FASTING DAY 13: How to Become More Optimistic by Understanding the Two Phases of Optimism

In our last message, we talked about the need for us to bring joy to others and help them to remain hopeful as part of our spiritual practice. That’s a good goal, for even everyday people love to advise people going through something, to just cheer up, be optimistic, and focus on the good. And, while that is very good advice, it is not easily achieved because many have not been taught how to do so. As I reflect on today’s message of optimism, I’m realizing that both science and religion together can be helpful partners in this endeavor. I’m reminded especially of NLP, Ho’oponopono, and David Hawkins, Power vs. Force.

These are very useful practices. Perhaps I will share in the future how these practices have been helpful to me. Today I will be focusing on an explanation on optimism from the Star of the West as explained by Abdul-Baha who advised us to “be joy to the sorrowful.”

We know that we will be constantly tested, so how can we be optimistic when as Baha’u’llah says we are “surrounded by darkness and that the evil one is lying in wait ready to trap us?” Well, that’s where faith comes in, because, despite all the tests, we should be optimistic about the future. If our reality is based on our thoughts, it makes sense to focus on hope and optimism, doesn’t it? Abdu’l-Baha explained:

“We hold that there are two distinct phases of optimism.

One is based on the ASSUMPTION of CONDITIONS, which the objective mind has first CONCEIVED and PICTURED, as it were, on the walls of the subjective mind.

But this effort MUST BE DILIGENTLY CONTINUED, for ALL DEPENDS UPON OUR OWN POWER TO HOLD THE PICTURES formed.

By HOLDING THIS THOUGHT OR PICTURE WITHOUT WAVERING,

  • We may possibly bring things to pass.
  • We may brighten our own paths by happy, cheerful thoughts, and
  • [We may] help uplift others who are in negative states of mind.

The other kind of optimism is WHOLLY BASED ON THE SPIRITUAL MIND. It comes by a CALM and ABSOLUTE TRUST in the power of God to bring to pass all things for our highest good, whatever they seemingly may be. Circumstances and environments cannot destroy it.

OUR GOOD MAY OFTEN COME THROUGH SEVERE TESTS AND TRIALS, so that it may not appear as such on the face of it, but BY FAITH in the POWER and PROMISES of God to do all things, the SILVER LINING OF EVERY CLOUD IS MADE VISIBLE, and ONE IS ENABLED TO OBEY HIS COMMAND, given through Bahá’u’lláh, to “CHEER UP thy heart with delight, that thou mayst be fitted to meet Me and become a mirror of My beauty.” (4)

“Now show thou forth FIRMNESS and STEADFASTNESS WITHOUT WAVERING. If any test fall upon thee, it will be conducive to the strength of thy faith. ” (5)

“‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the Servant of God, whose office is to unlock to man spiritual truth, says, that the Holy Spirit dominates every part of the human being when its will is subservient to His Will; that
>>>by it we may be healed in body and soul;
>>>by its operation we may be transformed and attain to wisdom and spiritual power which nothing on the material plane can withstand.

In speaking of his own station, he says that the Holy Spirit moves his limbs.

Note the difference between, the two processes:

1. one is attaining physical power and understanding of the natural laws given by Infinite Mind for the control of matter only,

2. while the other is accomplished by the Holy Spirit alone-man’s part being simply to yield his will to its guidance and quickening influence.” (6)

This is a very powerful message that Abdul-Baha is teaching us. We can be optimistic through two different methods, from our own rational and subjective mind, or through the power of the Holy Spirit. So, clearly there is a way to develop optimism. To repeat, one is based on our power and will, the other requires us to give up our ego and will and allow the Holy Spirit alone to guide us.

My hope is that today, as we enter into our last week of the 19 day Fast, that we begin to think about bringing hope to the hopeless and joy to the sorrowful, that we use our powers to subdue the ego, and yield our will to the guidance and quickening influence of the Holy Spirit. My hope is that we each may have a cheerful countenance and a pure, kindly, and radiant heart. My prayer is that we focus on polishing our own mirrors so that we are reflecting the Divine light, that we have more faith and less fear, that we have more compassion and less judgment, that we have more love and less hate, more trust and fewer doubts, and most importantly, that we have more selfless world embracing deeds and fewer words.


Happy Fasting
Barbara Talley

Sources

4) (SOW – Star of the West, Star of the West – (1)

5) (Abdu’l-Baha, Tablets of Abdu’l-Baha v3, p. 552)

6) SOW – Star of the West, Star of the West – (1)

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