Friday, February 29, 2008

Rewards


Because of today's quote, I want to give you a chance to explore the Virtues Project.

It's been said we're on this earth for a fleeting time to grow our virtues and those very spiritual qualities are our "tools" in the Life Eternal...

Today's Excerpt:

The rewards of this life
are the virtues and perfections which adorn the reality of man. For example, he was dark and becomes luminous, he was ignorant and becomes wise, he was neglectful and becomes vigilant, he was asleep and becomes awakened, he was dead and becomes living, he was blind and becomes a seer, he was deaf and becomes a hearer, he was earthly and becomes heavenly, he was material and becomes spiritual. Through these rewards he gains spiritual birth, and becomes a new creature. He becomes the manifestation of the verse in the Gospel where it is said of the disciples that they were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God; that is to say, they were delivered from the animal characteristics and qualities which are the characteristics of human nature, and they became qualified with the divine characteristics, which are the bounty of God; this is the meaning of the second birth. For such people there is no greater torture than being veiled from God, and no more severe punishment than sensual vices, dark qualities, lowness of nature, engrossment in carnal desires. When they are delivered through the light of faith from the darkness of these vices, and become illuminated with the radiance of the Sun of Reality, and ennobled with all the virtues, they esteem this the greatest reward, and they know it to be the true paradise. In the same way they consider that the spiritual punishment, that is to say the torture and punishment of existence, is to be subjected to the world of nature, to be veiled from God, to be brutal and ignorant, to fall into carnal lusts, to be absorbed in animal frailties; to be characterized with dark qualities, such as falsehood, tyranny, cruelty, attachment to the affairs of the world, and being immersed in satanic ideas; for them, these are the greatest punishments and tortures.

Likewise the rewards of the other world are the eternal life which is clearly mentioned in all the Holy Books, the divine perfections, the eternal bounties, and everlasting felicity. The rewards of the other world are the perfections and the peace obtained in the spiritual worlds after leaving this world; whilst the rewards of this life are the real luminous perfections which are realized in this world, and which are the cause of eternal life, for they are the very progress of existence. It is like the man who passes from the embryonic world to the state of maturity, and becomes the manifestation of these words: "Blessed be God, the best of creators." The rewards of the other world are peace, the spiritual graces, the various spiritual gifts in the Kingdom of God, the gaining of the desires of the heart and the soul, and the meeting of God in the world of eternity. In the same way the punishments of the other world, that is to say, the torments of the other world, consist in being deprived of the special divine blessings and the absolute bounties, and falling into the lowest degrees of existence. He who is deprived of these divine favors, although he continues after death, is considered as dead by the people of truth.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá'í World Faith, p. 324

Thursday, February 28, 2008

"...regard their desires as utter nothingness..."


Surrendering the will to God is one of the harder nuts I had to crack on my spiritual journey.

One would think that abiding by the Desires of one's Creator would be a no-brainer.

Yet, the ego can be the greatest spiritual traitor.

In my nearly 62 years of living, things went severely south every time my ego set the terms of engagement.

Today's Excerpts:

O thou who hast surrendered thy will to God! By self-surrender and perpetual union with God is meant that men should merge their will wholly in the Will of God, and regard their desires as utter nothingness beside His Purpose. Whatsoever the Creator commandeth His creatures to observe, the same must they diligently, and with the utmost joy and eagerness, arise and fulfil. They should in no wise allow their fancy to obscure their judgment, neither should they regard their own imaginings as the voice of the Eternal.

Bahá’u’lláh: Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, Selection CLX, p. 337

Perish that lover who discerneth between the pleasant and the poisonous in his love for his beloved!

Bahá’u’lláh: Prayers and Meditations, Selection VIII, p. 11

"I swear by My life! Nothing save that which profiteth them can befall My loved ones. To this testifieth the Pen of God, the Most Powerful, the All-Glorious, the Best Beloved."

Bahá’u’lláh, quoted by Shoghi Effendi in The Advent of Divine Justice, p. 82

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"...they exercise their influence upon all created things."


It's been said we're created in the image of God.

Since none of us are omnipotent or omniscient, "image" needs understanding.

Let's consider that, having been created by God, we have the potential to manifest divine qualities—virtues—the Names of God.

In a world gone blind with materialism, it's a challenge to see how much True Power this Relationship to God can create...

Today's Excerpt:

"The companions of God," Bahá'u'lláh Himself has declared, "are, in this day, the lump that must leaven the peoples of the world. They must show forth such trustworthiness, such truthfulness and perseverance, such deeds and character that all mankind may profit by their example." "I swear by Him Who is the Most Great Ocean!" He again affirms, "Within the very breath of such souls as are pure and sanctified far-reaching potentialities are hidden. So great are these potentialities that they exercise their influence upon all created things."

Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice, p. 23

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Depression Meditations

I found out in '06 it's likely I've had depression most of my life.

One of the people I live with has a similar history.

A number of my blogging friends are in the same boat.

I'm submerged in a medical treatment that increases depression.

I take medication but I realize it's, at best, a chemical life jacket; certainly not something that can remove the Drowning Sea of Feelings...

I'm striving for a spiritual cure.

Today's Excerpts:

"He was very sorry to hear of the condition of your dear sister. He would advise her to turn her thoughts determinedly and intelligently -- by that I mean unemotionally -- to God, realising that He is forgiving, that in one moment He can, through His Blessed Mercy, take away our sense of failure and help us to do better in the future -- if we sincerely wish to; to turn to Him in prayer and seek to draw closer to Him; and to accept His Will and submit her own desires and opinions to His Wish and plan for her. "There is a tremendous darkness in the world today, the darkness caused by mankind's going against the Laws of God and giving way to the animal side of human nature. People must recognize this fact, and consciously struggle against pessimism and depression."

(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, July 14, 1945, Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 115)

Let not too much reading (of the Sacred Word) and actions by day or night make you proud. To chant but one verse with joy and gladness is better for you than reading all the Revelations of the Omnipotent God with carelessness. Chant the Tablets of God in such measure that ye be not overtaken with fatigue and depression. Burden not the soul so as to cause exhaustion and langour, but rather refresh it that thus it may soar on the wings of Revelation to the Dawning-place of proofs. This brings you nearer to God, were ye of those who understand.

(Dr. J.E. Esslemont, Baha'u'llah and the New Era, p. 92)

The death of Mirza Abu'l-Fadl, which occurred in Cairo on January 21st 1914, brought deep sorrow to 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Speaking at His home, the next day, He said:

". . . No matter how much we want to console ourselves, we cannot be consoled. How good for man to be like this, so that the hearts of all the friends are attracted to him in every way. While in Alexandria, every time my heart was depressed, I used to go and meet him and at once my depression vanished. He was very truthful. He never harbored deceit and revenge."

(H.M. Balyuzi, Abdu'l-Baha - The Centre of the Covenant, p. 403)

Life, in all that composed its deepest values, seemed to have left me high and dry on the banks of its swiftly-flowing stream. Outwardly all was well but that inward voice that adds, "All is well indeed," was silent. I know of no greater disappointment, no more terrible depression than that which comes to the sincere soul who, seeking God, finds Him not.

(Howard Colby Ives, Portals to Freedom, p. 19)

In this valley he discovers the breezes of divine contentment, which waft from the desert of the spirit and consume the veils of poverty. There he witnesses the Day wherein "God will make all independent out of His abundance" with his outer and inner eye in the visible and invisible parts of things; he passes from sorrow to happiness, returns from sadness to joy, and changes depression and rejection into gladness and cheerfulness.

(Compilations, Baha'i Scriptures, p. 167)

"You also ask what one should do to 'handle depression and anger with someone' one feels 'very positively about'. The Universal House of Justice suggests that you call to mind the admonitions found in our writings on the need to overlook the shortcomings of others, to forgive and conceal their misdeeds, not to expose their bad qualities, but to search for and affirm their praiseworthy ones, and endeavour to be always forbearing, patient, and merciful. Such passages as the following extract from one of the letter written on behalf of the beloved Guardian by his secretary will also be helpful:

"Each of us is responsible for one life only, and that is our own. Each of us is immeasurably far from being "perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect: and the task of perfecting our own life and character is one that requires all our attention, our will-power and energy...."

(From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, September 23, 1975, Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 90)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Another Installment of "Let's Be Clear..."


I'm a writer and astrologer but I've gone out of my way to study the sciences.

I've got nothing against science, per se, it's just that most scientists (and philosophers) have a severe lack of self-esteem [which, I suppose, shows that someone can have a well-developed ego and still lack self-esteem].

Far too many people let far too many "scientists" convince them that we humans are "nothing special", just one of the tool-using animals.

They deny the human-animal a divine spirit...

About the only thing that's good for is to justify massive lust and greed...

Today's Excerpt:

Know that people belong to two categories, that is to say, they constitute two parties. One party deny the spirit, and say that man also is a species of animal; for they say, do we not see that animals and men share the same powers and senses? These simple single elements which fill space are endlessly combined, and from each of these combinations one of the beings is produced. Among these beings is the possessor of spirit, of the powers and of the senses. The more perfect the combination, the nobler is the being. The combination of the elements in the body of man is more perfect than the composition of any other being; it is mingled in absolute equilibrium, therefore it is more noble and more perfect. "It is not," they say, "that he has a special power and spirit which the other animals lack: animals possess sensitive bodies, but man in some powers has more sensation -- although, in what concerns the outer senses, such as hearing, sight, taste, smell, touch, and even in some interior powers like memory, the animal is more richly endowed than man." "The animal, too," they say, "has intelligence and perception": all that they concede is that man's intelligence is greater.

This is what the philosophers of the present state; this is their saying, this is their supposition, and thus their imagination decrees. So with powerful arguments and proofs, they make the descent of man go back to the animal, and say that there was once a time when man was an animal; that then the species changed, and progressed little by little until it reached the present status of man.

But the theologians say: No, this is not so. Though man has powers and outer senses in common with the animal, yet an extraordinary power exists in him of which the animal is bereft. The sciences, arts, inventions, trades, and discoveries of realities, are the results of this spiritual power. This is a power which encompasses all things, comprehends their realities, discovers all the hidden mysteries of beings, and through this knowledge controls them: it even perceives things which do not exist outwardly; that is to say, intellectual realities which are not sensible, and which have no outward existence, because they are invisible; so it comprehends the mind, the spirit, the qualities, the characters, the love and sorrow of man, which are intellectual realities. Moreover, these existing sciences, arts, laws, and endless inventions of man at one time were invisible, mysterious, and hidden secrets; it is only the all-encompassing human power which has discovered and brought them out from the plane of the invisible to the plane of the visible. So telegraphy, photography, phonography, and all such inventions and wonderful arts, were at one time hidden mysteries: the human reality discovered and brought them out from the plane of the invisible to the plane of the visible. There was even a time when the qualities of this iron which you see -- indeed of all the metals -- were hidden mysteries; men discovered this metal, and wrought it in this industrial form. It is the same with all the other discoveries and inventions of man, which are innumerable.

This we cannot deny. If we say that these are effects of powers which animals also have, and of the powers of the bodily senses, we see clearly and evidently that the animals are, in regard to these powers, superior to man. For example, the sight of animals is much more keen than the sight of man; so also is their power of smell and taste. Briefly, in the powers which animals and men have in common, the animal is often the more powerful. For example, let us take the power of memory: if you carry a pigeon from here to a distant country, and there set it free, it will return, for it remembers the way. Take a dog from here to the center of Asia, set him free, and he will come back here and never once lose the road. So it is with the other powers such as hearing, sight, smell, taste, and touch.

Thus it is clear that if there were not in man a power different from any of those of the animals, the latter would be superior to man in inventions and the comprehension of realities. Therefore it is evident that man has a gift which the animal does not possess. Now, the animal perceives sensible things, but does not perceive intellectual realities. For example, that which is within the range of its vision the animal sees, but that which is beyond the range of sight it is not possible for it to perceive, and it cannot imagine it. So it is not possible for the animal to understand that the earth has the form of a globe. But man from known things proves unknown things, and discovers unknown truths. For example, man sees the curve of the horizon, and from this he infers the roundness of the earth. The Pole Star at 'Akká, for instance, is at 33°, that is to say, it is 33° above the horizon. When a man goes towards the North Pole, the Pole Star rises one degree above the horizon for each degree of distance that he travels, that is to say, the altitude of the Pole Star will be 34° , then 40° , then 50° , then 60° , then 70° . If he reaches the North Pole the altitude of the Pole Star will be 90° or have attained the zenith, that is to say, will be directly overhead. This Pole Star and its ascension are sensible things. The farther one goes towards the Pole, the higher the Pole Star rises; from these two known truths an unknown thing has been discovered, that is, that the horizon is curved: meaning that the horizon of each degree of the earth is a different horizon from that of another degree. Man perceives this, and proves from it an invisible thing which is the roundness of the earth. This it is impossible for the animal to perceive. In the same way it cannot understand that the sun is the center and that the earth revolves around it. The animal is the captive of the senses and bound by them; all that is beyond the senses, the things that they do not control, the animal can never understand; although in the outer senses it is greater than man. Hence it is proved and verified that in man there is a power of discovery by which he is distinguished from the animals, and this is the spirit of man.

Praise be to God! man is always turned towards the heights, and his aspiration is lofty; he always desires to reach a greater world than the world in which he is, and to mount to a higher sphere than that in which he is. The love of exaltation is one of the characteristics of man. I am astonished that certain philosophers of America and Europe are content to gradually approach the animal world, and so to go backwards; for the tendency of existence must be towards exaltation. Nevertheless, if you said to one of them, You are an animal -- he would be extremely hurt and angry.

What a difference between the human world and the world of the animal; between the elevation of man and the abasement of the animal; between the perfection of man and the ignorance of the animal; between the light of man and the darkness of the animal; between the glory of man and the degradation of the animal! An Arab child of ten years can manage two or three hundred camels in the desert, and with his voice can lead them forward or turn them back. A weak Hindu can so control a huge elephant, that the elephant becomes the most obedient of servants. All things are subdued by the hand of man; he can resist nature, while all other creatures are captives of nature, none can depart from her requirements. Man alone can resist nature. Nature attracts bodies to the center of the earth; man through mechanical means goes far from it, and soars in the air. Nature prevents man from crossing the seas, man builds a ship, and he travels and voyages across the great ocean, and so on; the subject is endless. For example, man drives engines over the mountains and through the wildernesses, and gathers in one spot the news of the events of the East and West. All this is contrary to nature. The sea with its grandeur cannot deviate by an atom from the laws of nature; the sun in all its magnificence cannot deviate as much as a needle's point from the laws of nature, and can never comprehend the conditions, the state, the qualities, the movements, and the nature of man.

What, then, is the power in this small body of man which encompasses all this? What is this ruling power by which he subdues all things?

One more point remains: modern philosophers say: "We have never seen the spirit in man, and in spite of our researches into the secrets of the human body, we do not perceive a spiritual power. How can we imagine a power which is not sensible?" The theologians reply: "The spirit of the animal also is not sensible, and through its bodily powers it cannot be perceived. By what do you prove the existence of the spirit of the animal? There is no doubt that from its effects you prove that in the animal there is a power which is not in the plant, and this is the power of the senses; that is to say, sight, hearing, and also other powers; from these you infer that there is an animal spirit. In the same way, from the proofs and signs we have mentioned, we argue that there is a human spirit. Since in the animal there are signs which are not in the plant, you say this power of sensation is a property of the animal spirit; you also see in man signs, powers, and perfections which do not exist in the animal; therefore you infer that there is a power in him which the animal is without."

If we wish to deny everything that is not sensible, then we must deny the realities which unquestionably exist. For example, ethereal matter is not sensible, though it has an undoubted existence. The power of attraction is not sensible, though it certainly exists. From what do we affirm these existences? From their signs. Thus this light is the vibration of that ethereal matter, and from this vibration we infer the existence of ether.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Baha'i World Faith, p. 306

Saturday, February 23, 2008

"This subject is worthy of examination."

I've been an astrologer for 39 years.

I disagree with c. 99% of those who call themselves astrologers.

The book I wrote is a free download.

But no matter how much folks may want to call me an expert, today's quote is Truth from a Master.

Today's Excerpt:

Question. -- Have the stars of the heavens any influence upon the human soul, or have they not?

Answer. -- Some of the celestial stars have a clear and apparent material effect upon the terrestrial globe and the earthly beings, which needs no explanation. Consider the sun, which through the aid and the providence of God develops the earth and all earthly beings. Without the light and heat of the sun, all the earthly creatures would be entirely nonexistent.

With regard to the spiritual influence of stars, though this influence of stars in the human world may appear strange, still, if you reflect deeply upon this subject, you will not be so much surprised at it. My meaning is not, however, that the decrees which the astrologers of former times inferred from the movements of the stars corresponded to occurrences; for the decrees of those former astrologers were forms of imagination which were originated by Egyptian, Assyrian and Chaldean priests; nay, rather, they were due to the fancies of Hindus, to the myths of the Greeks, Romans and other star worshipers. But I mean that this limitless universe is like the human body, all the members of which are connected and linked with one another with the greatest strength. How much the organs, the members and the parts of the body of man are intermingled and connected for mutual aid and help, and how much they influence one another! In the same way, the parts of this infinite universe have their members and elements connected with one another, and influence one another spiritually and materially.

For example, the eye sees, and all the body is affected; the ear hears, and all the members of the body are moved. Of this there is no doubt; and the universe is like a living person. Moreover, the connection which exists between the members of beings must necessarily have an effect and impression, whether it be material or spiritual.

For those who deny spiritual influence upon material things we mention this brief example: wonderful sounds and tones, melodies and charming voices, are accidents which affect the air -- for sound is the term for vibrations of the air -- and by these vibrations the nerves of the tympanum of the ear are affected, and hearing results. Now reflect that the vibration of the air, which is an accident of no importance, attracts and exhilarates the spirit of man and has great effect upon him: it makes him weep or laugh; perhaps it will influence him to such a degree that he will throw himself into danger. Therefore, see the connection which exists between the spirit of man and the atmospheric vibration, so that the movement of the air becomes the cause of transporting him from one state to another, and of entirely overpowering him; it will deprive him of patience and tranquillity. Consider how strange this is, for nothing comes forth from the singer which enters into the listener; nevertheless, a great spiritual effect is produced. Therefore, surely so great a connection between beings must have spiritual effect and influence.

It has been mentioned that the members and parts of man affect and influence one another. For example, the eye sees; the heart is affected. The ear hears; and the spirit is influenced. The heart is at rest; the thoughts become serene, and for all the members of man's body a pleasant condition is realized. What a connection and what an agreement is this! Since this connection, this spiritual effect and this influence, exists between the members of the body of man, who is only one of many finite beings, certainly between these universal and infinite beings there will also be a spiritual and material connection. Although by existing rules and actual science these connections cannot be discovered, nevertheless, their existence between all beings is certain and absolute.

To conclude: the beings, whether great or small, are connected with one another by the perfect wisdom of God, and affect and influence one another. If it were not so, in the universal system and the general arrangement of existence, there would be disorder and imperfection. But as beings are connected one with another with the greatest strength, they are in order in their places and perfect.

This subject is worthy of examination.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 245

Friday, February 22, 2008

"...the Divine Grace revealed and manifested in the realities of things."


Ever had anyone tell you they knew God's will or, even more amazing, that God spoke to them directly?

My experience with humans [including me...] is that we can imagine things that never could be true and even go on to criticize people who question those beliefs.

Today's Excerpt:

Now regarding the question whether the faculties of the mind and the human soul are one and the same. These faculties are but the inherent properties of the soul, such as the power of imagination, of thought, of understanding; powers that are the essential requisites of the reality of man, even as the solar ray is the inherent property of the sun. The temple of man is like unto a mirror, his soul is as the sun, and his mental faculties even as the rays that emanate from that source of light. The ray may cease to fall upon the mirror, but it can in no wise be dissociated from the sun.

In short, the point is this, that the world of man is supernatural in its relation to the vegetable kingdom, though in reality it is not so. Relatively to the plant, the reality of man, his power of hearing and sight, are all supernatural, and for the plant to comprehend that reality and the nature of the powers of man's mind is impossible. In like manner for man to comprehend the Divine Essence and the nature of the great Hereafter is in no wise possible. The merciful outpourings of that Divine Essence, however, are vouchsafed unto all beings and it is incumbent upon man to ponder in his heart upon the effusions of the Divine Grace, the soul being counted as one, rather than upon the Divine Essence itself. This is the utmost limit for human understanding.

As it hath previously been mentioned, these attributes and perfections that we recount of the Divine Essence, these we have derived from the existence and observation of beings, and it is not that we have comprehended the essence and perfection of God. When we say that the Divine Essence understandeth and is free, we do not mean that we have discovered the Divine Will and Purpose, but rather that we have acquired knowledge of them through the Divine Grace revealed and manifested in the realities of things.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablet to August Forel, p. 24

Thursday, February 21, 2008

"...taste the abandonment of enraptured love..."


Seeking is the profession of those on the Path...

The Path is the home of the seeker...

But, only until that seeker wins the glorious reward of Finding—Attaining to the Presence...

Today's Excerpt:

In the Rose Garden of changeless splendor a Flower hath begun to bloom, compared to which every other flower is but a thorn, and before the brightness of Whose glory the very essence of beauty must pale and wither.

Arise, therefore, and, with the whole enthusiasm of your hearts, with all the eagerness of your souls, the full fervor of your will, and the concentrated efforts of your entire being, strive to attain the paradise of His presence, and endeavor to inhale the fragrance of the incorruptible Flower, to breathe the sweet savors of holiness, and to obtain a portion of this perfume of celestial glory.

Whoso followeth this counsel will break his chains asunder, will taste the abandonment of enraptured love, will attain unto his heart's desire, and will surrender his soul into the hands of his Beloved. Bursting through his cage, he will, even as the bird of the spirit, wing his flight to his holy and everlasting nest.

Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 320

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

"...inestimable gifts from the unknowable Friend."


I feel I should preface today's quote with another quote.

The main excerpt may sound totally fantastic unless we: "Close one eye and open the other. Close one to the world and all that is therein, and open the other to the hallowed beauty of the Beloved."

Bahá’u’lláh, The Persian Hidden Words

Today's Main Excerpt:

Great God! When the stream of utterance reached this stage, We beheld, and lo! the sweet savours of God were being wafted from the dayspring of Revelation, and the morning breeze was blowing out of the Sheba of the Eternal. Its tidings rejoiced anew the heart, and imparted immeasurable gladness to the soul. It made all things new, and brought unnumbered and inestimable gifts from the unknowable Friend. The robe of human praise can never hope to match Its noble stature, and Its shining figure the mantle of utterance can never fit. Without word It unfoldeth the inner mysteries, and without speech It revealeth the secrets of the divine sayings. It teacheth lamentation and moaning to the nightingales warbling upon the bough of remoteness and bereavement, instructeth them in the art of love's ways, and showeth them the secret of heart-surrender. To the flowers of the Ridvan of heavenly reunion It revealeth the endearments of the impassioned lover, and unveileth the charm of the fair. Upon the anemones of the garden of love It bestoweth the mysteries of truth, and within the breasts of lovers It entrusteth the symbols of the innermost subtleties. At this hour, so liberal is the outpouring of Its grace that the holy Spirit itself is envious! It hath imparted to the drop the waves of the sea, and endowed the mote with the splendour of the sun. So great are the overflowings of Its bounty that the foulest beetle hath sought the perfume of the musk, and the bat the light of the sun. It hath quickened the dead with the breath of life, and caused them to speed out of the sepulchres of their mortal bodies. It hath established the ignorant upon the seats of learning, and elevated the oppressor to the throne of justice.

The universe is pregnant with these manifold bounties, awaiting the hour when the effects of Its unseen gifts will be made manifest in this world, when the languishing and sore athirst will attain the living Kawthar of their Well-Beloved, and the erring wanderer, lost in the wilds of remoteness and nothingness, will enter the tabernacle of life, and attain reunion with his heart's desire. In the soil of whose heart will these holy seeds germinate? From the garden of whose soul will the blossoms of the invisible realities spring forth? Verily, I say, so fierce is the blaze of the Bush of love, burning in the Sinai of the heart, that the streaming waters of holy utterance can never quench its flame. Oceans can never allay this Leviathan's burning thirst, and this Phoenix of the undying fire can abide nowhere save in the glow of the countenance of the Well-Beloved. Therefore, O brother! kindle with the oil of wisdom the lamp of the spirit within the innermost chamber of thy heart, and guard it with the globe of understanding, that the breath of the infidel may extinguish not its flame nor dim its brightness. Thus have We illuminated the heavens of utterance with the splendours of the Sun of divine wisdom and understanding, that thy heart may find peace, that thou mayest be of those who, on the wings of certitude, have soared unto the heaven of the love of their Lord, the All-Merciful.

Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 59

Monday, February 18, 2008

B.I.D.E. Receives Award — Takes One Day Vacation

[Award.jpg]Darlene at Health Witch honored our blog with this award !

I, in turn, am nominating:

Anxiously Concerned -- A Baha'i Blog

Spirituality Page

Soul Meets World


love from leila

Visions of the World

Blogging With Purpose Award Rules:
Awarded parties must nominate five people who have not received the award.The blogs that receive the award must serve some purpose.In their post about the award they need to link back to this entry.Awarded parties must post the award banner on their site. The banner must remain linked to the above linked site.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

"...attainment to the sublimity of the world of humanity..."


It's been said our life on earth is a way-station to another existence.

I also like the analogy that we're in "school" and death is our "graduation".

Actually, I'd be hard-pressed to feel good about my life on earth if this were All—nothing Beyond—death being an absolute End...

Today's Excerpt:

The scope of your exertions must needs be extended. The wider its range, the more striking will be the evidence of divine assistance....

What result is forthcoming from material rest, tranquillity, luxury and attachment to this corporeal world? It is evident that the man who pursues these things will in the end become afflicted with regret and loss.

Consequently, one must close his eyes wholly to these thoughts, long for eternal life, the sublimity of the world of humanity, the celestial developments, the Holy Spirit, the promotion of the Word of God, the guidance of the inhabitants of the globe, the promulgation of universal peace and the proclamation of the oneness of the world of humanity! This is the work! Otherwise like unto other animals and birds one must occupy himself with the requirements of this physical life, the satisfaction of which is the highest aspiration of the animal kingdom, and one must stalk across the earth like unto the quadrupeds.

Consider ye! No matter how much man gains wealth, riches and opulence in this world, he will not become as independent as a cow. For these fattened cows roam freely over the vast tableland. All the prairies and meadows are theirs for grazing, and all the springs and rivers are theirs for drinking! No matter how much they graze, the fields will not be exhausted! It is evident that they have earned these material bounties with the utmost facility.

Still more ideal than this life is the life of the bird. A bird, on the summit of a mountain, on the high, waving branches, has built for itself a nest more beautiful than the palaces of the kings! The air is in the utmost purity, the water cool and clear as crystal, the panorama charming and enchanting. In such glorious surroundings, he expends his numbered days. All the harvests of the plain are his possessions, having earned all this wealth without the least labor. Hence, no matter how much man may advance in this world, he shall not attain to the station of this bird! Thus it becomes evident that in the matters of this world, however much man may strive and work to the point of death, he will be unable to earn the abundance, the freedom and the independent life of a small bird. This proves and establishes the fact that man is not created for the life of this ephemeral world -- nay, rather, is he created for the acquirement of infinite perfections, for the attainment to the sublimity of the world of humanity, to be drawn nigh unto the divine threshold, and to sit on the throne of everlasting sovereignty!

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of the Divine Plan, p. 43

"O ye friends, exert ye an effort !"


The Kingdom or Kingdom of God is a pivotal concept in Judaism, Islam, Christianity, and the Bahá'í Faith.

As a child, I would say:
"Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." ~ King James Bible, Matthew 6:10

It took me till well into my adulthood to really contemplate what "Thy will be done in earth" might mean.

There are [naturally?] differing opinions about what exactly "in earth" means. One of my favorite explanations is:

"If the members of a family are perfectly united it will add to their comfort and joy. If the people of a city are inspired with civic unity the whole community will advance. If the inhabitants of a great continent become one spirit in different bodies marvelous progress will be made and if the people of the entire globe are welded into one great commonwealth the prayer, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth as in heaven," will be a reality for each will have the kingdom within himself." ~ ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy, p. 182

Today's Main Excerpt:

O ye sons and daughters of the Kingdom! Your letter was received. From its contents it was known that, praise be to God, your hearts are in the utmost purity and your souls rejoice in the glad tidings of God. The mass of the people are occupied with self and worldly desire, are immersed in the ocean of the nether world and are captives of the world of nature, save those souls who have been freed from the chains and fetters of the material world and, like unto swift-flying birds, are soaring in this unbounded realm. They are awake and vigilant, they shun the obscurity of the world of nature, their highest wish centereth on the eradication from among men of the struggle for existence, the shining forth of the spirituality and the love of the realm on high, the exercise of utmost kindness among peoples, the realization of an intimate and close connection between religions and the practice of the ideal of self-sacrifice. Then will the world of humanity be transformed into the Kingdom of God.

O ye friends, exert ye an effort! Every expenditure is in need of an income. This day, in the world of humanity, men are all the time expending, for war is nothing but the consumption of men and of wealth. At least engage ye in a deed of profit to the world of humanity that ye may partially compensate for that loss. Perchance, through the divine confirmations, ye may be assisted in promulgating amity and concord among men, in substituting love for enmity, in causing universal peace to result from universal war and in converting loss and rancour into profit and love. This wish will be realized through the power of the Kingdom.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 281

Saturday, February 16, 2008

"...the limitations to which man's finite mind hath been strictly subjected."


Today's excerpt may be too much for some folk.

It's quite poetic and elevated in its language and the ideas could be sensed as "dangerous" to well developed egos.

I'm appending a link to What Do Computers Tell Us About God?: Reflections of A Computer Scientist to contrast with the Excerpt's Exalted Sweetness...

Today's Excerpt:

All that the sages and mystics have said or written have never exceeded, nor can they ever hope to exceed, the limitations to which man's finite mind hath been strictly subjected. To whatever heights the mind of the most exalted of men may soar, however great the depths which the detached and understanding heart can penetrate, such mind and heart can never transcend that which is the creature of their own conceptions and the product of their own thoughts. The meditations of the profoundest thinker, the devotions of the holiest of saints, the highest expressions of praise from either human pen or tongue, are but a reflection of that which hath been created within themselves, through the revelation of the Lord, their God. Whoever pondereth this truth in his heart will readily admit that there are certain limits which no human being can possibly transgress. Every attempt which, from the beginning that hath no beginning, hath been made to visualize and know God is limited by the exigencies of His own creation -- a creation which He, through the operation of His own Will and for the purposes of none other but His own Self, hath called into being. Immeasurably exalted is He above the strivings of human mind to grasp His Essence, or of human tongue to describe His mystery. No tie of direct intercourse can ever bind Him to the things He hath created, nor can the most abstruse and most remote allusions of His creatures do justice to His being. Through His world-pervading Will He hath brought into being all created things. He is and hath ever been veiled in the ancient eternity of His own exalted and indivisible Essence, and will everlastingly continue to remain concealed in His inaccessible majesty and glory. All that is in heaven and all that is in the earth have come to exist at His bidding, and by His Will all have stepped out of utter nothingness into the realm of being. How can, therefore, the creature which the Word of God hath fashioned comprehend the nature of Him Who is the Ancient of Days?

Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 317

Friday, February 15, 2008

"O people of Justice! " — "Let your vision be world-embracing..."


It's been said we need Peace before the World can be healed.

It's been said we need Unity before Peace is possible.

A lot has been said about our World's Plight but not enough has yet been done. . .

Today's Excerpts:

Let your vision be world-embracing, rather than confined to your own self....

It is incumbent upon every man, in this Day, to hold fast unto whatsoever will promote the interests, and exalt the station, of all nations and just governments....

We have erewhile declared—and Our Word is the truth—: "Consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship."....

O people of Justice! Be as brilliant as the light, and as splendid as the fire that blazed in the Burning Bush. The brightness of the fire of your love will no doubt fuse and unify the contending peoples and kindreds of the earth, whilst the fierceness of the flame of enmity and hatred cannot but result in strife and ruin. We beseech God that He may shield His creatures from the evil designs of His enemies. He verily hath power over all things....

Time and again have We admonished Our beloved ones to avoid, nay to flee from, anything whatsoever from which the odor of mischief can be detected. The world is in great turmoil, and the minds of its people are in a state of utter confusion. We entreat the Almighty that He may graciously illuminate them with the glory of His Justice, and enable them to discover that which will be profitable unto them at all times and under all conditions. He, verily is the All-Possessing, the Most High.

Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, pp. 94-98

Thursday, February 14, 2008

"...if God willeth, He is potent to turn the stone into a mirror..."


Imagine someone who disbelieved in gravity.

I'm sure they'd have a few challenges—falling when they least expect it; getting depressed about not being able to fly; possibly, falling out of very high windows.

What do you imagine are the results of not believing in God or, maybe worse, having a defective conception of God?

Today's Excerpt:

THE One true God may be compared unto the sun and the believer unto a mirror. No sooner is the mirror placed before the sun than it reflects its light. The unbeliever may be likened unto a stone. No matter how long it is exposed to the sunshine, it cannot reflect the sun. Thus the former layeth down his life as a sacrifice, while the latter doeth against God what he committeth.

Indeed, if God willeth, He is potent to turn the stone into a mirror, but the person himself remaineth reconciled to his state. Had he wished to become a crystal, God would have made him to assume crystal form. For on that Day whatever cause prompteth the believer to believe in Him, the same will also be available to the unbeliever. But when the latter suffereth himself to be wrapt in veils, the same cause shutteth him out as by a veil.

The Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Báb, p. 103

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

"...the celestial tree of love..."


I think we all have known the feeling that we finally understand love.

I think we all have known the feeling that we'll never understand love.

I think most folks have had periods when they've oscillated between these states—sometimes within hours or minutes of each other...

My personal experience is that the only reliable and fertile understanding of love is what our highest spiritual traditions have bestowed.

Today's Excerpts:

O SON OF LOVE! Thou art but one step away from the glorious heights above and from the celestial tree of love. Take thou one pace and with the next advance into the immortal realm and enter the pavilion of eternity. Give ear then to that which hath been revealed by the pen of glory.

Bahá’u’lláh: The Hidden Words, Persian #7

The essence of love is for man to turn his heart to the Beloved One, and sever himself from all else but Him, and desire naught save that which is the desire of his Lord.

Bahá’u’lláh: Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, "Asl-i-Kullu’l-Khayr" or "Words of Wisdom", p. 155

Be most loving one to another. Burn away, wholly for the sake of the Well-Beloved, the veil of self with the flame of the undying Fire, and with faces joyous and beaming with light, associate with your neighbor.

Bahá’u’lláh: Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, Selection CXLVII, p. 316

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"...the Day-Star of Truth rose over the horizon of life..."


What a world we live in !

Hard some days to move forward yet even secular psychology tells us to cling to a positive viewpoint.

Spiritual psychologies help us differentiate between earthly pollyanna positivism and true, abiding certitude.

Today's Excerpt:

O ye beloved, and ye handmaids of the Merciful! This is the day when the Day-Star of Truth rose over the horizon of life, and its glory spread, and its brightness shone out with such power that it clove the dense and high-piled clouds and mounted the skies of the world in all its splendour. Hence do ye witness a new stirring throughout all created things.

See how, in this day, the scope of sciences and arts hath widened out, and what wondrous technical advances have been made, and to what a high degree the mind's powers have increased, and what stupendous inventions have appeared.

This age is indeed as a hundred other ages: should ye gather the yield of a hundred ages, and set that against the accumulated product of our times, the yield of this one era will prove greater than that of a hundred gone before. Take ye, for an example, the sum total of all the books that were ever written in ages past, and compare that with the books and treatises that our era hath produced: these books, written in our day alone, far and away exceed the total number of volumes that have been written down the ages. See how powerful is the influence exerted by the Day-Star of the world upon the inner essence of all created things!

But alas, a thousand times alas! The eyes see it not, the ears are deaf, and the hearts and minds are oblivious of this supreme bestowal. Strive ye then, with all your hearts and souls, to awaken those who slumber, to cause the blind to see, and the dead to rise.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 111

Monday, February 11, 2008

"...having weighed the testimony of God by the standard of their own knowledge..."


We've seen much about the Manifestations of God in this blog [for example: here, here, and here].

One of the mysteries of spirituality is why such Holy and Exalted Beings should have unilaterally borne the horrific oppression and attacks of the people's of the world.

Today's Excerpt:


Consider the past. How many, both high and low, have, at all times, yearningly awaited the advent of the Manifestations of God in the sanctified persons of His chosen Ones. How often have they expected His coming, how frequently have they prayed that the breeze of Divine mercy might blow, and the promised Beauty step forth from behind the veil of concealment, and be made manifest to all the world. And whensoever the portals of grace did open, and the clouds of divine bounty did rain upon mankind, and the light of the Unseen did shine above the horizon of celestial might, they all denied Him, and turned away from His face -- the face of God Himself....

Reflect, what could have been the motive for such deeds? What could have prompted such behavior towards the Revealers of the beauty of the All-Glorious? Whatever in days gone by hath been the cause of the denial and opposition of those people hath now led to the perversity of the people of this age. To maintain that the testimony of Providence was incomplete, that it hath therefore been the cause of the denial of the people, is but open blasphemy. How far from the grace of the All-Bountiful and from His loving providence and tender mercies it is to single out a soul from amongst all men for the guidance of His creatures, and, on one hand, to withhold from Him the full measure of His divine testimony, and, on the other, inflict severe retribution on His people for having turned away from His chosen One! Nay, the manifold bounties of the Lord of all beings have, at all times, through the Manifestations of His Divine Essence, encompassed the earth and all that dwell therein. Not for a moment hath His grace been withheld, nor have the showers of His loving-kindness ceased to rain upon mankind. Consequently, such behavior can be attributed to naught save the petty-mindedness of such souls as tread the valley of arrogance and pride, are lost in the wilds of remoteness, walk in the ways of their idle fancy, and follow the dictates of the leaders of their faith. Their chief concern is mere opposition; their sole desire is to ignore the truth. Unto every discerning observer it is evident and manifest that had these people in the days of each of the Manifestations of the Sun of Truth sanctified their eyes, their ears, and their hearts from whatever they had seen, heard, and felt, they surely would not have been deprived of beholding the beauty of God, nor strayed far from the habitations of glory. But having weighed the testimony of God by the standard of their own knowledge, gleaned from the teachings of the leaders of their faith, and found it at variance with their limited understanding, they arose to perpetrate such unseemly acts....

Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 17

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Love is not a Word . . .


I've seemed to notice that the most mystical spiritual Writings are also the most poetic.

Some things spiritual are best explained with concrete examples.

Some have no earth-bound examples to show . . .

Today's Excerpt:

If the loving seekers wish to live within the precincts of the Attracting One (Majdhub)
[1], no soul may dwell on this Kingly Throne save the beauty of love. This realm is not to be pictured in words.
[1 That attribute of God which draws all creatures to Him.]

Love shunneth this world and that world too,
In him are lunacies seventy-and-two. The minstrel of love harpeth this lay:

Servitude enslaveth, kingship doth betray. [1]
[1 The Mathnavi.]


This plane requireth pure affection and the bright stream of fellowship. In telling of these companions of the Cave He saith: "They speak not till He hath spoken; and they do His bidding."
[1]
[1 Qur'án 21:27.]

On this plane, neither the reign of reason is sufficient nor the authority of self. Hence, one of the Prophets of God hath asked: "O my Lord, how shall we reach unto Thee?" And the answer came, "Leave thyself behind, and then approach Me."


These are a people who deem the lowest place to be one with the throne of glory, and to them beauty's bower differeth not from the field of a battle fought in the cause of the Beloved.


The denizens of this plane speak no words -- but they gallop their chargers. They see but the inner reality of the Beloved. To them all words of sense are meaningless, and senseless words are full of meaning. They cannot tell one limb from another, one part from another. To them the mirage is the real river; to them going away is returning. Wherefore hath it been said:


The story of Thy beauty reached the hermit's dell;

Crazed, he sought the Tavern where the wine they buy and sell.

The love of Thee hath leveled down the fort of patience,

The pain of Thee hath firmly barred the gate of hope as well.
[1]
[1 Sa'di.]
In this realm, instruction is assuredly of no avail.
The lover's teacher is the Loved One's beauty,

His face their lesson and their only book.

Learning of wonderment, of longing love their duty,

Not on learned chapters and dull themes they look.

The chain that binds them is His musky hair,

The Cyclic Scheme,
[1] to them, is but to Him a stair. [2]
[1 The Cyclic Theory of Abu-'Ali Sina (Avicenna -- 980-1037) as expressed by him in the quatrain: Every semblance, every shape that perisheth today In the treasure-house of Time is safely stored away. When the world revolveth to its former place, Out of the Invisible He draweth forth its face. See also Some Answered Questions, p. 326.]
[2 The Mathnavi]

Here followeth a supplication to God, the Exalted, the Glorified:


O Lord! O Thou Whose bounty granteth wishes!

I stand before Thee, all save Thee forgetting.
Grant that the mote of knowledge in my spirit

Escape desire and the lowly clay;

Grant that Thine ancient gift, this drop of wisdom,
Merge with Thy mighty sea.
[1]
[1 Ibid.]

Thus do I say: There is no power or might save in God, the Protector, the Self-Subsistent.
[1]
[1 From Qur'án 18:37]

Bahá’u’lláh, The Four Valleys, p. 54

Saturday, February 9, 2008

"...become informed of the veiled and hidden mystery, the well-guarded secret."


Most of us don't stop to realize that education can lead to being either materialistically ensnared or spiritually emancipated.

Is the Mirror of our Soul directed down to Earth or up to Heaven ?

"O thou true friend! Read, in the school of God, the lessons of the spirit, and learn from love's Teacher the innermost truths. Seek out the secrets of Heaven, and tell of the overflowing grace and favour of God.

"Although to acquire the sciences and arts is the greatest glory of mankind, this is so only on condition that man's river flow into the mighty sea, and draw from God's ancient source His inspiration. When this cometh to pass, then every teacher is as a shoreless ocean, every pupil a prodigal fountain of knowledge. If, then, the pursuit of knowledge lead to the beauty of Him Who is the Object of all Knowledge, how excellent that goal; but if not, a mere drop will perhaps shut a man off from flooding grace, for with learning cometh arrogance and pride, and it bringeth on error and indifference to God.


"The sciences of today are bridges to reality; if then they lead not to reality, naught remains but fruitless illusion. By the one true God! If learning be not a means of access to Him, the Most Manifest, it is nothing but evident loss.


"It is incumbent upon thee to acquire the various branches of knowledge, and to turn thy face toward the beauty of the Manifest Beauty, that thou mayest be a sign of saving guidance amongst the peoples of the world, and a focal centre of understanding in this sphere from which the wise and their wisdom are shut out, except for those who set foot in the Kingdom of lights and become informed of the veiled and hidden mystery, the well-guarded secret."


‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 109

Friday, February 8, 2008

"...better off dead than alive is he who produceth no fruit."


The idea that death could be better than being alive sounds so suicidal...

Today's quotes help show how it can be completely true...

Naturally, it helps us understand if existence in a life after death is part of our faith and knowledge...

"Man is even as steel, the essence of which is hidden: through admonition and explanation, good counsel and education, the essence will be brought to light. If, however, he be allowed to remain in his original condition, the corrosion of lusts and appetites will effectively destroy him."

Bahá’u’lláh: from a Tablet translated from Persian, quoted in the compilation Bahá’í Education, Selection #10

"There are many things which will, if neglected, be wasted, and come to nothing. How often in this world do we see a child who has lost his parents and who, unless attention be devoted to his education and training, can produce no fruit. And better off dead than alive is he who produceth no fruit."

Bahá’u’lláh: from a Tablet translated from Persian, quoted in the compilation Bahá’í Education, Selection #11

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Education


Yesterday's quote was about the Name of God, The Educator.

Back on the 4th, I'd posted part of today's excerpt.

So...

"The primary, the most urgent requirement is the promotion of education. It is inconceivable that any nation should achieve prosperity and success unless this paramount, this fundamental concern is carried forward. The principal reason for the decline and fall of peoples is ignorance. Today the mass of the people are uninformed even as to ordinary affairs, how much less do they grasp the core of the important problems and complex needs of the time.

"It is therefore urgent that beneficial articles and books be written, clearly and definitely establishing what the present-day requirements of the people are, and what will conduce to the happiness and advancement of society. These should be published and spread throughout the nation, so that at least the leaders among the people should become, to some degree, awakened, and arise to exert themselves along those lines which will lead to their abiding honor. The publication of high thoughts is the dynamic power in the arteries of life; it is the very soul of the world. Thoughts are a boundless sea, and the effects and varying conditions of existence are as the separate forms and individual limits of the waves; not until the sea boils up will the waves rise and scatter their pearls of knowledge on the shore of life.


"Thou, Brother, art thy thought alone,
The rest is only thew and bone.[1]

[1 Rumi, The Mathnavi, II 2:277. The next line is: A garden close, if that thought be a rose, But if it be a thorn, then only fit to burn.]

"Public opinion must be directed toward whatever is worthy of this day, and this is impossible except through the use of adequate arguments and the adducing of clear, comprehensive and conclusive proofs. For the helpless masses know nothing of the world, and while there is no doubt that they seek and long for their own happiness, yet ignorance like a heavy veil shuts them away from it."


‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Secret of Divine Civilization, pp. 108-110

"Were this revelation to be withdrawn, all would perish."


A search in Google for "names of God" yields quite a range of Qualities and Powers.

It's been said our creation in God's Image means we can potentially manifest God's Names...

"Consider, for instance, the revelation of the light of the Name of God, the Educator. Behold, how in all things the evidences of such a revelation are manifest, how the betterment of all beings dependeth upon it. This education is of two kinds. The one is universal. Its influence pervadeth all things and sustaineth them. It is for this reason that God hath assumed the title, "Lord of all worlds." The other is confined to them that have come under the shadow of this Name, and sought the shelter of this most mighty Revelation. They, however, that have failed to seek this shelter, have deprived themselves of this privilege, and are powerless to benefit from the spiritual sustenance that hath been sent down through the heavenly grace of this Most Great Name. How great the gulf fixed between the one and the other! If the veil were lifted, and the full glory of the station of those that have turned wholly towards God, and have, in their love for Him, renounced the world, were made manifest, the entire creation would be dumbfounded. The true believer in the Unity of God will, as it hath already been explained, recognize, in the believer and the unbeliever, the evidences of the revelation of both of these Names. Were this revelation to be withdrawn, all would perish."

Bahá’u’lláh: Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, Selection XCIII, pp. 189-190

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Spiritual Healing



With so much fantasy being passed off as religion, we really need our God-given ability to make evaluations.

The melodramatic presentations of "preachers" who claim the gift of healing are a case in point. . .

These poor souls aside, is spiritual healing actually possible?

"Question. -- Some people heal the sick by spiritual means -- that is to say, without medicine. How is this?

"Answer. -- Know that there are four kinds of curing and healing without medicine. Two are due to material causes, and two to spiritual causes.

"Of the two kinds of material healing, one is due to the fact that in man both health and sickness are contagious. The contagion of disease is violent and rapid, while that of health is extremely weak and slow. If two bodies are brought into contact with each other, it is certain that microbic particles will pass from one to the other. In the same way that disease is transferred from one body to another with rapid and strong contagion, it may be that the strong health of a healthy man will alleviate a very slight malady in a sick person. That is to say, the contagion of disease is violent and has a rapid effect, while that of health is very slow and has a small effect, and it is only in very slight diseases that it has even this small effect. The strong power of a healthy body can overcome a slight weakness of a sick body, and health results. This is one kind of healing.


"The other kind of healing without medicine is through the magnetic force which acts from one body on another and becomes the cause of cure. This force also has only a slight effect. Sometimes one can benefit a sick person by placing one's hand upon his head or upon his heart. Why? Because of the effect of the magnetism, and of the mental impression made upon the sick person, which causes the disease to vanish. But this effect is also very slight and weak.


"Of the two other kinds of healing which are spiritual -- that is to say, where the means of cure is a spiritual power -- one results from the entire concentration of the mind of a strong person upon a sick person, when the latter expects with all his concentrated faith that a cure will be effected from the spiritual power of the strong person, to such an extent that there will be a cordial connection between the strong person and the invalid. The strong person makes every effort to cure the sick patient, and the sick patient is then sure of receiving a cure. From the effect of these mental impressions an excitement of the nerves is produced, and this impression and this excitement of the nerves will become the cause of the recovery of the sick person. So when a sick person has a strong desire and intense hope for something and hears suddenly the tidings of its realization, a nervous excitement is produced which will make the malady entirely disappear. In the same way, if a cause of terror suddenly occurs, perhaps an excitement may be produced in the nerves of a strong person which will immediately cause a malady. The cause of the sickness will be no material thing, for that person has not eaten anything, and nothing harmful has touched him; the excitement of the nerves is then the only cause of the illness. In the same way the sudden realization of a chief desire will give such joy that the nerves will be excited by it, and this excitement may produce health.


"To conclude, the complete and perfect connection between the spiritual doctor and the sick person -- that is, a connection of such a kind that the spiritual doctor entirely concentrates himself, and all the attention of the sick person is given to the spiritual doctor from whom he expects to realize health -- causes an excitement of the nerves, and health is produced. But all this has effect only to a certain extent, and that not always. For if someone is afflicted with a very violent disease, or is wounded, these means will not remove the disease nor close and heal the wound -- that is to say, these means have no power in severe maladies, unless the constitution helps, because a strong constitution often overcomes disease. This is the third kind of healing.

"But the fourth kind of healing is produced through the power of the Holy Spirit. This does not depend on contact, nor on sight, nor upon presence; it is not dependent upon any condition. Whether the disease be light or severe, whether there be a contact of bodies or not, whether a personal connection be established between the sick person and the healer or not, this healing takes place through the power of the Holy Spirit."


‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Some Answered Questions, Chapter 72: "Healing by Spiritual Means", pp. 254-256

Monday, February 4, 2008

"The publication of high thoughts..."


I've mentioned before that this blog, although a definite service to others, is my main spiritual discipline for staying on the Path, right after my daily prayers...

Even though I focus on the Bahá'í Writings here, I read and am inspired by a number of other spiritual bloggers...

I hope to see some choice comments on today's quote:

"The publication of high thoughts is the dynamic power in the arteries of life; it is the very soul of the world. Thoughts are a boundless sea, and the effects and varying conditions of existence are as the separate forms and individual limits of the waves; not until the sea boils up will the waves rise and scatter their pearls of knowledge on the shore of life."

‘Abdu’l-Bahá: The Secret of Divine Civilization, pp. 109-110

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Saving Our World


Some of what's wrong:

Major Global Issues Synopsis
As reported by the UN Environmental Program (UNEP)

Population

World population passed 6 billion in 2000, up from 2.5 billion in 1950. It is projected to grow to 8 billion in 2025, 9.3 billion in 2050, and eventually to stabilize at 10.5-11 billion.
Poverty & Inequality

The degree of inequality between rich and poor is not getting better, and this is a deterrent to reduction of poverty. There are still 1.2 billion people who subsist on less than $1 per day.
Food & Agriculture

Developing countries in general have food deficits now where they recently had surpluses. The greatest threat to forests, wetlands, mountains and biodiversity in developing countries is now seen to be the expansion of agricultural land to meet growing demand.
Water

By 2025, nearly half the world's population will experience water shortages, and it is projected that wars will increasingly be fought over water.
Forests

The world's forests continue to shrink.
Climate Change

Fossil fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions continue to grow, especially in Asia and the US.
Health

Most deaths in the least developed countries are readily preventable.


Today's quote:

"O people of God! Do not busy yourselves in your own concerns; let your thoughts be fixed upon that which will rehabilitate the fortunes of mankind and sanctify the hearts and souls of men. This can best be achieved through pure and holy deeds, through a virtuous life and a goodly behaviour."

Bahá’u’lláh: Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, "Lawh-i-Dunyá" or "Tablet of the World", p. 86


Saturday, February 2, 2008

"...haply they may be illumined by the light of the Sun of true knowledge..."


Ever had a day when you wanted to reformat your brain's hard drive--cut down on the mental clutter society lays at your doorstep--hide from those folk who are trying to prove something--take a vacation in a cave?

When scientists indulge in fantasy and ministers cling to materialism it's time to be extremely cautious about what we accept...

"Would that the hearts of men could be cleansed from these manmade limitations and obscure thoughts imposed upon them! haply they may be illumined by the light of the Sun of true knowledge, and comprehend the mysteries of divine wisdom."

Bahá’u’lláh: The Kitáb-i-Íqán, paragraph 49, p. 43

"So great is the folly and perversity of the people, that they have turned their face toward their own thoughts and desires, and have turned their back upon the knowledge and will of God...."

Bahá’u’lláh: The Kitáb-i-Íqán, paragraph 183, p. 158

"Cleave to the Root of Knowledge, and to Him Who is the Fountain thereof, that thou mayest find thyself independent of all who claim to be well versed in human learning, and whose claim no clear proof, nor the testimony of any enlightening book, can support."
Bahá’u’lláh: Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, Selection LXXXIX, p. 177

"Rid thyself of all attachment to the vain allusions of men, and cast behind thy back the idle and subtle disputations of them that are veiled from God."

Bahá’u’lláh: Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, Selection CXXXIX, p. 303

Friday, February 1, 2008

"...faith compriseth both knowledge and the performance of good works."


Rather Easy Quiz:

Which would you rather be?

A.) Politically Correct
B.) Socially Correct
C.) Spiritually Correct

Thing is, much of Social Correctness and even a bit of Political Correctness come from Spiritual Correctness.

Doing good is a fine thing...

Doing it as more than what's normally demanded is much finer...

"Pleasing and acceptable as is a righteous person before God’s Holy Threshold, yet good works should proceed from knowledge. However matchless and exquisite may be a blind man’s handiwork, yet he himself is deprived of seeing it. How sorely do certain animals labour on man’s behalf, what loads they bear for him, how greatly they contribute to his ease and comfort; and yet, because they are unwitting, they earn no recompense for all their pains. The clouds rain down their bounty, nurturing the plants and flowers, and imparting verdure and enchantment to the plain and prairie, the forest and the garden; but yet, unconscious as they are of the results and fruit of their outpourings, they win no praise or honour, nor earn the gratitude and approbation of any man.

"The lamp imparteth light, but as it hath no consciousness of doing so, no one is indebted to it. This apart, a man of righteous deeds and goodly conduct will assuredly turn towards the Light, in whichever quarter he behold it.

"The point is this, that faith compriseth both knowledge and the performance of good works."

‘Abdu’l-Bahá quoted in a Memorandum from the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice to the Universal House of Justice, 28 March 1996, "Authenticity of Bahá’í World Faith and Foundations of World Unity." The quote is a revised translation of a selection of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá which appeared in Bahá’í World Faith, pp. 382-383.