Past Motivational I – The Baha’is

The following quotations are from the book, The Baha’i Faith – The Emerging Global Religion by William S. Hatcher and J. Douglas Martin (Harper and Row Paperback 1989), and are the first in my series about motivation.

I’ve been battling with a certain want of material success, while trying to maintain that spiritual sufficiency that tells me what I already have is enough. I push to attain greater knowledge and success within my secular life, but find that I abandon the spiritual side. The struggle is quite cathartic, to say the least. This first quote speaks to this revelation of my self.

“Courtesy, reverence, dignity, respect for the rank and achievements of others are virtues which contribute to the harmony and well-being of every community, but pride and self-aggrandizement are among the most deadly of sins…. the ultimate aim in the life of every soul should be to attain spiritual excellence – to win the good pleasure of God. The true spiritual station of any soul is known only to God. It is quite a different thing from the ranks and stations that men and women occupy in the various sectors of society.” (excerpt from The Continental Boards of Counselors, p. 60 via Hatcher and Martin, p. 151)

Just FYI, I am not Baha’i, but I think many of the elements that make up this religion are motivational and easily adaptable to one’s life and faith. This passage originally comes from the “Epistle of the Son of the Wolf” (pp. 26-27) written by Baha’u’llah. It’s about knowledge. Something we all try to gain more of, hopefully. If only the leaders of today actually understood this concept. We might be better off.

Knowledge is as wings to man’s life, and a ladder for his ascent. It’s acquisition is incumbent upon everyone. The knowledge of such sciences, however, should be acquired as can profit the people of the Earth, and not those which begin with words and end with words. Great indeed is the claim of scientists and craftsmen on the peoples of the world.

I think this is what the politicians should be talking about so they can really heal the troubles of this world.

Recognize your enemies as your friends and consider those who wish you exit as the wishers of good. You must not see evil as evil and then compromise with your opinion, for to treat in a smooth, kindly way one whom you consider evil or an enemy is hypocrisy and this is not worthy nor allowable. NO! You must consider your enemies as your friends, look upon your evil-wishers as your well-wishers and treat them accordingly. Act in such a way that your heart may be free from hatred. (as cited in H. Colby Ives, Portals to Freedom, p. 169)

As I love music and without it I truly would be a mad soul lost, I found these words particularly moving. I also like the link between music and children, as I think the purity and power within children is synonymous with music.

The art of music is divine and effective. It is the food of the soul and spirit. Through the power and charm of music the spirit of man is uplifted. It has wonderful sway and effect in the hearts of children, for their hearts are pure and melodies have great influence in them. The latent talents with which the hearts of these children are endowed will find expression through the median of music. Therefore you must exert yourselves to make them proficient; teach them to sing with excellence and effects. It is incumbent upon each child to know something of music… (as cited in Baha’i Writings on Music by Abdu’l-Baha, by Hatcher and Martin, p. 184)

This last quote from The Baha’i Faith: The Emerging Global Religion by Hatcher and Martin is about one of my favorite subjects – SEX. I think all too often the subject of sex gets a bad rap, and people run from it. When something so natural, and necessary for survival is often demonized I begin to wonder. If we just embraced it a bit more and truly tried to understand it’s powers things might be different. That said, the downside of sex is that people bastardize it, and pervert it. Humans take sex and make it dirty. Sex in itself is not dirty. The quote reflects these sentiments. I will say though, you don’t have to be married to engage in sexual acts. If you deeply love someone, and there is an educated/heartfelt understanding of that, that is enough for me. Just don’t hurt anyone, and we should be able to have our cake and eat it to.

…The human sexual urge is considered to be a gift from God. It’s disciplined expression within the legitimate bonds of marriage can be a powerful expression of the spiritual quality of love. However, the same sexual urge, if misused, can lead one into perverse, wasteful, and even destructive actions (Hatcher and Martin, 1989, p. 108).

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