Tides of change are sweeping the earth, and we all feel helpless to withstand its powerful force. Every day there is fresh and depressing news of terrorism, famine, war, deep economic disorders and the like. Shoghi Effendi, the head of the Baha’i faith from 1921-1957 has stated:
“A tempest, unprecedented in its violence, unpredictable in its course, catastrophic in its immediate effects, unimaginably glorious in its ultimate consequences, is at present sweeping the face of the earth. Its driving power is remorselessly gaining in range and momentum. … Humanity, gripped in the clutches of its devastating power, is smitten by the evidences of its resistless fury. It can neither perceive its origin, nor probe its significance, nor discern its outcome. Bewildered, agonized and helpless, it watches this great and mighty wind of God invading the remotest and fairest regions of the earth…”
The question is: how can we mitigate the negative and channel the positive effects of these powerful forces of change? Where do we start? How can we overcome the paralysis of will that is preventing people and leaders of good will to come together for the sake of unity, to solve the pressing issues of the day?
We have to start with our thoughts; our thoughts are our reality.
Abdu’l-Bahá (son of the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith) has stated:
“I charge you all that each one of you concentrate all the thoughts of your heart on love and unity. When a thought of war comes, oppose it by a stronger thought of peace. A thought of hatred must be destroyed by a more powerful thought of love. Thoughts of war bring destruction to all harmony, well-being, restfulness and content.”
I cannot but recall a wonderful song by DePeche Mode called “People Are People”, here it is including the lyrics:
In this song, this band expresses its frustration with hate and disunity in this world and how it is just a matter of time before the thoughts of hate will translate to violence and destruction.
Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds
Two-thousand-five-hundred years ago we were urged to follow the three pillars of the Zoroastrian religion: “Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds”.
While this statement is timeless—and illustrates the powerful and positive effect of the Word of God through different Prophets at different times—we need more detail at present to expand on these themes. The governing body of the Bahá’ís of the United States released a statement on world peace roughly a decade ago. This amazing document delineates the steps needed for a lasting peace. Here it talks about thoughts as a potent reality:
“The courage, the resolution, the pure motive, the selfless love of one people for another — all the spiritual and moral qualities required for effecting this momentous step towards peace are focused on the will to act. And it is towards arousing the necessary volition that earnest consideration must be given to the reality of man, namely, his thought. To understand the relevance of this potent reality is also to appreciate the social necessity of actualizing its unique value through candid, dispassionate and cordial consultation, and of acting upon the results of this process. Bahá’u’lláh insistently drew attention to the virtues and indispensability of consultation for ordering human affairs. He said: “Consultation bestows greater awareness and transmutes conjecture into certitude. It is a shining light which, in a dark world, leads the way and guides… The very attempt to achieve peace through the consultative action he proposed can release such a salutary spirit among the peoples of the earth that no power could resist the final, triumphal outcome ”
It goes on to say that a mighty convocation of leaders is needed that “must make the Cause of Peace the object of general consultation, and seek by every means in their power to establish a Union of the nations of the world.”.
There is no other way; world leaders need to sacrifice a little bit of their national sovereignty for the sake of world unity. The pain and suffering will increase until it forces change. We can mitigate this pain, though, by acting with foresight.
Recent Events in Norway and an important Hundredth Anniversary this Month
It is hard not to be affected by the horrible events—events fueled by hate and racism—that have occurred in Norway. We see similar events all over the world. Can we counter these thoughts of destruction with stronger thoughts of peace and unity as the writings of the Bahá’í Faith suggest?
As it happens, 104 years ago a historic congress on race unity and anti-racism was held in Europe, at the University of London, July 26-29 1911. See my blog on this congress:
This hundredth anniversary has passed virtually unnoticed even in academic circles. Would it not have been wonderful to have had this bold and noble gathering—at which people of capacity exchanged views on race, culture and religion—publicized?
Norway priminister said after the shootings: ‘We’re going to answer hatred with love’ ; he is right, in order for peace to conquer war, we need thoughts—and deeds—of love to overcome thoughts of hate.
========================= References ==============================
 Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day is Come, p. 3
 Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 29
 The Universal House of Justice, 1985 Oct, The Promise of World Peace, p. 4