Last Wednesday February 23, 2011 I asked Natalie Guerrero a senior at Pomona College and a member of the five campus Baha’i club and Stephanie Yuan, a freshman at Scripps College and an intern for CGIE who wants to learn about the Baha’i Faith if they wanted to go and visit the Federal Judge Dorothy Nelson and her husband retired Judge Jim Nelson at their home in Pasadena. The Nelsons have been hosting an informal information gathering about the Baha’i Faith every Wednesday for over 30 years? The student were so excited. The trip was memorable and the experience was uplifting, inspiring and transforming. Stephanie was told by Dorothy Nelson she can take any of the books and literature she sees on her dinning table. She got an arm load to take including a story book on Baha’i history. They kept talking about the evening and the spirit of joy, inquiry, hope, and oneness all the way home.
The craze over social media and face-book is really about a basic need for humans who are Hard Wired to Connect. Connecttedness is at the heart of being human. Feeling connected is a sign of being connected. I remember a Persian poet’s words about the person who is in the midst of a crowd and feeling quite lonely. Recent conversation with a good number of college students and CGIE interns surprised me to hear how much they feel lonely while surrounded by a mass of peers!
Many mental health experts including the author see the relationship between healthy self concept, healthy self-esteem and being connected.
When we think of Connectiveness, we think about the extent to which adolescents believe:
The point that is worth raising is who are we connected to? Is it a Darth-Vader or a LukeSkyWalker?
Han Solo: [laughs] Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.
Luke Skywalker: You don’t believe in the Force, do you?
Han Solo: Kid, I’ve flown from one side of this galaxy to the other. I’ve seen a lot of strange stuff, but I’ve never seen anything to make me believe there’s one all-powerful Force controlling everything. There’s no mystical energy field that controls my destiny. It’s all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense.
Ben Kenobi: [gets up and takes a blast helmet] I suggest you try it again, Luke. This time, let go your conscious self and act on instinct. [puts the helmet on Luke, which covers his eyes]
Luke Sky-walker: But with the blast shield down, I can’t even see! How am I supposed to fight?
Ben Kenobi: Your eyes can deceive you. Don’t trust them.
Is it Abdu’l-Baha , a shining example of nobility, humility and heroism for the well being of humanity, that we look at and follow or Sultan Abdul Hamid a blood-thirsty dictator of the Ottoman Empire that we emulate? Is it Tahereh, or Brittany Spears that is our role model.
We are a becoming while in this world of existence. Who do we worship determines who we are becoming. Connectedness to a gang make us a gang member with great self esteem! Belonging to an all risk taking humanitarian group make us a defendant of social justice while raising our self esteem. It all comes back to what we seek and value and how much we strive to become it. We need to ask ourselves who are we and what do we want? When I ask my patients what is the purpose of their lives, their eyes wonder about and their mouth begins to open wide, and all I hear is a long pause. So few people know what is the purpose of their life. All of the above is at the heart of a wholesome curriculum of integrated education.
A blogger named Irish shares the following quoted from the Baha’i Writings as a lamp guiding the path of connectedness and self concept.
In the garden of thy heart plant naught but the rose of love, and from the nightingale of affection and desire loosen not thy hold. Treasure the companionship of the righteous and eschew all fellowship with the ungodly.
O MY SON!
The company of the ungodly increaseth sorrow, whilst fellowship with the righteous cleanseth the rust from off the heart. He that seeketh to commune with God, let him betake himself to the companionship of His loved ones; and he that desireth to hearken unto the word of God, let him give ear to the words of His chosen ones.
O SON OF DUST!
Beware! Walk not with the ungodly and seek not fellowship with him, for such companionship turneth the radiance of the heart into infernal fire.
How could this verse possibly be more clear, more beautiful, or more powerful. It is truly a miracle. O God, protect us from our satanic desires!
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