Saturday, November 11, 2017

A Broad Outline for Ruhi 7

Book 7, Walking Together on a Path of Service. The last book in the first series of books in the Ruhi curriculum. This is the one that ends the look at the individual and their path of service. I mean, that's not quite true. The later books do, also, but this is the one that really finishes this grouping. The next one deal more with the community as a body and society as a whole.

Here we get a better idea of how to assist others in their path of service through tutoring the previous books in the sequence.

And 7:1 really helps us maintain this humble posture of learning.

It helps us look at the various qualities we need to be a more effective tutor, and understand that our true value in tutoring comes not from ourselves, but from our ability to help reflect the light of God. It also comes from our ability to help others reflect this light. We look at the capacity of those in our study circles, and really take our joy in watching them grow and develop in their service. We look at the the attributes they are showing, such as love, the appropriate fear of God (true fear, that mild discomfort, not terror), hope, that longing to act continually and constantly, their awareness of true sacrifice, and most of all, joy. We watch as their joy grows greater and greater.

From there, we move into 7:2 and actually begin the act of tutoring others. We explore our motivations to do this, as well as the motivation of those whom we will be accompanying. We look at the concept of understanding and its relationship to motivation. We examine the various aspects of a study circle that are conducive to making the most joyous learning space possible, such as the beauty of the place and the loving atmosphere created. We even discuss things like how we understand our role as a tutor, and the pacing of the group. We see a greater connection between the working with adults in this setting and the teaching of children in a children's class. Now we have a far better understanding of how Books 3 and 5 were preparatory for tutoring.

It is only after exploring all these aspects of the study circle in brief, and really becoming more aware of our role as a tutor who accompanies others on their path, that we go into the books. Each section from 7:2:12 - 7:2:17 look at just a bit of the book, just a small component that helps us gain a greater appreciation of this series. They help us focus on the greater themes of the book by consciously being aware of them, and allowing us that greater ability to keep the group focused on them, too.

Then, after this brief glance, we look at the nature of the study circle itself. What is its purpose? How does it operate? What is the role of the tutor? How do the tutors grow and develop in their capacities? What is this tutor gathering they are talking about? (I don't know about you, but I still rarely see tutor gatherings. They seem to get confused for reflection meetings in many communities, even though they are very different. But hey, we're still learning as a community. That's ok.) What is the impact of the institute on the individual, the institutions and the community?

All of this discussion, which tends to be both highly enthusiastic and encouraging, helps us gain a greater appreciation of the dynamics of the study circle and how it contributes to the moral and spiritual empowerment of the participants.

It's truly wonderful. And I've only given the briefest of overviews here.

But wait a second! What about 7:3? After all of this, what on earth can be left for 7:3?

The arts.

Do you recall from your own studies that every study circle is to have an arts or craft component? There is a great wisdom in this, even though so many of the study circles have skipped it due to lack of time.

When we think about community, what is it that helps bind a community together? Well, one thing is its sense of being part of a culture. And what defines that culture? One thing, a major component, is the arts. Many of the study circles I've been in, when looking at this section focus on the "how" of the arts, but I think it's real importance is in the "why" of them.

In this unit we begin our exploration into the breadth and purpose of the arts, the importance of harmony, and our natural attraction to beauty. This latter finds its highest expression, of course, in our attraction to the Blessed Beauty.

We also explore some of the types of arts found in cultures all over the world, whether its music or story telling, drama or crafts. We learn a little bit about the importance of promoting the arts as a way and means of promoting community and culture.

We also, through this, begin to get a reminder that there is far more to the arts out there than we would see through the mass media. (You don't need to be highly polished and perfect in your craft to get enjoyment out of it.) And we are also reminded that each and every culture out there contributes its share to the global arts scene.

What a way to end this sequence. Wow.

Oh, but wait a second. We've noticed that every final section in each and every book has led us on to the next book in the sequence. Is this book somehow an exception?

Of course not.

This leads us right into Book 8 and the universal nature of Baha'u'llah's Covenant. But more on that later.

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