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My thoughts take me back to a scene from a movie. A feather whirls about in the air. It flies up to the trees and then down near the feet of Forrest Gump.
Off again that feather flies into the sky, signifying the constant flow of our lives. In the case of Forrest, he was such a pure soul that he never went against the current, but rather always gave himself up to the will of God. He submitted to whatever life brought him with a pure, kindly and radiant heart.
“Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get,” he famously said, and whatever he got he was thankful for.
How do we become so pure of heart? How do we ride the breeze of God’s will? Lightening the load of the self will make our spirits more buoyant. Renouncing the ego can lift us higher. When it is not about our wants, we are not fighting the wind and can better see what God has in store for us:
There is no peace for thee save by renouncing thyself and turning unto Me; for it behooveth thee to glory in My name, not in thine own; to put thy trust in Me and not in thyself, since I desire to be loved alone and above all that is. – Baha’u’llah, The Hidden Words, p. 5.
I implore Thee, O my Lord, by Thy name the splendors of which have encompassed the earth and the heavens, to enable me so to surrender my will to what Thou hast decreed in Thy Tablets, that I may cease to discover within me any desire except what Thou didst desire through the power of Thy sovereignty, and any will save what Thou didst destine for me by Thy will. – Baha’u’llah, Prayers and Meditations, p. 241.
Personally, I really get myself into trouble when I don’t release myself to the wind of God’s will. One example is my nagging fear of someday getting Alzheimer’s. I ruminate and worry every time I forget something or when I think I am displaying early signs of dementia. In so doing, this practice draws everything dementia-related into my life and escalates my fear.
Today I went to the funeral of a beloved elderly man in my community. It wasn’t until I arrived that I learned that he had Alzheimer’s disease the last days of his life. I thought to myself–how terrible! But then I listened to precious stories about how he lived his life serving humankind. It was only the last few years that he felt the effects of the disease; just a blip in his wonderful life. The condition never affected his soul. I will always remember him as healthy, smiling and kind, as do all who knew him. He lived his life on the breeze of God’s will and is at peace now.
The only way out of the fear, I realized, is to cling to love. I had to believe that God loved me and no matter what would take care of me. Focusing on the love and not the fear brought me peace:
Rely upon God. Trust in Him. Praise Him, and call Him continually to mind. He verily turneth trouble into ease, and sorrow into solace, and toil into utter peace. He verily hath dominion over all things.
If thou wouldst hearken to my words, release thyself from the fetters of whatsoever cometh to pass. Nay, rather, under all conditions thank thou thy loving Lord, and yield up thine affairs unto His Will that worketh as He pleaseth. This is better for thee than all else in either world. – Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 178.
After the funeral a dear friend saw me crying. He said with a smile, “Kathy, this life will last but a few minutes longer. It is so short, there is no time but to be happy.” I recognized that I had spent hours worrying about things that might never happen, rather than taking advantage of the few precious moments I have left:
O thou who art turning thy face towards God! Close thine eyes to all things else, and open them to the realm of the All-Glorious. Ask whatsoever thou wishest of Him alone; seek whatsoever thou seekest from Him alone. With a look He granteth a hundred thousand hopes, with a glance He healeth a hundred thousand incurable ills, with a nod He layeth balm on every wound, with a glimpse He freeth the hearts from the shackles of grief. He doeth as He doeth, and what recourse have we? He carrieth out His Will, He ordaineth what He pleaseth. Then better for thee to bow down thy head in submission, and put thy trust in the All-Merciful Lord. – Ibid., p. 51.
To trust is to be as a feather in the breeze of God’s will. To have faith is the secret to flowing with the constant current of the wind instead of fighting it. God, in His unfailing love, always knows what is best for us, so why struggle against the outcome of His will? After all, what choice do we ever have?