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Posts Tagged ‘Baha’i’

Happy Naw Ruz! Obama’s message

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Today I am celebrating Nawruz – which is not only the Persian, but the Baha’i New Year. It concludes 19 days of fasting during daylight and I look forward to this next year and am very excited about what it will bring.

Today is also my 9 year official anniversary as a Baha’i. Although many who know me may not realize it, The Baha’i faith has profoundly changed my life and brought endless blessings, rewards, knowledge and awareness in all things. It has also united me with a worldwide community in over 220 countries and territories, greatly expanding my awareness and insight into the people we share this planet with.

This marks my third new years celebration this year, Gregorian, Chinese, and now Baha’i!

Here’s Hoping you have a Happy Nawruz and fantastic year ahead, as well as a lovely spring time!


President Obama’s excellent message to those celebrating Naw Ruz:

Videos about persecution of Baha’is in Iran

Monday, March 16th, 2009

As a follow up to my previous post about a song Elika released, ‘Persecution’ about oppression of the Baha’is in Iran, I wanted to post some videos about the issues that more clearly expose Iran’s practices:

Other great videos exist that I wanted to share but they have been removed from Youtube.

Rainn Wilson

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Here is also a commentary on CNN.com by actor from ‘The Office’ Rainn Wilson:

cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/02/17/wilson.faith/?iref=mpstoryview

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New song Persecution for Baha’is in Iran

Friday, March 13th, 2009

Artist Elika Mahony has made a special release of a song we worked on called ‘Persecution’ dedicated to Baha’is in Iran who have been persecuted for their Faith despite posing zero threat to the government, or showing any signs of aggression in any way towards anyone.

You can find out more about it, and listen/download it on Elika’s blog post about it here.

It was a rushed production, so not as refined or elaborate as usual, but Elika wanted to get it out without delay to help spread awareness… The amazing thing about this kind of web release though is that within 24 hours of mixing the song, we were getting feedback from hundreds of people who had listened to it and downloaded the song! It was also impressive to see the web activity of people sharing the song online. Immediate feedback, rather than months later was very exciting.

Head of Baha\'i administration in Iran recently arrestedLeaders of the Baha’i Faith in Iran, recently arrested for their beliefs

The plight of the Baha’is in Iran is a truly sad one, many have been martyred, including Elika’s own great uncle, and the current head of the Baha’i administration in Iran were recently arrested soley for their beliefs, although the Iranian government makes up all kinds of other reasons for detaining them. Information from a friend who knows a relative of one of the prisoners who was finally able to talk to them said they use psychological torture on the prisoners, such as keeping them in a white room, in white clothes, with white food for weeks on end without beds or chairs. This is apparently so there are no signs of physical torture. The ultimate objective is to get them to recant their beliefs, as the fundamentalist clergy in Iran feel the Baha’is are a threat to Islam.

The bizarre thing is that Iran feels that by disrupting and eradicating the Baha’i Faith there, they will somehow affect the Faith in a concrete way, despite the fact that there are Baha’is in over 220 other countries and territories around the world! But perhaps the most interesting thing is the backlash that is happening in Iran and worldwide as a result of these recent arrests. Many Iranians who know Baha’is personally know this is an unjust and cruel act on the part of the government, and is causing an uprising against the government giving them more trouble than they could have every imagined.

A time for giving & what that means to me

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

The year end holiday festivities are upon us, and you always hear that ‘Christmas is a time for giving’, and of course because you have to exchange gifts, lots of giving goes on… But I always think it’s a little sad that the idea of St. Nick giving to those who had nothing to cheer their hearts (not because they got stuff, but because someone showed caring and compassion) has become something that is more materialistic.
Don’t get me wrong, I think gift giving is fantastic, I just usually prefer to do it when I feel like it or find the right thing for a person…

But I feel to truly be giving in the sense of the word that inspired the first Christmas, a lot of change has to happen, not only in society but in the heart of individuals. It seems this is very difficult for most of us, especially in the west as we live in a selfish society. We’re absorbed with ourselves, and taught from an early age that we need to not only do things that will benefit ourselves, but that everything we need in life comes from us (A rapidly growing and dangerous new age idea that seems to be causing a generation of confused ego obsessed individuals).
This has caused a lot of unhappiness, as it has been scientifically proven that giving makes one happier than being selfish (Youngsteadt). Luckily people are starting to learn about these ideas, and how dangerous ego is to happiness, and I hope it creates a shift from the unhealthy attitude that has spread the world in recent generations.

China and other countries in Asia seem to think differently about this. That is because they are more of a culture of service. They’re used to serving, giving and and working hard, and it is just a way of life that has been learned from a young age.

Indian Women Service project
So then if we want to define giving, we need to establish the true meaning of giving, because just giving money to help those who are in need is a temporary band-aid fix, and that has been proven for over 30 years with the results of the persistent problems in Africa as well as North America that have been fed large amounts of money. Giving in this way doesn’t solve the root of the problem of need. I believe the root of the problem of need is due to greed that creates an imbalance. I believe that this tendency towards greed is eliminated by becoming an individual of service to humanity in ones daily life.

In defining giving then, the solution to the root of the problem comes back to the attitudes of individuals. In order to truly be giving people, and not just at a certain time of the year, at a young age, people need to get used to the idea of being of service to others, to society, to humanity, by accepting that it is a normal part of their life.

One of the few organization I know that seems to be truly helping to do this through effective methods that will have long term results worldwide is the Baha’i communities around the world, especially in the last 10 years. Since the 1970’s, when they proved such programs effective in Columbia, Baha’i’s have committed to this idea of giving by becoming of service, starting with the needs of their local community. Because the numbers are still small, the results are subtle, but still effective.
There are countless examples of the effect of giving through service in this way, here are a few:

Systematic service training showing results worldwide

Ugandand project doesn’t stop at literacy

Baha’i Youth program in Italy gives hope

Poverty Eradication

So this year, if you really, truly want to give, become an individual of service, and give the ultimate gift of all! Join one of the many Baha’i programs that are training individuals to do this in your local neighborhood.
It is likely to make you feel happier, and make your life feel more meaningful!

I decided to 9 years ago, and it is been a very fulfilling and enlightening experience for me.

I hope this post hasn’t come across as overly idealistic or preachy, but when you’ve seen real solutions to the problems of the world first hand, it’s hard not to share them.

Thanks for reading, and have a great holiday season!

another cool photo

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

People seemed to like the last photo I posted, so here is another I shot this October in California, and this time, it comes with a deep spiritual quote, because that’s the kind of thing this photo evokes:

Light In Trees, Bosch Baha\'i school, Santa Cruz California

Light In Trees, Bosch Baha’i School, Santa Cruz California

“Just as the material sun shines over the earth and causes the growth and development of material organisms, so also, through the Divine Manifestation, the Sun of Truth shines upon the world of heart and soul, and educates the thoughts, morals and characters of men.”

– Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era

My latest production, ‘Fire And Gold’ by Elika Mahony

Sunday, March 2nd, 2008

Over the last 3 years I have been producing an album that is quite different than what I usually do by the very talented composer, pianist, and singer, Elika Mahony.
I have blogged last year about some of the challenges of producing an album like this, and about how intense a project like this can become.
With it’s combination of electronic elements with piano, live cello, guitar, and flute and other exotic live instruments such as Persian santur, nay flute, and Chinese erhu, I have to say that this album, called ‘Fire And Gold’ is not only the most diverse and elaborate production I have worked on, but one of the most expensive. But it has done extremely well, selling over a thousand copies shortly after release thanks to Elika’s innovative music promotion techniques worldwide. You can listen here.

For those who are familiar with the musical styles I usually produce, the classical and new age overtones of this spiritually inspired Baha’i album on the theme of tests and difficulties of life may not be your thing. But you will most likely still be able to appreciate Elika’s sweet voice and elegant melodies.

Elika is also using some of the latest online music promotion techniques such as selling electronic versions of her songs online by donation, and offering discounts for multiple CD orders. One of her fan’s have even created a music video for one of the songs, This Is Faith.