Do you ever get tired of just another meeting? Consider offering a quiet gift of reflection to your community! This activity reminded me of the early believers as told in God Passes By:
"Many a night," writes Nabíl, depicting the tumult that had seized the hearts of Bahá'u'lláh's companions, in the days prior to the declaration of His mission, "would Mirza Aqa Jan gather them together in his room, close the door, light numerous camphorated candles, and chant aloud to them the newly revealed odes and Tablets in his possession. Wholly oblivious of this contingent world, completely immersed in the realms of the spirit, forgetful of the necessity for food, sleep or drink, they would suddenly discover that night had become day, and that the sun was approaching its zenith."
(Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, pp. 152-3)
This is some info from a friend, Janet, in England. These Bahá'í TZ (Tranquility Zone) events have been so popular that the community has waiting lists of seekers signed up to attend one.
Here in windy Swindon, we have been filmed doing a TZ for a BBC1 program. When this became known it generated a lot of interest around the Bahá'í-world as to what a TZ is!!! I h
ave managed to get a copy of the details and remembered that you have asked several times. May I also add that one of the men who was at the recording declared just 7 days after hearing of the faith!!! a miracle wouldn't you say??? The novelty of the TZ for the BBC was that we had brought a spiritual solution to the business world - something unique and something they thought was rather a good idea and felt they should promote!!!!! (they thought it 'ordinary' to bring TZs to the hospitals and the sick)
THE TRANQUILITY ZONE:
A step-by-step approach to the Tranquility Zone (TZ)
"A hunger for meaning, a yearning of the soul, is on the rise."
-- Universal House of Justice, RIDVÁN 1998
To awaken the people of Swindon to their spirituality and help them become more spiritual beings. To respond to their spiritual hunger and yearning of the soul.
The Tranquility Zone started in April 1998 in Swindon to celebrate the Centenary of the Bahá'í Faith in the UK. It is offered as a gift from the Bahá'ís to the people of Swindon and is given in two ways:
(i) As an outreach service, when we visit different community groups in their venues. Some of the groups we have visited so far include: Druglink for drug addicts; an Aids advice centre for victims and their families; centres which cater for people with mental health problems; a
nursing home; a centre for the disabled; a staff support centre for hospital staff and many others.
The local hospital, Princess Margaret, is now booking a set of Tranquility Zones for stressed members of staff. At least 24 nursing staff have added their names to a list, expressing their interest in attending a Tranquility Zone.
We are now also exploring the possibilities in the business community and have had quite a positive response, and have presented a Tranquility Zone to staff at a local building society.
(ii) As a service open to all members of the public: This is held in a venue called the Health Hydro, which caters for a wide range of people's needs including massage, aromatherapy, women's workouts, etc.
The step-by-step approach is as follows:
1. We print approximately 3,000 leaflets and posters with the following information: Feeling tired? Stressed? In need of some spiritual refueling? Then the Tranquility Zone is just for you! The Tranquility Zone is a 40 minute programme of spiritual readings and music presented in a candlelit room. It is a short but memorable journey, leaving behind a hectic and stressful world to enter a place of beauty, solitude and inner peace. Also, don't forget to print a contact tel. number, and mention that the organizers are the Bahá'ís of . who celebrate the Centenary of their Faith in the UK this year.
2. Bahá'ís distribute these leaflets around the town, and in public centres such as libraries, public information centre, music shops and anywhere else where people agree to display the poster!
Flowers, vases, light floaty muslin, white candles and floating candles, cushions, rugs, tablecloths, etc. This can be acquired gradually, depending on the size of your venue, etc.
Setting Up Tranquility Zone:
Choose a room where there will be no outside distractions or noise - and make sure it's warm. Black out the light with dark curtains; Drape the muslin around the room to enhance the beauty of the space: you can even make the room look like a heavenly tent, depending on the amount of muslin you have and the shape of the room you're using!
Arrange a low table in the middle of the room draped with a large white cloth; Arrange the flowers around the room and on the table; Burn rose oil for a beautiful scent to pervade the room; Scatter your cushions around the floor and provide chairs for people who do not wish to sit on the floor.
A warm welcome outside the Tranquility Zone - it's important that no one sees the room beforehand. During this time it's important to tell people exactly what will happen. For example you could say: "Welcome to the Tranquility Zone. I'm ?? and I'm a member of the local Bahá'í community. This year, the Bahá'ís are celebrating the Centenary of the Bahá'í Faith in the UK and this Tranquility Zone is our way of celebrating this event. The Tranquility Zone is a gift from the Bahá'ís to the people of ??
The Tranquility Zone is a meditative experience, a little oasis away from the hustle and bustle of life. It's a spiritual journey and the readings you will hear are mostly from the Bahá'í Sacred Writings ." One might then explain the kind of readings the people will hear, and the types of music. You should also explain how long the programme will last and offer guests the
opportunity to stay for refreshments afterwards. Always check that people have switched off their mobile phones!
As participants go into the room rose water is sprinkled onto their hands. The room is darkened and lit only by 20-30 candles and the fragrance of roses wafts over them. Opening quotations are read - on meditation. Blessed is the Spot has also been read at these sessions.
Music, followed by the first set of readings on peace, or happiness, or whatever the first theme is, followed by a second piece of music, followed by second set of readings, etc. until the end. There are generally about four themes and we try to get a little "journey": e.g. Section 1: Coping with Stress; Section 2: Healing; Section 3: Hope and Love; Section 4: Life of the Soul or True Life.
When all is finished refreshments are served whilst music quietly plays, friendships and contact is then made. Guests are then invited to sign a guest book, take words of wisdom (a prayer, Blessed is the Spot) and take the programme of events. People who leave their names and addresses are invited to all the events organized by Bahá'ís, e.g. future Tranquility Zones, Tranquility Feasts, firesides and other meetings.
In the early days of the Tranquility Zone in Swindon we used to include a short introduction to the Bahá'í Faith, which came at the end of the session. Experience has shown that a formal "talk" after the Tranquility Zone didn't work, but people often ask about the Faith anyway so it comes across more naturally. It doesn't look like we're trying to sell religion, but consult with your LSA on the best way forward.
Ideas For Programs:
Quotations and prayers from the Bahá'í holy writings arranged around 4 themes (for example: peace, happiness, healing, friendship, spirituality, harmony).
We generally choose about 5 or 6 different quotes per theme to be read slowly clearly and maybe repeated. Choose at least six different pieces of music - we use Bahá'í choral music, classical music, meditative Celtic music, Native American, Buddhist chant, Asian music, etc. whatever you like and whatever you feel is conducive to meditation and spirituality.
The programme lasts about 45 minutes and after which refreshments are served - tea/coffee and biscuits.
The Tranquility Zone is arranged regularly in the same place. The Bahá'í community has some kind of activity most weeks, such as fireside, study group, prayer meeting, Tranquility Zone, Tranquility Feast, social night, etc. - so the public knows where to come for more information.
The Tranquility Zone: A Community Service Project:
It's important to emphasize that we are not expecting people to become Bahá'ís after attending one, 10 or even 100 Tranquility Zones! The aim of the Tranquility Zone is to help people take their first steps along the spiritual path, on their spiritual journey. The words of the Báb and the Blessed Beauty are oxygen for their souls and will no doubt feed, inspire and transform their hearts and souls, but we are not out to "convert" at the Tranquillity Zone.
It is a COMMUNITY SERVICE PROJECT and is promoted as a community service project. It must not be seen as a recruitment ground for the Bahá'í Faith. People have more respect and come again to the Tranquillity Zone if they feel they are not being sold a religion, and if they are confident that there is no hidden agenda. This kind of sincere environment of love, friendship, and spirituality is what attracts people back. Inevitably on their future visits, people will ask about the Bahá'í Faith - it's then that we share the Healing Message of Bahá'u'lláh with these people. But they must first show that they have the thirst then we offer to their lips the Cup that is Life indeed !
Advertising and promotion:
More than 50,000 leaflets have been distributed on the streets and public venues (libraries, information centre, colleges, sports centres, etc.) over the past 12 months, informing people of the Tranquillity Zone. Posters are also used. We also regularly inform the press and often write our own press releases for radio and newspapers.
This is a free service to the community, and the press and radio been very interested.
The most exciting development, of course, has been attracting national TV coverage. The Heaven and Earth Show will feature an 8-minute package on the Tranquillity Zone in Swindon, as well as focusing on the Bahá'í Faith.