Northern Illinois Bahá'ís

Northern Illinois Bahá'ís

Uniting Northern Illinois & Chicagoland

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Towards Gender Respect

Baha'i Teachings.org - Mon, 06/26/2017 - 12:00pm

My husband deeply listens to me. He encourages my work and creativity. He seeks my opinion. He takes my advice. He speaks highly of me to others. That all contributes...

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

Stop Mind Chatter with 5 Exercises for Your Mental Muscles

Baha'i Teachings.org - Mon, 06/26/2017 - 10:00am

Our brains produce as many as 50,000 thoughts per day—and 95% of these thoughts are repeated the next day, reflecting our mindset and beliefs. So this means that every day...

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

Is Competition Unholy?

Baha'i Teachings.org - Mon, 06/26/2017 - 8:00am

An inquisitive BahaiTeachings.org reader wanted to know: is competition unholy? Here’s his whole question: This one is almost silly as I know that I know the answer, but it’s another...

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

How to Pray for Non-Existence

Baha'i Teachings.org - Sun, 06/25/2017 - 12:00pm

As I prayed and praised the Creator on my pilgrimage, I reflected on the need to put me and my ego out of the equation and let God fully in....

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

How I Became a Spiritually Conscious Omnivore

Baha'i Teachings.org - Sun, 06/25/2017 - 10:00am

Climate change is a really hot topic these days, and for good reason. Without a Planet B, we risk depleting this one and endangering our entire species. That means many...

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

Is It Wrong to Strive for Success?

Baha'i Teachings.org - Sun, 06/25/2017 - 8:00am

A reader asked us “Is it wrong to strive for financial success, or doing your best at something to make yourself better than anyone else at it?” When I first...

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

Losing My Mother

Baha'i Teachings.org - Sat, 06/24/2017 - 2:00pm

My mother, who passed into the next plane of her existence on June 13th, 2017, exemplified the kind of selfless service to others that always creates an enormous source of...

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

What I Prayed for on My Pilgrimage

Baha'i Teachings.org - Sat, 06/24/2017 - 12:00pm

Recently I had the bounty of briefly visiting the Baha’i World Centre, the spiritual and administrative nexus of the global Baha’i community. In my four-day stay I visited the Shrine...

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

How Often Should I Pray?

Baha'i Teachings.org - Sat, 06/24/2017 - 10:00am

One of our BahaiTeachings.org readers wrote in and asked “… I still pray twice a day, is this acceptable?” Actually, here’s his entire question verbatim: “I am much happier when...

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

Soul-Killing Jobs and How to Avoid Them

Baha'i Teachings.org - Fri, 06/23/2017 - 12:00pm

Have you ever had a soul-killing job, one where your work seemed meaningless and unrewarding? My husband and I watched a documentary the other night about the ways that modern...

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

Georgia’s “Hot Corner:” A Hotbed for Promoting Diversity

Baha'i Teachings.org - Fri, 06/23/2017 - 10:00am

Ponder this one for a moment: when was the last time you got together with a large group of people from a different race than yours? Doing the right thing...

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

If You’re Devoted to Religion, Are You a Religious Fanatic?

Baha'i Teachings.org - Fri, 06/23/2017 - 8:00am

Have you ever met a fanatic? The dictionary defines a fanatic as someone with excessive zeal or obsessive enthusiasm. Does anyone you know come to mind? First, before you start...

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

Wizdome: A New Hip-Hop Album by Colby Jeffers

Baha'i Blog - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 7:57pm

“Socially and spiritually conscious hip-hop that aims to uplift, educate, and inspire” is the tagline Phoenix-based Baha’i hip-hop artist Colby Jeffers uses when explaining his music, and he’s not wrong! In his new debut album Wizdome, Colby presents a diverse collection of Baha’i-inspired hip-hop tracks that touch upon a variety of socially and spiritually conscious themes, and includes collaborations with a selection of artists in order to channel the Teachings of Baha’u’llah. The results are awesome!

I first came across Colby’s music a couple of years ago when he wrote a song called Education is Not a Crime featuring Lucy Brand, written to raise awareness of the denial of education of the Baha’is in Iran, and which we released on Baha’i Blog. Since then we’ve been in touch and I finally met him when I moved to Phoenix, Arizona temporarily. In fact, he’s the coordinator for my nephew’s Junior Youth class, so I was happy to catch up with him and find out more about his new album Wizdome:

Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your musical background?

Absolutely! I was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona and grew up in a Baha’i family, although I feel that I’ve come to identify much more strongly as a Baha’i over the past few years – particularly as I’ve gotten more involved in serving the Faith. Musically, my story is kind of crazy. I received very little musical training as a child, and never had much interest in it. In my early twenties, I started experimenting with rap – which was my favorite type of music to listen to – and I noticed I had a bit of talent for it. My maternal grandmother was a published poet, so maybe it’s in my genes! I didn’t start songwriting, however, until a summer volunteer trip to Cameroon in 2012, where by chance, I met a youth named Awu. Him and I really hit it off, and ended up writing some music together, which really lit a creative spark in my soul. We ended up writing two songs that summer, and later that year we collaborated on six more songs via the Internet. We then released the songs on an album titled “Change the World”. In 2014, I travelled back to Cameroon and we filmed a couple of music videos together with the help of a friend of mine. The videos have gotten some great feedback online and through social media, which has been really encouraging.

Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little bit about the album and your inspiration behind it? Why was it important for you to do this?

My new album Wizdome has been such a beautiful journey! One thing I learned from my previous songs is that many listeners have a very high standard for music – particularly because most of the music they listen to has been produced professionally by some of the best musicians in the industry. I realized that if I want my music to appeal to a large audience, it has to be near that high standard. So for this album, I did a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds, recorded at a professional studio, and had the bounty of having one of my musical inspirations, Nabil Moghaddam of Nkindle Productions, mix and master the album, all of which gave it the sound I was aiming for. I created this album because I have seen how powerful music, and specifically rap/hip-hop, is in influencing youth in society. I wanted to apply my understanding of the Baha’i Writings/Teachings to the art of rap and see what happened. I’m really pleased with the result!

Baha’i Blog: What’s your writing process like? How do you come up with the songs and is it hard to do Baha’i-inspired rap? If so, what’s the main challenge?

With regards to rap, I’m definitely a writer first. I don’t do much freestyle rapping – I really like to write out my lyrics first and then see how they fit to the beat. As I mentioned before, I didn’t start rapping until my early twenties, and most of my writing experience prior to that was in the academic world, primarily in writing essays. So I really feel like I approach my raps similar to how I’d write an essay. I generally start with a concept, or thesis. Then I do my research, which virtually always involves going to the Baha’i Writings and exploring various quotes and passages that relate to the topic. After deepening my understanding, I then think about my own experiences or what I see in society around me, and try to connect the dots. Then I get to writing! Most of my songs seem to really flow like an essay – attention grabber, facts, commentary, conclusion – it’s pretty interesting! Personally, I feel like rap is such a beautiful art form to use from a Baha’i perspective, because it’s in the realm of language arts. And we have such a treasure trove of beautiful words to turn to in the Baha’i Writings and utilize in the creative process.

Baha’i Blog: What’s something you’ve really learned on your musical journey?

I feel like I’ve learned so many things! I guess the most important thing I’ve learned is how important art is to our spiritual development. As I’ve come to personally identify more as an artist, I’ve noticed how so many people say things like “I’m not creative” or “I’m not an artist.” Blocking off this creative energy is so detrimental! The arts are praised so highly in the Baha’i Teachings, even to the station of worship. While clearly each person is blessed with different gifts, I feel like every soul has some talent for the arts, and it needs to be cultivated. For me, rap/music has provided a channel to explore and internalize the Writings, as well as a means for creating and sharing art with others that uplift and inspire. It’s such a blessing!

Baha’i Blog: What do you hope listeners walk away with after they’ve heard your album?

Well, my current mission as a rap artist is to create socially and spiritually conscious hip-hop that uplifts, educates, and inspires. So I hope the music on the Wizdome album accomplishes that aim!

Baha’i Blog: Have there been any exciting developments as a result of the album release?

Yes! There have seriously been so many incredible confirmations from creating and releasing this album! One big development that sticks out was doing my first ever album release event. I feel like I’m also an artist when it comes to creating community spaces, so I put a lot of thought into how an album release show could most effectively reflect the Baha’i Writings and our evolving Baha’i community building framework. There were a couple of things that I experimented with that I felt worked out really well. First, before performing any songs, I facilitated a discussion mixer that got people moving around, meeting new people, and engaging in elevated discussions. I prompted the attendees with questions that related to the themes present in the songs I’d be performing, such as “What types of music do you listen to? What is a piece of wisdom that has protected you in your life? What is an art or craft that you are passionate about?” This activity seemed to really gel the audience together and give the space a higher purpose. Secondly, about midway through the musical performances, I facilitated a mini rap-writing workshop, giving everyone ten minutes to write their own rap based on the prompt, “What is one piece of wisdom you would like to impart on the young people of today?” After everyone had a chance to write some verses, I opened up the microphone for thirty minutes to anyone who wanted to share their rhymes. I was blown away with how many people came up and shared, and their raps were so heartfelt and meaningful. It was awesome! Before opening up the microphone, I took the advice of fellow Baha’i-inspired rapper Karim Rushdy, and asked the audience to focus on praising each person’s courage, rather than solely focusing on their talent, which is so common in Western society. This seemed to have a really great affect, and ensured that everyone that shared their rap was left feeling supported and encouraged. I can’t wait to host another space like this in the future!

The crowd at the ‘Wizdome’ album launch, where the audience were encouraged to come to the microphone and share a rap they created.

Baha’i Blog: Is there anything else you’d like to share?

To my earlier point, I’d just like to re-emphasize, if you identify with any particular art forms, please continue to create, and consciously learn about applying the Baha’i Writings to your craft! And if you are someone who has ever said, “I’m not creative,” toss those words out of your vocabulary and start experimenting with art forms that interest you. The world desperately needs more Baha’i-inspired art!

Baha’i Blog: Thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview Colby and congratulations on your debut album!

You can find out more about Colby Jeffers and listen his music on colbyjeffers.com

Baha’i Blog: Thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview Colby, and congratulations on the release of your album ‘Wizdome’ and all the best on your future service!

You can listen to and purchase a copy of ‘Wizdome’ here on 9StarMedia.com.

Also, check out his latest music video to the title track of his new album, ‘Wizdome’ below.

Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

Attaining Contentment, Wonderment and True Poverty

Baha'i Teachings.org - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 12:00pm

Every spiritual seeker searches for contentment, and in the mystical Baha’i book The Seven Valleys, Baha’u’llah guides us toward it. The Valley of Contentment Baha’u’llah stresses that freedom from want...

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

The Brave White Southern Woman Who Fought for Civil Rights

Baha'i Teachings.org - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 10:00am

Decency, goodness, action, and courage—we all aspire to those wonderful human qualities. So let’s consider the decency, goodness, action and courage of the pioneering civil rights activist Anne Braden. A...

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

Your Religion is How You Live your Life

Baha'i Teachings.org - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 8:00am

A BahaiTeachings.org reader asked: “Is it alright to not live life devoted to religion?” We’ve received variants of that question from many readers, actually. In the western world, since the...

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

are all religions equal?

Doberman Pizza - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 6:30am

Another question coming from Reddit here, this time from the /r/AskReligion subreddit: “Why do some people believe all religions are equal?” And this one has a pretty simple answer, at least, from a Bahá’í perspective.

Bahá’ís believe that all the world’s great religions are, in fact, one religion that has been revealed progressively over time by different Manifestations of one and the same God—Abraham, Krishna, Buddha, Zoroaster, Moses, Jesus Christ, Muhammad, the Báb, Bahá’u’lláh.

The fact that these Manifestations have differed from each other doesn’t mean that God changed; instead, it means that they each revealed God’s word in a way that was suited to the capacity and to the reality of the people to whom they appeared. The fact that the great religions differ from one another, then, is due to them being revealed at different times to different peoples, as well as to the rituals that human beings have built up around the essential spiritual message they were given.

This is why you’ll often hear Bahá’ís talk about all the great religions being paths to God: They’ve all been part of a long process of education that has spanned all of human history, and that will continue into the future.

If you’re interested, there’s a lot to read about this process of progressive revelation on the official website of the Bahá’í Faith.

Related posts: egyptian court rules against baha’is loyalty to government: iran’s baha’is feeling better now
Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

Spirituality: The Surprising Solution to Our Economic Problems

Baha'i Teachings.org - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 12:00pm

Everyone knows we have bodies—but many aren’t so sure about the existence of the soul. Of course, the body has needs—food, clothing, shelter, health care—and it has traditionally been the...

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

Walking the Valley of Spiritual Knowledge

Baha'i Teachings.org - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 10:00am

How does your spirit know? To attain that deep inner certitude, the Baha’i teachings say, a seeker must walk the valley of knowledge. The Valley of Knowledge In his book...

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

Spiritual and Material Happiness: What’s the Difference?

Baha'i Teachings.org - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 8:00am

One of the joys of editing and writing for BahaiTeachings.org: the delightful, fascinating, insightful questions we get from our readers. Like this one: “I consider myself a religious person in...

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

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