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Archive for November, 2008

I have been pretty busy the last few days.

I will be writing a more meaningful entry very shortly but thought I’d give a little insight into what i’m up to  this week, aside from dental school in the day:

Monday evening: Studying the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh in a study group facilitated by American film director, Mark Bamford.

The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh is a collection of letters and messages from Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, first published in 1938.

Here is an excerpt:

Leaders of religion, exponents of political theories, governors of human institutions, who at present are witnessing with perplexity and dismay the bankruptcy of their ideas, and the disintegration of their handiwork, would do well to turn their gaze to the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh, and to meditate upon the World Order which, lying enshrined in His teachings, is slowly and imperceptibly rising amid the welter and chaos of present-day civilization. They need have no doubt or anxiety regarding the nature, the origin or validity of the institutions which the adherents of the Faith are building up throughout the world. For these lie embedded in the teachings themselves, unadulterated and unobscured by unwarrantable inferences, or unauthorized interpretations of His Word.

Tuesday evening: Taking photographs for a launch at the Foreign Policy Centre at the British Government’s Houses of Parliament . This is for the launch of a pamphlet entitled ‘A revolution without rights? Women, Kurds and Baha’is searching for equality in Iran’

Wednesday evening: Watching Waltz with Bashir with some friends in central London.

Waltz with Bashir is an award winning animated documentary of the Israeli-Lebannon war. The trailer can be seen here

Dental School has recently upped the ante in terms of stress, exams and requirements to graduate….

Apart from prayers, I like play my guitar/bass and read poetry to unwind.

Here is a quatrain (Rubaiyat) of poetry by Rumi that I found inspiring and peaceful:

It’s good to leave each day behind,

like flowing water, free of sadness.

Yesterday is gone and its tale told.

Today new seeds are growing.

Rumi

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Right now, I am in the middle of my exam period.

However that doesn’t mean that I am completely neglecting my blog (despite the apparent lack of entries)

This will all change after the 22nd Nov, when they’re done!.

Revision is stressful but there are ways to calm yourself down;

  1. Praying
  2. Reading classical Persian poetry (Attar’s The Conference of Birds)
  3. Playing my acoustic guitar-recently learnt Purple Rain by Prince and ‘My Friends’ by RHCP.
  4. Drinking copious amounts of white tea and Persian tea.
  5. Writing, in this case a new blog entry

Whilst I could easily digress at this point about the health merits of tea (and I will in a future blog post), the association of tea with positive social experiences has been well documented, especially in the Baha’i Faith.

Orginally posted on Nylon Parla

Orginally posted on Nylon Parla

Just search for ‘tea’ on Ocean-The World Religious Library and you will see search results littered with numerous references to tea drinking, especially in the history of the Baha’i Faith.

In fact the act of drinking tea socially, was associated with one of most fundamentally significant moments in Bahá’í history  i.e. when Mulla Husayn, first met the Bab, one of the twin Manifestations and Founders of the Baha’i Faith.

It was on this evening in Shiraz, on the 22nd May, that the Báb announced to Mulla Husayn that He was the Promised One, and that night is known as the Declaration of the Báb.

Mulla Husayn recounts the events of that fateful night to Nabil, in his famous historical document, referring to the Báb’s hospitality to him:

He then gave me to drink of a refreshing beverage, after which He asked for the samovar and Himself prepared the tea which He offered me.

(Nabil-The Dawn-Breakers, p. 52)

So it comes as no surprise that I recently came across an article on my second favourite website after Facebook, BBC News, that says that warm drinks promote warm feelings…

According to US researchers, ‘people are more likely to judge strangers as welcoming and trustworthy when they are holding a hot cup of coffee, experiments show.’

The study (click to read) used coffee, but the variable being investigated was the temperature.

So time you meet somebody new for the first time, offer them a nice hot beverage.

Personally I recommend tea rather than coffee, because coffee is a greater stimulant and will only make those nervous, jittery feelings worse.

so, ’till next time….. make tea……not war! 😀

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Artists whether they are musical or visual, are very perceptive to their surroundings, and express what they take in through their chosen medium.

With the songs chosen below, the artists have made musical social commentaries on the state of our planet Earth and the decline of the world order of our society (but they don’t take into account the positive things that are subtly happening).

It is interesting because from the late 60’s onwards, music and art began to take a more global analysis of the world and a realisation of a common humanity, a positive thing, and a form of integration.

Ironic that this positive realisation contrasts with the collapse of moral standards in society as we know it, something that is accelerating post World War II.

The songs below,  are especially selected not because they talk about the disintegration in the world but rather because they acknowledge world problems being universal, reflecting that common humanity, destiny and the idea that nobody is immune. They suggest we are in it together and have to work together to overcome the problems. Surely that is a positive thing i.e. integration?

As a Baha’i, my viewpoint is that the root cause of the problems is a spiritual one, and that transcends borders, nationalities and race. As Bahá’u’lláh, founder of the Baha’i Faith says, “The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens,”

The songs below are as relevant today (if not more so) as when they were first penned.

They talk about subjects ranging from pollution, racism, economic woes and war…… any of those sound familiar?

Links to relevant videos are provided.

1. Sign O’ The Times-Prince (1987)

Prince’s seminal music piece describing key 80s news headlines from discovery of AIDs to the explosion of the Challenger Space Shuttle…superb

2. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised-Gill Scott Heron (1971)

A well referenced spoken word poem written in the early 70’s alluding to the rise of commercialisation of everything. Gill Scott’s title, however, refers to the fact that real revolution cannot be commercialised, shown on tv a news event and is happening as we speak.

3. Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)-Marvin Gaye

Long before ‘Inconvenient Truth’ was released, Marvin Gaye

4. Too Young To Die-Jamiroquai

Classic Jay Kay, at his best..

5. What’s Going On?-Marvin Gaye

Marvin’s ode to humanity to wake up….

6. Fear-Lenny Kravitz (1989)

Funkier than old green socks in a garbage can.

Written with the help of Lisa Bonet…great lyrics!!!

7. Something’s Got To Give-Beastie Boys

Very unique Beastie Boys song, with accompanying video that wouldn’t look out of place in Baraka

Opening lyrics:

I Wish For Peace Between The Races
Someday We Shall All Be One

8. So Much Trouble In The World-Bob Marley

9. Loose Ends-Will I Am, Justin Timberlake, Pharoahe Monch & Sergio Mendes (2006)

One of best tracks on Sergio’s revival album; ‘Timeless’ (album highly recommended)

Great lyrics, great flow by Monch, lyrics by Will.I.Am and great soulful vocals by Justin. Listen to it.

Opening of Will.I.Am’s verse:

The world is changin
We in danger
’cause We ain’t changin
Our behaviour

10.Imagine-John Lennon

One of the most beautiful songs ever written…acknowledging all the things that have caused war and division in the world from religion, materialism etc.

Though, as a Baha’is we acknowledge and recognise all the great religions, we also believe it is better to have no religion than belong to one that preaches hate.

“If religion becomes a cause of dislike, hatred and division, it were better to be without it, and to withdraw from such a religion would be a truly religious act.”

Abdul Baha, Paris Talks

End lyrics of Imagine:

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

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