The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.
There comes a time when, as human beings, we are powerless to solve some of our problems. The question remains, how do we want to deal with them? Having seen my loved ones going through cancer, the words “fighting cancer” have really struck a chord.
When we talk about ending the world’s injustices — poverty, racism, and sexism, we tend to use the same language. We often say we are “fighting” these things. And we absolutely should do everything we can to end these social and spiritual ills and ensure the unity, peace, and prosperity of humanity. Indeed, the Baha’i writings tell us, “The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice.”
The question in my mind is, is “fighting” the only way to face the problems given to us??
I understand that anger can be the first reaction in grasping the reality of what has happened, and it is natural to react with rage for a short time. But scientific research shows that allowing this emotion to dominate for long periods has a negative effect on the body.
Common sense and the law of karma (for those who believe in it) encourages us to live with a positive view since whatever energy we put into the universe will eventually come back to us. You are what you think. Fighting needs anger, and when we are sick, we need peace more than anger because there is so much that needs our attention. The Baha’i writings tell us, “Let nothing grieve thee, and be thou angered at none.” But that, of course, doesn’t mean being passive in the face of illness or injustice.
I wonder if there are other ways of approaching these situations rather than dealing with them with so much anger, especially since anger and high anxiety are the last things that the body and soul need.
When one of my most cherished friends got cancer, she was given little chance of surviving. She deliberately used the word “dealing” rather than “fighting” when talking about her condition.
Humanity has had to face many difficulties throughout the ages, such as fighting big animals in the Stone Age or enemies during the great wars in our history. We needed a fighting mentality that gave us motivation or the force to overcome adverse situations.
We live in a different world now, and our awareness has improved dramatically, and we know what our body and soul need to gain the strength to overcome or deal with difficult situations in life.
We know that peace of mind through meditation and prayers is an essential tool to solve life-threatening problems. They give us guidance and strength to empower ourselves to follow a healthy diet of food and exercise and research other medical treatments that will help us to overcome the disease. There are a wealth of Writings that guide us to approach tests and deal with them.
Baha’u’llah, the prophet and founder of the Baha’i Faith, tells us to see the tragedies of life with a spiritual eye. He wrote: “My Calamity is my providence, outwardly it is fire and vengeance, but inwardly it is light and mercy. ”
I know so many cancer survivors (including my dear friend) and survivors of accidents and other tragedies. When asked what helped them, mostly they mentioned prayer and their family and friends’ good wishes that gave them the strength to deal with these challenges.
This logic helps me see the situation with a better frame of mind and soul to face the challenges that will always be part of our lives. Sometimes our language reflects our mentality. When we want to fight, we are angry. When we want to do the best we can, it may reflect a certain sense of serenity and acceptance.
We can also consider the “Will of God” and whether we should learn about it. I believe that it is a critical approach that some have found useful to help them to do the things within their powers and be detached from the outcome. Following this practice has created great contentment in me since I am satisfied that I have played my part and acknowledged that my efforts are not the only deciding factor. It can enable us to continue our efforts to serve humanity by relying on a higher power for assistance. As Baha’u’llah wrote:
“Wert thou to consider this world, and realize how fleeting are the things that pertain unto it, thou wouldst choose to tread no path except the path of service to the Cause of thy Lord. None would have the power to deter thee from celebrating His praise, though all men should arise to oppose thee.”
I hope we can become more aware of our limited powers and use them wisely with a more mature and peaceful approach. The world is full of wars and can do without my declaration of war on a disease or ideology. We need a new race of men and women who will do everything to bring about justice and unity and spend those energies to educate themselves and others.