Spiritual Assemblies, Councils, and committees have grown in their ability to guide the believers in their individual and collective endeavours. And community life has flourished, even in localities long dormant, as new patterns of thought and behaviour have emerged. Its achievements in reaching the general public, governments and organizations of civil society and in winning trust in all these circles are striking.
Agencies specialized in external affairs, following a well-defined strategy, have broadened the range of the Faith's influence nationally and internationally, and projects of social and economic development, which seek the spiritual and material upliftment of entire communities, are penetrating society at the grassroots. The two stages in the unfoldment of the Divine Plan lying immediately ahead will last one year and five years respectively. These global Plans will continue to focus on advancing the process of entry by troops and on its systematic acceleration.
It is essential that, during the one-year effort, national and regional institutes everywhere bring into full operation the programmes and systems that they have now devised.
National communities should enter the Five Year Plan confident that the acquisition of knowledge, qualities and skills of service by large contingents of believers, with the aid of a sequence of courses, will proceed unhindered. Ample attention must also be given to further systematization of teaching efforts, whether undertaken by the individual or directed by the institutions.
In this respect, the International Teaching Centre has identified certain patterns of systematic expansion and consolidation for relatively small geographical areas consisting of a manageable number of localities. Through the collaboration of Counsellors and National Spiritual Assemblies, several "Area Growth Programmes" are being established in each continent.
They will be carefully monitored during the Twelve Month Plan and their methods will be refined so that this approach can be incorporated into subsequent Plans. Strategies to advance the process of entry by troops cannot ignore children and junior youth, if the victories won in one generation are not to be lost with the passage of time. It is imperative, then, that at this point in the process of systematization of the teaching work, definite steps be taken to ensure that the vision of the community fully embraces its younger members.
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The education of children, an obligation enjoined on both parents and institutions, requires special emphasis so as to become thoroughly integrated into the process of community development. This activity should be taken to new levels of intensity during these twelve months and then be further raised in the years immediately after.
This includes the principles that govern the unfolding of evolution in all realms, where it is evident that patterns like the regular recurrence of seasons, the rise and fall of civilizations, and the sequence of spiritual epochs all share repeating cycles of growth, maturity, decline, and renewal. These cyclical patterns represent a process of transformation that holds the promise of rebirth leading to perpetual progress. Spiritual, religious, and social consciousness increases in complexity as our individual and collective development unfolds.
Also governed by one universal law, this process of maturation followed by decline and eventual renewal is as evident in the realm of religion as it is in individual development, social development, and the cycles of seasons. Evolution in all realms is tied together, as is becoming more evident every day.
Just as the solar cycle has its four seasons, the cycle of the Sun of Reality has its distinct and successive periods. Each brings its vernal season or springtime. When the Sun of Reality returns to quicken the world of mankind, a divine bounty descends from the heaven of generosity.
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The realm of thoughts and ideals is set in motion and blessed with new life. Minds are developed, hopes brighten, aspirations become spiritual…It is the springtime of the inner world. We live in times of massive change, a necessary element for our inevitable yet precarious progress. Never has there been a greater opportunity—and need—to participate in and take action on behalf of this unfolding process.
A renewed commitment to our own spirituality is the only thing that will give us security—personally and collectively—in these changing times. The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.
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