I try to serve humanity and understand the world around me through music.
In fact, my parents tell me that as a baby I hummed before I ever spoke words. I’m 18 now, and I love to sing and play instruments, and one day something inspired me and I just started writing songs. It became an overwhelming urge, to get my thoughts and feelings translated into the universal language of music. Others in my community picked up on this and asked me to write a song that could be used in Baha’i gatherings, at events or during devotions. We all found that music, especially live music, could make any event more fun and inspiring.
So two years ago, as I sat down at my piano, I picked up my childhood prayer book. I don’t even remember now who gave it to me — it was probably my Mom — but the book always sat at my bedside, and then, somehow, mysteriously found its way to the piano. In this book – “Prayers for Young Baha’is” – I turned to the last prayer, by Abdu’l-Baha’s sister, Bahiyyih Khanum, also known as the Greatest Holy Leaf. Her picture in the prayer book always made me feel a more personal connection to the words of the prayer through her — like she could be my grandmother or someone close, who channeled guidance, wisdom and peace. Also, I’m sure I could relate to this prayer because a woman wrote it; the only one in the book written by a woman.
The prayer itself is about unity, one of my favorite concepts in the Baha’i teachings. I suppose that’s because it seems unity may be the most easily accepted and understood Baha’i principle by most people, and because pretty much everyone wishes for it, in their own families, among their friends, and in the world. If we all can buy into the concept of unity, think of how many of the world’s problems could be solved…we wouldn’t see the differences in each other or the boundaries in our landscape. We’d be so close to understanding our oneness, just like Greatest Holy Leaf’s prayer says:
O Thou Kind Bestower, O Nourisher of our souls and hearts! We have no aim, except to walk Thy path; we have no wish, except to bring Thee joy. Our souls are united, and our hearts are welded, each to each. In offering Thee our thanks and praise, in following Thy ways and soaring in Thy skies, we are all one. We are helpless, stand Thou by us, and give us strength. Thou art the Protector, the Provider, the Kind. – Bahiyyih Khanum, p. 155.
Anyway, as I read the prayer I realized that one line read like a song…”Our souls are united, and our hearts are welded, each to each.” This line inspired me, became the title of the piece and gave me the message I wanted to impart. The song flowed out around this beautiful, uplifting quote.
I’m currently studying songwriting, and got into my university program partially by idealizing how music can move a message, and how much those messages can improve on the current climate of the music industry. After moving to Nashville I’ve found many fellow musicians who share this goal, which has been reinvigorating. Songwriting, where my creativity lives, makes me happy. At the heart of my ultimate message, like the song says, “we are all one.”
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