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Cultivating loving kindness through the Baha’i tradition after Hurricane Harvey

September 08, 2017

Cultivating loving kindness through the Baha’i tradition after Hurricane Harvey

The Rothko Chapel Baha’i prayer, meditation and discussion on Wednesday, Oct. 4

HOUSTON – Sept. 8, 2017 – Why does religious practice matter?

The Rothko Chapel is hosting a time of meditation, discussion and prayer led by Abbas Mahvash of the Baha’i Community of Houston to explore a few answers to that evocative question – especially in light of the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey.

The event is slated for noon on Wednesday, Oct. 4 at the nonprofit, which is located at 3900 Yupon in Houston. The event is free and open to the public with a suggested contribution of $10.

The program will explore a Baha’i view on the purpose of religious practice, specifically the significance of prayer and meditation for the transformation of individuals and communities.

The Baha’i faith teaches that all religions are speaking of the same loving presence when they refer to God -- although they may call that presence different names.

Participants will be led in a reading and chant of Baha’i scripture about prayer and meditation, followed by a discussion. The group will then practice Metta Bhavana, a style of Buddhist meditation, which helps practitioners cultivate loving-kindness, as well as both internal and external transformation.

“Mr. Mahvash will use the insight he has accumulated while participating with Baha’i communities around the world to provide a reflection on the prayers he leads for the program, as well as consulting on their practical implications for personal and societal advancement,” Rothko Chapel public programs and community engagement director Ashley Clemmer said. “This will be a wonderful opportunity to seek both knowledge and serenity.”

A native Houstonian, Mahvash has worked as a lawyer and in international development, which allowed him to participate in Baha’i communities across North America, Europe and Africa. He spent recent years volunteering at the Baha’i administrative and spiritual center in Haifa, Israel.

Mahvash will have a special guest joining him -- Luke Slott, singer, songwriter and composer from Dublin, Ireland.

At the age of 21, Slott embraced the Bahá’í Faith and began incorporating the Bahá’í Sacred Writings into his music. He has released five albums of both vocal and instrumental songs and has toured extensively, giving concerts and music workshops in over 20 countries.

In honour of the Bahá’í Community’s 2017 celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh, the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, Luke has released a new album entitled “Year of the Nightingale” and is currently on tour giving a series of musical presentations about the history of the Bahá’í Faith and the inspiration behind his music.

The event is a continuation of Rothko Chapel’s educational meditation series, “12 Moments: Experiencing Spiritual and Faith Traditions.”

Clemmer said the series is designed to offer unique insight and new meditative practices for attendees, while celebrating the diversity of the world’s faith traditions.

The meditation is also part of the Rothko Chapel’s plan to dedicate time each Wednesday through the end of October for healing after Harvey.

“We’re going to have a customized program each week – ranging from community dialogue to additional meditations – to allow Houstonians to have a space to gather and reflect, grieve and come together after the devastating hurricane,” Clemmer said.

Mahvash will weave Harvey relief into his meditation in the upcoming 12 Moments event.

For more information about the Rothko Chapel and the full calendar of upcoming programs, workshops and events, visit rothkochapel.org or call 713-524-9839.

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