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A Balanced Life

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My formative years have been marked by the need to find a happy medium between emotional and intellectual spheres. The spiritual factors were also of great importance. I believe that religious teachings help us to understand the true meaning of life. Emotions liberate an individual from constraints, and intellect makes a framework of obligations. Neither absolute freedom nor strict logic is solely sufficient for a balanced life. Spirituality, in my opinion, is what we need to improve our lives. Rationality and emotionality can contribute to a good life, but spirituality makes it really complete.  

As a matter of fact, I will always be grateful to my mother, who encourages me to strive for self-improvement. She has instilled in me a sense of self-discipline, assiduousness, and persistence. She has had a substantial impact on my character, as she has taught me to be meticulous in everything I undertake. Furthermore, living in a Baha’i family in Iran I encountered prejudices, which robbed my childhood days of joyous and happy moments. During the teenage years, I did not show my emotions, not because I did not want to, but because I used to suppress them. I felt like a dormant volcano with a hard crust of rock and the sea of seething emotions inside.

My appearance is not typical of an Iranian man, as I have inherited my father’s looks, namely the bluish-green eyes and brown hair, which is very uncommon for an Iranian boy. People have always judged me by how I look. Although my family is less fortunate than others, my mother bought me stylish clothes for Nurooz, Persian New Year. She likes to repeat that it does not matter what you eat, but it matters what you wear. She believes that immaculate appearance can boost up my self-esteem and improve my chances of succeeding in life.  

Many years we lived in a poor neighborhood with disadvantaged schools. My mother was very dissatisfied with the quality of schooling I received, and she did her best to enroll me in one of the schools located in a better area. It gave me a splendid opportunity to find new friends, who supported me and helped me with my studies. Like any teenager, I have been impacted by my school friends, and I hope that I also made some difference in their lives. We exchanged views and beliefs on artistic, social, and religious issues. My friends were Muslims and I was Baha’i. Since spreading Baha’i beliefs is forbidden in Iran, we argued secretly about our religions. In order to satisfy my curiosity, I started reading different books. I am interested in science, literature, politics, and philosophy. I find pleasure in discovering things for myself and reaching new horizons of understanding.

Besides religious arguments, showing emotions is also not encouraged in Iran. Moreover, many people, especially youngsters, suffer from gender segregation. Religious law creates a wall between men and women. At preschools and elementary schools boys and girls study separately. The lack of cross-gender communication makes it rather hard to understand the opposite sex. Most people I know have been oppressed emotionally for years. In fact, we had to fight for our rights to express our emotions and thoughts openly. I was lucky to be brought up in a Baha’i family with more freedom that allowed communication with the opposite sex during feasts and parties. At one of those feasts, I met a girl of my dreams. For me, it was love at first sight and I surrendered to the whirl of new sensations, letting my emotions take the best of me and giving love a chance to blossom in my heart.

Growing up in a Baha’i family, a religious minority group without any legal rights and any respect from the compatriots, was tormenting. Spiritual teachings describe the principles that should govern people’s behaviors. For example, Baha’is have to consort with the followers of all religions in fellowship. People are not forced into observing the Baha’i rules. However, the Baha’u’llah-prophet of the Baha’i Faith declares: “Observe My commandments, for the love of My beauty.” According to one of the fundamental principles of Baha’i Faith, religion and science are closely related and interdependent. In fact, religion focuses on emotional, rational and spiritual dimensions of human existence. These three are a solid foundation on which I build my life.

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