The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.
My recent discovery of the Baha’i Faith came about as a result of a Google search for a phrase I had used in response to a friend’s Facebook post: “Love is …?”, to which I responded “Love is an action.”
My response best described my father’s love for us, his nine children, when we were young. We knew he loved us, even though at the time, he never said it. My mother was very capable of saying she loved us, as well as showering us with the common forms of affection shared by families – hugs, kisses, and positive affirmations.
Speaking for myself, I was driven to win my father’s respect, more so than my mom’s, because mom was easily impressed and effusive in her love and Dad was more stoic and guarded. Now, as a parent, I try to be mindful of both experiences. While I am never guarded with my children, hopefully they see me as open-minded, which I strive to be, and also a bit stoic at times for good measure, too.
As I mentioned, I searched for the phrase “Love Is an Action,” thinking it must have been written before, but if not maybe I could sell some t-shirts for some much-needed residual income. Instead, I found a brilliant article here on BahaiTeachings.org written by a Columbia University graduate student. It included this beautiful quotation from Baha’u’llah, the prophet and founder of the Baha’i Faith:
If the learned and worldly-wise men of this age were to allow mankind to inhale the fragrance of fellowship and love, every understanding heart would apprehend the meaning of true liberty, and discover the secret of undisturbed peace and absolute composure.
This happened in early October of 2020. I wrote in to the website, and received a welcoming response back from one of the founders of BahaiTeachings.org. We have been in near-constant contact ever since, through written correspondence, one brief in-person meeting, and a few Zoom meetings or Baha’i talks.
Through all that, I’ve discovered a communion of souls to which I can draw no parallel in my Catholic upbringing. My new Baha’i friend helps me keep my sails bellowed by spiritual principles, and I try to use the relationship to evolve into my true self. As my view of the Creator has also matured, my conception of God is less binary and parochial than the God my parents introduced me to, but simultaneously the same God that comforted and sustained them in their own lives.
RELATED: Am I a Baha’i?
I’ve begun reading Baha’i books now, too. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the record of Abdu’l-Baha’s speeches and addresses in France, titled Paris Talks, but I still struggle at times with some of the other Baha’i literature which can be seen as archaic in language to the bias of my Western ear. However, the core principles of the Baha’i Faith seem irrefutable in my mind:
- Independent Investigation of Truth
- Elimination of Prejudice of Every Kind
- The Oneness of Humanity
- One Essential Foundation for All Religions
- Religion Should Cause Love, Affection, and Joy
- The Harmony of Science and Religion
- A Universal Auxiliary Language
- Universal Compulsory Education
- Gender Equality
- Establishing a World Parliament
- The Abolition of the Extremes of Wealth and Poverty
- The Non-Involvement of Religion With Politics
- Human Rights for All
Everyone, whether Baha’i or not, can make the objectives of those wonderful principles manifest to truly achieve the spiritual existence many of us seek on Earth.
This path of spiritual discovery has reminded me that forty years ago I met my first Baha’i. She and her husband owned a pizzeria-deli near where I worked in Farmingdale, New York. We became friends for a short time, and even collaborated on a song she sang beautifully, using one of my poems as the lyrics. It took me four decades, but I can still her voice guiding me to oneness.