Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details


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The Freedom of Not Fighting

With the return of each day’s light comes an invitation to investigate, throughout the span of that day, rather than imitate the past.

Do I accept it, and apply myself to what it invites?

It arrives in a world of imperfection, one that can easily draw negative reactions from my lower nature, which must find its way in that world.

Autumn Landscape with Four Trees – Vincent van Gogh

Yet I’ve surely had opportunity to learn that dwelling on imperfections, berating myself or others for them, serves only to increase my perception of them.

It’s a circle of suffering I draw for myself. It saps my time, energy, and attention (those aspects of life over which I have choice) when I could instead offer them for something that is always calling, if softly, at times: the building of the good that I’m invited into each day.

Responding to that call, I discover how very much there is to become aware of and relinquish—how much preoccupation with negativity surrounds my life and can fill my thoughts and absorb my personal resources.

This, in many lives, is the debilitating presence of blind imitation of the past, including the kind of thinking that was born in earlier, fearful experiences and has led to attitudes, behaviors, assumptions, and beliefs that have no basis in reality—nor, indeed, anywhere near it.

 

My encounter with imperfection extends an invitation, too—one urging me to recognize and accept how much I don’t know, or can’t change, yet I can always discover the limitless possibilities of love in the most essential kind of response I’ve been designed and equipped to make. Rather than exercising my survival-driven instinctual reaction to fight imperfection, or try to escape it, I can turn toward an innate, indwelling response—the possibility of it—that is better-aligned with the purpose for which I’ve been created.

As it invites me into the freedom of not fighting any one or any thing (including myself), it also reminds that every human interaction (including with myself) is either an act of giving or an act of receiving. By asking questions that encompass both giving and receiving, my sensitivity to my own true needs and those of others is increased daily. Each part of this questioning is equally important, because giving depends on someone willing and capable of receiving from me, and receiving depends on someone willing and capable of giving to me.

WTOEimage.phpThe following two service questions were created as a way to help us focus on and clarify reality for ourselves in the course of the countless decisions we are called upon to make each day. Those junctures of possibility arrive moment by moment, and as I seek to draw away from blind imitation of the past toward the true investigation of my own and others’ deepest reality, I return to these questions again and again:

  1. At this moment in time, what is the act of service I am capable of giving that the other person is capable of receiving?
  2. At this moment in time, what is the act of service I am capable of receiving that the other person is capable of giving?

Adapted from With Thine Own Eyes: Why Imitate the Past When We Can Investigate Reality?

More information: http://www.amazon.com/With-Thine-Own-Eyes-Investigate-ebook/dp/B00I1JPC7I


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The freedom in not fighting

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Photo: Lara Kearns

With the return of each day’s light comes an invitation to investigate, throughout the span of that day, rather than imitate the past. Do I accept it, and apply myself to what it invites?

It arrives in a world of imperfection, one that can easily draw negative reactions from my lower nature, which must find its way in that world. Yet I’ve surely had opportunity to learn that dwelling on imperfections, berating myself or others for them, serves only to increase my perception of them. It’s a circle of suffering I draw for myself. It saps my time, energy, and attention (those aspects of life over which I have choice) when I could instead offer them for something that is always calling, if softly, at times: the building of the good that I’m invited into each day.

11736965_10155778229390181_1511831978_n

Photo: Lara Kearns

In responding to that call, I discover how very much there is to become aware of and relinquish—how much preoccupation with negativity surrounds my life and can fill my thoughts and absorb my personal resources. This, in many lives, is the debilitating presence of blind imitation of the past, including the kind of thinking that was born in earlier, fearful experiences and has led to attitudes, behaviors, assumptions, and beliefs that have no basis in reality—nor, indeed, anywhere near it.

11122548_10155778229175181_1725221388_n

Photo: Lara Kearns

My encounter with imperfection extends an invitation, too—one urging me to recognize and accept how much I don’t know, or can’t change, yet I can always discover the limitless possibilities of love in the most essential kind of response I’ve been designed and equipped to make. Rather than exercising my survival-driven instinctual reaction to fight imperfection, or try to escape it, I can turn toward an innate, indwelling response—the possibility of it—that is better-aligned with the purpose for which I’ve been created.

As it invites me into the freedom of not fighting any one or any thing (including myself), it also reminds that every human interaction (including with myself) is either an act of giving or an act of receiving. By asking questions that encompass both giving and receiving, my sensitivity to my own true needs and those of others is increased daily. Each part of this questioning is equally important, because giving depends on someone willing and capable of receiving from me, and receiving depends on someone willing and capable of giving to me.

WTOEimage.phpThe following two service questions have been conceived as a way to help us focus on and clarify reality for ourselves in the course of the countless decisions we are called upon to make each day. Those junctures of possibility arrive moment by moment, and as I seek to draw away from blind imitation of the past toward the true investigation of my own and others’ deepest reality, I return to these questions again and again:

  1. At this moment in time, what is the act of service I am capable of giving that the other person is capable of receiving?
  2. At this moment in time, what is the act of service I am capable of receiving that the other person is capable of giving?

Adapted from With Thine Own Eyes: Why Imitate the Past When We Can Investigate Reality?

More information: http://www.amazon.com/With-Thine-Own-Eyes-Investigate-ebook/dp/B00I1JPC7I/ref=pd_sim_kstore_11?ie=UTF8&refRID=0TQC490J7FVBRTJWM70H

Print version at: http://www.bahairesources.com/with-thine-own-eyes.html


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Truth’s path is Oneness

“The root cause of prejudice is blind imitation of the past – imitation in religion,

in racial attitudes, in national bias, in politics.”

IMG_6326“The greatest cause of bereavement and disheartening in the world of humanity is ignorance based upon blind imitation. It is due to this that wars and battles prevail; from this cause hatred and animosity arise continually among mankind. As long as imitation persists, strife and contention will destroy the purpose of religion and make love and fellowship impossible.”

“The underlying reality of the world’s religions is one, but the corrosive effects of imitation prevent a realization of the awareness of their common foundation.”

“Ideas and beliefs left by … fathers and ancestors as a heritage will not suffice, for adherence to these are but imitations, and imitations have ever been a cause of disappointment and misguidance.”

“Be investigators of reality that you may attain the verity of truth and life.”

IMG_6343“It is now possible for us to come into awareness that the source of all evil, blind imitation, can be eliminated through the investigation of reality. The process of eliminating blind imitation in our lives takes place reaction by reaction.”

“Every individual member of humankind is exhorted … to set aside superstitious beliefs, traditions and blind imitation of ancestral forms in religion and investigate reality for himself.”

“Inasmuch as the fundamental reality is one, all religions and nations of the world will become one through the investigation of reality. The announcement of this principle is not found in any of the sacred Books of the past.”

Quoted passages from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Promulgation of Universal Peace, WTOEimage.php

excerpted from With Thine Own Eyes: Why Imitate the Past, When We Can Investigate Reality?

 Find the book at: http://www.amazon.com/With-Thine-Own-Eyes-Investigate-ebook/dp/B00I1JPC7I/ref=pd_sim_kstore_11?ie=UTF8&refRID=0TQC490J7FVBRTJWM70H

Also available in print version from: http://www.bahairesources.com/with-thine-own-eyes.html

 

 


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The heart’s kind road to peace

A Flock of Geese, Laindon Common, Billericay 50

Photo: Kathy Gilman

Our spiritual nature has a value system that places priceless relationships above any object or hoped-for outcome.

But our human nature, if left in charge of our lives without divine illumination, cannot do this. Left to its own devices, it will focus only on its own survival.

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Photo: David Campbell

The sign that we’re in a situation that requires a shift from the eyes of our human nature to the vision of our spiritual one is when we find ourselves focusing on the imperfections of others to such an extent that we experience an increasing intensity of negative emotions that, in turn, causes deterioration in personal relationships.

IMG_1734

Photo: Nelson Ashberger

The only escape from this vicious cycle is to change what we see and elevate our perception and begin looking at others with the imperfection-covering eye of the spiritual nature.

The spiritual nature doesn’t dwell on perceived imperfections but instead seeks the missing spiritual attributes that the situation is calling for and creates an act of service designed to release those latent virtues. They exist within the heart of every one of us.

IMG_1670_2

Photo: Nelson Ashberger

When that happens, the destructive negative emotions and imperfections begin to dissipate. They are, after all, merely perceptions and `decisions’ of the mind or human nature, and the resulting emotion is the energy of those thoughts in motion.

However, in the survival-motivated blind imitation that is the lower nature’s customary behaviour, our mind and emotions can liken the current experience to one that has registered as negative in the past. In order to truly investigate the reality of the matter, we need the spiritual nature and its vision to come into the driver’s seat, to interrupt this reflexive imitating of what happened — or what we perceive to have happened — in the past. If we are unwilling to do this, we will remain prisoners of that past, and of what, in essence, is actually an imagined past, the perspective of the mind alone.WTOEimage.php

A sign that we’re progressing away from imitation towards investigation is that we will feel negative emotions being replaced by positive ones. There will be a noticeable improvement both in the way we ourselves feel and within the tone of the relationship.

Excerpted from With Thine Own Eyes: Why Imitate the Past When We Can Investigate Reality? from George Ronald Publisher.

Find more about the book at:

http://www.amazon.com/Thine-Own-Eyes-Imitate-Investigate-ebook/dp/B00I1JPC7I/ref=asap_B00IS9LEZA_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416933494&sr=1-3h


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The “radical” remedy works at the roots

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Photo: David Campbell / http://gbctours.com

What underlies the root of all our ills?

Blind imitation of the past.

What is the remedy that reaches those roots?

The independent investigation of Reality.

The root cause of prejudice is blind imitation of the past – imitation in religion, in racial attitudes, in national bias, in politics.

bruisenot10628403_896653373691808_2232318852909161472_nImitations of ancestral beliefs have hindered progress for thousands of years. Imitation emphasizes points of disagreement and division, when the real foundation is oneness.

Imitation obstructs the way to divine knowledge and bounty.

So long as imitations remain, the oneness of the world of humanity is impossible. As long as imitation persists, humanity will find neither happiness nor rest nor composure. Without true investigation of Reality, the realization of unity is also impossible.

HOWEVER – All signs indicate that a sea change in human consciousness is under way.

It involves an indwelling attraction beyond and away from blind imitation of the past toward independent investigation of Reality.

There is great cause for hope and faith, confidence and happy determination.WTOEimage.php

Explore these and related themes in With Thine Own Eyes: Why Imitate the Past When We Can Investigate Reality? from George Ronald Publisher:

http://www.amazon.com/Thine-Own-Eyes-Imitate-Investigate-ebook/dp/B00I1JPC7I/ref=asap_B00IS9LEZA_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416933494&sr=1-3h


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Two questions, unlimited opportunity

Photo: Lara Kearns

The unceasing storms of negativity in the world can easily elicit negative reactions to go with them.

Yet life’s unfolding learning shows me that dwelling on imperfections, or berating myself or others for them, only increases the number of them that I perceive (and the misery I can consequently feel). It also saps — even squanders — the three precious resources over which I have choice: time, energy, and attention. It can lead me to  “spending” these on what is counterproductive, even destructive, when divine grace is always inviting me toward the building of the good, instead.

Photo: Lara Kearns

I can blindly imitate my past experience, including the kind of thinking that was born in earlier, fearful experiences that have led to attitudes, behaviors, assumptions, and beliefs that have no basis in current reality.

Or, I can recognize in my encounter with imperfection an invitation to accept that there is much I don’t know, or can’t change, especially about others. But I can always discover the limitless possibilities of love, of being open to the new possibilities in a situation or a moment.

Might such willingness to meet the present, rather than automatically imitate or recreate the past, be what it most truly means to “occupy” my self?

Folk Art House Silhouette

Folk Art House collage: http://leonahosack.com

 

The two service questions are conceived as a mechanism to help me focus on and clarify for myself the reality in the decisions with which I am faced each day.

Those junctures of possibility arrive moment by moment, and the goal of this pair of questions is to help me meet each one consciously as a servant of God:

~ At this moment in time, what is the act of service I am capable of giving that the other person is capable of receiving?

 ~ At this moment in time, what is the act of service I am capable of receiving that the other person is capable of giving?

Every human interaction is either an act of giving or an act of receiving. By asking questions that encompass both giving and receiving, my sensitivity to and awareness of my own needs and those of others is increased daily. Both questions are equally important because giving depends on someone willing and capable of receiving, and receiving depends on someone willing and capable of giving.

WTOEimage.phpAdapted from With Thine Own Eyes: Why Imitate the Past, When We Can Investigate Reality?

Find the book at: http://www.amazon.com/With-Thine-Own-Eyes-Investigate-ebook/dp/B00I1JPC7I/ref=pd_sim_kstore_11?ie=UTF8&refRID=0TQC490J7FVBRTJWM70H

Also available in print version from the publisher at: http://grbooks.com/george-ronald-publisher-books/spirituality/with-thine-own-eyes-1380638499