Baha’i

Slow Down a Minute and Reflect – Meditation is GOOD!

Wanna figure something out? Meditate!

I was updating an old post today ( Yahoo!! I’m a Baha’i!: Staying Motivated ) and I wanted to add something about what a great and useful tool meditation is. As I was writing, I realized I need to write a separate post about this, ‘cos I just could not be brief about this subject.

Me-ow, me-ow, me-ohm……

Meditation is the key for opening the doors of mysteries. In that state man abstracts himself: in that state man withdraws himself from all outside objects; in that subjective mood he is immersed in the ocean of spiritual life and can unfold the secrets of things-in-themselves.

– ‘Abdu’l-Baha, #54, Paris Talks  

Though I’ve been a Baha’i almost my whole life, I didn’t spend hardly any time specifically on reflecting or meditating for my first 30 years or so. As I’ve gotten older, I realize that I did do both things kind of unconsciously as I spent a lot of time by myself in the woods surrounding the house I grew up in, or riding my bicycle (I had a 5 mile long paper route for a few years), or trying to fall asleep  (insomnia started back when I was 3).  

My real journey towards meditation began about 25 years ago, I was staying with a friend, it was bedtime and she wanted to share a guided meditation recording that she really liked. She said it wasn’t that long – maybe 15 to 20 minutes long and I thought it sounded like a good idea.  She started it up and after about 2 minutes, I couldn’t be still. My nose itched, my foot fell asleep, I had to change my sitting position, and on and on. After about 10 minutes, I ashamedly asked my friend to stop the recording because I couldn’t concentrate hardly at all on what the fella on the recording was saying.

Me when I first tried to mediate….

I was really bothered by this inability of mine – I didn’t seem to have difficulty focusing when Scriptures or prayers from any religion were being said or read – why couldn’t I meditate?   I asked my friend what she would recommend and she started talking about movement meditation – like taking a walk and focusing on a single thing – like a word or how the breeze is blowing on your face or the color of the grass. I live across the street from a school that has a track oval – perfect! I didn’t have to pay attention to where I was going – the oval track took care of that – and I could just walk and try to focus. I won’t lie and say it was easy because I had never worked on training my mind in this way. Part of my insomnia problem has been my my mind racing with thoughts and my inability to slow it down. But even though it was difficult at first, eventually I found a rhythm that worked. Then I started using short guided meditation recordings, eventually moving to longer ones. I started experimenting with binaural beats and for me, that really helped train my brain (there’s loads of them on YouTube btw). Eventually, I got to the point where I could sit in silence, even in a room of people talking and I can successfully meditate.

Learning to meditate and doing it on a daily basis has been EXTREMELY helpful in many ways that I didn’t expect. Specifically, the first MRI I ever had was 20 years ago and I was stuffed into a very loud machine. When I say stuffed, I mean it: I was essentially the same diameter as the machine’s opening. It was super loud compared to the MRI machines they have now, but I decided to meditate and I just floated off someplace. I didn’t get anxious or feel closed in; I got to the state of meditation where my hands do this tingling thing – it’s hard to describe but the hand-tingling is usually accompanied by a sort of state of ecstasy. Anyway, it’s groovy and I realized afterward that if I hadn’t been able to meditate during that MRI, I would’ve had a panic attack!

How my panic attacks feel…..

Since my cancer diagnosis 2 years ago, I’m regularly put inside a loud machine for a scan. I’m smaller and the machines’ openings are bigger so I no longer have the stuffing sensation, but I’m still grateful for the ability to meditate. Instead of becoming impatient with all the “hurry up and wait” of medical treatments and appointments, IF I manage to remember that I have the ability to meditate, I no longer feel like I’m wasting whatever precious time I have left to live in this world. No, I’m no saint and I still get impatient frequently, but remembering to meditate really helps me with patience.

Another wonderful thing: it has calmed my “brain rats” down tremendously, which has greatly helped me in just about every thing I have attempted to do in the last 20 years. Brain rats are all those voices in my head that tell me how unworthy I am, how unskilled I am, how useless and awful I am, all the thoughts about how I shouldn’t bother even to try, have been vastly muted through meditation. Heck, it’s been way more useful than medication in this regard…and it’s FREE!

Racing thoughts anyone?

The last thing I want to share (though there are certainly many more ways that meditation has been beneficial to me – I *do* want this post to end fairly soon….) I have gained so many insights that I am absolutely certain are not the product of my own thought process.   For example, recently (summer 2021), I was asked to sing at a wedding reception and I had no clue at all what to sing and there was NO time to learn anything new. While I was meditating, I was reminded of 2 short songs/prayers (in languages I don’t actually speak) that I had learned probably 15 years ago that would be suitable. In brief, it turns out, the groom – whom I don’t know very well – has a special attachment to one of the songs and was truly moved to hear it. This would not have happened without meditation. Thank you Baha’u’llah!

Anyone wanting to learn how to use meditation and prayer to gain insights and solve problems, I encourage you to go to this link which describes the 5 steps in using prayer to solve problems.

Many times when meditating I fall asleep – this has become a running joke in my family, that mediation time is actually nap time. Well so what? I probably need the sleep and I know I need the meditation. Let ’em laugh – I know what meditation does for me! Maybe you’d like to try it. 🙂

I of course always love to read your comments and maybe you can tell me about your own experience with meditation.

AND THANKS FOR ALL THE PRAYERS!!!

Welcome Sewing Pattern Review people!

Today, the day before my 45th birthday no less, I’m a featured subscriber on the sewing.patternreview.com website.  How lovely! How unexpected!

In honor of this unanticipated delight, I will talk about my capsule or mini-wardrobe I made to wear on my 3 week trip to India in June 2010. First some pictures:

Arriving at Lucknow Airport

Arriving at Lucknow Airport

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Lunch at the Mumbai Baha’i Center

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I made 6 tops, 3 bottoms, 1 nightshirt & 1 pair of bloomer underwear for my trip. Many more pictures of the 120+ singers from 25+ countries can be found on Facebook if you look for the Voices of Baha in India – FYI.

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Do you like music?

I certainly hope so. Here’s the email I sent out to some specific people; I thought I’d let you non-specific folks have it too.

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(Sent at about 4 am on March 2nd)

Dear ones,

so March 2nd is the beginning of the Baha’i nineteen day fast from sunrise to sunset, and what I’m supposed to be doing is sleeping right now. But I’m not – I’d really like to be, but I can’t seem to sleep. Grrrr….. So. I am making a “mixtape”.

Now, mixtapes *used* to be actual cassette tapes made up of music along a theme…often by dj’s wanting to show off their skills. I’ve not got those kinds of mixing skills, but I do love music….so I’ve shared quite a few tapes over the years. Then I started doing them on the computer and burning CD “mixtapes” and mailing them off to friends all over. I think the last one was probably five or more years ago (“Divine Breezes”? Anyone remember?)

Now, I can still do them on the computer, but NOW all I have to do is put it up on Soundcloud and send you a link. It’s true – you’ll miss out on all the groovy graphics and clever liner notes…but ya get more music. I started thinking about this & had hoped to have this done about a week ago, but as is my usual these days, completely forgot about it until about 8 hours ago.

The first half is going up today; the second in a few days, followed by a complete track listing. Hope you like it. :o)

Click here to download : Spiritual Springtime part the one


A rather good & brief article.

If you’ve been reading here for a few minutes, you’ll know that I’m a Baha’i.

The nine pointed star is one of the symbols of the Baha’i Faith.

I’m not a good one, but I do try. And tryna explain what that is in a few quick sentences is something that I struggle with all the time. I mean – think about it; what if you had to explain all of Christianity to someone who had never heard of Jesus Christ? What do you say first? History? Laws? Tenets? What it means to you? How your community worships? Miracles? Relationship to all the other religions? How you became one? I’m just giving you a taste of what I think about when somebody asks me….. :O)

So here’s a brief article about the Baha’i Faith which gives a pretty good overview of who we are and what we believe. I hope you’ll read it since this Faith not only means so much to me but it has saved my life and sanity time & time again; but it won’t hurt my feelings if’n you don’t. I share it with all y’all because I think you might gain something from it 🙂

On Faith: Baha’i Faith could be the world’s next message

A very cool video

A young man of my acquaintance, Devon Gundry, has set to music a wonderful piece of Baha’i Scripture:

“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.”

(Baha’u’llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah, p. 208)

On top of that, he has filmed a TERRIFIC and powerful video and I think y’all should take a look.

Devon Gundry – “Armed” from Justin Baldoni on Vimeo.

A knitting diappointment and one of my FAVORITE things

I was at beyooteefool Pensacola Beach last weekend for a meeting and I somehow lost my knitting bag. The bag was special because it was from the most recent Baha’i choral festival at the House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois, but the thing that I’m *really * sad about losing is the knitting.

I was finishing the second sleeve of the child’s gansey sweater that I was knitting for Macuwita Sni – I had just a few more inches to go! It’s the first sweater I’ve made in about 20 years….so I’m sad that I just lost it!~  Oh well – guess I should start on another one…..

I’ve finally started on my Noro striped scarf. I’ve got 2 skeins of Kureyon and 2 of Silk Garden and it is truly fascinating to see how the color changes are working out; I wouldn’t have chosen most of these color combinations – the 2 skeins of Silk Garden were given to me as a gift.  I’m definitely gonna do this again!  A word to the wise:  do re-wind all your Noro before beginning.  3 out of 4 of my skeins had knots in them with a BIG color change….

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One of my FAVORITE things to do:

1.  Every 4 or 5 days, go to Ravelry.
2.  Look thru all of the new patterns that have been posted since the last time you looked.

This is just so satisfying and inspiring for me!  I love to see what other people are creating and I’ve learned so much.  I see all kinds of things that I wouldn’t have thought to look for on my own.  And the Scandinavian knitters take my breath away.  Try it!

My husband called…..

….to tell me he has to spend an extra day in California… Joy.  I’m still awake because I cannot sleep-too much coughing and wheezing.  Last night I finally gave up about 4 am and came out into the living room to sleep sitting upright in the “round chair”.


My round chair looks almost exactly like this one.  However, this one isn’t repaired with a length of bright blue rope….

I have fallen asleep in that chair a number of times before; it’s just a little hard on my neck. Right now, Boris is in it, and I haven’t the heart to kick him out of it.

I am on the mend, though.  Today, I was actually able to take a shower, put gas in the van and take the dogs (very briefly) across the street., though I did cancel rehearsal which I *hate* to do.    I haven’t taken much in the way of cold medicines in the last 24 hours and my nose has stopped dripping incessantly. Is this the flu?  I haven’t been this ill in a good long while.  Perhaps tomorrow I can homeschool Ian again……

In the meantime, I’ve been catching up on paperwork, mending, and a few long-overdue swaps.  I want to have everything done by the time of the Wings to the Spirit conference (beginning of May).  It’s gonna be so terrific!!  I’ve got to finish reading “Mirror of the Divine” by Ludwig Tuman before then.  It’s a wonderful book; there’s so much for my brain to tease apart and ponder on that I’m going slowly.

Since my “brain event” happened almost 3 years ago, the way I learn is really, really different than before. I know there are folks out there who think that it’s just age, or too much stress or lack of focus, but I assure you it is not.  There is a marked difference in how I thought and learned before and now.  I guess the best analogy I can come up with is losing one’s virginity – there’s a very distinct before and after. Unfortunately, (or it could be fortunately ) no one else is inside my head so I do not have any kind of objective corroboration of the changes.  It is much harder for me to learn new things – like 10 times as hard as it was before, and my concentration is fragile at best.  So trying to truly absorb this book is much more of an effort than in previous times.  This makes me sad because I am not doing nearly as much “serious reading” as I have done in the past, and at some point I want to go back to college.  I have had to stop buying heavy duty Baha’i books because I am not reading the ones I have already, but my intellectual curiosity remains high so I keep trying.  I’m not complaining, it’s more that I’m explaining.

I was boating about the Internet and I found the blog and flickr site of one of the people I met while on pilgrimage.  On Sholeh’s blog, she has some really wonderful pictures, plus links to some truly wonderful sites.

Tired of reading what passes for news these days? Too depressing? Try this site: http://2inspire.us/

Oh well, off to bed.  I hope I sleep.

40 years ago….

…Martin Luther King was murdered. On April 4th, 1968, my mother was pregnant with me. That day and for days thereafter, cities burned as grief and anger flowed from the people, though not most of Boston because of James Brown and his concert at the Boston Garden on the 5th, and not Indianapolis, partially because Bobby Kennedy spoke.

I’ve been thinking for days about what I could say here that might be worthwhile. I do want to say a few things:
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My email is working again part deux

Ok, I can *download* my email….but I cannot send any. Pooh!

I’m really, really far behind now!  I hope to get a bunch on stuff done by tomorrow, and I may be able to post briefly on Saturday (while at the ‘rents’s house) but other than that I will be gone for nine days here:

Pretty cool, huh? You can click on the picture for more information about what I’ll be doing there.

The short story is that I am a Baha’i.  It’s something that I am  joyfully, cheerfully passionate about and it has given so much meaning to my life – I cannot even tell you.  :o)

One of the things Baha’is do, if they can possibly afford it, is to go on pilgrimage to the Shrines (located in northern Israel).  I am one very lucky girl, because I got to go 11 years ago and I get to go *again*.  I cannot for the life of me think of what I ever did to deserve the blessing of going once, much less going a second time.

I promise to gush on and on about it when I return.