You’re spot on John — I share all your important observations from afar. How we ‘dance’ through life defines WHO we are and, equally importantly, WHO we ASPIRE to BE.
We‘re increasingly so exhausted, distracted, so snowed under and depressed by our mundane, but still very stressful and difficult, lives trying to just figure out how to pay our bills and feeding our families. It’s a universal problem most people face. Yet, somehow, we need to find the energy actively ‘swim’ to rise our head above water to actually make sense and get any joy out of this fleeting life we’ve all been given. If we don’t — we risk drowning in our own sorrows.
To address many of us, particularly us westerners, will have to redress the increasing imbalance in our lives and draw back to concentrate on what’s really important to us. This is an active, not a passive process. No one can do this for us — to tell us what to think or what to do. We have to want it and do it for ourselves.
As unpopular as it may be we have to realize we have souls or a ‘spiritual side’ that need to be nurtured and fed — regardless of whether we ascribe to any particular religion. It’s that simple. Sadly, many people aren’t aware of this, disregard it as unimportant, irrelevant or old fashioned, and they ultimately very unsuccessfully seek solutions in materialism, politics and other largely meaningless things. It’s incredibly sad. If we distill the true essence from any religion — and not what mankind has subsequently done in the name of it — it can be the source of so immense personal solace and joy.
Just like using electricity, our spiritual side might be invisible but we know it’s there. We simply have to find the right switch, with the best current, that resonates for each of us and turns on our light. This isn’t easy. It can be incredibly hard in a world filled with so much trivia, rubbish and information overload to wade through. Too many people also don’t realize this, giving up on their personal search way, way too early failing at the first, second or even third hurdle when it can take years or even a life time of ardent yearning to find. In the past pure souls have walked thousand of miles through deserts and wildernesses to find the source of their longing, why do we think we’re any different?
I’m blessed that my parents searched and found their light together back in the 1960s and we believe in all the world’s great religions. The Baha’i Faith’s writings and prayers, for instance, remind me to keep in touch with God by intoning His verses so the ‘sweetness of thy melody may kindle thine own soul.’ My favourite prayers begin with: ‘From the sweet-scented streams of Thine eternity give me to drink…’, ‘Create in me a pure heart, O my God, and renew a tranquil conscience within me…’ and ‘O God! Refresh and gladden my spirit. Purify my heart… I will no longer be sorrowful or grieved; I will be a happy and joyful being…’
It’s the bicentenary of the Founder of the Baha’i Faith, Baha’u’llah’s, birth this year, yet 200 years on the world is still largely unaware of the pearls of wisdom this Divine Educator has given us or their source. These universal teachings, writings and prayers are gifts for everyone to share — including people of other religions — and they’re not just for the Baha’is.
Having discovered them has made huge difference to my life and is a constant source of awe, inspiration and wonder to me. Every day there is something new and wonderful to discover. Yes, I still have my share of tests which constantly help test the fitness of my soul, but I also have meaning, direction and increasing amounts of joy even in the midst of my daily difficulties.
I hope and pray everyone else swims out and finds their light and music to dance to. — Music, after all, is another universal ladder for the soul.