Friday, October 1, 2010

Exercising Yourself: Body and Soul

Andy and I have recently added to our weekly routine a morning jog. This takes place Monday, Wednesday, and Friday starting at approximately 6 am on each of these days. This is along with our good friend, neighbor, and fellow Baha'i who was the one who suggested and encouraged us in the idea. After a long, I mean a very long, time of putting off exercising regularly, this morning jog has left us feeling energized, strengthened, and overall more "alive" physically and mentally. This got me thinking about a similarity between our physical and spiritual nature...

Just as exercise gives life to our physical bodies, perhaps in a similar way, Service gives life to our souls. Or in other words, service is the exercise for our soul, just as Prayer is food for the soul. Service strengthens and builds the attributes of God within us, creates flexibility in our actions, and allows for the Life Source to flow through us more effectively and reach all parts of our being.
Beforehand, we feel sluggish and lazy, but afterward, though tired or even exhausted, we feel content and awakened. Difficulties are an inherent part of this process and so sometimes the task seems much more like a struggle than a joy. Our weaknesses are laid bare before us, but even this is a blessing. How can we improve if we do not have an awareness of our faults?

A most important aspect in this process is support (and accompaniment) from others, realizing that we all seriously need this from time to time. It helps to keep us focused and ready to continue on toward reaching our goals, to not give up hope, and to remind us that the stones that we face on our path can be overcome through determination and reliance on God. Another point is that though we have different capacities (a longer run time or a shorter run time; a faster speed or a slower speed), the important thing is that we are all moving. There are those marathon runners (maybe a Martha Root or a Dr. Muhajir) who have attained such heights of servitude, that they will always be an inspiration for us to keep going on our path and to make a mighty effort.

For the past couple of days we have been struggling to see how to make the best use out of our last two remaining months here in Trinidad. We have had all of these worries in our head: "If we do this, will it be sustainable?", "Should we not do this unless a local is with us?", "Do we have enough time if we start this?" that in some ways have been limiting our action. After this we had a consultation with the beloved resource person, and she told us what seemed obvious to us right after she said it: that we need to teach to the last minute, that doing something will always be better than nothing, and that it is action that brings confirmation. So, while still trying to use wisdom in our endeavors, we feel a new sense of possibility for this final stretch ahead of us...
(That is, until we have to start again :) )

"Now is the time to serve, now is the time to be on fire." ~ 'Abdu'l-Bahá