The universe speaks to us every day – it is time we listened
The local Baha’i community has been hosting a series of presentations sharing the teachings of ʻAbdu'l-Bahá and how they relate to the current world crisis.
The public presentations are held weekly and hosted by Oswald Hinds, a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of Baha’is in Bermuda, and are designed to bring awareness to the life of ʻAbdu'l-Bahá in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of his ascension in November 1921.
“Major anniversary periods are endowed with spiritual sacredness and potency and so it is fitting to utilise these moments by bringing attention to the one whose life example is a guide for all humanity,” Mr Hinds said. “By sharing his stories and his life’s work it is hoped that those who attend will be inspired to follow his example and become servants of God for the age.
“The other hope is that those inspired will commit to the sacred task of becoming protagonists in a new community-building enterprise. Any and everyone is welcomed to be of this process.”
The sessions come at an important time for the community, as they provide an alternative perspective on the coronavirus pandemic and the adversity many are facing as a result, he added.
“Baha’u’llah – the prophet founder of the Baha’i Faith – in one of His writings, The Hidden Words, states: ‘My calamity is my providence. Outwardly it is fire and vengeance, but inwardly it is light and mercy.’
“Out of every adverse human situation lies the opportunity for a favourable outcome but one must see it in that light. One could also conclude that adversity only occurs when there needs to be human rectification.”
One of the principles of the Baha’i Faith is “the oneness of humanity“ and through their teachings Baha’is inspire individuals and communities to improve their lives and contribute to the advancement of society.
The weekly discussions are a part of this advancement, Mr Hinds said.
“That the pandemic is world-impacting tells us that there needs to be universal change in a number of human conditions which are retarding the progress of humanity. If humanity accepts that out of this pandemic there will be enormous human changes and opportunities, then the purpose of the pandemic will be acknowledged, and process of change will occur faster.”
The teachings of ʻAbdu'l-Bahá speak to “calamities, ordeals and human sufferings” that will take place, but they also explain that these adversities have a purpose for human development.
“ʻAbdu'l-Bahá states: 'When calamity striketh, be ye patient and composed. However afflictive your sufferings may be, stay ye undisturbed, and with perfect confidence in the abounding grace of God, brave ye the tempest of tribulations and fiery ordeals.'"
It can be challenging to approach trials of this magnitude with a hopeful mindset, however there is comfort to be found in holy books and scriptures, both ancient and modern, he added.
“There is no greater source of comfort and understanding than seeking the guidance of the Creator himself and we access that through His divine teachings – the Bible, Koran; the Bhagavad Gita among others.
“However, to best understand the needs of this age in which we live, it would be wise not to discount those holy teachings of the past but to reference the teachings of this age, the Baha’i holy writings, as they will give the prescription for illnesses that are current among men.”
In addition to studying these texts, Mr Hinds encourages people to participate in self-reflection and meditation to help bring peace and clarity.
“I would also suggest that with questions of faith one must genuinely seek the answers through prayers, meditations, conversations, personal investigation with a clear and unbiased mind and the answers will come.
“The universe speaks to us every day, but we are not present and miss the answers to our questions. Start by seeing every person, every encounter in every situation, every negative thought, every loss or gain as necessary to the development of your journey in this life – however bad or good it may be.
“The material world is the language that speaks to your inner spirit. All the answers lie in front of us but we missed them because we are not in-tuned.”
• Join Oswald Hinds's Zoom presentations each Monday at 7pm through November 22: Meeting ID: 841 6519 0550; password: 227041. For more information: email@example.com.