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I began writing songs at the age of twelve, already aware of a dual experience within me during that process.
One part tried to write to be clever, to rhyme, to be interesting. The other was to simply “be,” to make space for the deep quiet, to listen, to be honest, to speak what wanted to be spoken. The songs that flowed through me were the stories of my life, a way to outflow the hurt and find healing. Unaware of it at the time, I was listening with my heart and soul to the songs of the spirit:
My mother left our family when I was ten. There was no God in our home, no spirituality, at least nothing intentional or named. My parents were very good people, who were doing good in the world, but they missed the element that would bind them through the deepest of tests—a spiritual bond.
For whatever reason, even as a little girl I believed in God, mystically, like an ocean made of love. I felt so thankful for this, although I kept it to myself for many years. At around the age of eighteen I began to understand that the tests we were given were gifts in disguise—presents from the Creator designed to help our souls grow and develop. This changed everything for me and helped me understand that everything leads us to the Beloved:
O Brother! Not every sea hath pearls; not every branch will flower, nor will the nightingale sing thereon. Then, ere the nightingale of the mystic paradise repair to the garden of God, and the rays of the heavenly morning return to the Sun of Truth—make thou an effort, that haply in this dustheap of the mortal world thou mayest catch a fragrance from the everlasting garden, and live forever in the shadow of the peoples of this city. And when thou hast attained this highest station and come to this mightiest plane, then shalt thou gaze on the Beloved, and forget all else. – Ibid., p. 38.
Throughout my youth, each time I would share my songs, I felt compelled to take a moment to become quiet, to still everything, so that something more beautiful than I could create might flow through me. I did not understand this practice—it was completely intuitive, guided by what I would call mystery or grace. This method of listening, or meditation, would draw me forward in my singing, which would further urge me to satiate my growing curiosity about the spirituality inherent in all the world’s religions:
Meditation is the key for opening the doors of mysteries. In that state man abstracts himself: in that state man withdraws himself from all outside objects; in that subjective mood he is immersed in the ocean of spiritual life and can unfold the secrets of things-in-themselves. – Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 175.
This meditative practice helped me learn, deep inside, that those religions were profoundly connected. In my late twenties, after much seeking, I found the Baha’i Faith, while singing on a film project. The Baha’i teachings of progressive revelation, of the essential oneness of all Faiths, resonated deeply in my spirit.
Check out Christina Frith’s BahaiBlog Studio Session below:
Here was the ocean I had traveled to in those moments of quiet. Here was the field, the garden of paradise, that spoke of the mysteries of love and confirmed the secret of divine and consummate wisdom. I found exquisite words, like still pearls, spread out upon the shores of this curious sea. Needless to say, I dived in:
O Ye Dwellers in the Highest Paradise! Proclaim unto the children of assurance that within the realms of holiness, nigh unto the celestial paradise, a new garden hath appeared, round which circle the denizens of the realm on high and the immortal dwellers of the exalted paradise. Strive, then, that ye may attain that station, that ye may unravel the mysteries of love from its wind-flowers and learn the secret of divine and consummate wisdom from its eternal fruits. Solaced are the eyes of them that enter and abide therein! – Baha’u’llah, The Hidden Words, p. 27.
In these holy writings I found the source, the inspiration, the emanation of the true songs of the spirit, the embodiment of love and healing. Many of my songs are born from the wound I bore in childhood. Many are about love.
Sometimes I wonder about the stories of this Earth, the stories in my songs. Must I sing of love to heal the wounds, or, is it for the yearning of my soul, to be united with the Best Beloved? Perhaps those longings are one and the same. One thing is sure—each will be soothed and transformed by the songs of the spirit.