Friday, April 1, 2011

A Thought on the Concourse

So there I am, in an intensive campaign, studying a section from Ruhi Book 6, when all of a sudden my eyes fall on this one quote, and BLAM! I'm distracted. And you know what, dear Reader? That kind of sucks, because I was the facilitator at that moment. (Oh, and I'm not the only facilitator. I just happened to be facilitating at that particular moment.)

What was the quote? I'm glad you asked, dear Reader. I can always count on you to pick up the hints that I drop. Thanks.

The quote was from a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi:

"Perhaps the reason why you have not accomplished so much in the field of teaching is the extent you looked upon your own weaknesses and inabilities to spread the message. Bahá'u'lláh and the Master have both urged us repeatedly to disregard our own handicaps and lay our whole reliance upon God. He will come to our help if we only arise and become an active channel for God's grace. Do you think it is the teachers who make converts and change human hearts? No, surely not. They are only pure souls who take the first step, and then let the spirit of Bahá'u'lláh move them and make use of them. If any one of them should even for a second consider his achievements as due to his own capacities, his work is ended and his fall starts. This is in fact the reason why so many competent souls have after wonderful services suddenly found themselves absolutely impotent and perhaps thrown aside by the Spirit of the Cause as useless souls. The criterion is the extent to which we are ready to have the will of God operate through us.

"Stop being conscious of your frailties, therefore; have a perfect reliance upon God; let your heart burn with the desire to serve His mission and proclaim His call; and you will observe how eloquence and the power to change human hearts will come as a matter of course."

And why, pray tell, did this catch my eye?

It was a reminder, dear Reader. It was a reminder.

I felt as if some sneaky little member of the Concourse on High blew the page, causing it to flip over from where I was to where I needed to read. You see, I have received a number of letters recently from you (plural, not royal) (but hey, if you are royal, that's kind of cool) thanking me for this blog and the "insights".

Well, I have to tell you: most of these insights are not mine. I mean, sure, I collect them, and perhaps even write them down, but they're not really mine. When you take the time to really read the Writings, study the individual phrases in the context of the whole piece, as well as with an eye towards applying them in your daily life, that wily Concourse whacks you over the head with a two by four of an idea on a regular basis. But don't think it's yours. Because it ain't.

Pleasant side: I remember one of the first times I ever went canoeing. It was on the Red River just south of Winnipeg, with my dear friend Ruth. She was always a joy to be with and showed me many wonderful things in life (including the top of the Hand of the Cause of God, William Sears' Tower, but that another story). As I had never really canoed much before then, she asked me to go in the front so that she could steer, and compensate for my lack of experience. As we were paddling up the river, talking about pleasant things (as it was such a pleasant day) (hence the "pleasant aside"), I suddenly heard a loud splash off to the side, followed by a "Wow! Did you see that big fish?" I turned back to look as I said, "No. Where?" And then, miracle of miracles, the fish jumped again. And it was huge. Now, you have to understand, fish don't normally jump twice in  row like that, so this really was something of a minor miracle that we could both appreciate. And appreciate I did. "Oh, beautiful," I said, as I put my oar in my lap so that I could clap. After a few claps, I noticed that Ruth was looking at me with an odd expression, and she said, "No wonder nature accommodates you. You really are a good audience for her."

You see, there are many times in my life where I have been blessed to witness incredible scenes of nature, like the time I was driving some Baha'is in rural Saskatchewan at night, and learned that they had never seen the Northern Lights. I saw a brief flicker, so I pulled over and told them that we should take a few minutes to watch. As we got out, and looked up, we saw a minor display of a very faint green light dancing in the sky. They were impressed, so I decided to just wait for them and enjoy their wonder. And as soon as I made that decision, even though it was quite late, and we were all very tired, the Lights began to get a bit brighter. And brighter. And brighter. And still brighter. Now I've seen the Northern Lights many times, but I have never seen them so wild in all my life. They filled the full firmament, from horizon to horizon, in all four cardinal directions, covering the complete dome of the sky. And they didn't just dance a flickering dance; they spiraled and twirled in such abundance as to make a Whirling Dervish dizzy. For well over an hour we all stood there in absolute awe at the beauty we were privileged to witness.

That is what my friend, Ruth, was referring to. I am never at a loss for awe when I look at the world around me.

And that, dear Reader, is how I feel when I study the Writings and am given the bounty of being whacked up side the side with a minor insight from one of those Conourse members, or from a friend studying with me, or from an article I read on the net. I love it. I appreciate it. And, most of all, I share it.

But it is not from me.

I literally sit down to type with barely more than an idea on a scrap of paper (today's said "6:2:11 --> Blog") and go where the wind blows, so to speak. I had no clue, for instance, that I would write about Ruth, or the Aurora Borealis, or any of this.

My heart burns with the desire to share this Message. If there is any eloquence to the way I do it, I can assure you that it is coincidental.

And if you doubt that, and think I am merely being humble, remember the last part of that quote:

"...In fact the mere act of arising will win for you God's help and blessings."

That, dear Reader, is what I feel surrounded by, and comforted by: God's help and blessings.

Now I only I could get my soul to be a bit purer than it currently is. (Maybe Brita makes a soul purifying unit.)

And maybe tomorrow, I'll be able to pay a bit more attention during the institute campaign.

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