Monday, June 04, 2007

On Hanging Out at the Baha'i House of Worship: Having a conversation in the language of the prophet of the religion that built the temple

"Gardens at the H.O.W." Uploaded on December 13, 2006 by Elise Robinson on flickr
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The Poet Heroic has learned Farsi while in the military and, much to his delight, had the chance to practice speaking it with Persian Baha'is while visiting the H.O.W. -gw

On Saturday, I went to the North American Baha'i House of Worship (HOW), in Wilmette, IL. It was absolutely amazing. Imagine a beautiful, beautiful building with nine entrances, nine garden'n path lanes for each door, tall round and white-domed. As cool as the gardens and temple was, the thing that really made me get a lump in my throat was the purpose of the building.It was built for absolutely everybody. There are no services, as such. No priests. No nuns. Everybody of all faiths, backgrounds, nationalities, are welcome to come and pray to whatever god or gods they which. All of mankind is welcome to pray however they wish, to meditate in the gardens, to walk around, to sit and study in the shade of a tree near a fountain... And sure enough, everybody from all over was there. There were muslims of all sorts, many Indian people in traditional dress, Christians, teenagers, people in suits, people in t-shirts, everybody. This building was built with a noble and loving idea. And the plan actually worked. People of all faiths and nationalities were there. I'm still far from any sort of optimist, but it really touched something in me to see that at least one thing mankind came up with not only looked good on paper, but actually worked. ...
"Bahá’í Calligraphy, "
Uploaded on May 15, 2007
by melodrama on flickr
And, one of the best parts for me? PERSIANS! Our tour-guide was Iranian, and after he had done his little informational spiel, I went up and talked to him. At first, I'll admit I was a little disappointed that he didn't seem at all surprised or impressed when I started talking to him. But then later on, he found me in the gardens and asked me where I was from, and seemed to start to realize a white-boy was talkin' Farsi at him. My ego was totally mollified when he took me into the back offices and introduced me to a bunch of Persian girls who worked there. I feel really fortunate to have been in a position to learn Farsi. Only because of an off-handed change-of-mind of the military did I learn the language, and because of that I was able to hang out with the staff behind the scenes and have a conversation in the langauge of the prophet of the religion which built that temple.
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The Poet Heroic, "The Second Half of The Weekend, the Awesome Part, 03. Jun, 07 14:23 pm, The Word of Mr. E. Hall
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{Re-posted with permission}

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your heartfelt comments following your experience at the Baha'i House of Worship in Wilmette, George. I'm partial because, after returning to it over and over for 3 years, I became a Baha'i there. Mostly it was because when I learned who Baha'u'llah is, I felt I had no choice but to give my life to His Teachings, but before that I learned the teachings by osmosis, I think. I began to wish the whole world could be like this. (Little did I realize at the time that it can, but we each have to want it, choose it, and work for it as individuals, together.)

During that time, though, I think it was important that no one 'bothered' me. If they had, I probably wouldn't have come back. I felt free to walk around, sit in the auditorium or the gardens, and reflect on life from within my own self, as inspired and taking all the time I needed.

Gradually, in that atmosphere of safety and support, I began to heal from a lifetime of alienation and estrangement. Eventually I noticed the sincere friendliness, love and unity that was everpresent there. No one had to tell me that we were all flowers of one garden - and I didn't have to read about it. It was an experience.

That was 35 years ago. Yes, there have been many "seasons" since then - metaphoric dry spells, thunderstorms, snow, rain, heat, humidity, the works. "Weeding the garden", repairing the inevitable wear and tear of daily life as needed, is neverending, but the results are a meaningful and purposeful life. Its not for wimps, that's for sure, but I highly recommend it for the ills of the planet.

George Wesley said...

It was the blogger "The Poetic Hero" whose text is re-posted above who had the privilege of visiting the House of Worship, not me. Anonymous, I appreciate both his heartfelt commments, and yours.