Bahai News -- Edit your life 'film' while on earth The Olympian, Olympia Washington
Saturday, June 28, 2003

Living

PERSPECTIVE

Edit your life 'film' while on earth

LESLIE EDWARDS-HILL


What happens when you die? What's the purpose of life? What's it all about, anyway?

The other side of life is death. Though you try to ignore it, you know it is inevitable. As human beings, we have a universal concern -- what happens to our essence when this body ceases to exist? What is the journey of the soul after this life? The Baha'i Faith offers an illuminating perspective on this topic.

Just as the purpose of life in the womb is to develop your physical arms, eyes, ears and legs, the purpose of life on earth is to develop your spiritual qualities.

In a logical progression, you grow in utero and are born into this world. Here, you develop spiritual attributes, which are your spiritual arms and eyes and ears and legs, and you take those qualities into the next world. That's all you can take with you -- the spiritual characteristics you have acquired through the choices and decisions you have made on earth.

A major difference between the life in the womb and life in this world is that you had no choices while in the womb. If you could choose while in the womb, you might think you did not need eyes, since there's nothing to see; or legs, as there's nowhere to run. If you'd made those choices, you would regret it. Once you are born, you have free will; you make decisions about your actions.

All religions teach us how we should live our lives. You must exhibit compassion, love, kindness, honesty and other virtues in your dealings with others and with yourself.

Each day, you make many choices. Should I tell that clerk she undercharged me by $5? Should I go out of my way to comfort a co-worker whose wife is terminally ill? Can I truly forgive the neighbor who has been unkind to my child?

Each of these little daily choices constructs the character, the reality, of what you have created to take with you into the next world. Each choice adds to or takes away from the strength of your spiritual eyes and legs, which will be your tools in the next world.

Think of your life as a movie; each choice you have made is magnified in this movie, and you have your own private showing after you die.

A small kindness to a child might look like a beautiful flower in the movie, one you hadn't noticed when it occurred. A slight to someone or a selfish moment might appear as a garbage dump in the corner; you hadn't noticed that, either. This movie also shows the positive and negative effects of your actions on others. And you can't change a thing; you can only watch.

The good news is that while you are still alive, you can edit the movie.

You can ask those you have offended for forgiveness and strive to make principled decisions. You can choose to grow spiritually. Your movie is still being filmed, and you are the director, the producer and the star.

Will it be a work of art? It's up to you.

Leslie Edwards-Hill is the chairperson of Olympia Baha'i Community.

Perspective is coordinated by Associated Ministries in cooperation with The Olympian. The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by Associated Ministries or The Olympian.

©Copyright 2003, The Olympian (WA, USA)

Following is the URL to the original story. The site may have removed or archived this story. URL: http://www.theolympian.com/home/news/20030628/living/38671.shtml


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