Nine Lamps ... One Light

Spiritual Enlightenment: Proclaiming the Oneness of Humanity and Presenting the Blueprint for the Establishment of Peace on Earth ... One Heart at a Time.

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Monday, March 02, 2009

Fasting, Spiritual Renewal and The Divine Springtime

Q So, “What did the breeze say to the window?”

See answer at end.

As our 19-Day Fast begins today in the worldwide Baha'i community, I’m reminded about how much I look forward each year to this period of spiritual renewal and regeneration. And I have to admit, I also appreciate the physical restraints that it forces upon me.

Sounds odd, I know, to look forward to things like abstaining from excessive everyday indulgences that I’ve grown accustomed to over the last 12 months, but truly I need this yearly dose of reshuffling and realigning of the parts of my life that have gotten out of balance and are wrecking havoc with my ability to be at peace and loving to all those in my inner circle (i.e. the world).

Yes, by the time the fast gets here each year, I always seem to have some new habit I need to reflect on and kick to the curve.

This year I won’t even mention what the habit is that I need to break because confession of sins is not allowed (except we confess to our Maker, and what confession is that since He already knows), but what I can say is that I absolutely know without one iota of doubt why I have been challenged by this new habit.

It is the same obsession that I could not understand when my friend of many years allowed it to consume her every waking hour. It was an addiction with her--a destructive, behavioral addiction that had cost us our friendship after almost two decades.

I had attempted to forgive her for her actions which had left us estranged, but still could not phantom how one could place a want for a physical thing (i.e. a cigarette) over a friendship.

And of course now I can fully appreciate the ramifications of what an addiction does, and how it clouds the judgment and can leave you powerless to do the right thing.

But what a lesson, and how do you break a new habit? My consolation is that this habit is less than 9 months old so there is the chance of being done with it just as rapidly.

It is said that you can break any habit in 19 days and that’s how long this fast is.

And, no my new habit is not cigarette smoking. My lungs would not allow it. As a child I had asthma for many, many years prior to moving from the North to the South.

This first day of the Fast has also showed me other appetites that I need to bring under conscious control. What a blessing that the father in his wisdom has infused these days with such spiritual help to allow us to overcome some of our shortcomings.

The fact that millions of Bahá’ís spend extra time in prayer during this special time can’t hurt either.

After 23 years of doing this religious Fast, I can honestly say that it really is not so much about the abstaining from food or drink from sunrise to sunset, but is more about getting the sludge out of my life that has collected and built up and is sometimes to the point of suffocating my spirit that is the most important thing the Fast does for me.

Of course, some days it feels like it’s all about the physical as we smell the foods that others are enjoying in the day, or we decline the sweets that often show up at the office for no apparent reason.

Even as I am writing this, I hear my younger sister who is over today because her power has gone out from the 8 or more inches of snow that blanketed us last night and this morning. I hear her telling my mom that the food she just had was so good.

“It’s so tender and perfect,” she said as she ate some of the left over pot roast beef my mom had prepared the prior evening.”It’s better than restaurant food!”

“Mom, why don’t you open a restaurant,” she continues.

And of course I know this is just part of the testing that takes place as you try to obey the laws of God. Still its funny nonetheless that after fasting for so long that I would still be tested with such petty stuff. Could be a sign that this fast will be harder for me than I anticipate.

Still, in 19 days we enjoy the Bahá'í New Year, Naw-Ruz!

Let’s hope that with it comes the Divine Springtime that mankind has awaited for thousands of years.

Let’s pray for peace and a new way as we tackle the economic pressures that confront so many of God’s children.

Let’s hope for a world of racial harmony and less bigotry.

And let us pray for our new African American president, Barack Obama. A leader who can succeed if we do our part and let him do his.

“Can’t you see the New Day!”

Happy Fasting Friends!

May the fire of the Love of God Inflame Your Desire to Serve

A: “Just passing through.”


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