shoghi Effendi, Directives of the Guardian, p. 46-47)

Some Results and Suggested Techniques from Scientific Study of Meditation

Like any tool, the faculty of meditation needs exercise and practice if it is to be used skillfully. Throughout the world there are a wide range of exercises claiming to improve one's ability to meditate and in the confusing array of options it can be difficult to sort out the hyperbole from the authentic. Some of the most well documented research into meditative techniques was carried out by Herbert Benson, M.D. in the 1970's. Dr. Benson studied a variety of meditative techniques and recorded their physiological effects on the health and well-being of the practitioner. He coined the term 'Relaxation Response' which refers to "the inborn capacity of the body to enter a special state characterized by lowered heart rate, decreased rate of breathing, lowered blood pressure, slower brain waves, and an overall reduction of the speed of metabolism." (p. 4: Benson, H. 1984. Beyond the Relaxation Response. New York: Times Books).

>From the meditation styles, he studied Dr. Benson distilled four simple steps common to all. He found that practicing these techniques for 15-20 minutes twice a day elicits the Relaxation Response (ibid,p. 96). Beneficial results will be felt by some people within a matter of weeks. For others it may take several months before the effects take place. But wherever we are in the process, diligent practice will assure results. The four steps are:

* Sit in a comfortable position in a quiet place where you will not be disturbed.

* Close your eyes and relax your muscles.

* Focus on your breathing. Breath from your abdomen slowly and naturally.

* Select a word, prayer, or phrase rooted in your personal belief system (for example a Baha'i might choose "Ya-Baha'u'l-Abha"). Then, repeat it silently or see it in your mind's eye each time you exhale.

Dr. Benson emphasizes "When outside thoughts intrude during the meditation, disregard them by saying, "Oh, well," and return to the word or prayer you've selected. It's essential always to maintain a passive, relaxed style in dealing with any interruptions." (ibid,p. 97).

Another supportive technique for developing meditative skills is the practice of 'mindfulness'. Pick some activity that you perform on a daily basis e.g. brushing your teeth. Focus all your attention on this simple act. Become aware of all the physical sensations involved in the act of cleaning your teeth. How hard are you gripping the brush? What do your gums and teeth feel like as the brush touches them? What tastes is your tongue experiencing? What expressions move across your face? What aromas can you smell? What sounds come to your ears? Try to be more conscious of what you are feeling: relaxed, impatient, bored? Notice what effects result from your deliberateness: do you slow down, speed up? Whenever you catch yourself thinking of something else just notice that your attention has moved away and softly bring it back to brushing your teeth. Try this for two weeks and observe the results.

The 'Relaxation Response' technique will expand one's innate capacity for meditating. It's simple to do, sometimes arduous in practice, and often unspeakably glorious in results. Remember, the technique is not the goal but rather a means of developing your skill with the tool. `Abdu'l-Baha encourages us not merely to meditate but to set ourselves lofty goals: "Therefore let us keep this faculty rightly directed - turning it to the heavenly Sun and not to earthly objects - so that we may discover the secrets of the Kingdom, and comprehend the allegories of the Bible and the mysteries of the spirit." (Paris Talks, p. 176).

- Rian Cassells, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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I've brought up meditation a few times with Baha'i friends (very few - I've been an isolated believer most of my Baha'i life) and always seem to run into the same frustration - there is no teaching on how to meditate in the writings, just an injunction to do so. I personally do not find this a limitation, but rather a gift. We are all individual creations of God, with different strengths, interests and qualities. We all have different "things" that cause us to feel close to God and close to our own spirit. For some, this could be as simple as sitting in a dim room and chanting the Greatest Name, for others, artistic creation. Some might want soft music and candlelight, others may need silence in a natural setting. Some need to sit still and just be, others need motion - walking, even dancing - to allow their soul to transcend the body for a little bit. The process of learning how to meditate is tied into the rest of our spiritual lives. It is part of learning to see the attributes of God all around us, every moment in our lives. It is a part of calling yourself into account - knowing your spiritual strengths and how you can best feel God's presence in your life. The beauty of it, again, is that there is no "right way" that you force yourself to conform to, you instead explore yourself and God's creation to find the powers latent in your soul and then use them to further strengthen yourself.

The benefits of meditation are many (some of which are as unique as the individual who meditates). Release of stress and tension, increased detachment from the world and a sense of connection to God, a better knowledge of yourself and your spiritual powers, a deeper knowledge of the writings upon which you meditate, a sense of being spiritually grounded which gives you the power to ACT on what you learn, and many others that are not coming to my attention right now.

- Suzi Esser, California, U.S.A.

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SIX TYPES OF HEALING - TYPE TWO

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By Orval H. Minney, California, U.S.A.

In "Some Answered Questions" Abdu'l Baha speaks of six types of healing, four are spiritual and two are material. The first type of healing, which we discussed in the March issue, concerned spiritual healing through contagion of health from the very healthy to the one slightly ill. The second type of healing is the transfer of a magnetic force from a "healer" to the one ill.

"The other kind of healing without medicine is through the magnetic force which acts from one body on another and becomes the cause of cure. This force also has only a slight effect. Sometimes one can benefit a sick person by placing one's hand upon his head or upon his heart. Why? Because of the effect of the magnetism, and of the mental impression made upon the sick person, which causes the disease to vanish. But this effect is also very slight and weak. (Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, pp. 254-55)

We are composed of cells which are basically bipolar in nature and have a magnetic field. In our bodies these cells are ordinarily arranged in a random fashion neutralizing the overall magnetic effect. Differentiating or growing cells align by their polarity and grow in the direction of the growth. Some lower creatures like the salamander can re-grow lost limbs, and a magnetic field can be detected along the line of growth...Our neural system is a bioelectrochemical system so we create magnetic fluxes and fields by our thoughts and actions. Finally, in accordance with relativistic and quantum physics, our bodies are essentially matrices of electromagnetic vibrations and have a magnetic field, often called the "aura" by mystics.

It is possible by our thoughts to generate a line of flux and magnetic field that can be transmitted by laying on of hands. Some yogi healing masters actually transmit this flux through space by the power of their focused concentrated thought. I have seen this demonstrated by a Yogi Guru. Healers have acquired their ability through some natural process or by focused training of their mind. Placing one hand on either side of a wound or on the head uses that portion of the patient to close the circuit and the energy flows through you and the patient creating a magnetic field which helps realign the patient's essential matrix and in restoring homeostasis to the system.

A demonstration of this ability can be done in a dark room. Place your fingertips slightly apart in front of you making a circle of your arms and body. Visualize a current of energy or light flowing in one direction through your shoulders, chest and arms and jumping the gap between your fingertips. If you are successful you will see a blue spark jump between your fingertips. To train this ability, start by placing the fingertips together until you feel a tingling sensation at the juncture. Then gradually increase the gap.

For now, this concept must remain as an adjunct to other treatment and not as a cure by itself. Competent physicians should develop their spirituality and practice the healing touch as part of their bedside manner. The physicians can recite healing prayers and the Greatest Name to be given divine assistance. In my experience with persons in this capacity, I have come to believe that the effect of the transfer of magnetism works in accordance with the spiritual development of the practitioner.

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Abdu'l-Baha writes: "He who is filled with love of Baha, and forgets all things, the Holy Spirit will be heard from his lips and the spirit of life will fill his heart...Words will issue from his lips in strands of pearls, and all sickness and disease will be healed by the laying on of the hands." (J.E. Esslemont, Baha'u'llah and The New Era, p.112)

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RESEARCH AND INFORMATION

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By Louise Yazdani, Canada

Health disciplines, like all other areas of study, are under constant fire these days for their basic premises and approaches. When researching a health topic, I try to look first for guidance from three sources:

1. Any sort of related compilation put together by the World Centre - for example, an August 1998 compilation prepared by the Research Dept. of the Universal House of Justice, called "Aspects of Traditional African Culture", contains a section entitled "Traditional Healing and Traditional Healers";

2. "Consumer Reports" - for example, "Consumer Reports" of 1994 did very thoroughly researched articles on "Alternative Medicine" in general, as well as specific articles on Acupuncture and Chiropractors;

3. Conferences reports (local, national and international) - these are often useful, because they present the subject matter from diverse - often, opposing - perspectives, and therefore encourage the reader to be less biased when identifying key issues and trends.

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SPIRITUAL HEALTH HABITS

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Here are some essential elements for our spiritual and physical health provided by a physician who has practised for more than 30 years.

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

7) Simplify

8) Focus

9) Practice patience

10) Eat simple, natural plant foods

11) Drink adequate pure water

12) Evaluate progress daily, summarize weekly

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LETTERS

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The National Spiritual Assembly appreciated receiving your January 4, 1999 email transmitting an issue of your "Healing Through Unity" newsletter and commends your efforts to offer in electronic form an informative source for applying a spiritual perspective to practical questions related to health and healing.

We have been asked to convey its best wishes for the success of your efforts to open the hearts of numerous souls to His Healing Message.

Office of the Secretary, National Spiritual Assembly of the Bah·'Ìs of the United States

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ANNOUNCEMENT

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Green Acre Baha'i School

Mystic Medicine: Health and Healing in the New World Order. August 6-11. Examine the Teachings of Baha'u'llah as they relate to health and healing. Topics will include the history of religion's role in the evolution of medicine; the role of prayer in health and disease; how the Baha'i Faith can guide the approach toward traditional and "alternative" health care theories, issues of the day such as in-vitro fertilization and cloning; and the Baha'i Writings' guidance for health maintenance and disease prevention.

Babak Etemad, M.D, a fifth-generation Baha'i and fifth-generation physician, is a faculty member at MCP-Hahnemann School of Medicine in Philadelphia and is director of the gastrointestinal diagnostic laboratory there.

Green Acre is 5 miles from Portsmouth, New Hamphire and 60 miles north of Boston, Massachusetts. Phone (207) 439-7200; email greenacre@usbnc.org ; or visit the website at: www.greenacre.org

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QUESTION OF THE MONTH

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A reader from Johannesburg, South Africa would appreciate consultation on this question.

In The Kitab-i-Aqdas (The Most Holy Book by Baha'u'llah), we read under Questions and Answers section number 93: "Question: Concerning fasting and obligatory prayer by the sick.

Answer: In truth, I say that obligatory prayer and fasting occupy an exalted station in the sight of God. It is, however, in a state of health that their virtue can be realized. In time of ill-health, it is not permissible to observe these obligations; such hath been the bidding of the Lord, exalted be His glory, at all times. Blessed be such men and women as pay heed, and observed His precepts. All praise be unto God, He who hath sent down the verses and is the Revealer of undoubted proofs."

This raises a question. When is an individual in ill-health? Is it when an individual sees him or herself as in ill-health or is it when a doctor proclaims it so? Although my health is often poor and I have good days and bad days, I often see myself as being in good health, but is this true since I suffer permanently from a progressive neuromuscular disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy and I live my life from a wheelchair and often from bed. I live a full and productive life and I earn an income and work even when I am forced to stay in bed during the day and I do not feel so great. Consequently I do not see myself as sick unless I am in hospital but of course, how I see myself is not important. What is important is following God's Law.

If you have a question that you would like to share, you can e-mail this to: fmezei@sentex.net.

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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:

http://www.healingthroughunity.org

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




HEALING THROUGH UNITY

May, 1999

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of

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

Volume 2, Issue #9

_______________________________________________________

CONTENTS

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- Under His Wings

- The Exchange

- Steps for Healing

- Dynamics of Prayer for Solving Problems

- Hour of Power - Ritual of Joy (Poem)

- Six Types of Healing - Type Three

- Letters

- Question of the Month

- Purpose of the Newsletter

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UNDER HIS WINGS

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Author unknown

An article in National Geographic several years ago provided a penetrating picture of God's wings...

After a forest fire in Yellowstone National Park, forest rangers began their trek up a mountain to assess the inferno's damage. One ranger found a bird literally petrified in ashes, perched statuesquely on the ground at the base of a tree. Somewhat sickened by the eerie sight, he knocked over the bird with a stick. When he struck it, three tiny chicks scurried from under their dead mother's wings. The loving mother, keenly aware of impending disaster, had carried her offspring to the base of the tree and had gathered them under her wings, instinctively knowing that the toxicsmoke would rise. She could have flown to safety but had refused to abandon her babies.

When the blaze had arrived and the heat had scorched her small body, the mother had remained steadfast. Because she had been willing to die, those under the cover of her wings would live...

"He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge;..." (Psalm 91:4)

"Cause me to rest under the shadow of the wings of Thy grace, for the flame of my separation from Thee hath melted my heart within me. Draw me nearer unto the river that is life indeed, for my soul burneth with thirst in its ceaseless search after Thee." ( Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations, p. 22)

"I implore Thee, O Thou Who art the beloved Companion of Baha, by Thy name, the All-Glorious, to keep safe these Thy servants under the shadow of the wings of Thine all-encompassing mercy, that the darts of the evil suggestions of the wicked doers among Thy creatures, who have disbelieved in Thy signs, may be kept back from them." (Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations, p. 11)

"Praised be Thou, O Lord my God! This is Thy servant whom Thou hast in the kingdom of Thy names called by Thine own name, and whom Thou hast reared under the wings of Thy grace and favours." (Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations, p. 47)

"May our beloved and vigilant Master ever keep you under His wings, and inspire you to promote far and wide and in a most effective manner the manifold interests of His Faith and its ever-developing institutions." (Shoghi Effendi, The Light of Divine Guidance Vol. 1, pp. 71-72)

"My fervent and constant prayer is that Baha'u'llah may ever keep them safe and protected under the shadow of His wings and aid them to play a worthy and memorable part in these tragic days of the Formative Period of our beloved Cause." (Shoghi Effendi, Unfolding Destiny, pp. 139-40)

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THE EXCHANGE

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Question:

In the April 1999 issue, the question was asked:

"What is the meaning of 'ill-health' when referring to the exemption from fasting and the obligatory prayer?"

Answers:

As to the question from the brave soul in South Africa, about when am I healthy or ill; I have two chronic problems that prevent me from fasting although they are not debilitating. Therefore, I usually consider myself to be in good health. My related question, which often troubles me since I passed the age of 60, is whether I am sick or just aging. People say I look very young for my years but are stiff joints, back ache and fatigue just signs of aging or of illness? Most of the women of my family, on both sides, live or lived exceptionally long lives and I expect to have another 30 to 40 years. I just resist having to accept physical limitations. Does anyone have any gems to share?

- Myrtle Gordon

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I was thinking about the question posed in the newsletter about prayer and fasting when ill and was thinking that as we mature we need the laws less. The laws are a safety net under us, to let us not fall too far back ... but as the spirit permeates and takes hold of our soul we would actually not be able to act in any other way than in accordance with the spirit. We become truly free and not bound by rules ...

- Anonymous

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Not Able to Fast

At this time of year encouragement for the friends to fast is widespread. Then comes the celebration of how glorious it was to take part.

Do the friends not realise that there are many of us who are forbidden to fast, often as in my case, on medical grounds?

When I first became a Baha'i I was sometimes criticised for not taking part and I have experienced this attitude since. May I suggest that instead of criticising or making people feel low by loudly proclaiming the glories of self-discipline and spiritual development, the friends realise that there are many of us who cannot fast. We envy those who can take part and cry inwardly because we cannot.

It is already difficult enough to celebrate Naw Ruz (which marks the end of the Fast as well as the beginning of the year), without being made to feel inferior or lacking in Baha'i devotion by such remarks as "You didn't fast? Really you should - it's marvellous."

- By Ron Roe - this letter is taken from the Baha'i Journal UK, March/April 1999 issue.

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I am unable to Fast because of low blood sugar condition. Each year, however, I try until I become ill, in the hopes my condition has changed in some way. I usually become quite ill the first day. I do however continue to rise at dawn, eat before sunrise and say dawn prayers and readings for the fast to partake in the spiritual renewal the fast provides. I try to snack only as necessary to stay well and functioning and eat dinner after sunset.

My husband who is not a Baha'i joins me for breakfast and dawn prayers. This is a most special time in our marriage. While I do feel sad that I cannot fully participate in the fast, I look forward to and cherish this time in which we receive much bounty and spiritual renewal and an opportunity to focus on our lives. All of us can observe the spiritual aspect of the Fast and gain those divine bounties. I used to work at the Canadian National Baha'i Centre where several members were unable to fast from time to time, and I felt quite comfortable eating my lunch daily. Having the bounty of saying prayers in the presence of the shoes worn by Abdu'l-Baha during his visit to Canada (these shoes are located at the National Baha'i Centre) was a very sacred gift. Only God knows who, in His eyes has observed the Fast.

- Mary Hougham, Ontario, Canada

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"Since Thou hast adorned them, O my Lord, with the ornament of the fast prescribed by Thee, do Thou adorn them also with the ornament of Thine acceptance, through Thy grace and bountiful favor. For the doings of men are all dependent upon Thy good-pleasure, and are conditioned by Thy behest. Shouldst Thou regard him who hath broken the fast as one who hath observed it, such a man would be reckoned among them who from eternity had been keeping the fast. And shouldst Thou decree that he who hath observed the fast hath broken it, that person would be numbered with such as have caused the Robe of Thy Revelation to be stained with dust, and been far removed from the crystal waters of this living Fountain." (Baha'u'llah, Baha'i Prayers, U.S. 1985, pp. 262-63)

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STEPS FOR HEALING

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The following excerpts from "Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom" written by Dr. Christiane Northup (obstetrician and gynecologist) outlines 12 practical steps for healing. They are taken from chapter 15, pages 579 - 641. Although it's written for women, men could benefit just as well from it. "These steps have proved helpful to women who want to become more deeply in tune with the inner guidance of their bodies, minds and spirits. By going through the steps mindfully, you will be practicing preventive medicine at its best, whether or not you are currently being treated for anything. I'd recommend that you use a journal to write down your responses to these steps and record whatever material comes up for you." (ibid, 579)

Imagine Your Future: Change Your Consciousness, Change Your Cells

"For years, I had my patients begin their health journeys by exploring their pasts to find clues to how they were creating their present conditions...It is really our vision and hope for the future that heals us and draws us forward. Our cells keep replacing themselves daily, and we create a whole new body every seven years. So it is not really accurate to say that our pasts are locked in our bodies. What is realy going on is that the consciousness that is creating our cells is often locked in the past - and that consciousness keeps re-creating the same old patterns. If, however, we can change the consciousness that creates our cells, then our cells and lives improve automatically. The easiest and fastest way to do this is to imagine your future self in as much detail as you possibly can. You can ask yourself this question: 'If you were in optimal health, what would your life look like?'" (ibid, pp. 579-80)

Step One: Get Your History Straight

"It is helpful for each woman to get her medical, social, and family history straight.." Dr. Northrup has "each patient fill out an extensive questionnaire that covers not only their medical history but their family history and a "daily living profile' in which they check off the effects of their living situation, job, relationships, and other factors on their health. Many of our patients find that taking the time to pull all this information together enables them to see patterns that they had not seen before." (ibid, p. 582)

Step Two: Sort Through Your Beliefs

Dr. Northrup asks us these questions suggesting that we consult them with a friend, and then write down the reponses. "Do you understand how inherited cultural attitudes toward our female physiological processes such as menstruation and menopause have contributed to the illnesses suffered by our female bodies?"

"Do you believe you can be healthy?"

"What challenges were part of your childhood?"

"What purpose does your illness serve? What does it mean to you?"

"Are you willing to be open to any messages that your symptoms or illness may have for you?"

"When faced with an illness, what is your usual reaction?"

"What is preventing you from healing yourself?"

"Do you still take on everyone else's problems and put yourself last? This is the classic dilemma for women. Feeling the need to be the healer and peacemaker for our entire family or place of work is a pattern that many of us learn in childhood. To create health, a woman must face this tendency squarely and commit to changing it."

"Do you fully understand the workings of your female body and how intimately your thoughts and feelings are connected to your physical health?"

"Are you following your life's purpose? Our bodies are designed to function best when we're involved in activities and work that feel exactly right to us." (ibid, pp. 590-601)

Step Three: Respect and Release Your Emotions

"Emotions are a vital part of our inner guidance. Like our illnesses, our dreams, and our lives, our emotions are ours, and we must own them and pay attention to them. We must learn to feel our emotions, release our judgements about them, and be grateful for their guidance. They let us know how we are directing our life-energy. Chronic anger or sadness, by the law of attraction, tends to attract situations to us that are filled with anger or sadness. Daily doses of joy and appreciation of ourselves and others tend to attract joy and appreciation into our lives.

Children automatically know how to feel their emotions and then let go. When they're hurt, they stop and cry. After just a short time, they're back out playing again. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross points out that a child's natural anger and emotional outburst around it lasts about fifteen seconds. Shaming or blaming the child for that anger, however, blocks its natural release. The child's natural emotion may get stuck and become a form of self-pity that remains with the person for years! Kubler-Ross points out that people who weren't allowed a natural expression of anger are often 'marinated in self-pity' as adults and are difficult to be around...It takes a great deal of energy to hold in our natural emotions. In fact, it's exhausting. If we haven't felt our feelings regularly during a period of personal crisis or change, we often have a backlog of sealed-off emotion stored up in our bodies.

Emotional suppression is a pattern that gets passed down from generation to generation. Many women have a natural rage that's been held in check for decades. They hold in oceans of tears that are yet to be shed." (ibid, pp. 601-602)

Step Four: Learn to Listen to Your Body

"Learning to listen to and respect your body is a process that requires patience and compassion.

* Make a note of those things in your life that are difficult, painful,joyful, etc. As these things come up, notice your breathing, your heart rate, and your bodily sensation.

* Pay attention to what your body feels like. Do you feel like crying?

* What is your image of yourself?

* Notice how you routinely talk to your body. What happens when you look in the mirror each morning? Do you criticize your face, your legs, your hair?

* Pay attention to your thoughts and observe how they affect your body.

* Notice what your body needs on a daily basis.

* Notice whether there are parts of your body that you have disowned.

* When you experience a bodily sensation such as back pain, "a gut reaction", a headache, or abdominal pain, pay attention to it and see if you can pinpoint the emotional situation that may have triggered it.

* Stand in front of a mirror regularly, and thank your body for all it has done for you. (ibid, pp. 604-606)

Step Five: Learn to Respect Your Body

"Almost all women in the United States have a body image distortion because of the millions of images of 'perfect' airbrushed women that the media flash at us continually. We begin comparing ourselves with these icons of perfection even before puberty. Thus, we often relate to our bodies via negative comparisons: "My hips are too fat, my knees are ugly, my hair is too thin." (ibid, p. 607)

"Our approach to dressing, makeup, hair, and personal care can be well served by the wisdom of Dolly Parton, who said, 'Find out who you are, then do it on purpose.' If we can find out who we are on the inside, we can then express it on the outside." (ibid, p. 609)

Step Six: Acknowledge a Higher Power or Inner Wisdom

"Our bodies are permeated and nourished by spiritual energy and guidance. Having faith and trust in this reality is an important part of creating health. When a woman has faith in something greater than her intellect or her present circumstances, she is in touch with her inner source of power." (ibid, p. 610)

"When we invite the sacred into our lives by sincerely asking our inner wisdom, or higher power, or God for guidance in our lives, we're invoking great power. This can't be taken lightly. The reason people are cynical about this and make fun of it is that they are afraid. When you sincerely invite in the sacred to assist you with your life, you are granting permission for your life to change." (ibid, p. 611-612)

Editor's comment: Here are quotes from the Baha'i Writings that states, "All true healing comes from God" (Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p.19) and "Turn thy sight unto thyself, that thou mayest find Me standing within thee, mighty, powerful and self-subsisting." (Baha'u'llah, Hidden Words, Arabic #13)

Step Seven: Reclaim the Fullness of Your Mind

"If we are to reclaim the wisdom of our bodies, we must also reclaim our intellects, our minds, and our ability to think. Once we have experienced how intimately our thoughts and bodily symptoms are related and how intelligent we are, our thinking is less distracted by cultural hypnosis and we trust our inner voice.

Journal writing, writing practice, and meditation are methods that many have used to successfullly get in touch with their inner voices and get to know their minds...I learned through my writing that my thoughts have order, direction, and intelligence, and that these are all related to my well being.

To become free of thoughts and beliefs that don't serve you, you must be able to hear them as they arise. Writing practice is a profound tool for learning how to hear ourselves and to appreciate the multi modal nature of our thoughts. Everyone has this ability, but it is devalued and therefore underdeveloped in our culture....For years, the word 'worthy' came up in my writing because on some deep level I didn't feel 'worthy'. I spent hours asking myself what I meant by this word. Images of school, authorities, and tests always arose around this word. Eventually, my meditation on the word 'worthy' led me to a breakthrough understanding of the orginal sin of being female. How could I have felt worthy, given my cultural programming?

If a word or phrase continually comes into your mind, it is important - it has meaning for you. Explore it. Write about it. Meditate on it. It will have meaning for you, no matter what it is.

I often ask patients to carry out a dialogue with their bodily symptoms or with the organ that is giving them problems, through writing, meditation, or drawing. Sitting with your journal open while being receptive to your thoughts, ask your body what it needs or what it is trying to tell you." (ibid, p. 615-618)

Editor's note: Abdu'l-Baha explains the effects of emptying our minds: "I now assure thee...that if thy mind become empty and pure from every mention and thought and thy heart attracted wholly to the Kingdom of God, forget all else besides God and come in communion with the Spirit of God, then the Holy Spirit will assist thee with a power which will enable thee to penetrate all things, and a Dazzling Spark which enlightens all sides, a Brilliant Flame in the zenith of the heaven, will teach thee that which thou dost not know of the facts of the universe and of the divine doctrine." (Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith, p. 369)

Step Eight: Get Help

"Asking for help does not mean that we are weak or incompetent. It usually indicates an advanced level of honesty and intelligence." -Anne Wilson Schaef (ibid, p. 622)

"Setting aside time and money to go and talk with a skilled listener can be invaluable....Many therapists have helped people begin to look at their lives differently and effect change. A good therapist should be like a midwife, standing by while someone gives birth to what's best in themselves." (ibid, p. 622)

"There are many different kinds of therapists. The entire field has been changing in response to evolving knowledge about addiction, recovery and the influence of childhood trauma. Therapy is not something that should go on for years, in my view. When it does, it can become an addictive process in and of itself. All relationships, therapeutic or otherwise, work best when the participants see each other as essentially whole beings with inner resources and strengths, though sometimes in temporary need of assistance.

Though individual therapy is often a first step for many women, group work of some kind can be powerful in that this setting helps us see that our problems are shared by so many others." (ibid, p 624)

"It has been my experience that women with histories of trauma recover most effectively in a type of group therapy known as DBT (Dialective Behavioral Therapy). This form of therapy focuses not exclusively on the past trauma, but on helping people develop the skills necessary to live productive, healthy lives in the present. I have found that it is not generally helpful to these women to spend a great deal of time revisiting the past, where it is too easy to get stuck in pain and immobility. Instead, women with trauma histories need to learn to develop the skills that they never developed in childhood. In DBT training, women learn to answer the following questions and then take effective, balanced action.

* What am I feeling?

* What is the purpose of this feeling?

* What do I need to do for myself to deal effectively with this feeling?

I have seen more improvement in women's lives with this model than with any of the others. These skills are practical and helpful for everyone, not just those with histories of trauma." (ibid, 625)

Step Nine: Work with Your Body

"For some women, talking things out is simply not enough. 'I know all of the things that happened to me as a child and with my husband,' said one woman, 'but talking about it just doesn't change a thing. I seem to be going in circles.' When this happens, we often obsess and seem to spin our wheels. It's easy to get locked into 'thought addiction' - a kind of gerbil wheel in the brain that keeps us going around in circles.

Much of the information we need to heal is locked in our muscles and other body parts. Getting a good massage will often release old energy blockages and help us cry or get rid of chronic pain for 'holding the world on our shoulders'. There are many types of bodywork such as Reiki, acupuncture, therapeutic touch, Rolfing, etc.

Work on and with the body can be an opportunity for understanding and experiencing the unity of our bodymind. These therapies are often deeply relaxing and give our bodies a chance to rest and sleep, a time when much of the body's repair work goes on." (ibid, p. 628)

Step Ten: Gather Information

"Currently, more books of interest to women are available than at any other time in history....I recommend going to your bookstore or library and using your inner guidance to help you make a choice. Acknowledge that you have the wisdom to choose the right book at the right time. Just sit with the books for a while and look over a few titles. See which ones speak to you. Choose the ones that feel right and have appeal. You cannot make a mistake....It is a powerful experience for women to begin to reclaim our forgotten history by reading about our bodies, menstruation and childbirth, all written from a women's point of view." (ibid, p. 629)

Step Eleven: Forgive

"Forgiveness frees us. It heals our bodies and our lives. But it is also the most difficult step we must take in our healing process. It takes a great deal of energy to keep someone out of our hearts...Forgiveness and making amends are completely linked. Holding a grudge and maintaining hatred or resentment hurts us as least as much as the other person.

Forgiveness moves our energy to the heart area. When the body's energy moves there, we don't take our wounds so personally - and we can heal. Forgiveness is the inititiation of the heart, and it is very powerful. Scientific studies have shown, for example, that when we think with our hearts by taking a moment to focus on someone or something that we love unconditionally - like a puppy or a young child - the rhythm of our hearts even out and becomes healthier. When people are taught to think with their hearts regularly, they can even reverse heart disease and other related conditions. The electromagnetic field of the heart is forty times stronger than the electromagnetic field produced by the brain; to me, this means that every cell in our bodies - and in the bodies of those around us - can be positively influenced by the quality of our hearts when they are beating in synchrony with the energy of appreciation." (ibid, p. 630-1)

"To get to forgiveness, we first have to work through the painful experiences that require it. Forgiveness doesn't mean that what happened to us was okay. It simply means that we are no longer willing to allow that experience to adversely affect our lives. Forgiveness is something we do, ultimately, for ourselves." (ibid, p. 631)

Step Twelve: Actively Participate in Your Life

"Watch children for a while and you will begin to see what qualities you need to embody to wake up your soul and your immune system regularly. Most young children know exactly what they want. We are all born with an innate ability to know what we want. We are then socialized to believe that we can't have what we want, and so gradually dismiss our innermost desires, our life's passion, to avoid disappointment.

Get out a piece of paper and write on the top of it, 'I intend to receive...', or 'I choose...' Then write in what you want. For example, "I intend to receive a strong, healthy body'. Notice that the word receive and choose indicates that you don't have to work for this. You just have to allow it to come. Now write down exactly why you want what you want, so that you can literally feel the excitement generated by your enthusiasm. In one example: ' I intend to receive this because I want to feel powerful. I want my body to be an instrument that is highly attuned to my needs. I want a body that is a reflection of the beauty that is inside me. I want a body that is capable of getting me where I want to go.' The positive emotional energy generated by this experience literally begins to draw the experience of health to you." (ibid, p. 638)

"Write down your lifetime goals. Over the past ten years, I've written down my goals for each year. I have written down a five-year plan and a ten-year plan at the same time. When I look back, the amazing thing is that I've accomplished almost every one of my goals - even the ones I later forgot about. The very process of writing them down and thinking about them sets something magical into motion." (ibid, p. 640)

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DYNAMICS OF PRAYER FOR SOLVING PROBLEMS

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"The five steps were suggested by the beloved Guardian Shoghi Effendi to a believer as a means of finding a solution through the use of prayer. This statement belongs to the category of statements known as "pilgrims notes", and has such as no authority, but since it seems to be particularly helpful and clear it was felt that believers should not be deprived of it.

1st step:

Pray and meditate about it. Use the prayers of the Manifestations as they have the greatest power. Then remain in the silence of contemplation for a few minutes.

2nd step:

Arrive at a decision and hold this. This decision is usually born during the contemplation. It may seem almost impossible of accomplishment but if it seems to be an answer to a prayer or a way of solving the problem, then immediately take the next step.

3rd step:

Have determination to carry the decision through. Many fail here. The decision, budding into determination, is blighted and instead becomes a wish or a vague longing. When determination is born, immediately take the next step.

4th step:

Have faith and confidence that the power will flow through you, the right way will appear, the door will open, the right thought, the right message, the right principle, or the right book will be given to you. Have confidence and the right thing will come to your need. Then, as you rise from prayer, take at once the 5th step.

5th step:

Act as though it had all been answered. Then act with tireless, ceaseless energy. And as you act, you, yourself, will become a magnet, which will attract more power to your being, until you become an unobstructed channel for the Divine power to flow through you. Many pray but do not remain for the last half of the first step. Some who meditate arrive at a decision, but fail to hold it. Few have the determination to carry the decision through, still fewer have the confidence that the right thing will come to their need. But how many remember to act as though it had all been answered? How true are these words "Greater than the prayer is the spirit in which it is uttered" and greater than the way it is uttered is the spirit in which it is carried out."

(Baha'i Prayers, Baha'i Publishing Trust of the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Malaysia, p. 127)

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HOUR OF POWER - RITUAL OF JOY

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By Angela Minten, B.C., Canada

From darkness to light
From fear to tranquility
From despair to joy
From a cocoon to a butterfly,
Rebirthed.
Cedar, sweetgrass, sage and tobacco
Permeate the room
Prayer, spirituality, support and strength
Transform images of horror
To images of life and spirit.
We brought forth bear medicine
Hawk, bat, skunk, lizard and beaver medicine
We brought with us trepidation and hope
We walked the paths of sadness
Anger, rage, horror and power.
We brought forth the medicine wheel,
Victory, innocence, inner child and the ritual of joy
We brought food for the body and food for the soul
We walked the paths of compassion
Heart, joy, relief and exhilaration.
The essential reality of my life revealed
In existence - in spirituality
Bursting forth in joy and excitement
The essence of being SEEN,
Acknowledged and honoured.
Together we came for my healing
Unaware of the path's direction
Trust, faith, certainty and prayer
Brought forth awe, wonderment, peace,
Power, spirit and transformation.
The spirit of 'Abdu'l-Baha - majesty and gentleness
Prayer, prayer and prayer
Exploding a ball of negativity, abuse and horror
Into the universe to disperse and end
Among the angels and the concourse on high.
'Abdu'l-Baha's presence within me
Around me, guiding me, protecting me
He cradled my inner child
In radiance, rapture and ecstasy,
Feeling cherished in every cell of my being.
I am transformed
Shedding snake's old skin
A butterfly with wings
And I am grateful to everyone who has walked with me
And to everyone who has travelled the healing path.

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SIX TYPES OF HEALING - TYPE THREE

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By Orval H. Minney, California, U.S.A.

I have been presenting my views on the six types of healing as mentioned by Abdu'l Baha in Some Answered Questions. Type One, was spiritual healing through contagion of health (March, 1999 issue) and type Two, was by transfer of a magnetic force from the healer to the patient (April, 1999 issue).

Type Three is "..where the means of cure is a spiritual power - one results from the entire concentration of the mind of a strong person upon a sick person, when the latter expects with all his concentrated faith that a cure will be effected from the spiritual power of the strong person, to such an extent that there will be a cordial connection between the strong person and the invalid. The strong person makes every effort to cure the sick patient, and the sick patient is then sure of receiving a cure. From the effect of these mental impressions an excitement of the nerves is produced, and this impression and this excitement of the nerves will become the cause of the recovery of the sick person. So when a sick person has a strong desire and intense hope for something and hears suddenly the tidings of its realization, a nervous excitement is produced which will make the malady entirely disappear. The cause of the sickness will be no material thing, for that person has not eaten anything, and nothing harmful has touched him; the excitement of the nerves is then the only cause of the illness. In the same way the sudden realization of a chief desire will give such joy that the nerves with be excited by it, and this excitement may produce health." ( Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 255)

Last month I spoke of the magnetic force that the 'healer' can generate and transfer to the ill person by touch. The ill person is the passive recipient but his 'innate' or life force receives strength and the bipolarity necessary for the body to heal itself from the magnetic force. In type three of spiritual healing, the ill person must be an active participant since no direct transfer of physical energy occurs. Instead we have a demonstration of several principles of which Faith is the main ingredient. That is, the faith of the ill person in the healer and in his or her own ability to be cured by that faith. The physician exudes his complete faith that a healing will occur; his manner is cheerful, positive and competent. The patient believes and has complete faith in the physician's knowledge, ability and spiritual qualities. This faith on the part of the patient creates 'an excitement of the nerves'.

Psychology and mysticism have both demonstrated that the sub-conscious mind reacts to visualization and how we see ourselves or tell ourselves what we can or can't do. Essentially, our health and well being are controlled by our endocrine system which in turn is controlled by the autonomic nervous system. The body is an integrated system in which health is maintained by its varied elements in a state of dynamic equilibrium or homeostasis. Essentially, this homeostasis is controlled by our thoughts, and especially our subconscious thoughts. In the Sacred Writings, mysticism, psychology, fitness and diet journals we are told to visualize ourselves as happy and healthy. Also, to associate with happy and joyful beings. Turning our hearts and our thoughts to God opens a connection to our true essense, our soul, which is traversing the world of spirit. Your joy and happiness, belief in yourself as a child of God, and faith excites the autonomic system which then balances its two parts, the sympathetic and parasympathetic. These balances the secretions of the endocrine glands and organs, the body chemistry and restores healthful homeostasis.

"To conclude, the complete and perfect connection between the spiritual doctor and the sick person -- that is, a connection of such a kind that the spiritual doctor entirely concentrates himself, and all attention of the sick person is given to the spiritual doctor from whom he expects to realize health -- causes an excitement of the nerves, and health is produced. But all this has effect only to a certain extent, and that not always. For if someone is afflicted with a very violent disease, or is wounded, these means will not remove the disease nor close and heal the wound -- that is to say, these means have no power in severe maladies, unless the constitution helps, because a strong constitution often overcomes disease." (ibid, pp.255-256)

To heal minor maladies especially those that are stress related, develop a cheerful attitude, choose a competent, positive and spiritual physician, and have faith in the doctor and even more so in yourself.

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LETTERS

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This newsletter is getting better and better! This one (April, 1999) is phenomenal. I have been meditating for about a year and a half now (I have been a Baha'i since 1982) and what a difference it has made in my life. I often receive guidance to complex problems, feel more centered and calm, and my steadfastness has deepened considerably.

Please know that the work you are doing is so important. I was thrilled to see the letter from the National Spiritual Assembly (U.S.A). May God bless you and work through you to keep this work a priority and a success.

Regina Kienzle, Texas, U.S.A.

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Your newsletter is that support group that I needed and I have the pile of 'Healing Through Unity' newsletter on a table that I continually read when things get tough...This is my link to the Baha'i world as we are so isolated out here. Each article can be talked about as we teach about health and spirituality....

Anna Crawford, Northern Mariana Islands

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Thank you very much for sending me the 'Healing Through Unity" newsletter, it is just wonderful. It is a very important theme and I feel a strong spiritual connection thinking that so many Baha'is are reading this all together.

Ana Maria Pradon, Nerja, Spain

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QUESTION OF THE MONTH

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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 to be printed in the June issue which is our last issue before the summer break. If you have a question that you would like to share, you can e-mail this to: -- .

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PURPOSE OF THE NEWSLETTER

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"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:

http://www.healingthroughunity.org

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




HEALING THROUGH UNITY

June, 1999

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of

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

Volume 2, Issue #10

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CONTENTS

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- 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

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A LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

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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,

Frances Mezei

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MY HOME IS THE HOME OF PEACE

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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-Bah· 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

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THE EXCHANGE

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Question:

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.

Answers:

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

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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.

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Laugh!

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.

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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)]

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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]

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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.

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SIX TYPES OF HEALING - TYPE FOUR

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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.

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SPIRITUAL HEALING

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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.

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THE CURE OF MY MACULAR DEGENERATION

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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), Abdu’l-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 God’s will, too.

After five years, I was able to place the situation entirely in God’s 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 God’s 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 Moffet’s, 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 God’s 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.

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SPIRITUAL HEALTH HABITS

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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

7) Simplify

8) Focus

9) Practice patience

10) Eat simple, natural plant foods

11) Drink adequate pure water

12) Evaluate progress daily, summarize weekly

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LETTERS

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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

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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

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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)

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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.

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PURPOSE OF THE NEWSLETTER

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"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:

http://www.healingthroughunity.org

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




HEALING THROUGH UNITY
September, 1999

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of
physical and spiritual health envisioned in the Baha'i Teachings.

Volume 3, Issue #1
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CONTENTS
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- Innate Miracles
- Ten Rules for Health
- Uses of Hot and Cold Water
- Setting Our Own Course With Goals
- Laughter Room
- Six Types of Healing - Type Five
- Spiritual Health Habits
- A View of the Spiritual Health Habits
- A Response to the Spiritual Health Habits
- Letters
- Requesting Assistance From Our Readers
- Question of the Month
- Purpose of the Newsletter

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"INNATE MIRACLES"
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By Martin O. Minney

The Power of Innate Intelligence

I want to share with you two stories of patients in my office that
experienced what I like to call "Innate Miracles". A brief explanation may
be in order. I am currently a practicing Chiropractor and I graduated
from Palmer College of Chiropractic in October, 1975. While I was in
school, I took two seminars that changed my life. One was on the
philosophy of Chiropractic called "Forgotten Fundamentals" taught by Dr.
H. Marshall Himes and the other on DNFT (Directional Non-Force Technique)
taught by Dr. Richard Van Rumpt.

Combining all that I learned at Palmer with these two seminars gave me a
strong base from which to operate my practice. Being from a Baha'i family
I knew of the Writings on the soul, health, and healing. Once in practice,
I began to study the Writings in depth and incorporate what I was learning
into the practice. Now, twenty-five years later, my practice is based on
the spiritual teachings of Baha'u'llah. Without question, this body of
information is the foundation of all that I do in my practice. A good
example of this is the passage in Gleanings (pgs 164 - 166) on the Rational
Faculty. This is the absolute best description of the concept of Innate
Intelligence I have ever found. It is clear to me that D. D. Palmer was on
to something when he discovered Chiropractic in 1895 and connected to the
energy of Baha'u'llah's Revelation.

Here are the stories:

The Story of Darlene

On my first day in practice, October 1975 in Summersville, WV, the third
patient I saw was a 14 year old named Darlene. She had been diagnosed with
"ulcerative colitis", was bleeding to death and the doctors told her family
that she had 6 months to live. Darlene and her mom gave me the history and
then they both looked at me and mom asked "Can you help her?" I looked at
Darlene and asked "Are you still alive?" She grinned. "Since you are
still alive, we have a good shot at it", I said.

I did my evaluation looking for the interference patterns in the nervous
system. The biggest area of interference was in the upper cervical area
with a secondary pattern in the sacral area. I further evaluated and
determined to begin the adjusting with an upper cervical correction. I
don't remember if I used the Palmer Toggle-Recoil or the DNFT upper
cervical work, but it cleared the whole pattern!

We did the adjustments as Darlene's body needed and saw her frequently
during the first thirty days. During that time, lots of changes occurred.
She would hemorrhage and masses would be found in the stool. The tumors
were being sloughed off by the innate wisdom of the body. Each time one
would be released, she would bleed. We did no therapies nor medical
monitoring like blood pressure or blood tests, etc.

After the first month, she began to gain some weight and her body began to
stabilize and grow stronger. There was light in her eyes now and she was
doing better in school. At the end of 6 months, she went to Charleston for
a checkup with the medical people. They ran all of their tests and found
"no evidence that she had ever had a problem". They were stunned! "How
did you do this?" Mom told them "A lot of prayers, intense Faith, and a
good Chiropractor."

The Story of Michelle

I heard about Michelle when my wife came home from work at the University
of Wyoming Library and told me that her boss's daughter had been in a car
accident in Buffalo. Of the five or six people in the car, only one was
seriously hurt. Michelle was the best friend of this girl. Michelle
shattered her C-5 segment and was not expected to ever walk again.

I was called by Michelle's dad some six months later as they were moving to
Laramie and he was looking for a Chiropractor to work with Michelle. He
had called the other Chiropractors in town and they all said that I was the
only one crazy enough to try it. We set up a visit after they got settled
in their new home.

Michelle had no sensation from the armpits down, could move her head,
shoulders, and elbows, though without looking, she was not aware where her
arms were. No awareness of any internal functions either. We talked about
Innate Intelligence and how it would always strive for the best in the
body. We talked about how interference garbles the messages and puts the
nervous system into a state of confusion. I explained that it doesn't take
force to clear the interference pattern as we are not trying to move
anything, just open the channels of communication. I did my evaluation and
found a major interference pattern in the upper cervical area. The area of
the injury was pretty stable. The first adjustment was a DNFT upper
cervical group series. The interference cleared!

I saw Michelle for the first time on a Saturday, rechecked her on Sunday,
Tuesday , Thursday and on the following Monday when I went to see her,
Gary, her dad, had a black eye. He was an officer with the Wyoming Highway
Patrol so I teased him a little. He told me that Michelle did it. Now,
Michelle couldn't weigh more than 125 pounds and she's in the chair. He
had her explain. "Saturday night we were all going out for dinner and dad
was putting on my shoes. He had my right one on and was putting on my left
shoe when I decked him. He asked 'What was that for?' and I said 'You hurt
my foot! He said 'What?! I said You hurt my foot!' Then we all got
excited!!!!" I got excited, too!!!

From there it was all upwards. In the course of a year, she got all of her
bladder and bowel control back, had sensation over 90% of her body, was
getting voluntary contractions in her calves, thighs, abdomen and back, was
able to move her wrists and beginning to move her fingers on both hands.

She then moved to Las Vegas to work with the Help Them Walk Again
Foundation. I went down and saw her a couple of times and checked her out.
I did evaluations for all of their patients and learned a lot about spinal
cord injury. Approximately 6 months after my last visit with her, I
received a photo in the mail. It was Michelle, standing under her own
power, and the look on her face is beyond priceless. On the back it said
"Thanks! Love, Michelle"

It was the most AWESOME and humbling thing to watch. If I didn't have a
really fortified, really strong belief in the power of Innate Intelligence
by then, after 11 - 12 years of practice, I had it NOW!!! It was a lesson
in TRUST, SUBMISSION, and OBEDIENCE. Innate mind has access to infinite
power. Conscious mind does NOT know it all. Conscious mind needs to
become the obedient servant of Innate.

If you are interested, I will be glad to share with you more of what I have
learned about health, healing, and the spiritual nature of mankind. For a
"brief" look at the foundations of what I do, see Gleanings pages 136 -
200. It is about the soul and our spirituality. Read it aloud.

Martin O. Minney, D.C.
532 Charles Street
Lockport, IL 60441-4408
Phone: 815-834-0034; email: str8in8dc@aol.com

***********************************
TEN RULES FOR HEALTH
***********************************
By Linda Kavelin Popov, B.C., Canada (Mrs. Popov is the co-founder of The
Virtues Project and co-author of The Family Virtues Guide published by
Penguin.)

This is an answer I received in mediation and prayer to the question "What
must I do to care for my body" during the onset of an energy illness. I
heard the words "I will give you Ten Rules for Health.
Write them down and put them where you can see them." Then it started very
swiftly like a letter being dictated. I wrote as quickly as I could in my
prayer journal. I hope that if these principles can be of help to others,
they will apply them and also discern the 'rules' that work best for their
individual needs. They have made a big difference to me, giving me hope and
far more energy when I am true to them.

1. Purity and Cleanliness: Outside - bathe daily. Inside - eat pure,
water-based foods. 8 glasses of water a day. Dark greens, legumes, rice,
root vegetables. A little meat. Cut oils by 2/3.

2. Breathing: Learn Yoga. Walk or exercise every day for 10 minutes, then
15 minutes, then 20 minutes. No more. Breathe fresh air every day.

3. Vitamins: Increase B, C and E. Speak to a homeopath and listen.

4. Proactive Rest: Take 2 rests each day. Do it as a routine. Stop before
you get tired.

5. Pace Yourself: You have 4 hours a day for work, sometimes 6. Choose
carefully. Keep your correspondence current. Enjoy! Enjoy!

6. Pray every hour: Let your movements be a prayer, your work, your daily
food.

7. Practice restful activity: Cut television down. It depresses you. Read
what comes to you. Listen to music, clear and clean in small ways, watch
the fire, write letters to your friends.

8. Play! Spend time in ways which give you joy and make you laugh.

9. Plan a sustainable life.

10. Prioritize: Always put your first passion (writing) first. It is your
most productive activity.

**********************************************
USES OF HOT AND COLD WATER
**********************************************
By Bill Sims, Ontario, Canada

"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-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 258-59)

Here are some suggested uses of hot and cold water for the treatment of
certain ailments that we are aware of. Can you think of others? Please
share your experience with us, and we will update the list in a future
issue. Note: The hot water should not be boiling but comfortable to the touch.

1. Leg and foot cramps - Immerse your legs and/or feet in a hot bath. You
may need to sit there for 15 - 30 minutes. Repeat the process as necessary.

2. Sting ray bite - Immerse the area of the bite in hot water to
neutralize the venom. The hot water should be as hot as possible without
scalding. This may take approximately 45 minutes. You will know when it is
complete when you can remove your foot or bitten area from the water
without the pain returning.

3. Headaches - Immerse your head in hot water and then cold water.
Alternate this process for approximately 10 - 15 minutes until the pain
lessens. Then wrap your head in a towel as long as necessary. Repeat this
process if the pain returns.

4. Coughing - Drink a cup of hot water if you get a coughing spell. The
hot water will soothe the spasm in the throat.

5. Burns - Immerse the burned area in cold water until you can get
appropriate medical treatment.

*********************************************************
SETTING OUR OWN COURSE WITH GOALS
*********************************************************
By Frances Mezei, Ontario, Canada

"To thank Him for this, make ye a mighty effort, and choose for yourselves
a noble goal."
(Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 35)

Sometimes we may feel that our lives are going in different directions
causing us to feel that we have no or little control over our lives. We may
be reacting to others and to the course they would prefer we took with our
lives. During the course of the day, people may make demands on our time,
talents, energy, money and emotions.

A solution to these struggles is to set clearly defined, purposeful goals
and most importantly of having the desire to act on them.

Here are some practical notes about setting goals taken from the book: "The
Monk Who Sold His Ferrari" by Robin Sharma.

"These are the five steps to follow to make your desires come true.
Step One: Have a clear vision of your outcome.
Step Two: Create positive pressure to keep you inspired.
Step Three: Never set a goal without attaching a timeline to it. Always
write it down.
Step Four: Apply the Rule of 21. For a new behavior to crystallize into a
habit, one has to perform the new activity for twenty-one days in a row.
Step Five: Enjoy the process with laughter, love and fun." (p. 85 - 90)

"Goal-setting is the starting point. Mapping out your objectives and your
goals releases the creative juices that get you on the path of your
purpose." (p. 78)

Think about what you want for yourself. What do you need? We can trust God
and listen to our intuition or inner voice to guide us. Here are some
examples of goals. "I will achieve calmness and balance by April 2000",
"To create a simple, balanced and sincere lifestyle by April, 2000", "To
learn how to be efficient and successful in my work/service by December,
2000", "I will walk (for a person who uses crutches) and achieve focus in
my life by December, 2000". Then, we can form a team with our spouses or
close friends to act as coaches to work on our specific goals. We can have
regular consultation meetings, perhaps about once a week.

We can let go of our specific goals after we have written them down. Have
faith and confidence that God will guide us to the steps to take to achieve
the goals. During the process, we do not need to look for the results or
outcome which often comes when we are not thinking about them. When we
review our goals, we will often be amazed that the goals have been
accomplished in ways that we did not imagine. "The less you focus on the
end result, the quicker it will come". (ibid, p. 52)

We will receive divine assistance to achieve a manageable life that is
directed in the course we choose for ourselves. We can own our power to
choose the path that is right for us.

****************************
LAUGHTER ROOM
****************************

The "Laughter Room" is a new and regular feature which will appear in each
issue of the 'Healing Through Unity' newsletter. Laughter is medicine for
the soul and we wish to explore this topic in depth. We need your
participation to help decorate the "Laughter Room". Please send your jokes,
funny stories, information and experiences about laughter, etc. to:
-- .

This concept was taken from:

"...only few hospitals have learned from Norman Cousins' case (see June,
1999 issue), and incorporated 'laughter rooms' into their treatment plans.
These rooms provide patients with a variety of materials (funny gadgets,
books, videos and toys) to make them laugh.

I remember when my father was in the hospital I asked a nurse if they had a
laughter room available. She looked at me with a puzzled expression and
said 'What?!' After I explained to her what a laughter room was, she
shrugged and said that they didn't have enough money to afford new facilities.

After I discovered that there wasn't even a video cassette recorder
available for the patients to use, I went to the local library, rented a
16mm film projector, and borrowed a copy of the Marx Brothers' 'Horse
Feathers' along with a collection of Chaplin's best films. My father and I
watched the movies and laughed for more than two hours. As a result, he
felt better about himself and his illness, and changed its apparent effect
on him."

From "Stress An Owner's Manual: Postive Techniques for Taking Charge of
Your Life", by Arther Rowshan, OneWorld, pp. 65. (This book takes a
positive look at the role of stress in our lives, teaches us how to
recognize our personal stress symptoms, and offers a holistic approach to a
stress-free life. This useful book can be ordered from your local Baha'i
Distribution Service.)

**************************************************
SIX TYPES OF HEALING - TYPE FIVE
**************************************************
By Dr. 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), 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 ), and Type Four, was "...produced by the power
of the Holy Spirit" (June, 1999 issue).

In the next two issues we will consider material healing which consists of:
Type Five, by means of medicines and surgical procedures, and Type Six, by
aliments, fruits, vegetables, and hot and cold waters.

He speaks in the same reference that the body is in a state of energy
and chemical equilibrium and that an imbalance causes disease while
balance restores the equilibrium. Scientifically, we say the body is in a
state of homeostasis, or dynamic energy/chemical balance, which is
controlled by the autonomic nervous system through the endocrine system.
This balance is affected by thoughts, beliefs and attitudes and by invading
organisms, toxins, allergens and structural changes from vertebral and
joint subluxations to broken bones and lacerations.

"But the principal causes of disease are physical, for the human body is
composed of numerous elements, but in the measure of an especial
equilibrium. As long as this equilibrium is maintained, man is preserved
from disease; but if this essential balance, which is the pivot of the
constitution, is disturbed, the constitution is disordered, and disease
will supervene." ( Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 257)

Obviously, for vertebral or joint subluxations go to an expert on
structural/neural probems such as a Chiropractor or Osteopathic
specialist. Broken bones must be set and wounds treated and sutured by a
physician competent in those areas. Abdu'l Baha also speaks of the use of
surgical procedures to remove afflicted parts that are acting as toxins to
the rest of the body in the same sense as removing felons from the body of
society.

For the invading organisms, toxins and allergins, the present practice
of Western Medicine is based on using chemical agents, i.e.,
manufactured drugs, for removing or destroying the invading toxins or
organisms, or reducing the symptom's effects, thus allowing the body's
innate intelligence to reestablish homeostasis and health. The overuse of
some of these drugs, such as the antibiotics, has caused the pathogenic
organisms to develop resistant strains in accordance with the "survival of
the fittest". So more powerful agents are developed, some of which may do
more harm than good by damaging the body's own healing mechanisms. The
other problem with the chemical agents is, as stated in a recent medical
journal, that over 326,000 deaths in the United States were due to
iatrogenic causes such as wrong prescriptions, or incompetently
administered pharmaceuticals.

Few alopathic medicines are designed to strengthen the body's
homeostatic mechanisms directly and help speed up the healing process.
Bedside manner, in which the physician considers the spiritual and
psychological belief systems of the patient, or at least maintains a
cheerful attitude, no longer seems to be taught in medical schools.

This present trend to make the practice of medicine a scientific
battleground and the doctor a noble warrior or a Demi-God armed with the
latest patented nostrum is, in my opinion, not the holistic approach
presented by Abdu'l Baha in his discourses on health and healing. While he
admonishes us to seek help from a 'competent physician' he does not give a
definition of a 'competent physician'. From the writings I
infer that a competent physician will consider the whole patient and his
or her own healing mechanisms; not just treat physical symptoms or
diseases, but help to restore or reinforce the patient's beliefs, thoughts
and attitudes that lead to natural healing.

I have expressed some concerns in finding competent physicians in a
technological culture but there are competent physicians out there.
Seek them out and support them so the future of medicine will advance.

****************************************
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
7) Simplify
8) Focus
9) Practice patience
10) Eat simple, natural plant foods
11) Drink adequate pure water
12) Evaluate progress daily, summarize weekly

*************************************************************
A VIEW OF THE SPIRITUAL HEALTH HABITS
*************************************************************
By Dr. Dan Boyle, Network Chiropractor, Ontario, Canada

I wanted to voice my concern regarding these recommendations of the
Spiritual Health Habits. I know that there is no ranking given to the 12
items on the list, meaning that their importance is not listed from
greatest to least, but I think that because Trust in God is listed first
this concept is implied. The corollary of this is that we should consider
consulting a skilled physician as the second most important thing to do. I
think that is a very misleading interpretation of the writings.

All of the other items on the list are far more important to our Spiritual
Health Habits than that of consulting a physician and I am still very
confused by how to define a skilled physician today. The first part of the
definition for me would be that the physician has a sound knowledge of the
other 10 principles listed and many physicians today don't. They have very
little if any education on nutrition and very few will think behind their
randomized control trials which don't look at us as being spiritual beings
but rather machines that, for some, happen to hold the soul. There are
some that certainly do understand our spiritual being quite well but they
are a large minority and many of them don't incorporate it into their
practice.

I also feel that the writings tend to refer to the treatment offered by
physicians as physical means of healing rather than spiritual means and
therefore since the list is a "Spiritual" Health Habits, I question whether
it should be on the list at all or maybe the title of the list should be
changed as it does say under the title that the list is both spiritual and
physical habits.

The writings also say that medicine is in its infancy and we should first
look to diet, then herbs and lastly drugs when looking for help with our
health. When I hear that physicians are having their license taken away by
their own licensing boards because they are using treatments that involve
herbs or homeopathy does not give me confidence that they will be able to
offer advice based on this principle. And as I said , physicians today are
not trained in nutrition and neither are they trained in herbs therefore it
is understandable that they should not be offering advice on these subjects.

I know this all may sound very harsh. I am not saying that all medical
doctors have all these problems. There are some very good doctors out there
that truly understand their oath of "first do no harm" and they practice
with ethics and a sound understanding of spiritual principles but this is
not the case of the profession of medicine as a whole today. This is my
understanding of the evidence that is available to me.

I guess the major principle of the Faith of independent investigation of
truth will bring this out for people but I still feel that people will get
the wrong message when reading this list of Spiritual Health Habits.

****************************************************************
A RESPONSE TO THE SPIRITUAL HEALTH HABITS
****************************************************************
Dr. William Saunders, Atlantic, U.S.A.

That which our brother says is true,
thoughts similar to those I have been voicing for years,
but if I act on the basis of this logic,
what will be accomplished?
Can a Phoenix be snared in a spider's web?
The listing of these 12 points
is grossly inadequate to accomplish the entire process.
It is a single action in response to the call
of the Universal House of Justice (main administrative body
of the Baha'i Faith located in Haifa, Israel)
"act, act now, and continue to act"
and it was effective.
There are those who responded to it,
representative of many more to come
in need of that particular form,
but there are infinitely more in need of other forms,
and those too must be developed and made available.
If each step that is incomplete be destroyed
and replaced by the following step,
what happens to the process?
Of what importance is consulting a physician?
It is an injunction in the Most Holy Book
by Baha'u'llah.
Does the physician cure?
No! "All true healing comes from God" by Abdu'l-Baha.
Results come from following the injunction of God.

"It is incumbent upon everyone to seek medical treatment and to follow the
doctor's instructions, for this is in compliance with the divine ordinance,
but, in reality, He Who giveth healing is God."
(Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p.156)

------------------------
LETTERS
------------------------
We are writing to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated June 3, 1999 in
which you shared with us a copy of the summary of the "Healing Through
Unity" newsletter publication for the second successful year.

We note that the number of subscribers to the newsletter has increased
dramatically over this last year and the quality of the submissions has
also attained a new level. The newsletter has also become a vehicle through
a "unity in diversity" of thought expressed on the vital topic of health...
- Reginald Newkirk, Secretary, National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is
of Canada
..................................

Thank you very much for your bulletin. It was as interesting and
informative as usual. We are getting some of its parts translated into
Urdu, our national language for publication into Baha'i Bulletins. Please
convey our deepest regards to all who help you to bring out such a
wonderful bulletin.
- Shamsheer Ali, Coordinator, National Baha'i Institute for Human
Resource Development, Pakistan
.............................

With warm appreciation we regularly receive the 'Healing Through Unity'
newsletter. We decided to translate these materials into Russian for our
communities.
- Alma Nurlybayeva, Secretary, National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is
of Kazakhstan

****************************************************************
REQUESTING ASSISTANCE FROM OUR READERS
****************************************************************
By Cori and Marlize Silva Correa, Brazil

We're from Brazil and have been living in this rather Portuguese island
(Madeira) for over 12 years now, trying to serve our beloved Faith here.
Although the place is very agreeable, it lacks in many facilities one can
easily encounter in the mainland regions.

In our particular case, we have a 12-year old daughter who has some rather
serious emotional problems that have been badly affecting her social
behaviour and learning performance at school. We've taken her to a number
of doctors and psychologists, here and in Brazil alike. None of them have
been able to come up with a proper diagnosis of her problem and so the
right treatment has never been found and applied, and little progress has
been made. We cannot help feeling sad and frustrated, as we see our kid
falling behind in her studies day by day, and we can't do much to help
because of our limited resourses and the limitations of this island in
terms of medical treatment.

She's undergone some neurological and genetic tests, but they have all come
out negative; nothing clearcut has been found or detected, although she has
some features of an autistic child, but not the full set of symptoms.

We wonder if any of the friends have had any similar experience from which
some good result has derived and could be shared with us. We shall be very
grateful for any kind of assistance and guidance we could get from the
friends. You can write to us at: cory@mail.telepac.pt

****************************************
QUESTION OF THE MONTH
****************************************

What are your views of the Spiritual Health Habits? Do you have any
suggestions or additions to build on the Spiritual Health Habits? Have you
had any experience with a specific health habit (positive or negative),
which you can share with us?

********************************************
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 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.

WEB SITE
You can visit the website and obtain back issues and the Healing Through
Unity Course at: http://www.healingthroughunity.org

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




HEALING THROUGH UNITY
October, 1999

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of
physical and spiritual health envisioned in the Baha'i Teachings.

Volume 3, Issue #2
_______________________________________________________

CONTENTS
-------------------

- Thoughtfulness - A Lesson By Abdu'l-Baha
- The Exchange
- Craniosacral Therapy
- Responses to the Six Types of Healing
- Reiki Treatment
- Baha'i Writings - "Friends Will Become Physicians"
- "Assisting the Traumatized Soul"
- Laughter Room
- Health Habits
- Question of the Month
- Purpose of the Newsletter

*****************************************************************
THOUGHTFULNESS - A LESSON BY ABDU'L-BAHA
*****************************************************************
From An Early Pilgrimage, pp. 14-16 - quoted in Vignettes from the Life of
Abdu'l-Baha, AnnaMarie Honnold, p. 87

On pilgrimage May Maxwell came to realize that every word and every act of
the Master's (Abdu'l-Baha) had meaning and purpose. The pilgrim party was
invited to meet Abdu'l-Baha 'under the cedar trees on Mount Carmel where He
had been in the habit of sitting with Baha'u'llah.' She recalled that 'on
Sunday morning we awakened with the joy and hope of the meeting on Mount
Carmel. The Master arrived quite early and after looking at me, touching my
head and counting my pulse, still holding my hand He said to the believers
present: "There will be no meeting on Mount Carmel today...we could not go
and leave one of the beloved of God alone and sick. We could none of us be
happy unless all the beloved were happy." We were astonished. That anything
so important as this meeting in that blessed spot should be cancelled
because one person was ill and could not go seemed incredible. It was so
contrary to all ordinary habits of thoughts and action, so different from
the life of the world where daily events and material circumstances are
supreme in importance that it gave us a genuine shock of surprise, and in
that shock the foundations of the old order began to totter and fall. The
Master's words had opened wide the door of God's Kingdom and given us a
vision of that infinite world whose only law is love. This was but one of
the many times that we saw Abdu'l-Baha place above every other
consideration the love and kindness, the sympathy and compassion due to
every soul.'

**************************
THE EXCHANGE
**************************

Question:

In the September, 1999 issue, the question was:

What are your views of the Spiritual Health Habits? Do you have any
suggestions or additions to build on the Spiritual Health Habits? Have you
had any experience with a specific health habit (positive or negative),
which you can share with us?

Answers:

- Since Baha'u'llah does not define "physician" narrowly, it seems to me
that a person, who after prayer felt inclined to consult a competent
chiropractic physican, homeopathic physician, traditional Asian physician,
etc., would still be obeying Baha'u'llah's injunction. Since Abdu'l-Baha
said,

"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." ( Selections From the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p.156),

One could consider that "skilled physicians" might refer more to those
physicians of "alternative medicine" who are developing food therapies and
inspiring patients to abandon lustful appetites. But once a "competent
physician" has been chosen, the Baha'i patient has an obligation to obey!
(no fair saying, "never mind, she's only a chiropractor, not a 'real'
doctor")

"Resort ye, in times of sickness, to competent physicians.."
(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqas, The Most Holy Book, paragraph 113)

- One might reflect on why Baha'u'llah considered this matter serious
enough to include in the Most Holy Book. One possible reason is the
overwhelming human tendency to go into denial... and to fail to act on
matters until they are beyond repair. If it weren't for that, I would
support Dr. Boyle's implied suggestion to move this "habit" to the bottom
of the list, since the others are all preventative and could potentially
make this one unnecessary.

- Linda Popov's list (September, 1999 issue) pointed up a spiritual health
habit that is missing from the 12 -- cleanliness.
- Kim Bowden-Kerby, Fiji
(Editor's note: Cleanliness is now added to the Health Habits list.)

****************************************
CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY
****************************************
By Lynn Ascrizzi, Freedom, Maine, U.S.A.

(Editor's note: This article was written by Lynn Ascrizzi in response to
the couple's request for assistance for their 12-year-old daughter; printed
in Volume 3, Issue #1. Lynn was willing to put this article in the
newsletter so we can learn more about craniosacral therapy.)

Dear Cori and Marlize Silva Correa,

I read your letter in the September, 1999 issue of the Healing Through
Unity Newsletter. Considering that neurological testing has not detected
anything, and also, seeing that your daughter has some autistic-like
behavior, I think you might be interested to learn of craniosacral therapy
-- CST.

I am a lifestyle editor for Central Maine Newspapers and recently did a
story on a craniosacral practitioner here in Belfast, Maine -- Tsunenori
Fujimaki -- or Fuji.

Fuji was born in Tokyo and is a Japanese trained chiropractor, but
specializes only in craniosacral techniques here in the states. He has
worked extensively with brain-injured children in Japan and at the
Institute for the Achievement of Human Potential in Philadelphia, Pa., an
international organization for the rehabilitation of brain-injured
children. The institute has branches in Brazil and Australia. Fuji won a
Gold Medal of Honor from Brazil in recognition for his overal contribution
to the institute's programs. He has worked with autistic children and
children with behavioral problems, with amazing success.

Of the craniosacral fluid, he says: "I can feel it; it is like a river."
His techniques are completely noninvasive, and so gentle! He did wonders
for my neck pain caused by repetitive strain injury, from sitting at the
computer too many hours a day. I tried other therapies, but his brought
results after the first session! He gives workshops on the method, too.

Here is an excerpt from the sidebar of my story:

"Craniosacral therapy -- CST -- is a relatively recent discovery.
It dates back to the early 1900s, when osteopathic physician William
Sutherland developed a system known as cranial osteopathy. In 1970, Dr.
John E. Upledger observed the rhythmic movement of the craniosacral system
firsthand during surgery. He incorporated and refined Dr. Sutherland's
techniques with success.
Later, he and a team of medical researchers tested and documented
the influence of therapy upon the craniosacral system and how it could be
used to evaluate and treat malfunctions involving the brain and spinal
cord, including numerous other health problems.
Virtually unknown to most people until just a few years ago, CST is
quickly gaining acceptance, says practitioner Tsunenori Fujimaki -- Fuji --
of Belfast, Maine.
CST has proven effective for many stress-related and other
illnesses, such as chronic tension in the neck and shoulder, backaches,
headaches, fatique, sleep disorders and sinus problems, he says. "During
treatment, many people also get emotional release," he says.
Other health conditions that CST addressess are:
-- Infantile disorders
-- Traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries
-- Migraine headaches
-- Chronic fatigue
-- Motor corrodination impairments
-- Scoliosis
-- Central nervous system disorders
-- Emotional difficulties
-- Temporomandibular joint syndrome -- TMJ
-- Post-traumatic stress disorder -- PTSD
-- Orthopedic problems
For more information about craniosacral therapy -- CST -- contact
the Upledger Institute, Inc., 11211 Prosperity Farms Rd. , D=325 Palm Beach
Gardens, Fla., 33410=3487, 1-800-233-5880, ext. 4536. E-mail:
upledger@upledger.com Web site: http://upledger.com"

The best of luck and may the blessings of Baha'u'llah and the
downpourings of guidance from the holy spirit set your daughter firmly on
the road to healing and health.
Lynn Ascrizzi

***********************************************************
RESPONSES TO THE SIX TYPES OF HEALING
***********************************************************
By Suzi Esser, Simi Valley, California, U.S.A

I have some scientific evidence to add to your recent article (June, 1999
issue) on healing through the Holy Spirit. Your article again focused on
the faith of the sick individual, which sounds to me more like the 3rd type
of healing. Healing through the Holy Spirit "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) It can be
accomplished regardless of whether a sick individual believes, and
regardless of whether that person knows they are being prayed for or aided
in healing. I refer to two scientific studies, cited in full below:

The first study assessed the healing of coronary patients after being
admitted to the hospital. Half of the patients names were given to a local
Christian church, and were prayed for whereas the other half were given no
additional treatments. Patients did not know which group they were in. The
group which was prayed for needed fewer treatments (such as antibiotics and
ventilary assistance) and had a lower severity score based on their
hospital stay after initial diagnosis (the groups were equal in severity of
initial diagnosis).

The second study was conducted at an AIDS clinic and included other kinds
of distal healing in addition to prayer. Again, patients did not know if
they were receiving this type of care. Patients in the spiritual healing
group had fewer new AIDS-defining illnesses, lower illness severity, fewer
doctor visits, fewer hospitalizations, and fewer days of hospitalization.
They also showed improved mood when compared to the group which did not
receive spiritual healing.

Both of these studies reflect scientific support for healing through the
Holy Spirit. There was no additional contact with a healthy person (type
one), no "laying on of hands" (type 2) and no knowledge of faith on the
part of the sick that they were being healed (type 3) yet healing was aided
without physical means. From a scientific viewpoint, it is good to know
that some research supports the existence of this sort of healing.

References:
1) Byrd, C. (1988). Positive therapeutic effects of intercessory prayer in
a coronary care unit population. South Medical Journal (UVH), 81, 826-829.

2) Sicher, F., Targ, E., Moore, D. and Smith, H. S. (1998). A randomized
double-blind study of the effects of distant healing in a population with
advanced AIDS. Report of a small scale study. West Medical Journal (XN5),
169, 356-363.

***************************

Second Response to the Six Types of Healing
By Pati Wolfgang, Pennsylvania, U.S.A

I very much enjoyed Orvil H. Minney's article Six Types of Healing - Type 4
At one point the article (June, 1999 issue) states "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."

I am a Reiki practitioner and have a slightly different perspective than
the one presented here. I, too, practice long distance healing. Whenever I
can, I ask the recipient to select a time when he or she can be lying
comfortably, and ask that they meditate or relax. I do this not because it
is necessary, but because it is optimal. The Spirit will do the right
thing at the right time, but as with just about anything involving
receiving, if we are calm and open we are able to receive more.

There is also a very slight chance that if caught unaware, the influx of
energy can make you dizzy. That happened to my husband once, when I had
agreed to send Reiki at a specific time. I missed the appointment, and sent
it an hour later. He was dizzy, in a meeting, just for a moment. Since
then, I try to let people know when I am sending, and be on time!

But I have had a myriad of times when I feel Spirit is guiding me to send
Reiki to someone without them having to lay down and relax. There have
been times when I don't even know the person, but a face will flash in my
mind, or a situation.

I have had many experiences with loved ones who I felt asked me to send
Reiki. For example, last week I was emailing a family member who sees me
for Reiki, and I got the message to do a long distance session. I wrote
down in my email what I was perceiving, and what I saw Spirit doing, and it
turned out she had come down with a case of shingles (I saw gnats around
her midriff.) and the itching had stopped while I was typing, and by the
next day the rash was completely gone.

I was also able to be "present" for the birth of my granddaughter through
Reiki, and the Grace of God, many miles away. I was able to watch Spirit
help my daughter-in-law in labor, and later when checking in with the proud
papa, what I was seeing was exactly right, and she sure wasn't relaxed and
meditating!

When someone asks me for long distance healing, I do ask for them to be
quiet. But that is what is optimal, not necessary. Of course, I can't
speak for the healers you know, but I hope you don't mind me giving my
perspective on the matter.

**************************
REIKI TREATMENT
**************************
By Lynn from Luxembourg, Germany

A friend has asked me to write about Reiki, an exceptional
laying-of-hands energy healing technique which Iíve been practicing for
three years. The name comes from Japanese: Rei, meaning Universal, and
Ki, meaning life force (chi in Chinese, prana in Sanskrit). Although
western cultures do not recognize this concept, ki energy is pure and
limitless. It is the very energy that animates life.

Reiki is a technique of channeling ki energy into the body of a human,
animal, plant, or, into oneself for healing or self-healing purposes.
Because it is a channeled energy, nothing of the healerís body or personal
energy is passed to the receiver. Neither, in fact, is anything new added.
All living beings contain ki energy; Reiki simply give us more from the
abundance of the universe.

Reiki is not the only laying-of-hands healing technique. Indeed, the
ancient world had numerous such practices. But this particular technique,
discovered by a Japanese, Mikao Usui, during a meditation retreat in l914,
is unique in several vitally-important ways. Most energy healing is
dependent on the skill of the practitioner. This person must know both how
to raise the energy in the hands to the appropriate frequency and how to
direct it to its healing work. Reiki energy, however, is already channeled
at high frequencies, and it is the receiverís body (subconscious and higher
self) which directs the energy to the most vital tasks. I have been taught
that Reiki cannot violate the freewill of any being and have had numerous
experiences where this teaching has been confirmed. Nothing will be healed
that the receiver does not want to heal. Reiki is also perfectly safe in
any and all situations. It is impossible to harm another living being
using this energy. Neither is scepticism an obstacle as long as the
receiver is not completely closed to the possibility of healing.

A full Reiki treatment takes about one hour and leaves the receiver
feeling peaceful and relaxed. The giver of the treatment is not drained as
she/he has lost no personal energy. Often, some of the energy stays in the
healer's body, healing anything which needs healing during the treatment.

What can Reiki do? It is impossible to promise someone that Reiki will
heal a certain ailment. Not all ailments are curable through energy
techniques. But the energy will go where it is needed most, and will do
the work it can do. In the short time I have been working with Reiki, I
have seen it do things ranging from eliminating heahaches, knee and other
joint pains to stopping degenerative blindness! It can shrink tumors and
aid the immune system. Everyone with experience of it has seen marvelous
results.

Perhaps the most miraculous part of all is that Reiki channeling can be
taught to anyone in a day or weekend workshop! This is because there is no
real skill to teach--the teacher uses a short series of movements to open
the channels of the student. It is a quick and painless process.

There are no catches. This energy is a gift to humanity. Though many
organizations and religious groups have adopted it , it is not inherently
part of any group and requires no specific religious beliefs for healers or
healees. There is however, a spiritual side to using the energy. After an
attunement (the process of opening the channels), the body does go through
an adjustment period which can take some months, during which physical or
emotional blocks are released. Although this can be briefly unsettling, it
leaves the person feeling somehow more balanced and mature, often
strengthened in religious feeling.

I suggest that interested individuals check alternative bookstores for
books on this subject (keeping in mind that people with many beliefs have
written about it). To find a Reiki Master (teacher), inquire at the
bookstore, health food stores, or where other alternative therapies are
found. Prices vary but should be roughly comparable to other workshops
since some people do charge excessively high prices, so look around until
you find the person who is right for you.

*************************************************************************
BAHA'I WRITINGS - "FRIENDS WILL BECOME PHYSICIANS"
*************************************************************************

Abdu'l-Baha repeatedly advises that we all become physicians for every
soul. There is tremendous potential and power contained in the Holy
Teachings to heal ourselves and others. These quotes are examples:

"It is my hope that the breaths of the Holy Spirit will so be breathed into
your hearts that your tongues will disclose the mysteries, and set forth
and expound the inner meanings of the Holy Books; that the friends will
become physicians, and will, through the potent medicine of the heavenly
Teachings, heal the long-standing diseases that afflict the body of this
world; that they will make the blind to see, the deaf to hear, the dead to
come alive; that they will awaken those who are sound asleep."
(Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 275)

" O Ye lovers of God! The world is even as a human being who is diseased
and impotent, whose eyes can see no longer, whose ears have gone deaf, all
of whose powers are corroded and used up. Wherefore must the friends of God
be competent physicians who, following the holy teachings, will nurse this
patient back to health. Perhaps, God willing, the world will mend, and
become permanently whole, and its exhausted faculties will be restored, and
its person will take on such vigor, freshness and verdancy that it will
shine out with comeliness and grace." (Abdu'l-Baha, The Divine Art of
Living, p. 151)

***************************************************
"ASSISTING THE TRAUMATIZED SOUL"
***************************************************
By Phyllis K. Peterson, Illinois, U.S.A.

The title of the book "Assisting the Traumatized Soul: Healing the
Wounded Talisman" published by the Baha'i Publishing Trust is a welcome new
addition to the literature on health issues. This important new book
reaches out to the survivors of trauma and to those who wish to assist
them. With open and inspiring honesty about her own painful experiences as
a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, the author tells how she learned to
overcome her own trauma by delving into the healing words of the Baha'i
Writings. Ms. Peterson shows how the loss of power over one's self, that is
the essence of abuse, greatly hinders progress and personal well-being.
Offering her own perspective, and relying extensively on the teachings of
the Baha'i Faith, the author shows what a traumatized soul can do to heal
and regain a sense of self-empowerment, and what a Baha'i community or
individual can do to help.

Here are the comments of two other early reviewers, printed on the back cover:

"I found it deeply moving and most illuminating...it is a tremendous help
to be able to read a book such as "Assisting the Traumatized Soul," written
by someone who has suffered and who also has acquired a profound knowledge
of the Teachings and their application to the situation." Ian Semple,
Member of the Universal House of Justice

"Assisting the Traumatized Soul" will bestow upon many the spiritual tools
necessary to make the painful journey "out of the dark cave" and into the
light." Dr. Michael Penn, author of "Desecration of the Temple" which is
about violence toward women world wide...."

The cost of the book is $16.95 and it can be ordered by calling USA Baha'i
Publishing Trust at 1-800-999-9019 or Unity Arts in Canada at
1-800-465-3287. They will also accept orders through e-mail at:
BDS@usbnc.org

In addition, below is the web site of Phyllis K. Peterson for her company,
Skylark Publishing, which contains many items that concern anger,
boundaries and women's issues: http://members.aol.com/skylarkpp/web1.html

****************************
LAUGHTER ROOM
****************************

The "Laughter Room" is a new and regular feature which will appear in each
issue of the 'Healing Through Unity' newsletter. We need your
participation to help decorate the "Laughter Room". Please send your jokes,
funny stories, information and experiences about laughter, etc. to:
-- .

"...the Master (Abdu'l-Baha) reached for a bunch of grapes and dropped them
into my glass of water. I looked at them, and He laughed as He saw that I
was puzzled as to what to do. I felt it would be rude to put my hand into
the glass to take them out, but I ate two grapes which hung over the rim of
the glass and sadly left the rest. During the luncheon Abdu'l-Baha would
lean over, look at me, and laugh; and so did I. He conversed with others at
the table, but I was too overwhelmed to remember what was said."
(Ramona Allen Brown, Memories of Abdu'l-Baha: Recollections of the Early
Days of the Baha'i Faith in California, pp. 45-46)

**************************

"Take a guess how many times the average four-year-old laughs a day."
"Who knows?"
"I do, three hundred. Now guess how many times the average adult in our
society laughs in the course of a day."
"Fifty?" I tried.
"Try fifteen," Julian said."
(Robin Sharma, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, p. 129)

*************************
How can we learn to laugh?

Abdu'l-Baha loved laughter and always asked His friends 'Are you happy?' To
learn how to laugh, we can encourage ourselves even when we do not feel
like it, to laugh out loud every day. Or, we can look in the mirror and
laugh for a couple of minutes. Do this each day until it becomes a natural
habit. An analogy would be; How can one learn more trust, confidence and
love? The answer is to act with trust, confidence and love, and you will
become trusting, confident and loving. It is similar with laughter, we can
act with laughter and become happy beings.
- Frances Mezei

******************************
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.

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
Simplify
Focus
Practice patience
Cleanliness
Eat simple, natural plant foods
Drink adequate pure water
Evaluate progress daily, summarize weekly

****************************************
QUESTION OF THE MONTH
****************************************
A reader asks us this question:

One thing I would really like to address are the issues of wealth,
prosperity consciousness and the Fund. I firmly believe that the same
feelings of fear and unworthiness that contribute to physical and emotional
illnesses also keep us in poverty. We each deserve physical health,
emotional health and financial health. We say healing
prayers so that we can serve the Cause without our physical
limitations getting in the way, but when was the last time any of us
asked God to make us wealthy enough that our financial limitations
would not get in the way?

We consider healthy food and exercise part of a spiritual lifestyle,
but we consider healthy profits and financial exercises part of a
materialistic lifestyle. But both our bodies and our money are just
tools for the spirit. I would like to hear your views on this issue.

********************************************
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 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.

WEB SITE
You can visit the website and obtain back issues and the Healing Through
Unity Course at: http://www.healingthroughunity.org

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




HEALING THROUGH UNITY
November, 1999


A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of
physical and spiritual health envisioned in the Baha'i Teachings.

Volume 3, Issue #3
_______________________________________________________


CONTENTS
-------------------

- The Spiritual Life of Man
- Healing - Poem
- The Exchange
- Six Types of Healing - Type Six
- Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet
- A Response on Different Issues covered in the Newsletter
- Aromatherapy: A Beginning
- Laughter Room
- Health Habits
- Announcements
- Question of the Month
- Purpose of the Newsletter

**********************************************
THE SPIRITUAL LIFE OF MAN
**********************************************

(Editor's Note: Dorothy Baker, Hand of the Cause of God, prepared this talk for a radio program in Lima, Ohio, United States. It is taken from "From Copper to Gold: The Life of Dorothy Baker, pp. 149 - 150 by Dorothy Freeman. Hands of the Cause of God of the Baha'i Faith are people who have been appointed by Baha'u'llah, Abdu'l-Baha, and Shoghi Effendi, to be the Chief Stewards of the Baha'i Faith)

"One day a businessman said to me, 'Secretly I wonder about myself. I arise in the morning, eat, keep shop, sleep and then do it all over again. I begin to feel like that person who said, "Man matters only to himself; he is fighting a lone fight against a vast indifference."'

What a strange creature man is! He stands at the very apex of creation and forgets his own preciousness in the sight of God. Sometimes we go into dark closets of our own building and stuff up the keyhole and the cracks. Then we say, 'The sun is not shining for me.' We build the closets of our own odd variety of materials - envy, fear, selfishness, sadness and sometimes just a sense of frustration and futility. And there we stay, mainly because we have not thought out our position there and so we are not doing anything about it. Often we hear the sighs of others in nearby closets and we wish we could liberate them, but not having freed ourselves, we find it pretty hard to tell them what to do.

Now the first thing that is probably needed is a larger perspective. I had the good fortune to have a remarkable grandmother. How well I remember hearing her say, 'If anything troubles you very much now, look at it in terms of five years from this time, or twenty-five, or fifty, and if it still looms pretty large, measure it in terms of eternity. Now that is my theme of eternity. Then look back, if you will, and wonder what became of your darkest closet.

The great thing is to find for ourselves the purpose of being, and to hold to that through everything. Baha'u'llah said, 'O God, I testify that thou hast created me to know Thee and to adore Thee.' There is God at the far end and here are we are at the near end, on this lonely little island, the earth, needing to discover in that brief flash, an enormous purpose like that! And it is brief! He also said, 'Count all the days of thy life as less than a fleeting instant.'

To know and adore God! Think of the things we deplore every day that all the while may be really speeding us on our way! Take the matter of trouble, for example. Baha'u'llah, in His Tablet to the Shah of Persia, wrote, 'I am not impatient of calamity in His way nor of affliction for His love. God hath made afflictions as a morning shower to His green pasture, and as a wick for His lamp, whereby earth and Heaven are illumined.'

A morning shower! Often trouble opens the heart to God. And after that it becomes purified, little by little, so that the self or Satan of the heart dies out and makes room for the Divine Beloved. I came just this morning upon these words, 'Purify thy heart for My descent. The Friend and stanger cannot dwell there together.' Trouble is often just the testing ground of the soul. There is a real freedom in it. As a Kreisler after difficult years of drudgery is free in the world of music, as an athlete after long discipline of the body has supremacy in the world of sports, so does your soul win a sovereignty through a life that challenges it to be at grips with the world. Tests often come again and again to teach a single lesson, until at last there is a victory and a former weakness is replaced by strength. Every time this happens, it marks a milestone on the path to God."

*******************
HEALING
*******************

This poem is taken from "Below the Surface, p. 6 by Anne Spencer Parry and Marjorie Pizer


The task of the rescue of the soul is long and slow
And only those will be rescued who want to be rescued,
For only the soul itself can unmake
The prison it has so carefully constructed.
How delicate is the work of the freeing of the soul!
Open eyes and open hearts,
A tongue to speak what must be said
And hands to hold through the terror and the pain.
Only those who are themselves becoming free
Can wield this fiery wand.
The rebirth of the soul is an agony and a joy
And only one already born
Can assist this painful labour.
How tender and beautiful is the work of the
freeing of the soul.

************************
"O My Servant
Free thyself from the fetters of this world, and loose thy soul from the prison of self. Seize they chance, for it will come to thee no more."
(Baha'u'llah, Hidden Words, Persian #40)

***************************
THE EXCHANGE
****************************

Question:

In the October, 1999 issue, the question was:


One thing I would really like to address are the issues of wealth, prosperity, consciousness and the Fund. I firmly believe that the same feelings of fear and unworthiness that contribute to physical and emotional illnesses also keep us in poverty. We each deserve physical health, emotional health and financial health. We say healing prayers so that we can serve the Cause without our physical limitations getting in the way, but when was the last time any of us asked God to make us wealthy enough that our financial limitations would not get in the way?

We consider healthy food and exercise part of a spiritual lifestyle, but we consider healthy profits and financial exercises part of a materialistic lifestyle. But both our bodies and our money are just tools for the spirit. I would like to hear your views on this issue.

Answers:

The Gift of Financial Tests

I would like to share some recent experiences my husband and I have had with spiritual growth around the issue of financial income.

For the last two years my 63 year old husband and I (56 with long standing chronic illness) have struggled without earning an income, to establish a business at our most recent pioneer post. When we first arrived, I decided to practice positive thinking. "Attitude is everything!" was my motto. Success, financial security, was just around the corner. Roger, ever the complementary personality, began very cautiously to explore this enterpreneurial opportunity without success. As setback followed setback, he began reading an 'Abdu'l-Baha prayer for prosperity on a daily basis and found books to help him persevere. I faced my panic about being old and sick and broke, and Baha'u'llah helped me to discover many older sick people, with little money, who do get along as long as they have the joy of serving our Beloved. And I adopted an "Attitude of Gratitude". Along the way, we learned the difficult lesson of accepting charity from family and friends, gratefully and cheerfully, recognizing that their generosity blesses both the giver and the recipient. We have both been in and out of depression during the last two years. Just yesterday Roger and I were talking about how wonderful a blessing this struggle has been for us, bringing us new insights and developing otherwise neglected capacities. He now feels free of old fantasies about what wealth would bring. My latest lesson has been to accept that my value as a parent does not depend on my being able to shower my
children and grandchildren with all the gifts they never had from me. And, who knows, the business may turn out alright after all. If it does, we will experience that new development hoping to continue to appreciate all of Baha'u'llah's bounties that have brought us this far.
- Diana Carson

*******************************

On first reading of the question, the following prayer by the Bab for detachment sprang to mind:

"...Vouchsafe unto me, through Thy Grace, what will enable me to dispense with all except Thee, and destine for me that which will make me independent of everyone else besides Thee..." (Baha'i Prayers, U.S.,1985, p. 55)

God knows what we will need to serve His Cause, and standing ready to serve Him implies keeping an open mind about how in His wisdom He will assist us.

'Abdu'l-Baha leaves little doubt, however, about the morality of wealth:

"...it should not be imagined that the writer's earlier remarks constitute a denunciation of wealth or a commendation on poverty. Wealth is praiseworthy in the highest degree, if it is acquired by an individual's own efforts and the grace of God, in commerce, agriculture, art and industry, and if it be expended for philanthropic purposes... Wealth is most commendable, provided the entire population is wealthy. If, however, a few have inordinate riches while the rest are impoverished, and no fruit or benefit accrues from that wealth, then it is only a liability to its possessor. If, on the other hand, it is expended for the promotion of knowledge, the founding of elementary and other schools, the encouragement of art and industry, the training of orphans and the poor--in brief, if it is dedicated to the welfare of society--its possessor will stand out before God and man as the most excellent of all who live on earth and will be accounted as one of the people of paradise." ---Secret of Divine Civilisation, pp. 24-25
- Dr Mary Ann Chance, Australia

*********************************

There are many, many references to be found in the Baha'i Writings on the subject of wealth. Here are just a few:

"When the love of God is established, everything else will be realized. This is the true foundation of all economics."
(Abdu'l-Baha, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p 239)

"Love is the most great law Ö"
(Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha; p 27)

"... God hath made the achievement of everything conditional upon material means, ..."
(Baha'u'llah, Huququ'llah, p 12, #33)

"When a rich man believes and follows the Manifestation of God, it is a proof that his wealth is not an obstacle and does not prevent him from attaining the pathway of salvation."
(Abdu'l-Bah·, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p.216)

"Having attained the stage of fulfilment and reached his maturity, man standeth in need of wealth, and such wealth as he acquireth through crafts or professions is commendable and praiseworthy in the estimation of men of wisdom, and especially in the eyes of servants to the education of the world and to the edification of its peoples."
(Bah·'u'll·h, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p.35)

"Bah·'u'll·h had also in His writings given a most important place to Art, and the practice of skilled trades. He had stated that the practice of an Art or Trade in the true spirit of service was identical with the worship of God."
(Abdu'l-Bah·, Abdu'l-Baha in London, p.72)

"We cannot give of our wealth to the poor unless we possess it."
(Abdu'l-Bah·, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p.3)

"The attainment of any object is conditioned upon knowledge, volition and action. Unless these three conditions are forthcoming, there is no execution or accomplishment."
(Abdu'l-Bah·, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p.157)
- Complied by Jim Belchamber, Ontario, Canada

************************************************
SIX TYPES OF HEALING - TYPE SIX
************************************************
By Dr. Orval H. Minney, California, U.S.A.
orvalm@prodigy.net

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; Type Two, was by transfer of a magnetic force from the healer to the patient, 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., Type Four was "...produced by the power of the Holy Spirit" and Type Five was by use of medicines and surgery. Today we will consider Type Six which consists of the use of aliments, fruits, vegetables, and hot and cold waters.

"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-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 258-59)

Abdu'l Baha speaks in the same reference that the body is in a state of energy and chemical equilibrium and that an imbalance causes disease while balance restores the equilibrium and health. As an example, he speaks of lacking the sugar element and restoring the balance by replacing the missing element. Since I have previously discussed the science of dynamic balance or homeostasis and how it works through the autonomic nervous and endocrine systems, I will not go into it here but it is the basis of healing by use of herbs, foods and waters.

Nutritionists and physiologists like to point out that we are what we eat. Physically, our bodies are made up from the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe. They are poisoned by ingestion of toxins by eating, drinking and breathing. If the body is healthy and in a state of balance, the immune system can deactivate the toxins. If it is not, then the chemistry of the body must be returned to balance. This is where the use of foods, herbs and waters comes in. If the foods we eat were grown in naturally rich soil and contained all the nutrients according to their species we could eat a "balanced" meal and maintain the body equilibrium. Since today many of the soils are either depleted or have been artificially fertilized by growth/yield producing chemicals the plants either lack the essential elements or they are in an unbalanced state in the plant. We eat according to the best knowledge we have of our body's needs but still we may not meet it's needs.

Interestingly, in terms of body needs, one size does not fit all. For example, in very cold climates the need for calories from fats is essential. In Antarctica, I read that members of an expedition confined to their hut during the winter, lost weight on 10 to 12 hundred calories per day. An athlete requires lots of carbohydrates that might trigger diabetes in a sedentary older person. Therefore, God has made us individuals with different needs.

Water is the solute for the body's chemicals as well as the means of transport of nutrients and waste. We need to take in the amount of pure water, not beverages, to balance what we excrete and to implement the maintenance of homeostasis.

Using herbs to help restore balance is in line with what I believe is Abdu'l-Baha's intent, but to use herbs to treat symptoms is, to me, 'allopathic' herbal medicine. Yet the supplement industry is being built on the "magic pill" concept and many herbalists are falling into the trap. I believe that the use of herbs or supplements should be on the basis of maintaining the dynamic equilibrium of the body and its Innate intelligence and its immune system....

It has been my intention in this series of articles to present my opinions based on my research and experience rather than use the method of a technical paper with cited statistics. I have tried not to condemn any practice or group in total but to present a path to the future by mentioning concepts, problems and information for your thought, consideration, and planning. In my opinion, 'competent physicians' should have all six types of healing in their methodology and hopefully this will increase as our knowledge and understanding develops.

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" The Bab hath said that the people of Baha must develop the science of medicine to such a high degree that they will heal illnesses by means of foods. The basic reason for this is that if, in some component substance of the human body, an imbalance should occur, altering its correct, relative proportion to the whole, this fact will inevitably result in the onset of disease. If, for example, the starch component should be unduly augmented, or the sugar component decreased, an illness will take control. It is the function of a skilled physician to determine which constituent of his patient's body hath suffered diminution, which hath been augmented. Once he hath discovered this, he must prescribe a food containing the diminished element in considerable amounts, to re-establish the body's essential equilibrium. The patient, once his constitution is again in balance, will be rid of his disease."
(Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 155-4)

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BREAKING THE VICIOUS CYCLE:
INTESTINAL HEALTH THROUGH DIET
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By Elaine Gottschall, MSc, Ontario, Canada

"There are ten million North Americans bothered with gastrointestinal problems," say Ms. Gottschall whose lifelong interest in these disorders started in 1955. Here are some facts about this illness given by Elaine. She gathered this information from the Crohn's and Colitis Association and her own intensive research.

* It accounts for the second highest number of hospital admissions.
* In 1922, thirty percent of doctor visits were because of it. Today, nearly half the people visiting doctors are there due to complaints relating to this illness in its various forms.
* Although it's not as life threatening as heart disease or cancer, it is responsible for much human suffering, the expenditure of a large portion of health care budgets and often requires lifelong drug management.
* Sufferers of its various forms are told their illness is incurable.
* When people ask their doctors what they should eat, they are told that food has nothing to do with their problem.

People diagnosed with Crohn's Disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulosis, irritable bowel, spastic colon, or celiac disease are usually given no hope of a cure. As a result, Elaine Gottschall's book "Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet" has served to assist people who claim to have been helped by it and appears that this diet is capable of reversing the intestinal damage related to these disorders.

This is printed on the back cover which includes testimonials from various people:

"Diagnosis: Ulcerative Colitis
"Thanks to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, I have regained my life! For many years, ulcerative colitis contolled almost every aspect of my existence - where I worked, social situations, recreation, travel, etc. Having not responded well to medications, I had even reached the point of discussing with my doctor the possibility of having my colon surgically removed. I would never have thought that something as simple as diet could solve this problem.
- Lucy Rosset, Bellingham, Washington

Diagnosis: Crohn's Disease
"I was diagnosed as having Crohn's Disease of the small intestine fifteen years ago. The 'bland diet' I was told to follow did not help. In June of 1993, I began the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Not only did all pain disappear but laboratory blood tests returned to normal. Since discovering this remarkable diet, I recommend it to all my patients who have Crohn's and other intestinal problems."
- Carl E. Byer D.C., Mt Prospect, Illinois

Diagnosis: Ulcerative Colitis
"My battle with colitis had gone on for a number of years. I had been on high doses of medication steadily for one year and felt that I had hit bottom. It was then that I read a newspaper article about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and began following it immediately. I am now so much healthier, happier, and energetic. It was a miracle to find this diet.
- Lois Lang, Wilson, Oklahoma

Diagnosis: Crohn's Disease
"It is now four months since I heard those wonderful words from the doctor at the London, Ontario hospital telling me that he could see no signs of Crohn's disease. I felt as if someone had lifted a great weight from me and I could breathe freely again. And this after only two years on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet."
- Mary Rimmer, Centralia, Ontario, Canada

Topics covered in "Breaking the Vicious Cycle":

- The relationship between food and intestinal disorders such as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, celiac disease, cystic fibrosis of the pancreas, and other forms of chronic diarrhea.

- A discussion of the cycle of events occuring in the intestine of those with problems and how the Specific Carbohydrate Diet can break this cycle and permit the body to regain normal functioning.

- A complete recipe section which offers an assortment of simple, quick, as well as gourmet-type recipes, based on the scientific principle underlying the Specific Carohydrate Diet."

To order this book you can visit www.amazon.com (website bookstore) or write to Kirkton Press Ltd, 396 Grills Road, RR # 2, Baltimore, Ontario, Canada, K0K 1C0, 905-349-3443. This book costs $22.55 Cdn funds which includes shipping. This book has also been translated into the Danish and Hebrew languages and it has sold 1 1/2 million copies.

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A RESPONSE ON DIFFERENT ISSUES
COVERED IN THE NEWSLETTER
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By Dr. Bernhard Koppold, Greece

USES OF COLD AND HOT WATER, Volume 3, Issue #1
The use of hot and cold water as a way of treatment, as can easily be seen, has not yet been sufficiently appreciated by Baha'i physicians. In Germany and other countries there is made use in many clinics and therapeutic-centres of the "Kneipp" method, which is healing many diseases through the use of mainly icy cold water in a very specific way. Interestingly the founder of this system, a monk with the name Kneipp, was living and discovering his system of healing in the times of Baha'u'llah during the second part of the last century.

As to the concrete suggestions given in issue #1 on using warm and hot water, I would like to differentiate and caution a bit: if cramps in the legs are due to venous insufficiency warm and hot water are clearly contraindicated and could result even in some serious condition. As to the use of hot water in bites, I don't know about the concrete case of sting ray bites, but in general warm water causes hyperemia at the spot of application and through this a dissemination of the possibly toxic substances, which should be avoided clearly in case of serious bites (like through snakes or scorpions). So this cannot by suggested as a first aid application in such cases.

Finally, a differentiation of using either cold or hot water in case of hemicrania or other kinds of headache is often done intuitively by the patients themselves. Some apply hot water, others would feel crazy with it and apply icy cold water instead. No human being is exactly the same as another one and often each is reacting in a specific way, which the patient and the physician would do well to find out and to consider.

(Editor's Note: Dr. Koppold's comments are very valid and point out the need to consult skilled physicians and for Baha'i physicians to study the writings of the Baha'i Faith to assist in the application in their practice. The case of the sting-ray bite was a personal experience of the writer of the article; who, while in Florida encountered two individuals who had been bitten and the first aid treatment was to apply a hot pack to the area bitten or to immerse the area (in this case a foot) into a hot tub of water for a period of approximately 45 minutes. The paramedics in charge then advised the person to see a doctor and get a tetanus shot.)

REIKI, Volume 3, Issue #2
As the spiritual ways of healing are obviously much underdeveloped in our materialistic times, it is excellent if we are using them intensively and support their application, wherever appropriate. But the danger of overdoing it on the other side, we should also not ignore. In a recent seminar on Reiki an instructor suggested to the participants to heal AIDS and cancerous diseases with Reiki. We know about the power of spiritual healing; however, we find in numerous quotations in the Baha'i Writings, that the best would be to combine material and spiritual healing, whether it may be a physical or a psychic disease (see for example, quotations in: 'The Throne of the Inner Temple', pp. 75-76, No 186, 187, 188).

FRIENDS WILL BECOME PHYSICIANS, Volume 3, Issue #2
Certainly every friend can support the healing process through prayers and other spiritual kinds of healing. In my (perhaps insufficient) understanding however both quotes from Abdu'l-Baha, which are cited at this place, are referring to the healing of the world (of humanity) in general through the teachings, and not to the friends becoming and considering themselves physicians in the usual sense.

SKILLED PHYSICIANS
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.

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AROMATHERAPY: A BEGINNING
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By Galya Gunderson, Oregon, United States

"Make use of rose-water, and of pure perfume; this, indeed, is that which God hath loved from the beginnng that hath no beginning, in order that there may be diffused from you what your Lord, the Incomparable,the All-Wise, desireth."
Baha'u'llah The Kitab-i-Aqdas p.47:76.

The "pure perfumes" referred to in the above passage are now known as 'essential oils' and they form the treatment basis for an ancient healing knowledge now greatly updated and known as Aromatherapy. Purity is very important as these oils will not be effective if they have been adulterated which, unfortunately, is the case with many of the oils currently available here today. "Pure" on a label means nothing. Look for 'organic' or 'wildcrafted botannical' suitable for Aromatherapy instead. Years ago, I wandered into a book store and found a treasure; "The "Aromatherapy Kit" prepared by Charla Devereux. This kit included five exquisitely pure and vital oils and it explained how to use them to effectively treat conditions as diverse as colds (eucalyptus) and black widow spider bites (lavender). I carried these five wonderful little bottles with me everywhere and did they ever come in handy! Now, as a certified Aromatherapist, I recommend this resource to you. If you cannot find it locally, it is available on-line at Barnes & Noble. There is another excellent beginning textbook, "Aromatherapy Workbook" by Marcel Lavabre. If you want a complete and visually beautiful guide, I recommend the "Encyclopedia of Essential Oils" by Julia Lawless. To order this book, you can visit www.amazon.com (website bookstore). The next article I will write will focus on the spiritual uses and applications of these wonderful "pure perfumes."

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LAUGHTER ROOM
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We would love to hear your jokes, funny stories and how you cheer your loved ones who are ill. Please e-mail your ideas to -- .

This is a common Baha'i joke:

This Baha'i, named Bill, is in a fatal car wreck and finds himself at the Gates of Heaven. St. Peter says, welcome to Heaven. Before we can let you enter, We have a quick test for you to take. You must score at least 400 points in order to enter Heaven.

The first question is: What good works have you done in your community to deserve entering Heaven?

Bill answers: Well, I was on this committee, that committee, I went to a deepening over here, a Fireside here, and I did this and I did that (and continues on until he lists about 30 or 40 good things he has done in his community).

St. Peter says: Very impressive! Your answer is worth 2 points.

Bill thinks to himself "How am I ever going to make 400 points at this rate!"

The second question: What have you done outside of your community that is worthy of entrance into Heaven?

Bill answers, by naming several dozen projects outside of his community that he was involved in on earth. His answer takes several minutes, as his list of projects is a long one.

St. Peter responds: Very good! That answer is worth another 2 points!

Bill replies while smacking his forehead with the palm of his hand: How am I going to get into heaven at this rate? I only have 4 points! Only by the grace of God will I get into Heaven!

St. Peter says: Congratulations! That answer is worth 396 points! You may enter!
- Author Unknown

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'Happy are they who act; happy are they who understand; happy the man that hath clung unto the truth, detached from all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth."
(Baha'u'llah, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 139)

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"Therefore, be rejoiced, for ye are sheltered beneath the providence of God. Be happy and joyous because the bestowals of God are intended for you and the life of the Holy Spirit is breathing upon you.
Rejoice, for the heavenly table is prepared for you.
Rejoice, for the angels of heaven are your assistants and helpers.
Rejoice, for the glance of the Blessed Beauty, Baha'u'llah, is directed upon you.
Rejoice, for Baha'u'llah is your Protector.
Rejoice, for the everlasting glory is destined for you.
Rejoice, for the eternal life is awaiting you.
(Abdu'l-Baha, Promuglation of Universal Peace, p. 214)


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HEALTH HABITS
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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.

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
Simplify
Focus
Practice patience
Cleanliness
Eat simple, natural plant foods
Drink adequate pure water
Evaluate progress daily, summarize weekly

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ANNOUNCEMENTS
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I have been a subscriber to the newsletter for a few months now and greatly appreciate being connected to Baha'is and others with an interest in health and healing. The following notice is about a project I am involved with which may be of interest to some of the readers:

An international e-mail network of female doctors of chiropractic in clinical practice, education, research and administration is in the process of formation, and is expected to start with circulation of a newsletter with a format similar to this one. Expressions of interest should be addressed to chance@wagga.net.au
- Dr Mary Ann Chance, Editor, Chiropractic Journal of Australia, Australia

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"PARENTING IN THE NEW WORLD ORDER " NEWSLETTER is a bi-monthly publication dedicated to raising families with strong spiritual values. It is published for the purpose of sharing thoughts, comments and experiences on how the teachings of the Baha'i Faith are being applied to the task of parenting and family life.
If you are interested, please email: allamanda@caribsurf.com or check out the website at: http://www.spiceisle.com/homepages/allamanda/

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I would like to ask a question. What does anyone know about healing Hepatitis ? My daughter is undergoing the traditional drug method. Although she hasn't had many side effects except tiredness, I'm wondering what else she can do?
- Barbara Bennett, chabarb@gwtc.net

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Change of E-mail Addresses

Editor's Note: To make it easier when I receive a change of e-mail address, I would appreciate receiving the following information.

1) Old e-mail address.
2) New e-mail address.
This would assist me to readily search for your old e-mail address on the distribution list and then change it to the new one.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank those who have given me your new e-mail address.

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QUESTION OF THE MONTH
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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?

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PURPOSE OF THE NEWSLETTER
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"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: -- .

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WEB SITE
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You can visit the website and obtain back issues and the Healing Through Unity Course at: http://www.healingthroughunity.org




HEALING THROUGH UNITY

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

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CONTENTS

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- 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

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DETACHMENT FROM THIS WORLD

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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."

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THE EXCHANGE

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Question:

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?

Answers:

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

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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.

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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".

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STRESS MASTERY IN CHANGING TIMES

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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: www.robinsharma.com)

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."

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"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)

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A RESPONSE ABOUT SKILLED PHYSICIANS

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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.

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LAUGHTER ROOM

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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."

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HEALTH HABITS

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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

Simplify

Focus

Practice patience

Cleanliness

Eat simple, natural plant foods

Drink adequate pure water

Evaluate progress daily, summarize weekly

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LETTERS

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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

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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

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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

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COMMUNITY

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(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.)

Community

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.

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QUESTION OF THE MONTH

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"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?

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PURPOSE OF THE NEWSLETTER

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"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: -- .

PLEASE NOTE:

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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WEB SITE

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You can visit the website, obtain back issues and the Healing Through Unity Course at: http://www.healingthroughunity.org




HEALING THROUGH UNITY

January, 2000

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of

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

Volume 3, Issue #5

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CONTENTS

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- The Piano

- The Exchange

- 'The Ground I Walk' - Book

- Exploring Our Creativity

- A Response on Detachment From All Save God

- Laughter Room

- Baha'i Health Agency of South Africa Faces a Big Challenge Today

- Announcements

- Health Habits

- Question of the Month

- Purpose of the Newsletter

- Website

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THE PIANO

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Author Unknown

Wishing to encourage her young son's progress on the piano, a mother took her boy to a Paderewski concert. After they were seated, the mother spotted a friend in the audience and walked down the aisle to greet her. Seizing the opportunity to explore the wonders of the concert hall, the little boy rose and eventually explored his way through a door marked "NO ADMITTANCE." When the houselights dimmed and the concert was about to begin, the mother returned to her seat and discovered that the child was missing.

Suddenly, the curtains parted and spotlights focused on the impressive Steinway on stage. In horror, the mother saw her little boy sitting at the keyboard, innocently picking out "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." At that moment, the great piano master made his entrance, quickly moved to the piano, and whispered in the boy's ear, "Don't quit. Keep playing." Then leaning over, Paderewski reached down with his left hand and began filling in a bass part. Soon his right arm reached around to the other side of the child and he added a running obbligato. Together, the old master and the young novice transformed a frightening situation into a wonderfully creative experience. And the audience was mesmerized.

Whatever our situation in life and history--however outrageous, however desperate, whatever dry spell of the spirit, whatever dark night of the soul--God is whispering deep within our beings, "Don't quit. Keep playing. You are not alone, together we will transform the broken patterns into a masterwork of my creative art. Together, we will mesmerize the world with our song of peace."

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"...It is natural for the heart and spirit to take pleasure and enjoyment in all things that show forth symmetry, harmony, and perfection. For instance: a beautiful house, a well designed garden, a symmetrical line, a graceful motion, a well written book, pleasing garments - in fact, all things that have in themselves grace or beauty are pleasing to the heart and spirit - therefore, it is most certain that a true voice causes deep pleasure....Some feelings occur accidentally and some have a foundation. For example: some people are naturally kind, but they may be accidentally upset by a wave of anger. But if they hear music, the true nature will reassert itself. Music really awakens the real, natural nature, the initial essence..." (Abdu'l-Baha's words to Mrs. Mary L.Lucas, as quoted in 'A Brief Account of My Visit to Acca', published by the Baha'i Publishing Society, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A)

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THE EXCHANGE

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Question:

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

Answers:

A little over a year ago I found art as a means of sharing my personal story of abuse and being able to reach others. I had never tried art before but as I did the paintings for my talk I discovered new insights I had missed. I have always written poetry over the years and over the past two years have shared some Baha'i poetry I have written. This newsletter printed a poem I had written called "Baha'u'llah I've got the Blues" (Volume 2, Issue #2). This poem was about the tests I was dealing with while trying to finish the project I was doing for our small Canadian Arctic community of 3500 people in Hay River NWT. Between December 1996 and August 1997 there were 5 deaths by suicide, 3 youths under 17 and 2 adults. During this time there were three other attempts that are known and only God knows the ones that are unreported. I attended and participated in a couple of community forums to try to find solutions and work towards healing our community. I asked God and said a number of prayers for guidance. What came of this was a sense that I was to share my own story and healing journey. This was not going to be easy or fun. I dug up some of the poetry I had written as a teenager. I painted to explore some of the poems and just painted to explore some of my feelings. I had always been able to verbalize and be clear mentally what had occurred but the release of the pain seemed to elude me. I knew something good had to come of the abuse or I would never be free of it. It was the paintings and art that gave me the courage to share the story and help others face theirs. Legally in a court of law it is stated that I am alive today purely through an act of God. Baha'u'llah through art helped me find a way to change the pain into action and healing. I ended up with 9 paintings in my presentation and so far have given it 4 times with further requests.
- Lyda Greer, Northwest Territories, Canada

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The arts such as music, poetry and dance should bring and influence the True Love. True Love which is a communion of the hearts is the healing. Through the influence of this force everyone's perception should irresistibly be drawn to the divine bounties, to the common bond of unity which shall undoubtedly conquer the ugly spectacle of malice, discord, hate and war.
- Dr Fereidoun Abbasi, United Kingdom

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"At the age of five, our daughter asked to have a piano with some lessons. However, our budget did not allow for a piano nor our small place could not fit a piano. We asked her to make a second choice and she decided on the flute. I also had to find someone who was willing to teach a young child music. Finally, by her sixth birthday we started to rent a flute on a monthly basis, we made sure that if she changed her mind we wouldn't be tied to payments and that we could return the flute. My husband and I had to make some sacrifices and budget modification to afford a $20 half hour weekly lesson, over and above the cost of the monthly rental and insurance of the flute. We sacrificed our weekly Sunday Brunch outing to the 'cow place' and "Daddy" even offered to make the brunch at home instead. But, we were so happy at being able to offer our daughter the opportunity we never had when we were her age.

Now, almost three years later, she is playing Mozart's "Eine Klein Natchtmusic" and some of Bach's most cherished pieces such as "Sheep May Safely Graze", etc. She is also talking about going to Julliard's when she grows up, and her dream is to perform on top of Mount Carmel for her beloved Abdu'l-Baha in front of the Shrine of the Bab. Every morning on our way to school we listen to classical music on the radio.

I wanted to share my story to inspire you to think there is always room for change in our lives and room for improvement. All we need is a little creative thinking and a lot of heart."
- Shekoo Jokic, from "Parenting in the New World Order", Volume 7, Issue #6, February 1998

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I recently started to play the trumpet and have noticed something very interesting. The primary role in the instruction process for me is to strengthen the muscles surrounding the mouth (referred to as the embouchure). After four months of practice and lessons, I have learned that if I practice on the mouthpiece (without the trumpet) for about an hour a day, the sound from the trumpet becomes much clearer and sharper. I have learned that a lot of individuals who play the trumpet in bands, etc. practice up to 3 or 4 hours a day. Wow, when I started, I thought playing would be a lot quicker and a lot less work.

Now I am able to see that for everything beautiful in life, training and hard work is needed, and continuous training. I can start to understand the long training necessary for the wonderful singers in order to develop the precision of their voices. We all see the results of extensive training of figure skaters who start at such early ages. Naturally, this same process applies to all of our physical and learning activities.

Imagine the importance of the training of virtues that young children receive from an early age. Perseverance in training by the mother (and father) is so important in this role.

I started to play the trumpet at age sixty, but often wonder what would have happened if I started at age six.
- Anonymous, Canada

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'THE GROUND I WALK' - BOOK

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By Neda Najibi, Texas, U.S.A

(Editor's Note: The following beautiful poems were submitted by Neda Najibi which were written for her new book titled "The Ground I Walk". Neda was born in Tehran, Iran in 1966 and she moved to Chicago, Illinois with her family in 1969. She began to write at age thirteen and went on to graduate from California State University Northridge in 1995 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism. She has written many articles and poems for newspapers, Consumer News for KEY-TV and community volunteer programs. To purchase a copy of her new book contact PEACE by Piece Publishing P.O. Box 200064, Austin, TX 78720. Her website is: http://www.farsinet.com/neda/TheGroundIWalkOn.html)

LOVE AND PAIN
Reads from the point of view of love and pain

Beating was the heart
Love answered
and then
Pain entered

Love asked:
"Why have you come?"
Pain replied:
"Love, it is because of me you stand."

Love reluctant to answer, shortly thereafter remarked:
"I don't want to feel you!"

Pain answered:
"I know, but I cannot control that which is."

He embraced love and in return Love accepted him, but only as a visitor.

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SOMEHOW

In the corner of a room
I find myself an empty chair.
My mind is busy, worried
But I don't know what about
It thinks and thinks.

I stare at no one
Because there's no one here
So, I begin to cry
Believe me, I don't know why.
You see, my insides are worried also,
But I don't know what about.
It turns and a sinking feeling occurs every two seconds or so.

I continue to cry...
Now nervous because I'm afraid someone will come in
And I don't like to look weak
So, I try to stop the tears
I take a deep breath and you know
Now I want to cry,
It feels good somehow, so I do
But now I've added sound
It feels better this way, somehow.

A few minutes pass and I kind of want to know what I look like
So I open my compact and I stare at myself
And I cry so I can see myself crying
I like it somehow

Okay I've decided it's enough
And I notice how red my eyes are and how red my nose is
I feel like I've accomplished something and I want to thank myself for a job
well done.

Sounds weird, but it feels good, somehow.
No one ever came in,
So no one saw me.
Honestly, I think maybe I wanted someone to...

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EXPLORING OUR CREATIVITY

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By Frances Mezei, Ontario, Canada

In October, 1994, a few friends and I organized a workshop called "The Arts and the Three Year Plan" which was held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. We invited speakers to talk on various topics such as Art and Crafts, Storytelling, Poetry/Writing and Music/Drama. We also prepared this exercise for our friends and you may enjoy trying it out as well.

"We are all creative beings and we can allow our lives to become our work of art. Do you have certain creative longings such as learning to sing, write, paint or act, but feel there are barriers or limitations in the way of achieving your goals? The following questions will help you reflect on your feelings about developing your creative abilities."

1. Do you feel that it is too late for you to develop your creative talents?

2. Are you waiting until you make enough money to do something you'd really love to do creatively?

3. Is fear holding you back from expressing yourself creatively?

4. Are you afraid of what your family and friends would think of your efforts to be creative?

5. Do you feel that you are not good enough to explore your own creativity? Being an artist myself, I will share some tips that I have learned throughout the years when creating different works of art.
- It is very important to listen, trust and follow our dreams of what we desire to create.
- It is important to make art about what we are really interested in, not what we should be interested in. We do best what we love to do.
- When we conceptualize and inhabit on the imagination realm, we can manifest and materialize it into a physical form. There is a saying "Seeing is believing". Therefore, we use our mind's eye to give the imagination shape into a tangible, solid form.
- We need faith that we can create certain works of art. In the book "The Vein of Gold: A Journey To Your Creative Heart" by Julia Cameron, on page 35, the writer shares "Consider the possibility that our dreams and desires are the voice of our soul, the God-voice awake within us, dreaming of expression and expansion through our daring and our faith. We walk into that faith, that daring, a step at a time."
- Listen and follow our inner voice which has its own unique style of expression. Try to avoid being sidetracked by other people's feelings and opinions.
- Throughout the day, we all get inspiration and excellent ideas. Write them down in our diaries, set of cards, notepad, etc. Review them from time to time.
- When we become aware of our creative patterns, we will learn how to take charge, revise and refine them.
- Set aside time to develop our creative talents daily or weekly and be strongly disciplined with this habit. This habit will serve to keep us focused, motivated and effective.
- Read books about well known artists and learn from their training and experience.
- Enjoy the process of being creative with patience which allows us to see, and be encouraged by tiny increments of growth. Be tolerant when we make mistakes which are in reality lessons to be learned.
- We are not always inspired to create and produce; we need time and balance for reflection, rest and breaks.
- To develop our talents will bring us hours of sheer pleasure and happiness.

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"O people of Baha! The source of crafts, sciences and arts is the power of reflection. Make ye every effort that out of this ideal mine there may gleam forth such pearls of wisdom and utterance as will promote the well-being and harmony of all the kindreds of the earth." (Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 72)

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"Although now is only the very beginning of Baha'i art, yet the friends who feel they are gifted in such matters should endeavour to develop and cultivate their gifts and through their works to reflect, however, inadequately, the Divine spirit which Baha'u'llah has breathed into the world." (Shoghi Effendi, letter to an individual believer, Nov. 4, 1937)

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"There will be a new art, a new architecture, fused of all the beauty of the world of the past, but new." (Abdu'l-Baha, Star of the West IV, pp. 30-31)

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A RESPONSE ON DETACHMENT FROM ALL SAVE GOD

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Here is another answer to the question asked in the November, 1999 issue: 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?

Here is the story of one small process toward detachment. In my case, it was detachment from coffee. At 45 years of age, I felt depleted of energy reserves, depleted of memory and alertness. I have sustained a demanding life for many years -- as medical student, doctor, mother, active Bahaíi, etc. Coffee was one way to "keep going, get through the day, feel good again, and think." It also provided hand-warming on cold mornings, comfort, pleasant taste, and sociability.

But it had quit working so well. The energy stores it had drawn out for some 20 years felt depleted, gone. An article by Dr. Christine Northrup, author of "Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom", confirmed these thoughts and explained the physiology I had suspected but not seen described before. It also told how to wean oneself from coffee, and minimize the psychological and physical hardships (headaches) of quitting. So I found a coffee substitute (Cafrix and decaffeinated coffee are some choices), started mixing it with coffee at increasing proportions, and began the weaning process.

The next stage came about a month later, when I decided to enroll as a patient of Dr. Bill Saunders, Georgia, U.S.A., for the second time. I already had received his "General Health Program" by e-mail months before. I had read his list of "Spiritual Health Habits" each month in "Healing Through Unity." After clearing out some doubts and inner conflicts by a preliminary e-mail to him, I was ready to enroll -- a step at a time.

Starting the "Health Program" involved completing a detailed "Patient Information Form," which asked my health history, family history, goals, and commitments. Among the commitments I made was to "Continue to wean from caffeine." Dr. Saunders affirmed this goal -- as he has affirmed, but never pushed, any goal Iíve set.

Implementing the "Spiritual Health Habits" included these changes: drinking at least eight cups of water daily; finding ways to eat progressively more plant-derived, simple foods and less animal-derived, complex foods; finding ways to rest when tired; and seeking contentment (another of my goals).

And here are the results in detachment from coffee: Within four weeks of starting the "Health Program," I was off caffeinated coffee. It was great to feel able to NOT drink coffee without suffering headaches. I can enjoy decaffeinated coffee, without the old familiar compulsion - I can take it or leave it. Even earlier, within about 10 days of starting the Program, I had quit feeling the need for the supplements taken all summer (Gingko Biloba, St. Johnís Wort, Ginseng, and B-complex). My energy, mood, and memory became, and have remained markedly improved. Other positive changes have included: less hand joint pain and constipation, and disappearance of an intense, longstanding chocolate craving! Food cravings are minimal, yet a budding inclination toward healthful food needs is emerging. I experience calm and gratefulness frequently.

While this dependence on caffeine was minor compared to the debilitating attachments faced by many of us, the experience of detaching gave me courage, and may assist others.
- by Hannah Rishel, Arizona, U.S.A.

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Here is Abdu'l-Baha's prayer for freedom from addictions:

" O Divine Providence! Bestow Thou in all things purity and cleanliness upon the people of Baha. Grant that they be freed from all defilement, and released from all addictions. Save them from committing any repugnant act, unbind them from the chains of every evil habit, that they may live pure and free, wholesome and cleanly, worthy to serve at Thy Sacred Threshold and fit to be related to their Lord. Deliver them from intoxicating drinks and tobacco, save them, rescue them, from this opium that bringeth on madness, suffer them to enjoy the sweet savours of holiness, that they may drink deep of the mystic cup of heavenly love and know the rapture of being drawn ever closer unto the Realm of the All-Glorious..." (Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, pp 149-50)

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LAUGHTER ROOM

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Abdu'l-Baha's Laughter Through The Eyes of the Early Believers in America Abdu'l-Baha had a delightful sense of humor and loved to laugh. His laughter was often described by the early believers of the Baha'i Faith in their stories and books that they have written. A few examples are printed below and if you are aware of others, please share them with us so they can be printed in the laughter room.

Howard Colby Ives, a Unitarian minister, seeking long and ardently for spiritual happiness, met Abdu'l-Baha in New York in 1912, and was thrown into a complete turmoil by His dynamic influence. In Mr.Ives' book " Portals to Freedom", pages 193 - 94, he shares:
"One of these fascinating and provocative characteristics was His ready laughter when alluding to subjects usually approached with extreme gravity. For instance: on the last day in New York I had my final personal interview with Him. I was saying good-bye and my heart was sad. Haltingly, I expressed this sorrow that He was leaving the country and that, in all probability, I should never see Him again. We were standing. It was actually the last goodbye. Abdu'l-Baha laid His arm across my shoulders and walked with me to the door, saying that I should be with Him in all the worlds of God. And then He laughed - a hearty, ringing laugh - and I: my eyes blinded with tears. - "Why does He laugh?" I thought. Nevertheless, these words, and even more, the tone in which they were uttered, and His joyous laughter, have been an illuminating light upon my path through all these years."

In the "Diary of Juliet Thompson", page 314, Juliet, an artist, wrote "I am going to tell you something funny," He (Abdu'l-Baha) said, adding in English," a joke". "Oh tell it!" we begged; and now I was in sort of hysteria, laughing and crying at the same time. "No, Not now. Paint." But of course I couldn't paint. Later, walking up and down, He laughed again. "I am thinking of My joke," he explained. "Tell it!" we pleaded. "No, I cannot, for every time I try to tell it I laugh so I cannot speak." In another instance on page 254, when May Maxwell, Juliet and Abdu'l-Baha had a delightful visit together, Juliet became concerned and asked "Don't we tire You?" I asked a little later. "Oughtn't we to leave You now?" "No stay. You rest Me. You make me laugh!" He answered."

Ramona Allen Brown in her book "Memories of Abdu'-Baha", page 78, shares "The Master often laughed when He was speaking to the 'Peach Tree' and on other occasions as well. I knew He was not laughing at us but with us. He had a fine sense of humor. Once Abdu'l-Baha laughed so heartily at our questions and observations that His turban became disarranged. As He lifted His hands to straighten it, he smiled as though we had a joke between us."

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BAHA'I HEALTH AGENCY OF SOUTH AFRICA

FACES A BIG CHALLENGE TODAY

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By Roya Shams, Coordinator of Baha'i Health Agency of South Africa

In South Africa, the Baha'i Health Agency is facing a very challenging period of time, dealing with the problem of Aids Disease. The Aids problem is unfortunately wiping out our country silently but rapidly. At present time, there is an estimate of six million people of the country affected by HIV. The majority of these people are black, women and between the ages of 20 to 29. The Ministry of Health has announced that about 22.3% of the country is affected by the disease. One out of four women who attends the antenatal clinic is HIV positive. The AZT medication is no longer offered to patients in the hospitals and only the people who have private medical insurance can afford to pay for the medication. The Ministry thinks that by the year 2002, there will be one million orphans in the country.

It is really devastating and terribly sad, to see what is happening here. The Ministry of Health has a lot of hope for the Baha'is to do something for the country. A few weeks ago the Minister invited religious representatives at a national level to a consulting session, held in Johannesburg, discussing what the religious groups can do for the country. Three members of the Baha'i Health Agency were invited to the meeting. It was an interesting session. Repeatedly the law of chastity was claimed to be the only solution for the prevention of this devastating disease. We had a very good opportunity to present the Faith and to emphasize the law of chastity before marriage and faithfulness to the marriage. The Minister has a lot of hope in the Baha'is to have some impact on the solution of this disease.

We, the Baha'is, must work very hard now to help our people in this country. We have to put all our effort in educating the people, organizing seminars on the prevention of the disease as well as training our Baha'i communities to learn how to provide counseling to the affected people. The task is enormous, and what is needed is a willingness and enthusiasm to help, even if the degree of help is minimal compared to the magnitude of the disaster. WE MUST FEEL THE PAIN AND HELP THE PEOPLE HERE.

(Editor's Note: If any of the readers have any thoughts, ideas or experiences in this area to assist with this tragic situation, please write to Roya Shams at: dshams@netactive.co.za. There is a website organized by the Baha'i Network on AIDS, Sexuality, Addictions and Abuse in Canada at: www.globweb.com/bnasaa.)

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ANNOUNCEMENTS

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A READER SEEKS A PEN PAL

My husband and I have been pioneering in the Northern Mariana Islands for the past 7 years and will continue to do so, even with all the challenges we face. I have been diagnosed with Breast Cancer, Stage 3, metastasized. I am being treating totally with surgery and alternative, natural ways very successfully during the past year, in spite of pressures from the surgeons. NO chemotherapy or radiation. I feel great.

Now to my request. I would very much like to have a pen pal (support) from anywhere in the world, from someone that is facing the same problem and using natural treatments. Although I have an excellent naturopathic doctor and local support, no one here actually faces my challenges in the same way. It would be helpful to "talk" with another woman facing the same challenges. Please e-mail direct to Anna Crawford at: anaharry@gtepacifica.net

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A BAHA'I CONFERENCE ON HEALTH AND HEALING

Are you intensely interested in health and healing? Have you poured over the Baha'i teachings on health? If you practice a healing discipline, do you long to collaborate with other Baha'i health practitioners? Have you searched the Writings on how to better serve your patients? Have you tried some of the Teachings and observed results? Do you wonder how there can be unity between health disciplines? Do you contemplate how "highly skilled physicians" can gain the skills necessary to assist the world toward the time when "chronic and diversified illnesses will abate, and the general health of all mankind will be much improved." (Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 156)

If any of these questions apply to you, here's your chance to share, learn from, and pray with other friends who have similar goals. You are warmly invited to this conference which is planned for February 11-13, 2000 at Desert Rose Baha'i Institute, Eloy, Arizona. It will start at suppertime Friday and end midday on Sunday. The planning committee needs to have an idea of how many people would like to attend, present, and help with the conference. We ask for your response in one or more of the following ways:

1. If you are a health practitioner and would like to present at this conference, please contact the planning committee with your topic. Please focus on: What results have you seen, through implementing Baha'i teachings on health and healing? We will request an outline of all confirmed presentations, to include in the conference packet.

2. If you are interested in attending, or have suggestions for the conference, please contact the planning committee.

For all contacts, please include: your name, address, phone number, e-mail address, and fax number if available. Also indicate your health discipline or particular interest, and whether you wish to present a talk or workshop.

Planning Committee for the Baha'i Conference on Health and Healing doctor@homeopathycare.com or BCHH, 1150 North Country Club Drive suite 8, Mesa, AZ 85201.
By Randall Robinson, NMD; Hannah Rishel, MD; and Candace McConnell, FNP

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HEALING THROUGH UNITY COURSE

The Healing Through Unity course materials located in the website www.healingthroughunity.org is now available in Adobe PDF format for easy downloading and printing in addition to its current form in html.

Adobe Acrobat Reader is free, and freely distributable, software that lets you view and print Portable Document Format (PDF) files. Acrobat Reader also lets you fill in and submit PDF forms online. PDF is an acronym for "Portable Document Format." PDF is a file format created by Adobe that lets you view and print a file exactly as the author designed it, without needing to have the same application or fonts used to create the file. Since its introduction in 1993, PDF has become an Internet standard for electronic distribution that faithfully preserves the look and feel of the original document complete with fonts, colors, images, and layout.
You can go to this link: www.adobe.com/prodindex/acrobat/readstep.html and download the Acrobat Reader for free.

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HEALTH HABITS

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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 always happy

Simplify

Focus

Practice patience

Cleanliness

Eat simple, natural plant foods

Drink adequate pure water

Evaluate progress daily, summarize weekly

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QUESTION OF THE MONTH

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"There are two ways of healing sickness, material means and spiritual means. The first is by the treatment of physicians; the second consisteth in prayers offered by the spiritual ones to God and in turning to Him. Both means should be used and practised." (Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, pp 151-52)

The Baha'i teachings repeatedly emphasis that the best would be to combine material and spiritual healing when treating illnesses. What is your understanding of this? What experiences, results, and stories have you had when using both physical and spiritual treatments or remedies? How can we train health practitioners to bring spirituality into their work which is sorely lacking in today's society?

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PURPOSE OF THE NEWSLETTER

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"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: -- .

PLEASE NOTE:

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.

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WEB SITE

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You can visit the website, obtain back issues and the Healing Through Unity Course at: http://www.healingthroughunity.org




HEALING THROUGH UNITY
February, 2000

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of
physical and spiritual health envisioned in the Baha'i Teachings.

Volume 3, Issue #6
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CONTENTS
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- Dedication
- A Letter From May Maxwell to Agnes Alexander
- The Exchange
- Spiritual Tools for our Health
- Even Science Supports Prayer
- A Creative Idea!
- The Laughter Room
- Arts In Action
- Health Habits
- Question of the Month
- Purpose of the Newsletter
- Website

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DEDICATION
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Editor's Note: We lost a very special leader, mentor and friend, Hand of the Cause Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum who passed away in Haifa, Israel on January 19, 2000. She was 89. She resided there since her marriage in 1937 to the world head of the Baha'i Faith, Shoghi Effendi. Ruhiyyik Khanum held senior positions in the Baha'i community and played a major role in the development of the Baha'i community. She was also a tireless traveler visiting 185 countries over her years of service to the Baha'i community which included spending four years driving her Land-Rover through sub-Saharan Africa to 34 countries. She was also a writer, publishing several books, including "The Priceless Pearl", a biography of her husband and "Prescription for Living", which deals with the application of spiritual principles to practical life. In 1996 she published a collection of her poems written in the months following the death of Shoghi Effendi in 1957, "Poems of the Passing."

I would like to honour her by dedicating this issue to the loving memory of Madame Ruhiyyih Khanum. If you have any stories, memories or articles about Ruhiyyih Khanum that you would like printed in a future issue, please share them with us.

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A LETTER FROM MAY MAXWELL TO AGNES ALEXANDER
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This portion of the letter from May Maxwell (mother of Ruhiyyih Khanum) to Agnes Alexander is from a collection of letters currently held by a believer in California.

243 W. 44th St.,
New York City.
May 7 (1909)

My Dearest Agnes,
All of your dear letters have been received and the .... You must have wondered that I could remain so silent in spite of all your love and kindness but you will understand when I tell you that this winter has been one of great physical weakness and suffering for me, so that I have been most of the time unable to write, or to make any effort. A little more than a year ago when I was in Acca I was passing one evening in the twilight in front of the Master's door. His daughter Rouha was with me and in my arms I held her wee babe. I suddenly saw Our Beloved Lord framed in the doorway gazing attentively upon me - then He said - "You love that baby?" "Oh! I love him," I replied - and after a pause Our Lord said: "Come here, come in here," and I stood before Him in His room, with the baby in my arms and Rouha by my side. Then The Blessed one sat looking at us; and he said to me: "Would you like to have a baby?" and I answered, "I should be so happy to have one -" and He said, "Do you know why you never had one? It is because you were a chosen maid servant of God - you were called for the service of God - you could not have children because you had to devote your time to the service of the Cause. This is the only reason; this is the only reason."

I stood with bowed head before Him and after a little silence He said "Speak, do you choose to have a child, you may choose!" Then I looked at Him with all my heart and soul and adoration, and I said, "I choose whatever God chooses - I have no choice but His." Although those words were very simple - in them I renounced all hope of Motherhood. Then 'Abdu'l-Baha arose quickly and came to me and clasped me in His arms with the greatest love and joy, and He said: "That is the best choice, the Will of God is the best choice -" and walking up and down the room He continued, "I will pray for you, that God will send you that which is best for you". "Be sure of this, that God will send you that which is best for you -" and this He repeated several times.

Thus ended this never-to-be forgotten scene - but I cannot describe its reality - the deep significance of those moments - the atmosphere of beauty and sanctity which pervaded the little room - the surrender of a soul in the Presence of the Lord - the quiet twilight on earth mingling with the effulgent purity and peace of the Kingdom of God. And regarding the Adored One Himself - what can we say? Such love - such wondrous love - revealed in Face and Voice and Eyes and Touch! A love so tender to understand, so strong to redeem! He desired for me as for all, the highest and best - not the wayward mortal desiring - not even the natural human longings - not even the pure flower of Motherhood - but the surrender of the soul to God by which alone it attains the apex of severance and sanctity, and becomes enkindled with the Fire of Eternal Love.

And so I have told you, my Agnes - of one scene of those divine and perfect days in the Kingdom of God - and in time I shall hope to tell you all - for those days live forever, far above the world - and I long to have you and all the dear ones share their sacred fruits. And now my lamb I am going to confide to you a secret which is the sequel to what I have told you. Our dear Lord has favored His maid servant past all her hope, and by the pure showers of His Bounty has watered the seed of life, and is bringing forth a child. In a few months Inchallah, the babe He is sending to my husband and me will be born, and I beg for your prayers, both for the little one and for myself - for I am not strong - nor young! and physically I am passing through some trials - and this winter I had a fall which nearly proved fatal. I have not told the friends - even the most intimate - but l wanted you to know - and I know you will keep my confidence.
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In a letter of March 2, 1911, May Maxwell wrote: In a recent Tablet He ('Abdu'l-Baha) said concerning her (May's child) "In the garden of existence a rose has bloomed with the utmost freshness fragrance and beauty. Educate her according to the divine teachings so that she may grow up to be a real Baha'i and strive with all thy heart, that she may receive the Holy Spirit.",...... You guarded my secret so well - and no one knew until Nature proclaimed it and every one was so happy in the coming of the God-given child.

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THE EXCHANGE
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Question:

"There are two ways of healing sickness, material means and spiritual means. The first is by the treatment of physicians; the second consisteth in prayers offered by the spiritual ones to God and in turning to Him. Both means should be used and practised."
(Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, pp 151-52)

The Baha'i teachings repeatedly emphasize that the best would be to combine material and spiritual healing when treating illnesses. What is your understanding of this? What experiences, results, and stories have you had when using both physical and spiritual treatments or remedies? How can we train health practitioners to bring spirituality into their work which is sorely lacking in today's society?

Answers:

In answer to the question of the month, January, 2000, here is a brief experience I had a little over a year ago, when undergoing a hernia operation at the Shouldice Hospital in Toronto, Ontario. This clinic is world famous for its hernia repair technique and during my stay, there were patients from South Africa, and United States. My roommate was a surgeon from Boston.

When I was wheeled into the operating room, I had been sedated and was being given the local anesthetic so the doctors could perform the operation. The two doctors and assisting nurse were very warm and happy and also experienced in this field as hernia operations are all that this hospital does, and they are carried out in a very systematic manner. I looked up at the doctors and because of their happy mood, I said in a semi-humorous manner. "Do you guys say a prayer before you do the operation?" They looked at me and continuing their happy attitude, one of them replied, "Not usually, but if you would like to say a prayer, we would be happy to listen". I then said the short healing prayer, following which one of the doctors said, "That was a very nice prayer. What religion is that from?" I then told him it was from the Baha'i Faith, and he nodded. He also thanked me again for the prayer following the operation.
- Anonymous, Ontario, Canada

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The Importance of Prayer

"... Although physically we may be unable to do much, we can all pray even when we are elderly. Mother Teresa had special co-workers who were disabled, elderly or ill. They were able to pray daily as their service in supporting her work with the poor, and she was very glad to have such valuable help. I knew a wonderful young man, terminally ill with cancer, who although often in great pain would pray for others from his bed. Each day started with these prayers. He would even pray for his visitors in hospital.

I personally have witnessed miracles happening after prayer. Our Godson Christopher, as a newborn, was desperately ill. He was not expected to live through the night and the consultant had said that if he did survive he would be seriously brain damaged. Hearing this terrible news we immediately rang round our Christian friends through a prayer chain. Christopher not only survived the night, but he is now a healthy strong and intelligent four-year-old who has never looked back.

I also prayed with another young man who was dying in hospital and in great fear. Gradually with support he began to pray himself. All his fear left him and he made his peace with his family and friends from who he had become estranged. He died beautifully; smiling, pain free and at peace. He saw his brother, who had died before, waiting for him, and what he called a beautiful white lady waiting to welcome him with outstretched arms and great love. He could not wait to go, and I could not help thinking that it must have been a Maid of Heaven receiving him to the next world...."
- Excerpts from article "The Importance of Prayer" by Juliet Grainger, taken
from Baha'i Journal UK, May 1998

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Mary Maxwell's (Ruhiyyih Khanum) Dream

"Some years before her marriage to the Guardian, Mary told me this dream, shortly before the passing of Bahiyyih Khanum, (daughter of Baha'u'llah and sister of Abdu'l-Baha) the Greatest Holy Leaf. We were sitting together on the blue velvet couch in the Maxwell drawing room, waiting for the Feast to begin. The dream was as follows:

Mary appeared to be in Haifa. She entered the bedroom of the Greatest Holy Leaf who was lying ill in bed. At the foot of the bed was a table laden with all shapes and sizes of bottles of different coloured medicines. Mary, longing to help, asked if she could give Bahiyyih Khanum some medicine, indicating the table.

The Greatest Holy Leaf smiled gently, shook her head and replied, "That is the world's medicine. That will not help me." Then she asked Mary to go to a table in another corner of the room, remove an exquisitely carved silver screen and behind it she would find her medicine. Mary did as directed and when she removed the little screen she saw a goblet of such clear crystal filled with golden liquid so pure that one could not know where the liquid began and the goblet ended!

This precious goblet Mary carried with both hands and gave it to Bahiyyih Khanum. The Greatest Holy Leaf took one sip, then handed the goblet to Mary and said, 'Drink it, drink it all up!' Mary did so. Then she said, Rosemary, I could never describe the taste of that divine elixir. I could never describe it."
- Taken from "Tending the Garden - the edited letters and papers of Emeric and Rosemary Sala", by Ilona Sala Weinstein, pp. 53-4.

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SPIRITUAL TOOLS FOR OUR HEALTH
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By Frances Mezei, Ontario, Canada

We are taught in the Baha'i writings that science and religion are both paths to the truth and that they agree and complement. In the matter of health, we are taught that all true healing comes from God, and that this God-sent healing comes through medical care (science) and through the spiritual care (religion). Here is a powerful story which demonstrates the importance of the true balance of material and spiritual healing.

"It is said that once Peter became ill and called on God for help, and God sent him to find a particular herb. Peter found it, ate it, and was cured. Time passed and Peter again became ill, however, this time he ate the same herb, but it didn't work so he asked God why. God replied, "The first time you turned to ME, and I cured you through the herb. The next time you did not turn to ME, you went to the herb and this was My test." Author unknown.

The teachings of the Baha'i Faith encourage someone who is ill to go to a skilled and wise physician as well as to rely on prayer. Because we are living in a materialistic society, most people are highly conscious of the material means of healing while remaining largely unaware of the spiritual means of healing. Just as material healing has different tools, there are also spiritual tools which can be used in healing.

SPECIFIC PRAYERS FOR HEALING

We can recite daily the long healing prayer and short healing prayer revealed by Baha'u'llah. For those who do not have a copy of the long healing prayer, it can be found in the "Healing Through Unity" course in the website. Here is a beautiful perspective of the long healing prayer shared by Dr. Saunders, Georgia, U.S.

"Calling on His Names is remembrance of Him and we are being trained to call on Him. The Names in the long healing prayer for example, 'O Thou Abiding One', 'O Unfettered One', 'O Gathering One', and 'O Magnanimous One' are specialized for healing. Each one is different and has its own unique and special power. They are also virtues and remembering them is a means of acquiring those virtues. What marvelous and ennobling instruments He has blessed us with!"

The healing prayers can be typed up and then reduced to a smaller version to be placed inside a locket, wallet or purse for our protection. We can develop healing prayer cards to be given to patients, health practitioners, families and friends.

THE HABIT OF PRAYER AND MEDITATION

"Recite ye the verses of God every morning and evening." (Baha'u'llah, Spiritual Foundation: Prayer, Meditation and the Devotional Attitude)

The commandments to pray daily are precious gifts from God because reciting prayers refresh, purify and strengthen our souls. The wisdom of prayer and meditation serve as a connection between us and God to receive His guidance, bounties and grace for our growth and development. Our bodies and souls become permeated and nourished by spiritual energy and guidance.

We can establish a routine of reading the Writings so it becomes a natural thing to do. We can read and meditate on the Writings on health and healing as well as the ones which focus on the specific area of health that we are working on such as hearing, sight, depression, calmness, etc, etc. Through the power of prayer, we can turn with all our heart to God, with implicit trust both in His power and in His Will to do whatever is best. We can ask God specific questions and then rely that our prayer will be answered and put all our trust in God. We can learn to listen to our inner self and hear messages which are often short, precise and practical for our daily routines. These answers can be written down in our journals for our record and progress.

"When, in prayer, we are freed from all outward things and turn to God, then it is as if in our hearts we hear the voice of God. Without words we speak, we communicate, we converse with God and hear the answer...All of us, when we attain to a truly spiritual condition, can hear the Voice of God."
(Abdu'l-Baha cited in "Baha'u'llah and the New Era", J.E. Esslemont, pp. 88 - 9)

RECITATION OF THE GREATEST NAME

We can obtain healing by saying the Greatest Name, Allah-u-Abha, regularly and in emergency or trauma situations for God's assistance. The following fragments from the Writings have been received from the Baha'i World Centre so that we may increase our understanding of the recital of the Greatest Name 95 times daily as per the 28 December 1999 letter of the Universal House of Justice. "It hath been ordained that every believer in God, the Lord of judgment, shall each day, having washed his hands and then his face, seat himself and, turning unto God repeat 'Allah-u-Abha' ninety-five times. Such was the decree of the Maker of the Heavens when, with majesty and power, he established Himself upon the thrones of His Names."

"O ye beloved friends of God and handmaids of the Merciful! Call ye to mind the blessed Name of our peerless Beloved, the Abha Beauty, in an uplifting spirit of unbounded ecstasy and delight, then unloose your tongues in His praise in such wise that the realm of the heart may be purged from the woes and sorrows of the world of water and clay, that the great heights of spiritual perception may be unveiled before your eyes, that the glorious signs of His Divine Unity may shine resplendent, a fresh outpouring of His grace may stream forth, and a liberal effusion of celestial confirmations may be vouchsafed unto you.

His Name is indeed the healing medicine for every illness, and imparteth warmth unto those starving with cold. It is the sovereign remedy and the supreme Talisman. It is the source of life in both worlds, and of salvation unto such as have gone astray. Today this hallowed Name serveth as a shield for all mankind, and as a veritable refuge for the children of men. It is the wondrous accent of the Lord of Mercy, and His celestial melody.

Wherefore, O faithful friends, raise ye the triumphal cry of Ya-Baha'u'l-Abha! O ye who yearn after the Beauty of the Almighty! Lift up your faces toward the Supreme Horizon. Rest not, even for a moment. Breathe not a single breath save in remembrance of His love and in recognition of His grace, in the promulgation of His Utterances and the vindication of His Testimonies.

Verily, this is the Magnet of divine confirmations. This is the mighty Force which will surely attract heavenly assistance."
'Abdu'l-Baha (recently translated quotation received from the Baha'i World Centre concerning the Greatest Name - 1993)

Note: Allah-u-Abha is a greeting which means: 'God the All-Glorious'. Ya Baha'u'l-Abha is an invocation meaning: 'O Thou Glory of Glories'.
(Baha'u'llah, 'The Kitab-i-Aqdas', Note 33)

INTERCESSORY PRAYER

When our loved ones are ill or in need, we can offer prayers for them. People can come together and pray for each other as well as to pray for anyone in need which often creates a strong spiritual bond. J.E. Esslemont writes in Baha'u'llah and the New Era, p. 113:

" All must help, by sympathy and service, by right living and right thinking, and especially by prayer, for of all remedies prayer is the most potent. 'Supplication and prayer on behalf of others will surely be effective.' (Abdu'l-Baha, The Divine Art of Living, p. 50)....It may not be possible for everyone, in the present state of the world, to attain perfect health, but it is possible for everyone to become a 'willing channel' for the health-giving power of the Holy Spirit and thus to exert a healing, helpful influence both on his own body and on all with whom he comes in contact."

"The greatest form of healing which the Baha'is can practice is to heal the spiritually sick souls of men by giving this greatest of all Messages to them. We can also try to help them, both physically and spiritually, through prayer."
(From letter dated 31 March 1947 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, Health and Healing, p. 39)

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EVEN SCIENCE SUPPORTS PRAYER
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This is an article taken from Archives of Internal Medicine 1999; 159:2273 - submitted by Daryoush Yazdani, Japan

NEW YORK, Oct 26 (Reuters Health) -- Prayer may reduce the number of complications experienced by hospitalized heart patients, researchers report.

"This suggests that prayer may be an effective adjunct to standard medical care,'' Dr. William Harris of Saint Luke's Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, and colleagues report in the October 25th issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Heart patients who were prayed for by others, but were not aware of being the object of prayers, had an 11% reduction in medical complications or the need for surgery or medication while in hospital, according to the investigators.

The authors examined the medical charts of nearly 1,000 heart patients, following their health histories between hospital admission and discharge.

All patients in the study received standard medical care. But unbeknownst to the patients, Harris and colleagues provided the first names of about half the patients to 15 teams of five self-identified, practicing Christians. These individuals prayed daily for the healthy recovery of selected patients for a period of 4 weeks. The remaining patients were not prayed for as part of the study.

The authors report that the prayed-for patients had significantly lower complication rates than those not prayed for in the study.

The research team effectively ruled out patient bias as a possible factor behind the benefits associated with prayer, since both patients and hospital staff "were completely (unaware of)... the very existence of the trial.''

Indeed, they say they have no "mechanistic explanation'' as to how the prayers of strangers might have helped speed patient healing. The odds that chance might explain the findings are about 1 in 25, according to the authors.

Instead, they refer to the theories of those who believe that "natural or supernatural'' causes may be behind the 'healing power of prayer.' Believers in the 'natural causes' theory propose that some as-yet-undiscovered natural force is '''generated' by the intercessors and 'received' by the patients,'' according to the researchers. On the other hand, those subscribing to a supernatural explanation point to the existence of God or some force "beyond the ken of science.''

Other, smaller studies have provided conflicting results regarding the power of prayer. However, the largest -- a 1988 trial involving 339 San Francisco patients -- found results remarkably similar to those of the current study. The combined results have led Harris and his colleagues to suggest that experts "explore the role of prayer as an adjunct to standard medical care.''

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A CREATIVE IDEA!
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A friend, Aghdas Javid, a tireless worker of the Faith and who has been holding firesides every Wednesday evening for the last 33 years in her home in Southern Ontario, Canada, came up with a creative idea. Recently, she was a patient at a hospital and when she returned home, she wasted no time and went to work to design a very simple and educational pamphlet called "Health and Healing: A Baha'i Perspective. On the cover page are pictures of people from different cultures and ages.

Here is what is written inside the pamphlet which is an excellent summary about Health and Healing:

"Good health is truly one of life's bounties. The ability to work, play and fully enjoy life while contributing to society confers happiness and a sense of purpose in our day-to-day lives. Ill health is, however, inevitable at one time or another for most of us, and for the families and friends that care for us.

The Baha'i teachings offer solace and hope for those who are ill and guidance for maintaining health. Human beings are seen as fundamentally spiritual in nature. Although we exist in physical bodies during our journey on earth, the essential identity of each person is defined by an invisible, rational, and everlasting soul. The physical body is the temple of one's soul and should be respected and cared for, but neither physical or mental illness interfere with our spiritual progress.

"Know thou that the soul of man is exalted above, and is independent of all infirmities of body or mind. That a sick person showeth signs of weakness is due to the hindrances that interpose themselves between his soul and his body, for the soul itself remaineth unaffected by any bodily ailments."
(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, pp.153-54)

Health and healing can be seen as having two components: spiritual and physical. Medical science is humanity's tool for understanding our physical nature while offering prayers and turning to our Creator facilitates spiritual healing.

"There are two ways of healing sickness, material means and spiritual means. The first is by the treatment of physicians; the second consisteth in prayers offered by the spiritual ones to God and in turning to Him. Both means should be used and practised. Illnesses which occur by reason of physical causes should be treated by doctors with medical remedies; those which are due to spiritual causes disappear through spiritual means...."
(Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, pp 151-52)

We can help to maintain our health with adequate rest, relaxation, a moderate lifestyle, and good nutrition. When suffering and ill health do occur we can often see it as an opportunity in adversity.

"Often physical sickness draws man nearer unto his Maker, suffers his heart to be made empty from all worldly desires until it becomes tender and sympathetic towards all sufferers and compassionate to all creatures...."
(Elias Zohoori, The Throne of the Inner Temple, pp 20-1)

When our loved ones are ill, we can offer prayers for them, and cheer their hearts. "We should all visit the sick. When they are in sorrow or suffering it is a real help and benefit to have a friend come. Happiness is a great healer to those who are ill..."
(Abdu'l-Baha, Tablets of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 149)

The Baha'i teachings offer an optimistic vision of a peaceful world where religion and science are seen as essential and complementary, and human health is seen as organic with the health of our environment. In the future the enormous resources now spent on war will be "consecrated to such ends as will extend the range of human inventions...to the extermination of disease, to the extension of scientific research, to the raising of the standard of physical health..."
(Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 204)

When Aghdas Javid sent this pamphlet for the newsletter, she wrote a lovely note. She wrote "I hope everybody gets it and puts it in all waiting rooms in hospitals and doctor's offices. It will console and inform them about the Faith." We can try to follow Aghdas' wishes by creating pamphlets ourselves for our communities or buying copies of this one if it becomes available at the Baha'i distribution outlets.

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THE LAUGHTER ROOM
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WISDOM OF THE TREES
OR ALL I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LIFE I LEARNED FROM TREES
Author Unknown

It's important to have roots.

In today's complex world, it pays to branch out.

Don't pine away over old flames.

If you really believe in something, don't be afraid to go out on a limb.

Be flexible so you don't break when a harsh wind blows.

Sometimes you have to shed your old bark in order to grow.

If you want to maintain accurate records, keep a log.

Grow where you're planted.

It's perfectly okay to be a late bloomer.

Avoid people who would like to cut you down.

As you approach the autumn of your life, you can't hide your true colours.

It's more important to be honest than popular.

And remember, as you go through life, always give yourself time to blossom.

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You can find out about The Happiness Project (previously the National Health Service Laughter Clinic in Birmingham, U.K.) on www.happiness.co.uk or by e-mailing hello@happiness.co.

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ARTS IN ACTION
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Jena Taghvai is a woman of action. When she became a mother for the first time 10 years ago, and realized that we do not have enough Baha'i materials for children, she decided to use her talents to make a difference. One lack she identified is audio-recordings of prayers for children. Jena's first effort is 'Tender Seedling,' a recording of Baha'i children's prayers in Persian which are chanted and are accompanied by beautiful, soothing, traditional Persian music. As Jena wrote, "Prayer for the delicate soul of a child is as rain pouring upon a tender seedling to make it flourish."

Jena was moved to share news of her creative project with us after reading the January, 2000 issue of Healing Through Unity which focused on developing our artistic talents. Jena's work is certainly timely since the Universal House of Justice has brought to our attention the importance of children and their spiritual education in the community, as well as the importance of using the arts. We are happy to know that Jena has put the arts into action, and we wish her every success in her future efforts.

Note: For anyone who is interested in getting more information on ordering "Tender Seedlings", please contact Jena at jena@smartt.com or visit her website at http://www.jenacd.com

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HEALTH HABITS
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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 always happy
Simplify
Focus
Practice patience
Cleanliness
Eat simple, natural plant foods
Drink adequate pure water
Evaluate progress daily, summarize weekly

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QUESTION OF THE MONTH
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Many of us struggle with different forms of addictions such as: shopping, alcohol, narcotics, smoking, food, gambling, work, computers and others. What are your suggestions to assist us to overcome our specific addictions which may cause us pain and frustrations? How were you able to make the decision to deal with it and to make the right choices to change your life? What does the Baha'i Teachings say about addictions?

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PURPOSE OF THE NEWSLETTER
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"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: -- .

PLEASE NOTE:
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.

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WEB SITE
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You can visit the website, obtain back issues and the Healing Through Unity
Course at: http://www.healingthroughunity.org




HEALING THROUGH UNITY
March, 2000

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of
physical and spiritual health envisioned in the Baha'i Teachings.

Volume 3, Issue #7
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CONTENTS
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- Special Tribute to Ruhiyyih Khanum
- The Exchange
- Some Thoughts on Addiction from "The Seat of the Soul"
- Caffeine: How to Taper or Get Off It
- The Laughter Room
- Fasting
- Health Habits
- Question of the Month
- Spreading the Word
- Purpose of the Newsletter
- Website

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SPECIAL TRIBUTE TO RUHIYYIH KHANUM
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In the February, 2000 issue, the readers were asked to share their stories and memories of Ruhiyyih Khanum and we are blessed to receive these beautiful accounts of her life. These stories assist us to further understand her true station as a Hand of the Cause of God and wife of Shoghi Effendi. In the book 'Lights of Fortitude', p. 182, Barron Harper writes "Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum is indeed the embodiment of the words of Shoghi Effendi:...let us arise to teach His Cause with righteousness, conviction, understanding and vigour...Let us make it the dominating passion of our life. Let us scatter to the uttermost corners of the earth; sacrifice our personal interests, comforts, tastes and pleasures; mingle with the divers kindreds and peoples of the world...."

Note: A correction needs to be made in the February 2000 issue. In the article "A letter from May Maxwell to Agnes Alexander", the date should be May 7, 1910 instead of 1909 since Ruhiyyih Khanum was born in 1910.

RUHIYYIH KHANUM'S VISIT IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA
By Mariette & Ho-San Leong, Papua New Guinea

We would like to share a story about Hand of the Cause Ruhiyyih Khanum when she visited Papua New Guinea in 1984, accompanied by Mrs Violette Nakhjavani. She spent 5 glorious weeks in the country, and managed to visit a good number of Baha'i communities in various remote areas of this beautiful land. The friends just poured out their love on her and were most excited that here, in a remote country so far away from the Holy Land, we had a most distinguished visitor who brought such spiritual flavours from the heart of the Baha'i world. And of course they were enchanted that Khanum was the link with the Guardian and the Holy Family, and so it made her visit all the more special, that it would live forever in their memories, and undoubtedly they will even now recount stories of her visit to their villages for generations to come. One particular incident comes to mind when she was in Port Moresby. The driver who had the honour of driving her and Mrs Nakhjavani around to the artefact shops related what he saw and observed when she entered a shop. The sales staff would just stand aside for her in a respectful manner as she walked into the shop, almost instinctively recognizing her high position and rank without knowing why. Aminio Bale, the driver and a member of the National Spiritual Assembly at the time, was just astonished and overwhelmed by this experience, not easily to be forgotten with the passage of time!

Khanum truly loved Papua New Guinea and its people. Whenever there were pilgrims and visitors from this country to Haifa, she would invariably invite them to afternoon tea or dinner. Without fail, she would always say how very much she loved this country and the people, and if she did have her choice there was no doubt that she would want to live here.

That is our little story about Khanum and how much she means to so many, many of us who met her and enjoyed the precious moments in her presence, and just listened to her talking and sharing her wisdom and thoughts on the Baha'i Teachings. She will always live in our hearts in this country.

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RUHIYYIH KHANUM ASSISTS A SICK FAMILY IN A LATIN AMERICAN COUNTRY
By Ruth Robin, U.S.A (Robin shares that this story was told to her about 20 years ago by the mother-in-law of the pioneer in the story. She says if there are any errors they come from her own memory.)

Imagine this: you are a young woman, pioneering to a Latin American country with your husband and several small children. Something wonderful is going to happen, Ruhiyyih Khanum is coming to visit your area and your husband leaves for a journey of several days to escort her to your pioneering post. You begin to prepare for the momentous visit, but the next morning your youngest child is quite ill with a fever, vomiting, diarrhea. By late afternoon another child is equally as sick and, exhausted from the care of these sick little ones, as you fall into bed, you realize that you, too, have a fever and all the other aspects of this illness. Your husband is also your doctor but you can only long for his help as you pray and struggle for two more days and nights with comforting, bathing, cleaning, forcing liquids and medicating as best you can yourself and the children. You scarcely realize that he has returned, except that you are put to bed and somehow you know that someone else is taking care of things.

Hours later, you awaken, you have been bathed and dressed in a clean gown, you can smell something cooking - a strengthening broth - your floors have been scrubbed, your children, listless and quiet, but their fever gone, have been bathed and are wearing clean garments. Someone brings you a cup of tea, her sleeves are rolled up, her gentle hands are red from the washing and scrubbing and you think you must be still asleep and dreaming, hallucinating even, because it is Ruhiyyih Khanum who has brought you the tea, who has scrubbed floors, washed dishes, taken care of sick children and given you clean sheets and combed your tangled hair. It is Ruhiyyih Khanum.

I have had the great bounty of seeing Ruhiyyih Khanum several times, speaking at conferences, the World Congress, more intimately during my Pilgrimage and once even, looking very sophisticated and elegant, speaking to a large audience, but I can never forget the woman who scrubbed floors, washed dishes, cooked and cared for a sick family.

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RUHIYYIH KHANUM'S STORY ABOUT HER FATHER'S ILLNESS
Submitted by Kamyar Solhjoo, South Wales, U.K

We were asked to write something about this beloved soul. I extract her memory from her book 'The Priceless Pearl' which is relevant to the subject of health and healing as well.

"When my father fell desperately ill in the winter of 1949-50 his condition was despaired of by his doctors. He reached a point where he seemed to have no conscious mind left, could not recognize me, his only and idolized child, at all, and had no more control over himself than if he were six months old. If I had needed any convincing on the subject of whether man has a soul or not I received conclusive proof of its existence at that time. When Shoghi Effendi would come in to see my father, although he could not speak, and gave no conscious sign whatever of the Guardian's nearness, a flutter, a tremor, some reaction wholly ephemeral but nevertheless visible, would pass over him because of the very presence of Shoghi Effendi. It was so extraordinary and so evident that his nurse (the best in Haifa) also noticed it and was greatly puzzled by it. It went against all laws of the mind, which, as it fades, remembers the distant past more vividly than the immediate past. Shoghi Effendi was determined my father should not die. At his insistence, when no one, including me, had the slightest hope, we took him with his nurse to Switzerland, where he rapidly recovered under the care of our own doctor, a recovery so complete that a few weeks later, when his Swiss nurse and I took him for his first drive and he caught sight of a cafe in the midst of a garden, he promptly invited us to go in and have tea with him - an offer I accepted with feelings of wonder and gratitude that are indescribable. It was after this healing had taken place that the Guardian, in a message to America sent in July 1950, reporting progress in the construction of the Shrine of the Bab, was moved to allude to these events:" My gratitude is deepened by miraculous recovery of its gifted architect, Sutherland Maxwell, whose illness was pronounced hopeless by physicians."
'The Priceless Pearl', p. 155-6, by Ruhiyyih Rabbani

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THE EXCHANGE
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Question:
Many of us struggle with different forms of addictions such as: shopping, alcohol, narcotics, smoking, food, gambling, work, computers and others. What are your suggestions to assist us to overcome our specific addictions which may cause us pain and frustrations? How were you able to make the decision to deal with it and to make the right choices to change your life? What do the Baha'i Teachings say about addictions?

Answers:
I continue to be amazed at how many addictions I have. No sooner do I deal with one then I find another underneath it. But I have come to realize somethings in the process;
- each addiction has its purpose in keeping me safe as I travel my spiritual path;
- that God (in His compassion for the frailty of the human condition) will reveal each one to my conscious mind as I am ready to replace my addictive behavior with healthier ones;
- that they can come in all shapes and sizes like mental (in the form of fantasies and trances) as well as physical (in the form of sugar addictions);
- that they are like veils blocking my view to reality;
- that their use serves to lessen my personal power.

I have just read an amazing book written by a Baha'i which describes the powers of the soul and the authority of self which can be gained through obedience to the Covenant. It is a must for anyone who would like to understand their addictions and the part they play in their lives. It is called "Assisting the Traumatized Soul" by Phyllis K. Peterson.

Through reading this book last week I have become aware of the reason why I have struggled with obedience to the Covenant for the last 20 years and can now see, without veils, the next step I need to take in my spiritual journey. Very empowering!
- Sue Haselhurst, Perth, Western Australia.

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For 27 years (from age 17) I was addicted to smoking. Almost from the beginning I went through a pack of 20 cigarettes a day, and with stress the consumption gradually increased to as high as 60. After just a couple of years, I developed a chronic smoker's cough, which was always with me, and increased in severity over the years. In my mid-40s I started having severe chest pains, which prompted me to seek my personal physician's help. Blood tests revealed polycythaemia, an abnormal rise in the concentration of red cells to cope with oxygen deprivation (from smoking) and the stress which was also contributing to my dependence on nicotine. This condition predisposes one to stroke, which (having seen my grandmother live on for 12 years with hemiplegia, pain and depression after her catastrophic CVA) was a very powerful motivation to deal with my habit. This episode coincided with a "breakdown" of sorts as a result of the severe, continual stress I was under in many departments of my life. It had also led to overweight bordering on obesity, so I took what many considered a foolish course: to stop smoking and lose weight at the same time. I went onto the then-popular Scarsdale Medical Diet, started walking every day after work, and (against conventional wisdom) chose cutting down on cigarettes gradually rather than quitting "cold turkey." I quite rapidly reduced to 4 cigarettes a day (toward the end, having a couple of puffs of a cigarette, putting it out, relighting it perhaps 4 times over an 8-hour period until it was finished, and so on). Then I hit the wall--I was finding it more and more difficult to maintain this level, and cutting down further seemed like climbing Mt Everest! My eldest son (who is still a smoker!) suggested switching to non-nicotine cigarettes made of cocoa bean husks instead of tobacco. A light bulb went off in my head: Of course! Smoking feeds at least two addictions (chemical and process), and these ersatz cigarettes could help me conquer the chemical one. I made a pact with myself to start at 4 a day of these rather nasty-tasting "cigarettes" and gradually cut down until the nicotine was out of my system. I was down to about 2 a day when I participated in a tree-planting project one morning. Having my feet and hands in mud and having parked about 100 meters away, it wasn't possible to smoke, and when I finally got back to the car, my hands were still too muddy to enjoy a cigarette. By the time I got home, my children were impatient to have lunch, so I put off having my cigarette until after that--and to my surprise didn't feel like having it when the time came. That was the moment of decision to quit for life, and I still celebrate it as a second birthday.

Since I still had the process addiction to some extent and was also trying to lose weight, I was concerned about falling back on eating as a substitute, so for the next several months I carried tiny splinters of cinnamon bark in a pill box in case the desire to light up became overwhelming. Chewing these (they last about as long as a cigarette would) helped me over this final hurdle without adding significantly to my daily caloric consumption. There were many times over the next couple of years that the urge for a cigarette was so strong that I felt panicky, but the greater urge to protect my huge investment in will power saw me through. As for the dieting, I managed to lose 20 pounds within about 4 months, and after another concerted effort a couple of years later, 10 more pounds, bringing me to within 2 or 3 pounds of my pre-motherhood weight. The lost weight has gradually crept back over the years, and after many failed attempts at dieting, exercise and you name it, I have recently discovered that I have reactive hyperinsulinism, leading to a carbohydrate addiction, which I am now addressing through lifestyle modification, including a very strict, though quite comfortable, diet regime which almost immediately reduced food cravings, and after a few days a modest loss of weight. The jury is still out on this one, but I am hopeful that in time this might turn out to be another success story!

These are the insights I gained and which I share with anyone who wants to break an addiction.

1 Addictions of any kind are very powerful, so your desire to overcome them must also be strong. I think this is where a spiritual focus, including prayer and meditation, come in, both to prepare a person to recognise and deal with the causes of their addiction and to help see them through to a successful (and lasting) conclusion.

2. Identifying the physiological, emotional and lifestyle triggers that can sabotage your best efforts is absolutely essential, because if you do not deal with those, you set yourself up for failure, which increases the stresses (including loss of self esteem) that drive the addiction.

3. It is also important to remember that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all program. To borrow some advice from Richard and Rachael Heller (The Carbohydrate Addict's Lifespan Program. New York: Penguin, 1997), any program, to be successful in the long term, must be:
- Simple and easy to put into practice over the long haul;
- Targeted to take into account your own unique needs, preferences, and the cause of your problems;
- Adaptable to take into account all the circumstances of your life, e.g.(especially in the case of a food addiction) work, travel, social occasions, celebrations, stressful situations; and
- Rewarding in that meaningful results come before you lose heart and can be maintained long-term.
You must evolve a program that works for YOU, and with God's help, some well chosen background reading, and your personal physician's advice, you can--maybe not on the first attempt, but eventually.
- Mary Ann Chance, Doctor of Chiropractic, Australia

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QUOTES ON ADDICTIONS

"The drinking of wine is according to the text of the Most Holy Book, forbidden, for it is the cause of chronic diseases, weakeneth the nerves, and consumeth the mind." ( Abdu'l-Baha, Advent of Divine Justice, p. 33)

"My meaning is that in the sight of God, smoking tobacco is deprecated, abhorrent, filthy in the extreme; and, albeit by degrees, highly injurious to health. It is also a waste of money and time, and maketh the user a prey to a noxious addiction. To those who stand firm in the Covenant, this habit is therefore censured both by reason and experience, and renouncing it will bring relief and peace of mind to all men. Furthermore, this will make it possible to have a fresh mouth and unstained fingers, and hair that is free of a foul and repellent smell. On receipt of this missive, the friends will surely, by whatever means and even over a period of time, forsake this pernicious habit. Such is my hope." ( Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 148)

"As to opium, it is foul and accursed. God protect us from the punishment He inflicteth on the user. According to the explicit Text of the Most Holy Book, it is forbidden, and its use is utterly condemned. Reason showeth that smoking opium is a kind of insanity, and experience attesteth that the user is completely cut off from the human kingdom...For opium fasteneth on the soul, so that the user's conscience dieth, his mind is blotted away, his perceptions are eroded....." ( Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 148- 9)

"O ye, God's loved ones! Experience hath shown how greatly the renouncing of smoking, of intoxicating drink, and of opium, conduceth to health and vigour, to the expansion and keenness of the mind and to bodily strength. There is today a people who strictly avoid tabacco, intoxicating liquor and opium. This people is far and away superior to the others, for strength and physical courage, for health, beauty and comeliness...." ( Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 150)

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SOME THOUGHTS ON ADDICTION FROM
"THE SEAT OF THE SOUL"
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Editor's note: Gary Zukav, author of "The Seat of the Soul" has appeared a number of times on daytime television talk show, "The Oprah Winfrey Show" by Oprah Winfrey from Mondays to Fridays, CTV (Canada). I have always been very impressed with Gary Zukav's views so I purchased a copy of his book "The Seat of the Soul" published by Simon and Schuster and wish to share with you excerpts from the chapter on addiction, pp.148-160. Also, if you have access to "The Oprah Winfrey Show", an American TV show, you may wish to view it since Oprah often invites guests and authors who specialize on the many topics on health and healing. Her main attempt is to inspire millions of people to dare to dream and to reach their goals. Very educational, inspiring and powerful!

ACKNOWLEDGING OUR ADDICTIONS

- You cannot begin the work of releasing an addiction until you can acknowledge that you are addicted. Until you realize that you have an addiction, it is not possible to diminish its power. The personality rationalizes its addictions.
- A person who is addicted to alcohol, for example, will say to herself or himself, or to others, that drunkenness is a way of loosening up, of relaxing after a tense day, of having fun, and, therefore, it is constructive.
- Recognition of your own addictions requires inner work. It requires that you look clearly at the places where you lose power in your life, where you are controlled by external circumstances. It requires going through your defenses.
- Why does the personality resist acknowledging its addictions? Acknowledging an addiction, accepting that you have an addiction, is acknowledgement that a part of you is out of control. The personality resists acknowledging its addictions because that forces it to choose to leave a part of itself out of control, or to do something about it. Once an addiction has been acknowledged, it cannot be ignored, and it cannot be released without changing your life, without changing your self-image, without changing your entire perceptual and conceptual framework. We do not want to do that because it is our nature to resist change. Therefore, we resist acknowledging our addictions.

UNDERSTANDING OUR ADDICTIONS

- Enter into your own fear, into your own sense of wanting a drink...Ask yourself to seriously review all of the times in your life that you thought you would gain so much from that, and face what you gained.
- Hold onto the thought that you create your experiences. Your fear comes from the realization that a part of you is creating a reality that it wants, whether you want it or not, and the feeling that you are powerless to prevent it, but that is not so. This is critical to understand: your addiction is not stronger than you. It is not stronger than who you want to be. Though it may feel that way, it can only win if you let it. Like any weakness, it is not stronger than the soul or the force of will. Its strength only indicates the amount of effort that needs to be applied toward the transition, toward making yourself whole in that area of your life.
- Recognize that what you are doing when you fear that you will be tempted, and that you will not be able to resist the temptation, is creating a situation that will give you permission to act irresponsibly. It is possible to create a test that you cannot pass? Yes. The experience of wanting to be tempted in order to test yourself is the act of creating an opportunity to act irresponsibly, to say to yourself , "I knew I couldn't do it, anyway," and give in to your addiction.

MAKING RESPONSIBLE CHOICES

- The greater the desire of your soul to heal your addiction, the greater will be the cost of keeping it. If you - if your soul - have chosen to heal an addiction now, you will find that the decision to maintain your addiction will cost you the things that you hold most dear.
- Try to realize, and truly realize, that what stands between you and a different life are matters of responsible choice. In your moments of fear, what you are obscure about in your thinking is the power and magnitude of your own choice. You are not at the mercy of your inadequacy. The intention that will empower you must come from a place within you that suggests that you are indeed about to make responsible choices and draw power from them, that you can make choices that empower you and not disempower you, that you are capable of acts of wholeness.

WAYS TO WORK WITH OUR ADDICTIONS

- As you work through your weakness, and you feel levels of addictive attraction, ask yourself the critical question of the spirit: If, by following those impulses, do you increase your level of enlightenment? Does it bring you power of the genuine sort? Will it make you more loving? Will it make you most whole? Ask yourself these questions.
- This is the way out of an addiction: Walk yourself through your reality step by step. Make yourself aware of the consequences of your decisions, and choose accordingly. When you feel in yourself the addictive attraction of sex, or alcohol, or drugs, or anything else, remember these words: You stand between the two worlds of your lesser self and your full self. Your lesser self is tempting and powerful because it is not as responsible and not as loving and not as disciplined, so it calls you. This other part of you is whole and more responsible and more caring and more empowered, but it demands of you the way of the enlightened spirit: conscious life.
- If your decision is to become whole, hold that decision. You will not be as tempted or as frightened as you think. Hold it and remind yourself again and again: You stand between your lesser self and your whole self.
- As you choose to empower yourself, the part of you that you challenge, the temptation that you challenge, will surface again and again. Each time you challenge it, you gain power and it loses power. If you challenge an addiction to alcohol, for example, and you are drawn twelve times that very day to have a drink, challenge that energy each time. If you look upon each recurrence of attraction as a setback, or as an indication that your intention is not working, you choose the path of learning through fear and doubt. If you look upon each recurrence as an opportunity that is offered to you, in response to your intention, to release your inadequacy and to acquire power over it, you choose the path of learning through wisdom, for that it what it is.
- Until you fill in the inadequacies within you, you will always have your addiction. In order to release your addiction, it is necessary to enter your inadequacies, to recognize they are real, and to bring them into the light of consciousness to heal.
- When you struggle with an addiction, you deal directly with the healing of your soul. You deal directly with the matter of life. This is the work that is required to be done. As you face your deepest struggles, you reach for your highest goal. As you bring to light, heal, and release the deepest currents of negativity within you, you allow the energy of your soul to move directly into, and to shape, the experiences and events of physical reality, and thereby to accomplish unimpeded its tasks upon the Earth.

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CAFFEINE: HOW TO TAPER
OR GET OFF IT
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Taken from "Dr. Christine Northrup's Health Wisdom for Women" which is published monthly by Phillips Publishing Inc, 7811 Montrose Road, Potomac MD 20854. Submitted by Hannah Rishel, Arizona, U.S.A as a follow up to her article (Volume 3, Issue #5) describing her attempt to wean from coffee.

HOW TO KNOW IF YOU'RE ADDICTED TO CAFFEINE

1) Be Honest. Add up your total caffeine consumption for one day. If it's below 100 mg and you have no problem with sleep, osteoporosis, anxiety or depression, PMS or menopausal symptoms, heart disease or palpitations, then you are probably fine to continue at that level of consumption.

2) Cut your caffeine intake below your "addiction level." If you're not sure whether or not you're addicted to caffeine, try stopping it completely for 24 hours. If you experience any symptoms, such as headaches, drowsiness, fatigue, problems concentrating, muscle pain, or nausea, you're addicted. I can get addicted and then experience withdrawal symptoms if I drink more than two cups of caffeinated coffee per week! It's also important to realize that many over-the-counter pain medications contain caffeine, so you may feel withdrawal symptoms when you stop these. In fact, many people who go to their doctors complaining of headaches are actually going through withdrawal from intermittent caffeine use.

EASE YOUR WAY THROUGH CAFFEINE WITHDRAWAL

To withdraw from caffeine, you have two choices: gradual or cold turkey. I like the gradual method because headaches are milder or absent. (Caffeine causes blood vessel constriction in the brain. The sudden withdrawal results in dilation and pain.) If you're a coffee drinker, start by gradually replacing your caffeinated coffee with decaf. Make each cup 1/3 decaf and 2/3 regular. Then gradually add more and more decaf. But remember that decaf contains about 6-7 mg of caffeine per 6 oz. cup, which may be enough to jolt you, depending upon your sensitivity.

If you drink caffeinated sodas, you may want to try replacing them with seltzer or soda water, juice or water.

Aim for a two-to three-week conversion period. Set a date for your full personal decaffeination.

Be patient and be prepared. Withdrawal takes anywhere from one to four days to be completed. Some people recover their energy right away. For some, it can take their bodies two to three weeks to bounce back in the morning without their regular jolt. But after a while, you won't believe the difference in how you feel. Look for improvements in your sleep, energy, digestion, skin, mood, and energy levels.

SUPPORT YOUR ADRENALS NUTRITIONALLY WHILE TAPERING OFF CAFFEINE

Take Siberian ginseng or Panax ginseng. Both have been shown to help support the body during emotional or physical stress through supporting adrenal function. Use Siberian ginseg for mild to moderate stress and Panax if the stress is longer term or more severe.

Increase your intake of B vitamins. You should especially increase pantothenic acid (100-500 mg day). This supports adrenal function.

Use Ginkgo biloba. This herb can help restore mental clarity while you're getting your adrenal health back and reducing caffeine.

Be sure to drink up to ten 8oz glasses of water per day.

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THE LAUGHTER ROOM
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The following excerpts are taken from the book "Are You Happy? Some Answers to the Most Important Questions in Your Life" by Dennis Wholey. This book is about people and what makes us happy. It is also about all of us as human beings and where happiness fits into the life process. Dennis says "No one finds happiness after a long search. Happiness comes to us as a direct result of positive self-worth, personal attitudes, specific actions, and the way in which we relate to other people...Freedom to be ourselves, good feelings, satisfaction, contentment, peace of mind, joy, laughter, and happiness are the rewards of life...." p. 3

- "I believe that the happiest people are those who love many things with a passion. The key is loving intensely and loving many, many things." By Leo. F. Buscaglia, p. 21

- "Happiness is having a sense of self - not a feeling of being perfect but of being good enough and knowing that you are in the process of growth, of being, of achieving levels of joy. It's a wonderful contentment and acceptance of who and what you are and a knowledge that the world and the life are full of wondrous adventures and possibilities, and you are part of the center. It's an awareness that no matter what happens you will somehow be able to deal with it, knowing that everything does pass and even your deepest despair will vanish." By Leo. F. Buscaglia, p. 22

- "Happiness is intrinsic, it's an internal thing. When you build it into yourself, no external circumstances can take it away...." Everything else is in transition but the happiness you create within yourself is permanent." By Leo. F. Buscaglia, p. 23

- "Happiness is a choice and as we reinforce that choice, happiness becomes a deeper and deeper part of us until we are Happiness. Then as we move through life being Happiness, we create it everyplace we go. We dissolve conflicts. We come into tense situations and people feel relaxed. People feel very open with a happy person and think, "My goodness, I can be me." By Leo. F. Buscaglia, p. 23

- "To be happy you must have the faith. You must have the hope. You must have the will. Then you must make it happen. Many of us are afraid of happiness." By Leo. F. Buscaglia, p. 24

- "Being playful is being happy." By Eda Leshan, p. 29

- "When people say they're not happy it's because they have lost the child and the playfulness. Playfulness is really the basis of all discovery, and discovering is the adventure of living. If you lose that, you become crippled forever." By Eda Leshan, p. 30.

- " Fred Rogers once said, 'When you have a child, you have another chance at yourself. What he meant is that you have another chance to become a child and play.'" By Eda Leshan, p 33

**********

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 a large measure happiness keeps our health while depression of spirit begets disease." (Abdu'l-Baha, 239 Days in Akka, p.1)

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FASTING
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The nineteen-day period of daily fasting takes place during the last month of the Baha'i year, the month of Ala (Loftiness), 2nd - 20th March inclusive. It is followed by the Feast of Naw-Ruz (Baha'i New Year). Fasting is enjoined on all believers between ages of 15 and 70. Exempted from the Fast are children under 15, those who are ill, over 70, traveling, pregnant or nursing women, women in their courses or those doing heavy labour.

"These are, O my God, the days whereon Thou didst enjoin Thy servants to observe the fast. With it Thou didst adorn the preamble of the Book of Thy Laws revealed unto Thy creatures, and didst deck forth the Repositories of Thy commandments in the sight of all who are in Thy heaven and all who are
on Thy earth. Thou hast endowed every hour of these days with a special virtue, inscrutable to all except Thee, Whose knowledge embraceth all created things." (Baha'u'llah, Baha'i Prayers, U.S, 1985 Edition, p. 247)

Abdu'l-Baha tells us that "prayer and fasting is the cause of awakening and mindfulness and conducive to protection and preservation from tests." (Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, pp 69-70)

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HEALTH HABITS
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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 always happy
Simplify
Focus
Practice patience
Cleanliness
Eat simple, natural plant foods
Drink adequate pure water
Evaluate progress daily, summarize weekly

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QUESTION OF THE MONTH
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Some of us are challenged by living with severe physical limitations, illnesses or disabilities. How did you make the adjustment to make your environment and situation more pleasant to deal with your condition? What kind of care and comfort have you discovered to assist you? How does your community assist you? We look forward to hearing and learning from you!

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SPREADING THE WORD
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We would love to see "Healing Through Unity" grow! We hope you, as subscribers, will continue to make a conscious effort to tell your friends, families, and communities who you think might enjoy and benefit from the publication. If you would like to place a small announcement to put in your local or national newsletters, here is one that has already been prepared:

"HEALING THROUGH UNITY" NEWSLETTER
This newsletter 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. There are 10 issues/year and it is circulated to more than 105 countries and territories. If you are interested, please email: -- or check out the website at: www.healingthroughunity.org

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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 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: -- .

PLEASE NOTE:
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.

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WEB SITE
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You can visit the website, obtain back issues and the Healing Through Unity Course at: http://www.healingthroughunity.org




HEALING THROUGH UNITY

April, 2000

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of

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

Volume 3, Issue #8

_______________________________________________________

CONTENTS

-------------------

- The Blind Bus Passenger

- The Exchange

- A Woman's Courage

- Sacred Writings to Overcome our Limitations

- Everyone is Differently Abled

- Clara and Hyde Dunn Memorial Lecture on Health for All: The Challenge

- The Laughter Room

- Letter to the Editor

- Health Habits

- Announcement

- Question of the Month

- Purpose of the Newsletter

- Website

There is a supplementary issue called A Baha'i Perspective on Disability."

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THE BLIND BUS PASSENGER

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Author Unknown, Submitted by Nima Anvar, Island of Grenada

The passengers on the bus watched sympathetically as the attractive young woman with the white cane made her way carefully up the steps. She paid the driver and, using her hands to feel the location of the seats, walked down the aisle and found the seat he'd told her was empty. Then she settled in, placed her briefcase on her lap and rested her cane against her leg.

It had been a year since Susan, thirty-four, became blind. Due to a medical misdiagnosis she had been rendered sightless, and she was suddenly thrown into a world of darkness, anger, frustration and self-pity. Once a fiercely independent woman, Susan now felt condemned by this terrible twist of fate to become a powerless, helpless burden on everyone around her.

"How could this have happened to me?" she would plead, her heart knotted with anger. But no matter how much she cried or ranted or prayed, she knew the painful truth that her sight was never going to return.

A cloud of depression hung over Susan's once optimistic spirit. Just getting through each day was an exercise in frustration and exhaustion. And all she had to cling to was her husband Mark.

Mark was an Air Force officer and he loved Susan with all of his heart. When she first lost her sight, he watched her sink into despair and was determined to help his wife gain the strength and confidence she needed to become independent again. Mark's military background had trained him well to deal with sensitive situations, and yet he knew this was the most difficult battle he would ever face. Finally, Susan felt ready to return to her job, but how would she get there? She used to take the bus, but was now too frightened to get around the city by herself. Mark volunteered to drive her to work each day, even though they worked at opposite ends of the city.

At first, this comforted Susan and fulfilled Mark's need to protect his sightless wife who was so insecure about performing the slightest task. Soon, however, Mark realized that this arrangement wasn't working - it was hectic and costly. Susan is going to have to start taking the bus again, he admitted to himself. But just the thought of mentioning it to her made him cringe. She was still so fragile, so angry. How would she react?

Just as Mark predicted, Susan was horrified at the idea of taking the bus again. "I'm blind!" she responded bitterly. "How am I supposed to know where I'm going? I feel like you're abandoning me." Mark's heart broke to hear these words, but he knew what had to be done. He promised Susan that each morning and evening he would ride the bus with her, for as long as it took, until she got the hang of it. And that is exactly what happened.

For two solid weeks, Mark, military uniform and all, accompanied Susan to and from work each day. He taught her how to rely on her other senses, specifically her hearing, to determine where she was and how to adapt to her new environment. He helped her befriend the bus drivers who could watch out for her, and save her a seat. He made her laugh, even on those not-so-good days when she would trip exiting the bus, or drop her briefcase. Each morning they made the journey together, and Mark would take a cab back to his office. Although this routine was even more costly and exhausting than the previous one, Mark knew it was only a matter of time before Susan would be able to ride the bus on her own.

He believed in her, in the Susan he used to know before she'd lost her sight, who wasn't afraid of any challenge and who would never, ever quit.

Finally, Susan decided that she was ready to try the trip on her own. Monday morning arrived, and before she left, she threw her arms around Mark, her temporary bus riding companion, her husband, and her best friend. Her eyes filled with tears of gratitude for his loyalty, his patience, his love. She said good-bye, and for the first time, they went their separate ways.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday... Each day on her own went perfectly, and Susan never felt better. She was doing it! She was going to work all by herself!

On Friday morning, Susan took the bus to work as usual. As she was paying for her fare to exit the bus, the driver said, "Boy, I sure envy you." Susan wasn't sure if the driver was speaking to her or not. After all, who on earth would ever envy a blind woman who had struggled just to find the courage to live for the past year? Curious, she asked the driver, "Why do you say that you envy me?"

The driver answered, "You know, every morning for the past week, a fine looking gentleman in a military uniform has been standing across the corner watching you when you get off the bus. He makes sure you cross the street safely and he watches you until you enter your office building. Then he blows you a kiss, gives you a little salute and walks away. You are one lucky lady."

Tears of happiness poured down Susan's cheeks. For, although she couldn't physically see him, she had always felt Mark's presence. She was lucky, so lucky, for he had given her a gift more powerful than sight, a gift she didn't need to see to believe - the gift of love that can bring light where there had been darkness.

God watches over us in just the same way. We may not know He is present. We may not be able to see His face, but He is there nonetheless. Be blessed in this thought: "God Loves You - even when you are not looking."

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The following quote teaches us about acquiring 'spiritual eyes'. It is taken from The Revelation of Baha'u'llah, Vol. 2, p. 31 by Adib Taherzadeh.

"Baha'u'llah teaches in the Mathnavi (a poem) that man will not be able to receive the light of God in this day unless he acquires a new eye. Eyes which are fixed on the things of this world can never see the glory of His Revelation, and ears which are tuned to the voices of the ungodly cannot hear the melodies of the Kingdom. By 'new eyes' and 'new ears' He means spiritual eyes and spiritual ears. He states that since the eye of the spirit receives its light from God it is shameful to let it turn to a stranger, and re-affirms that the purpose of God in creating the inner eye was that man might behold the beauty of His Manifestation in this world. In 'The Hidden Words', Persian #11, Baha'u'llah reveals:

O Son Of Dust!

Blind thine eyes, that thou mayest behold My beauty; stop thine ears, that thou mayest hearken unto the sweet melody of My voice; empty thyself of all learning, that thou mayest hearken unto the sweet melody of my Voice; empty thyself of all learning, that thou mayest partake of My knowledge; and sanctify thyself from riches, that thou mayest obtain a lasting share from the ocean of My eternal wealth. Blind thine eyes, that is, to all save My beauty; stop thine ears to all save My word; empty thyself of all learning save the knowledge of Me; that with a clear vision, a pure heart and an attentive ear thou mayest enter the court of My holiness."

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THE EXCHANGE

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Question:

Some of us are challenged by living with severe physical limitations, illnesses or disabilities. How did you make the adjustment to make your environment and situation more pleasant to deal with your condition? What kind of care and comfort have you discovered to assist you? How does your community assist you? We look forward to hearing and learning from you!

Answers:

While suffering from depression my whole body was cold most of the time. Long underwear was my closest companion. Hot showers, finishing with cold caused reflex warming. Perhaps the deepest treatment was acupuncture which released a knot of pain, sadness and anger as well as having a remarkable warming effect on even the most remote digits. When in Moscow recently, wearing one of those warm Russian fur hats, one could see how keeping the head really warm seems to push heat into the lower half of the body, the part which had been coldest. The increased blood flow simply provided a feeling of ease and brought to mind "a touch of moisture sufficeth to dissolve the hardened clay out of which this perverse generation is molded." (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings 43:2 or page 93)

- Anonymous

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(Editor's note: The above story reminds me of an account of Abdu'l-Baha using massage to ease his feet.)

"Abdu'l-Baha invited my father and me to visit Him one evening at His home in San Francisco. When we entered His room, the Master (Abdu'l-Baha) was reclining against the pillows on His bed, and one of His secretaries was massaging His feet and ankles. The Master explained that His feet caused Him great pain, which was eased by massage. We knew that Abdu'l-Baha suffered much as a result of frostbite from walking and riding in the snow during the exile of the Holy Family in Turkey, and also because of the heavy chains which He had been forced to wear part of the time on His ankles while in prison." (Ramona Allen Brown, Memories of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 75)

**********

Since infancy I have lived my life from a wheelchair as a result of a debilitating progressive neuro-muscular disease, Spinal Muscular Atrophy and since the beginning of 1998 my physical condition has necessitated that I spend most of my time in bed. I require extensive assistance with just the basics of living such as bathing, dressing and eating. As prisoners have often recounted, when you are trapped in one place, you can easily stagnate. When I realized that my bedroom is to be my home and workplace for the majority of time I have left in this physical garment, I decided, through God's grace and mercy, to seek out ways to be stimulated. The celebration of diversity I am privileged to enjoy each day I believe has helped enormously to keep me enthralled and fascinated by life.

While lying in bed, as I look to my left I see outside my window a sea of greenery splashed with a rainbow of flowers. This garden was lovingly sculptured by my mother to attract bird life. Almost within touching distance, my father has hung three birdfeeders, which my mother stocks daily with seed, fruit and table scraps. As a result, my day is filled with an orchestra of birdsong that has a surprising harmony.

At the foot of my bed, I can usually feel the warmth flowing from one of my dog friends. Oprah once named dogs "people dressed in fur" but I say they are "angels dressed in fur" because they bring the gifts from God of lessons in unconditional love and loyalty.

Across my chest lies a very small telephone, the size of a matchbook, which is my lifeline that allows me to conduct business and stay in touch with loved ones. The walls of my bedroom are decorated by written messages, greeting cards, works of art and photographs that reflect a potpourri of emotions and signs of caring. My bookshelves groan under the weight of wisdom and debates from writers representing a variety of religious, philosophical, motivational, scientific and humorous viewpoints.

If I look straight ahead, I see a TV set positioned conveniently so that I can look with ease from my bed. When in 1998 I developed a mysterious neurological condition that twists my face and body with painful spasms, I was encouraged to lay quietly in darkness so as to diminish the frequency of the attacks. I opted to keep the TV on and through the haze of heavy medication I was able to watch a variety of shows.

To the right of me stands SLINGSHOT. This is the name I have given to a miraculous computer system put together by friends who have given me lifelong use of this instrument that gives me access via the Internet and e-mail to the global village.

Prayer and reading the Writings has been for me the most important tool for making my situation more pleasant to deal with. Through prayer I find the strength and the guidance to continue on the journey that God has ordained for me.

- By Renett Grove, South Africa,

http://www.heartwarmers4u.com/members?rgrove

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(Editor's note: The story by Renett Grove reminds me of the following quotation from the Baha'i Scriptures which teaches that the spirit is everlasting and permanent.)

"There is no doubt that it is the spirit and that there is no change or transformation in it, for it is not a composition of elements, and anything that is not composed of elements is eternal. Change and transformation are peculiarities of composition. There is no change and transformation in the spirit. In proof of this, the body may become weakened in its members. It may be dismembered, or one of its members may be incapacitated. The whole body may be paralyzed; and yet the mind, the spirit, remains ever the same. The mind decides; the thought is perfect; and yet the hand is withered, the feet have become useless, the spinal column is paralyzed, and there is no muscular movement at all, but the spirit is in the same status. Dismember a healthy man: the spirit is not dismembered. Amputate his feet; his spirit is there. He may become lame; the spirit is not affected. The spirit is ever the same; no change or transformation can you perceive, and because there is no change or transformation, it is everlasting and permanent."

Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, pp. 242-43)

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A WOMAN'S COURAGE

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By Anna May Kinney, Canada (You can visit her website which is filled with pictures of her garden, pets and her section changes weekly: http://aradece.tripod.com/Default.htm)

It was over 25 years ago that my illness first showed itís ugly face. At that time they were only just beginning to know about what multiple sclerosis (MS) was and they thought I had some rare flu at first, or some rare virus and ran all kinds of tests, nothing of that kind showed up.

During the winter months, I was pretty well, but as soon as it got warm the following summer, I began to ache all over, my balance deteriorated and my legs would suddenly turn to rubber, making me wind up on my behind in the middle of the sidewalk.

It took many years of hearing doctors tell me there was nothing wrong with me or it was all in my head, before a observant MD gave me some test, asked a lot of questions and said, ìI think you have MSî.

Well at this point, instead of being depressed, I was relieved to find out what was wrong. I always felt that once you know the enemy then you know how to rage war against him. I also feel that God does not allow something to hit you like this unless He has a reason to do so. Everything we suffer is to help us learn to understand the needs of others and to make ourselves stronger in this physical world as well as the spiritual world.

As I went to doctors, I was told to limit my lifestyle, told I should rest most of the day, not do this or that. I wanted to adopt another dog after my beloved Athena passed away, but was told it was too much responsibility, that it was a time in my life to focus on myself. That I was NOT going to get better and that slowly every year I would get worse and that everyday stress, lack of sleep and rest would only make matters worse.

For about three years, I was forced to use crutches around my farm, and a wheelchair for shopping. While still on crutches, I adopted Faith, my dog, and wrote my cookbook on a very old 286 computer that was donated by a Bahaí i family. It crashed just as I was finishing it.

A year later, I found that the doctors were making me depressed with their negative attitudes and lack of treating my entire body. I decided to use only natural healing and said good-bye to all the regular doctors. Since then my health has been on the constant road to improvement. Even before this point, I had started taking Ginseng every morning for energy, but soon I found I was changing everything I ate and especially eliminating bad fats, transfats, such as hydrogenated vegetable shortening, even margarine. I do eat natural butter, olive oil and some corn oil. There are a lot of things I have eliminated from my diet and anyone who is interested in knowing what they are and why may contact me.

Then I decided to adopt a few more dogs and they have given me so much love that my body has been healing. Every year since my dogs have arrived we all walk together around the huge perennial flower garden I designed to thank God for letting me walk again and every year with their love and encouragement I walk better. Then this year, for the first time in 23 years I was strong enough to jog around the garden. No it wasnít a great jog, but I did it....

In January 1997, against doctor's advice, I started a writing course and a month later sold my first article to a local newspaper. A month after that, I had my own weekly column called Nature's Way.

I strongly feel that the medical profession feels it is doing the right thing, but telling people to ëgive upí, go on welfare, forget about their dreams, become dependant on the system, is not helping them. Yes, if you are too ill to do anything that is what a person should do, but if you can do anything, the more you do and keep doing, the more a person will be able to do.

I do have a lot of pain in my legs at times, and it takes me a lot longer to do things than it used to. In order to achieve anything in a day, besides doing meals, dishes and other housework, I have to put in a lot of hours. I get up at 4:30 a.m. and go to bed often at 11 p.m. Doctors will be the first to tell you this is not good, I agree, but if I want to change my life style I must do this. I have done nothing on my own, if God would not have been there holding me up through all of this, nothing could have been achieved. With every step I praise His Holy name. I know without a doubt that God will open the way for me.

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SACRED WRITINGS TO OVERCOME OUR LIMITATIONS

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The Sacred Writings of the Baha'i Faith can offer us inspiration and guidance to cope with our inner and outer limitations, and with our loved ones who are disabled or suffering from an illness. Our disabilities and struggles are given to us as gifts from God for our moral and spiritual development. This process will lead us to recognize that our physical self is only one small part of our being. Shoghi Effendi, in a letter dated 25 May 1936, written on his behalf, identifies man's "true self" with "his soul'. By rising above our limitations and imperfections, the real essence of the senses will become liberated and purified, our eyes to 'see', our ears to 'hear', our hearts to 'know' and our tongues to 'speak'. As Baha'u'llah states in Gleanings CXXV, "Then will the manifold favors and outpouring grace of the holy and everlasting Spirit confer such new life upon the seeker that he will find himself endowed with a new eye, a new ear, a new heart, and a new mind." The following quotes are a few examples to assist us to overcome our limitations:

"Human attitudes must not be limited; for God is unlimited, and whosoever is the servant of the threshold of God must, likewise, be free from limitations." (Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 131)

Remember not your own limitations; the help of God will come to you. Forget yourself. God's help will surely come! When you call on the Mercy of God waiting to reinforce you, your strength will be tenfold. Look at me: I am so feeble, yet I have had the strength given me to come amongst you: a poor servant of God, who has been enabled to give you this message!" (Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, pp. 38-9)

"The greater your handicaps the firmer your determination should wax, and the more abundant will assuredly be the blessings and confirmations of Baha'u'llah." (Shoghi Effendi, Dawn of a New Day, p. 87)

"Baha'u'llah and the Master have both urged us repeatedly to disregard our own handicaps and lay our whole reliance upon God. He will come to our help if we only arise and become an active channel for God's grace." (From letter dated 31 March 1932 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, 'The Power of Divine Assistance, pp. 47-8)

"All of us suffer from imperfections which we must struggle to overcome and we all need one another's understanding and patience." Also, "Whether deficiencies are inborn or are acquired, our purpose in this life is to overcome them and to train ourselves in accordance with the pattern that is revealed to us in the divine Teachings." (The Universal House of Justice, in a letter dated 11 September 1995 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of United States)

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EVERYONE IS DIFFERENTLY ABLED

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Words and Music - Lorraine Bayes, Danny Deardoff, Dee Dickinson

Chorus

Everyone's differently abled

Everyone has ability

Everyone's differently abled

Making their lives work differently

Now you might use a chair with wheels to get around

You might use your hands to speak without a sound

Cause there's a million ways to do most anything

Some people love to dance some people prefer to sing

Chorus

Now you can use a working dog to help you see

Or use your mouth and feet to paint and write poetry

There's a million different ways that you can be

It's true that all of us live inter-dependently

I will not be defined by my limitations

But rather by my possibilities

We can respond to the needs of those around us

The best ability is response ability

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CLARA AND HYDE DUNN MEMORIAL LECTURE

ON HEALTH FOR ALL: THE CHALLENGE

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From Baha'i International News Service (BINS)

The fifth annual Clara and Hyde Dunn Memorial Dinner and Lecture was held at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre on 9 October, 1999. The event was hosted by the National Spiritual Assembly and was attended by more than 180 people. Many guests were health practitioners or researchers.

Dr. Robert Kim-Farley -- a Baha'i who is the World Health Organization representative to Indonesia -- was the main speaker. His theme was 'Health for All: The Challenge of the New Millennium, and his premise was that world unity is the key to health.

'The current state of the world's health is actually a tale of two very different worlds,' he said. 'In the developed world, nine of the ten leading causes of death are now non-infectious. They include hypertension, heart disease, stroke and diabetes. In the developing world, on the other hand, lack of primary health care and the prevalence of infectious diseases make the situation grim. For example, some 1.8 billion people, about 30 per cent of the world's population, are infected with tuberculosis.'

Dr. Kim-Farley identified a number of necessary responses to the health challenges facing humanity. For example, there is a need for a global surveillance system capable of responding rapidly to outbreaks of disease, and for continuing medical research which includes the rich heritage of traditional medicine. But most important of all, he said, is the need for a change in the way we think about the world.

'The future of our health depends upon the degree to which we, as a global society, mature to the next stage of our collective existance -- that of unity and interdependence. We must show concern and act on that concern when there is conflict or suffering for members of our societies, just as we would if they were members of our own family.

In concluding, Dr. Kim-Farley called for the empowerment of people to take charge of their own health, accepting responsibility for their own actions and modify their lifestyles to promote health.

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THE LAUGHTER ROOM

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Taken from "The Laughter Prescription", by Dr. Laurence J. Peter, 1982, published by Ballantine Books, p. 193

PETER'S PRESCRIPTION FOR DEVELOPMENT OF YOUR SENSE OF HUMOR

1. Adopt an attitude of playfulness. This does not mean that you will do outrageous things, but that your mind is open to uncensored, iconoclastic, silly or outrageous thoughts.

2. Think funny. See the funny side or flip side of every situation. Select and refine your outrageous thoughts that best expose our conceits, pomposities and incongruities.

3. Laugh at the incongruities in situations involving yourself and others.

4. Only laugh with others for what they do rather than for what they are, unless you are assured that they can laugh at themselves for what they are. In laughing with others about their incongruities, see them as mirrors in which your own weaknesses, idiosyncrasies and conceits are reflected.

5. Laugh at yourself, not in derision, but with objectivity and acceptance of self.

6. Take yourself lightly. Take your job and your responsibility to yourself and to others seriously. You will discover that this will make life's anxieties and burdens lighter.

7. Make others laugh. By creating happiness for others, you will experience a special joy of accomplishment that only a lively, generous sense of humor can bring.

8. Realize that a sense of humor is deeper then laughter and more satisfactory than comedy, and delivers greater rewards than merely being entertaining. A sense of humor sees the fun in everyday experiences. It is more important to have fun than it is to be funny.

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR

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BY Kim Bowen-Kerby, Fiji

I wish to respond to the article on "Caffeine: How to Taper or Get Off it", printed in the March, 2000 issue. I understand how this article makes sense in the overall theme of this issue, which is dealing with addiction, but it is not clear in the issue that the Baha'i Teachings in no way discourage the moderate use of caffeine.

In the Baha'i teachings, alcohol and opium are forbidden outright, as are a number of unhealthy acts (including gambling, sex outside of marriage, and backbiting). Tobacco is so strongly discouraged that 'Abdu'l-Baha stated that "the friends will surely, by whatever means and even over a period of time, forsake this pernicious habit." But tea and coffee where neither forbidden nor discouraged by the Bab, Baha'u'llah, or Abdu'l-Baha. They all drank tea habitually, and the Universal House of Justice serves it to pilgrims ( not just once, but over and over again!). We also have the power of example:

"From the day of his arrival at the fortress of Akka he took over the coffee service, and waited upon the friends." (`Abdu'l-Baha: Memorials of the Faithful, Page: 159)

"In like manner His Holiness the Supreme (the Bab), in the beginning of the Manifestation through the excessive effect of descending verses, passed days in which His nourishment was reduced to tea only." (Multiple Authors: Lights of Guidance, Page: 235)

Therefore, if there were any connection between the Baha'i Faith and caffeine (at least in a weak form in tea) I would say that it is promoted. At the very least, caffeine is not discouraged, as long as the general principle of moderation is observed and the person does not have a medical condition in which it is contraindicated.

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HEALTH HABITS

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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 always happy

Simplify

Focus

Practice patience

Cleanliness

Eat simple, natural plant foods

Drink adequate pure water

Evaluate progress daily, summarize weekly

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ANNOUNCEMENT

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Green Acre Baha'i School

Mystic Medicine: Religion Shaping Science. August 11-16 Presenter: Babak Etemad, M.D., a fifth-generation Baha'i and fifth-generation physician

Explore the influence of faith on the philosophy of science and medicine. A broad review of history will identify how religion has shaped scientific study through the centuries. Medicine's evolution through the 18th and 19th century will be emphasized with parallels drawn to the recent evolution of religion. The influence of the Baha'i Revelation on the progress of medical science will be addressed through a survey of Baha'i Sacred texts. Sessions will also address such issues as faith healing, end-of-life, assisted fertilization, and resource allocation.

Green Acre Baha'i School, 188 Main Street, Eliot, Maine, 03903-1800, U.S.A;

email: greenacre@usbnc.org, website: www.greenacre.org

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QUESTION OF THE MONTH

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"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-Baha, Some Answered Question, pp. 58-9)

A reader asks:

"I would like some articles on the 'proper diet' for either ill people or for those that are well. There is so much conflict out there on this subject and each doctor or medical person has a different idea. Just a fruit/vegetable diet is not enough for healing on the material plane. And herbs are sometimes needed to fight a disease. Are there any suggestions to this important subject?"

Dear Readers:

Do you have any comments, solutions or information in response to this question? Please send them to the newsletter and we will share them in the next issue.

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PURPOSE OF THE NEWSLETTER

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"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: -- .

PLEASE NOTE:

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.

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WEB SITE

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You can visit the website, obtain back issues and the Healing Through Unity Course at: http://www.healingthroughunity.org/




HEALING THROUGH UNITY

May, 2000

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of
physical and spiritual health envisioned in the Baha'i Teachings.

Volume 3, Issue #9

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CONTENTS

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- Abdu'l-Baha's Use of Natural Remedies
- Editor's Note Regarding the Focus of this Issue
- Optimal Nutrition for Optimal Health
- Nutrition: Guidance from the Baha'i Writings
- Tablet to a Physician
- Suggested Reading
- Living Past 100
- Announcement
- Health Habits
- Letters
- Question of the Month
- Purpose of the Newsletter
- Website

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ABDU'L-BAHA'S USE OF NATURAL REMEDIES

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Taken from "The Revelation of Baha'u'llah", Volume Three, by Adib Taherzadeh, pp. 361-2

Dr. Yunis Khan, a distinguished and trusted secretary of Abdu'l-Baha and one of the Heralds of the Covenant of Baha'u'llah (the title 'Herald of the Covenant' was sometimes given by Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi to outstanding promoters of the Covenant), writes an interesting account in his memoirs. The following is a summary of his reminiscences:

"I heard Abdu'l-Baha many times speaking about the subject of medicine: He used to say that Jinab-i-Kalim (Baha'u'llah's faithful brother) was very knowledgeable in herbal medicine and used to practise it. In the early days Abdu'l-Baha also used to practise it. In the early days Abdu'l-Baha also used to prescribe medicine to those who came to him for healing. But later Baha'u'llah directed Him not to prescribe for patients, so that the believers might turn to the medical profession and not form the habit of seeking medical advice from unqualified people. This advice was given by Baha'u'llah so that His injunction in the 'Kitab-i-Aqdas (Baha'i Most Holy Book) to consult a skilled physician might be realized.

Although we all knew that because of this particular commandment in the 'Kitab-i-Aqdas, Abdu'l-Baha, the healer of spiritual ills, would not consent to prescribe for the physical sickness, yet whenever the doctor's treatment failed to cure, the patient used to turn to the Master and beg for healing from the One who was the Healer of all ills. And since the compassionate nature of Abdu'l-Baha was such that He could not withhold help from an individual who turned to Him, in such cases He would, as a matter of principle, employ some means to cure the patient. This He did by offering some remedy and thus conferring healing on the individual. More surprising is the fact that whereas the believers acted with some restraint, the non-Baha'i public who were not aware of the real situation used to come to Him for healing more often, and none of them left feeling disappointed.

One of the remedial means which was at Abdu'l-Baha's disposal and which He offered to many a sick person, was a delicious sauce made from pomegranates. The fruit has been grown in the Garden of Ridvan in Akka. To whomsoever Abdu'l-Baha gave this sauce, whether a believer or a non-Baha'i, He would say that the pomegranates had grown on trees in the Garden of Ridvan, trees which had been blessed by Baha'u'llah's eyes. But what were the circumstances which produced healing? Was it an inherent nature of the patient to be cured, was the cure the result of taking the sauce, or was it purely through the will of Abdu'l-Baha? I do not know the answer, but one thing I know that it was proved time and time again that this delicious fruit sauce was the remedy for many an illness! This was one of the topics often discussed among the believers in the Pilgrim House.

Another prescription which Abdu'l-Baha gave to some was that of fasting or cutting down on certain foods...."

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EDITOR'S NOTE REGARDING THE FOCUS OF THIS ISSUE

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In the April, 2000 issue, the question of the month is: "I would like some articles on the 'proper diet' for either ill people or for those that are well. There is so much conflict out there on this subject and each doctor or medical person has a different idea. Just a fruit/vegetable diet is not enough for healing on the material plane. And herbs are sometimes needed to fight a disease. Are there any suggestions to this important subject?"

There have been no responses to the question of the month and a complete discussion of different diets and nutritional guidance is beyond the scope of this newsletter since there is a wealth of information available for us to choose from. However, there is an excellent article printed for your information called 'Optimal Nutrition for Optimal Health' from "Encyclopedia of National Healing". Some quotations and the Tablet to a Physician which provides nutritional guidance from the Baha'i Teachings are included. I also offer some suggested reading which may be useful for our diets, the selection of herbs, vitamins and nutritional supplements.

"...it must be clearly understood that no specific school of nutrition or medicine has been associated with the Baha'i teachings." (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, July 11, 1978, Lights of Guidance, p. 298)

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OPTIMAL NUTRITION FOR OPTIMAL HEALTH

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Taken from "Encyclopedia of Natural Healing", A Practical Self-Help Guide, Alive Research Group, by Siegfried Gursche, MH and Dr. Zoltan Rona, Medical Advisor, pp. 112 - 114.

Optimal health is more than the absence of disease. The term 'optimal health' has emerged in the last twenty years as a description of the most desirable state of health and well-being that one can experience. Serious concerns over the quality of the foods we eat have given birth to a growing number of health-conscious consumers willing to take responsibility for improving their own health.

The human body has a miraculous natural ability to protect and heal itself from sickness, but there is a limit to its endurance. If we are to achieve optimal health, we must acquire the knowledge and tools to heal ourselves with the assistance of qualified health practitoners.

Thomas Edison predicted, "The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease." Apparently the future has not yet arrived. In modern Western medical schools, the study of nutrition comprises a minimal part of a doctor's training. The prevention of disease through proper eating is given only token importance. Instead, significant attention is given to the prescribing of medicines and treatments, many of which have adverse, and sometimes irreversible, side-effects.

This approach to health, which permeates popular medical thinking, is the exact opposite of the direction voiced by Hippocrates fifteen centuries ago when he admonished his followers to "Let thy food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food."

Understanding the impact of our food choices, what we eat and drink, are two of the most important steps we can take along the road to achieving optimal health.

THE ORIGINAL DIET

The last 80 to 100 years have ushered a drastically different style of eating in comparison to the diets of our grandparents, and their grandparents before them. No longer are our food sources home and community-based. We have become global eaters, consumers of mass-marketed, highly refined and processed 'foods.' An examination of the diets of our ancestors offers a myriad of clues and possibilities to help us find our way back to healthy eating. It is noteworthy that traditional diets that have evolved independently in different parts of the world have a common nutritionally-sound basis.

Biologically, humans are omnivores, 'eaters of everything.' Compared to the modern Western diet, the diets of our ancestors included far more fiber, less saturated beef fat and no hydrogenated fat such as margarine or shortening. Instead, they consumed more natural fat, particularly the omega-3 essential fatty acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)....

In the 1930s Dr. Weston Price, a Canadian-born dentist with a keen interest in anthropology and health, discovered the devastating impact of replacing a traditional food diet with a modern one on the health of primitive people. He conducted a famous research project, traveling the world and studying the dietary habits of some of the planet's most primitive and isolated people.

No matter where his research led him from the African continent to the Swiss Alps, from the Amazon jungle - to the Northern reaches of the Canadian Arctic - Dr. Price's observations were consistent. He found that the ancient cultures that displayed remarkable longevity ate predominately vegetable-source foods. These cultures are often cited in support of a purely vegetarian diet, however, the healthiest groups also ate fish regularly. Dr. Price found that wherever geography permitted, fish and seafood played a major role in the diet and he believed that the beneficial fats found in fish most likely accounted for the superior health of these people who were free of dental and degenerative disease.

After many years of dedicated study and research, Dr. Price concluded that the overall health and resistance to disease of his subjects was far superior in the study groups who maintained a traditional diet consisting of the animals they could catch and the fruits, berries, nuts, grains and eggs they could collect. Dr. Price also postulated that human disease is caused by sub-optimal nutrient intake.

Traditional diets of long-lived peoples, whether or not they were predominantly vegetarian, shared certain other common features. Most foods were eaten raw, so they were high in fiber and rich in vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Foods were locally derived and unrefined. Dairy products were obtained from animals that had grazed on fresh, green pastures and these products were almost always eaten in fermented forms, such as yogurt and cheese. All sweet foods, including fruits, were eaten in season and therefore were rare treats rather than regular parts of the diet. Vegetable oils and fruit juices were also rare. Processed foods such as white flour, sugar and hydrogenated fats were nonexistent.

Wild greens, and seaweeds, where available, have always been a very important component of traditional diets. These foods, rich in vitamins and minerals, were alkaline-forming in the body, and provided a counterbalance to acid-forming grains and meats.

OUT OF EDEN

The idyllic lifestyle and eating habits of the healthy natives studied by Dr. Price are in stark contrast to the overfed but undernourished inhabitants of North America. In the mad rush to modernize, our once-healthy dietary patterns have been reshaped and remolded by the clever marketing strategies of the fast food industry and multinational food producers.

Socio-economic changes such as both parents working, single-parent families, nuclear family isolation and the generally hectic schedules of modern life have all played a part in the popular acceptance of fast foods. The price we pay for 'convenience' foods is far greater than the immediate monetary cost. When we consider the far-reaching health and environmental consequences of the popular use of these foods, we realize it is worth our investment in the time and money to return to a natural foods diet....

LINKS TO HEALTH

Hippocrates, the father of Medicine, set a medical precedent in considering the role of nutrients in relation to health and disease. It only took the next fifteen hundred years for the Arthritis Foundation and the United States Surgeon General to come to some of the same conclusions. After centuries of denial the medical establishment has finally begun to acknowledge the role dietary habits and nutrition play in creating disease.

Cancer, arthritis, diabetes and heart disease, four of Western civilization's most common diseases, do not happen overnight. They are degenerative diseases that develop over the course of many years. There are certainly other mitigating factors such as lifestyle, smoking, stress, genetic predisposition and environmental toxins that also influence the onset of disease.

Successive years of eating highly refined, overprocessed and pesticide-ridden foods can take their toll on the health of even the strongest human. Chronic, sub-optimal nutrient intake gradually erodes the body's defense system and reconstructive, healing abilities, thus opening the door to many preventable health problems.

The overconsumption of refined oils and hydrogenated (artificially hardened) fats in combination with refined sugar and a lack of exercise lead to obesity. Being more than twenty percent overweight has been linked to conditions such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and arthritis.

NUTRITIONAL LINKS

When the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDAs) were established over fifty years ago, they began to identify the minimal levels of essential nutrients required to prevent commonly recognized nutritional deficiency diseases.

The science of nutrition has come a long way since the accidental discovery that the vitamin C in citrus fruits cures and prevents scurvy....The power of nutrients to prevent and cure disease is being researched around the world. Nutritional researchers are identifying and studying thousands of enzymes and phytonutrients they never knew existed in food....

Nutrients are the natural chemicals found in foods, and are utilized by the body to maintain health and combat illness. If a deficiency of nutrients contributes to the causes of disease, then it stands to reason that an optional level of nutrients contributes to wellness. (Editor's note: It is interesting to note that in the Tablet to a Physician it says: " Treat disease first of all through diet, and refrain from medicine. If what you can find what you need for healing in a single herb, do not use compound medicine.")

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NUTRITION: GUIDANCE FROM THE BAHA'I WRITINGS

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FROM THE WRITINGS OF BAHA'U'LLAH

"In all circumstances they should conduct themselves with moderation; if the meal be only one course this is more pleasing in the sight of God; however according to their means, they should seek to have this single dish be of good quality." (Baha'u'llah, Kitab-i-Badi, p. 2)

FROM THE WRITINGS OF ABDU'L-BAHA

"What will be the food of the future?" "Fruit and grains. The time will come when meat will no longer be eaten. Medical science is only in its infancy, yet it has shown that our natural diet is that which grows out of the ground. The people will gradually develop up to the condition of this natural food." (Abdu'l-Baha, The Days in the Light of Akka, 1979 ed, pp. 8-9)

"But man hath perversely continued to serve his lustful appetites, and he would not content himself with simple foods. Rather, he prepared for himself food that was compounded of many ingredients, of substances differing one from the other. With this, and with perpetrating of vile and ignoble acts, his attention was engrossed, and he abandoned the temperance and moderation of a natural way of life. The result was the engendering of diseases both violent and diverse.

For the animal, as to its body, is made up of the same constituent elements as man. Since, however, the animal contenteth itself with simple foods and striveth not to indulge its importunate urges to any great degree, and committeth no sins, its ailments relative to man's are few..." Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p 152-3)

"As humanity progresses, meat will be used less and less, for the teeth of man are not carnivorous...The human teeth, the molars, are formed to cut grass, which is their fodder. The front teeth, the incisors, are for fruit, etc. It is, therefore, quite apparent according to the implements for eating that man's food is intended to be grain and not meat. When mankind is more fully developed, the eating of meat will gradually cease." (Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulagation of Universal Peace, pp. 170-71)

"But eating meat is not forbidden or unlawful, nay, the point is this, that it is possible for man to live without eating meat and still be strong. Meat is nourishing and containeth the elements of herbs, seeds and fruits; therefore sometimes it is essential for the sick and for the rehabilitation of health. There is no objection in the Law of God to the eating of meat if it is required. So if thy constitution is rather weak and thou findest meat useful, thou mayest eat it." (Abdu'l-Baha, Health and Healing: Compiled by the Universal House of Justice, p. 8-9)

FROM A LETTER WRITTEN ON BEHALF OF SHOGHI EFFENDI

"In regard to the question as to whether people ought to kill animals for food or not, there is no explicit statement in the Baha'i Sacred Scriptures (as far as I know) in favour or against it. It is certain, however, that if man can live on a purely vegetarian diet and thus avoid killing animals, it would be much preferable. This is, however, a very controversial question and the Baha'is are free to express their views on it. (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, July 9, 1931, Lights of Guidance, p. 296)

FROM LETTERS WRITTEN ON BEHALF OF THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

"No specific school of nutrition or medicine has been associated with the Baha'i teachings. What we have are certain guidelines, indications and principles which will be carefully studied by experts and will, in the years ahead, undoubtedly prove to be invaluable sources of guidance and inspiration in the development of these medical sciences. Moreover, in this connection the Guardian's secretary has stated on his behalf that "It is premature to try and elaborate on the few general references to health and medicine made in our Holy Scriptures." The believers must guard against seizing upon any particular text which may appeal to them and which they may only partially or even incorrectly understand....In matters of diet, as in medicine, the Universal House of Justice feels that the believers should be aware that a huge body of scientific knowledge has been accumulated as a guide to our habits and practices. Here too, as in all other things, the believers should be conscious of the two principles of moderation and courtesy in the way they express their opinions and in deciding whether they should refuse food offered to them or request special foods. There are, of course, instances where a believer would be fully justified in abstaining from or eating only certain foods for some medical reason, but this is a different matter and would be understood by any reasonable person." (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, January 24, 1977, Lights of Guidance, p. 298)

In matters of health, particularly regarding diet and nutrition, the House of Justice advises the friends to seek the help and advice of experts and doctors. This is what Baha'u'llah has recommended and He does not indicate which school of thought or practice they should belong to. However, as you particularly ask about references in the Old Testament as they relate to meat and fish, the House of Justice has asked us to quote for you the following excerpt taken from a letter written on behalf of the beloved Guardian by his secretary to an individual believer: "...there is nothing in the teachings about whether people should eat their food cooked or raw; exercise or not exercise; resort to specific therapies or not; nor is it forbidden to eat meat." (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, July 11, 1978, Lights of Guidance, 298)

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TABLET TO A PHYSICIAN

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(Editor's Note: This unauthorized translation of the entire Tablet by Baha'u'llah is published in "Star of the West", Vol.13, No.9, p.152, Dec.1922. In the Tablet to a Physician, written to a Persian physician more than a century ago, Baha'u'llah gives general and specific advice about health and healing. This Tablet was first printed in the 'Healing Through Unity' Newsletter in May, 1998 and it is being reprinted for those who have not read it. It is an important Tablet to study carefully and it will perhaps take many more generations before we begin to fully understand and appreciate the divine wisdom behind the unique aspects of this Tablet.)

O God! The Supreme Knower!

The Ancient Tongue speaks that which will satisfy the wise in the absence of physicians.
Say! O people! Do not eat except when you are hungry. Do not drink after you have retired to sleep. Exercise is good when the stomach is empty; it strengthens the muscles. When the stomach is full it is very harmful. Do not neglect medical treatment when it is necessary, but leave it off when the body is in good condition. Do not take nourishment except when (the process of) digestion is completed. Do not swallow until you have thoroughly masticated your food. Treat disease first of all through diet, and refrain from medicine. If you can find what you need for healing in a single herb, do not use a compound medicine. Leave off medicine when the health is good, and use them in case of necessity.
If two diametrically opposite foods are put on the table do not mix them. Be content with one of them. Take first the liquid food before partaking of solid food. The taking of food before that which you have already eaten is digested is dangerous. The compounding of one food with another is a danger of which you must beware.
Begin meals with "In My Name, the All Glorious." End with "In the Name of the Possessor of heaven and earth." When you have eaten, walk a little, that the food may settle. That which is difficult to masticate is forbidden by the wise. Thus the Supreme Pen commands you. A light meal in the morning is as a light to the body. Avoid all harmful habits; they cause unhappiness in the world.
Relate the diseases to their causes. This statement in this connection is a conclusive decree.

Verily the most necessary thing is contentment under all circumstances; by this one is preserved from morbid conditions and from lassitude. Yield not to grief and sorrow; they cause the greatest misery. Jealously consumeth the body and anger doth burn the liver; avoid these two as you would a lion.

The main thing is to cleanse the body of its wastes, but in the temperate season. He who overeats, his illness becomes more severe. We have arranged for each thing a cause and we have bestowed upon it an effect. All this is from the effulgence of My Name which permeates all things. Your God is the Ruler in all things.
Say! By adhering to that which we have set forth the humours of the body will not depart from their equilibrium nor will their set measure be upset by various conditions, for the primary substance will remain in its pristine purity and no change will occur in the normal proportion of one-sixth, and one-sixth of one sixth, and the twin active agents (qualities, properties) and the twin passive agents will remain intact; and in God must our trust be. There is no God but Him, the Healer, the Knower, the Helper.
The Supreme Pen has not written such words but for love of thee, that thou mayest know that grief has not seized upon the Blessed Beauty. He is not sorrowful because of what has befallen Him from the nations. Sadness is for him who loses his chance when it appears.
Nothing on earth or in heaven is outside the grasp of God. O physician! In treating the sick, first mention the Name of God, the Possessor of the Day of Judgement and then use what God hath destined for the healing of His creatures. By My Life! The physician who has drunk from the Wine of My Love, his visit is healing, and his breath is mercy and hope. Cling to him for the welfare of the constitution. He is confirmed by God in his treatment.

This science (of the healing arts) is the noblest of all the sciences, for it is the greatest means from God, the Life-Giver to the dust, for preserving the bodies of all people, and he has put it in the forefront of all sciences and wisdoms. It is indeed the most potent instrument provided by God, He Who breathes life into bones, for the protection of the bodies of men. He hath given it the foremost rank among all sciences and the knowledge of the wise. However, this is the day for thee to arise to help My Cause, while fully detached from all the worlds.

Say! Thy name is my healing, O my God, and remembrance of Thee is my remedy. Nearness to thee is my hope, and love for Thee is my companion. Thy mercy to me is my healing and my succor in both this world and the world to come. Thou, verily, art the All-Bountiful, the All-Knowing, the All Wise.

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SUGGESTED READING

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The following books are suggestions which may assist us in finding a healthy diet, nutrients, vitamins and herbs.

1) "4 Blood Types, 4 Diets: Eat Right, For Your Type. The Individualized Diet Solution to Staying Healthy, Living Longer and Achieving Your Ideal Weight", by Dr. Peter D' Adams, published by C.P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1996.

2) "Becoming Vegetarian: The Complete Guide to Adopting a Healthy Vegetarian Diet", by Vesan Melina, RD, Brenda Davis, RD and Victoria Harrison, RD, published by MacMillan Canada, Toronto.

3) "The Carbohydrate Addict's Lifespan Program", by Richard and Rachael Heller, Penguin, New York, 1997.

4) "Eating Well for Optimum Health", by Dr Andrew Weil, Random House of Canada Ltd., 2000.

5) "Breaking The Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet", by Elaine Gottschall, Kirkton Press Ltd, Canada, 1994. (This book contains useful information for the dietary treatment of many gastrointestinal disorders.)

6) "Complete Candida Yeast Guidebook", by Jeanne Marie Martin with Zoltan Rona, M.D., Prima Publishing, U.S.A., 1996 (This book contains information about the prevention, treatment and diet for yeast infections. There are over 200 specialized recipes.)

7) "Prescription for Nutritional Healing", by James F. Balch, MD and Phyllis A. Balch, Avery Publishing Group, New York, 1996. ( A practical A - Z reference to drug-free remedies using vitamins, minerals, herbs and food supplements. This book has 600 pages and costs $28.00 Cdn Funds.)

8) "Encyclopedia of Natural Healing", by Siegfried Gursche, MH and Dr. Zoltan Rona, Medical Editor, Vancouver: Alive Books, 1998. (The Encyclopedia is divided into two sections. The first is a complete guide to natural living and alternative therapies. The second is an alphabetical listing of over 300 conditions. Included in the section are symptoms, causes, herbal treatments, nutritional supplements, nutrition, homeopathy, tissue salts and external therapies for each condition. This book has 1,500 pages and costs $59.95 U.S. Funds; $69.95 Cdn Funds)

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LIVING PAST 100

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This article is taken from "Life" magazine, February, 2000. (Used by permission of the publisher)

"As we sail into the new millennium, the potential for human longevity is written in the cards - Hallmark cards, among others. The company expects to be selling more than 70,000 centenarian birthday cards annually by the year 2010. Which doesn't surprise geriatrician Thomas Perls at all. Perls, a Harvard professor and director of the New England Centenarian Study, is the coauthor of 'Living to 100 - Lessons in Living to Your Maximum Potential at Any Age' (Basic Books, $25).

The book pictures an old age far removed from the bleak image of a grim trek into illness, frailty and confusion. Old age isn't failure, Perls says; its success. As he puts it, "The older you get, the healthier you've been."

Obviously, getting old is mainly a matter of avoiding illness. Genes have a lot to do with that, but so does behavior. Perls recommends a sensible diet, no smoking, yoga and other stress-reducers. Again and again, Perls found, the healthy aged are folks who, to borrow a phrase that they never heard in their youth, don't sweat the small stuff. As one 101-year-old told him, "Don't make a federal case of everything."

Too many of us do make a big deal out of small troubles, he says, and that, along with slothful physical habits, can reduce our genetic life expectancy by 10 years.

Meanwhile, researchers are closing in on the genes that keep us healthy far into old age, in hopes of developing medications to mimic good genetics and slow down the aging process, Perls says.

Michael Rose, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California at Irvine, shares Perls's optimism. Life span is not set in stone, he says. It's neither fixed nor preset.

A few things Perls has learned:
- Centenarians are the world's fastest-growing age-group.
- More than half of the baby boomers will live past 85, but unless they diet wisely and exercise regularly, they'll face chronic illness along the way.
- The healthy aged share low blood pressure; youthful looks; parents and grandparents who lived long and well; and enthusiasm for exercising the mind."

Editor's note: This article brought to mind this quotation from the Guardian of the Baha'i Faith: "The enormous energy dissipated and wasted on war, whether economic or political, will be consecrated to such ends as will extend the range of human inventions and technical development, to the increase of the productivity of mankind, to the extermination of disease, to the extension of scientific research, to the raising of the standard of physical health, to the sharpening and refinement of the human brain, to the exploitation of the unused and unsuspected resources of the planet, to the prolongation of human life, and to the furtherance of any other agency that can stimulate the intellectual, the moral, and spiritual life of the entire human race." (Shoghi Effendi, World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 204)

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ANNOUNCEMENT

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BAHA'I MEDICAL ASSOCIATION OF CANADA 4th ANNUAL CONFERENCE

The Baha'i Medical Association of Canada (BMAC) Conference task force is very pleased to announce that the 4th Annual BMAC Conference is going to be held during the weekend of October 27-29, 2000 at the Toronto Baha'i Centre, Ontario, Canada. The theme of this year's conference is "Bridging the Old and the New: An Evidence and Scripture Based Conference on Health." In a period dominated by evidence-based challenges to traditional medical practices, it is only appropriate that we, as physicians, explore ways to incorporate scientific evidence from the material world with spiritual truths found in the Sacred Writings in a spirit of harmony and unity.

The conference will include presentations on the following subjects: nutrition, the application of Baha'i principles to international health work, a historical perspective on medicine and the arts, our stories and our health, an approach to ethical dilemmas and balancing personal, professional and spiritual responsibilities. Musical presentations, historical vignettes and health walks will be interspersed throughout the program.

If you are interested to attend this conference, please contact: Payam Dehghani - payamdehghani@hotmail.com or Ashley Roberts - robera@mcmaster.ca (Phone number - 905-308-8484) (They will both be away during the months of July and August, 2000)

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HEALTH HABITS

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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 always happy
Simplify
Focus
Practice patience
Cleanliness
Eat simple, wholesome foods
Drink adequate pure water
Evaluate progress daily, summarize weekly

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LETTERS

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Just a note of thanks that we appreciate your interesting and informative newsletter. Please keep up the excellent work.
- John Anglin, Secretary, National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Uganda

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Let me express my gratitude and admiration for the most valuable service you are doing to the World with this project. Specifically, I am convinced that the Healing Through Unity Course will help a large number of people to lead a more spiritual and thus more healthy life.
- Michael Walk, Switzerland

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I have subscribed to the Healing Through Unity newsletter for a while now and I wish to warmly congratulate you on a wonderful job. I am a G.P. in England with an open mind about complimentary therapies. Experiences teaches you how little you know about science, spirituality and the power of the spirit when dealing with people who are sick in body and mind....Thank you once again for an inspiring journal that I can envision in the future, as it develops, as a model for future 'medical' publications.
- Dr Kathy Hadfield, England

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QUESTION OF THE MONTH

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A reader writes:

I have been under treatment for hepatitis C for the last 4 weeks - the interferon and ribavirin. I have good days and bad days, but they have been much better than I ever guessed. I had my first blood test on April 3 and my hemoglobin is down slightly and will get a blood test again on April 20 and see the doctor on April 24. This is supposed to last for 48 weeks. I have also been going to a Baha'i for Chinese medicine and acupuncture. She is a great help. Is there any way you can solicit "the experts" you have available and that the issue of hepatitis C could be addressed in the newsletter. This will be reaching major epidemic proportions soon since most people that were infected had no way of knowing until recently and most doctors do not realize that all people should be tested for it when they come in for a physical. New knowledge will be coming out all the time now. Thank you for any news you can get.

Dear Readers:

Do you have any information, solutions or comments in response to this question? Please send them to the newsletter and we will share them in the next issue which will be the last issue before we will resume again in September, 2000.

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PURPOSE OF THE NEWSLETTER

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"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: -- . PLEASE NOTE:

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.

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WEB SITE

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You can visit the website, obtain back issues and the Healing Through Unity Course at: http://www.healingthroughunity.org/




HEALING THROUGH UNITY

June, 2000

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of
physical and spiritual health envisioned in the Baha'i Teachings.

Volume 3, Issue #10

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CONTENTS

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- New Millennium, New Healing Attitudes
- The Exchange
- A Response on Addiction
- Finding Your Joy
- Announcement
- Health Habits
- A Letter From the Editor
- A Message to all the Children and Youth
- Purpose of the Newsletter
- Website

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NEW MILLENNIUM, NEW HEALING ATTITUDES

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By Zoltan Rona, MD, Ontario, Canada. (Editor's note: This article is taken from the journal "alive: Canadian Journal of Health and Nutrition", issue #207 January 2000. This article is of general interest and from the greater community, and is not written from a Baha'i perspective. However, I feel that the author gives some excellent ideas and insights to assist us to change our healing attitudes.)

After 22 years of general medical practice and over 2,000 letters from readers requesting advice, I have observed some general principles that determine whether or not an individual is capable of controlling his or her health. The following basic habits help reverse illness and prevent disease.

Questioning authority is good for your sanity as well as your health.

Prescription drugs are often unnecessary and even harmful in treating a long list of chronic ailments including high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, high cholesterol, arthritis and immune system problems, especially chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. In fact, studies published in 1999 indicated that prescription drugs, even when taken as directed, are the fourth or fifth leading cause of death in North America! (1)

Fortunately there are well-documented safe and effective natural alternatives to most drugs. Health experts believe that maybe only 10 percent of all prescription and over-the-counter drugs are really necessary.

Beware of needless surgery, especially for the heart, uterus, ovaries, gall bladder, bowel and joints. Fibroid tumors of the uterus, kidney stones, fibrocystic breast disease and even prostate cancer may not require surgery. Not all conventional surgical procedures are cast in stone. After all, it was only a decade or so ago that radical mastectomy for breast cancer was abandoned for the simple lumpectomy. Also, Dr. Dean Ornish demonstrated in the 1990s that a combination of a diet low in animal fats, exercise and meditation could reverse coronary artery disease and prevent bypass surgery in a high percentage of cases.

North Americans, especially medically socialized Canadians, are the most operated-upon individuals on the planet. While I am by no means saying that surgery is always a bad thing, get a second or even a third opinion.

QUESTION CONVENTIONAL DENTISTRY

A few years ago, only a handful of Canadian dentists dared to question dental orthodoxy on the subject of mercury dental fillings. This has changed radically and will be one of the great battles in the new millennium. It is becoming increasingly evident that mercury from dental amalgams escapes as a vapor into the circulation, leading to neurological diseases like multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, chronic fatigue syndrome and other suboptimal immune system disorders. More and more dentists are seeing the light on this issue as well as the dangers of fluoride and root canal surgery. If at all possible, find yourself a dentist with a more biological orientation.

DEVELOP SELF-DEPENDENCE

Medical school still teaches doctors to focus on disease rather than on wellness and to be interveners rather than teachers or equal partners with their patients. This negative and paternalistic attitude encourages ignorance and dependence on both doctors and the socialized disease care system. Such a system views natural life events like pregnancy and menopause as diseases requiring prescription drugs. This attitude, thankfully, is changing. (2)

The latter half of the 20th century has witnessed the emergence of a new paradigm. Responsibility for health maintenance is shifting on to the individual instead of the doctor. Health care practitioners are only now beginning to see their roles as something other then 'doing something to the patient.' (3)

The human body is capable of healing itself from virtually any illness, provided the right nutrients are present whether these be vitamins, minerals, light, water, a positive mental attitude or spiritual nourishment. Learn to depend on this.

LEARNING SELF CARE

Since grade school, high school and colleges offer no training in nutrition, preventative health care and other aspects of self-healing (although I expect this will change in the new millennium as well), one had to become an avid student outside the mainstream. My favorite patients and letters from readers are those that demonstrate a serious attempt to research and understand their health situation.

The more an individual knows about health matters, the greater the healing potential becomes. Psychologists, psycho-neuro-immunologists and other holistic healers too numerous to list have proven the immense value of visualization and positive thinking in treating disease. One visualizes tumor cells being gobbled up by the white cells and guess what? The cancer is better controlled!

Knowing what coenzyme Q10 and hawthorn does for high blood pressure and visualizing how these remedies work will produce more positive results in blood pressure control than the biochemical effects of these substances on their own. In other words, the more you know about the therapy and how it works, the better the results.

Take courses on natural health care from the 'alive' Academy of Nutrition or another school of natural healing. Take a natural cooking course. Get your personal copy of the 'Encyclopedia of Natural Healing' (published by 'alive' books) and make a habit of reading a bit of it every day. Get on the Internet and do research on your own before spending thousands of dollars on visits to health care providers. Learn, learn and learn some more by reading magazines like this one.

Don't wait for your doctor to give his or her blessing before you take antioxidant vitamins, minerals or other nutrients. I don't recommend that you approach preventive or various 'anti-aging' tactics blindly but one should not take health maintenance lightly.

Research as best you can and take the initiative in controlling your health. Consult a health care practitioner if you have various health challenges but don't be sheepish. Direct action builds confidence. Confidence boosts energy, endurance, stamina and your immunity. (4)

Editor's notes:

(1) It is important to question the use of the prescriptions with the treating physician and sometimes the reduction of prescription drugs should be done carefully over a period of time with the supervision of a skilled physician. Sometimes abruptly stopping a medicine can make the situation worse and a specific drug may be required to help us function better. In the Tablet to a Physician, Baha'u'llah states: "Treat disease first of all through diet, and refrain from medicine. If you can find what you need for healing in single herb, do not use a compound medicine. Leave off medicine when the health is good, and use them in case of necessity", see May, 2000 issue in which the Tablet is printed.

(2) This characterization of physicians as "paternalistic" and "encouraging dependence" is a point in which the Baha'i teachings offer a bit more balance. We are taught to take individual responsibility, but also to respect authority. The medical field is striving to be holistic. Obeying a skilled physician is not a popular stance in current western culture, but it is the Divine Guidance we were given. There is something very healthy about obedience and working in unity. Note this quotation written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice, 24 January, 1977:

The secretaries of the Guardian have conveyed his guidance on this point in many letters to individual believers in passages such as these: "...refer to competent physicians and abide by their considered decisions", "...invariably consult and follow the treatment of competent and conscientious physicians...". Thus the obligation to consult physicians and to distinguish between doctors who are well trained in medical sciences and those who are not is clear, but the Faith should not be associated with any particular school of medical theory or practice. It is left to each believer to decide for himself which doctors he should consult, bearing in mind the principles enunciated above." ('Health and Healing': Compiled by the Universal House of Justice, pp.47-8)

(3) The Baha'i attitude is not that the doctor is alone responsible for our health. Here is one quotation that shows that we do have a great deal of responsibility for guarding our own health. "Praised be God, the women believers have organized meetings where they will learn how to teach the Faith, will spread the sweet savours of the Teachings and make plans for training the children.... Let them also study whatever will nurture the health of the body and its physical soundness, and how to guard their children from disease." (Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, pp. 123-124

(4) You can visit his website at: http://www.srvitamins.com and subscribe to his excellent newsletter, 'HealthWise Digest', 1366 Yonge Street, Suite 202, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M4T 3A7

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THE EXCHANGE

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In the May, 2000 issue, a reader requested for assistance:

I have been under treatment for hepatitis C for the last 4 weeks. I have good days and bad days, but they have been much better than I ever guessed. I had my first blood test on April 3 and my hemoglobin is down slightly and will get a blood test again on April 20 and see the doctor on April 24. This is supposed to last for 48 weeks. I have also been going to a Baha'i for Chinese medicine and acupuncture. She is a great help. Is there any way you can solicit "the experts" you have available and that the issue of hepatitis C could be addressed in the newsletter. This will be reaching major epidemic proportions soon since most people that were infected had no way of knowing until recently and most doctors do not realize that all people should be tested for it when they come in for a physical. New knowledge will be coming out all the time now. Thank you for any news you can get.

Answers:

(Editor's note: Here is an explanation of hepatitis taken from "Prescription for Nutritional Healing", by James F. Balch, MD and Phyllis A. Balch, Avery Publishing Group, New York, 1996, p. 314.)

"Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, usually caused by a viral infection. The liver becomes tender and enlarged and is unable to function normally. As a result, toxins that would normally be filtered out by the liver build up in the body, and certain nutrients are not processed and stored as they should be. The symptoms of hepatitis include fever, weakness, nausea, vomiting, headache, appetite loss, muscle aches, joint pains, drowsiness, dark urine, light-colored stools, abdominal discomfort, and often jaundice (yellowing of the skin) and elevated liver enzymes in the blood. Flulike symptoms may be mild or severe.

In the last fifteen years, scientists have identified the viruses responsible for three leading types of the disease, called hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.
1) Hepatitis A, also known as infectious hepatitis, is easily spread through person-to-person contact, and through contact with food, clothing, bed linen, and other items. It is contagious between two to three weeks before and one week after jaundice appears. After a bout with hepatitis A, the individual develops an immunity to it.

2) Hepatitis B, also referred to as serum hepatitis, is spread through contact with infected blood (for example, the use of contaminated syringes, needles, and transfused blood) and some forms of sexual activity. It is estimated that up to 5 percent of all Americans, and as many as 85 percent of gay men, are infected with hepatitis B. However, most hepatitis B come and go unrecognized. In some 10 percent of cases, the disease becomes chronic, scarring the liver and making it more vulnerable to cancer. Hepatitis B is the ninth leading cause of death in the United States.

3) Hepatitis C accounts for 20 to 40 percent of all hepatitis and 90 to 95 percent of hepatitis contracted through blood transfusions. Tests can now detect antibodies against hepatitis C in donated blood, a major advance in ensuring a safe blood supply, but an infected individual may take up to six months to develop the antibodies, so it is still impossible to identify all infected blood. Hepatitis C can also be contracted through intravenous drug use, sexual contact, and broken skin or mucous membranes."

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I was deeply moved by the letter of the friend, who has been infected with the hepatitis C. I'd like to recommend to this person to investigate macrobiotics. Macrobiotics is a way of healing through food, as well as a healthy life style. The greatest promoter of Macrobiotics and a recognized Macrobiotic healer is Mischio Kushi. (He opened the first health food store in America!) He lives in Boston, MA, US and travels extensively giving lectures and medical consultation. He and his wife are the founders of Kushi Institute, where they teach cooking and healing through food.

Here is their address: Kushi Institute, Leland Road, P.O. Box 7, Becket, MA, United States, 01223-0007 tel: (413) 623-5741 and fax: (413) 623-8827

I know many, many people when treated by macrobiotics were cured of an advanced cancer, AIDS and many other illnesses, which conventional medicine struggled with. In fact the US Medical Association is currently researching macrobiotics as a possible way to cure those diseases!

I myself was diagnosed with a 2.5 inches cyst on my ovary. My gynecologist suspected cancer and wanted to operate. I refused since I consider surgery "the last resort". I decided to give a chance to nutrition first. Therefore, I started to practice a strict macrobiotic diet. After two months my cyst got 50% smaller! I lost weight! I looked really healthy and got my energy back. My trust in natural healing methods was confirmed couple months earlier, when I got rid of 20 stones in my gall-bladder. This was due to a 3 day home made apple-juice diet, coupled with an olive oil-lemon juice mixture. Western medicine says to cases like this is "cut it out" whereas natural medicine suggests non-invasive methods such as - "dissolve it", "melt it", "soften it" and go to the toilet with it. It's painless and effective! So you can imagine why after I've seen my stones come out so easily, I would refuse to operate my reproductive organs (especially before having kids!).

Generally, macrobiotics is all about eating wholesome foods in the right proportion: 60% wholesome grains (brown rice is highly recommended here!), 20-30% vegetables, 10% beans, 5% sea vegetables, 5% soups. And infrequently some fruits and nuts. But there is more to it. It's a whole science.

Fascinating, logical, and uniting yin & yang forces of nature. Also, depending on the disease, proportions change, therefore, some things - even good things - should not be eaten at all until one gets better (due to their contracting or expanding influence on the organs). That's why a macrobiotic healer is necessary! And the healer is usually somebody, who himself/herself has overcome a fatal disease through nutrition. That was the case with me. I got in touch with Mina Dobic, a healer, from California. She was diagnosed with cancer on both of her ovaries. Chemotherapy didn't help, but food did! As a result, she wrote a book about it and cures others - people like me. Good luck! May God guide you. - Ewa Jodlowski, Poland (see recommended books listed below)

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RECOMMENDED BOOKS ON MACROBIOTIC DIET

Michio Kushi & Alex Jack - "The Cancer Prevention Diet" (for prevention and healing)
Aveline Kushi & Wendy Esko - "The Macrobiotic Cancer Prevention Cookbook" (for prevention and healing)
Michio Kushi - "The Macrobiotic Way",

- "Diet for a Strong Heart"
- "Standard Macrobiotic Diet"
- "Basic Home Remedies"
- "Basic Shiatsu"

Alex Jack - "Let Food be Thy Medicine"

To order any of the above books or to receive a catalog with a full book list and a program of workshops, courses and treatments offered at the Kushi Institute call: 1-800-645-8744
Note:
For any one with a life-threatening disease (such as cancer, or hepatitis C), it is not sufficient just to study these books, as the application of these cooking principles takes time. You should immediately call the Kushi Institute and ask them to recommend to you a certified Macrobiotic Healer in your locality. And consult the physician, as soon as possible. Certain good foods in certain conditions are not good effect, because of their contracting or expanding, warming or cooling effects. Only a Macrobiotic physician, with the experience of natural diagnosis and healing, will be able to tell you what to avoid and what to eat.

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Ibrahim Karim, an Egyptian architect and healer, has developed a pendant with about 400 drawings on it that go into resonance with the part of the body that needs healing. It works upon an energy level which surrounds the body. Basically, by changing the energy into positive energy, it affects the physical (and emotional, and spiritual) body. Universities in Egypt have tested his pendant on hepatitis C, along with homeopathic, allopathic and other medicines. In the first tests, he received a much higher percentage than the other medicines tested. He has an internet site. Look up www.biogeometry.com. The ideas behind his work I find fascinating and may be worth checking into. - T. Pratt, The Netherlands

(Editor's note: The Baha'i Writings are very clear about the importance to consult with competent physicians, therefore it would be wise to share your healing journey with your physician.)

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A RESPONSE ON ADDICTION

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Here is another perspective to the question asked in February, 2000 issue:

Many of us struggle with different forms of addictions such as: shopping, alcohol, narcotics, smoking, food, gambling, work, computers and others. What are your suggestions to assist us to overcome our specific addictions which may cause us pain and frustrations? How were you able to make the decision to deal with it and to make the right choices to change your life?

Addictive and compulsive behavior is either numbing or distracting behavior. The obvious question is, "what are we trying to numb out or distract ourselves from?" Until we are willing to feel the unfelt and examine the unacknowledged, we will continue to be manipulated by them.

Our first thought is that we are trying to forget or escape painful experiences from our past. Trying to remember and examine these experiences is a valuable step in the process of getting out from under their control. But behind the experiences themselves is the feeling that they generated in us - feelings of shame.

I believe that when we learn to heal unhealthy and toxic shame, then we will gain the serenity and self-acceptance we need to abandon our numbing behaviors.

Toxic shame
From one perspective, we can define shame as the punishment half of the internalization of the principle of reward and punishment. When we do what we believe is right, we reward ourselves with feelings of joy. When we do what we feel is wrong, we punish ourselves with feelings of shame.

But what is the essence of joy and shame? Joy is the sensation of being drawn towards God. Shame is the sensation of being removed from God. Ironically, whether we do something good or bad, it is not God who moves, but us. Two forces act to separate us from the experience of the presence of God. One is our feelings of unworthiness. The other is our fear of punishment. We try to hide from God's judgment, not realizing that the act of hiding is, in itself, the greatest punishment.

The western culture promotes feelings of unworthiness and fear through its obsession with original sin, black/white thinking, and perfectionism. The Baha'i Faith rejects all three of these ideas. The Baha'i Writings, therefore, promote a more healthy relationship with God that will ultimately reduce addictive behaviors.

Addictions are very difficult to heal if the approach focuses on ending negative behavior, because we are trying to shame ourselves out of shameful behavior. Addictions are more easily dealt with by replacing numbing behavior with positive feelings - the joy of moving towards God. This comes through forgiveness, service and the development of virtues. - Justice St Rain, U.S.A., Author of "Falling Into Grace"

(Editor's note: Practical examples of applications of these theories would be interesting to know about.)

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FINDING YOUR JOY

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By Frances Mezei, Ontario, Canada

True happiness comes from expressing your passion and goals. When you're really in touch with your passion or goals, you begin living on purpose. Passion is that activity that you love to do, that you do with such pleasure or enthusiasm because you find it's so deeply satisfying.

HERE ARE SOME WAYS TO FIND YOUR OWN JOY OR PASSION:

* Take fifteen minutes a day for yourself alone. If you are not used to this, you can start gradually with one or two days a week and build up. This will help you learn to be still to discover your inner joy and what is important to you.

* Write a purpose statement, a mission statement for your life. This can be very simple with just a few sentences but write it down. Once you know what you're passionate about, or what your purpose in life is, you can look for ways to bring more into your everyday life.

* Start a gratitude journal to change the way you think about your life. Take those 15 minutes with yourself and write down five things in your life that you are grateful for from that day. This idea of the "Gratitude Journal" is mentioned in "Simple Abundance - A Day Book of Comfort and Joy", by Sarah Ban Breathnach, p. 14.

* Discover what you enjoy doing. Decide to spend some time this summer paying attention to what you love, what encourages you, and what is healing to you. There's a pattern in your life of things that you are attracted to, that you enjoy, and that you excel in.

* Make a list of all the things you wish to explore but are afraid to do. Then try them out and notice what happens afterwards. If it is helpful, write down what your inner voice is saying and of any shifts in the felt sense of your body, your energy, and your behavior.

* Make your home an oasis from the frenzied world outside. Fill it with great music, books, friends and laughter.

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A reader from England shares with us this wise quote by Aristotle, 384 - 322 B.C.:

"All men seek one goal: success or happiness. The only way to achieve true success is to express yourself completely in service to society.

First have a definite, clear, practical ideal - a goal, and objective.

Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends - wisdom, money, materials and methods.

Third, adjust your means to that end."

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ANNOUNCEMENT

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BED OF LOVE

When Dianne Mahbouby, from UK, realised how I was positioned in the bed I Iive my life from, she sensed a need even I was not aware of. She initiated a project that Bahaíis from all over the world UNITED around and now I have what I call my BED OF LOVE, with a backrest that can be raised. Instead of lying flat on my back all day without being able to lift my head, I can sit upright. For the first time I have a full view of the garden and feel more dignified when hosting work related meetings. These dear, dear Friends, acting as Godís grace and mercy have not only given me a luxury I never dreamed of having, but their love and example of ONENESS in action has made my heart overflow with joy. - Renett Grove, South Africa, e-mail rgrove@global.co.za

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PARENTING IN THE NEW WORLD ORDER NEWSLETTER

This bi-monthly newsletter is dedicated to raising families with strong spiritual values and is published for the purpose of sharing thoughts, comments and experiences on how the teachings of the Baha'i Faith are being applied to the task of parenting and family life. If you are interested, please email: allamanda@caribsurf.com or visit the website at: http://www.spiceisle.com/homepages/allamanda/

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H
EALTH HABITS

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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 always happy
Simplify
Focus
Practice patience
Cleanliness
Eat simple, wholesome foods
Drink adequate pure water
Evaluate progress daily, summarize weekly

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A LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

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By Frances Mezei, Ontario, Canada

CIRCULATION

It has been three years and thirty issues that I have been sending out the "Healing Through Unity" newsletter. There are now over 1,600 subscribers from more than 105 countries, territories and islands. I have been informed by many readers that they have forwarded the newsletter, put it on list services or made copies of it for their friends so the newsletter reaches a much wider audience.

The publication goes to 26 National Spiritual Assemblies (NSA) which are: Australia, Belarus, Cambodia, Canada, Cook Islands, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Georgia, Honduras, Hong Kong, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, New Zealand, Panama, Poland, Pakistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, Russia, Solomon Islands, Turkey, Zambia

There are seven members of the Continental Board of Counsellors as well as the office of the Continental Board of Counsellors Australasia receiving the newsletter. The publication is translated into Russian, Urdu (Pakistan's national language), as well as a few other languages. If your National Spiritual Assembly is not listed or if you are currently translating all or parts of the publication, please let me know at: -- .

WORKING TOGETHER

We are assisting each other in our letters and stories to the newsletter. It is a gift to be able to share the things we have learned and have access to other people's wisdom in this newsletter. We are learning to apply the principles of physical and spiritual health envisioned in the Baha'i teachings into our own lives. We are learning to lead a more productive life, one in which we feel a sense of vitality, cooperation, harmony, balance and reverence within ourselves and in all our encounters. Here is a quotation and poem demonstrating the concept of working together in a spirit of unity to bring health to everyone.

"Go forth and light others until all the separate waiting servants are linked together in a great Unity.

"Those who are working alone," He said, "are like ants, but when they are united they will become like eagles. Those who work alone are as drops, but when united, they will become a great river which will carry the clean water of life into the desert places of the world. When this great river of life becomes a flood, all misery and sorrow and grief will be washed away. Be united! It is dangerous to be a drop all alone; it might be spilled or blown away." (Abdu'l-Baha cited in "The Chosen Highway" by Lady Blomfield, p. 171)

This poem was written for Race Unity by Diane Tuffs, U.S.A.

One heart singing
Two hands clinging
Three souls bringing
Four colours blending
Broken spirits mending
Unity pending
Humanity's healing

NOTE
The newsletter will not be published during July and August. I hope that you have a wonderful summer and look forward to your participation in the newsletter in September, 2000. I wish to thank you for your participation, support and encouragement during the past year.

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A MESSAGE TO ALL THE CHILDREN AND YOUTH

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"Children are the most precious treasure a community can possess, for in them are the promise and guarantee of the future. They bear the seeds of the character of future society which is largely shaped by what the adults constituting the community do or fail to do with respect to children. They are a trust no community can neglect with impunity. An all-embracing love of children, the manner of treating them, the quality of the attention shown them, the spirit of adult behaviour toward them - these are all among the vital aspects of the requisite attitude. Love demands discipline, the courage to accustom children to hardship, not to indulge their whims or leave them entirely to their own devices. An atmosphere needs to be maintained in which children feel that they belong to the community and share in its purpose. They must lovingly but insistently be guided to live up to Baha'i standards, to study and teach the Cause in ways that are suited to their circumstances." (Ridvan 2000 message from the Universal House of Justice, the supreme administrative body of the Baha'i Faith)

For the "Healing Through Unity" newsletter, we would LOVE to hear from the children and youth. As parents, grandparents, other family members, or friends, why don't you ask your daughters, sons, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and friends to write an article, story or poem for the newsletter. Ask them questions such as "What makes you happy?", "What are some of the things you are grateful for?", "How do you help/serve other people who are sick, in need or lonely?", "What is your favorite talent, sport, exercise or activity to keep you active and healthy?", "How do you practice your virtues such as kindness, sensitivity, gentleness, respect, etc?" and "What are some of the ways you communicate and show your love to God?" These articles and stories will be printed in the Fall issues.

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PURPOSE OF THE NEWSLETTER

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"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: -- .

PLEASE NOTE:

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.

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WEB SITE

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You can visit the website, obtain back issues and the Healing Through Unity Course at: http://www.healingthroughunity.org




HEALING THROUGH UNITY

September, 2000

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of
physical and spiritual health envisioned in the Baha'i Teachings.

Volume 4, Issue #1

_______________________________________________________

CONTENTS

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- A Story About Letting Go of Resentments
- Taking Offense
- Our Rights and Needs as an Individual
- Creative Exercises
- Be Who You Are
- Quotations From The Baha'i Writings About Self-Knowledge
- More Responses About Hepatitis C
- Requesting Assistance From Our Readers
- Suggested Reading
- Question of the Month
- Purpose of the Newsletter
- Website

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A STORY ABOUT LETTING GO OF RESENTMENTS

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Author Unknown

A story tells of a merchant in a small town who had identical twin sons. The boys worked for their father in the department store he owned and, when he died, they took over the store.

Everything went well until the day a dollar bill disappeared. One of the brothers had left the bill on the cash register and walked outside with a customer. When he returned, the money was gone.

He asked his brother, "Did you see that dollar bill on the cash register?" His brother replied that he had not. But the young man kept probing and questioning. He would not let it alone. "Dollar bills just don't get up and walk away! Surely you must have seen it!" There was a subtle accusation in his voice. Tempers began to rise. Resentment set in. Before long, a deep and bitter chasm divided the young men. They refused to speak. They finally decided they could no longer work together and a dividing wall was built down the center of the store. For twenty years hostility and bitterness grew, spreading to their families and to the community.

Then one day a man in an automobile licensed in another state stopped in front of the store. He walked in and asked the clerk, "How long have you been here?"

The clerk replied that he'd been there all his life. The customer said, "I must share something with you. Twenty years ago I was "riding the rails" and came into this town in a boxcar. I hadn't eaten for three days. I came into this store from the back door and saw a dollar bill on the cash register. I put it in my pocket and walked out. All these years I haven't been able to forget that. I know it wasn't much money, but I had to come back and ask your forgiveness."

The stranger was amazed to see tears well up in the eyes of this middle-aged man. "Would you please go next door and tell that same story to the man in the store?" he said. Then the man was even more amazed to see two middle-aged men, who looked very much alike, embracing each other and weeping together in front of the store.

After twenty years, the brokenness was mended. The wall of resentment that divided them came down.

It is so often the little things that finally divide people -- words spoken in haste; criticisms; accusations; resentments. And once divided, they may never come together again.

The solution, of course, is to let go. There is really nothing particularly profound about learning to let go of little resentments. But for fulfilling and lasting relationships, letting them go is a must. Refuse to carry around bitterness and you may be surprised at how much energy you have left for building bonds with those you love.

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Editor's note: This story reminds me of the following two quotes: "He feels that the present inharmony prevailing among you...is very detrimental to the advancement of the Cause, and can only lead to disruption and the chilling of the interest of new believers. You...should forget about your personal grievances and unite for the protection of the Faith which he well knows you are all loyally devoted to and ready to sacrifice for. Perhaps the greatest test Baha'is are ever subjected to is from each other; but for the sake of the Master they should be ever ready to overlook each other's mistakes, apologize for harsh words they have uttered, forgive and forget. He strongly recommends to you this course of action." (From letter dated December 18, 1945, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, from 'Living The Life', Baha'i Publishing Trust (UK) p. 24)

"We must never dwell too much on the attitudes and feelings of our fellow-believers towards us. What is most important is to foster love and harmony and ignore any rebuffs we may receive; in this way the weaknesses of human nature and the peculiarity or attitude of any particular person is not magnified, but pales into insignificance in comparison with our joint service to the Faith we all love." (From letter dated 19 September 1948 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, from 'The Baha'i Life', p. 16)

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TAKING OFFENSE

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Prepared by Elizabeth Rochester for Canadian Baha'i News August 1969, used by permission. This article is taken from the book "Falling Into Grace" by Justice St. Rain, pp. 44 - 46.

"It is deeply disturbing to see the ease with which large numbers of Baha'is appear to get 'hurt' and at the tendency of other believers to 'sympathize' with the one hurt and show their 'love' by hardening their hearts against the one who presumably caused the hurt.

'Abdu'l-Baha asks us not to offend anyone. True!

He also asks us not to take offense! He requires us to regard our enemies (not just our estranged friends in the Faith) as friends. He doesn't simply ask us to treat them as friends even though we know they are enemies. He asks us to see them as friends. Why? Because these hurts are the tests which require us to grow if we are to be steadfast in the Cause. They are the tests which correct the direction of our growth (like pruning shrubs) and test the sincerity of our desire to love all mankind.

He requires us to love the people with all their shortcomings. He said, "Do not look at the people for they are full of shortcomings, but love them for the sake of God."

People who are warm and loving are very fortunate. People who are cold and forbidding often hate themselves, are already filled with guilt and fear and only a powerful and genuine love which can thaw their frozen hearts can cure them. What is 'love' if it takes sides against them?

A log may appear to be burning but only when the kindling is consumed can you tell if it has 'caught.' If we only 'love' when we are being 'loved', we haven't 'caught.' To know that is to know a bitter truth about ourselves, but it is one worth knowing. It is a very dangerous condition to be in - a completely dependent one. What is the cure? To completely immerse ourselves in the ocean of the Writings; to pray and beseech God to kindle the fire of love and attraction in our hearts; to take action; to seek reconciliation; to serve the friends no matter what the pain; to teach the Faith and direct the seeker to the source of love and illumination - which is the Revelation. (The friends cannot be this source, for they may or may not have 'caught.')

Many people took offense at 'Abdu'l-Baha Himself. Was the Perfect Exemplar responsible for their being offended? In such a case it is clear that offense can be taken when none was intended nor any cause given. 'Abdu'l-Baha was the object of the most despicable behavior which men are capable of, yet did He ever assume the role of a man offended? It is possible to exercise the spiritual muscles of forbearance, forgiveness, mercy and to refuse to take offense or be hurt. How do we know? We know because 'Abdu'l-Baha did it, and if we are tempted to retort, 'But I am not an 'Abdu'l-Baha, the obvious answer is 'That is evident, but He is still our example.' And the one who 'hurt' us is also not an 'Abdu'l-Baha, but only trying, it is to be hoped, to follow the same example as ourselves.

Baha'u'llah says that He desires to see us as one soul in many bodies. The one who hurts us is simply stuck on a different hurdle in the spiritual race. And we, in being hurt, are stuck on another. If we truly believe in the oneness of mankind we must love wisely enough and well enough to pray that we will both learn to take our separate hurdles in our strides, and in the meantime, love, love, and love again."

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OUR RIGHTS AND NEEDS AS AN INDIVIDUAL

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By Frances Mezei, Ontario, Canada

Many of us have been so deprived of nurturing ourselves that we may think that it's silly or selfish. We, especially women, must learn to take care of ourselves first - not to be selfish but to be in good condition, so that we can have a good relationship with ourselves, others and also to serve the Faith well and long. For instance, the airlines tell us to put on our own mask first because without oxygen, we will not be able to help ourselves or anyone else. There are many other things in life that are also essential, and for which each person needs to take individual responsibility. Some things are entirely in oneís own hands (such as prayer) and other things involve the people in our environment (such as a quiet place to pray in). Dealing with others to meet oneís own legitimate needs requires assertiveness.

At first it may seem out of character for us to express our needs, but the initial step is to become more aware of them. It is important to remember that we can take charge of our lives, accept responsibility and make adjustments. We do have a choice to be able to stand true to our heart's desires which requires awareness and courage. We can also choose how we respond to our needs and challenges. Contrary to the belief that we cannot control our emotions, the Baha'i Writings teach us that through the exercise of free will we can choose our responses. We can choose to be patient or frustrated, accepting or angry, loving or rejected. The more we strive to develop our virtues and qualities, the more we develop spiritually.

This topic is very close to my heart because I have had to learn many basic rights due to coping with a profound hearing loss since birth and being integrated in the regular school system. Throughout my life I have had to be constantly aware of the issues of communication and accessibility. For example, I have had to train many people to learn how to communicate with me, to ask people to face me when speaking, to repeat or rephrase when I do not understand and to sit in the front row of the classroom or lecture hall. These skills of asserting my needs have not always been easy to develop and yet this whole process has assisted me to be more aware of my needs and rights in order to function better.

Using the guidance, comfort and hope drawn from the Baha'i Writings, we can re-create and train ourselves new skills, attitudes and approaches to cope with our daily lives. The following quotes may assist us when asking ourselves the affirmations (see below).

"THE FIRST TARAZ

..and the first effulgence which hath dawned from the horizon of the Mother Book is that man should know his own self and recognize that which leadeth unto loftiness or lowliness, glory or abasement, wealth or poverty."

(Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 34-35)

"O SON OF SPIRIT!

The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee. By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbour. Ponder this in thy heart; how it behooveth thee to be. Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving-kindness. Set it then before thine eyes." (Baha'u'llah, Hidden Words, Arabic #2)

AFFIRMATIONS

1. I am able to look after my own needs first. (Women have always been trained to put others first and this is fine in our service and indeed the Faith encourages it. However, it can become unbalanced and, as reminded in the Writings, we must also remember the equality of the sexes.)

2. I think carefully when I am asked to serve. I look carefully into my heart and decide that this is the best way for me to serve. (We must remember that there are many people to serve the Faith and everyone serves differently. Focusing on the knowledge of becoming our true self will help us understand our capacities and talents and unique area of service rather than following someone else's wants and desires.)

3. I am able to take time for myself daily which includes bringing myself to account each day.

4. I allow myself and others to make mistakes.

5. I ask people questions when I require clarity or understanding of a situation.

6. I follow my instinct or inner voice or conscience, as long it is in line with the teachings of the Faith.

7. I feel okay about disagreeing with what people say or do. And I feel okay about them disagreeing with me.

8 I respect myself and so therefore my friends treat and respect me as an individual.

9. I am able to ask other people for help and to accept assistance.

10. I do not have to explain everything I do and think.

11. I am always learning to recognize, listen, and take care of my emotions when they arise.

12. I ask people to speak kindly to me if I am being criticized or put down. Or I end the conversation and say prayers for them and work towards mutual respect.

13. I rest when I feel tired or overwhelmed.

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CREATIVE EXERCISES

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By Frances Mezei, Ontario, Canada

1) Capsule Collage: Collect a stack of magazines, newspapers, catalogs, cereal boxes, and old photo collections, which you can allow yourself to take apart. Look through the materials, cutting out any images that reflect your life or interests. Think of this collage as a form of pictorial autobiography. Include your past, present, future and your dreams. Keep pulling until you have a good stack of images (at least twenty). Now take a sheet of newspaper or large paper, a stapler, or some tape or glue, and arrange your images in a way that pleases you. Remember that it is not necessary to know why an image speaks to you; just appreciate that there is a connection to your life. Feel free to add words with a magic marker or paints. Try to reflect the talents, skills and qualities that you have learned throughout your life and either write them below the images or on the back of the paper.

2) Relationship Collage: Do the same as above except do a collage of a special and/or difficult relationship. This is a very powerful tool and one that may give you unexpected clarity and relief.

3) Encouragement Letters: This can be done with your family, friends or community members. Each individual can write an encouragement letter describing the strengths and positive qualities of each person in the group involved. This can be simple with a few lines and the letters could be prepared alone at home. I know of one community who did this and it seemed to have had a healing effect on everyone and I hear that some of the people still look at their letters from time to time to provide them strength and support.

4) Inspiration Cards: Make a list of your strengths, your skills, your past achievements. For example do you cook, swim, play sports or do gardening? Are you creative? Do you draw, paint, write stories; have you decorated your home or landscaped your yard? Are you gentle, considerate, generous? Write your list on small cards and you can either carry them with you, post them on the wall, or keep them in your drawer. Continue adding to your list as you become more aware of your strengths, skills or past achievements. You can read out loud daily the list to yourself.

(If you have any creative and useful exercises to share with the readers, we would be interested to hear from you. Recently a friend from Poland shared that there are some countries, for example Eastern Europe, that lack resources such as psychology and health books for the friends, therefore it would be very helpful if we could share our materials and resources with each other. I recall that when I visited a family in Ukraine, they asked earnestly for me to mail them some psychology books.)

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BE WHO YOU ARE

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Taken from "The Language of Letting Go" by Melody Beattie, pp. 64-65

"When I meet people or get in a new relationship, I start putting all these repressive restrictions on myself. I can't have my feelings. Can't have my wants and needs. Can't have my history. Can't do the things I want, feel the feelings I 'm feeling, or say what I need to say. I turn into this repressed, perfectionistic robot, instead of being who I am: Me." - Anonymous.

"Sometimes, our instinctive reaction to being in a new situation is: Don't be yourself. Who else can we be? Who else would you want to be? We don't need to be anyone else. The greatest gift we can bring to any relationship wherever we go is being who we are. We may think others won't like us. We may be afraid that if we just relax and be ourselves, the other person will go away and shame us. We may worry about what the other person will think.

But, when we relax and accept ourselves, people often feel much better being around us than when we are rigid and repressed. We're fun to be around. If others don't appreciate us, do we really want to be around them? Do we need to let the opinions of others control us and our behavior?

Giving ourselves permission to be who we are can have a healing influence on our relationships. The tone relaxes. We relax. The other person relaxes. Then everyone feels a little less shame, because they have learned the truth. Who we are is all we can be, all we're meant to be, and it's enough. It's fine. Our opinion of ourselves is truly all that matters. And we can give ourselves all the approval we want and need.

Today, I will relax and be who I am in my relationship. I will do this not in a demeaning or inappropriate way, but in a way that shows I accept myself and value who I am. Help me, God, let go of my fears about being myself."

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QUOTATIONS FROM THE BAHA'I WRITINGS

ABOUT SELF-KNOWLEDGE

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The following quotes teach us about becoming our true selves.

"Whatever duty Thou hast prescribed unto Thy servants of extolling to the utmost Thy majesty and glory is but a token of Thy grace unto them, that they may be enabled to ascend unto the station conferred upon their own inmost being, the station of the knowledge of their own selves." (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings, pp. 4-5)

"And be ye not like those who forget God, and whom He hath therefore caused to forget their own selves'...'He hath known God who hath known himself." (ibid, p. 178)

"Could ye apprehend with what wonders of My munificence and bounty I have willed to entrust your souls, ye would, of a truth, rid yourselves of attachment to all created things, and would gain a true knowledge of your own selves - a knowledge which is the same as the comprehension of Mine own Being." (ibid, 326-7)

"True loss is for him whose days have been spent in utter ignorance of his true self." (Baha'u'llah, Tablet of Baha'u'llah, 156)

"Let your thoughts dwell on your own spiritual development, and close your eyes to the deficiencies of other souls." ('Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, p. 203)

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MORE RESPONSES ABOUT HEPATITIS C

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Here are more answers to the question asked in the June, 2000 issue in which a reader requested information about hepatitis C.

Answers:

When I hear the word "Hepatitis" no remedy comes to mind more readily than the Herb Milk Thistle. I thought that its healing properties concerning the liver would be and are so well known throughout the natural healing world, that its reputation in this area of health would just be a given. But perhaps not. So if that is the case, I think I should enumerate some of Milk Thistle's many benefits to be had at this time.

In "The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants" Andrew Chevallier says this about Milk thistle:

"Today, milk thistle is the main remedy used in western herbal medicine to protect the liver and its many metabolic activities, and help renew its cells. The herb is used in the treatment of jaundice, as well as in conditions where the liver is under stress--whether from infection, excess alcohol, or from chemotherapy prescribed to treat diseases such as cancer. In this last instance, milk thistle can help to limit damage done to the liver by chemotherapy and speed up recovery from side effects once the treatment is completed." pg. 71 "The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants, Andrew Chevallier, DK Publishing, 1996, ISBN 0-7894-0672

In "The Green Pharmacy" by James A. Duke Ph.D., Dr.Duke states:

"I had hepatitis in Panama 25 years ago, and I did what my doctors told me; I stopped drinking alcohol until I recovered, which was a challenge because in Panama, the rum is cheap and tasty. And I rested. That was it...."

" When my son developed hepatitis a few years ago, his doctor gave him the same advice mine gave me in Panama years ago. But this time around, I knew more about medicinal herbs, so I gave my son two bottles of milk thistle capsules."

"Milk thistle is my top choice for all kinds of liver ailments, including everything from hepatitis to cirrhosis to Amanita mushroom poisoning." pg. 375 "The Green Pharmacy, The Ultimate Compendium of Natural Remedies From The Worlds Foremost Authority on Healing Herbs" James A. Duke, Ph.D. St. Martin's Press, 1997, ISBN: 0-312-96648-2

- Linda E. Nedderman, Rhode Island, U.S.A

http://www.aiconnect.com/~lindan Learn more about Multiple Chemical Sensitivities at the Chemical Injury Information Network (CIIN)

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I would like to share with you some information about powerful herbal medicines that are available to treat Hepatitis B and C successfully. As a former clinical faculty at Bastyr University in Seattle, I saw numerous cases of hepatitis B and C. Many patients were treated with herbs (mainly Ayurvedic herbs and some Western herbs) that are specific to the healing and the regeneration of the liver cells. Medicinal herbs which have anti-viral activity specific to the liver have been used to treat hepatitis. Intravenous injections of vitamin C can also be helpful in some cases. Depending on the constitution of the individual, the disease pattern and progression, and the status of the individual's immunity, some herbs may be used over others to treat. And of course, diet and nutritional therapy is important, as well as prayer and meditation. In many cases, the blood test results improve dramatically within 3-6 months of treatment. Forgive me if I have been vague in terms of the specific treatments, but because Hepatitis C is such a life-threatening condition, any form of treatment, including herbal, needs to been performed under the supervision of a physician. If you have specific questions or would like to know more, you are welcome to contact me via e-mail: drdarvish@yahoo.com.

- Dr. Nooshin K. Darvish, Naturopathic Family Physician in Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.

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REQUESTING ASSISTANCE FROM OUR READERS

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"My friend suddenly developed allergies to many foods, including most if not all cooking oils, not long after being stung by a poisonous sea animal. If he eats anything with soy, olives, sesame oil, pumpkin, basil, or black pepper, he develops huge itchy welts, and occasionally has some respiratory distress. It appears that the list of foods may be growing, too. Has anyone had experience with this kind of sudden food allergy? Does anyone have any advice to share?"

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SUGGESTED READING

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"Sacred Moments - Daily Meditations on the Virtues"

This book of meditation and stories by Linda Kavelin Popov, founder of "The Virtues Project", includes 52 virtues, one for each week of the year. Drawn from the sacred texts of the world's religions, the wisdom of poets, writers, artists, philosophers, celebrities, and regular folks, "Sacred Moments" provides a simple tool for daily reflection and meditation on the different virtues.

"Divine Therapy - Pearls of Wisdom from the Baha'i Writings"

Compiled by AnnaMarie Honnold. This book is a collection of quotations from the Baha'i Writings offering guidance for spiritual and emotional healing. This book is grouped into three main sections, "Coping with Stress", "Orientation to the Divine" and "Developing Helpful Attitudes".

"Vignettes from the Life of `Abdu'l-Baha"

Compiled by AnnaMarie Honnald. It is a unique collection of stories, sayings and comments, providing a special insight into the life, character and station of Baha'u'llah's eldest son, 'Abdu'l-Baha. The human virtues which made 'Abdu'l-Baha known as the Perfect Exemplar are illustrated in over two hundred and fifty vignettes of His life.

These books can be ordered from most Baha'i Distribution Services.

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QUESTION OF THE MONTH

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"And now we wish to address a few words to parents who bear the primary responsibility for the upbringing of their children. We appeal to them to give constant attention to the spiritual education of their children. Some parents appear to think that this is the exclusive responsibility of the community; others believe that in order to preserve the independence of children to investigate truth, the Faith should not be taught to them. Still others feel inadequate to take on such a task. None of this is correct. The beloved Master has said that "it is enjoined upon the father and mother, as a duty, to strive with all effort to train the daughter and the son," adding that, "should they neglect this matter, they shall be held responsible and worthy of reproach in the presence of the stern Lord." Independent of the level of their education, parents are in a critical position to shape the spiritual development of their children...." (Ridvan 2000 message from the Universal House of Justice, the supreme administration body of the Baha'i Faith.)

How can communities support parents in the spiritual education of their children and how can community members establish sound relationships with the children and youth in their community?

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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. 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: -- .

PLEASE NOTE:

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.

****************

WEB SITE

****************

You can visit the website, obtain back issues and the Healing Through Unity Course at: http://www.healingthroughunity.org




HEALING THROUGH UNITY

October, 2000

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of
physical and spiritual health envisioned in the Baha'i Teachings.

Volume 4, Issue #2

_______________________________________________________

CONTENTS

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- A Canadian Couple Adopts a Child from China
- Book - Adopting in China: A Practical Guide/ An Emotional Journey
- The Exchange
- The Role of the "Not-Parent"
- The Importance of Reading to Children
- The Value of Massage and Herbal Therapies
- More Responses to Hepatitis C
- Requesting Assistance From Our Readers
- Book/Pamphlet Section
- Letters
- Question of the Month
- Purpose of the Newsletter
- Website

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A CANADIAN COUPLE ADOPTS A CHILD FROM CHINA

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By Ann Sheppard and Richard Turner, Ontario, Canada

Almost two years ago, we adopted a little girl from China. We named her Lauren Lai-Sying (Lai-Sying is Chinese for "Beautiful Star"). We feel so wonderfully blessed to have this beautiful little girl in our family, and deeply enriched by learning about China and sharing this experience with the numerous other families around us who have 'children from China'. This is our story about how it happened.

Our son Ben was four years old and we had been considering adopting another child, but were disheartened by the lengthy waiting times involved with domestic adoptions. We then heard of a Baha'i couple who had adopted a baby girl while they were living in China. We visited them and learned about the process of adopting from China. They informed us of an agency in Ottawa, Canada that deals exclusively with adoptions from China. While we were in their home we fell in love with their little girl. By the time we left, we were sure that this was what we wanted to do, and there was no turning back.

We immediately got in touch with the adoption agency "Children's Bridge" in Ottawa. They sent us a package which outlined all the things we had to do and all the paperwork needed to begin this process. We toiled away at this for what seemed like a long time. Eventually, all the paper work was completed, and we were approved by the Canadian government as fit to be adoptive parents. All of our paperwork was translated into Chinese (by the Children's Bridge translator) and our complete file was sent to China. We then settled down to wait as patiently as we could to receive an offer of a child from China.

All this time, we were learning more and more about the situation in China. We learned that China is a country which is overpopulated and is having a great deal of difficulty feeding its people. Because of this, the Chinese government in the 1980's instituted a "One Child Policy" to curb the rate of population growth. We learned that in Chinese culture, sons are responsible for looking after their parents in their old age, and that when a woman marries, it is expected that she will care for her in-laws, rather than her own parents. In effect, having a son is like having an old-age security pension. Not having a son is to feel insecure for one's old age. Consequently, if a couple gives birth to their first child and it is a daughter, they may feel they have to give her up and try again for a son. Similarly, if a couple already has one child and another pregnancy occurs they may be forced to give the child up, as the penalties for having more than one child are very severe, including being disallowed from holding a job of any sort. Most frequently, these babies (over 90% of which are female) are abandoned anonymously in a public place. They are usually picked up by the police and taken to one of the many orphanages all over China.

We also turned to the Baha'i Writings to find out what they said about adoption, and felt confirmed in what we were doing when we read:

"He that bringeth up his son or son of another, it is as though he hath brought up a son of Mine; upon him rest My Glory, My Loving Kindness, My Mercy, that have compassed the world." (Baha'u'llah, Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 16: taken from Lights of Guidance, p. 141, Helen Hornby)

After what seemed to be an eternity but was actually only 8 months after our file went to China, we received a tiny black and white photo of the child the Chinese adoption officials had selected for us, along with a very brief medical history. I will never forget the image of our son Ben kissing this little picture when we showed it to him and told him that this little girl was going to be his sister.

We confirmed our acceptance of this child and within another month, Richard flew to China with a group of 12 other Children's Bridge "parents-to-be" (We decided that in our case one of us had to stay home with Ben.) This trip consisted of a 2 week itinerary during which he received Lauren from the orphanage and travelled with her to various places to finalize the adoption in China.

On the day Richard and Lauren arrived home, Ben and I and all our extended family were at the airport waiting excitedly as Richard suddenly came into view with a skinny, wide-eyed little one-year-old girl who was obviously trying very hard to take it all in. The feeling of joy was so intense that it is difficult to express it in words.

That feeling of joy has never left us. Lauren is a beautiful child, both physically and spiritually. She arrived home 3 weeks after her first birthday, skinny, covered in eczema, able to sit but not yet crawling, and not yet introduced to any solid foods. Within a period of 2-3 months, she changed dramatically. She progressed to crawling and walking, began eating a wide variety of foods with a very healthy appetite, and began to put on some weight. She didn't know what to do with a book when she first arrived but soon became keenly interested in being read to. At present, in spite of the fact that she missed a year of exposure to English, her language skills are at the high end of the range for her age. It took a good year before she actually had a small healthy layer of baby fat on her, and just about as long before her skin cleared up. All in all, she has made a marvellous adjustment to life in our Canadian home.

We have been especially joyful as her personality has emerged. She has a bubbly and happy disposition and an infectious laugh. She is very sweet-natured. She loves to sing and she chats away non-stop when she is at home. She bonded very quickly with her big brother Ben (or "Buh" as she initially called him) and still tries to copy everything he does. We simply adore her and could not imagine life without her now.

We are aware, however, that these early years are probably the easy ones compared to what is to come. She will have to come to terms with the fact that she was abandoned both by her parents and her country. Fortunately, there is a very strong network of families who have adopted children from China who keep in touch so the children will be able to support one another as they grow up. We strongly encourage this, and also in due time the learning of Chinese culture and language. More than this, however, we pray that in addition to our deep love for her we will also be able to give her a deep spiritual understanding, born of the Baha'i Faith, that will help her to come to terms with the reality that she is one of the *"millions and millions (of children) in country after country (who) are dislocated socially.", and that she is one of the "children (who) find themselves alienated by parents and other adults whether they live in conditions of wealth or poverty." and that "this alienation has its roots in a selfishness that is born of materialism that is at the core of the godlessness seizing the hearts of people everywhere." *Ridvan Message 2000 (written by the Universal House of Justice, Haifa, Israel)

Our most sacred dream would be that some day Lauren and Ben will visit China visit together and in some way will be able to help alleviate this sad social situation in China by furthering the spiritual principles there. Any readers who are interested in adopting a child from China can obtain further information through one of the many agencies all over the western world that facilitate adoptions from China. The agency which assisted us is:

The Children's Bridge
1400 Clyde Avenue, Suite 221
Nepean, Ontario, Canada K2G 3J2
Phone (613) 226-2112
Fax (613) 226-8843
Email: CBridge@direct-indirect.net

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BOOK - ADOPTING IN CHINA: A PRACTICAL GUIDE/AN EMOTIONAL JOURNEY

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By Kathleen Wheeler, Ph.D and Doug Werner

"In recent years the Chinese government has made it easier for foreigners to adopt Chinese children. It is estimated that there are up to four million Chinese baby girls in orphanages, and the number of Americans adopting these orphans is growing steadily.

This book is a resource guide for people interested in adopting in China - what to do, who to see and how much it will cost. It simplifies and explains important information about a sometimes mysterious subject. It is also a personal story of a middle-aged couple's quest to become parents - why and how they made the decision and what went on before, during and after the trip to China." (back cover)

To order the book: Tracks Publishing, 140 Brightwood Avenue, Chula Vista, CA 91910, (619) 476-7125, Fax (619) 476-8173

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THE EXCHANGE

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"...although providing spiritual and academic education for children is essential, this represents only a part of what must go into developing their characters and shaping their personalities. The necessity exists, too, for individuals and the institutions at all levels, which is to say the community as a whole, to show a proper attitude towards children and to take a general interest in their welfare....An all-embracing love of children, the manner of treating them, the quality of the attention shown them, the spirit of adult behaviour toward them - these are all among the vital aspects of the requisite attitude." (Universal House of Justice, Ridvan 2000)

Question:

How can communities support parents in the spiritual education of their children and how can community members establish sound relationships with the children and youth in their community?

Answers:

Speaking from personal experience. From the time my children were born, they attended 19-day Feasts and the community always included them and all the other children. They, once able to, were invited to say a prayer at Feasts and other gatherings, and no matter how slow or laboured the recitation was, they were never made to feel hurried. The National Assembly of Ireland sends a 19 - day children's newsletter produced by the National Education Committee to the Feast as well as the Feast letter. The children always shared the reading of this children's newsletter. It was generally read and discussed first at the consultative part of the Feast. When the children were still small, they would then leave with someone older to do an activity in another room and then return for the social part. When the children became older, if they wished, they would be included in the consultation.

The members of the community, many of them also parents and some single people were very warm and loving to the children/junior youth/youth talking with them and generally being interested in how they were doing in school/their hobbies etc. The Local Spiritual Assembly ( I am a member) always had children/youth as an item on its agenda and prayed for them specifically at the Assembly meetings. Thankfully, both the Assembly and the community realized/understood that the children were the future of the Faith and indeed "our precious trust". ( Local Spiritual Assemblies, elected annually consist of nine Baha'is, twenty-one years of age and older, govern the affairs of each local Baha'i community.)

I think I can say that the majority of the young people in the Irish community are now taking their place in the Baha'i community, traveling overseas to do a youth year of service, pioneering, homefront and overseas and serving on National Committees. I feel that our National Assembly, aided by its relevant committees, had great foresight and wisdom and now there are 3 or 4 older youth who have been chosen to go to the World Centre next May as part of the 19 to attend the formal opening of the Terraces.

In a nutshell, they (children/junior youth/youth) were included, loved and communicated with by the community members and the Institutions. Also I personally want to say, communicating and relating with children/youth is rewarding and enjoyable. Everyone gains from it, children/youth have such insight and are usually very straight forward in their talking and thinking. We all can learn from them.
- Eleanor Dawson, Ireland

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Here in Perth, Western Australia we have just formed a Parenting and Family Life Task Force to look at this question and many others. Last week, I came across one of the many wonderful and useful quotations from the Core Curriculum for Spiritual Education, Parenting Program:

"So long as the mother faileth to train her children, and start them on a proper way of life, the training which they receive later on will not take its full effect. It is incumbent upon the Spiritual Assemblies to provide the mothers with a well-planned programme for the education of children, showing how, from infancy, the child must be watched over and taught. These instructions must be given to every mother to serve her as a guide, so that each will train and nurture her children in accordance with the Teachings." ('Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, p. 138)

In response to the question as to how we can support parents, I would like to offer the suggestion that the community look into running this wonderful parenting program (it is currently being assessed by the International Teaching Centre). The Core Curriculum is an educational program for the spiritual development of children and families that has been developed by the National Baha'i Educational Task Force under the guidance of the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States. The training program has four modules or sections: the role and qualities of the teacher, including the importance of a personal transformation program; the spiritual reality of the child, including an examination of physical, mental and spiritual stages in human development; the interconnected relationships and responsibilities of parents, teachers, Spiritual Assemblies and the community for the education of children; and using sections of the Core Curriculum, making lesson plans and activities which accommodate a wide range of learning styles.

The program is process oriented, aims at promoting the growth of child-development centered communities, drawing into the process all members of the community.

We have nearly completed working through this program and have gained much in spiritual insight as well as having lots of fun and laughter, and developing unity and friendship in our community.
- Sue Haselhurst, Australia

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Regarding the spiritual education of children, I have attended and even conducted many seminars and meetings on this topic and have advised parents according to the Writings, stressing the need for continuous reflection, family prayer and family consultation, the need to set limits and the need to be a good example. The introduction to the Virtues Guide (see book/pamphlet section) is a good place for parents to start when looking for ways to improve the spiritual education of children. What has lately come to my attention though, is that our 'deepened' Baha'is, who themselves could quote the entire Baha'i Education compilation verbatim, still often resort to physical punishment (slapping and pinching), threats, abuse and insults when dealing with children under five. It really doesn't work at all. These are the children who themselves start hitting other children when under pressure. I wonder if communities shouldn't help parents to deal with frustration and anger and teach them about time out (for themselves as well as the child) and using other means of disciplining small children. Of course, some parents go to the opposite extreme of letting their children destroy someone's home while they smile benignly - but it is possible to have well disciplined children without a battle. I learned this the hard way but now we have a fixed set of rules about behaviour with punishments (such as no story, no TV) and lots of rewards and encouragement for the slightest good thing (non-material rewards, such as more love and attention and time with mom and dad). When we get too stressed and shout at them, we apologize and take responsibility for it. They also take responsibility for their own bad moods. Sometimes we forget that a child is a green and tender plant that will grow in whichever way WE train the child. This is an image to always keep in your mind when you are about to lose your cool.

"While the physical discipline of children is an acceptable part of their education and training, such actions are to be carried out "gently and patiently" and with "loving care", far removed from anger and violence with which children are beaten and abused in some parts of the world. To treat children in such an abhorrent manner is a denial of their human rights, and a betrayal of the trust which the weak should have in the strong in a Baha'i community." (The Universal House of Justice, from the Research Department, 17 January 1994)
- Anonymous

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THE ROLE OF THE "NOT-PARENT"

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By Denise Moberly, taken from "Parenting in the New World Order, Volume 5, Issue #5, January, 1996)

For this article "not-parent" is an adult to whom a teen turns for a listening ear and/or advice.

"In our global society, families have become scattered. There once were and sometimes still are, grandparents, aunts, uncles, older cousins nearby. Now there may be a neighbour, a family friend, a friend's parent. The lack of a close family net does not eliminate the need of a teen to discuss the process of becoming an adult with other adults. Discussion with parents is needed, but, reflecting thoughts and ideas off other adults expands the youth's horizons. This is not a sign of a deficient parent but rather a sign of a budding adult using the fundamentals of consultation for problem-solving, and for exploring themselves.

Youth on the verge of adulthood need to see themselves as an adult rather than an extension of their parents. Talking with an adult who listens and speaks to them as an adult is one way of finding out who they are.

"True loss is for him whose days have been spent in utter ignorance of his self." (Baha'u'llah, Words of Wisdom, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p.156)

During my teen years when I felt I couldn't talk with my parents I had other adults to talk with. Sometimes I felt my parents "just wouldn't understand", sometimes I just wanted another viewpoint, or another form of expression. I now see that "not understanding" is that the parents and I knew each other so well that it was too close, so I went to an adult I trusted to sound out my concerns or try out new ideas. These women listened, sharing their life skills, and spoke their concern as a parent. They could hear my struggles and supported the wisdom of my parents.

"Likewise, when you meet those whose opinions differ from your own, do not turn away your face from them. All are seeking truth, and there are many roads leading thereto. Truth has many aspects, but it remains always and forever one...Rather, search diligently for the truth and make all men your friends." ('Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 53)

My daughter is 17 and I am now witnessing this process. I have also been in the position of the not-parent, where a teen has trusted me enough to explore a part of their world with me. I have found that I have learned from these youth and that the search for truth has given me another friend.

The sharing between the elder and the youth is a time-honoured part of community building."

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THE IMPORTANCE OF READING TO CHILDREN

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By Frankie Shaw, taken from "Puslinch Pioneer, Ontario, Canada, Vol. 24, Issue #2, September, 1999

"I recently read an article on literacy, and the facts were startling. Reading to children requires parents' urgent attention from their child's birth onwards. Researchers are saying that children who have not been read to and so have not exercised that part of their brain by the age of seven are in danger of experiencing brain atrophy. The more that children are read to before they go to school, the more likely their academic success. Those fortunate children who have the pleasure of being read to before they start school have an 80% greater change of finishing high school, but children who have not experienced that pleasure lack the wide vocabulary and metaphorical base from which to start the formal process of learning. They need to know that language has a cadence and rhythm which is different when read. They need to know the alphabet. They need to know that words in English go from left to right and they need to know that pages turn from right to left. Children who have spent many hours in front of televisions, computers, video games, or movies do not necessarily know these things. So, given that parents know how important it is for them to read to their children, here's how to set about it:

* Choose books that appeal to both yourself and your child. Some books seem to meet a deep need and will be read over and over again.

* If an event is going to happen such as a new baby coming into the family or a grandparent going into hospital, you could introduce the idea through a story, which will in turn promote discussion in a positive way.

* Choose stories to validate your child's point of view and to show respect for his/her experiences.

* Nourish the development of the brain through the stimulation of ideas, concepts and enriched language.

* Foster the ability to problem-solve as the child identifies with the characters and their situations.

* Register your child in your local library's Story Time. There he/she will join other children and see how they enjoy listening to stories and looking at the pictures.

Spending time reading with your child is one of the most critical investments you will make in your child's and the community's future.

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THE VALUE OF MASSAGE AND HERBAL THERAPIES

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By Brenda Norrell, U.S.A

After two decades of the stress of being a news reporter, I've just received massage reflexology treatments from a Mexican woman. It was very painful, but released tensions I'd had for decades and helped my arthritis, sinus problems, allergies and chronic fatigue syndrome.

But that was only the first step, I still had chronic pain in some joints and my general health wasn't good. She recommended a number of herbs that are incredible. Gotu Kola, which I take in a tincture with Gingko, has a wonderful overall healing effect. She recommended a tea of marshmallow and peppermint for three months to restore my intestines to new health (damaged by parasites and coffee no doubt), and valerian for calming. The valerian at the Health Food Stores has a tremendous impact, like Valium. I only had to take two capsules of the herb one time. She also recommended cayenne pepper for sinus problems. I take it by the pinch, but she gives it in capsules.

I also like the eyebright tea she recommended. All of these herbs actually became purgative in my system. Instead of attempting to stop the vomiting, I realized it was like the method used in many Native healing practices. It wasn't until after I had vomited for about two weeks that I truly began to feel better.

This, along with working out at the gym and using the steam room, eating more vegetables and salads and drinking more bottled water, has totally freed me from four years of chronic fatigue syndrome. I also had to decrease caffeine and colas. Like most people, I was very sleep deprived and needed four months of very long nights of sleep, a luxury of solitude.

Before I began any of this routine, two years ago, I also got rid of my car. I use a bicycle or walk in town. (For out of town trips, I rent cars.) I had no choice, because I was getting to the point that getting out of bed, any exertion at all, was just too exhausting.

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MORE RESPONSES TO HEPATITIS C

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Having been a classical homoeopath for 14 years, I have found many remedies useful. Of course, classical homoeopathy teaches you should choose the remedy for the person! Several people with hepatitis C have been largely improved both as their virus counts as to their general feeling and energy level. But, one has to be exact and also persevering!
- Dr Agnes Ghaznavi, Macau

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I showed the May, 2000 issue to my doctor and she was interested in sharing something with the reader who had hepatitis C. Rosa Maria Miguez de Renart, Leticia Cartier, Tamara Jeletzky MD, Nida Miniano, M. Szyczglowski, members of the Cancer Survivors Research Group here in Nepean have put together some information regarding the common features of patients with serious health problems such as AIDS, hepatitis C, cancer, etc. Dr. Gilka asked me to share this with you so that your reader may find some helpful information by checking these areas. There are 4 features which may start to help:

1. lifestyle change
2. absolute forgiveness
3. commitment to God
4. positive thinking

- Michelle Cooney, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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REQUESTING ASSISTANCE FROM OUR READERS

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Recently my spiritual daughter age 25 and Persian shared with me the reality of her drinking and taking drugs. She does not feel that she can get help within the Baha'i community let alone turn to other Persian Baha'is for help. After speaking with her, I have learned from other young Persian Baha'is that they have the same problems and fears. Is there anyone out there working to help break the silence of this frightening condition? These young people need and want help but don't know what to do or how to do it and I don't know what to tell them. Does anyone know how wide spread this problem could be? I know that more than Persians suffer from these problems, but they seem to hide it more. I'm grateful for any insights.

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BOOK/PAMPHLET SECTION

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SUBSTANCE ABUSE: A BAHA'I PERSPECTIVE

By A-M. Ghadirian, M.D.

This book provides accurate, up-to-date information about diverse addictive substances that are widely abused worldwide, including alcohol, tobacco, cocaine, marijuana, and heroin. It is both for the general public and for professionals. While its style is clear and easy to understand for those who are directly affected by substance abuse, it will also be useful to communities and institutions dealing with substance abuse issues and policies on the local, national and global levels. This book can be ordered from Unity Arts, 1-800-465-3287, (613) 727-6200 or check the Baha'i Books Online at www.bahaibooksonline.com, email: orders@bahaibooksonline.com

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"HEALTH AND HEALING: A BAHA'I PERSPECTIVE" - A PAMPHLET

A very nice pamphlet that can be given to health care givers on the perspectives of the Baha'i Faith on health care can be downloaded from the web site: http://www.steinergraphics.com/health.html. It can only be opened by Adobe Acrobat Reader which can be downloaded for free from the internet. For those of you who do not reside in Canada you may want to consider making appropriate adjustments to the contact information box, etc.

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THE FAMILY VIRTUES GUIDE: SIMPLE WAYS TO BRING OUT THE BEST IN OUR CHILDREN AND OURSELVES

By Linda Kavelin Popov, Dan Popov and John Kavelin

This is a wonderful book which stresses 52 virtues - one for each week of the year - including trust, caring, humility, generosity, and excellence. This book shows how to learn the language of integrity and self-esteem; understand the five roles parents play; help children make moral choices; and discover ways to introduce sacred time into family life. This book can be found in book stores, Baha'i Distribution Services or www.amazon.com - on-line bookstore.

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LETTERS

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We found a capable Baha'i who translates your wonderful newsletter in Russian on a regular basis. We have a Russian version of the issues since January 1999 (# 2-5). Soon we are going to place all of them to the Web-site of the Belarussian Baha'i community.

Circulation of the "Healing Through Unity" newsletter in Russian covers 12 Baha'i communities and groups in Belarus and some individuals in Moscow and Sakhalin Island (Russia). Yet we send each newly translated issue to the National Spiritual Assembly of Russia, Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, Georgia and Kazakhstan through Email.

The response is always very positive, I should admit. Baha'is use "Healing Through Unity" as an effective tool in individual teaching, and to discuss some exciting topics at home firesides.

We expect each new issue with agitation and are really thankful to you and your friends for this well-done work.
- Vassily Kislyak, Secretary, National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Belarus

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I have been a subscriber since January 1999 and I have enjoyed reading every issue. However, this month's issue was fantastic! Keep up the excellent work.
- Vivian Baravalle, The Czech Republic

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I am a doctor from China and now studying at Landegg Academy for MA degree of spiritual psychology. In August, 2000 I will finish my study here and return to China. I appreciated your inspiring newsletter for the spiritual and healthy life. I am writing my paper - "Perspective on the concept of unity in medicine: a historical review and a proposal of new model." And "Healing Through Unity" is one of my best friends and references. Thank you so much.
- Hu Ying, China

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QUESTION OF THE MONTH

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"Baha'i marriage is the commitment of the two parties one to the other, and their mutual attachment of mind and heart. Each must, however, exercise the utmost care to become thoroughly acquainted with the character of the other, that the binding covenant between them may be a tie that will endure forever. Their purpose must be this: to become loving companions and comrades and at one with each other for time and eternity...The true marriage of Baha'is is this, that husband and wife should be united both physically and spiritually, that they may ever improve the spiritual life of each other, and may enjoy everlasting unity throughout all the worlds of God. This is Baha'i marriage." ('Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, p. 118)

Question:

"How can marriage partners develop the qualities of character which will make it possible to build a strong, unified and healthy relationship? What are some communication skills that are important for the husband and wife to use?"

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PURPOSE OF THE NEWSLETTER

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"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. 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: -- .

PLEASE NOTE:

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.

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WEB SITE

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You can visit the website, obtain back issues and the Healing Through Unity Course at: http://www.healingthroughunity.org




HEALING THROUGH UNITY

November, 2000

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of

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

Volume 4, Issue #3

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CONTENTS

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- Love
- Marriage Ceremony of Shoghi Effendi and Mary Maxwell
- Choosing A Partner
- Healthy Relationships
- Steps to Take for Effective Consultation
- Dealing With Anger and Hurt
- Happy Couples
- The Value of Playfulness
- Responses From the Readers About Addiction Issues
- Requesting Assistance From Our Readers
- Question of the Month
- Purpose of the Newsletter
- Website

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LOVE

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"Know thou of a certainty that Love is the secret of God's holy Dispensation, the manifestation of the All-Merciful, the fountain of spiritual outpourings. Love is heaven's kindly light, the Holy Spirit's eternal breath that vivifieth the human soul. Love is the cause of God's revelation unto man, the vital bond inherent, in accordance with the divine creation, in the realities of things. Love is the one means that ensureth the felicity both in this world and the next. Love is the light that guideth in darkness, the living link that uniteth God with man, that assureth the progress of every illumined soul. Love is the most great law that ruleth this mighty and heavenly cycle, the unique power that bindeth together the divers elements of this material world, the supreme magnetic force that directeth the movements of the spheres in the celestial realms. Love revealeth with unfailing and limitless power the mysteries latent in the universe. Love is the spirit of life unto the adorned body of mankind, the establisher of true civilization in this mortal world, and the shedder of imperishable glory upon every high-aiming race and nation." (Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 27)

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MARRIAGE CEREMONY OF SHOGHI EFFENDI

AND MARY MAXWELL (RUHIYYIH KHANUM)

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By Ruhiyyih Rabbani, The Priceless Pearl, p. 151-2

"Surely the simplicity of the marriage of Shoghi Effendi - reminiscent of the simplicity of 'Abdu'l-Baha's own marriage in the prison-city of Akka - should provide a thought-provoking example to the Baha'is everywhere. No one, with the exception of his parents, my parents and a brother and two sisters of his living in Haifa, knew it was to take place. He felt strongly urged to keep it a secret, knowing from past experience how much trouble any major event in the Cause invariably stirred up. It was therefore a stunning surprise to both the servants and the local Baha'is when his chauffeur drove him off, with me beside him, to visit the Holy Tomb of Baha'u'llah on the afternoon of 25 March 1937. His heart drew him to that Most Sacred Spot on earth at such a moment in his life. I remember I was dressed, except for a white lace blouse, entirely in black for this unique occasion, and was a typical example of the way oriental women dressed to go out into the streets in those days, the custom being to wear black. Although I was from the West Shoghi Effendi desired me to fit into a pattern of the life in his house - which was a very oriental one - as naturally and inconspicuously as possible and I was only too happy to comply with his wishes in every way. When we arrived at Bahji and entered the Shrine he requested me to give him his ring, which I was still wearing concealed about my neck, and this he placed on the ring-finger of my right hand, the same finger that corresponded to the one of his own on which he himself had always worn it. This was the only gesture he made. He entered the inner Shrine, beneath the floor of which Baha'u'llah is interred, and gathered up in a handkerchief all the dried petals and flowers that the keeper of the Shrine used to take from the threshold and place in a silver receptacle at the feet of Baha'u'llah. After he had chanted the Tablet of Visitation we came back to Haifa and in the room of the Greatest Holy Leaf our actual marriage took place... There was no celebration, no flowers, no elaborate ceremony, no wedding dress, no reception. His mother and father, in compliance with the laws of Baha'u'llah, signified their consent by signing our marriage certificate and then I went back to the Western Pilgrim House across the street and joined my parents (who had not been present at any of these events), and Shoghi Effendi went to attend his own affairs. At dinner-time, quite as usual, the Guardian appeared, showering his love and congratulations on my mother and father. He took the handkerchief, full of such precious flowers, and with his inimitable smile gave them to my mother, saying he had brought them for her from the inner Shrine of Baha'u'llah. My parents also signed the marriage certificate and after dinner and these events were over I walked home with Shoghi Effendi...

The quietness, the simplicity, the reserve and dignity with which this marriage took place did not signify that the Guardian considered it an unimportant event - on the contrary. Over his mother's signature, but drafted by the Guardian, the following cable was sent to America 'Announce Assemblies celebration marriage beloved Guardian.' Inestimable honor conferred upon handmaid of Baha'u'llah, Ruhiyyih Khanum Miss Mary Maxwell. Union of the East and West proclaimed by Baha'i Faith cemented. Ziaiyyih mother of the Guardian. A telegram similar to this was sent to Persia. This news, so long awaited, naturally produced great rejoicing amongst the Baha'is and messages flooded in to Shoghi Effendi from all parts of the world."

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CHOOSING A PARTNER

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(Editor's Note: It was a delight to receive this article "Choosing a Partner" from a friend in Poland. It was prepared by Dr. Agnes and Bijan Ghaznavi for a Polish summer school, 2000. Excerpts are shared in this issue.)

Attraction and Harmony

"In short, attraction and harmony of things are the cause of the production of fruits and useful results, while repulsion and disharmony of things are the cause of disturbance and annihilation." ('Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith, p. 296)

Know His Own Self

"...man should know his own self, and know those things which lead to loftiness or to abasement, to shame or to honour, to affluence or poverty." (Baha'u'llah, The Baha'i World, p. 167)

Before Choosing a Partner

Some counsels of 'Abdu'l-Baha addressed to a believer help men and women to reflect on their attitude and the person of their choice.

1) A joyful disposition
"...she must be sympathetic, kind-hearted, happy and endowed with a joyful disposition." ('Abdu'l-Baha, 22nd Dec 1918, to A.S., Star of the West, vol 11, no 1, p. 20)

2) A companion and a partner
"....She must take an interest in all the problems pertaining to thy life, and be thy companion and partner in every phase of thy existence..." ('Abdu'l-Baha, 22nd Dec 1918, to A.S., Star of the West, vol 11, no 1, p. 20)

3) Everlasting friendship
"Before choosing a wife a man must think soberly and seriously that this girl will be his friend throughout all his life. It is not a temporary matter." ('Abdu'l-Baha, 22nd Dec 1918, to A.S., Star of the West, vol 11, no 1, p. 20)

A Mate and Intimate Confident
"She is a soul with whom he must associate all the days of his life; she will be his mate and his intimate confidant; therefore, day by day their love and their attachment to each other must increase." ('Abdu'l-Baha, 22nd Dec 1918, to A.S., Star of the West, vol 11, no 1, p. 20)

No Interference
"As for the question regarding marriage under the Law of God: first thou must choose one who is pleasing to thee, and then the matter is subject to the consent of father and mother. Before thou makest thy choice, they have no right to interfere." ('Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, p. 118)

Consent of Parents
"As we desired to bring about love and friendship and the unity of the people, therefore We made marriage conditional upon the consent of the parents also, that enmity and ill-feeling might be avoided." (Baha'u'llah, Kitab-i-Aqdas)

Eternal Bond
"Baha'i marriage is union and cordial affection between the two parties. They must, however, exercise the utmost care and become acquainted with each other's character. This eternal bond should be made secure by a firm covenant, and the intention should be to foster harmony, fellowship and unity and to attain everlasting life." ('Abdu'l-Baha, The Baha'i World Faith, p. 372)

Character and Faith
"There is a difference between character and faith; it is often very hard to accept this fact and put up with it, but the fact remains that a person may believe and love the Cause - even to being ready to die for it - and yet not have a personal character, or possess traits at variance with the teachings." (Shoghi Effendi, from a letter dated October 17, 1944, written on behalf to an individual believer.)

True Baha'i Marriage
"The true marriage of Baha'is is this, that both husband and wife should be united both physically and spiritually, that they may ever improve the spiritual life of each other, and may enjoy everlasting unity throughout all the worlds of God. This is Baha'i marriage." ('Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, p. 118)

Tenderness Out of This World
"In the same way, when any souls grow to be true believers, they will attain a spiritual relationship with one another, and show forth a tenderness which is not of this world. They will, all of them, become elated from a draught of divine love, and that union of theirs, that connection, will also abide forever." ('Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, pp. 117-8)

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HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS

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Editor's notes: These notes are taken from the book "Breaking The Chain of Low Self-Esteem." by Marilyn J. Sorensen, Ph.D., 149 - 152.

"Healthy relationships are ones in which both partners are healthy individuals, with interests, goals, friends, activities, and a sense of worth not related to the partner....People who seek relationships to heal themselves or avoid their problems are incapable of fully completing their responsibilities to a healthy relationship; instead, they become either too dependent and devote all their energy to the other, or they become too self-focused, demanding, and selfish in their expectations. When one partner is not healthy, communication becomes strained, decision-making becomes more difficult, equality in the relationship cannot be achieved, and true intimacy is impossible.

Healthy relationships are formed when two healthy individuals decide that they would not only like to retain their personal interests and sense of self, but that they would also like to form an "us" with someone else and add a new entity to their lives. This is not a "giving up" of the individual - two do not become one - rather two become three as the model below indicates. Thus, each person maintains individuality while agreeing to share a portion of their lives with the other....

In a healthy relationship, both partners want the best for themselves and the best for the other person. They truly respect each other; they trust each other. They support and encourage each other, yet they maintain their own unique personalities and individuality. They do not try to control nor do they compete.

The model presented here, not only allows for, but also encourages independence, respect, equality, and personal responsibility. If followed, this plan prevents a couple from becoming mired down in codependency and enmeshment; it also provides a road map that enables the couple to discern when they are getting off track. Healthy men and women want to have such a relationship because it affords mutual respect. Many men, however, do not tolerate such a relationship because they see it as demanding far more of them than they have had to give in the past and more than they wish to contribute in the future. Most women, unless protecting their men or fearful they will be abandoned, clearly recognize that this type of relationship is fair to both and much healthier for both as well."

MODEL - TWO BECOME THREE

Partner #1 Us Partner #2
Individual friends Shared friends Individual friends
Individual goals Shared goals Individual goals
Individual Interests Shared interests Individual interests
Financial goals Shared financial goals Financial goals
Control of personal expenditures Division of financial resources (same as partner #1)
Career choices Where to live Career choices
Right to time alone Time spent together Right to time alone
Freedom to choose friends, how time is spent, dress, etc. (same as partner #1)
Personal errands Shared errands Personal errands
Household responsibilities
Shared life-style
Right to initiate or decline sex with partner Sexual relationship (same as partner #1)
Right to personal beliefs and opinions (same as partner #1)
Decision to have children
Shared parenting

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This marriage quote from the Baha'i Writings explains the importance of respecting each other's boundaries.

"Wherefore, wed Thou in the heaven of Thy mercy these two birds of the nest of Thy love, and make them the means of attracting perpetual grace; that from the union of these two seas of love a wave of tenderness may surge and cast the pearls of pure and goodly issue on the shore of life. "He hath let loose the two seas, that they meet each other: Between them is a barrier which they overpass not. Which then of the bounties of your Lord will ye deny? ( 'Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i Prayers, U.S. 1985 edition, p. 106)

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STEPS TO TAKE FOR EFFECTIVE CONSULTATION

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These notes are taken from "A Marriage Workshop", prepared by the Task Force for Family Life for the Continental Board of Counsellors in Europe, 1995.

"Consultation bestoweth greater awareness and transmuteth conjecture into certitude. It is the shining light, which, in a dark world, leadeth the way and guideth. For everything there is and will continue to be a station of perfection and maturity. The maturity of the gift of understanding is made manifest through consultation." (Baha'u'llah, quoted in Consultation: A Compilation, p.3)

"...must with all freedom express their own thoughts, and it is no wise permissible for one to belittle the thoughts of another..." (Abdu'l-Baha, Heaven of Divine Wisdom, p. 6)

1) Agree to consult and choose a time and place.
2) Establish unity and harmony.
3) Ask for aid from the Realm of Glory.
4) Define the problem or situation.
5) Consider the basic spiritual principles involved in the problem in a practical and simple way.
6) Each in turn proceed to state their views: How they see the problem, what they would like, or want to happen.
7) Explore various possible solutions.
8) Agree on one of the solutions - it may be a combination of a few possible solutions.
9) Carry out the decision unitedly.
10) Evaluate the decision after a time and consult again if need be.

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DEALING WITH ANGER AND HURT

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These notes are taken from "A Marriage Workshop", prepared by the Task Force for Family Life for the Continental Board of Counsellors in Europe, 1995.

"...let your adorning be forgiveness and mercy..." (Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 139)

Frustration, anger, and hurt can get in the way of co-operation, clear thinking, and communication. There are several steps that might be helpful in dealing with these feelings.

1. ADMITTING the feeling of frustration, hurt or anger. Being honest with ourselves is not easy if we believe the feelings to be all bad. It is easier if we see that such feelings are a warning that something is wrong. They have a story to tell that is often worth listening to.

2. REFUSING TO ACT UPON THE FIRST IMPULSE OF ANGER, FRUSTRATION OR HURT. Having a feeling and acting on it are two different things. Take "Three deep breaths" can be of help in separating the feeling and an immediate reaction that could be regretted later.

3. REFLECTING upon the feelings (when they are no longer so intense) by asking yourself such questions as: "What triggered (set off) this feeling? Did I feel misunderstood, unjustly treated, afraid, hurt, etc? It can be useful to ask: "Have I any typical patterns of feeling that get in the way of my relationships?"

If so, what can I do to change these patterns?

Reflection is difficult when feelings are intense. Later it may be possible to reflect and decide what to do next time. Perhaps consulting constructively with our partner will seem reasonable. Perhaps it will seem wiser to set the feelings aside. Physical activity can be a help in releasing pent up emotions. Other things can also be helpful - such as finding some higher purpose and realising that no one - (not even one's partner!) is perfect - "yet man must remember; the earth plane is a workshop and not an art gallery for the exhibition of powers. This is not the plane of perfection, but the earth is the crucible for refining and moulding character." ('Abdu'l-Baha, Star of West, Vol. 24, p. 350)

4. PRAYING has great power to dissolve troubling feelings. "Rely upon God, Trust in Him, Praise Him and call Him continually to mind. He verily turneth trouble into ease, and sorrow into solace, and toil into utter peace. He verily hath dominion over all things." ('Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, 178)

5. FORGIVING. Sometimes the pain and anger have a just cause. When more reasonable action cannot right the wrong, forgiving may be the only option available. It is perhaps more important to forgive, if we are not to become prisoners of our own bitterness. It is helpful to spend some time in reflection on forgiveness and any obstacles (within) that stands in the way of forgiving."

6. LOOK WITH COMPASSION BEHIND THE NEGATIVE BEHAVIOUR OF OTHERS. Assume there is an understandable reason for the way another is acting. We can then try to be ' a healing salve unto his sores...' ('Abdu'-Baha, Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'-Baha, p. 34). This may help to avoid acting in a defensive way. It might then be possible to react to the feeling behind the hurtful action.

Editor's notes: The last point #6, reminded me of this quote about The Greatest Holy Leaf, Bahiyyih Khanum, sister of 'Abdu'l-Baha and daughter of Baha'u'llah.

"You were sure that if one tried to hurt her she would wish to console him for his own cruelty. For her love was unconditioned, could penetrate disguise and see hunger behind the mask of fury, and she knew that the most brutal self is secretly hoping to find gentleness in another." (Marjory Morten, The Passing of Bahiyyih Khanum, The Baha'i World, Vol. 5, 1932-34)

I would also like to add two more important remedies for dealing with anger and hurt which are:

7. GRATITUDE. God sends us tests and difficult situations to teach us something essential for our growth and progress. By recognizing the problem as a test that God has lovingly given to us, it will be easier to accept them for our benefit and well being.

"Be generous in prosperity and thankful in adversity." (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings, p. 285)

"Those who suffer most, attain to the greatest perfection...Tests are benefits from God, for which we should thank Him. Grief and sorrow do not come to us by chance, they are sent to us by the Divine Mercy for our own perfecting.

While a man is happy he may forget his God; but when grief comes and sorrows overwhelm him, then will he remember his Father who is in Heaven, and who is able to deliver him from his humiliations.

Men who suffer not, attain no perfection. The plant most pruned by the gardeners is that one which, when the summer comes, will have the most beautiful blossoms and the most abundant fruit." (`Abdu'l-Baha,Paris Talks*, pp. 50-51)

8. PERFECTING OURSELVES We need to figure out what our mistakes/weaknesses are and then overcome them instead of focussing on others' faults. Here are a few examples from the Baha'i writings:

"Whenever you recognize the fault of another, think of yourself! What are my imperfections? - and try to remove them. Do this whenever you are tried through the words or deeds of others. Thus you will grow, become more perfect. You will overcome self, you will not even have time to think of the faults of others..." (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice, August 13, 1980, Multiple Authors, Lights of Guidance, p. 90)

"The tongue I have designed for the mention of Me, defile it not with detraction. If the fire of self overcome you, remember your own faults and not the faults of My creatures, inasmuch as every one of you knoweth his own self better than he knoweth others." (Baha'u'llah, Persian Hidden Words, # 66)

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HAPPY COUPLES

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Taken from "Parenting in the New World Order - The Marriage Journal", Volume 2, Issue #7, March, 1997

"A friend recently loaned us an article to read with the intriguing title: The Nine Secrets of Happy Couples" by Rebecca Rice from Red Book, February, 1997. We enjoyed Rebecca's article as she looked at the 'ways and means' of a happy marriage. Forty percent of marriages end in divorce so anything we all can learn about good marriages is to our advantage. The author of the article soon realizes of course, "there are certain core values" in good marriages. We know that everyone can probably list them - trust, mutual respect, commitment, etc. But there seem to arise the same habits from any happy couple that mirror these values. We will share very simple actions of her observations of happy couples.

1. They have personal 'pet' names for each other. Says Carolyn Perta, PhD, a marital and family therapist in Manhattan, "Pet names signal a safe, supportive environment and give us the chance to be vulnerable and childlike. They make us feel close to one another.

2. They DO things together - start businesses, take up cooking together, refinish to attic, browse in antique stores, etc.

3. When the going gets tough they don't call Mom or Dad. It is important for the couple to solve their internal problems without any outside, potentially intrusive and controlling forces.

4. They stay connected to their parents and other family members. This way they share that part of their life with each other.

5. They both try to give 150% - and don't keep score.

6. They know how to disagree with limits and with no name calling.

7. They give each other simple gifts or little notes.

8. They do not tease each other about their vulnerable areas.

9. They help each other through life's ups and downs.

"Couples who do well together tend not to do anything that increases their partner's suffering, like becoming resentful or criticizing," notes Dr. Young-Eisendrath. "They both feel that they can always count on each other."

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THE VALUE OF PLAYFULNESS

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By Eda LeShan, an educator and family counsellor for more than 40 years. These excerpts are taken from "Are You Happy? Some Answers to the Most Important Questions in Your Life", by Dennis Wholey, pp. 29-33

"Some of us don't know how to play. We take life and ourselves too seriously. Perhaps we grew up in families in which there wasn't fun and happiness. Perhaps we believe that being an adult is deadly serious business and that fun and games are for little children and teenagers.....Happy people seem to enjoy all that life has to offer, and that includes the lighter side of life. There is balance in their lives, and that includes the ability to have fun. Do I know how to play? When was the last time I had some fun?"

"If I'm very depressed or if something is bothering me today, my husband, Larry, and I go to the park. We get on the carousel horses and we start riding, and I start singing at the top of my lungs. It is pure and absolute joy and happiness. If I analyze it, I say that being my child - the child is what's coming out. The childlike part of us, the playful part, gets lost. That's why there's this terrible, terrible hunger. When people say they're not happy it's because they have lost the child and the playfulness. ...Playfulness is really the basis of all discovery, and discovery is the adventure of living. ..."

"One hot-as-hell day in the middle of summer Larry and I were out walking. We came upon a fountain where little kids were in the water. Larry looked at me and I looked at him; we took off our watches and our shoes and we went into the fountain too. We arrived back at our apartment soaking wet, but it was wonderful. It was totally refreshing because it was so unexpected. We just looked at each other and did it."

"Larry and I bought a rubber raft, which we names 'Privasea - "privacy." It was a stupid little rubber boat with little oars and we would take it through the marshes on the Jersey shore to look at the birds through our field glasses. Along would come fancy million-dollar boats that have a special place to hang fishing rods and a top deck on which to stand. The people aboard them would laugh and wave to us and make jokes about what we were doing. Larry and I felt that they would rather have been in our silly little raft than on a great big boat."

"Larry and I have been married for forty-one years. The reason we have stayed married is that we don't know what's going to happen next. We've kept our sense of playfulness; we're constantly surprising each other...."

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RESPONSES FROM THE READERS ABOUT

ADDICTION ISSUES

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Recently my spiritual daughter age 25 and Persian shared with me the reality of her drinking and taking drugs. She does not feel that she can get help within the Baha'i community let alone turn to other Persian Baha'is for help. After speaking with her, I have learned from other young Persian Baha'is that they have the same problems and fears. Is there anyone out there working to help break the silence of this frightening condition? These young people need and want help but don't know what to do or how to do it and I don't know what to tell them. Does anyone know how wide spread this problem could be? I know that more than Persians suffer from these problems, but they seem to hide it more. I'm grateful for any insights.

RESPONSES:

Like all cultures, Persian culture has many positive and negative aspects. One particularly negative aspect of this culture is the great emphasis on what I will call 'what will others think' syndrome. This prevents many individuals from being honest about personal tests for fear of what others may think or say. Unfortunately hiding problems and maintaining silence does not solve problems, but create bigger ones.

Firstly, it takes a great deal of courage for your spiritual daughter to share this problem with you and I would encourage you to commend her on her strength and courage. The fact that she has shared this with you means that firstly she does recognize it is a problem, and secondly, that she is reaching out for assistance.

If she is comfortable discussing this with her parents, the Local Assembly or an Auxiliary Board Member, please encourage her to do so and assure her of your full support as she tries to deal with this. If she is not comfortable going to family, friends or to the institutions of the faith, (which is what I would suspect is more likely) please take it upon yourself to be the one to help her address this problem and end her addiction.

Here is what I would do:

1. Do some research on the subject and put it all in a folder - perhaps do some internet research, get books, pamphlets etc on addiction; find out information on various agencies that deal with alcohol and drug addiction; information on therapists (preferably a woman) that specialize in this area. Alcohol and drug dependencies are often results of unresolved inner issues, frustrations, etc ... youth today are not always provided with the tools and channels they need to deal with tests, and alcohol and drugs are one way of 'forgetting' or dealing with problems or 'rebelling' against the forbidden. Therapy would be helpful for her to identify the underlying reasons for her addiction and through understanding comes power and strength.

2. Put together a list of quotations from the writings on the subject.

3. There is a Baha'i support group for people dealing with addiction. Call the Baha'i Centre and get information on this and contact information - just in case your 'daughter' would consider contacting them.

4. Prepared with all this information, invite her over to your home to discuss this issue. Tell her how grateful you are that she has shared this with you. It must be a great burden to have a problem such as this and feel there is no one to tell, nowhere to turn. Her opening up is the FIRST and most important step in her therapy. Say some prayers, and show her the folder with all the research you have done. Tell her what you've learned and what seems to stick out in your mind about her and this issue. Then have a consultation with her about what SHE would like to do.

- does she want to stop drinking and using drugs?
- why does she think this habit began for her?
- does she feel she can stop? (and tell her why you are confident that she can)
- ask any other questions you think are relevant

5. Ask her to take the folder home and study it and set up another time to meet a week or two later to discuss the matter further. Giving her the opportunity to take control and choose her treatment option will be empowering to her. But your 'presence' - physical, emotional, and spiritual - are vital for her success. Assure her that you are available to her at all times and that you will stick by her. Tell her this is not her 'fault' and there is no faulting, blaming etc ... it is nothing to be ashamed of. Everyone has their own challenges, and this happens to be hers ... but for her physical, spiritual and psychological health, it needs to be dealt with because it is not only something that is spiritually forbidden but physically unhealthy.

6. Encourage the daughter to involve her parents. If she is not comfortable with this, ask if she'd like for her (the woman assisting her) to be present if/when she chooses to tell her parents. Her presence may take some of the pressure off, but the woman will need to ensure the parents that they can trust her to keep this to herself or the parents may get upset with their daughter for telling someone outside of the family about the problem. They may or may not be upset/supportive, etc. There is not enough information to guess, but the bottom line is not to be judgmental of the young girl, not to attribute blame to her or her family; and finally to focus on working to assist her. She may very well be surprised by her parents' reaction and their understanding and support will be of great assistance to her.

7. Set out a time line with goals - what does she hope to achieve by when, etc.

Unfortunately, there is not enough discussion in the community about this problem and our young people don't always receive the support they need and deserve. We sometimes wrongly assume that just because something is 'forbidden' in the Faith, that it doesn't happen ... well it does, and there is indeed support out there in the community. Our youth are so important and precious and any effort you and others can make to assist in these issues, would be a great service.

- By Cheshmak Farhoumand-Sims, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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Young and not so young Baha'is, who are struggling with addictions issues, can receive assistance from the Baha'i Network on AIDS, Sexuality, Addictions and Abuse. Their website is at: www.globweb.com/bnasaa/ They hold conferences yearly at Green Acre and Louhelen Baha'i School, and frequently at Bosch and other locations in the US and Canada.

- Susan Gammage, Ontario, Canada

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REQUESTING ASSISTANCE FROM OUR READERS

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I have a growth (non-malignant tumor) inside my skull on the nerve going to my ear. It is not inside the brain but if it grows can affect the brain. Is there anyone who has successfully treated this condition without surgery? For the time being, I have decided against surgery, but would appreciate any helpful suggestions anyone might have.

- Anonymous

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QUESTION OF THE MONTH

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The December issue will focus on "Lifestyles and Aging." What kind of lifestyles are healthy for seniors? Many seniors develop hearing, visual and mobility limitations and what coping skills can be learned? How can we be sensitive to their needs and to assist them in appropriate ways? Also, this is a special time for seniors to be grandparents and how can family members develop a loving relationship with them?

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PURPOSE OF THE NEWSLETTER

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"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. 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: fmezei@sentex.net.

PLEASE NOTE:

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.

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WEB SITE

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You can visit the website, obtain back issues and the Healing Through Unity Course at: http://www.healingthroughunity.org




HEALING THROUGH UNITY

December, 2000

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of

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

Volume 4, Issue #4

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Contents

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- Stories of 'Abdu'l-Baha
- Lifestyles and Aging
- Receiving the Gift of Health
- Tai Chi For Older People Reduces Falls, May Help Maintain Strength
- The Exchange
- Resources
- Responses from the Readers about Treating Growths and Tumors
- Baha'i Medical Association of Canada
- Report on 4th Annual Conference
- Baha'i Conference on Health and Healing 2001
- Letters
- Question of the Month
- Website
- Purpose of the Newsletter

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STORIES OF 'ABDU'L-BAHA

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Lady Blomfield cited another instance of His delightful humour: 'One day after a meeting when, as usual, many people had crowded round Him, 'Abdu'l-Baha arrived home very tired. We were sad at heart that He should be so fatigued, and bewailed the many steps to be ascended to the flat. Suddenly, to our amazement, the Master ran up the stairs to the top very quickly without stopping. 'He looked down at us as we walked up after Him, saying with a bright smile, from which all traces of fatigue had vanished: "You are all very old! I am very young!"' He added, '"Through the power of Baha'u'llah all things can be done. I have just used that power.'"
Blomfield, The Chosen Highway, p. 169)

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"He used to take a walk in the park along Riverside Drive. Often He went alone, and, knowing that the friends would like to accompany Him, He said, 'I sleep on the grass. I come out of fatigue. My mind rests. But when I am not alone, surely I talk, and rest of body and mind cannot be gained.'"
(Quoted in 339 Days: 'Abdu'l-Baha's Journey in America, Allan Ward, p. 70),

The original source is "'Abdu'l-Baha in America" by Zia Bagdadi, published in Star of the West, 19, no. 6 (Sept. 1928), p 182.

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LIFESTYLES AND AGING

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By Shirlee Smith, Ontario, Canada

The number of individuals who are now surviving into old age is increasing. There is often an assumption that as people grow older, they experience poorer health and more disabilities. While research shows that older people are healthier than stereotypes suggest, it is nonetheless a fact that an overall decline in health and rise in rates of disability do accompany aging. Mobility difficulties, loss of vision and/or hearing late in life will tax an individual's ability to cope with day to day tasks that are usually taken for granted. It is a challenge that some will meet head on and that others will struggle with.

The World Health Organization (1981) uses the notion of "handicap" to refer to a situation where an individual with a disability is disadvantaged relative to others in society. According to their definition, an individual experiences a handicap when he or she is prevented, as a result of a disability, from fulfilling the roles that would be considered normal for someone of comparable age and gender in that society.

Adopting a "Positive Lifestyle" can help us to develop and maintain our physical and spiritual well-being as we grow older.

How might one define a "Positive Lifestyle?" What are some of the elements?

1. SPIRITUALITY

This is a flexible term, which is used in many ways. It is used here to include our religious beliefs, practices and activity, time spent alone, being with nature, meditating, praying and reflecting.

"All is in the hands of God, and without Him there can be no health in us!"

('Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p.19)

"When a man turns his face to God he finds sunshine everywhere."
(ëAbdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 15)

"Happy the days that have been consecrated to the remembrance of God, and blessed the hours which have been spent in praise of Him Who is the All-Wise."
( Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 138)

2) A LOVING RELATIONSHIP WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS

Are there people you like to be with? Is there, at least, one person that knows enough and cares enough to respond to what you want to say? Is there someone with whom you can have a conversation and walk away feeling better? Can they also count on you to be there for them?

"Deal ye one with another with the utmost love and harmony, with friendliness and fellowship."
(Baha'u'llah, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p.14)

"Treat all thy friends and relatives, even strangers, with a spirit of utmost love and kindliness"
(ëAbdu'l-Baha, Baha'i National Review, July 1982, No. 120, p.3)

3) COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

To what extent are you utilizing community resources to expand your life? This includes work, community service and being out and about in the world around you. Do you attend community events? Keep in touch with people? Doing work as a volunteer or as a paid employee adds to your well being.

"Think ye at all times of rendering some service to every member of the human race." (ëAbdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, p.3)

"Öwhen occupied with work one is less likely to dwell on the unpleasant aspects of life." (Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p.175)

4) USE OF LEISURE TIME

Evaluate your use of leisure time. It is easy to drift into sitting alone, watching television, overeating, not exercising and reading uninteresting materials. Consider hobbies, art, music, creativity and other satisfying activities. There is no question that exposing oneself to a new experience is the most important pathway to a steady growth of lifestyle. Have you learned any new skills recently?

"It is enjoined upon every one of you to engage in some form of occupation, such as crafts, trades and the like. We have graciously exalted your engagement in such work to the rank of worship unto God, the True One."
(Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 175)

5) FITNESS

Some energy should be directed to keeping fit. Attention to diet and nutrition is essential. Get some exercise on a regular basis. Are you learning what you need to know to work with your illness or disability for independent living? Are you learning techniques to deal with stress? Are you doing all you need to do to stay fit?

"Think not of your own limitations, dwell only on the welfare of the Kingdom of Glory." ('Abdu'l-Baha. Paris Talks, p.166)

Growing older does not have to mean loss of independence. If one has a disability, it does not have to mean that the quality of life is reduced. It can mean change and challenge. Independence is based upon the ability to make choices and information about alternatives. Family, friends and professional caregivers must be careful not to take the right of choice from older adults who may be experiencing sensory or physical disabilities.

"Be fair to yourselves and to others, that the evidences of justice may be revealed, through your deeds, among Our faithful servants."
(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 278)

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RECEIVING THE GIFT OF HEALTH

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By Bill and Phoebe Anne Lemmon, Quebec, Canada

ìAlthough ill health is one of the unavoidable conditions of man, truly it is hard to bear. The bounty of good health is the greatest of all gifts.î
('Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of ëAbduíl-Bah·, #132, p. 151)

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As we age we can certainly understand and agree with these two statements (see above) of ëAbduíl-Baha . We live one day, one moment at a time, scarcely noticing the passing years until that morning when we roll out of bed instead of bouncing out with energy and our body says, ìI donít care what you want to do; Iíve been around for 60 (or 50 or 70) years and Iím slowing downî. Unless weíve been motivated to do so earlier in life - and hopefully we have been by something other than illness - this is the time to listen to our body, be kind to it, and work with it.

Todayís environment is not conducive to maintaining or achieving good health. We really have to work at being healthy! This takes expenditures of time, energy, and money. How do we justify such expenditures when the needs of the Faith are so great? ëAbduíl-Baha tells us, ìMake ye then a mighty effort ... that for purity, immaculacy, refinement, and the preservation of health, they (Bahaíis) shall be leaders in the vanguard of those who know.î
(Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, #129, p. 150) From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, October 25, 1949, quoted in Lights of Guidance, we learn that ìThe Bahaíis ... must guard against utterly depleting their forces and having breakdownsî. We are, then, encouraged to look after our health.

Although we are instructed to consult a competent physician when we are ill, there are four important aspects of preventive care that we can handle ourselves. You can remember them as RREN - Rest, Recreation, Exercise, and Nutrition.
* Rest: Listen to your body for this one. Youíll soon be able to recognize its messages. Donít wait for the collapse that will surely come if you ignore early signs. Even on a busy day, try to take at least fifteen minutes to lie on your back with your feet elevated. The blood-flow reversal does wonders!
* Recreation: This is rest for the brain, so choose something that is a refreshing change from routine, a real re-creation. That could be anything from a good book to a round of golf.
* Exercise: No, not the round of golf again. Exercise should be purposeful, disciplined, regular. Brisk walking is the original do-it-yourself exercise and heads the list. The cost is a pair of good walking shoes; the benefits are bestowed on the entire body. Two excellent forms of class exercises for seniors are tai chi and stretching.
* Nutrition: Last but most important. If we are feeding our body impure food, it wonít run any better than an automobile with impure gasoline. The extra dollars we spend for food that is as natural as possible come back to us in reduced medical bills. Read labels and remember the current nutritional advice: cut down on meat and dairy, increase fruits, vegetables, and grains.

Receiving the gift of good health is well worth the effort required for change. In this passage from Bahaíi World Faith, p. 176, ëAbduíl-Baha gives us further incentive: ìIf thou are desirous of health, wish thou health for serving the Kingdom. I hope thou mayest attain a perfect insight, an inflexible resolution, a complete health and spiritual and physical strength in order that thou mayest drink from the fountain of eternal life and be assisted by the spirit of divine confirmation.î

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TAI CHI FOR OLDER PEOPLE REDUCES

FALLS, MAY HELP MAINTAIN STRENGTH

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Submitted by Bill and Phoebe Anne Lemmon (Taken from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) website: www.nih.gov/nia. The NIA, part of the National Institutes of Health, leads the Federal effort conducting and supporting research on the aging process and the diseases and disabilities that accompany advancing age. The Institute's program focuses on biomedical, clinical, and social and behavioral research, and supports the Claude D. Pepper Older American Independence Centers at medical centres across the U.S., whose research is aimed at maintaining healthy function well into old age.)

Tai Chi, a martial arts form that enhances balance and body awareness through slow, graceful, and precise body movements, can significantly cut the risk of falls among older people and may be beneficial in maintaining gains made by people age 70 and older who undergo other types of balance and strength training. The news comes in two reports appearing in the May 1996 issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

The two studies are the first involving Tai Chi to be reported by scientists in a special frailty reduction program sponsored by the National Institute on Aging (NIA).

In the first study, Steven L. Wolf, Ph.D., and colleagues at the Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Ga., found that older people taking part in a 15-week Tai Chi program reduced their risk of falling by 47.5 percent. A second study, by Leslie Wolfson, M.D., and colleagues at the University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, found that several interventions to improve balance and strength among older people were effective. These improvements, particularly in strength, were preserved over a 6-month period while participants did Tai Chi exercises.

The projects are among several in the NIA's Frailty and Injuries:
Cooperative Studies of Intervention Techniques, or FICSIT, initiative, launched in 1990 to improve physical function in old age.

Research from these and other FICSIT trials has demonstrated the benefits of strength training for older people and the value and cost-effectiveness of targeted, fall prevention programs for the elderly. It is estimated that each year falls are responsible for costs of over $12 billion in the U.S., and the costs due to physical frailty are much higher.

The news on Tai Chi is a reminder that relatively "low tech" approaches should not be overlooked in the search for ways to prevent disability and maintain physical performance in late life. "The FICSIT studies have shown that a range of techniques, from the most sophisticated medical interventions to more 'low tech' methods, can help older people avoid frailty and falling," says Chhanda Dutta, Ph.D., Director of Musculoskeletal Research in the NIA's Geriatrics Program. "We must make sure that we look at every approach, especially relatively inexpensive ones like Tai Chi," says Dutta. "People can do this at home and with friends once they have had the proper training...."

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THE EXCHANGE

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Question:

What kind of lifestyles are healthy for seniors? Many seniors develop hearing, visual and mobility limitations and what coping skills can be learned? How can we be sensitive to their needs and to assist them in appropriate ways? Also, this is a special time for seniors to be grandparents and how can family members develop a loving relationship with them?

Answer:

I am 68 and now fully retired. My hearing started to decline many years ago. The doctor told me it would get worse as I got older and it has. His advice was to confront the issue and let people know so they can help. I am very independent and do not like to be singled out. It was strange to be presented with this problem. But it really wasn't fair to all of my friends to let them think I was being aloof or didn't want to be around them. Some of them did not realize my problem. The doctor helped me to learn to lip read which helped until people turned away from me. It was a miserable situation at times. So I reasoned....it is my right to attend Feasts and my right to attend functions so there was no choice. Gradually, I told each person who would turn away that I could not hear them unless I could see them. Although I joked about it, their help was priceless. They will never know how much they helped me to deal with my hearing loss. After a while just about every one was careful not to cover their mouth or turn away. At Feasts, the Feast Letter was passed to me while the tape was playing. Everyone seemed to do this automatically as if this was an everyday happening. Volumes were turned up just a bit and just about everyone including the children made sure I understood what was going on. The children were particularly good at this in ways that were so much more mature for their ages.

When I moved to my new community in Princeton, West Virgina, U.S., the response was equally pleasant. Because my hearing was poor, I sometimes talked over the other person. (I was not aware they were talking until it was too late) They understood and did not make a thing of it.

I now wear hearing aids and although I hear much better there are still times when I misinterpret what is being said. Yet, I have never felt left out or misunderstood. I know they repeat things ever so gently if it is important.

- Dolores Kalisty, West Virgina, U.S.A

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RESOURCES

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LIPREADING NATURALLY

Practical Lipreading and Communication Exercises for Everyone The Canadian Hearing Society - Peel Region, Ontario, Canada produced a publication 'Lipreading Naturally', 1993, written by Shirlee Smith and Frances Mezei. The book is written for people with hearing losses, family members, friends and professionals. It contains a series of exercises in what amounts to a course in coping with hearing loss in everyday situations while improving speechreading and communication skills. An introduction provides clear communication rules for group facilitators and speechreaders (lipreaders), plus excellent guidelines on how to start a self-help group. The exercises are grouped into seven categories and include such topics as relationships, family involvement, personal support systems and daily interaction situations. Each lesson has a game or quiz material for group discussion. The complete 143-page publication with pre-and post-tests, notes and bibliography can be used for class study, seminars/workshops or individual lesson plans.

Retail Price: Canada: $16.00 including GST+ $5.00 postage and handling charges (Cdn Funds)
United States: $11.95 + $5.00 shipping (U.S. Funds)
Other countries: $14.95 + shipping (U.S. Funds)
It is available through: The Canadian Hearing Society, Peel Regional Office, 2227 South Millway, Suite 300, Mississauga, ON L5L 3R6, e-mail: Office@peel.chs.ca

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SELF HELP FOP HARD OF HEARING PEOPLE, INC. (SHHH)

Self Help for Hard of Hearing People, Inc, is a volunteer, international organization of hard of hearing people, their relatives and friends. SHHH publication "Hearing Loss: The Journal of Self Help for Hard of Hearing People" is full of information on the latest assistive listening technology, research, what's going on in the local chapters and at a national level, and articles about how you can live well with hearing loss. An annual conference is organized each year. To become a member of SHHH, you can write to: Self Help for Hard of Hearing People, Inc. 7910 Woodmont Avenue, Suite 1200, Bethesda, Maryland, 20814, United States. You can visit their website: http://www.shhh.org

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BAHA'I SERVICE FOR THE BLIND - UNITED STATES

The services are available to those individuals whose handicaps prevent them from using normal print so this could apply to others than those who have a visual handicap. They provide materials in braille, large print and on cassette tape. They maintain a lending library (for US & Canadian residents only) of the braille and tapes. They also make available on tape the issues of 'The American Baha'i' -- United States newspaper. Bill Peary, who is the secretary of Baha'i Service for the Blind, advises that you contact them first to see if the tapes or materials already exist before doing them yourself. For more information and assistance, you can contact Bill Peary at: WDPeary@aol.com

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SERVICE FOR THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED COMMITTEE (SVIC) - UNITED KINGDOM

The Service for the Visually Impaired Committee (SVIC) is a committee appointed by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United Kingdom and is here to help anyone with a visual impairment who is already a Baha'i or interested in learning more about the Baha'i Faith.

The services offered by the SVIC are as follows:

* Baha'i books and other literature in braille
* Baha'i books and other literature on tape
* The UK Baha'i Journal on tape and on-line
* Liaison services for the friends for all their concerns relating to their
visual impairment and Baha'i activities.

Please visit their website at www.bahai.org.uk/svic for full details.

For more information about visual impairment, what services and equipment are available, please contact the Royal National Institute for the Blind's website at: www.rnib.org.uk.

To contact the SVIC, please email Robin Christopherson at: bjuk@freenet.co.uk.

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RESPONSES FROM THE READERS ABOUT

TREATING GROWTHS AND TUMORS

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I have a growth (non-malignant tumor) inside my skull on the nerve going to my ear. It is not inside the brain but if it grows can affect the brain. Is there anyone who has successfully treated this condition without surgery? For the time being, I have decided against surgery, but would appreciate any helpful suggestions anyone might have.
- Anonymous

RESPONSES

I would like to offer a suggestion to the anonymous person asking for assistance with the non-malignant tumor on the nerve to their ear. I am a chiropractic student in Lombard, Illinois. There is a doctor, nearby that I, myself, go to that has had success with reducing tumors and cancers non invasively. He primarily uses acupuncture. Please pass this e-mail on to our friend requesting assistance, and I would be more than happy to give them his information. Karen Bent - email: kbent20@yahoo.com
- Karen Bent, Illinois, U.S.A

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I recently read an article in the Harvard Magazine (latest issue) which explains a new technique for treatment of tumors without conventional surgery. The article explains that Doctors at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston have developed a way to use an MRI machine to not only diagnose, but to treat. It is bloodless surgery, not invasive. I don't fully understand it but I think they can see the exact parameters of the tumor and send energy to heat the tumor - and destroy it - without affecting any healthy tissue. Perhaps this person could contact Brigham and Women's Hospital, refer to the magazine article and get some information. This is very new - and requires a herculean team approach, because it is so complex, but very encouraging for those facing conventional surgery.
- Carol Rutstein, U.S.A

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In response to - anonymous - regarding a growth (non-malignant tumor) inside on the nerve going to the ear. This describes an acoustic neuroma. I had such a tumor in 1992 on the right side. It was discovered because I complained about my hearing. It was removed surgically in May 1992, both doctors telling me as it grows it could endanger my brain. The only negative result of this surgery is that I am totally deaf in my right ear, but they told me that would happen before the surgery. This person is welcome to contact me if they have other questions. But, I would highly recommend the "Acoustic Neuroma Association" website as well. The address is www.anausa.org. The best thing about having this surgery was the response of the Baha'is in the community. I was out of work for 8 weeks and in the beginning a different Baha'i came over with food or prepared my dinner and visited me. I think the love and prayers of the Baha'is had a lot to do with the healing process.
- Irene Bush, New York, U.S.A - email: IBUSH@hanys.org

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The article that I am submitting is a testimonial that was written up in a newsletter entitled "ESSENTIAL OILS ONLINE" in June 2000, http://www.lynngroup.com/testimonial.html

Lung Cancer Healed

15 months ago, my wife, Linda, was diagnosed with lung cancer. The x-ray showed a near lemon-size tumor with tufts of finger-like growths extending all around the tumor located in the upper right lobe of the lung. To make certain the growth wasn't a fungus, her surgeon ordered a blood test, which came back negative as a fungus. Doctors were then 98% certain the tumor was malignant.

Linda was then scheduled for lung surgery the following week. Her surgeon told us he would remove the upper half of her right lung and that of her lymph glands. I remember we drove home scared to death of what was happening. We were confident the surgeon could do his job okay, but had serious doubts about Linda not catching a lethal staph infection while recovering in the ICU.

Staph infections are common occurrences in ICU's, and have proved lethal for many people recovering from surgery. When we shared this concern with our surgeon, he told us the odds of Linda's recovery were 50/50. This was not acceptable.

We are both believers and have faith that God heals, so we immediately gave her cancer over to Him for healing. We prayed fervently with conviction, and applied a blend of healing oils known as Raven over her chest and upper back. We also used other oils, but Raven was the oil Linda wanted, so we followed her intuition staying with the Raven blend.

Within a day or two, we called the surgeon's office to decline the surgery. Needless to say, the surgeon's nurse did all she could to persuade us to re-consider. Two months after the first x-ray was taken to the day, Linda had another chest x-ray taken. To the doctor's amazement, the tumor had shrunk to the size of a walnut, He was dumbfounded, because he said, "This doesn't happen."

We continued in prayer and anointing with Raven. Two months later, another x-ray revealed the tumor had shrunk to the size of a pea. The entire floor of the clinic, housing many doctor's and their staff, by now had heard of the "miracle girl", as they called her. One nurse wept openly as she hugged Linda. No one in this clinic had ever heard of a lung tumor going into remission without medical intervention.

Today, March 22, 2000, a new x-ray showed no visible sign of the tumor, her lungs are absolutely clear. Linda's surgeon, who never operated on her, told us this is the first time he had ever witnessed such a healing. He could not give any medical reason for what his eyes clearly told him had happened. He just kept looking at all her x-rays and shaking his head as in disbelief.

We give God praise, for we owe Linda's life to His love and will to heal her. We also attribute the therapeutic potion of the Raven blend of healing oil. Not only did it have a direct effect on the cancer, it allowed Linda to breathe much easier. Used together as a healing modality, we believe prayer and healing oils are without equal.

Linda's healing from lung cancer is a matter of pictorial, tested and written record. Her medical records, including the x-rays, are on file at Rockford Health Clinic in Rockford, Illinois. Her doctors are Dr. Rogers, Dr. Mellies and Dr. William Sacksteder, her would be surgeon, who I am certain must be sharing Linda's story with his Fellows this day. Written by Jim Lynn

Raven is a blend of oils containing Ravensara, Birch, Eucalyptus Radiata, Peppermint and other proprietary blends of essential oils.
- Submitted by Diana Tufts, U.S.A

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A year ago, I had a lump in my breast almost one inch in diameter. I refused any medical treatment even taking a single pill and I always research on natural medications like herbs and eat natural foods that would help heal the cause of my illness. This idea is being inspired by the Baha'i Teachings where it was mentioned: "When the science of medicine reaches perfection, treatment will be given by foods, aliments, fruits, and vegetables..." (Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions. pp. 266-8). Also, it was said: "... our natural diet is that which grows out of the ground. The people will gradually develop up to the condition of this natural food."
(Abdu'l-Baha: Ten Days in the Light of Akka, 1979 ed, pp. 8-9).

As for my lump, I heard that raw vegetarian food can cure cancer, diabetes, and virtually every disease. One time, I went to a health store and saw an ad about a seminar on a Raw Food Diet. I attended the seminar and right after that I started the journey to a healthy diet, the Living Vegetarian Food, which has the enzymes and life force that would energize and enliven every cells in the body. After two months on raw food, I checked my breast and the lump was about half the size. Then, after four months, it was totally gone.

I've been on this diet (95% raw) for a year now and I feel good with bursting energy and mental clarity. However, for those who want to start this diet, they should do some research and preparation as there is the so called symptoms of the healing process. There are several books and websites that could be of help. Please e-mail me if you need some assistance: gvlaroya@webtv.net.
- Gilda Laroya, Nevada, U.S.A.

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MEDICAL SCIENCE IS PROGRESSING

Editor's note: The following Baha'i Writings supports the concept of developing new form of treatments, new doctors and that medical science is progressing. In a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, 18 December 1945, the Guardian says "Baha'u'llah has recommended that people seek the help and advice of experts and doctors; He does not say which school they should belong to." In another reference he stated " Every day medical science is progressing, and it is quite possible that some new form of treatment or some new doctor may be able to get you on your feet. He will certainly pray that this may be so", from letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, 24 February 1952.

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BAHA'I MEDICAL ASSOCIATION OF CANADA -

REPORT ON 4TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE

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By Meryl Cook, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada

Recently I had the privilege to attend the 4th annual conference of the Canadian Baha'i Medical Association in Toronto, Canada. As a Bowen practitioner and third year student of homeopathy, it was very exciting to take part in a forum connecting my faith to my profession.

The conference was called an Evidence and Scripture-Based Conference on Health, and included sessions on: Inspirations; Bridging the Old and the New; Perfecting and Preserving the Art of Medicine, Nutrition, as well as the keynote speaker Dr. Michael Penn who gave an eloquent talk entitled "Mind, Medicine and Metaphysics: A Union of Science and the Sacred, of the Contingent and the Eternal", which traced the evolution in thinking about the relationship between the mind, body and the soul, up to and including Abdu'l-Baha's comments on this matter.

I was impressed with the incorporation of the arts into the devotions and the presentations. I was also greatly uplifted by the continuous reference to the Baha'i Writings as they applied to each topic discussed. Many speakers touched on the purpose of physical health, which is to allow the soul to express itself (health as a means to an end, not a goal in itself), and on the relationships between spiritual health and physical health. One of the speakers reminded us that the Baha'i Teachings have provided us with the gift of a clear definition of the role of physicians, as well as a universal code of moral and ethical values. Also emphasized was the opportunity we as physicians and other health professionals have in bringing the spirit of the Faith and our expertise to humanity, including underserviced populations in our own country, as well as overseas.

The conference was attended by allopathic physicians from many specialties, as well as by Baha'is in the fields of naturopathy, nursing, homeopathy, holistic health and psychotherapy. As well, there were several individuals with an interest in the health professions. I look forward to further opportunities to work with Baha'is from all of the health disciplines, using the Baha'i Writings as our point of unity.

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BAHA'I CONFERENCE ON HEALTH AND HEALING 2001

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You are invited to attend the 2nd annual Baha'i Health and Healing Conference at Desert Rose Baha'i Institute, February 9-11, 2001. At last year's conference, 30+ participants shared from a variety of healthcare disciplines and from our experience applying Baha'i teachings on health. The 200l conference promises more sharing, more learning, and more public outreach. If you want further information as it becomes available, or you'd like to be a presenter, or wish to register, please contact us.

FEATURES:

Talks, presentations, and workshops from Baha'i health practitioners from various disciplines, who have implemented Baha'i teachings on health and healing

Kenneth Proefrock, N.D. (confirmed speaker)
Bill Saunders, M.D. and Judy Petersen, N.D. (tentative speakers)
Health Fair -- of diverse healing practices, open to the public, Sunday afternoon
Riaz & Bronwyn Castillo, Jin Shin Jyutsu (confirmed Health Fair service)

Where: Desert Rose Baha'i Institute, Eloy, AZ -- midway between Phoenix and Tucson

Cost: $40 conference fee, plus meals. Choices offered include foods mentioned in Baha'i teachings on nutrition

For more information, please contact one of the following:
BCHH, Desert Rose Baha'i Institute, 5688 Tweedy Rd, Eloy, AZ 8523l-9611
Hannah Rishel, 520-524-2095, email: rishel@cybertrails.com
Randy Robinson, 480-461-1255

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LETTERS

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November's Newsletter is so absolutely wonderful. I can't thank you enough. So many topics that are so pertinent at this time were addressed. The articles about marriage and relationships are so timely for all of us and gives me so much insight and guidance on how to maintain a healthy relationship. The love and support of all of us must be obvious in our communities for those who are dealing with some of the addiction issues. Love and acceptance is a large factor in their healing and we must be sensitive to these problems and get out of the judge's seat. Love is the greatest healer of all. When I became a Baha'i 30 years ago I brought with me all the disorders of a crumbling society. The love and acceptance of the Baha'i community which I was born into saved my soul and nurtured me to spiritual health. Let's all do the same for every afflicted soul we encounter in our wonderful, glorious faith.
- Anonymous

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I just have to tell you that this is an excellent newsletter and it is very inspiring when I receive it! I am greatly appreciative concerning the tact and wisdom about the articles presented concerning issues I have read about. The Baha'i community has needed such a newsletter in a very long time. Do you have an article that deals with the Baha'i standards on dress? I would be interested and could use such an article for a project.
- Ruby Edgar

(Editor's note: If anyone has an article on this subject, it would be good to hear from you.)

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QUESTION OF THE MONTH

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The January issue will focus on the subject of healing of racism. Does the principle of the oneness of humankind have a role to play in healing racism? If so, how? What, if any, is the relationship of the principle of the oneness and wholeness of the human family to concept of unity in diversity? What contribution can these two make toward healing racism in human communities at the individual, institutional and societal levels?

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WEB SITE

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You can visit the website, obtain back issues and the Healing Through Unity Course at: http://www.healingthroughunity.org.

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PURPOSE OF THE NEWSLETTER

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"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: -- .

PLEASE NOTE:

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. If you have a change of e-mail address, please inform me with your old and new email address. To cancel the subscription, please inform me.




HEALING THROUGH UNITY

January, 2001

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of

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

Volume 4, Issue #5

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Contents

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- Talk Given By 'Abdu'l-Baha - 23 April 1912, At Howard University Washington, D.C
- Eliminating Negative Effects of Race, Gender and Culture on Provider/Patient Relationships
- Fostering Racial Harmony
- The Exchange
- Book Review - "Racial Healing: The Institutes for the Healing of Racism"
- The Institute for the Healing of Racism in Toronto...and Related Thoughts
- Suggested Reading
- Sacred Writings on Racial Unity
- Health for Humanity
- Response from a Reader to the article "Lung Cancer Healed"
- Question of the Month
- Website
- Purpose of the Newsletter

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MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY

JANUARY 15, 2001

This issue is devoted to Racial Healing

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TALK GIVEN BY 'ABDU'L-BAHA - 23 APRIL 1912, AT HOWARD UNIVERSITY WASHINGTON, D.C.

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From "The Promulgation of Universal Peace", Talks delivered by 'Abdu'l-Baha during His visit to the United States and Canada in 1912, pp.44-46

"Today I am most happy, for I see here a gathering of the servants of God. I see white and black sitting together. There are no whites and blacks before God. All colors are one, and that is the color of servitude to God. Scent and color are not important. The heart is important. If the heart is pure, white or black or any color makes no difference. God does not look at colors; He looks at the hearts. He whose heart is pure is better. He whose character is better is more pleasing. He who turns more to the Abha Kingdom is more advanced.

In the realm of existence colors are of no importance. Observe in the material kingdom colors are not the cause of discord. In the vegetable kingdom the colors of multicolored flowers are not the cause of discord. Rather, colors are the cause of the adornment of the garden because a single color has no appeal; but when you observe many-colored flowers, there is charm and display.

The world of humanity, too, is like a garden, and humankind are like the many-colored flowers. Therefore, different colors constitute an adornment. In the same way, there are many colors in the realm of animals. Doves are of many colors; nevertheless, they live in utmost happiness. They never look at color; instead, they look at the species. How often white doves fly with black ones. In the same way, other birds and varicolored animals never look at color; they look at the species.

Now ponder this: Animals despite the fact that they lack reason and understanding, do not make colors the cause of conflict. Why should man, who has reason, create conflict? This is wholly unworthy of him. Especially white and black are the descendants of the same Adam; they belong to one household. In origin they were one; they were the same color. Adam was of one color. Eve had one color. All humanity descended from them. Therefore, in origin they are one. These colors developed later due to climates and regions; they have no significance whatsoever. Therefore, today I am very happy that white and black have gathered together in this meeting. I hope this coming together and harmony reaches such a degree that no distinctions shall remain between them, and they shall be together in the utmost harmony and love.

But I wish to say one thing in order that the blacks may become grateful to the whites and the whites become loving toward the blacks. If you go to Africa and see the blacks of Africa, you will realize how much progress you have made. Praise be to God! You are like the whites; there is no great distinctions left. But the blacks of Africa are treated like servants. The first proclamation of emancipation for the blacks was made by the whites of America. How they fought and sacrificed until they freed the blacks! Then it spread to other places. The blacks in Africa were in complete bondage, but your emancipation led to their freedom also - that is, the European states emulated the Americans, and the emancipation proclamation became universal. It was for your sake that the whites of America made such an effort. Were it not for this effort, universal emancipation would not have been proclaimed.

Therefore, you must be very grateful to the whites of America, and the whites must become very loving toward you so that you may progress in all human grades. Strive jointly to make extraordinary progress and mix together completely. In short, you must be very thankful to the whites who were the cause of your freedom in America. Had you not been freed, other blacks would not have been freed either. Now - praise be to God! - everyone is free and lives in tranquility. I pray that you attain to such a degree of good character and behaviour that the names of black and white shall vanish. All shall be called human, just as the name for a flight of doves is dove. They are not called black and white. Likewise with other birds.

I hope that you attain to such a high degree - and this is impossible except through love. You must try to create love between yourselves; and this love does not come about unless you are grateful to the whites, and the whites are loving toward you, and endeavor to promote your advancement and enhance your honor. This will be the cause of love. Differences between black and white will be completely obliterated; indeed, ethnic and national differences will all disappear..."

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ELIMINATING NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF RACE, GENDER AND CULTURE ON PROVIDER/PATIENT RELATIONSHIPS

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Reprinted by permission from Health for Humanity News, July 1999 (see information about Health for Humanity in this issue)

"The impact of race and gender on health care has become an issue of wide concern. Studies have shown that blacks and women receive poorer care than men and whites. One of the most recent and most widely publicized of these studies, 'The Effect of Race and Sex on Physicians' Recommendations for Cardiac Catheterization', can be found in 'The New England Journal of Medicine', February 25, 1999, pp. 618-626. It has also been demonstrated that cultural differences can create major misunderstandings and misdiagnoses, thus creating a negative effect on health care for minority populations. One of the goals of Health for Humanity is to reduce inequities in health care and to assist healthy providers/patient relationships that transcend differences of race, gender and culture.

As part of a new project that Health for Humanity has recently undertaken, a brief questionnaire was sent to some of the nurses on HH's database asking if they had any courses in caring for patients from different cultures as a part of their medical training. If so, the questionnaire asked, were these courses a mandatory part of the nursing curriculum? Of the nineteen replies received, four individuals responded affirmatively, and three of these nurses indicated that such courses were degree requirements. Two nurses said that most U.S. and U.K. nursing schools have had such courses for the past several years. One nurse reported that she is now helping to teach such a course. Thirteen of the nurses, however, said they had no such courses when they received their medical training.

Health for Humanity has begun a search to locate study materials that are available for health care professionals to aid cross-cultural and cross-racial understanding. The following are a few titles that were found:

TITLES:

Pocket Guide to Cultural Assessment
By Elaine M. Geissler, R.N, CTN, PhD. 1994. Clear and precise information on cultural variations of dominant cultures of over 166 countries that could potentially impact patient and family care. Baker and Taylor Books, Commerce Service Centre, 251 Mt. Olive Church Road, Commerce, GA 30599-9988. Ordering: (Phone) 800-775-1100; (Fax) 800-775-7480. Canada: (Fax) 905-470-6780.

'Race', Communication and the Caring Professions
By Lena Robinson. 1998. For social workers, health care students and practitioners. Open University Press, Celtic Court, 22 Ballmoor, Buckingham, England MK18 1XW. Or: Taylor and Francis, Inc., 47 Runway Road, Suite G, Levittown, PA 19057. Telephone: 215-269-0400. email: enquires@openup.co.uk. This book also has an extensive list of references to other titles of interest, and is part of a series. Another title of interest in the series is 'Nursing for a MultiEthnic Society, by Gerrish, Husband and Mackenzie. More information about these titles can be found on the publisher's website: www.openup.co.uk.

Transcultural Concepts in Nursing Care
By Margaret M. Andrews, RN, PhD, and Joyceen S. Boyle, RN, PhD, CTN, FAAN. 1995. Explores cultural variations in lifestyle, habits, beliefs, life-process and responses to clinical problems and gives a comprehensive framework for conducting relative and sensitive assessments of each client and client family. U.S. and Canada: J.B. Lippincott Co., 12107 Insurance way, Hagerstown, MD 21740-5184. (Phone) 800-777-2295; (Fax) 44-752-695699. Other countries: Same address as U.S. (Phone) 301-714-2300; (Fax) 301-824-7390.

Counseling American Minorities: A Cross-cultural Perspective
By D.R. Atkinson, G. Morten, and D.W. Sue, 1993. Dubuque, IA, W.C. Brown. We have no ordering information for this book.

Counseling Across Cultures
By C. Vontress, 1981. Racial and ethnic barriers in counseling. Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press. We have no ordering information for this book.

Overcoming Unintentional Racism in Counseling and Therapy
By C.R. Ridley. 1995. We have no further ordering information for this book.

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FOSTERING RACIAL HARMONY

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Taken from "Puslinch Pioneer", Vol. 22, Issue 8, April 1998, Ontario, Canada

Members of the Baha'i Faith and their friends came together on March 21 at the Puslinch Community Centre to celebrate the Baha'i New Year and to honour the United Nation's International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The feature guest speaker Rosalind Crocker, mother of eight, spoke on the theme "Positive Ways We Can Foster Racial Harmony". Rosaline works as a community volunteer in Guelph and this has brought her into contact with many adults and children of diverse backgrounds. Her maternal grandparents were born in Georgia in the late 1800's and were the children of slaves. Their experiences in the southern United States and the harsh reality of the depression led them to seek a new life in Canada.

"Racism" she said, "starts when misinformation is received." She pointed out that many men and women are now in non-traditional roles, people of colour are in leadership positions and people with disabilities are doing activities similar to the able bodied. She asked that we make it a practice that a person's identity is never an acceptable reason for teasing or rejecting them. Ms.Crocker encouraged the audience to, "show that we value diversity in the friends we choose and the people and firms we do business with. Let our children experience a concert, art show or cultural event that reflects diverse cultural heritages. Research confirms that between the ages of 2 and 5, children become aware of gender, race, ethnicity and disabilities. They also become sensitive to the positive attitudes attached to these 4 key aspects of identity both by their family and society in general.

"When your 3-year-old asks 'Why is that lady's skin so dark?' Tell her it is because the lady's parents have dark skin. If it's an older child asking, you can explain that if you have a lot of melanin, your skin is dark, if you only have a little, your skin is light. If your child asks, 'Why do those people talk so funny?' You can explain that they are not speaking funny just differently than you do. If you don't know the answer to your child's questions then you can take the child to the library and find books to help with the answer."

Ms. Crocker pointed out that, "Ethnic humour is a subtle form of racism. Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King has written; "We shall have to repent in our time, not merely for the vitriolic words of the bad men, but also the appalling silence of the good ones." She asked the audience to "make a commitment to establish meaningful friendships with people of different racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds. In your workplace talk with people of other nationalities to find out what barriers they face and how you can work with them to remove them."

In conclusion she commented that, "The preservation of our planet and survival of the human family depends on our coming together. Unity doesn't require uniformity, but does celebrate diversity. We all belong to the human race, part of one human family, biologically, environmentally and spiritually - born with a capacity for goodness."

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THE EXCHANGE

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Question:

Does the principle of the oneness of humankind have a role to play in healing racism? If so, how? What, if any, is the relationship of the principle of the oneness and wholeness of the human family to the concept of unity in diversity? What contribution can these two make toward healing racism in human communities at the individual, institutional and societal levels?

Answers:

"I have a completely different attitude towards this subject. I have been very fortunate to grow up in what I call a healthy atmosphere and the result has been that I have neither an inferiority or superiority complex regarding my race. I was always surprised at how sensitive Americans (both black and white) are regarding the subject of racism and feel that it is because the wounds have not healed yet. 'Abdu'l-Baha said that the white people must make a special effort to eradicate their feelings about black people and the black people must learn to forgive. I think this is very, very important and it is obvious that this goal has not yet been reached on the whole. On one hand, I find many white people with guilty consciences and on the other, black people who are always ready to accuse. This is not a foundation for world unity. I personally always joke about my blackness because I have no complexes and I like to laugh about myself.

My mother-in-law, once said a beautiful thing about me. She said to others that they don't even see me as being black. My husband's family never saw my colour but my soul! Isn't that wonderful? I grew up with friends from all over the world, of different races and countries so I never understood racism even though I have personally experienced it several times. It's alright to be angry with injustice but it is dangerous to be bitter. Bitterness destroys you.

A number of Americans have this way of seeing in everything regarding the race issue, something suspicious. But this is because suspicion among the races still exists. When it will be eradicated, there will be a New Race of Men!!"

- Ranzie Mensah (born in west Africa), Italy

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"...in His public talks in America 'Abdu'l-Baha never touched on the prospect of such catastrophic racial violence. He preferred, as he himself explained not to 'sadden' His audiences. He did not dwell on the deficiencies of the present order. Instead, He encouraged His listeners, pointing out "the oases rather than the deserts of their environments", as Louis Gregory once observed.

His public themes did not spring, therefore, from unfamiliarity with or disregard for the terrible obstacles blacks faced in their efforts to achieve equality in America. Rather, He sought to nurture the positive attitudes among the blacks that would stave off desperation, hopelessness, growing hatred, and the ultimate disaster of racial warfare so violent that it would "cause the streets of American cities to run with blood."

Louis Gregory heard both the encouragement to constructive action in 'Abdu'l-Baha's speeches and His private warnings about racial violence. He readily understood the personal implications of 'Abdu'l-Baha's assertion that brotherhood "is not possible without will and effort on the part of each" of the races. ('Abdu'-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 43) For whites, the quest for brotherhood entailed putting aside ingrained attitudes and habits of superiority. For blacks, it demanded building a basis of trust. Mr. Gregory believed that the teachings of Baha'u'llah had stripped away all traces of anger and hatred from his own heart. He knew that these emotions, however, well justified, simply intensify oppression, whereas positive attitudes erode its foundations. As he once told an audience.

"It is only by co-operation, mutual appreciation, and good will that we can get anywhere in the solution of these problems that vex us. If this room were filled with darkness we could not remove that darkness by intensifying the darkness, nor can we remove discord from the face of the earth by increasing discord." (Louis Gregory, Racial Amity, p. 167)

Yet a hopeful attitude did not come easily even to Louis Gregory, although he turned invariably toward the standard set by 'Abdu'l-Baha. In 1919, for example, he wrote to his friend Joseph Hannen:

"The Baha'i teacher must maintain a state of happiness if he is to do his work effectively. And this seems possible only by constant prayer and as far as one can, ceaseless activity. Otherwise, the well-authenticated reports of cruel injustices and crimes against defenceless peoples would entirely absorb the powers of concentration."

- Taken from "To Move the World" which is about Louis G. Gregory and the Advancement of Racial Unity in America, by Gayle Morrison, pp. 60-61

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BOOK REVIEW OF RACIAL HEALING: THE INSTITUTES FOR THE HEALING OF RACISM

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By Reginald Newkirk and Nathan Rutstein, book review by Nancy Dinnigan Prashad, Ontario, Canada

This highly useful book, just published in the fall of 2000, is a manual for anyone who wants to know what works to overcome racism. It gives us access to the collaborative experience of two people who have fine-tuned a process that breaks down the bases of racism and replaces them with an understanding of the oneness of humankind.

Not surprisingly, Reginald Newkirk and Nathan Rutstein's approach to the book reflects that of the Healing of Racism process itself - a practical approach that reaches hearts. In the first part of the book, each tells us his personal story. And they are personal, these stories; both had the courage to speak honestly of their experiences and realizations, some of which were deeply painful to them. The second part of the book details the rationale behind the Institute process and describes how to do it and how to share it with nstitutions in your community, such as schools and police departments.

Most intended solutions to racism not only don't solve it, but may actually increase it by promoting the pretences that support it. The Institute for the Healing of Racism isn't a quick fix; there isn't one. Personal transformation alone will end racism and this takes time. The developers of the Institute have developed a tried-and-true process that enables participants to experience this transformation.

The authors see racism as a psychological, emotional and spiritual disease that affects every member of a society that is fundamentally racist - yes, ours. Essential parts of the healing process include:

- education on:
a) the development of racism in our country and generally: the circumstances, myths, misunderstandings, lies and power-seeking that underlie and perpetuate its various aspects.
b) the pathology of racism - how it affects us (more complex than you may think!).
c) the oneness of humankind - learning to listen with the heart - an essential skill for any form of healing.

The Institute process teaches us that our true nature is as spiritual beings. Although no specific religion is discussed, the core Baha'i principle of the oneness of humanity is at the heart of the process. The authors make no claim that this is the only program tackling racism that works (Institutes are encouraged to network with likeminded organizations) or that it will end racism in the world. Nevertheless, it is evident that it has made tremendous changes at an institutional level in the many communities where it exists. If you have the slightest interest in learning about racism - and how to help heal yourself and others - this book is a must-read.

This book can be found at some Baha'i Distribution Services or contact the executive director of the National Resource Centre for the Healing of Racism, Ms. Milagros Phillips. She can be reached by email at phillipsm@starr.org or by calling their toll free number, 1-800-837-5591. The web site address for the National Centre for the Healing of Racism is: http://www.ntlhealingracism.org.

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THE INSTITUTE FOR THE HEALING OF RACISM IN TORONTO...AND RELATED THOUGHTS

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By Dev Prashad and Nancy Dinnigan Prashad, Ontario, Canada

In 1992, we hosted Nathan Rutstein in our community, Ajax, Ontario, Canada to speak to teachers, police, the public and several Baha'i gatherings and institutions. It seemed a good idea at the time to start an Institute in Ontario, but it didn't happen. Then in the fall of 1999, a small group of Baha'is from the Toronto area, including us, attended the first International Conference on the Institutes for the Healing of Racism in Connecticut and decided to go ahead. We realized that we would be pioneering to some extent, as there is only one facilitator in Canada - now in Saskatchewan - and we would have to develop our own (Canadian) material. 19 people attended a full weekend seminar in June 2000, after which a series of 10 group meetings followed.

Our facilitator, Reggie Newkirk, could be with us only for the initial weekend, so members took turns preparing presentations and facilitating the meetings. Among the topics that we learned about: institutionalized racism within the Canadian legal system, racism and mental health; racism in housing and racist reaction to Roma (gypsy) immigrants to Toronto. Group members increased knowledge, learned to listen with the heart, and built trust. The original group still meets, out of which we have formed a steering committee for the Institute. We expect that several group members will soon train as facilitators. In the future, we hope to take the process into community institutions in Toronto as well as the Baha'i community.

Our own experience with racism? Dev says he would need to write a book to tell his experience with racism, beginning with the effects of colonialism in his country and on his family that created attitudes he didn't know he had, until recently. For now, suffice it to say that as a couple with different backgrounds (Dev is from Guyana, South America, of East Indian background and Nancy the product of Irish immigrants to Quebec) we have seen some. We have lived in various parts of Canada, in Guyana and southern United States. Some prejudice was directed at us as individuals, some because we were together. A lot of it we simply chose not to see when we were younger and more naive. These days, couples who look like us are more common, at least in Toronto, and prejudice, where it exists, is more subtle. Undoubtedly, prejudice played more of a part in our lives than we were aware of at the time. Certainly, our three children, now grown, have experienced prejudice, most persistently and damagingly within the school system.

One last point: Although racism is accepted terminology, it is based on the concept that different races exist. They don't. Race is a socially constructed idea, with no basis in reality. It is an idea that has put power into the hands of a few and caused untold grief and misery to billions. In speaking on this topic to groups, Nancy finds that youth especially are quick to understand that since science has disproven the idea of race, oneness of humanity is more than just a nice-sounding theory. We are one family.

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SUGGESTED READING

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- "Healing Racism in America: A Prescription for the Disease" by Nathan Rutstein, (ISBN 0-9633007-1-7)

- "Racism: Unraveling The Fear" by Nathan Rutstein (ISBN 0-9659945-0-3)

- "Coming of Age at the Millennium: Embracing the Oneness of Humankind" by Nathan Rutstein

- "Racial Healing: The Institutes for the Healing of Racism" by Reginald Newkirk and Nathan Rutstein

- "Towards Freedom: The African-Canadian Experience" by Ken Alexander & Avis Glaze (ISBN 1-895642-20-5)

- "To Move the World" (Louis G. Gregory and the Advancement of Racial Unity in America) by Gayle Morrison (ISBN 0-87743-171-X)

- "Parting the Waters: America in the King Years: 1954-63" by Taylor Branch (ISBN 0-671-46097-8)

- "The Pupil of the Eye: African Americans in the World Order of Baha'u'llah" compiled by Bonnie J. Taylor (Publisher Palabara Publications)

- "Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela" by Nelson Mandela

- "The Last Steps to Freedom: The Evolution of Canadian Racism" by John Boyko

- "Racial and Cultural Minorities An Analysis of Prejudice and Discrimination" (Fifth Edition, Plenum Press, New York, 1985)

- "The Black Men's Baha'i Gathering: A Spiritual Transformation by James Williams and Ted Jefferson (self-published), 1995.

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SACRED WRITINGS ON RACIAL UNITY

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"Concerning the prejudice of race: it is an illusion, a superstition pure and simple! For God created us all of one race. There were no differences in the beginning, for we are all descendents of Adam. In the beginning, also, there were no limits and boundaries between the different lands; no part of the earth belonged more to one people than to another. In the sight of God there is no difference between the various races. Why should man invent such a prejudice? How can we uphold war caused by an illusion? God has not created men that they should destroy one another. All races, sects and classes share equally in the Bounty of their Heavenly Father." ('Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p.148)

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"Then it is evident that excellence does not depend on color. Character is the true criterion of humanity. Anyone who possesses a good character, who has faith in God and is firm, whose actions are good, whose speech is good - that one is accepted at the threshold of God no matter what color he may be." ('Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 427)

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"Regarding the solution of the racial problem; the believers should of course realize that the principle of the oneness of mankind which is the cornerstone of the Message of Baha'u'llah is wholly incompatible with all forms of racial prejudice. Loyalty to this foundation principle of the Faith is the paramount duty of every believer and should be therefore whole-hearted and unqualified. For a Baha'i, racial prejudice, in all its forms, is simply a negation of faith, an attitude wholly incompatible with the very spirit and actual teachings of the Cause. ( From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, November 22, 1936, Lights of Guidance, p. 533, Helen Hornby)

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HEALTH FOR HUMANITY

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Health for Humanity (HH) is a health development agency, focusing its activities around three broad program areas: Blindness Prevention, Public Health Development, and International Exchange. The main objective for these programs is to build human capacity by promoting grass roots development through local initiatives in under-served areas around the world. The Blindness Prevention Program is committed to training health care professionals in the prevention and treatment of eye diseases that often lead to blindness. Current activities are on-going in Albania and Cameroon. The Public Health Development Program supports community-based public health initiatives that are set-up to protect and promote the health of all people in that community through capacity-building activities. This program is focused in Bolivia and the South Dakota, USA. The International Exchange Program encourages learning experiences and an exchange of medical knowledge and ideas by both volunteers and partners. Current activities are on-going in China and Mongolia. HH provides avenues of service for health care professionals from all disciplines to apply their talents, skills and resources to further global health and community development. Since its beginnings in 1992, HH has attracted over 1500 members and supporters from 58 countries around the world. For more information contact HH at 467 Jackson Avenue, Glencoe, IL 60022 USA or by email at health@usbnc.org. HH will soon have a website at www.healthforhumanity.org.

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RESPONSE FROM A READER TO THE ARTICLE "LUNG CANCER HEALED" IN THE DECEMBER/00 ISSUE - VOLUME 4, ISSUE #4

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By Russ Novak, Mexico

"Having personally experienced losing someone to cancer, and also being an "internet type", I spent uncounted hours searching through all the information I could find on the web about the disease and possible treatments. In the process of doing so, I came across dozens of websites with stories similar to the one about the Raven oil. It may indeed be possible that the circumstances described reflect something that really happened, but based on the volume of similar material that I have seen, I think that it is also just as likely that the "story" is actually a cleverly written advertisement by an unscrupulous individual that uses an emotionally appealing tone for the single purpose of selling oil, and that the Newsletter and website are being manipulated. Besides, there are simply too many variables involved for anyone to conclude with certainty that whatever unconventional approach they took was absolutely responsible for the results they claim to have gotten.

Cancer is a terrible scourge, and despite the comfort that can be found in the Teachings that are available to us, causes great trauma not only in the heart of the one afflicted, but those close to him/her as well, making them more susceptible to velvet toned appeals which may be of little or no value, and could possibly impede the seeking out of effective treatment. Anything that can reinforce the hope and faith of persons affected I of course support without reservation, but I express my concern here in the hope that testimonial accounts of this type are very, very carefully investigated before being used. Disclaimers about the articles in the Newsletter merely representing individual points of view notwithstanding, I would shudder to think that what is a wonderful effort on your part might become the tool of petty commercial interests."

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QUESTION OF THE MONTH

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Poor communication causes a great deal of stress - it affects families, marriages, friendships, health care professionals, patients and co-workers. How can consultation and communication, skills that are essential to our well being, be taught and practised in everyday situations?

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WEB SITE

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You can visit the website, obtain back issues and the Healing Through Unity Course at: http://www.healingthroughunity.org.

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PURPOSE OF THE NEWSLETTER

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"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: -- .

PLEASE NOTE:

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.

If you have a change of e-mail address, please inform me with your old and new email address. To cancel the subscription, please inform me.




HEALING THROUGH UNITY

February, 2001

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of

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

Volume 4, Issue #6

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Contents

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- Lessons from Geese
- Consultation - That First Condition
- Five Levels of Communication
- Communicating with Your Doctor
- Codependency, Detachment, and the True Self: Part 1 - The Problem
- How a Woman's Journal Made a Difference
- Fasting
- Health Habits
- Announcements
- Question of the Month
- Spreading the Word
- Website
- Purpose of the Newsletter

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LESSONS FROM GEESE

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Author Unknown, Submitted by Susan Gammage, Ontario, Canada

Fact 1: As each goose flaps its wings it creates an "uplift" for the birds that follow. By flying in a "V" formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.

Lesson: People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.

Fact 2: When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it.

Lesson: If we have as much sense as a goose, we stay in formation with those headed where we are going. We are willing to accept their help and give our help to others.

Fact 3: When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the point position.

Lesson: It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. As with geese, people are interdependent on each other's skills, capabilities and unique arrangements of gifts, talents and resources.

Fact 4: Geese flying in formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

Lesson: We need to make sure our honking is encouraging. In groups where there is encouragement the production is greater. The power of encouragement (to stand by one's heart or core values and encourage the heart or core values of others) is the quality of honking we seek.

Fact 5: When a goose gets sick, wounded or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with it until it dies or is able to fly again. Then they launch out with another formation or catch up with the flock.

Lesson: If we have as much sense as geese, we will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong.

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CONSULTATION: THAT FIRST CONDITION

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By Kim Bowden-Kerby, Fiji

When Baha'is get together to study about consultation, my experience is that we usually end up spending a lot of time discussing the mechanics of the consultation process. This quotation is a favorite: ìThe shining spark of truth cometh forth only after the clash of differing opinions.î ('Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i Administration, p. 21) This is another: ìThey must then proceed with the utmost devotion, courtesy, dignity, care and moderation to express their views. They must in every matter search out the truth and not insist upon their own opinion, for stubbornness and persistence in one's views will lead ultimately to discord and wrangling and the truth will remain hidden.î ('Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i Administration, p. 22) There is a world of practical advice about the process of consultation in the Baha'i Holy Writings.

But what we tend not to discuss very much is the FIRST CONDITION of consultation. 'Abdu'l-Baha wrote: ìThe first condition is absolute love and harmony amongst the members of the assembly. They must be wholly free from estrangement and must manifest in themselves the Unity of God.î Abdu'l-Bah· went on to warn: ìShould harmony of thought and absolute unity be nonexistent, that gathering shall be dispersed and that assembly be brought to naught.î (Baha'i Administration, pp. 22)

How much do we meditate about this ìfirst conditionî? How much do we consider its ramifications?

In May 2000, Dr. Payman Mohajer of the International Teaching Centre in Haifa, Israel came to our community and challenged the National Spiritual Assembly on that very point. What does it mean to have ìabsolute love and harmonyî amongst the assembly members? What will it take to get there?

ìAbsolute loveî implies, at the very least, that assembly members actually KNOW each other as fellow human beings, that we are aware of each otherís struggles and that we care about each other. We cannot absolutely love someone we only know as ëa set of opinions who shows up for the meeting.í To achieve absolute love, then, we have to have some social time together, just to get to know each other.

ìHarmonyî comes with unified vision. Dr. Mohajer said that the challenge is for the members of the assembly to develop a ìcorporate mind,î which can be achieved by developing a strong, accurate framework, found through study of the Holy Writings and the messages of the Guardian and House of Justice. He said that once this unified vision is achieved, then the whole assembly truly functions as a corporate body, and every member expresses confidently the view of the whole. Dr. Mohajer encouraged the spiritual assembly to take the necessary steps to have time for socializing and study together. He said that even if the community was left to itself for six months while the assembly worked on achieving this ìabsolute love and harmonyî - that the Faith would see great progress. There is no step that is more vital.

Dr. Mohajer emphasized that only with absolute love and harmony can we raise the level of the consultation. When we have developed a genuine trust for each other, each person will feel confident to fully express his or her views. With love and trust, frankness becomes possible. Whereas, without love and trust, even silence can be taken badly.

Finally, with absolute love and harmony, we can lose some of our fear of mistakes. Dr. Mohajer said to remember that we are always in ìlearning mode". He added, "If no mistakes happen, something is wrong.î We canít grow without a few mistakes. Isn't that a comforting idea!

As with many of the Baha'i teachings, the fact that the "first condition (for healthy consultation) is absolute love and harmony amongst the members of the assembly" sounds really nice. But it is only when we actually strive to put it into practice that we begin to learn the challenges and to reap the rewards.

(Editor's note: A National Spiritual Assembly is responsible for coordinating and directing the activities of the Baha'i communities in its country. Its nine members are elected once a year by delegates from every part of the country. Local Spiritual Assemblies, elected annually consists of nine Baha'is, twenty-one years of age and older, govern the affairs of each local Baha'i community.)

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FIVE LEVELS OF COMMUNICATION

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Editor's notes: These notes are taken from the book "Breaking The Chain of Low Self-Esteem." by Marilyn J. Sorensen, Ph.D., 145 - 147.

"Loneliness has little to do with whether a person is coupled or single. Many people who are married are still lonely, while many single people are not. Instead, people feel lonely when they lack emotional connections with others. For example, a single person may have one or more good friends whom she talks to and spends time with who are understanding and concerned, who like her and are interested in her well-bring....Another person may be in a committed relationship with a partner but not feel emotionally close, truly supported, or even respected by that partner. If this person does not have others in her life who provide for these needs, she experiences a sense of loneliness even though she is coupled. Thus it is not the coupled state of a person that guarantees the absence of loneliness, but rather the presence of a close, emotionally supportive, and trustworthy person in one's life.

There are five levels on which all people can communicate with others. They are: the surface level, the factual level, the thinking level, the feeling level, and the intimacy level. Learning first to like ourselves, learning secondly how to communicate on all of these levels, and learning to find trustworthy, caring people with whom to communicate are the steps to overcoming loneliness. All three of these elements are necessary; the key to feeling content rather than feeling lonely, however, lies in our ability to develop and maintain a relationship in which we can communicate at the two deepest levels of communication, the feeling and intimacy levels.

1) The Surface Level - At level one, the simplest form of communication occurs. We talk in cliche's or superficially about general topics, e.g., "How's it going?" "Nice day, isn't it." At this level we can talk without knowing anything about the other person and without revealing anything about ourselves. It is totally safe. We might make such comments to a neighbor, to our gas station attendant, or to our postal delivery person.

2) The Factual Level - More involvement occurs at the factual level as we share facts about situations or happenings we know about or have experienced. Such comments as "Aunt Hazel is in the hospital," or "I'm getting a promotion at work,"...are all examples of conversing at the factual level. This is also a form of safe communication because facts leave no room for debate or disagreements, we are merely sharing indisputable facts.

3) The Thinking Level - When communicating on this level, we share our opinions, ideas, and perceptions about the world, about ourselves and about our personal lives. This is a deeper level of interacting and one that is more threatening because such responses can be challenged. To talk freely at this level, we must have confidence in ourselves and our conclusions; lacking that confidence, we will be reluctant to share our thinking, knowing others might disagree or even take offense at our remarks. We must trust the other person - that they will respect our opinions, ideas, and perceptions whether or not they agree. Only when two people both feel comfortable sharing at this level with one another and actively do so, do they have a "level-three relationship." Developing such a trust level with another person takes time....

4) The Feeling Level - This type of communicating requires that we reveal who we really are, how we truly feel about ourselves, about our dreams and our disappointments; at this level, intimacy is developing as we experience increasing vulnerability by opening our inner selves up to be viewed by our listener. In order to truly communicate at this level, we must feel 'safe' with the person we are speaking to; we must feel accepted, respected, and free from threatening repercussions. Sharing at this level is the beginning, the key to developing true intimacy, while the inability to share at this level prevents intimacy from occurring.

5) The Intimacy Level - At this level, we are able to share our deepest feelings, concerns, most embarrassing moments, and our pain without any fear of reprisal; we feel fully accepted and loved by the other. We can talk about positive happenings without anticipation that we will be judged as boasting. We can share our shortcomings and our humiliation without fear that it will alter the other person's feelings about us. We are free to say whatever is on our minds, knowing we will continue to be loved and accepted. This level of communication can only be achieved through a growing and abiding trust that has developed over time between two mature individuals. A 'level-5-relationship' requires reciprocity, it is difficult to achieve and requires tender loving care to maintain."

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COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR DOCTOR

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From "Health Talk: How to Communicate with Your Doctor", by Mary Hawkins, Macmillan Canada.

(Editor's notes: Mary Hawkins realized that many of us have genuine difficulty communicating health concerns, as well as our feelings, to a doctor. She shares "the more clearly you can explain yourself, your preferences and your concerns, the better your chances of receiving appropriate and timely help with health problems and questions." The following are excerpts from her book, pages 66 - 78. It would be important to choose a doctor that you are comfortable with and can communicate with in a relaxed and natural way.)

"Communicating with your doctor involves exchanging information. In order for this exchange to be successful, both of you must understand what the other means. This means you must share a common language, which allows you and your doctor to clarify the information about your symptoms and arrive at a treatment plan.

Finding a Common Language

Finding the right words and images that describe how you feel physically, mentally, or emotionally is difficult for some people. We often have our own set of expressions for describing these feelings; for example, some people think in words and others think in pictures.

However, before you can express any pain, first you must know exactly where it is and how much it hurts. Is it in your side? Near your hip or your groin? Is it deeply uncomfortable, or is it mildly uncomfortable? What words or images describe the depth of your discomfort?

Using Metaphors

Using metaphors or visual images to remember and describe symptoms is a good technique for jogging your memory. It can be an effective way to communicate degrees of physical, mental, or emotional pain. Look at examples such as "it feels like my shoulder has been pierced by an arrow" or "my stomach feels bruised." Someone describing loneliness might say "My heart feels overwhelmed with grief." There are many words or images you can choose to describe your pain or ailment.

WHAT YOUR DOCTOR SHOULD KNOW

Communicating about Medical History

Often we don't let the doctor know of the upsets, stresses, and minor injuries in our personal lives, even though they might contribute to changes in our mental or physical health. Similarly, we often forget to inform the doctor of crucial family history that might affect diagnosis, prognosis, intervention, and even short or long term treatment. A family's medical past might include many conditions with hereditary factors, such as heart disease, stroke, mental illness, or certain types of cancer. If you and your doctor know about these patterns, you can discuss what symptoms to watch for and what preventive medicine to take.

Communicating Discomfort

You should inform your doctor if you feel uncomfortable with any aspect of your routine annual checkup. For example, it's important to tell your doctor if you're uneasy with groin or rectal examinations or breast examinations. Your doctor will try to interact with you in a way that decreases your discomfort or nervousness. If you still do not feel comfortable, then you might consider finding another doctor. If you do, be sure to inform the new doctor of your concerns. The problem may not be the doctor, but your own aversion to invasive procedures.

Communicating About Physical Symptoms

It's important to tell your doctor about changes in your body, such as unusual lumps, rashes, or persistent pain. That gives your doctor the opportunity to discuss any worries or concerns you might have, and also for early detection of possibly serious conditions.

Communicating About Emotional Symptoms

Just as it's useful for the doctor to know about the family medical history, it's also helpful to let the doctor know about the family behavioral and emotional coping skills that might relate to family tensions. This kind of information is particularly important if you find yourself thinking about or re-enacting some kind of destructive behaviour as a response to life stresses.

Communicating About Lifestyle

You may want to discuss with your doctor any concerns associated with stressful living conditions, sleep disturbances, persistent emotional upsets, or just the frustrations you feel from dealing with life's challenges.

Effective communication with your doctor benefits you in many ways. You create an open atmosphere for exchanging information, and offer insights into the state of your well-being, so you help your doctor to meet your needs."

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CODEPENDENCY, DETACHMENT, AND THE TRUE SELF: PART I - THE PROBLEM

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By Carmen (Mathenge) Turner-Pluta, California, United States

"O My servants! Could ye apprehend with what wonders of My munificence and bounty I have willed to entrust your souls, ye would, of a truth, rid yourselves of attachment to all created things, and would gain a true knowledge of your own selves." --Baha'u'llah (1)

The condition known in contemporary jargon as "codependency" may be a form of what the Baha'i Writings refer to as "attachment." Baha'u'llah writes, "True loss is for him whose days are spent in utter ignorance of his self." (2) Codependency is a result of ignorance of the true self, and it occurs when he or she is so focused on trying to please or fix someone else that he or she is unable to develop or to maintain an appropriate sense of self. A better understanding of this condition, which hinders the development of spirituality, may help them learn how to obey Baha'u'llah's injunction to rid themselves of attachment.

According to current psychological theory codependency has its roots in our dysfunctional family systems. The term "dysfunctional" is most often used in reference to families in which there is alcoholism, chemical dependency, or physical or sexual abuse. However, it also applies to many other family situations, such as 1) serious illness or death of a parent or sibling; 2) destructive emotional effects associated with either divorce or continued fighting between parents; 3) less obvious forms of emotional and spiritual abuse, e.g., attempts to control children's behavior by using such destructive weapons as sarcasm, ridicule, silence, name-calling, and "guilting"; and 4) unavailability of parents due to workaholics, TV addiction, excessive social or even religious activities, or anything else which may create a situation in which children's physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual needs are not met.

Any of the above types of abuse result in the child's feeling shame: not shame about a particular behavior that needs to be corrected; not an inner voice which says "Oh-oh! I have done something bad"; but an inner voice which says, "I AM bad, I was born bad, something is wrong with me and it can't be fixed." The result of such a loss of self-esteem can be that the child's entire life becomes focused on trying to please or take care of others--first parents or caregivers; later teachers, peers, spouse, children, friends, bosses, co-workers, etc. The important point is that these persons can only feel "ok" by getting approval from someone else, so they become outer-directed, constantly seeking to please someone and get validated. They learn not to acknowledge or take care of their own feelings and needs; instead, they "stuff" their feelings by developing compulsive behaviors.

How to Keep the Family Dysfunctional

Robert Stubby (3) identified a set of nine unwritten "rules" often followed in dysfunctional families which create and maintain a high level of codependency in the family system: 1) Don't talk about problems; 2) don't express feelings openly (the "big boys don't cry" syndrome and the "don't cry, have a cookie" syndrome); 3) don't address issues or relationships directly (e.g., Mom and Dad are not speaking, so they send messages to each other via the children); 4) the "always" rule ("Always be nice, always be perfect, always be happy"); 5) don't be selfish ("Always think of other people first"); 6) mixed messages ("Do as I say, not as I do); 7) it's not ok to play; 8) don't rock the boat; and 9) don't talk about sex.

These rules reflect a set of ways of interacting and solving problems--ways that don't work. All of them are inimical to the spirit of frank and loving consultation Baha'is hope and attempt to maintain in our families. However, for many of us they are rules we may never have recognized as rules, and thus, never thought to challenge. We need to learn new ways to permit discussion of problems at levels appropriate to the age and maturity of family members, ways to allow expression of real feelings while setting firm limits on destructive behaviors, and at the same time discouraging gossip and backbiting.

How Do Codependents Behave?

We all have patterns of relating learned in childhood. Co-dependents learned 'dysfunctional' patterns of relating, because in childhood, they worked; they were their means of survival. If they lived in a noisy, violent, or unpredictable environment, they became very quiet so nobody would notice them. If they found it difficult to get any attention at all, they learned to get their desperate need for acknowledgement met through tantrums, or depression, or illness. As adults, they keep repeating patterns of behavior that don't work. Why? Because those are the patterns they internalized and which are now repeated without their awareness.

Codependents have an impaired ability to maintain loving relationships. They tend to behave in two ways. Some are "people-pleasers," unable to say no, focused on trying to anticipate other people's needs and give them what they want (regardless of whether it is good for them). Some are manipulators, focused on trying to control others and get them to do what they want. And some jump from one extreme to the other as though controlled by a toggle-switch. All of these behaviors lead to frustration and unhappiness. The placatory find that no matter how hard someone tries to please people, it's never enough. The controllers can't understand why people always resist attempts to tell them how to arrange their lives. Some codependents keep moving from relationship to relationship, discarding one after another like last year's shoes; while others remain interminably stuck in an abusive or unhappy relationship and are unable either to let go of it or accept it.

Codependents have a lot of trouble with boundaries. If they have appropriate boundaries, they know what they are responsible for and what the other person is responsible for. They are able to practice detachment, which doesn't mean they stop caring about the other person--not at all! What it does mean is that their being "OK" does not depend on the other person's feelings or behavior, but on their own relationship with their Creator and with themselves.

Codependents are notorious for inappropriate care taking and rescuing. "But, someone might object, "I thought we were supposed to help people." True, even people who are not extremely codependent can fall into enabling behaviors. Before helping somebody, it is good to ask the following three questions: 1) am I doing something for her that it would be better for her to do for herself? 2) am I protecting him from the legitimate consequences of his own behavior? and 3) am I helping her because I really care about her, or because I want to get approval or validation--in other words, because I want to be liked, or admired, or because I am trying to "fix" myself? These behaviors are called "enabling." They may make it harder for the person who is being helped to learn the lesson God is trying to teach him. If so, he will end up experiencing even more pain, and the enabler will probably experience some pain too. These questions have to do with the issue of motive, and often require meditation and prayer to answer, because our motives may not be consciously recognized. We may need to take a look at past situations in which we have "helped" someone and see whether our "helping" has been based on our unhealthy codependency patterns or whether it has genuinely helped. It may help to ask yourself: "If a friend of mine came to me with this situation, what advice would I give him/her?"

(1) Baha'u'llah (1976). Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah (pp. 326-327). Wilmette, Ill: Baha'i Publishing Trust. 326-327.

(2) Baha'u'llah (1978). Tablets of Bah·'u'll·h Revealed after the Kitab-i-Aqdas (p. 34). Haifa, Israel: Baha'i World Centre.

(3) Stubby, R. (1987). Lost in the Shuffle: The Co-dependent Reality (p. 26). Pompano Beach, FL: Health Communications.

(Part 2 of this article will be included in the March/01 issue. This article is the "bare bones" of a longer paper and Carmen Turner-Pluto will be happy to e-mail the longer version to anyone who requests it. She will also be happy to correspond by e-mail with anyone who wants to discuss these issues. Email address is: cmatheng@sonnet.ucla.edu)

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HOW A WOMAN'S JOURNAL MADE A DIFFERENCE

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This story is being reprinted from the April, 1998 issue of the Healing Through Unity Newsletter, Volume 1, Issue #9

Anna Cameron tried something new. She always kept a journal which she reviewed periodically to review the growth and struggles of her life. This year she decided to try an experiment when she received a new journal from her niece. On pilgrimage (in Haifa, Israel where the Baha'i World centre is located) she learned from a member of the Universal House of Justice that we do not bring our negative qualities to the next world but only positive attributes. "The soul carries with it divine attributes and spiritual qualities to the next world, but cannot take with it bad qualities for badness has no existence of its own; it is only the lack of goodness." (Adib Tahirzadih, The Human Soul, p. 13) This person had always considered bringing herself to account was to reflect both the positive and negative aspects of the day. She felt that she was very good at seeing the negative aspects of herself and thought she would attempt to only write about the positive aspects of bringing herself to account each day. At first she felt very doubtful, and decided to give this experiment one year to try it out.

Two months later, she reflected that each time she reviewed the journal it uplifted her soul. She perceived how it simplified and purified her attitude when she looked back on past events and how encouraging it was to her spiritual journey. Focusing on her inner and outer accomplishments now serves as a basis to give her strength to do her service and to validate her own value. Anna is putting into practice the virtue of looking at the positive qualities of her true self which is making a difference in her life.

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FASTING

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During the Baha'i month of Loftiness which begins March 2nd, Baha'is over 15 years of age fast from sunrise to sunset for nineteen days. Exempted from the Fast are children under 15, those who are ill, over 70, travelling, pregnant or nursing women, women in their courses or those doing heavy labour. The Fast ends at sunset March 20, Naw-Ruz (Baha'i New Year).

'Abdu'l-Baha tells us that "prayer and fasting is the cause of awakening and mindfulness and conducive to protection and preservation from tests." ('Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, pp. 69-70)

Prayer and fasting "act as stimulants to the soul, strengthen, revive, and purify it, and thus insure its steady development." (Shoghi Effendi, Principles of Baha'i Administration, p.8)

The Guardian, Shoghi Effendi writes, "it (the fasting period) is essentially a period of meditation and prayer, of spiritual recuperation, during which the believer must strive to make necessary readjustments to his inner life, and to refresh and reinvigorate the spiritual forces latent in his soul. Its significance and purpose are, therefore, fundamentally spiritual in character. Fasting is symbolic, and a reminder of abstinence from selfish and carnal desires." (Shoghi Effendi, Principles of Baha'i Administration, p. 9)

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HEALTH HABITS

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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 always happy
Simplify
Focus
Practice patience
Cleanliness
Eat simple, wholesome foods
Drink adequate pure water
Evaluate progress daily, summarize weekly

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ANNOUNCEMENTS

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Canadians flock to health-related web sites

"More than half (55%) of Canadians with web access have visited a health-related web site in the past year, and about 41% visit them on a monthly basis, according to a new survey from Ipsos-Reid. According to the findings of the survey, conducted in September/00, web sites that offer information about diseases, prevention and cures are the most popular types of sites, visited by 69% of regular Canadian Internet users. These sites are followed in popularity by those that offer information about nutrition (44%) and information about prescription drugs (31%). Less popular are health sites that offer exercise information (20%), and support group sites (16%)." From Charity Village NewsBytes for the week ending December 3, 2000 http://www.charityvillage.com/charityvillage/news.asp

This is taken from Ontario Health Promotion E-Mail Bulletin #185.0. If you wish to subscribe to this newsletter email address is: ohpe@opc.on.ca

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Medicine Amendment Act - Bill 2

On December 21, 2000 history was quietly made in the Legislature of the Province of Ontario, Canada. A law was passed that is significant to us all, no matter where we live. It is "Bill 2, An Act to amend the Medicine Act, 1991."

Monte Kwinter, Liberal MPP, the bill's author, comments, "(it is) sublime in its wording but profound in its impact." Very true, health care will never be the same!

Mr. Kwinter explains, "(the bill has) only has 68 words, and it says: 'A member (of the College of Physicians and Surgeons) shall not be found guilty of professional misconduct or of incompetence under section 51 or 52 of the Health Professions Procedural Code solely on the basis that the member practices a therapy that is non-traditional or that departs from the prevailing medical practice unless there is evidence that proves that the therapy poses a greater risk to a patient's health than the traditional or prevailing practice.'

To view Bill 2, visit the website: http://www.ontla.on.ca/Documents/documentsindex.htm

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QUESTION OF THE MONTH

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What is the role of a massage therapist? How do the principles and treatments of massage assist us with our health?

We look forward to hearing from readers who are massage therapists as well as from individuals who have had massage treatments which assisted them with their well being.

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SPREADING THE WORD

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There are now over 1,800 subscribers from more than 110 countries, territories and islands. This includes a large number of friends who serve in the health professions. These include: physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, chiropractors, naturopaths, homeopaths, massage therapists, psychotherapists, counsellors and other healing specialists.

We would love to see "Healing Through Unity" continue to grow! We hope you, as readers, will continue to make a conscious effort to tell your friends, families, and communities who you think might enjoy and benefit from the publication. If you would like to place a small announcement to put in your local or national newsletters, here is one for your use:

"HEALING THROUGH UNITY" NEWSLETTER
This newsletter 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. There are 10 issues/year and it is circulated to more than 110 countries and territories. If you are interested, please email: -- or visit the website at: www.healingthroughunity.org

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WEB SITE

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You can visit the website, obtain back issues and the Healing Through Unity Course at: http://www.healingthroughunity.org.

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PURPOSE OF THE NEWSLETTER

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"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: -- .

PLEASE NOTE:

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. If you have a change of e-mail address, please inform me with your old and new email address. To cancel the subscription, please send message to: --




HEALING THROUGH UNITY

March, 2001

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of

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

Volume 4, Issue #7

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Contents

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- The Jewish Physician
- The Value of Massage Treatment
- Understanding Various Responses to Touch Therapy
- The Exchange
- An Insight into the Bowen Technique
- Nambudripad Allergy Elimination Technique: What It Is?
- Codependency, Detachment, and the True Self: Part 2: The Solution
- The Rules of Being Human
- The Meaning of Life Course
- Question of the Month
- Website
- Purpose of the Newsletter

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THE JEWISH PHYSICIAN

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Taken from "Fire on the Mountain Top". This is a true story based in Iran during the early days of the Baha'i Faith.

"Hakim Aqa Jan hurried along the narrow lanes of Hamadan to the house of Muhammad Baqir who, carrying a lantern to light the way, ran on in front. Muhammad Bahir's wife lay desperately ill, shaken with convulsions and crying out in pain. She had been suffering with fever when the Jewish Physician, Hakim Aqa Jan, was called in to see her earlier that evening, and he had given her a few pills to take, saying that she would soon feel better. She had scarcely taken the pills, however, when her condition grew worse and she was seized with severe pains and convulsions.

Hurrying to her bedside now, Hakim Aqa Jan had one look at his patient and the blood drained out of his face. He immediately realized what had happened; instead of the quinine pills he intended to give her, he had handed out strychnine. Not only was the patient now in danger of losing her life, but so was he himself. Indeed, knowing the hatred which the Muslims bore towards his people, Hakim Aqa Jan wondered if this consequences of such a mistake on his part might not affect his family and the whole Jewish population of Hamadan. He trembled at the thought and scarcely heard the question Muhammad Baqir was asking. The latter, sensing the state of the doctor's mind, asked the reason for his extreme anxiety. "I have made a mistake in giving the pills," confessed Hakim Aqa Jan. "Anyone can make a mistake" said Muhammad Baqir. "You did not do this on purpose, and even if the patient should die, no one will blame you for it."

Hakim Aqa Jan could not believe his ears. Was it indeed a Muslim who spoke thus to him, a Jew? But there was no time to dwell on such mysteries when his patient needed all his attention. He rushed out of the house to the nearest drug shop and, having purchased some medicine with which he hoped might be able to save her life, hurried back to sit with his patient through the night. After agonizing hours of suspense in which he did every possible thing within his power to save her, he was at last relieved to see that the danger had passed and that she would live.

During all this time, the gracious courtesy and the kindness with which he had received in the home of Muhammad Baqir greatly affected and somewhat puzzled the physician. He had had many dealings with Muslims before and was familiar with the way they treated Jews, especially under such unfavourable conditions. The more he thought about it, the more he wondered at the unusual behaviour of this household.

Later, he mustered enough courage to ask Muhammad Baqir about his religious beliefs. "I belong to a new Faith," was Muhammad Baqir's reply, "I am a Baha'i." Hakim Aqa Jan was immediately interested to know about this new Faith and after a period of investigation, became an ardent follower himself.

He was the first Jew to embrace the Cause in Hamadan, and although he did not live more than a few years after becoming a Baha'i, he was able to bring a great number of other Jews into the Faith before he passed away."

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THE VALUE OF MASSAGE TREATMENT

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By Kevin Beane, New Hampshire, United States

Websterís dictionary defines massage as: the act or art of treating the body by rubbing, kneading, patting, or the like, to stimulate circulation, increase suppleness, relieve tension, etc.

There are numerous massage systems and techniques from around the world. Some examples are Swedish, Thai, Russian, Shiatsu(Japan), Tui Na (China). Systems such as Rolfing or Myofascial Release have a particular focus that includes an awareness of body structure and connective tissue (fascia). Japanese and Chinese systems may include an awareness of the flow of chi (bioelectricity) through our bodies. Balanced chi is considered fundamental to good health. This balance may be encouraged through techniques such as assisted stretching or acupressure (pressing acupuncture points). Some systems focus more on muscles, others on circulation of blood or lymph. Some systems are more often called bodywork or energy work (rather than massage) depending on what their major focus is. Some systems cross professional boundaries and are practiced by nurses, physical therapists, and other health practitioners.

What kind of problems can massage be used for? This depends upon the approach used and the skill level of the practitioner. Some more common uses are relief of muscular pain, discomfort, general relaxation, and stress reduction (for example, this can help regulate high blood pressure). Many people have experienced the benefits of massage and receive regular treatments for health maintenance and prevention. Although Websterís dictionary defines massage as the act or art of treating the body, many current practices and practitioners include a holistic awareness of body, mind, and spirit. All dimensions of our being are important to health and a practitioner who has deepened spiritually, as well as in the knowledge of their art, can be of assistance with many problems. Using massage, people have been helped with a multitude of physical, mental, and emotional symptoms related to past traumas.

As multi-dimensional individuals, who we go to for massage and for what reason can vary greatly. It is best to consult first with a massage practitioner to find out if they think they can help you and if you feel comfortable with them. This is more important than what their technique is called. A competent practitioner will know when something is beyond the scope of their practice and be able to refer one to the appropriate health professional.

We are all ultimately dependent upon God for health and healing. A holistic view of health recognizes spirit as the source and strives to help the patient find balance in their lives. With balance, we are best able to realize (harmonize with) the health that flows through us continually. To help achieve this balance one may utilize one of the various massage styles mentioned as well as healthy diet, exercise, meditation, and prayer.

ìThy name is my healing, O my God, and remembrance of Thee is my remedy. Nearness to Thee is my hope, and love for Thee is my companion. Thy mercy to me is my healing and my succor in both this world and in the world to come. Thou, verily, art the All-Bountiful, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise." (Bahaíuíllah, Baha'i Prayers,1985 edition, p. 87, U.S.A.)

A massage practitioner or any other health professional that has truly deepened on this prayer can be of immeasurable help and service. This knowledge can access healing potential that is beyond the power of the intellect to understand or adequately explain. Self deepening on this prayer will help access health and healing from the source of our being.

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UNDERSTANDING VARIOUS

RESPONSES TO TOUCH THERAPY

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Taken from a publication produced by the Client Relations Committee of the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario, Canada

SPONTANEOUS TENSION RELEASE

Massage therapy is a hands-on manipulation of the soft tissues of the body - muscles, connective tissues, tendons, ligaments and joints. One goal of massage therapy is to release tension.

Tension release comes in different ways. For example, you could be getting a massage, and you could start to tremble. Your trembling could be a spontaneous release of tension similar to an ordinary experience you've had before. Remember, for example, a time when you bought more groceries than you'd intended. You were really dragging by the time you got home, and when you finally put the bags down, your hands began to tremble. You were experiencing a spontaneous release of tension that built up from carrying the heavy parcels. Laughing or crying in the course of a massage, like trembling, could be nothing more complicated than the spontaneous release of tension. At other times, tension release may be associated with remembered experiences stored in the body.

TENSION RELEASE AND MEMORY

Our bodies store experiences. For the most part we function on automatic pilot, integrating new experiences with existing memories already stored in our bodies. In other words, we process incoming experiences automatically without paying conscious attention to detail.

A massage therapist tells the story of treating someone who was experiencing extreme tension in her neck and shoulder. During massage, the tension began to let up, and the client began to cry and talk about how unhappy she was with her boss. As she told her story and experienced the feelings associated with it, the client began to turn her head and move her shoulder more freely. In other words, the client had been functioning on automatic pilot - integrating stressful work experiences with existing stressful memories already stored in her body. Without being consciously aware of it, she had been tensing up her neck and shoulder during encounters at work and experiencing her boss as a "pain in the neck."

The client regained mobility in her neck and shoulder when she made a connection between the bodily tension she was experiencing and how things had been going at work and then, with the help of massage, let go of or released the tension.

TOUCH CAN TRIGGER MEMORIES

Ordinary or story-telling memory occurs automatically in response to a particular cue or trigger. For example, a person sees a brooch like one worn by grandmother and remembers the events surrounding grandmother's death. Seeing the brooch triggers a memory that the person experiences as a story he or she can tell about how grandmother died.

Any one of the five senses can trigger memory. Sometimes the trigger is a context similar to the context in which the memory was originally planted. Other times it's an image, a gesture, a taste, a smell, a sound or a touch. For many people, being touched is associated with having been touched in childhood. For such people, massage therapy may trigger childhood memories.

Persons undergoing a series of massage therapy treatments may experience a memory returning in bits and pieces - some sights, some sounds, some thoughts, some physical sensations. The bits and pieces may eventually come together as a story the person can tell about an episode that occurred in the past. The gradual re-experiencing of an episode that has been stored in the body as neuro-muscular tension is often accompanied by a gradual release of pent-up energy and emotion.

YOUR RESPONSES ARE NORMAL

Responses to touch therapy such as the ones described in this publication are normal. If you have any experiences you do not understand, tell your massage therapist. He or she can reassure you. If, after talking with your massage therapist, you continue to be concerned about your responses, ask your therapist to refer you to someone who can help you put your experiences into context.

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THE EXCHANGE

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Question:

What is the role of a massage therapist? How do the principles and treatments of massage assist us with our health?

Answers:

For years I suffered from a horrid case of tendonitis in my right wrist. This was caused by years of computer work, mainly mousing! I tried everything, from medication to physiotherapy, brace, anything at all, to no avail. The pain always came back with a vengeance. The episodes of pain were longer and more intense. Sometimes to such extent, it would prevent me from doing simple things such as comb my hair or dress myself. Then my doctor said there was one other thing we could try! I was ready for anything. I went to a massage therapist. I did an intensive six months, which was once a week for the first three months and then once a month, and then followed by once a month for another year. I have been pain free for almost 2 years I believe. Or when the pain comes, it is not too great, and a couple of sessions with my therapist takes care of the problem.

I think what happened was that with the other therapies, it focused only on the location of the pain. But with the massage, the therapist started from the neck and shoulder to release the tension from the originating location. Then she would move to the more local pain area. I would recommend it to anyone!

- Atusa Nemat, Vancouver, Canada

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I am not a registered massage therapist, but rather a graduate of a two year community college program in Aromatherapy. Aromatherapy is the study of medicinal plant extracts (which in France and England can only be studied as a medical specialty). The client's history is taken (emotional, physical, spiritual factors are taken into account) and a personalized blend is made. This may be applied through a full-body massage, through inhalation, or as a bath blend. There is great emphasis on the body-mind connection, and on lifestyle factors which influence the well-being of the client.

- Christine Nightingale , Ontario, Canada

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"With the hands of power I made thee and with the fingers of strength I created thee" (Baha'u'llah, Arabic Hidden Words, p. 12)

"Bind ye the broken with the hands of justice" (Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 52)

"Sometimes one can benefit a sick person by placing one's hand upon his head or upon his heart." (Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 254)

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AN INSIGHT INTO THE BOWEN TECHNIQUE

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By Meryl Cook, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada

A Bowen treatment consists of gentle, rolling movements on specific points of the body. These stimulations activate a systemic response so powerful that a few minutes' pause is observed to allow them to be integrated. A pattern of movements and pauses continues throughout the treatment. The rhythm is soothing and most patients fall asleep at least once during the session. Benefits are usually apparent within two sessions, even when long-standing conditions are being treated.

The Bowen Technique was developed in the 1950's by the late Tom Bowen in Australia. Bowen became a celebrated therapist, regularly treating over 13,000 patients a year. In 1987 the Bowen Therapy Academy of Australia was founded by Oswald and Elaine Rentsch, who were the only people commissioned by Bowen to document and teach his original work. Since 1987, over 9,000 therapists worldwide have taken Bowen training.

Bowen practioners have claimed success in treating musculoskeletal problems such as back and neck pain, frozen shoulder, scoliosis, sports injuries, TMJ alignment and carpal tunnel syndrome. The technique is also claimed to be effective with internal conditions such as migraines, digestive and elimination complaints (including hernia), colic in babies and respiratory problems - including asthma.

The Bowen Technique is considered to be safe to use on everyone - from newborns to the elderly, even for pregnant women. It is effective for both recent and long-standing conditions. The treatments are usually done on a bed or massage table, but can be adapted to the patient sitting - even to those confined to a wheel chair.

The Bowen Technique is unlike most other forms of bodywork. It does not involve deep massage, or adjustment of the bony structure. There is no forceful separation of fascia, or directing of energy by the practitioner. Many of the Bowen moves coincide with acupuncture points, but it is not acupressure. Similar to homeopathy, it is thought that the Bowen Technique stimulates the body to heal itself and to regain balance.

I have been practising the Bowen Technique for five years, and it continues to amaze me. While the technique is relatively easy to learn, and I have had great success from the beginning, the more I practise Bowen, the more I learn from it. In my practice I have had the bounty to use the Bowen Technique to assist moms during labour and delivery. I have also been blessed with the opportunity to assist patients with environmental illness and individuals recovering from cancer and chemotherapy. The Bowtech website is at http://www.bowtech.com. If you would be interested in further information about the Bowen Technique, I would be happy to assist you and you can contact me at MerylACook@hotmail.com.

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NAMBUDRIPAD ALLERGY ELIMINATION

TECHNIQUE: WHAT IT IS?

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By Bill and Phoebe Anne Lemmon, Quebec, Canada. (The technical information was gleaned from the brochure of the Sunrise Health Centre, Ottawa, Canada.)

The Nambudripad Allergy Elimination Technique (NAET), named for its developer, uses chiropractic, kinesiology, and acupuncture in a breakthrough treatment that desensitizes the body to a host of allergens and has resulted in curing many chronic conditions and illnesses.

Computerized allergy testing and muscle response testing determine what allergens are to be treated. The three-step process begins with nerve stimulation down the spine while the client holds a vial of the allergen. Then specific acupuncture points are stimulated by massage or needles. Finally the client rests for twenty minutes.

We were drawn to NAET, because we suspected we had allergies. In our cases, we did not manifest classic symptoms of rashes, sneezes, swelling, and the like. We were grateful that a friend told us about NAET. While being on this program, we have noticed a marked reduction in fatigue and mucous, and, for Phoebe Anne, who had become increasingly depressed about Quebec's winter, a total absence of negativity during the winter months.

We are happy to let others know about NAET and refer those interested to the website at www.naet.com.

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CODEPENDENCY, DETACHMENT, AND

THE TRUE SELF: PART 2 - THE SOLUTION

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By Carmen (Mathenge) Turner-Pluta, California, United States

To recap Part I briefly, codependency (which the author believes to be a form of attachment) is a condition that arises due to having an inadequate sense of self and being focused on pleasing or fixing others in order to gain approval or validation.

Significance of the Self: Donít the Bahaíi Writings say we should forget the self and think only about others? Didnít Bahaíuíllah say ìLoose thy soul from the prison of selfî?(1) Then why does an inadequate sense of self create codependency? Or why isnít codependency good, if it causes us to be focused on others? First, the Bahaíi Writings tell us that man has a dual nature:

"In man there are two natures; his spiritual or higher nature and his material or lower nature. In one he approaches God, in the other he lives for the world aloneÖ.In his material aspect he expresses untruth, cruelty and injustice; all these are the outcome of his lower nature. The attributes of his Divine nature are shown forth in love, mercy, kindness, truth and justice, one and all being expressions of his higher nature." (2)

Picture a circle of light, representing our higher nature (true self), surrounded by a dark circle representing our lower nature (ego or false self). The lower nature, described as ìhating, angry, selfish, guilty, ignorant, judgmental,î is attached to the material world by a cord labeled ìfear.î This represents fear of abandonment, rejection, loss, failure, not having enough, not being loved, being alone. The higher nature, described as ìloving, peaceful, generous, joyful, aware, acceptingî is attached to the spiritual world, that is to Godís Manifestation (i.e., to Bahaíuíllah if we are a Bahaíi, or to Christ, Muhammad, or whichever of Godís previous Manifestations we accept) by a cord labeled ìunconditional love.î

"O Son of Spirit! Love Me that I may love thee. If thou lovest Me not, My love can in no wise reach thee." Know this, O servant!" (3)

Godís love for His creatures is always available, but to receive it, we must learn to love Him. Otherwise we are like an electric appliance that is not plugged into the power source. The way we plug in the cord is by keeping our attention focused on God. Perhaps this is why, when we ask the Universal House of Justice what to do about a problem, they often advise us to pray, meditate, and read the Writings. We say, ìI know that, but they havenít told me what to do.î But they have, because -- and here is the most important point -- when we focus on our fears, our material self expands, and our spiritual self shrinks; but when we focus on Godís unconditional love, the reverse is true: our ìtrue selfî expands, and our ìfalse self" shrinks. Picture that circle representing the higher and lower natures with the bright light expanded to fill most of the circle; or picture it with the dark part expanded and only a little light remaining in the center. Which do we choose?

In a dysfunctional family, we donít get a sense that we are valuable, we matter. When we are going through the normal stages that children go through (e.g., at age 2 we say 'no' a lot and we are not ready to share yet), the message we get is that there is something wrong with us. So we acquire an inner sense that we are defective, and that no matter how hard we try, sooner or later everybody is going to find out. As a result, we are always focusing on other people, trying to ìpsych outî whether theyíve discovered the awful truth yet. This leads to focusing on our fear and neglecting our true self.

There are two meanings to the word ìself.î We have one word, in English at least, for two entirely different concepts; sometimes ìselfî refers to the ego or lower nature, and sometimes to the higher or spiritual nature. Shoghi Effendi sums it up this way:

"Self has really two meanings, or is used in two senses, in the Bahaíi Writings; one is self, the identity of the individual created by GodÖ.The other self is the ego, the dark, animalistic heritage each one of us has, the lower nature that can develop into a monster of selfishness, brutalityÖIt is this self we must struggle againstÖin order to strengthen and free the spirit within us and help it to attain perfection." (4)

Bahaíuíllah writes:

ìNoble I made thee, wherewith dost thou abase thyself?ÖTurn thy sight unto thyself, that thou mayest find Me standing within thee, mighty, powerful, and self-subsisting.î (5)

ìCould ye apprehend with what wonders of My munificence and bounty I have willed to entrust your souls, ye would of a truth, rid yourselves of attachment to all created things, and would gain a true knowledge of your own selves - a knowledge which is the same as the comprehension of Mine own Being. Ye would find yourselves independent of all else but Me, and would perceive, with your inner and outer eyeÖthe seas of My loving-kindness and bounty moving within you.î (6)

It seems that it is within our own self that we find our connection with God - that is, our feeling of a personal and direct relationship with the Manifestation. Thus, to ignore our true self is equivalent to disconnecting from the power source. If we have gained conscious awareness of both ìselves,î then we will recognize when we have shifted our focus in the wrong direction, and will learn to shift back to the spiritual path. Shoghi Effendi writes:

ìSelf-sacrifice means to subordinate this lower nature and its desires to the more Godly and noble side of ourselves. Ultimately, in its highest sense, self-sacrifice means to give our will and our all to God to do with as He pleases. Then He purifies and glorifies our true self until it becomes a shining and wonderful reality.î (7)

Codependency prevents or hinders our spiritual development. When we are too busy focusing on other people - pleasing them, getting angry at them, worrying about them, or taking care of them - we donít have time to find out who we are and what God wants us to do. Have you ever heard yourself saying, ìI really need to say some prayers but I just donít have time?î Thatís just like saying, ìI want to use the vacuum cleaner, but I donít have time to plug it in, so Iíll just run it over the floor anyway.î Yes, we are supposed to care about other people and help them, but in order to do that with wisdom, we must first focus on our own relationship to our Creator.

References

1. Bahaíuíllah, The Hidden Words, Persian, #40
2. ëAbduíl-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 60
3. Bahaíuíllah, The Hidden Words, Arabic # 5
4. From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, December 10, 1947. Hornby, H. (1983), Lights of Guidance, p. 113
5. Baha'u'llah, The Hidden Words, Arabic #13
6. Bahaíuíllah, Gleanings From the Writings of Bahaíuíllah, pp. 326-327
7. From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual
believer, December 10, 1947. Hornby, H. (1983). Lights of Guidance, p. 117-8

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THE RULES FOR BEING HUMAN

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Author Unknown

1) You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but make the best of it because it's going to be with you the rest of your life.

2) You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called Life on Planet Earth. Every person or incident is the universal teacher.

3) There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of experimentation. "Failures" are as much a part of the process as "Success".

4) A lesson is repeated until learned. It is presented to you in various forms until you learn it -- then you can go on to the next lesson.

5) External problems are a precise reflection of your internal state; pain is how your subconscious gets your attention. First it whispers, then it yells. When you clear inner obstructions, your outside world changes.

6) You will know you've learned a lesson when your actions change. Wisdom is practice, practice, practice.

7) Others are only mirrors of you. You cannot hate or love something about another unless it reflects something you hate or love in yourself.

8) Your life is up to you. Spirit provides the canvas; you do the painting. Make things happen for yourself; don't sit back and watch or wonder what will happen. Take charge of your life or someone else will.

9) Your subconscious rightfully determines what energies, experiences and people you attract -- so, the only foolproof way to know what you want is to see what you have.

10) Your answers lie inside you. Children need guidance from others; as we mature, we trust our hearts, where the laws of spirit are written. You know more than you've heard, read, or been told. Listen to your heart and trust your instincts.

11) There is no right or wrong, but there are consequences, everything has a value and a price, you pay now or pay later.

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THE MEANING OF LIFE COURSE

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By Khosro Deihim, England, United Kingdom (This course is produced by the team of the George Townshend Travelling Baha'i Teacher Training and Teaching Project)

We would like to inform the friends about this study course entitled "The Meaning of Life" which is available in 14 three hour video tapes with 218 page course support notes which were reviewed and approved by the National Spiritual Assembly in the United Kingdom.

The course is specifically aimed for those who are interested in the deeper aspects of our existence on this planet and our role in life. The course material is based on 45 years of research and study of the Bahaíi Faith Scriptures and Writings. We recommend these videos and course notes for presentation to and use of interfaith fellowships, churches, synagogues, mosques, societies, clubs, adult education departments, schools, libraries, television broadcasting services and Bahaíi deepenings. THE COURSE SYLLABUS

There are four parts to the course:

1) Spiritual awakening
2) Developing our spiritual gifts: mind, emotions, will
3) Global harmony
4) Planning to achieve the goals

For those who wish further information, please write to Mr. K. Deihim at 65 Grosvenor Road, Dalton, Huddersfield, HD5 9JB England U.K., telephone: code +(0) 1484 - 429490 or send an e-mail to: khosro@deihim.freeserve.co.uk

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QUESTION OF THE MONTH

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The April issue will cover the issues of mental health.

Here are a few questions and comments from the readers:

1) How do psychiatric prescription drugs affect the soul?
2) I wish to explore the issues of depression, psychological and spiritual imbalances and sometimes this can lead the patient to want to commit suicide.

3) Can we say that depression which is very common in our time could be
cured by closeness to God?
4) How does one live with a person with depression and mood disorder?

Personally, I think depression and mood disorder are a spiritual condition, however, my doctors have told me that it could also be chemical.

Dear Readers:

Do you have any information, solutions or comments in response to the above issues? Please send them to the newsletter and we will share them in the next issue.

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WEB SITE

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You can visit the website, obtain back issues and the Healing Through Unity Course at: http://www.healingthroughunity.org.

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PURPOSE OF THE NEWSLETTER

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"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: -- .

PLEASE NOTE:

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. If you have a change of e-mail address, please inform me with your old and new email address. To cancel the subscription, please send message to: --




HEALING THROUGH UNITY

April, 2001

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of
physical and spiritual health envisioned in the Baha'i Teachings.

Volume 4, Issue #8

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Contents

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- The Horse Blanket
- Mental Illness - Physical or Spiritual Cure? What are the Best Treatments?
- The Exchange
- Tips for Individuals and Baha'i Local Spiritual Assemblies in Dealing with
Mental Health Issues
- Depression and Suicide Intervention for Children and Youth
- Resources
- Response from a Reader about Nambudripad Allergy Elimination Technique
- Requesting Assistance from the Readers
- Question of the Month
- Website
- Purpose of the Newsletter

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THE HORSE BLANKET

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By Ruie Mullins, United States

You think you have all the time in the world. Time to spend with the people in your life. Time to offer praise or time to say you are sorry. Perhaps that's why after a while; we begin to take time for granted. Then one day something triggers your memory and you recall a precious moment and you wonder why you didn't see it that way at the moment it happened. A sudden, empty pit feeling falls upon you as you think back, asking yourself why you didn't see all that when it happened. Perhaps you were busy and were trying to be attentive, but only part of you was there, the other part was worrying about something at the office or a bill that needed to be paid, or maybe you just were not interested and so you went through the motions. But now you wish that you had been there all the way because it was a time you cannot ever retrieve.

About eight years ago, Mother suddenly decided she wanted to visit me. I had been after her for years to teach me how to weave like the Navajos. She was a weaver. They, the Navajos, called her the "Silver Queen" because her hair was silver. I was in the middle of an event (as an event marketing specialist at the time) and I was stretched for time and stressed to the max. I tried to give her my time and to be attentive; the key word here is tried. There were so many things that went wrong with that visit. My daughter was in great trouble and my mother being a mother wanted to be helpful and stepped in where she shouldn't have and I raised my voice to her. To this day, I remember the hurt expression on her face. I had never raised my voice or been disrespectful to either of my parents. I was so ashamed. I realized immediately what I had done and tried to make amends, but it never got better after that moment. She stayed just a few more days, and then left at 6:30 am just as suddenly as she arrived at.

Earlier, she had asked my daughter about a little Indian horse blanket that I had on the floor of my bedroom. She wanted to know if my daughter thought that I might give it to her. She had fallen in love with that little blanket. At the time, my daughter was still angry with her grandmother for interfering, so she was not interested in making her grandmother feel better. My poor, dear mother didn't know that she had entered a hornets nest of pure suffering.

I refused to give the blanket to her. It was for selfish reasons. I didn't want her to have it. I was being hateful and angry in my own behavior and turned it against the one person I loved most in the world.

She was a weaver and no one in the world could have appreciated that little blanket for its beauty of craftsmanship and color and style. But I would not part with it. I held on to it as if it was made of gold and the most important thing in my life. My mother went home sad and hurt.

We didn't speak for almost a year. We were two very stubborn women. I refused to call her; I was so very righteous. As was she, but she was my mother and it was not her place to call me. Then one day the phone rang and it was mother. My son was getting married and she wanted to know what to bring him for a wedding gift. I was so excited to speak with her; I didn't want her to hang up. But of course, she had to. We had a wonderful conversation and tried to put it all behind us. We would be seeing each other in less than a month. We said our good-byes and as we had always done before we closed our conversation with "I love you."

She died suddenly three weeks later, shortly before my son's wedding. We never spoke to one another again. I never got the chance to give her the blanket.

The moral of this storyÖtime is precious. Things are not. Sharing is important and love is what it is all about. The joy I could have given my mother by sharing that blanket would have left me with such wonderful memories of our last moments. What happened to the blanket? It was destroyed by neglect. It never had meaning to me again. The ironyÖI would have gotten the blanket back one day, as she left everything to me.

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MENTAL ILLNESS - PHYSICAL OR SPIRITUAL CURE?

WHAT ARE THE BEST TREATMENTS?

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By Nona Simons, California, United States

In contemplating the above questions it is important to remember that mental illnesses are complex. Because I have had family members with mental illness, I have taken the time to explore this subject in depth, as well as searching out any pertinent Baha'i teachings on this matter. The Baha'i International Community (BIC) supports a very innovative, creative, multifaceted and far reaching approach to the treatment of mental illness, because it considers both the medical (chemical) and spiritual aspects of these conditions.

The BIC defines mental illness as a medical problem in the following statement on protecting people with "mental disorder":

The Baha'i International Community, "On the Protection of Persons Suffering from Mental Disorder: Agenda item 9: Human rights and scientific and technological developments," Written statement circulated as official United Nations Document: /CN.4/Sub.2/1984/NGO/4 of 14 August 1984, pp. 19-21.

In the above-statement, the BIC states that "...mental illness is a medical disorder which does not and cannot affect a personís fundamental value or worth... treatment of the mentally ill must be founded on an appreciation for the spiritual life of the individual and must seek to develop the totality of his person. It must not be concerned solely with controlling his outward symptoms...." The statement goes on to say that "...mental disorders are a medical condition and should be treated as such...utilizing the most advanced standards of medical treatment..." Thus, mental illness is a physical ailment, and medical remedies need to be explored in seeking the best treatment for the physical aspects of the condition.

However, the BIC, in the above-mentioned statement, has emphasized "...the necessity for a spiritual dimension to the treatment of the mentally ill." "In the Baha'i view, the totality of the life of the individual must be taken into consideration. This means that the intellectual, physical, emotional, social and spiritual aspects of human reality should be dealt with in the process of treatment. Thus, treatment should be aimed at the improvement of the psychological and spiritual life of the person and not only at controlling his symptoms. The goal should be to rehabilitate and reintegrate the individual into the life of his family, his community and society at large, and to assist him, by virtue of his spiritual capacities, to acquire higher levels of self-knowledge, insight and understanding of reality." The statement affirms that detention of the mentally ill in hospitals should be temporary and only utilized when the patient is a danger to himself or others, and that such treatment should be "...linked to rehabilitation of the patient...the mentally ill individual should be provided opportunities to develop and fulfill his full potential as soon as he recovers from his mental disorder, by means of access to proper education and exposure to a positive and stimulating environment." The BIC also emphasizes the importance of "...affirming that every patient shall be treated with humanity and respect..." This very important issue has often been overlooked during the initial and prolonged hospitalization of mentally ill people. When such a patient is not treated with dignity and respect the personís illness can become worse. The BIC mentions the "importance of work in enhancing an individualís self-value and sense of worth as a human being..." and how that can contribute to the improvement of his mental health. In reality, little is often done to support training and integrating the ill person back into the work force. This is emphasized by a quote written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 623:

"Every individual, no matter how handicapped and limited he may be, is under the obligation of engaging in some work or profession, for work, specially when performed in the spirit of service, is according to Baha'u'llah a form of worship. It has not only a utilitarian purpose, but has a value in itself, because it draws us nearer to God, and enables us to better grasp His purpose for us in this world."

Although the BIC does not enumerate upon specific treatments for specific illnesses, I believe the guidance offered in the above-mentioned statement provides a framework for an individual or family member to map out an efficacious course of treatment for a mental disorder. When utilizing the BIC framework, a client or family member needs to consider finding professional medical personnel who are not only able to diagnose a mental illness and treat a problem with medication, but who also view the mentally ill client as a person with a medical disease who is worthy of respect and fair treatment. I also believe it is best to work with professionals who seek to involve the client and, if the client desires, his or her family, in formulating a workable treatment plan. Furthermore, any medical professional utilized needs to have a clear understanding of the symptoms and best treatments available for a wide variety of mental illnesses.

Because our society is still in the early stages of understanding and treating the many mental illnesses that exist, clients and their families need to be patient, willing to educate themselves about the ailment, and persistent in seeking the best treatment options. Additionally, because mental illness (depression, manic depression, panic/anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, etc.) are a neurobiological problem (an impairment of brain functioning), clients need to be open to trying new medications aimed at improving brain functioning and eliminating the worst symptoms of their illness. It can be very difficult to find the correct medications to use for other classes of mental problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder, adjustment reactions, and chemical dependence, but this does not mean that there cannot be a time and a place where medication might be needed on a temporary basis to mitigate an acute expression of symptoms.

Because mental illnesses are multifaceted diseases, I believe, like the BIC has stated, that a multifaceted approach to treating these diseases is called for. Hence, exploring alternatives like prayer, meditation, biofeedback, occupational therapy, support groups, and the like, can be important facets of a treatment plan for a mentally ill person. One organization that is very helpful in providing assistance to a family or individual seeking to improve treatment for a mental disorder is Alliance for the Mentally Ill (AMI), an organization founded by the families of mentally ill clients. There are AMI chapters both locally and nationally in the United States, that provide support and educational materials about mental illness to families and clients. They have a web site at http://www.nami.org/.

Coming from a family with two mentally ill members (one with manic depression and alcoholism and one with some kind of schizo-affective disorder), I found AMI to be one of the most valuable resources available for learning how to understand and live with mentally ill family members. AMI supports medical research for finding new medications for the mentally ill and has an educational program aimed at eliminating the stigma of mental illness. As the burden of living with the stigma of a mental illness serves to prevent recovery for mentally ill people, more work needs to be done to provide education to clients, family and society in general, about the true nature of mental illness. I am gratified that 'Healing Through Unity' has provided a supportive forum for the discussion of mental illness, a serious set of neurobiological diseases that affects millions of people.

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THE EXCHANGE

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Question:

What are some suggestions to deal with the issues of mental health?

Answers:

I have found that my depression is caused by blocked energy flows throughout my body. For years I went to therapy and took prescription drugs for my depression. The therapy was very helpful when my depression was caused by downwardly spiraling thoughts, but sometimes it seemed that there was no cause at all for it. This frustrated me very much. I have finally discovered, after 20 years, that Acupuncture is an almost instant relief of my depression symptoms. I'm sure that it would not work for everyone, but personally I have found that I need a "tune-up" every once in a while. I hope that this information helps someone out there who suffers with this debilitating disease as I do.
- Jennifer Springfield, California, United States

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Acupuncture is gaining new attention among Western scientists for its antidepressant effects. Chinese doctors hold that all illness, including depression, stems from an imbalance in the flow of chi, the life energy that fuels all our vital functions. They believe that the insertion of fine needles at key points in the body restores the flow of chi and so relieves the problem. The Western interpretation is this: The needles trigger the release of endorphins, the natural opiates in the brain that help alleviate pain and provide a sense of well-being.

However you explain it, acupuncture seems to work, John Allen, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology at the University of Arizona, has conducted some of the most extensive scientific research on acupuncture and depression. In a 16-week experiment analyzing 34 women and the effects of acupuncture on various ailments, researchers found that the women who were clinically depressed responded better to the treatment than did those with other ailments. Allen is now studying a larger group of both men and women, and again is finding that acupuncture is "an acceptable" treatment for depression that appears to work quickly with no side effects.( Country Living's Healthy Living, May/June 2000, p. 110)

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My son suffers from schizophrenia. I would welcome any suggestions for alternative treatments. Here, all he is offered is drugs. The main problem with my son is that his illness makes him suspicious of people and reluctant to try any new treatment. I have heard that fish oil is recommended for this illness, but he refuses to take it.

I do not think that any mental illness is spiritual. I cannot believe that the soul is affected by these things, they must be due to a physical fault. Schizophrenia I think does not have a single cause or a single remedy. There are various treatments which work for some people but not others. I would be grateful for any advice and can be reached at: mcarloa@excite.co.uk - Margaret Carloa, United Kingdom

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The topic for this month hits close to home as someone in my family is affected by bipolar affective disorder. Any mental illness can be devastating not only for the person with the illness but also for his/her friends and family. The hardest part about mental illness is that many times the symptoms are so severe and the treatment so drastic that the person you once knew is no more. So a type of grieving happens for the loss of the person you knew. There is hope however. A new treatment is being tested in double blind studies at the University of Calgary, University of Lethbridge and University of Alberta. The "cure" seems to be as simple as the taking of certain vitamins, minerals and amino acids in specific amounts. They claim a 95% cure rate. I encourage friends to seek out their website at www.truehope.com . The nutriceutical is available through an address given online as well as free counselling for people taking the remedy while weaning themselves off their medications. They encourage working with your health care provider of course.
- Gisele Bahbahani, British Columbia, Canada

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I wrote an article for the Central Maine Newspaper about a new neutriceutical developed by a Canadian firm, Synergy Group of Canada, that has been showing remarkable success with treating bipolar disorder, and also, according to their information, schizophrenia, depression and attention deficit.

After very good success with an open case study conducted by the University of Calgary involving 10 individuals, the university has been awarded a half-million dollar grant from the Canadian government to conduct a double-blind, placebo based study, which is currently ongoing.

Here is an excerpt from this article:

The story of E.M. Power +, a supplement developed by The Synergy Group of Canada to treat bipolar disorder, an illness characterized by extreme mood swings, begins with the story of Canadian businessman, Anthony Stephan. A lifelong struggle with the illness played a role in the 1994 suicide of Stephan's wife, Debora, mother of 10 children. Stephan's son, Joseph, then 15, was also bipolar. Stephan's daughter, Autumn Stringer, then 23, showed signs that she was headed for the same fate.

Stephan was desperate. But, a conversation with business client David Hardy dramatically changed his life. Hardy, who has a biology degree and 20 years of experience formulating livestock feed, told Stephan about a mix of minerals and vitamins farmers use to calm aggressive pigs that bite the ears and tails of other pigs.

Together, they developed a broad-spectrum nutritional formula for human consumption -- 34 natural trace minerals and vitamins, including vitamins A, C, D, E, various B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper and potassium, and two antioxidants. They tried it out on the Stephan children.

"Within 30 days, they showed no signs whatsoever and have been clear of symptoms ever since," Stephan said. Soon, his son and daughter were off their medications, which for Stephan's son included 900 milligrams of lithium a day.

Kaplan and Hardy then formed Synergy Group and called the supplement, E.M. Power +. An open-case study conducted by the University of Calgary tested it on 10 male subjects. The results showed a significant decrease in symptoms and dependency on drugs decreased by about two-thirds, according to Stephan's son, A. Daniel Stephan.

TRUEHOPE INFORMATION

* For more information about the bipolar nutritional supplement E.M. Power +, or if you wish to participate in the Truehope Research Program, write to the Synergy Group of Canada - Truehope Support Centre, P.O. Box 1254, Cardston, Alberta, Canada T0K0K0, e-mail: support@truehope.tv; web site: www.truehope.com.

* People interested in being part of Synergy Group's study will be asked a series of questions to see if the supplement is applicable to their individual concerns. The company recommends that people interested in participating consult with their personal physicians.

- Lynn Ascrizzi, Maine, United States ( Lynn Ascrizzi wrote this article as a staff writer for the Central Maine Newspaper. Since this article is too long to be printed in the newsletter, Lynn will be happy to send the entire story to whoever requests it. You can write to her at: dreams@uninets.net or lascrizzi@centralmaine.com.)

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Here are two quotes from the Baha'i Writings on mental illness:

"It is not easy to be burdened with long years of mental illness such as you describe. And plainly you have sought aid from many persons of scientific and non-scientific training backgrounds, apparently to little avail over the years of your prolonged illness. Possibly you should consider, if it is feasible, consulting the best specialists in a medical centre in one of the major cities, where the most advanced diagnosis and treatment can be obtained. The science of the mind, of normality and of the disabilities from which it may suffer, is in its relative infancy, but much may be possible to aid you to minimize your suffering and make possible an active life. The last ten years in the therapy of mental disorders has seen important advances from which you may well benefit.

Your discovery of the Faith, of its healing Writings and its great purposes for the individual and for all mankind, have indeed brought to you a powerful force toward a healthy life which will sustain you on a higher level, whatever your ailment may be. The best results for the healing process are to combine the spiritual with the physical, for it should be possible for you to overcome your illness through the combined and sustained power of prayer and of determined effort."

(From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, July 23, 1984, Lights of Guidance, pp. 283-284)

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"Mental illness is not spiritual, although its effects may indeed hinder and be a burden in one's striving toward spiritual progress. In a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to a believer there is this further passage: ëSuch hindrances (i.e. illness and outer difficulties), no matter how severe and insuperable they may at first seem, can and should be effectively overcome through the combined and sustained power of prayer and of determined and continued effort.'

That effort can include the counsel of wise and experienced physicians including psychiatrists. Working for the Faith, serving others who may need you, and giving of yourself can aid you in your struggle to overcome your sufferings. One helpful activity is, of course, striving to teach the Cause in spite of personal feelings of shortcomings, thus allowing the healing words of the Cause to flood your mind with their grace and positive power." (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, 15 June 1982, Lights of Guidance, p. 284)

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TIPS FOR INDIVIDUALS AND BAHA'I LOCAL
SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES IN DEALING WITH
MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES

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By Bud Polk (This article is taken from the Baha'i Mental Health Website at http://members.nbci.com/_XMCM/bahaiMH/ and is printed with permission. Local Spiritual Assemblies, elected annually consists of nine Baha'is, twenty-one years of age and older, govern the affairs of each local Baha'i community.)

INFORMATION AND EDUCATION

- Read Baha'i writings and guidance about sickness, health and mental illness.
- Learn about mental disorders from books, magazines, television, local chapters of mental health organizations, the Internet and from friends who have disorders.
- Attend local support groups with a friend or family member who has a disorder.

SUPPORT

- Assure that each person with a disorder is a cherished member of the community.
- Regard mental illness as you would any other illness and act accordingly.
- Pray for the friends who are having an episode or emotional problem.
- Visit the friends in mental hospitals (if they want visitors.)
- Send cards and flowers, visit and help those recovering at home as you
would for someone with any other illness.
- Understand that when one family member is afflicted, the entire family
"has" the disorder. The family's energy is directed toward the member with the disorder. Each family member needs your love and support.

ASSISTANCE

- Don't assume a mentally ill person can't or won't serve and participate in the Faith.
- Do ask people how they would like to serve and participate.
- Arrange or provide transportation to and from Feasts and other Baha'i
activities, doctor's appointments, government offices, social service agencies, food pantries. Many people with disorders don't have vehicles or can't drive because of medications or they are afraid to be out in public.
- Share food, used clothing, toys and other items with the mentally ill and
their families. Many families are impoverished because medications, doctors and hospital stays are so expensive.

REFERRAL

- Develop comprehensive list of community services and resources.
- Loacal Spiritual Assemblies can obtain a copy of the local United Way or
Community Chest directory of resources.
- Look in phone book under "government" and "social services" to locate resources.

STRUCTURE AND LIMITS

- Recognize personal boundaries and set limits on what you can and cannot do.
- Know that an Local Spiritual Assembly is not a substitute for professional therapy and medical treatment. But do offer spiritual guidance.
- Promote medical and spiritual healing.
- Local Spiritual Assemblies state expectations to a mentally ill believer when necessary so that behavior is appropriate at Baha'i events.
- Know that some believers may not be capable of serving on Local Spiritual Assemblies or carrying out other administrative duties.
- Consult the office of community affairs at the national centre in special
cases.

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DEPRESSION AND SUICIDE INTERVENTION
FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH

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By Marilyn Carey (Mental Health Clinician), British Columbia, Canada

Everyone gets depressed, feels out-of-sorts, or thinks life is just too difficult. But when do these heavy, negative feelings become worrisome? When should parents or the Bahaíi Community intervene? What symptoms tell us that it is time to pay attention because this child or youth is having more difficulty than he/she can handle on his/her own?

Depression, as a serious clinical disorder is different from sadness or feeling disgruntled. I have noticed that children and youth have begun to use the language of serious depression and suicide as part of their descriptions of feelings. To say ìI want to dieî or ìI wish I was deadî is part of the problem solving language that children use - they learn it on television, on the playground, in books, playing video games and from educational lessons at their respective schools. It does not mean the same thing that it did when I went to school. It now means my life is boring, hard, unfair or scary - sometimes. We need to understand that this language is used differently, but pay attention when our children talk about suicide. It is important to talk with a professional to find out how serious the child or youth really is about possible despair.

Suicide attempts are at an all time high among our children and youth, and the age of first attempts are getting younger. We now have a few nine and ten year olds attempting suicide, which is very frightening, because they have not yet developed a realistic concept of the permanency of death. 'Abduíl-Baha wrote:

ìToday the most pressing of all tasks is the purification of character, the reforming of morals, the rectification of conductÖ.The purpose is that earthlings should turn into the people of Heaven, and those who walk in darkness should come into the light, and those who are excluded should join the inner circle of the Kingdom, and those who are as nothing should become intimates of the everlasting Glory.î (Selections from the Writings of 'Abduíl-Baha, p. 10-11)

How difficult this is in a country where it is legal to have sex at age twelve, where the viewing of violence and depravity has reached epidemic proportions and where children are encouraged to make moral decisions for which they are not intellectually or spiritually prepared. How absolutely vital are the teachings of the Baha'i Faith to bring about the transformation of a whole society - a whole world, so that our children can be freed from these difficult and life-threatening choices.

SIGNS OF SERIOUS DEPRESSION

- Depressed or irritable most of the day
- Diminished interest in activities for most of the day
- Significant weight loss or eating all of the time
- Insomnia (not able to sleep) or hypersomnia (sleeping too much)
- Loss of energy
- Not able to think clearly, or concentrate. Finds it hard to make decisions
- Feeling worthless, feeling excessively guilty, or hopeless
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
- Excessive crying
- No interest in friends or activities

These symptoms must be present for more than two weeks and must represent a change in behavior.

If the child or youth has six or more of these symptoms for more than 2-3 weeks, professional help should be considered. The child could be taken to his/her doctor or to a Child and Youth Mental Health Clinician or Psychologist.

Often, the child who is depressed for a period of time will contemplate suicide. This is very frightening for parents and caregivers. It is when this contemplation becomes a plan - particularly a plan that is easily executable, that everyone involved needs to be vigilant.

SUICIDE WARNING SIGNS

- Changes in behavior - becoming withdrawn, taking risks etc.
- Problems in school - a dramatic drop in grades, emotional outbursts, falling asleep in class
- Signs of depression - eating and sleeping changes, anxiety, hopelessness, guilt, loss of interest
- Verbal statements - ìI wish I was deadî ìYouíd be better off without meî
- Themes of death - these may show up in artwork, poetry, essays,
preoccupations with the occult, heavy metal groups, etc.
- Giving away possessions- favorite clothing CDís etc.
- A previous suicide attempt - really pay attention to these kids
- Poor coping skills - child or youth has very few problem solving skills; has no one that they can talk with; feels that they have no friends or people who care.
- Sexual or physical abuse
- Substance abuse - this increases risk taking behavior and alcohol is a depressant
- Other signs may be - frequent accidents, aggressiveness, prolonged grief after a loss, break-up with a partner (more common with girls), in trouble
with the law, an unexpected pregnancy, having a parent or a friend who committed suicide.

From a letter on his behalf of Shoghi Effendi wrote to a believer who asked about suicide, "Suicide is forbidden in the Cause. God Who is the Author of all life can alone take it away, and dispose of it in the way He deems best. Whoever commits suicide endangers his soul, and will suffer spiritually as a result in the other Worlds Beyond." (Helen Hornby, Lights of Guidance, p. 203)

"It is too bad that young and promising men, who if they remain living can render great services to humanity, should take away their life at a moment of despair. "The world, especially in these days, is full of woes and sufferings. We should be brave and have a stout heart. Trials and tribulations should arouse in us added vigour and greater determination and not dampen our zeal and kill our spirit." ( From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, March 12, 1933, Lights of Guidance, p. 203, Helen Hornby)

RESPONSIBILITY

- Assess the level of risk. If you have any doubts, consult a professional.
- If a child or youthís life may be in danger, the usual rules of
confidentiality do not apply. I always say ì You are really important to me. I have to tell your parents and anyone else who can help to keep you safe.î As a Bahaíi, we need to learn a few quotes that explains to us about light, healing and help. I like ìHold Thou my hand with the hand of Thy PowerÖî from prayers for assistance with tests. (Baha'i Prayers, U.S., 1985 edition, p. 28.)
- Spend some time thinking about how you feel about kids who are depressed or suicidal. Do you know enough to be of assistance?
- Has your Assembly addressed these issues? Do you have literature or knowledge in the community? This was one of the tasks that our beloved Universal House of Justice asked us to do at the beginning of the six year plan - to inform ourselves of social issues.

ìWe must now highly resolve to arise and lay hold of all those instrumentalities that promote the peace and well-being and happiness, the knowledge, culture and industry, the dignity, value and station, of the entire human race. Thus through the restoring waters of pure intention and unselfish effort, the earth of human potentialities will blossom with its own latent excellence and flower into praiseworthy qualities, and bear and flourish until it comes to rival that rosegarden of knowledge which belonged to our forefathers.î ('Abdu'l-Baha, The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 4)

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RESOURCES

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BAHA'I MENTAL HEALTH WEBSITE

http://members.nbci.com/_XMCM/bahaiMH/

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BAHA'I MENTAL HEALTH DISCUSSION GROUP

There is a Baha'i Mental Health discussion group at bahai-mentalhealth@topica.com. In order to post there it is necessary to be subscribed. To subscribe, send an email to bahai-mentalhealth-subscribe@topica.com. In the body of the message write "subscribe" without the quotation marks. You will get a request for confirmation. Just hit reply and send it back. You then should receive an acknowledgement of subscription and an introduction message.

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BAHA'I MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS PLAN MEETING

The Association of Baha'i Mental Health Professionals is planning its third ABMHP conference for November 15-18/01, at Louhelen Baha'i School, and is seeking proposals for demonstration-experiential workshops that are pertinent to the conference theme: "Unfolding the Potential Within: Exploring the Nature of Psychospiritual Development.' If you are interested in presenting at the conference, please submit an abstract that describes the nature of the workshop, experience or training session you wish to provide (500-700 words), as well as a resume and brief bio. The deadline for submission is June. Please send your proposal and information to Holly Timberlake, email: holly999@raex.com, mail: Holistic Psychological Centre, 3678 Darrow Road, Stow, OH, USA, 44224.

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RESPONSE FROM A READER ABOUT
NAMBUDRIPAD ALLERGY ELIMINATION TECHNIQUE (NAET)

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By Bronwyn Castillo, Arizona, United States (See article "Nambudripad Allergy Elimination Technique: What it is?", March 2001,Volume 4, #7)

I am a Registered Nurse and certified in NAET. At this time, I only use it with family and friends as I work full time for Indian Health Service. I would highly recommend investigating this technique for general and severe allergies, asthma, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Autism, and among other things.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) in association with Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) has invited Dr. Devi Nambudripad to speak at their annual convention on the effectiveness of NAET and is investigating NAET's function to eliminate the side effects of cancer therapies, enhance and support other therapies and treatment modalities, and eliminate side effects of existing therapies in the treatment of cancer. It is worthwhile investigating.

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REQUESTING ASSISTANCE FROM THE READERS

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A reader is requesting information/support about infertility.

My husband and I have been trying to have a baby for about seven years. We are slowly coming to some peace and acceptance, though it has been and continues to be painful. I don't know any other Baha'is who are going through this but would like to find some, and to hear others' thoughts.

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QUESTION OF THE MONTH

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The May issue will continue to cover the issues of mental health. Please share your comments, stories, thoughts and solutions on these issues.

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WEB SITE

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You can visit the website, obtain back issues and the Healing Through Unity Course at: http://www.healingthroughunity.org.

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PURPOSE OF THE NEWSLETTER

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"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: -- .

PLEASE NOTE:

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. If you have a change of e-mail address, please inform me with your old and new email addresses. To cancel the subscription, please send message to: --




HEALING THROUGH UNITY

May, 2001

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of
physical and spiritual health envisioned in the Baha'i Teachings.

Volume 4, Issue #9

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Contents

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- Eagles in a Storm
- A Story About Dealing with Suicide
- Call for Membership in the Association of Baha'i Mental Health
Professionals
- Responses From the Readers About Infertility
- Humour As Therapy
- Desert Rose Baha'i Institute Holds Successful Health and Healing
Conference
- Suggested Reading
- Health Habits
- Question of the Month
- Website
- Purpose of Newsletter

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EAGLES IN A STORM

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Author Unknown

Did you know that an eagle knows when a storm is approaching long before it breaks? The eagle will fly to some high spot and wait for the winds to come. When the storm hits, it sets its wings so that the wind will pick it up and lift it above the storm. While the storm rages below, the eagle is soaring above it. The eagle does not escape the storm. It simply uses the storm to lift it higher. It rises on the winds that bring the storm.

When the storms of life come upon us - and all of us will experience them - we can rise above them by setting our minds and our belief toward God. The storms do not have to overcome us. We can allow Godís power to lift us above them. God enables us to ride the winds of the storm that bring sickness, tra