Project Conversion

Project Conversion


Baha’i Week 4: Lessons for the Future

posted by abowen

Project Conversion is a dynamic process, and it seems like changes are occurring every second. Indeed, to adopt a faith for a month–to drape oneself in the garments of a brand new perspective–is a dramatic metamorphosis. The only question is, what will I transform into at the end of the process?

For each Week 4 period, part of this evolutionary process is to review what was done, the outcome, and what (if any) changes I’ll make going forward. My month with the Baha’i Faith has given me an amazingly new outlook on life in general and how to possibly approach/adapt/practice other faiths. Here are a few of those points.

Religion = Community:

 This point seems obvious, but how many of us really think about our religious/spiritual

Some of my Baha'i Family

communities and set them on par with concepts like worship or scriptural study? I can tell you that I would have never have made the progress I have without the support of my new Baha’i family. Entire revelations stemmed just from having a leisure cup of tea or chat with other Baha’is. The importance of communal life is something I will carry forward. The Baha’i Faith places a large emphasis on this community life, as we see in the following quote by Abdu’l'Baha in The Tablets of the Divine Plan:   

 
For one of the greatest divine wisdoms regarding the appearance of the Holy Manifestations is this: The souls may come to know each other and become intimate with each other; the power of the love of God may make all of them the waves of one sea, the flowers of one rose garden, and the stars of one heaven.”
 
Giving Thanks:
Again, this appears overly simple, but try and remember the last time you truly assessed your life and gave thanks. Was it last week after getting a raise? How about that new car with the leather interior and decked out entertainment package? Or maybe your favorite sports team won a championship?

Or how about for every, single, breath? We take our existence–the very operative function of our bodies–for granted. For Baha’is, mankind is the only creature on the planet who can discern God. Look at what we are doing now. I am participating in the very journey Baha’u'llah talks about in The Seven Valley and the Four Valleys, an essay describing the spiritual journey of the seeker of God. You are here with me, participating as a fellow oarsman in this quest for understanding. Is the fact that we have this capacity–this ethereal curiosity–not a reason to give thanks? My wife is reading a book in which the Christian author says “the heights of our joy are measured by the depths of our gratitude.”

The plight of those brave Baha’i souls in Iran and elsewhere, past and present, imprisoned for their Baha’i faith, effected me deeply this month. Strangely so. Their faith and grace even in their darkest hour humbles me to my knees to give thanks for the freedoms I enjoy. Would Project Conversion exist in some of these other countries? Would you have the freedom to read along? It doesn’t matter if you believe in a divine presence, the very act of gratitude, of humbling oneself to the point where every blessing received is viewed as a tool to bless another, is a lens through which peace is no longer a pipe dream, but a reality. I will give more thanks…I will give so much more.

I Will Not Change:

–Huh? Let’s not kid ourselves. Project Conversion is one of those things that often make it to the spotlight. But that isn’t the goal. Never was. There are folks who claim this is a publicity stunt to get attention. Really? Come on over to my house. Really. I get up at 5:30 AM everyday and study until my eyes get sore, pray until my voice goes out, meditate until I cannot feel reality…and that’s all before my wife and kids wake up. I don’t have a camera crew (I don’t want one), I’m not on a reality show, and my budget for this whole thing is well…let’s just say that I do depend on the kindness of others. I’m doing this to make a difference, not to make dividends.

But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So what does this mean for the long run? What you see is 100% authentic. There is no filter. And that is the way it will stay. My loyalties lay with the people who have dedicated their time and shown me kindness for Project Conversion. They believe in me–in what I’m doing–and to that, I…give thanks.


 
 

 



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Comments read comments(6)
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Anonymous

posted February 26, 2011 at 2:18 pm


That’s what I’ve picked up as well, Susan. Good to hear from you again.
Been a while, old friend.



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Anonymous

posted February 26, 2011 at 2:18 pm


That’s what I’ve picked up as well, Susan. Good to hear from you again.
Been a while, old friend.



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted February 26, 2011 at 2:17 pm


Good observation.



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Anonymous

posted February 26, 2011 at 2:17 pm


Good observation.



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Anonymous

posted February 26, 2011 at 11:20 am


Thank you Bud. Comments like these make the effort all worth while

Andrew



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Anonymous

posted February 26, 2011 at 11:20 am


Thank you Bud. Comments like these make the effort all worth while

Andrew



report abuse
 

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