The Story Behind the Song: Treasure
Today around the world, Baha’is and their friends are celebrating the birthdays of The Bab and Baha’u’llah, the Twin Divine Messengers sent by God 200 years ago to guide humanity into an era of peace, unity, justice, and oneness. 🌍✌🏽⚖☀️
“So how did you become a Baha’i?” It’s a question that’s bound to give you a really great story about a person’s spiritual journey. I’ve heard the chronicles of countless Baha’is in response to this question, and it never gets old. Whether it was meeting a Baha’i in a chance encounter, reading about the Baha’i Faith in a search for religious truth, being invited to a Baha’i activity and feeling attracted, or a crazy act of divine intervention, every Baha’i has their story of what brought them to the Faith. Even Baha’is who grew up in Baha’i families, like myself, are tasked with investigating the truth for themselves upon reaching the age of 15, and determining if they want to declare their faith. Each person has the responsibility of making their own decision as to whether or not they identify as a Baha’i and accept the station and claims of the Prophet-Founder, Baha’u’llah (meaning ‘Glory of God’, as well as the Forerunner to the Baha’i Faith, The Bab (meaning ‘The Gate’).
For me personally, at age 15, I had no doubts that I believed in Baha’u’llah and The Bab, and hence, I declared myself a Baha’i. However, I didn’t quite understand what that truly entailed for my daily life, and it wasn’t until my early 20’s that I truly took the time to reflect on what I personally believed. Over the next few years, I had my own roundabout spiritual journey that led me to identifying much more strongly as a Baha’i. As I was in the midst of songwriting for the Wizdome album, I decided I really wanted to document my journey as a Baha’i in one of the songs.
My next thought was, “Wouldn’t it be cool to hear several people’s stories of how they became Baha’is, all on one song?” So I hit up a bunch of my Baha’i friends, who were also into the art form of rap, and brought them together to consult on the idea. My homies Joel, Bill, Kishan, Jose Maria, and DJ all responded to the call.
At our first meeting, I shared the vision for the song, and then we went around the room and each person shared their personal journey of becoming a Baha’i and developing a relationship with Baha’u’llah. It was a really beautiful way to start things off. Next, we delved into the Baha’i Writings. I had selected the following passage from Baha’u’llah for us to study:
“O My servants! My holy, My divinely ordained Revelation may be likened unto an ocean in whose depths are concealed innumerable pearls of great price, of surpassing luster. It is the duty of every seeker to bestir himself and strive to attain the shores of this ocean, so that he may, in proportion to the eagerness of his search and the efforts he hath exerted, partake of such benefits as have been pre-ordained in God’s irrevocable and hidden Tablets. If no one be willing to direct his steps towards its shores, if every one should fail to arise and find Him, can such a failure be said to have robbed this ocean of its power or to have lessened, to any degree, its treasures? How vain, how contemptible, are the imaginations which your hearts have devised, and are still devising! O My servants! The one true God is My witness! This most great, this fathomless and surging Ocean is near, astonishingly near, unto you. Behold it is closer to you than your life-vein! Swift as the twinkling of an eye ye can, if ye but wish it, reach and partake of this imperishable favor, this God-given grace, this incorruptible gift, this most potent and unspeakably glorious bounty.”
Ocean, pearls, treasure. There was so much beautiful imagery in the passage that set the tone for the song. After deepening on the passage and sharing what stuck out to us, DJ led us through a poetry workshop activity to get the creative juices flowing. We each wrote the word “treasure”, and then listed the next ten words that came to mind in a stream of consciousness. Treasure… ocean… boats… sandcastles….surfing….etc, you get the point. This activity gave each of us more words to draw from when writing our verses. It’s a really helpful exercise!
DJ then played some beats that a friend of his had created, and we all listened to see if one caught our ear. There were a couple that we liked, but one that the majority of the group agreed matched the vibe of the song best. We then took some time coming up with a “hook”, or chorus, for the song. We messed around for a bit, trying out different lyrics and rhythms, before coming up with a hook that we all thought sounded fresh. “I jumped into the ocean, I let my soul in…”
After nailing the hook, each person went back home and worked out their verses. Weaving our personal journeys as Baha’is with the oceanic imagery of the quote from Baha’u’llah gave us the proper artistic constraints to create something really amazing! After a few more meetings to refine our verses and flow of the song, we hit the recording studio, and hammered out this summer jam. An ode to Baha’u’llah and all the treasures found in His glorious and refreshing Revelation.
The song was included as track #3 on the Wizdome album, but later on, ‘Treasure’ took a life of its own! The team all really desired to create a music video for the song, as the imagery in the lyrics was really beautiful. However, it proved quite difficult to coordinate. Eventually, with the coming of the Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah approaching in October 2017, the crew found the extra motivation to get the video done in July 2017. We scheduled a weekend to all head out to Southern California with my good friend and cinematographer Brian and crafted the video!
Leading up to the video release on October 22nd, the Treasure Crew also embarked on a mini-tour across the Southwest United States, visiting the cities of Flagstaff, Albuquerque, Denver, San Diego, San Clemente, Phoenix, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert, and Laveen! It was amazing to bring the song and video to so many people, and we capped it off by sharing the music video on the date of the Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah!
Since the music video release and tour, the Treasure Crew has had the bounty of performing the song in many spaces – Baha’i gatherings, church services, interfaith spaces, and hip hop shows. To request a performance, shoot me an email at: email@example.com
That’s the story of Treasure! Hope you enjoyed reading! To learn more about the project, the Treasure Crew also released a 4 episode, behind-the-scenes video series called “Treasure Hunters” via YouTube, which you can check out below!
Are you a member, or friend, of the Baha’i Faith? Share how you discovered The Bab and Baha’u’llah in the comments below! 👍🏽👍🏽
Unfamiliar with the Baha’i Faith? Ask any questions you have in the comments and I’ll be sure to share a thoughtful response! 👇🏽
Fan of the song and video? Share this blog post on your social media pages or email it to a friend so they can hear it to! 🙏🏽
For a FREE MUSIC download of Treasure, CLICK HERE!
I was at a Springtime Webelo Camperee with my cub scout troop. The boys were asleep in the tents and my parent volunteers and I were sitting around the fire barrels. There was a Jewish man, a Catholic woman, a Baha’i woman and myself. We started talking about our different religions. Although raised Protestant, I didn’t go to church. When Nancy, the Baha’i Woman, explained that Baha’is believed that the same God created all the religions as the need arose, my immediate reaction was, ‘Oh my, a religion that believes the same as me.’ You see, in contemplating God, I came to that very conclusion. Nancy held me off from any Baha’i activity with only a couple of history books to read until the fall, when the adult and children’s classes started at our brand new Baha’i Center opened. By then, I was really wanting more. The hold off was good because had she pushed, even a little bit, I would have run away.. That Fall, I read many many books by Baha’u’llah and Abdu’l Baha looking for the deal breaker. I didn’t declare until New Years Day so I could talk with my parent beforehand (although I was in my mid forties) and it would be a date I would remember.My Christian mothe’s reaction was, ‘I am so glad you Fod God.’ I feel so blassed to have been chosen to recognize Baha’u’llah.
WOW, how amazing!! You had quite the spiritual perception as a young lady!! So cool to hear how your soul recognized this spiritual truth with such clarity. It seems that your investigation of the writings and teachings of Baha’u’llah are what really confirmed your faith. I had a similar experience as one year I decided to really throw myself into the ocean of the Baha’i Writings and truly investigate their validity. The more I read, the more confirmed I became. It is truly a gift that so much spiritual wisdom has been left for us to read and soak up in order to live more spiritual lives… 🙂
Hi Colby. I have known of Baha’i faith for a long time, but am not a follower of any organized religion or group. I fully believe in spiritual growth and listening on one’s journey through life and I enjoy your creative words and music.
I marvel most at nature, at the wonderous evidence that life has been ever-changing over billions of years. I worry for humanity because we are so numerous and careless, and we are destroying so much of the natural world that supports us, turning our backs on divine creation, devaluing it. This is why I loved your “We Can Change the World” collection so much. It’s messaging was life affirming and hopeful in rather sorrowful times.
In 2015, when I went to the Solomon Islands to help develop programs for a new national university (I was a Dean) the American consulate there was run by a
woman Baha’i. Apparently her father spread the Baha’i faith to the islands back in the 1950’s and there are many believers carrying it on there, far off in the middle of the South Pacific.
What ever you believe, strive to “do no harm”! Peace and love!
Beautiful thoughts! Thank you so much for sharing Dusti!! 🙂 One of the things I appreciate most about the Baha’i Faith is that we are encouraged to work with all who share a common desire to build a better world, no matter their religion or spiritual beliefs.
It is very clear you have a desire for a more peaceful planet, and this is what unites us in a common cause! Something else that has resonated deeply for me personally from the Baha’i teachings is the strong emphasis on unity. Here is a short quote from Baha’u’llah:
“The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established.”
What I take from this quote is that, all of the issues we are currently seeing in the world, such as hunger, poverty, corruption, and also environmental degradation as you mentioned, I feel that they are all rooted in a lack of unity among mankind. This is why it is so important for us all to unite in a common cause for a better world. Once united, we can accomplish SO MUCH!!!
Happy to have you as a supporter, as well as a friend and ally of the Baha’is as we all work together to change the world for the better :).
As you know, Colby, I am also a full-on Baha’i. I first learned of the Faith, in 1972, whilst hitchhiking between Baltimore and Philadelphia, on the homeward leg of a cross-continent journey. An older man regaled me with the story of Progressive Revelation, and though I kept Baha’u’llah in the back of my mind, for nine more years, I found myself frequently in contact with Baha’is, especially at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and at the Villa-Oasis School, the latter being where I worked in 1978-80, just before I met Penny, who brought me into the Faith and became my wife of 29 years. There has been no going back, or room for doubt, since then.
Wow! Gary, this is such an amazing story! I love hearing accounts like this, as it helps you realize that Baha’is need to be sharing the message much more often, as you never know when or how you’ll meet someone who needs to hear about it!
As always, very beautifully done! Enjoyed being invited to take a ride in your odyssey… hopefully it will inspire others.
Happy to have you along the odyssey! Haha :p And thanks again for hooking me up with that sound system! It’s already been put to so much use!
How did I become a Baha’i? I declared to be a Baha’i when I was 15, but I don’t think I did really know a lot about the Faith at that moment. I’ve participated in some core activities before that, like junior youth groups and children classes, and I loved it. I was attracted to the fact that there were no pastor or priest in the Baha’i faith that has to be right all the time. In addition, the Baha’is teaching were more focusing on spiritual qualities contrarily to my previous religion that were mostly focusing on the punishment from God. And here I am now, 8 years later. lol still have a long way to go, and a lot to learn though. Thanks for always sharing stuff with me bro, I appreciate you! One luv
Thanks so much for taking the time to read and for sharing about your journey! It’s so inspiring to hear about! Wow, so cool that it was the junior youth program and children’s classes that impacted you. It must mean your young heart was pure! And yeah, the focus on spiritual qualities rather than punishment is very inspiring and empowering! Much love bro!!
My parents were investigating the Baha’i Faith when I was in my mother’s womb and become Baha’is 2 months after I was born. I didn’t declare at 15 yes old but started my search when a high school girl friend said Jesus had all the Truth. This conflicted with the Baha’i principle of Progessive Revelation. I decided to Investigate the Truth for myself. After much reading I declared my belief my freshman year at UCSD
that the Bab and Baha’u’llah were the most recent Messengers from God to help mankind progress as an ever advancing civilization.
Wow, must have been an interesting experience in the womb! Lol! And I think your story shows that sometimes we need to be tested and challenged in our beliefs to really examine them in more depth and determine how firm our faith is. Thanks for sharing pops!