A study circle in Thailand.
Collaborative Study for Individual and Social Transformation
At the heart of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh is the force of transformation, both of the individual and of society.
The transformation of the individual is not an isolated process, not ascetic nor centered wholly on one’s self-fulfillment.
In Bahá'í terms, the process of one’s individual development and fulfillment is tied to the centering of one’s energies on the betterment of humankind and serving the needs of the community and the larger society.
Prayer and meditation, fighting one’s spiritual battles, living according to spiritual laws and teachings—all are essential elements in fulfilling life’s purpose, but such efforts reach their fullest transformative effect when they are dedicated to service.
Thus, Bahá'ís are actively engaged in developing knowledge, skills, and spiritual insights that enable them to act as effective human resources and which are vital to the integrated process of personal and social transformation. Presently, such collective learning takes the form of study circles—a local, collaborative, self-directed learning process being undertaken by Bahá’í communities around the world. All are welcome in the classes, regardless of their ideas or beliefs.
By learning about our spiritual reality and our individual role in the progress of society, we can better understand our purpose in life and the way to improve our own lives and the lives of those around us.
Participants in the courses learn, for example, to teach values to children, to engage in community service activities, to assist and empower others to independently investigate spiritual truths, to learn how to competently express one’s views, and to engage oneself in serving the broader needs of society for unity, justice, and equity.
Participants in study circles often experience a new sense of direction in life, better relationships with family and friends, and a fruitful re-evaluation of the contribution one can make to the wider community.
Excerpts from 'Reflections on the Life of the Spirit'
Around the world, one of the most common formats for Bahá'í study circles feature a workbook entitled "Reflection on the Life of the Spirit." Developed by the Ruhi Institute in Colombia, the workbook is part of a series of materials that are widely used around the world by Bahá'í communities in an effort to foster constructive personal and community transformation. More >