9 April to 4 June 2015 (172 B.E.)
Jalál* | Jamál** | Azamat ***
Objective: Living in the present while preparing for the future, ever-mindful of the past
Select Lines of Action:
- Network regarding educational/employment opportunities
- Finish composing our wills and have them reviewed and signed
- Read guidance together (e.g., Riḍván messages 2014 and 2015)
To this end, you and your auxiliaries will need to cultivate an atmosphere that encourages the friends to be methodical but not rigid, creative but not haphazard, decisive but not hasty, careful but not controlling, recognizing that, in the final analysis, it is not technique but unity of thought, consistent action, and dedication to learning which will bring about progress.
~The Universal House of Justice, 28 December 2010
We have observed how, especially in those places where intensity in teaching and community-building activities has been maintained, the friends have been able to guard themselves against the forces of materialism that risk sapping their precious energies. Not only that, but in managing the various other calls upon their time, they never lose sight of the sacred and pressing tasks before them. Such attentiveness to the needs of the Faith and to humanity’s best interests is required in every community. Where a programme of growth has been established in a previously unopened cluster, we see how the initial stirrings of activity arise out of the love for Bahá’u’lláh held in the heart of a committed believer. Notwithstanding the orders of complexity that must eventually be accommodated as a community grows in size, all activity begins with this simple strand of love.
~The Universal House of Justice, Riḍván 2015
It turns out that even if you want everything to stay the same, things change. That is, new opportunities for service arise. And, although you would like to stay in such a timeless place of beauty and serenity forever, your soul’s home, the Divine Plan, has other avenues in store. In short, it was time to begin devising our next big transition, our future. And, thank God for learning cycles! However, not so fast, because there is always something for us in the present, as well as something to be grateful for in the past. So, we decided to utilize this cycle of activity as one whereby we thought long and hard about expansion (e.g., we networked regarding educational/employment opportunities) and consolidation (e.g., reflecting on our process, noting the joys and success). To be clear, starting to make connections with those we had not seen or heard from in months, if not years, was not easy. However, it was organic, it did not feel rushed, and we were thankful that some structure could be lent to it. Further, we were inspired by the study of guidance, specially calling to mind how our individual and collective lives could be used for the greatest service to humanity. In other words, we asked ourselves and our institution, “What would it look like to align our overarching objectives to those of the Divine Plan’s?” That is, how could we support the community building activities that Bahá’ís are establishing and participating in the world-over? Oh, and one quick very important update, we completed composing our wills and fulfilled an obligation the result of which, we cannot describe. In short, composing our wills felt like an ultimate act of prayer. And, as for our overall process, mode of functioning, and learning, we could not be more amazed by how much can be accomplished when we are intentional and we remain grateful by reflecting on our growth. We found the objective for learning cycle #5 to be flexible and all-encompassing of our activities and efforts thus far—this was our most involved cycle to date. Further, we began to recognize that certain capacity has been built since our first cycle, and consequently, we decided to identify an over-arching objective for each year, while taking time to reflect on all we have been through and achieved since we began this process. In short, we were grateful that we were able to maintain continuity while making necessary adjustments along the way, recognizing that, as stated above, “it is not technique but unity of thought, consistent action, and dedication to learning which will bring about progress.” We saw growth and maintained perspective. We acknowledge the value added to our lives by persistently engaging in the cycles of growth and learning—it has become a part of who we are. We developed the capacity to be mindful of the organic nature of life, as it is conducive to sustainable growth. And, having reached certain milestones, we have accomplished quite a bit in a short amount of time, denoting an increase in our capacity for systematic action. We are grateful for each other. The cycles contributed to and are reinforced by a life lived in consecration to the Cause. We literally felt confirmations pouring over us as we closed our reflections with prayer.
*Glory **Beauty ***Grandeur