Growing up in a family of agnostics, I never felt I needed a religion.  My life was my family and my friends. My job was to do the absolute best I could in school. But I still took the words of Jesus Christ literally - to love God with all my heart and mind and to love my neighbour as myself.  I loved what I saw as the light in all of us. I just didn’t believe the light was immortal. I didn't view it as evidence of an omnipotent being who knew everything about me, and who cared what I did or what happened to me.

" I loved what I saw as the light in all of us."

It’s hard to remember when that changed. I had been introduced to the Baha’i faith by a fellow store clerk and while I found it to be a beautiful system of belief, I didn’t seriously consider that it was anything more than that.  Eventually, after several bouts of depression, I came to believe. It must have been more a moment of resignation than revelation, because I remember feeling very weak and dark at that time.

I left the Baha’i community soon after I came to it, feeling that I was not worthy of the name of Baha’i. But during my last bout of depression, 14 years after leaving my faith community, I again became preoccupied with religion. While still at home - struggling with my illness and thoughts of spiritual disintegration - I experienced a feeling of loving kindness in the air surrounding me. There was sadness in it, and no feeling of hope. But it convinced me that God was still watching over me. It might have been psychosis, or it might not, but I do not think anyone is more capable of judging that than myself. I consider what happened that day to be real.

During my hospital stay I prayed a lot from the Baha’i prayer books. I am not sure that it helped, but when I came out of hospital after three weeks, praying certainly assisted me to reach a place inside myself that I recognized as “well”. Now I pray regularly and, although I still feel spiritually inadequate, it gives me comfort to know that special prayers were written by Baha’u’llah, the prophet of the Baha’is, for the many people who struggle and ask for spiritual guidance, as I do.

The principles of the Baha’i faith include the oneness of humanity; the equality of all people - irrespective of race, gender, or religion; and the need to promote understanding and unity among the peoples of the world. It is a very hopeful religion that sees humanity as having matured to a point where peace is not only possible but inevitable. I love that as a Baha’i, the things that made me feel dark and hopeless about humanity are seen as something we can all work to change, as individuals and communities.

I may not always feel worthy to be a Baha’i but what my last bout of illness taught me was that no matter how terrible I feel, how forsaken and miserable, God is there. However low I sink, He is still there, and when I’m lying face down in the mud, He’s there, too.

"God is with me and in me, means that I can trust myself and the universe."

Having special prayers for healing and spiritual qualities helps my soul and my mind find peace. God is with me and in me, means that I can trust myself and the universe. And being part of the Baha’i community means I have a second family, a family of faith, to share my beliefs with. The things I need for healing beyond medication are there for the taking. For that I am always grateful.

Healing prayer

Thy name is my healing, O my God, and remembrance of Thee is my remedy.  Nearness to Thee is my hope, and love for Thee is my companion.  Thy mercy to me is my healing and my succor in both this world and the world to come.  Thou, verily, art the All-Bountiful, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.


Anna offers her suggestions for exploring your spirituality:

  • Practice regularly. Just like when you’re learning to play the piano, spirituality takes practice!
  • Read the writings. There have been spiritual teachers throughout the ages who have shared their spiritual wisdom with humanity, and to grow, we all need teachers.
  • Make time for solitude. While we all need a human community, we also need time alone to reflect, to meditate and to appreciate nature.
  • Adopt an attitude of service. Everything you do, from making art to washing the dishes, can be a spiritual activity if you approach it with a desire to be of service to your family, the people you love, and humanity.
  • Be in the moment. Your life is like a prayer, so make the most of it by being mindful in the here and now.
  • Be yourself. You can only start from where you are, and that goes for building a house, baking a cake, or becoming a spiritual human being.

About Anna Quon

Anna is an accomplished freelance/creative writer and writing workshop facilitator. She lives in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.  She is passionate about many things, especially writing. It is through her writing, and her volunteer work with community organizations, that Anna honours the lives of people who, like her, are living with mental illness.

In 2008, Anna received the Inspiring Lives Award from the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia. In 2009, Anna published her first novel titled Migration Songs which was shortlisted for the Dartmouth Book Award.

Visit Anna's website.