Monday, December 31, 2007

"...psychic forces..."

I've done a lot of "exploring" in my life; even looked into what are called Occult subjects...

Luckily, I had an early love of science so my approach to the fringe topics was different than those who get caught up in their own fancies.

Amazing and wonderful states exist in the spiritual world but Guidance is very necessary!

"To tamper with psychic forces while in this world interferes with the condition of the soul in the world to come. These forces are real, but, normally, are not active on this plane. The child in the womb has its eyes, ears, hands, feet, etc., but they are not in activity. The whole purpose of life in the material world is the coming forth into the world of Reality, where those forces will become active. They belong to that world."

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, quoted in Esslemont: Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era, p. 193

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Visions and Communication with Spirits

Ever had someone tell you God spoke to them?

How about a person who constantly shares their dreams as amazing revelations?

And, then, there are certain televangelists . . .

Our spirits and minds are capable of discoveries and spiritual communion actually happens, but . . .

"Question. —Some people believe that they achieve spiritual discoveries—that is to say, that they converse with spirits. What kind of communion is this?

"Answer. —Spiritual discoveries are of two kinds: one kind is of the imagination and is only the assertion of a few people; the other kind resembles inspiration, and this is real—such are the revelations of Isaiah, of Jeremiah and of St. John, which are real.

"Reflect that man’s power of thought consists of two kinds. One kind is true, when it agrees with a determined truth. Such conceptions find realization in the exterior world; such are accurate opinions, correct theories, scientific discoveries and inventions.

"The other kind of conception is made up of vain thoughts and useless ideas which yield neither fruit nor result, and which have no reality. No, they surge like the waves of the sea of imaginations, and they pass away like idle dreams.

"In the same way, there are two sorts of spiritual discoveries. One is the revelations of the Prophets, and the spiritual discoveries of the elect. The visions of the Prophets are not dreams; no, they are spiritual discoveries and have reality. They say, for example, 'I saw a person in a certain form, and I said such a thing, and he gave such an answer.' This vision is in the world of wakefulness, and not in that of sleep. Nay, it is a spiritual discovery which is expressed as if it were the appearance of a vision.

"The other kind of spiritual discoveries is made up of pure imaginations, but these imaginations become embodied in such a way that many simple-hearted people believe that they have a reality. That which proves it clearly is that from this controlling of spirits no result or fruit has ever been produced. No, they are but
narratives and stories.

"Know that the reality of man embraces the realities of things, and discovers the verities, properties and secrets of things. So all these arts, wonders, sciences and knowledge have been discovered by the human reality. At one time these sciences, knowledge, wonders and arts were hidden and concealed secrets; then gradually the human reality discovered them and brought them from the realm of the invisible to the plane of the visible. Therefore, it is evident that the reality of man embraces things. Thus it is in Europe and discovers America; it is on the earth, and it makes discoveries in the heavens. It is the revealer of the secrets of things, and it is the knower of the realities of that which exists. These discoveries corresponding to the
reality are similar to revelation, which is spiritual comprehension, divine inspiration and the association of human spirits. For instance, the Prophet says, 'I saw, I said, I heard such a thing. It is, therefore, evident that the spirit has great perception without the intermediary of any of the five senses, such as the eyes or ears.

"Among spiritual souls there are spiritual understandings, discoveries, a communion which is purified from imagination and fancy, an association which is sanctified from time and place. So it is written in the Gospel that, on Mount Tabor, Moses and Elias came to Christ, and it is evident that this was not a material meeting. It was a spiritual condition which is expressed as a physical meeting.

"The other sort of converse, presence and communications of spirits is but imagination and fancy, which only appears to have reality. The mind and the thought of man sometimes discover truths, and from this thought and discovery signs and results are produced. This thought has a foundation. But many things come to the mind of man which are like the waves of the sea of imaginations; they have no fruit, and no result comes from them. In the same way, man sees in the world of sleep a vision which becomes exactly realized; at another time, he sees a dream which has absolutely no result.

"What we mean is that this state, which we call the converse and communications of spirits, is of two kinds: one is simply imaginary, and the other is like the visions which are mentioned in the Holy Book, such as the revelations of St. John and Isaiah and the meeting of Christ with Moses and Elias. These are real, and produce wonderful effects in the minds and thoughts of men, and cause their hearts to be attracted."

‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Some Answered Questions, Chapter 71: "Visions and Communication with Spirits", pp. 251-253

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Spiritual Springtime

This blog has had many posts concerning the "Manifestations of God" (Here are just a few...).

Their Appearance in our physical world is the prime reason for humanity's evolution.

"....when the Holy Manifestation of God, Who is the sun of the world of His creation, shines upon the worlds of spirits, of thoughts and of hearts, then the spiritual spring and new life appear, the power of the wonderful springtime becomes visible, and marvelous benefits are apparent. As you have observed, at the time of the appearance of each Manifestation of God extraordinary progress has occurred in the world of minds, thoughts and spirits. For example, in this divine age see what development has been attained in the world of minds and thoughts, and it is now only the beginning of its dawn. Before long you will see that new bounties and divine teaching will illuminate this dark world and will transform these sad regions into the paradise of Eden."

‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Some Answered Questions, Chapter 42: "The Power and Influence of the Divine Manifestations", p. 163

Friday, December 28, 2007

More Soul

I feel most folk have a very limited view of the Soul and its Powers.

It's great if people know the soul exists and is "higher" than the body.

It would be greater still if folks actually experienced the powers of their souls, directly...

"To be limited to place is a property of bodies and not of spirits. Place and time surround the body, not the mind and spirit. Observe that the body of man is confined to a small place; it covers only two spans of earth. But the spirit and mind of man travel to all countries and regions—even through the limitless space of the heavens—surround all that exists, and make discoveries in the exalted spheres and infinite distances. This is because the spirit has no place; it is placeless; and for the spirit the earth and the heaven are as one since it makes discoveries in both. But the body is limited to a place and does not know that which is beyond it.

"For life is of two kinds: that of the body and that of the spirit. The life of the body is material life, but the life of the spirit expresses the existence of the Kingdom, which consists in receiving the Spirit of God and becoming vivified by the breath of the Holy Spirit. Although the material life has existence, it is pure nonexistence and absolute death for the holy saints. So man exists, and this stone also exists, but what a difference between the existence of man and that of the stone! Though the stone exists, in relation to the existence of man it is nonexistent."

‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Some Answered Questions, Chapter 67: "Eternal Life and Entrance into the Kingdom of God", pp. 241-242

Thursday, December 27, 2007

"...the soul is ever endowed with full strength."

Ever considered that our souls "give birth" to our minds?

How about the retarded person whose mind is "limited"?

Is their soul still at full strength?

Here's today's quote:

"Now concerning mental faculties, they are in truth of the inherent properties of the soul, even as the radiation of light is the essential property of the sun. The rays of the sun are renewed but the sun itself is ever the same and unchanged. Consider how the human intellect develops and weakens, and may at times come to naught, whereas the soul changeth not. For the mind to manifest itself, the human body must be whole; and a sound mind cannot be but in a sound body, whereas the soul dependeth not upon the body. It is through the power of the soul that the mind comprehendeth, imagineth and exerteth its influence, whilst the soul is a power that is free. The mind comprehendeth the abstract by the aid of the concrete, but the soul hath limitless manifestations of its own. The mind is circumscribed, the soul limitless. It is by the aid of such senses as those of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch, that the mind comprehendeth, whereas the soul is free from all agencies. The soul as thou observest, whether it be in sleep or waking, is in motion and ever active. Possibly it may, whilst in a dream, unravel an intricate problem, incapable of solution in the waking state. The mind, moreover, understandeth not whilst the senses have ceased to function, and in the embryonic stage and in early infancy the reasoning power is totally absent, whereas the soul is ever endowed with full strength. In short, the proofs are many that go to show that despite the loss of reason, the power of the soul would still continue to exist."

‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Tablet to August Forel, pp. 8-9

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Our Very Souls

It's been said the Soul is the greatest mystery...

It's been said the Soul has a beginning but no end...

It's been said we wouldn't be alive without our Soul...

Check out these quotes and let us know what You think...

"The soul of man is the sun by which his body is illumined, and from which it draweth its sustenance, and should be so regarded."

Bahá’u’lláh: Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, Selection LXXX, p. 155

"….the various organs and members, the parts and elements, that constitute the body of man, though at variance, are yet all connected one with the other by that all-unifying agency known as the human soul, that causeth them to function in perfect harmony and with absolute regularity, thus making the continuation of life possible. The human body, however, is utterly unconscious of that all-unifying agency, and yet acteth with regularity and dischargeth its functions according to its will."

‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Tablet to August Forel, p. 13

"….the spirit of man is not in the body because it is freed and sanctified from entrance and exit, which are bodily conditions. The connection of the spirit with the body is like that of the sun with the mirror. Briefly, the human spirit is in one condition. It neither becomes ill from the diseases of the body nor cured by its health; it does not become sick, nor weak, nor miserable, nor poor, nor light, nor small—that is to say, it will not be injured because of the infirmities of the body, and no effect will be visible even if the body becomes weak, or if the hands and feet and tongue be cut off, or if it loses the power of hearing or sight. Therefore, it is evident and certain that the spirit is different from the body, and that its duration is independent of that of the body; on the contrary, the spirit with the utmost greatness rules in the world of the body; and its power and influence, like the bounty of the sun in the mirror, are apparent and visible. But when the mirror becomes dusty or breaks, it will cease to reflect the rays of the sun."

‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Some Answered Questions, Chapter 61: "The Immortality of the Spirit—Session 2", p. 229

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

"...such influence as no force on earth can equal."

Some of you know I've been undergoing a rather severe medical treatment--feelin' real crappy most of the time plus other physical challenges.

I'm 68% through this most grueling time of my life . . .

And, yet . . .

In spite of the body weakness, I'm finding it easier to follow my spiritual disciplines!

"Know thou that the soul of man is exalted above, and is independent of all infirmities of body or mind. That a sick person showeth signs of weakness is due to the hindrances that interpose themselves between his soul and his body, for the soul itself remaineth unaffected by any bodily ailments. Consider the light of the lamp. Though an external object may interfere with its radiance, the light itself continueth to shine with undiminished power. In like manner, every malady afflicting the body of man is an impediment that preventeth the soul from manifesting its inherent might and power. When it leaveth the body, however, it will evince such ascendancy, and reveal such influence as no force on earth can equal."

Bahá’u’lláh: Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, Selection LXXX, pp. 153-154

Monday, December 24, 2007

Life 101

What's your life worth?

Which life are you thinking about:

- life in the body
- life in the Next World?

Seems pretty hard to value our lives in the Next World when we've only known life in the physical world.

Imagine, though, a baby deciding it doesn't want to deal with life outside the womb because they've never experienced it!

Once again, it appears God has designed things to test our Faith . . .

"Know then that 'life' has a twofold meaning. The first pertaineth to the appearance of man in an elemental body, and is as manifest to thine eminence and to others as the midday sun. This life cometh to an end with physical death, which is a God-ordained and inescapable reality. That life, however, which is mentioned in the Books of the Prophets and the Chosen Ones of God is the life of knowledge; that is to say, the servant’s recognition of the sign of the splendours wherewith He Who is the Source of all splendour hath Himself invested him, and his certitude of attaining unto the presence of God through the Manifestations of His Cause. This is that blessed and everlasting life that perisheth not: whosoever is quickened thereby shall never die, but will endure as long as His Lord and Creator will endure.

"The first life, which pertaineth to the elemental body, will come to an end, as hath been revealed by God: 'Every soul shall taste of death.' (Qur’án 3:185) But the second life, which ariseth from the knowledge of God, knoweth no death, as hath been revealed aforetime: 'Him will We surely quicken to a blessed life.' (Qur’án 16:97) And in another passage concerning the martyrs: 'Nay, they are alive and sustained by their Lord.' (Qur’án 3:169) And from the Traditions: 'He who is a true believer liveth both in this world and in the world to come.' (From a Hadíth) Numerous examples of similar words are to be found in the Books of God and of the Embodiments of His justice. For the sake of brevity, however, We have contented Ourself with the above passages."

Bahá’u’lláh: Gems of Divine Mysteries, paragraphs 64-65, pp. 47-48

Sunday, December 23, 2007

"...near to the threshold of God."

The phrase "good will" is becoming more important for many as Christmas approaches.

Being "fair and just" toward our fellow members of Humanity has become a critical need in our Materialistic cultures.

Such a shame we have to have holidays or world crises to do what God Wishes for His creatures...

"If man were to care for himself only he would be nothing but an animal for only the animals are thus egoistic. If you bring a thousand sheep to a well to kill nine hundred and ninety-nine the one remaining sheep would go on grazing, not thinking of the others and worrying not at all about the lost, never bothering that its own kind had passed away, or had perished or been killed. To look after one’s self only is therefore an animal propensity. It is the animal propensity to live solitary and alone. It is the animal proclivity to look after one’s own comfort. But man was created to be a man — to be fair, to be just, to be merciful, to be kind to all his species, never to be willing that he himself be well off while others are in misery and distress—this is an attribute of the animal and not of man. Nay, rather, man should be willing to accept hardships for himself in order that others may enjoy wealth; he should enjoy trouble for himself that others may enjoy happiness and well-being. This is the attribute of man This is becoming of man. Otherwise man is not man—he is less than the animal.

"The man who thinks only of himself and is thoughtless of others is undoubtedly inferior to the animal because the animal is not possessed of the reasoning faculty. The animal is excused; but in man there is reason, the faculty of justice, the faculty of mercifulness. Possessing all these faculties he must not leave them unused. He who is so hard-hearted as to think only of his own comfort, such an one will not be called man.

"Man is he who forgets his own interests for the sake of others. His own comfort he forfeits for the well-being of all. Nay, rather, his own life must he be willing to forfeit for the life of mankind. Such a man is the honor of the world of humanity. Such a man is the glory of the world of mankind. Such a man is the one who wins eternal bliss. Such a man is near to the threshold of God. Such a man is the very manifestation of eternal happiness."

‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Foundations of World Unity, p. 42

Saturday, December 22, 2007

"In creation there is no evil; all is good."

If you read today's quote and agree with it, odds are you'll also agree you found a way to cancel out early "spiritual brainwashing".

If you can't quite agree with the quote, please consider that a "spiritual falsehood" is clouding your thinking...

"In creation there is no evil; all is good. Certain qualities and natures innate in some men and apparently blameworthy are not so in reality. For example, from the beginning of his life you can see in a nursing child the signs of greed, of anger and of temper. Then, it may be said, good and evil are innate in the reality of man, and this is contrary to the pure goodness of nature and creation. The answer to this is that greed which is to ask for something more, is a praiseworthy quality provided that it is used suitably. So if a man is greedy to acquire science and knowledge, or to become compassionate, generous and just, it is most praiseworthy. If he exercises his anger and wrath against the bloodthirsty tyrants who are like ferocious beasts, it is very praiseworthy; but if he does not use these qualities in a right way, they are blameworthy."

‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Some Answered Questions, Chapter 57: "The Causes of the Differences in the Characters of Men", p. 215

Thursday, December 20, 2007

" and trust will pitch their tents on the summits of the world."

If God is the All-Powerful Creator...

If He's sent Manifestations Who have brought Divine Instructions...

If most of the World is suffering in the depths of Heedlessness...

We really do need to get our Act together...

"Act in accordance with the counsels of the Lord: that is, rise up in such wise, and with such qualities, as to endow the body of this world with a living soul, and to bring this young child, humanity, to the stage of adulthood. So far as ye are able, ignite a candle of love in every meeting, and with tenderness rejoice and cheer ye every heart. Care for the stranger as for one of your own; show to alien souls the same loving kindness ye bestow upon your faithful friends. Should any come to blows with you, seek to be friends with him; should any stab you to the heart, be ye a healing salve unto his sores; should any taunt and mock at you, meet him with love. Should any heap his blame upon you, praise ye him; should he offer you a deadly poison, give him the choicest honey in exchange; and should he threaten your life, grant him a remedy that will heal him evermore. Should he be pain itself, be ye his medicine; should he be thorns, be ye his roses and sweet herbs. Perchance such ways and words from you will make this darksome world turn bright at last; will make this dusty earth turn heavenly, this devilish prison place become a royal palace of the Lord—so that war and strife will pass and be no more, and love and trust will pitch their tents on the summits of the world."

‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selection #16, p. 34

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Infinite Perfections

It's one thing to say there's always tomorrow--to start again, or clean up, or seek forgiveness--more time to acquire virtues on this earth.

'Course, we all do leave these bodies behind one day...

To imagine an infinity of opportunities to perfect ourselves...

Amazing !

You may want to read the "Disclaimer concerning the word, "Man"....

"There is no other being higher than a perfect man. But man when he has reached this state can still make progress in perfections but not in state because there is no state higher than that of a perfect man to which he can transfer himself. He only progresses in the state of humanity, for the human perfections are infinite. Thus, however learned a man may be, we can imagine one more learned. Hence, as the perfections of humanity are endless, man can also make progress in perfections after leaving this world."

‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Some Answered Questions, Chapter 64: "The State of Man and His Progress after Death", p. 237

Monday, December 17, 2007

"...the appearance of the spirit in the body..."

If we can agree that God is the All-Powerful Creator, then it would seem to undoubtedly follow that He is All-Knowing.

So there must be good Reasons for the processes on Earth...

good Reasons for so many different plants...

good Reasons for animals that eat each other...

good Reasons for human infants staying with their mothers longer than other creatures...

good Reasons for our soul to hang out with a body...

"The wisdom of the appearance of the spirit in the body is this: the human spirit is a Divine Trust, and it must traverse all conditions, for its passage and movement through the conditions of existence will be the means of its acquiring perfections. So when a man travels and passes through different regions and numerous countries with system and method, it is certainly a means of his acquiring perfection, for he will see places, scenes and countries, from which he will discover the conditions and states of other nations. He will thus become acquainted with the geography of countries and their wonders and arts; he will familiarize himself with the habits, customs and usages of peoples; he will see the civilization and progress of the epoch; he will become aware of the policy of governments and the power and capacity of each country.

"It is the same when the human spirit passes through the conditions of existence: it will become the possessor of each degree and station. Even in the condition of the body it will surely acquire perfections."

‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Some Answered Questions, Chapter 52: "The Appearing of the Spirit in the Body", p. 200

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Our Perfections

No doubt, when it comes to my daughter, I'm lovingly biased.

Still, it's objectively true that she recently attained a new level of perfection when she gave birth to Nathanael William Kee:

We all have various stations to reach, in our Journey toward never-ending perfections:

"No created thing shall ever attain its paradise unless it appeareth in its highest prescribed degree of perfection. For instance, this crystal representeth the paradise of the stone whereof its substance is composed. Likewise there are various stages in the paradise for the crystal itself... So long as it was stone it was worthless, but if it attaineth the excellence of ruby — a potentiality which is latent in it— how much a carat will it be worth? Consider likewise every created thing.

"Man’s highest station, however, is attained through faith in God in every Dispensation and by acceptance of what hath been revealed by Him, and not through learning; inasmuch as in every nation there are learned men who are versed in divers sciences. Nor is it attainable through wealth; for it is similarly evident that among the various classes in every nation there are those possessed of riches. Likewise are other transitory things.

"True knowledge, therefore, is the knowledge of God, and this is none other than the recognition of His Manifestation in each Dispensation. Nor is there any wealth save in poverty in all save God and sanctity from aught else but Him—a state that can be realized only when demonstrated towards Him Who is the Dayspring of His Revelation. This doth not mean, however, that one ought not to yield praise unto former Revelations. On no account is this acceptable, inasmuch as it behooveth man, upon reaching the age of nineteen, to render thanksgiving for the day of his conception as an embryo. For had the embryo not existed, how could he have reached his present state?"

The Báb: Selections from the Writings of the Báb, "Excerpts from
the Persian Bayán", pp. 88-89, citing Váhid V, Chapter 4)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Spiritual Perception

Today's quote was written about 100 years ago in the Middle East.

Written by a man who hadn't attended college and had been a prisoner most of his life.

To me, it's a glorious evidence of the idea that to know God is to know all things...

"The intermediary between the five outward powers and the inward powers is the sense which they possess in common—that is to say, the sense which acts between the outer and inner powers, conveys to the inward powers whatever the outer powers discern. It is termed the common faculty, because it communicates between the outward and inward powers and thus is common to the outward and inward powers.

"For instance, sight is one of the outer powers; it sees and perceives this flower, and conveys this perception to the inner power—the common faculty—which transmits this perception to the power of imagination, which in its turn conceives and forms this image and transmits it to the power of thought; the power of thought reflects and, having grasped the reality, conveys it to the power of comprehension; the comprehension, when it has comprehended it, delivers the image of the object perceived to the memory, and the memory keeps it in its repository.

"The outward powers are five: the power of sight, of hearing, of taste, of smell and of feeling.

"The inner powers are also five: the common faculty, and the powers of imagination, thought, comprehension and memory."

‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Some Answered Questions, Chapter 56: "The Physical Powers and the Intellectual Powers", pp. 210-211

Friday, December 14, 2007

"...there are many wisdoms to ponder in the dream..."

Today's quote deserves careful reading and re-reading.

It contains:

- a method for discerning spiritual realities.
- an explanation that expands the meaning and purpose of dreams.
- confirmation of spiritual Truths.

"Observe, how thou art asleep in a dwelling, and its doors are barred; on a sudden thou findest thyself in a far-off city, which thou enterest without moving thy feet or wearying thy body; without using thine eyes, thou seest; without taxing thine ears, thou hearest; without a tongue, thou speakest. And perchance when ten years are gone, thou wilt witness in the outer world the very things thou hast dreamed tonight....

"Now there are many wisdoms to ponder in the dream, which none but the people of this Valley can comprehend in their true elements. First, what is this world, where without eye and ear and hand and tongue a man puts all of these to use? Second, how is it that in the outer world thou seest today the effect of a dream, when thou didst
vision it in the world of sleep some ten years past? Consider the difference between these two worlds and the mysteries which they conceal, that thou mayest attain to divine confirmations and heavenly discoveries and enter the regions of holiness."

Bahá’u’lláh: The Seven Valleys and The Four Valleys, "Valley of Wonderment", pp. 32-33

Thursday, December 13, 2007

"...the good, the sinners and the wicked..."

Because of the past Manifestations of God and the Messages They brought humanity, we have a rather deep "pool" of ethical action that becomes, after a few generations, accepted social etiquette.

Today's quote indicates that "being good" by following social etiquette (even though necessary for civilization) is not sufficient for a truly Spiritual Life:

"Question.—It is said in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas "...whoso is deprived thereof, hath gone astray, though he be the author of every righteous deed." What is the meaning of this verse?

"Answer.—This blessed verse means that the foundation of success and salvation is the knowledge of God, and that the results of the knowledge of God are the good actions which are the fruits of faith.

"If man has not this knowledge, he will be separated from God, and when this separation exists, good actions have not complete effect. This verse does not mean that the souls separated from God are equal, whether they perform good or bad actions. It signifies only that the foundation is to know God, and the good actions result from this knowledge. Nevertheless, it is certain that between the good, the sinners and the wicked who are veiled from God there is a difference. For the veiled one who has good principles and character deserves the pardon of God, while he who is a sinner, and has bad qualities and character, is deprived of the bounties and blessings of God. Herein lies the difference.

"Therefore, the blessed verse means that good actions alone, without the knowledge of God, cannot be the cause of eternal salvation, everlasting success, and prosperity, and entrance into the Kingdom of God."

‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Some Answered Questions, Chapter 65: "Explanation of a Verse in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas", p. 238

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Spirit and Mind

O.K., Spirit is obviously a part of Spirituality.

But, Mind...?

Isn't mind the opposite of spirit? Isn't it our mind that gets us in trouble?

Maybe... When it isn't glowing with divine Light:

"The human spirit which distinguishes man from the animal is the rational soul, and these two names—the human spirit and the rational soul—designate one thing. This spirit, which in the terminology of the philosophers is the rational soul, embraces all beings, and as far as human ability permits discovers the realities of things and becomes cognizant of their peculiarities and effects, and of the qualities and properties of beings. But the human spirit, unless assisted by the spirit of faith, does not become acquainted with the divine secrets and the heavenly realities. It is like a mirror which, although clear, polished and brilliant, is still in need of light. Until a ray of the sun reflects upon it, it cannot discover the heavenly secrets.

"But the mind is the power of the human spirit. Spirit is the lamp;
mind is the light which shines from the lamp. Spirit is the tree, and the mind is the fruit. Mind is the perfection of the spirit and is its essential quality, as the sun’s rays are the essential necessity of the sun."

‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Some Answered Questions, Chapter 55: "Soul, Spirit and Mind", pp. 208-209

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


If you're like most people, it's never dawned on you to ask, "How many levels of Spirit are there?"

We all need spiritual wake up calls and religious pokes--we're all "a little lower than the angels..."

"Know that, speaking generally, there are five divisions of the spirit. First the vegetable spirit: this is a power which results from the combination of elements and the mingling of substances by the decree of the Supreme God, and from the influence, the effect and connection of other existences. When these substances and elements are separated from each other, the power of growth also ceases to exist. So, to use another figure, electricity results from the combination of elements, and when these elements are separated, the electric force is dispersed and lost. Such is the vegetable spirit.

"After this is the animal spirit, which also results from the mingling
and combination of elements. But this combination is more complete, and through the decree of the Almighty Lord a perfect mingling is obtained, and the animal spirit -- in other words, the power of the senses -- is produced. It will perceive the reality of things from that which is seen and visible, audible, edible, tangible, and that which can be smelled. After the dissociation and decomposition of the combined elements this spirit also will naturally disappear. It is like this lamp which you see: when the oil and wick and fire are brought together, light is the result; but when the oil is finished and the wick consumed, the light will also vanish and be lost.

"The human spirit may be likened to the bounty of the sun shining on a mirror. The body of man, which is composed from the elements, is combined and mingled in the most perfect form; it is the most solid construction, the noblest combination, the most perfect existence. It grows and develops through the animal spirit. This perfected body can be compared to a mirror, and the human spirit to the sun. Nevertheless, if the mirror breaks, the bounty of the sun continues; and if the mirror is destroyed or ceases to exist, no harm will happen to the bounty of the sun, which is everlasting. This spirit has the power of discovery; it encompasses all things. All these wonderful signs, these scientific discoveries, great enterprises and important historical events which you know are due to it. From the realm of the invisible and hidden, through spiritual power, it brought them to the plane of the visible. So man is upon the earth, yet he makes discoveries in the heavens. From known realities -- that is to say, from the things which are known and visible -- he discovers unknown things. For example, man is in this hemisphere; but, like Columbus, through the power of his reason he discovers another hemisphere -- that is, America -- which was until then unknown. His body is heavy, but through the help of vehicles which he invents, he is able to fly. He is slow of movement, but by vehicles which he invents he travels to the East and West with extreme rapidity. Briefly, this power embraces all things.

"But the spirit of man has two aspects: one divine, one satanic --
that is to say, it is capable of the utmost perfection, or it is capable of the utmost imperfection. If it acquires virtues, it is the most noble of the existing beings; and if it acquires vices, it becomes the most degraded existence.

"The fourth degree of spirit is the heavenly spirit; it is the spirit of
faith and the bounty of God; it comes from the breath of the Holy Spirit, and by the divine power it becomes the cause of eternal life. It is the power which makes the earthly man heavenly, and the imperfect man perfect. It makes the impure to be pure, the silent eloquent; it purifies and sanctifies those made captive by carnal desires; it makes the ignorant wise.

"The fifth spirit is the Holy Spirit. This Holy Spirit is the mediator
between God and His creatures. It is like a mirror facing the sun. As the pure mirror receives light from the sun and transmits this bounty to others, so the Holy Spirit is the mediator of the Holy Light from the Sun of Reality, which it gives to the sanctified realities. It is adorned with all the divine perfections. Every time it appears, the world is renewed, and a new cycle is founded. The body of the world of humanity puts on a new garment. It can be compared to the spring; whenever it comes, the world passes from one condition to another. Through the advent of the season of spring the black earth and the fields and wildernesses will become verdant and blooming, and all sorts of flowers and sweet-scented herbs will grow; the trees will have new life, and new fruits will appear, and a new cycle is founded. The appearance of the Holy Spirit is like this. Whenever it appears, it renews the world of humanity and gives a new spirit to the human realities: it arrays the world of existence in a praiseworthy garment, dispels the darkness of ignorance, and causes the radiation of the light of perfections. Christ with this power has renewed this cycle; the heavenly spring with the utmost freshness and sweetness spread its tent in the world of humanity, and the life-giving breeze perfumed the nostrils of the enlightened ones."

Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 142-145

Monday, December 10, 2007

"...a dewdrop of the crystal waters of divine knowledge..."

Today's quote is so clear to me I have no comments...

"Wert thou to attain to but a dewdrop of the crystal waters of divine knowledge, thou wouldst readily realize that true life is not the life of the flesh but the life of the spirit. For the life of the flesh is common to both men and animals, whereas the life of the spirit is possessed only by the pure in heart who have quaffed from the ocean of faith and partaken of the fruit of certitude. This life knoweth no death, and this existence is crowned by immortality. Even as it hath been said: 'He who is a true believer liveth both in this world and in the world to come.' If by 'life' be meant this earthly life, it is evident that death must needs overtake it.

"Similarly, the records of all the scriptures bear witness to this lofty
truth and this most exalted word."

Bahá’u’lláh: The Kitáb-i-Íqán, paragraph 128, pp. 110-111

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Divine Revelation Regenerates the Soul

I've had quite a bit to say about the Manifestations of God in this blog.

For new visitors, the Manifestations include but are not limited to: Abraham, Moses, Krishna, Zoroaster, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, the Báb, and Bahá’u’lláh.

Individually Each is and collectively All are the Word of God.

The Writings I access for this blog have much to say about these All-Powerful Messengers of God...

"Since the Sanctified Realities, the supreme Manifestations of God, surround the essence and qualities of the creatures, transcend and contain existing realities and understand all things, therefore, Their knowledge is divine knowledge, and not acquired—that is to say, it is a holy bounty; it is a divine revelation."

‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Some Answered Questions, Chapter 40: "The Knowledge of the Divine Manifestations", pp. 157-158

"….the Power of the Holy Spirit shineth radiantly in the realities of the Messengers of God, and strengtheneth Their will in such wise as to influence a great nation for thousands of years and to regenerate the human soul and revive mankind."

‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Tablet to August Forel, p. 27

Saturday, December 8, 2007

What IS Love ?

Ever "fallen in love"?

Ever fallen out?

Ever have a "loved one" hurt you tragically?

Ever hurt a "loved one" tragically?

Is what we're talking about really Love?

Consider today's quote:

"Know thou of a certainty that Love is the secret of God's holy Dispensation, the manifestation of the All-Merciful, the fountain of spiritual outpourings. Love is heaven's kindly light, the Holy Spirit's eternal breath that vivifieth the human soul. Love is the cause of God's revelation unto man, the vital bond inherent, in accordance with the divine creation, in the realities of things. Love is the one means that ensureth true felicity both in this world and the next. Love is the light that guideth in darkness, the living link that uniteth God with man, that assureth the progress of every illumined soul. Love is the most great law that ruleth this mighty and heavenly cycle, the unique power that bindeth together the divers elements of this material world, the supreme magnetic force that directeth the movements of the spheres in the celestial realms. Love revealeth with unfailing and limitless power the mysteries latent in the universe. Love is the spirit of life unto the adorned body of mankind, the establisher of true civilization in this mortal world, and the shedder of imperishable glory upon every high-aiming race and nation.

"Whatsoever people is graciously favoured therewith by God, its name shall surely be magnified and extolled by the Concourse from on high, by the company of angels, and the denizens of the Abha Kingdom. And whatsoever people turneth its heart away from this Divine Love -- the revelation of the Merciful -- shall err grievously, shall fall into despair, and be utterly destroyed. That people shall be denied all refuge, shall become even as the vilest creatures of the earth, victims of degradation and shame.

"O ye beloved of the Lord! Strive to become the manifestations of the love of God, the lamps of divine guidance shining amongst the kindreds of the earth with the light of love and concord.

"All hail to the revealers of this glorious light!"

Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, pp. 27-28

Friday, December 7, 2007

All for Love...

In my spiritual Journey, I've learned that not hurting people is good but it's much better to positively love them.

There are some "Don't's" in all Faiths.

Spirituality becomes amazing when we graduate to the "Do's".

Positively Loving
Proactively Helping
Joyous Sacrifice

It's quite a rational response when we understand that our own creation was accomplished by Love...

"O SON OF MAN! Veiled in My immemorial being and in the ancient eternity of My essence, I knew My love for thee; therefore I created thee, have engraved on thee Mine image and revealed to thee My beauty."

Bahá’u’lláh: The Hidden Words, Arabic #3

"Thou didst bring mankind into being to know Thee and to serve Thy Cause, that their station might thereby be elevated upon Thine earth and their souls be uplifted by virtue of the things Thou hast revealed in Thy Scriptures, Thy Books and Thy Tablets."

Bahá’u’lláh: Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, "Ishráqát" or "Splendours", p. 111

Thursday, December 6, 2007

"Word" of God

Some say the Word of God is a particular Faith's Scripture, and they're right.

Some say the Word is all the world's Scriptures, and they're right.

Some say the Word is actually the Existence of the Manifestation of God Who revealed the Scripture, and they're right, too.

Some say much more:

"Such as communicate the generating influence and such as receive its impact are indeed created through the irresistible Word of God which is the Cause of the entire creation, while all else besides His Word are but the creatures and the effects thereof. Verily thy Lord is the Expounder, the All-Wise.

"Know thou, moreover, that the Word of God—exalted be His glory—is higher and far superior to that which the senses can perceive, for it is sanctified from any property or substance. It transcendeth the limitations of known elements and is exalted above all the essential and recognized substances. It became manifest without any syllable or sound and is none but the Command of God which pervadeth all created things. It hath never been withheld from the world of being. It is God’s all-pervasive grace, from which all grace doth emanate. It is an entity far removed above all that hath been and shall be.

"Every thing must needs have an origin and every building a builder. Verily, the Word of God is the Cause which hath preceded the contingent world—a world which is adorned with the splendours of the Ancient of Days, yet is being renewed and regenerated at all times. Immeasurably exalted is the God of Wisdom Who hath raised this sublime structure."

Bahá’u’lláh: Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, "Lawh-i-Hikmat" or "Tablet of Wisdom", pp. 140-141

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

" know Him and to love Him..."

Back in the 60s (at least in the U.S.A.) the question, "What's the meaning of life?", was used so often it began to lose it's meaning...

Old men with beards sitting on the peaks of mountains waiting for the Meaning of Life to reveal Itself were the metaphysical mascots of the era.

Like many other folks I took the mascots seriously but never let on, except to very close friends who loved me in spite of my beliefs...

So, how about the Meaning of the Whole of Creation?

"Having created the world and all that liveth and moveth therein, He, through the direct operation of His unconstrained and sovereign Will, chose to confer upon man the unique distinction and capacity to know Him and to love Him—a capacity that must needs be regarded as the generating impulse and the primary purpose underlying the whole of creation...."

Bahá’u’lláh: Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, Selection XXVII, p. 65

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Soul

As long as we feel we're physical beings having spiritual experiences, we'll continue to miss our calling.

Once we claim the fact that we're spiritual creatures having a physical experience, we can begin to live our True Existence.

"Know, verily, that the soul is a sign of God, a heavenly gem whose reality the most learned of men hath failed to grasp, and whose mystery no mind, however acute, can ever hope to unravel. It is the first among all created things to declare the excellence of its Creator, the first to recognize His glory, to cleave to His truth, and to bow down in adoration before Him. If it be faithful to God, it will reflect His light, and will, eventually, return unto Him."

Bahá’u’lláh: Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, Selection LXXXII, pp. 158-159

"Verily I say, the human soul is, in its essence, one of the signs of God, a mystery among His mysteries. It is one of the mighty signs of the Almighty, the harbinger that proclaimeth the reality of all the worlds of God. Within it lieth concealed that which the world is now utterly incapable of apprehending."

Bahá’u’lláh: Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, Selection LXXXII, p. 160

"Dost thou reckon thyself only a puny form when within thee the universe is folded?"

Bahá’u’lláh quoting ‘Alí: The Seven Valleys and The Four Valleys, "Valley of Wonderment", p. 34

Monday, December 3, 2007

"...wealth without gold ... immortality without death."

I grew up with the spiritual ideas of a loving Jesus and a very angry God -- confusing as hell!

Many clerics preach a mean, vindictive God.

The various world Scriptures I've read give the Vision of an All-Loving God Who has designed the universe as a vast teaching experience.

Naturally, if we break Nature's and/or God's Laws, we'll end up earning some punishment -- as a loving parent would slap down their child's hand if it were too near the flames . . .

Notwithstanding the various trials and tribulations of our physical existence, God has prepared remarkable, awesome rewards for those who follow His Will:

"When the channel of the human soul is cleansed of all worldly and impeding attachments, it will unfailingly perceive the breath of the Beloved across immeasurable distances, and will, led by its perfume, attain and enter the City of Certitude. Therein he will discern the wonders of His ancient wisdom, and will perceive all the hidden teachings from the rustling leaves of the Tree—which flourisheth in that City. With both his inner and his outer ear he will hear from its dust the hymns of glory and praise ascending unto the Lord of Lords, and with his inner eye will he discover the mysteries of "return" and "revival." How unspeakably glorious are the signs, the tokens, the revelations, and splendours which He Who is the King of names and attributes hath destined for that City!

"The attainment of this City quencheth thirst without water, and kindleth the love of God without fire. Within every blade of grass are enshrined the mysteries of an inscrutable wisdom, and upon every rose-bush a myriad nightingales pour out, in blissful rapture, their melody. Its wondrous tulips unfold the mystery of the undying Fire in the Burning Bush, and its sweet savours of holiness breathe the perfume of the Messianic Spirit. It bestoweth wealth without gold, and conferreth immortality without death. In every leaf ineffable delights are treasured, and within every chamber unnumbered mysteries lie hidden."

Bahá’u’lláh: The Kitáb-i-Íqán, paragraph 217, pp. 182-183

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Human Animal

Please note the red "Disclaimer" link in the right column.

I truly believe that many people ignore spiritual practices because all they can see are the apparent contradictions of Life.

Sometimes (in some lives), for awhile, it seems advisable to take the "easy" road--to avoid struggle and the effort to rise above animal comforts...

"Man is in the highest degree of materiality, and at the beginning of spirituality—that is to say, he is the end of imperfection and the beginning of perfection. He is at the last degree of darkness, and at the beginning of light; that is why it has been said that the condition of man is the end of the night and the beginning of day, meaning that he is the sum of all the degrees of imperfection, and that he possesses the degrees of perfection. He has the animal side as well as the angelic side, and the aim of an educator is to so train human souls that their angelic aspect may overcome their animal side. Then if the divine power in man, which is his essential perfection, overcomes the satanic power, which is absolute imperfection, he becomes the most excellent among the creatures; but if the satanic power overcomes the divine power, he becomes the lowest of the creatures. That is why he is the end of imperfection and the beginning of perfection. Not in any other of the species in the world of existence is there such a difference, contrast, contradiction and opposition as in the species of man."

‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Some Answered Questions, Chapter 64: "The State of Man and His Progress after Death", pp. 235-236

Saturday, December 1, 2007

"...perfections of the spirit..."

It's been my experience that people, even if they believe in God, don't have a clear idea of their importance in God's Plan.

We humans, God's sons and daughters, bring spiritual Light into our world...

"....if the perfections of the spirit did not appear in this world, this world would be unenlightened and absolutely brutal. By the appearance of the spirit in the physical form, this world is enlightened. As the spirit of man is the cause of the life of the body, so the world is in the condition of the body, and man is in the condition of the spirit. If there were no man, the perfections of the spirit would not appear, and the light of the mind would not be resplendent in this world. This world would be like a body without a soul."

‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Some Answered Questions, Chapter 52: "The Appearing of the Spirit in the Body", p. 201