Book 7 is dedicated to an act of service crucial to the functioning of the Ruhi Institute itself, namely, helping a group of individuals go through the initial six courses in the sequence. That individuals accompany one another on a path of service to their communities is central to the process of capacity building set in motion by the courses. The first unit of the book, “The Spiritual Path,” raises awareness of the spiritual dynamics of advancing along a path of service and increases understanding of the forces at work. The second unit, “Becoming a Tutor of Books 1-6,” examines some of the concepts, attitudes, skills and abilities that contribute to the capability of helping a group of friends to go through the earlier courses. This is generally done by bringing together eight or ten people in what is termed a “study circle”. The third unit, “Promoting the Arts at the Grassroots,” is designed to create appreciation for the role of artistic endeavors in the activity of a study circle.
“Thousands upon thousands, embracing the diversity of the entire human family, are engaged in systematic study of the Creative Word in an environment that is at once serious and uplifting.”21 April 2008 message from the
Universal House of Justice
Regarding the learning process set in motion by study of the courses, especially its participatory nature, one of the early collaborators of the Ruhi Institute has written:
. . . we are members of communities scattered across the globe that are engaged in the greatest of all enterprises, that of building a new civilization. Our conversations—conversations in action—about the various aspects of this enterprise are carried out in so many settings: the Nineteen Day Feast, meetings of Spiritual Assemblies and committees, Summer Schools, deepening classes, conferences, teaching projects, social and economic development endeavors, and so on. The main sequence of courses of the training institute seeks to systematize a crucial aspect of our global discourse concerned with the development of communities that are striving to apply the Bahá’í teachings. An increasing number of people in every corner of the globe are engaged in such conversations in a setting we call a study circle. The material we study organizes this conversation. It records the principal points and ensures that our thoughts and actions are illumined by relevant passages from the writings of the Faith.
In this setting, the tutor of the study circle is saying something like this: “We are walking a path of service that allows us to contribute to the development of communities cognizant of the material and spiritual dimensions of existence. The way we do this is by studying, acting and reflecting on action in the light of what we have studied. These materials have helped me develop some of the capabilities I need to walk this path. I believe they will help you as well. Thousands of other groups in the world are doing the same. They are having the same conversation, and a vast experience is being created among peoples of every background under diverse conditions. What we do will be part of this global experience. What we say enriches the conversation. What we learn will be systematized and diffused among communities throughout the world by the institutions we have already established. Our participation in this study circle can be seen in this light. We are participating in a global learning process, learning that builds the capacity of the Bahá’í community to open wide its doors to the peoples of the world and enable them to enter the Tabernacle of the Covenant in large numbers.”