Now let us consider the soul. We have seen that movement is essential to existence; nothing that has life is without motion. All creation, whether of the mineral, vegetable or animal kingdom, is compelled to obey the law of motion; it must either ascend or descend. But with the human soul, there is no decline. Its only movement is towards perfection; growth and progress alone constitute the motion of the soul.
Divine perfection is infinite, therefore the progress of the soul is also infinite. From the very birth of a human being the soul progresses, the intellect grows and knowledge increases. When the body dies the soul lives on. All the differing degrees of created physical beings are limited, but the soul is limitless!
— — `Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 89
[I had initially written this after the first week had passed, and then reconsidered it entirely, deciding to “do it” much later]
It’s been one month since the most important person in my life changed station. I like looking at it that way – someone (out of hundreds) put it that way, and I really like it. Other words one would use would be to say “my mom passed away”.
Between June 2013 and April 2014, I got my heart broken twice. Or so I thought. I thought I knew what love, or loss, or heartbreak was…I was sitting talking to a beloved friend about it, and she managed to capture the perfect word for it – perspective. Hahahhahaahahha. What an idiot.
She was also able to verbalise something I hadn’t been able to articulate – void. There is now this space, but what is the strangest is that it’s only sometimes that I realise that it’s there…
I catch myself saying things out loud in past tense, and I hate it. I hate thinking things in past tense “my mom loveD this….my mom DID that….” I hate saying and hearing things in past tense. I am not in denial about what has happened (present continuous) [or maybe I am, what do I know?] I get what has happened. Initially, I hated hearing “My condolences” or “sorry for your loss”. If one more person had posted that “do not stand by my grave and weep” poem I would have gone hulk. I’m done with hearing things I already know like “she is so happy” or “stay strong” (what else am I going to be??) or “she is always with you” - I know she is always with me. I’m being ungrateful now I’m sorry. (and that’s also difficult and a lie because I’m ok with hearing them from certain people, and not from others).
I’ve noticed that there are so many people in this club, this “half-orphans” club, this “no-moms” club. This club sucks. How did you all do it?
To be honest, I am overjoyed for my mother – I am happy that she is happy (I KNOW that she is). I am happy that she is free from the limitations of this world and that now her legend and gigantic soul is no longer bound by everything.
When I cry, it is not for her (although….maybe… I should explain this better). When I cry, it is for me - my own stupidity; it is for my own selfishness (irony), and idiotic idiotness, it is for my own complete self-centred-and-absorbed-wrapped-up-in-my-self-ness, my lack of attention, and my insensitivity. I had initially set out exactly what it was that had upset me, but I’m editing that out now. Instead I want to ask you, to squeeze your people, sit with them, pay attention, and above all, make sure that they KNOW, unequivocally and without a doubt, how much you love and admire and want them and need them around. This certitude…
Face-tsunamis are triggered by small things; songs, smells, places you had planned to go to, handwriting or colours. There are sinkholes of memories, things you’re dying to remember that wont come to you, and are instead engulfed again by a void. It’s the permanence of it, the physical eternityness – that’s the suckerpunch right there. And yet, at the same time, (and that’s why I specified it), it’s merely the physical eternityness of it, it’s NOT permanent. The Baha’i writings and perspectives bring such a sense of chill, a sense of “well-that-makes-sense” relief. “This separation is temporal; this remoteness and sorrow is counted only by days.”
What I have learnt and continue to realise is that pain does not preclude contentment. My mother was/is the most solid example of never letting pain, or size or energy or age or anything, stop you from serving, and smiling and being content. Even when she’s not “here” she teaches me lessons. Everything has a new layer.
There is a tenderness, and a violent shell of solitude all at the same time.
This is a special kind of ache.
Glory be to Thee, O Lord my God! I beg of Thee by Thy Name through which He Who is Thy Beauty hath been stablished upon the throne of Thy Cause, and by Thy Name through which Thou changest all things, and gatherest together all things, and callest to account all things, and rewardest all things, and preservest all things, and sustainest all things—I beg of Thee to guard this handmaiden who hath fled for refuge to Thee, and hath sought the shelter of Him in Whom Thou Thyself art manifest, and hath put her whole trust and confidence in Thee.
She is sick, O my God, and hath entered beneath the shadow of the Tree of Thy healing; afflicted, and hath fled to the City of Thy protection; diseased, and hath sought the Fountainhead of Thy favors; sorely vexed, and hath hasted to attain the Wellspring of Thy tranquillity; burdened with sin, and hath set her face toward the court of Thy forgiveness.
Attire her, by Thy sovereignty and Thy loving-kindness, O my God and my Beloved, with the raiment of Thy balm and Thy healing, and make her quaff of the cup of Thy mercy and Thy favors. Protect her, moreover, from every affliction and ailment, from all pain and sickness, and from whatsoever may be abhorrent unto Thee.
Thou, in truth, art immensely exalted above all else except Thyself. Thou art, verily, the Healer, the All-Sufficing, the Preserver, the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.
My mommy is going in for open-heart surgery today….
June 18, 1983
31 years ago today, 10 Baha’i women were taken from their cells where they had been languishing after being arrested, tried and found guilty of teaching children who had been banned from their schools because they were Baha’is. They were then executed.
Thousands of others were imprisoned, tortured, dismissed from employment and schools, or had their properties confiscated.
Unable to extract confessions by torture - whipping the soles of their feet with an electric cable - they were pronounced guilty and hung one by one in a former polo field.
The youngest of them, Muna Mahmudnizhad, 17 pictured above, whose father had been arrested and executed in March of that year, asked to be the last to die that she might pray for the strength of her companions, and spare them the sight of their death.
An incident at once shocking for its awfulness, and stirring for the courage shown in the face of injustice and physical torture, they remain an iconic example of steadfastness and resilience that inspires to this day.
Soft prayers and the tenderest of thoughts then for them tonight, and beyond. Their names, so we might remember them as real people:
Mrs. Nusrat Yalda’i, 54 years old
Mrs. ‘Izzat Janami Ishraqi, 50 years old
Miss Roya Ishraqi, 23 and daughter of ‘Izzat
Mrs. Tahirih Siyavushi, 32 years old
Miss Zarrin Muqimi, 28 years old
Miss Shirin Dalvand, 25 years old
Miss Akhtar Sabit, 19 or early 20’s
Miss Simin Saberi, early 20’s
Miss Mahshid Nirumand, 28 years old
Miss Mona Mahmudnizhad, 17 years old
The graves of these women are and have been being destroyed by the Iranian government. Desecration of religious sites and cemeteries is a particularly blatant expression of a hateful ideology of “cultural cleansing”, aimed at eliminating all traces of Iran’s Baha’i citizens.
“O God! Refresh and gladden my spirit. Purify my heart. Illumine my powers. I lay all my affairs in Thy hand. Thou art my Guide and my Refuge. I will no longer be sorrowful and grieved; I will be a happy and joyful being. O God! I will no longer be full of anxiety, nor will I let trouble harass me. I will not dwell on the unpleasant things of life.
O God! Thou art more friend to me than I am to myself. I dedicate myself to Thee, O Lord.
"…I will not dwell on the unpleasant things of life…"
O loving God! I am a young child, a suppliant, a captive.
Be Thou my refuge, my support, my protector. I am in distress: give me the means of tranquillity. I am needy: bestow upon me the treasure of the Kingdom. I am dead: give me the Spirit of Life. I am weak: favour me with power and strength, so that I may be a maid-servant in Thy Threshold, with perfect purity and sanctity; sacrifice myself unto Thee, be quit of myself and seek Thee, walk in the path of Thy good pleasure, speak Thy secret and witness the signs of Thy Oneness wherever I look.
O God! Make me ablaze, like unto the fire of Thy love, and make me free from attachment to this mortal world, until I find the peace of soul and the rest of conscience.
Thou art the Powerful, the Mighty! Thou art the Hearer, the Seer!
"….until I find the peace of soul and the rest of conscience…"
Inspirational reading material taped to the outside of my cousin’s shower so he can read it whilst in the shower.
Today seems to be an unfortunate day for anniversaries….
On Wednesday, May 14th, 2014, seven Baha’is will mark the end of their sixth year in prison, having been sentenced on false charges and without proper trial. Part of a group of more than 800 prisoners of conscience (115 of whom are Baha’is) these people are in prison simply because of their beliefs. The Baha’i 7 are serving 20 years – the longest sentence given to any prisoner of conscience currently in an Iranian jail.
Many human rights activists working to support those who are suffering human rights abuses in Iran consider the treatment of the Baha’i community an important indicator in the general human rights landscape – a sort of litmus test for human rights in general. If the rights of the Baha’i community are protected and upheld, then it is likely that other human rights will be protected and upheld.
The 7 Baha’i’s leaders in Iran were each arrested and sentenced to 20 years in prison for allegedly “disturbing national security, spreading propaganda against the regime, and engaging in espionage”. All the charges are false. You can read more about the individuals here.
On the 16th December 2013, the 7 Baha’i Leaders wrote a letter to the President of Iran Hassan Rouhani on the Charter of Citizen’s Rights. You can read it here.
Today marks off as one month since over 200 girls were kidnapped from school by a group of cowardly individuals who profess to be carrying out something, in the name of Something Else, and who attempt to use any form of justification for their actions. It must be made clear that none of their reasons are acceptable.
I would like to point out to you, who has the ability to read and perceive and access knowledge, and sincerely beg you not to confuse or attribute the idiotic actions of people who have clearly misunderstood a Message, with the divinity or validity of that Message, or, heaven forbid, the Source of that Message. (yes, the CAPS are on purpose).
This past weekend I was sitting in a small room with some quotes on the status of women, on the walls. The quotes made me think of the Chibok girls, girls and women all over the world who are suffering due to every manner of violence imaginable, the convenient and selective international outcry, hashtags, protests, posters and direction in which the world is going - it seems society’s GPS needs some serious reconfiguration.
Sitting in that room I was struck by the profoundness of the following quotes (and of course the one above):
- "Through education, women will make unique contributions to the creation of a just world order: an order characterized by vigour, cooperation, harmony, and a degree of compassion never before witnessed in history."
- “Women and girls in territories throughout the world are enmeshed in a culture which enables and sustains violence against them. This affects not only women and girls; such violence is ultimately an act of aggression against society as a whole. It degrades victims, perpetrators, families and entire communities. As such, the eradication of violence requires not only changes in law and policy, but more fundamental changes at the level of culture, attitudes and beliefs. Such changes must be grounded in the conviction that the equality of women and men is not only a goal to be achieved, but a truth about human nature to be acknowledged and embraced. The soul has no gender. The very essence of what make us human is neither ‘male’ nor ‘female.’ Conceived in this way, equality goes beyond a tally of resources or a set of social norms. It reflects the nobility inherent in every human being.”
I firmly believe that education of women and girls is one of the primary tools to bringing about equality between the sexes, and that anyone who tries to hamper that is an agent for the stagnation and failure of humanity. I tried to think about what would counteract the actions of the kidnappers, and the only thing I could think about was more education, and a higher level of excellence from those of us who have been educated, or are in some way related to someone in the process of education.
The kidnappers are trying to paralyse at least half of society - the only way to counteract that is to compensate for it by being exceptional. As such, I’d like to suggest that together with whatever additional campaigns you may feel the need to be involved with, consider cultivating excellence, and facilitating education in whatever way you can.
If you are, or know of a girl in school, aim for an “A” in whatever you’re studying on behalf of the girls who can’t go to school, and on those days where you feel like bunking class or you procrastinate or dont give it your all, think of the thousands of girls around the world who don’t go to school, not because they dont want to, but because they cant.
If you’ve finished school, try pursue further education where you can, and if you have the means to, sponsor a kid to be able to go to school.
"When all mankind shall receive the same opportunity of education and the equality of men and women be realized, the foundations of war will be utterly destroyed. Without equality this will be impossible because all differences and distinction are conducive to discord and strife. Equality between men and women is conducive to the abolition of warfare for the reason that women will never be willing to sanction it…."
I’m just gonna leave this here….
Some people lay stress on fasting. They affirm that in augmenting the weakness of the body they develop a spiritual sensibility and thus they think to approach God.
Weakening one’s self physically does not necessarily contribute to spiritual progress. Humility, kindness, resignation, and all these spiritual attributes emanating from great physical strength are acceptable to God. That an enfeebled man cannot fight is not accounted a virtue. Were physical weakness a virtue the dead would be perfect, for they can do nothing.
If a man be just, kind, humble and merciful and his qualities are acquired through the will-power — this is Godlike. A child cannot kill a man; but a Bonaparte can abstain from war, from shedding blood, from devastating countries. A dumb person will not speak ill of any one, a paralyzed hand cannot strike; but a strong arm can refrain from striking. Justice, love and kindness must be the instruments of strength, not of weakness.
— Abdul-Baha, Divine Philosophy, p.98
"To be a Baha’i simply means to love all the world; to love humanity and try to serve it; to work for universal peace and universal brotherhood." ~ Abdul Baha
3 days until my favourite time of year!!
The Baha’i Fast starts on Sunday, March 2nd!!
Read more here :)
"These Bahai’s are dirty, they are unethical, they are unclean non-believers, do not dine with them, do not socialize with them, do not befriend them,"
VIOLENCE WITH IMPUNITY
I just finished watching this short documentary on the status of Baha’i’s and their human rights in Iran. The documentary illustrates a report which was released earlier this year.
If I were there in Iran, along with being an immoral spy, I’d also be unclean, unemployed, and expelled from university.
Please watch this, and share it. It is also available to watch in Persian.
…by our actions, we reveal what is growing in the heart. Actions are mirrors of the soul…