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Can You Truly Love Yourself Without Believing in Unity and Diversity?

Taras Vavryk | Sep 22, 2020

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

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Taras Vavryk | Sep 22, 2020

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

During my practical work as a mental health specialist, I’ve realized that one of the most significant factors of wellbeing is a holistic life vision. 

What do I mean by “holistic life vision”? I suppose it’s a comprehensive approach to life that’s based on the synergetic interconnection of the core domains of a person’s life. 

For example, spiritual knowledge could have a deep influence on social wellbeing, how we interact with other people, and vice versa. Overall wellbeing consists of the accomplishments in different sectors — mental, physical, social, etc. — and how they interact with each other.

The model of wellbeing proposed by Williamson & Robinson (2006) and adopted by the ACTAlliance.

The Baha’i Faith emphasizes comprehensive personal development — both material and spiritual. Abdu’l-Baha, the son of Baha’u’llah, the prophet and founder of the Baha’i Faith, wrote

“Material civilization alone is not sufficient and will not prove productive. The physical happiness of material conditions was allotted to the animal. Consider how the animal has attained the fullest degree of physical felicity. A bird perches upon the loftiest branch and builds there its nest with consummate beauty and skill. All the grains and seeds of the meadows are its wealth and food; all the fresh water of mountain springs and rivers of the plain are for its enjoyment. Truly, this is the acme of material happiness, to which even a human creature cannot attain. This is the honor of the animal kingdom. But the honor of the human kingdom is the attainment of spiritual happiness in the human world, the acquisition of the knowledge and love of God. The honor allotted to man is the acquisition of the supreme virtues of the human world. This is his real happiness and felicity. But if material happiness and spiritual felicity be conjoined, it will be ‘delight upon delight.’”

The Baha’i Faith offers a unique holistic approach to life. It integrates different social backgrounds and cultural traditions, and it offers a material balance. The central idea of the Baha’i Faith is unity. Abdu’l-Baha wrote that “Unity is the expression of the loving power of God and reflects the reality of Divinity. It is resplendent in this Day through the bestowals of light upon humanity.” He also explained the concept of “unity in diversity”: “In reality all are members of one human family — children of one Heavenly Father. Humanity may be likened unto the vari-colored flowers of one garden. There is unity in diversity. Each sets off and enhances the other’s beauty.”

This idea is an inexhaustible source of wellbeing, not only on the level of nations or religious groups, but on a personal level too. In every person different cultural, religious, or social differences gather and make the individual unique and precious. All these differences are not contradictory but rather complementary and synergetic. 

I find this idea very beneficial not only to our mental wellbeing but to our overall wellbeing because it’s unity with recognition of otherness is a source of real love towards yourself and others. 

Regarding love, Abdu’l-Baha wrote the following: “Love is the most great law that ruleth this mighty and heavenly cycle, the unique power that bindeth together the diverse elements of this material world, the supreme magnetic force that directeth the movements of the spheres in the celestial realms. Love revealeth with unfailing and limitless power the mysteries latent in the universe. Love is the spirit of life unto the adorned body of mankind, the establisher of true civilization in this mortal world, and the shedder of imperishable glory upon every high-aiming race and nation”.

Indeed, love is a fundamental source of healing and a necessary condition of wellbeing. Love is an energy that activates human potential. Love is directly connected with holistic life vision, which admires the beauty of otherness and finds unity not only with others but also inside every human personality. 

It’s a reminder to me of how the Baha’i Faith deeply corresponds with the contemporary scientific approach to safekeeping, restoration, and development of human wellbeing!

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