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Age Old Wisdom via an Internet Dog
A friend recently sent me the Internet self help meme, Advice from a Good Dog, and I was struck by the universality of its human themes. So, at some slight risk of irreverence, I researched similar themes within the Bahá'í Faith.
Here are some of the quotes I found, with the 'advice' in bold first:
Live simply. "It is more kingly to be satisfied with a crust of stale bread than to enjoy a sumptuous dinner of many courses, the money for which comes out of the pockets of others. The mind of a contented person is always peaceful and his heart at rest." -- 'Abdu'l-Bahá, quoted in Dr. J.E. Esslemont's, Baha'u'llah and the New Era, p. 102
Love generously. Care deeply. "It behoveth thee to be content with the Will of God, and a true and loving and trusted friend to all the peoples of the earth, without any exceptions whatever." Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, p. 25
Speak kindly. "A kindly tongue is the lodestone of the hearts of men." -- Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 15
When loved ones come home, always run to greet them. Thrive on attention and let people touch you. "...consort with all the people of the world with joy and fragrance." -- 'Abdu'l-Bahá, A Traveler's Narrative, p. 43
Run, romp, and play daily. Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride. Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy. "If we are not happy and joyous at this season, for what other season shall we wait and for what other time shall we look?" -- Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, p. 641
Take naps. Stretch before rising. On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass. On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree. Delight in the simple joy of a long walk. "If you take better care of your own health, and build up your reserves, it would certainly be better for you and for your work." -- Lights of Guidance, p. 279
When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body. "Believers...must show their belief in their daily lives, so that the world might see the light shining in their faces. A bright and happy face cheers people on their way." -- 'Abdu'l-Bahá in London, p. 124
Be loyal. "Their deeds must prove their fidelity, and their actions must show forth Divine light. -- 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 80
Never pretend to be something you're not. "Honesty, virtue, wisdom and a saintly character redound to the exaltation of man, while dishonesty, imposture, ignorance and hypocrisy lead to his abasement." -- Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 57
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it."Though single-handed, and no matter how great the apathy of the people around you may be, you should have faith that the hosts of the Kingdom are on your side, and that through their help you are bound to overcome...Persevere, be happy and confident, therefore." -- Quickeners of Mankind, p. 50
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently. "...be sympathetic with all suffering, nurse the sick, offer a shelter to the exiled, help the poor and those in need, dress all wounds and share the happiness of each one." -- 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy, p. 41
Now, don't those instructions sound familiar? Even the quotes from Bahá'í books should seem so, I think, because I have found similar in the Bible, the Koran, the Bhagavad-Gita, and even the Dhamapada. Such advice is historical (and Bahá'ís believe it all came from the same Source, anyway).
So, I am not saying Bahá'ís are the only ones with this wisdom, or even the best examples of it. They are not a homogenous group--representing as they do, every national, ethnic, religious and any other division of humankind you can think of. Nor are they perfect, but they do have goals, both as individuals and as a group:
"To be so faithful and sincere in all your actions that every member may be known as embodying the qualities of honesty, love, faith, kindness, generosity, and courage. To be detached from all that is not God, attracted by the Heavenly Breath--a divine soul; so that the world may know that a Bahá'í is a perfect being. Strive to attain this..." -- 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 74
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