The Unanswered Calling

I wrote recently that the soul of unemployment is not about money but about meaning. A magnificent on-line project called What's Your Calling reinforces this idea. The site provides personal stories of people's experience of their work as a calling, whether in spiritual or secular terms. The concept of calling, of one's work as a vocation, as an expression of one's values or perhaps one's very place in the universe is the beating heart of many people's workday. It may be one contributing factor to experiencing work as worship as described in the Baha'i teachings. 'Abdu'l-Baha (1844-1921) head of the Baha'i Faith from 1892-1921 wrote:

"Yes: In the Bahá'í Cause arts, sciences and all crafts are (counted as) worship. The man who makes a piece of notepaper to the best of his ability, conscientiously, concentrating all his forces on perfecting it, is giving praise to God. Briefly, all effort and exertion put forth by man from the fullness of his heart is worship, if it is prompted by the highest motives and the will to do service to humanity. This is worship: to serve mankind and to minister to the needs of the people. Service is prayer."

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{josquote}This made me see that it was important that we eat Whitebird.{/josquote}

Steve killed Whitebird today. He was one of the first three chicks that hatched under our guardianship after we came here. We were so excited to see the little things come out of their eggs. I went crazy over the cute little heads and eyes peeping out at us from under their mother's feathers. I've read even seasoned chicken breeders say that it's a sight you never get sick of.

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Abdu'l-Baha Loved Dark Chocolate and Black Roses!

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Years of working with school children and teachers doing race unity training has filled the Martin Luther King Jr. day celebration with rich and sweet nostalgia for me. This is a day about human rights and justice for all, about oneness of all humanity under one divine light.

This year is one of the few occasions I am not having a special event planned in relation to this very meaningful day for me as a Baha’i. This year I celebrated it quietly and alone while driving in my car and listening to the King’s I have a Dream speech being broadcast on NPR. All of a sudden I had plenty of time to reminisce about this day and what has gone by.

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Effort is the Key to Excellence (1): a review of ‘Bounce’

. . . . man must strive that his reality may manifest virtues and perfections, the light whereof may shine upon everyone.

(Bahá’í Administration: page 9)

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Do you think excellence at an activity is a gift or is it earned?

Sir Michael, a character played by James Fox in a recent recent episode of ‘Midsomer Murders,’ clearly thought it was a gift handed down in the genes and deranged his whole life around that creed (I won’t say more in case I spoil the plot, if such a plot can be spoiled at all). Apparently most of us believe the same or something like it, much to our disadvantage. It’s the result of natural talent, we conclude, rather than hard work so if I haven’t already got it it’s not worth trying to acquire it.

Over the last few decades it has been slowly becoming apparent that this is nonsense. Previous posts have referred, for example, to Jeffrey Schwartz‘s hard-headed look at the issue in The Mind and the Brain. Practice may not make you perfect but it raises your capacity beyond your wildest dreams and changes your brain in the process. All you need to do is stick at it for long enough with the right attitude. We’ll come back to that in a moment.

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On wealth

{josquote}He is the one that dishes out the stipends; that's easy for him. Higher on his agenda is for us to love him and be near him.{/josquote}

I was inspired to write on wealth again here because I've just read a fabulous paragraph, newly translated, in which Baha'u'llah is quoted by Nabil, making one of his usual hard-hitting one-liners. The paragraph appears on a new blog called Kashkul, which is put together by Will McCants. I can't recommend the blog highly enough. Will can translate the writings from the original languages and his entries are fresh translations of material not seen in English before. Here's the paragraph from Nabil's unpublished account:

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