Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details


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Awakening is no longer a luxury

“Heart Rise” – photo: Nelson Ashberger

GLEANINGS FOUND HERE AND THERE:

There is no need to choose between science and spirituality.

But there is certainly a need, as there has always been, to choose between materialism and spirituality.

~ Mario Beauregard

Times are difficult globally; awakening is no longer a luxury or an ideal. It’s becoming critical.

View from Baha’u’llah’s prison cell in Akka – photo: Barbara Keene.

We don’t need to add more depression, more discouragement, or more anger to what’s already here.

It’s becoming essential that we learn how to relate sanely with difficult times.

The earth seems to be beseeching us to connect with joy and discover our innermost essence.

This is the best way that we can benefit others.

~ Pema Chödrön

Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose.

~Eckhart Tolle

If we can stay true to the sacred substance and sacred meaning of the seed, it will help us to be a place of rebirth: a place where the inner and outer worlds meet, where real nourishment can once again be born and flower.

Working together with the Earth, with its wonder and mystery, we can help in its healing and regeneration.”

~ Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee


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How the desert will bloom

Image: Judy Wright

 

With the return of each day’s light comes an invitation to investigate reality, rather than imitate the past. It arrives in a world of imperfection that can easily draw negative reactions from my lower nature.

Yet I’ve often been given the chance to learn that dwelling on imperfections, berating myself or others for them, serves only to increase how many of them I see.

I then begin to draw a circle of suffering for myself. It saps my time, energy, and attention (things over which I have choice), when I could instead offer these for something that is always calling to me: the possibility, in any moment, of contributing to building life’s goodness.

As I respond to that call, I discover how much preoccupation with negativity can surround my life, fill my thoughts, and absorb my precious resources. This is the debilitating presence of blind imitation of the past, which arises from the kind of thinking that was born in earlier, fearful experiences and has led to behaviors, assumptions, and beliefs that have no basis in reality.

My encounter with imperfection extends an invitation 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 every choice available to me. Rather than reacting out of a survival-driven instinct to fight imperfection, or try to escape it, I can turn toward an indwelling response, and presence, that is better-aligned with the purpose for which I’ve been created.

As it invites me into the freedom of not fighting any thing or any one (including myself), this possibility also reminds me 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 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, and receiving depends on someone willing and capable of giving. The following two service questions are a tool that can clarify my perceptions in the course of the many choices I encounter each day:

 – 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?

 

Excerpted from With Thine Own Eyes: Why Imitate the Past When We Can Investigate Reality?  http://www.amazon.com/With-Thine-Own-Eyes-Investigate-ebook/dp/B00I1JPC7I 


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Like clocks in a thunderstorm

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Photo: David Campbell / gbctours.com

GLEANINGS FOUND HERE AND THERE:

 

Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened, but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm.

~ Robert Louis Stevenson

 

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Photo: David Campbell / gbctours.com

If we are in a negative state, we have to realize that we have allowed the lower forces of nature to gain dominance over the light of God in our own character, and we have to do something about it.

We cannot blame some outside power. We have to examine ourselves and perceive the dark forces that may have affected us.

It is possible for a person’s character to be dominated by prejudices or passion, by suspicion or hatred or, again, by self-righteousness.

 ~  Hooper Dunbar, Forces of Our Time

 

We had a bunch of different sunflowers pop up in the garden before we planted anything - so I moved them to the edges of the garden and we got a bunch of different ones!  (Some from our garden last year and some I think from the compost we bo

Photo: Saffron Moser

Look ye not upon the present, fix your gaze upon the times to come.

In the beginning, how small is the seed, yet in the end it is a mighty tree.

Look ye not upon the seed, look ye upon the tree, and its blossoms and its leaves and its fruits.

~ ‘Abdu’l-Bahá


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Beyond all walls and worry

GLEANINGS FOUND HERE AND THERE:

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Photo: Karen Olin Darling

Be empty of worrying. Think of who created thought. Why do you stay in prison when the door is wide open?

Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking. Live in silence. Flow down and down in always widening rings of being.

~ Rumi

What is drawing? How does one get there? It’s working one’s way through an invisible iron wall that seems to stand between what one feels and what one can do.

How can one get through that wall? — since hammering on it doesn’t help at all. In my view, one must undermine the wall and grind through it slowly and patiently.

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

And behold, how can one remain dedicated to such a task without allowing oneself to be lured from it or distracted, unless one reflects and organizes one’s life according to principles?

And it’s the same with other things as it is with artistic matters. And the great isn’t something accidental; it must be willed. Whether originally deeds lead to principles in a person or principles lead to deeds is something that seems to me as unanswerable and as little worth answering as the question of which came first, the chicken or the egg.

But I believe it’s a positive thing and of great importance that one should try to develop one’s powers of thought and will.

~ Vincent van Gogh

When you hold on tightly to a part of your life that’s not working, it has no room to heal. Whether you’re unhappy with your love life, finances, career, home, or health, let go …If you hang on to these aspects of your life because of fears such as “What if I can’t find someone or something better?” then the situation will only worsen.

However, if you’re willing to open your hands and allow the situation to be freed, one of two situations will occur: Either it will be washed away from you and replaced by a better situation, or the situation will heal in a miraculous way. Try not to control the outcome of your troubling situation. Let go, and let God help you!

~ Doreen Virtue


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Singing the high parts, together

In this steamy East-Coast week, my heart is delighted to share A Winter’s Day, a Guest Post from writer, muser, and soul-life sounder, Larry Moffitt.

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Larry and Taeko Moffitt

A WINTER’S DAY

by Larry Moffitt

It’s late July, early, early in the morning. Slightly post pre-dawn. The sky only appears to be transitioning from dark purple to the lighter blue range. At this point, whether the horizon will ever actually brighten, whether the sun will rise, is anybody’s guess. I stand in front of the window sipping coffee. If I hold the cup right under my eye and peer over the rim toward where the sky meets the horizon, I catch the purple in the steam.

Honey Nim comes out, “What are you doing?”

One eye closed, keeping the cup absolutely still, I focus like a Shaolin monk. “I’m steaming the purple.”

“Go put on some clothes.”

“I made you some coffee. Sugar?”

“Not today, and just a little arf-n-arf. Thanks. So what are you doing?”

“Look… steam. And dark purple sky… over there near the ground.”

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Image: D. Kirkup Designs

She sips her coffee, looking thoughtfully where I’m pointing. “Yeah.”

I switch gears, sing softly, “A winter’s day, in a deep and dark December. I am alone, gazing from my window to the streets below, on a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow. I am a rock; I am an island.”

“What’s that?”

“Song… Paul and Artie… You know, ‘…and here’s to you Mrs. Robinson, heaven holds a place…’ those guys.”

“Oh yeah… tall, curly hair, sings the high part.”

“The song is about isolation and emotional detachment.”

She knows I’m headed somewhere with this, or not, and she has this nice habit of not rushing it. It’s a survival trick for when you find yourself in an international or interracial marriage. Our conversations can drift rudderless for minutes on end without anyone requiring a “point.” Until one of us gets it, we usually wait it out in the middle distance. She moves past me, closer to the window and gazes, squinting, willing the deep purple to dissolve into sunrise. 321531_266820190007774_1813369758_n

I stand behind her, talking into the back of her neck. “Which do you think is better, to give yourself freely to loving another even though you could end up broken-hearted, or to carefully protect your heart, but in doing so, never feel the roller-coaster thrill of love?”

She turned, puzzled. “What?”

It’s not a terribly complicated idea, and I knew the gap was mostly technical, so I explained it again, in more or less similar words.

“It makes him crazy,” she said.

“Love makes you crazy?”

“Yes,” she said, “know what I mean, jellybean?”

“I know what you mean, crocodile.”

I put my arms around her, drawing her in. Our cups of coffee mutually encircled one another. I sang another snippet. “I have my books and my poetry to protect me…”

“Go put on some clothes.”

484491_10151600247560269_529055315_nAbout Larry:

The final, and most difficult, seeking of my life is to find, and become, my true self. To genuinely become SanViejo (Saint Old Guy), not just have it as my email address. I was born in Liberal, Kansas — the most misnamed place since Greenland — in a breech birth. I have been on a cattle drive in Paraguay, I have been to a cockfight and I got kissed on the mouth by the Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of Kazakhstan. I am good at growing tomatoes. I am driven by three unmanageable forces: a meaning of life gene, an art & poetry gene, and a humor gene. Not necessarily in that order. I want to live by the side of the road and be a friend to man.


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What gives energy rather than takes it

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Photo: Diane Kirkup

It’s a very powerful choice, the option we’re given each day, about where we direct our energy and attention.

At its heart, it seems to be a matter of how we might choose to shift and raise our emotional tone.

This is the daily gift, the one already bestowed, that we needn’t earn or search for or figure out how to “get”. It’s waiting in each day, hour, and moment, in unlimited supply. The limits arise from how we might overlook, dismiss, or ignore it. This may be the root of the very definition of ignorance.

Yet the mercy is that even when we forget, overlook, or ignore, we can begin again, as many times as we like, or need. And the grace is that the more that we do, the more that practice seems to help us reach for the kindness of this option more quickly – to want to reach for it, even when the pull from inner insistence, demand to be right, tug at us especially hard. It can feel like an act of empowerment to choose this constructive response over allowing those other reactions to run wild like a pack of unruly dogs.

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Photo: Diane Kirkup

Why does that old pull succeed in snagging us at all? The answers are typically the usual suspects. Firstly, it will bring some sort of pay-off – some degree of pleasure, certainly, and also, some element of pain can be a pay-off, too, because it’s more fuel for the story we’ll tell ourselves about it, and the identity we’ll start to spin and weave around that.

Oh, the sweet freedom of stepping into the mid-air spaciousness of not choosing any of those old, misdirected habits, those premature conclusions based only on past experience. The lower end of the emotional scale has one agenda: let’s wallow in what it means to be miserable, and let’s be right. And, perhaps, an even bigger agenda: let’s avoid facing the reality of the matter at all.

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Photo: Diane Kirkup

Eroding into a negative and displeased emotional tone is usually about either resisting or running away from emotion that arises, rather than actually meeting it and feeling. Like waves that are going to wash up on the beach of life, feelings will come, and bring with them an energy and a momentum.

When I don’t invest in a lower emotional tone, don’t buttress and reinforce it, shrug it on like a cloak, take it up like a duty or a sentence, there’s an inner vision, a spirit of faith just waiting to reach toward the lift and propelling joy of a higher one. It gives energy rather than taking it. It feels wonderful, like a favorite memory. It’s always a possibility, as long as some story, some made-up figment that’s never been real, isn’t allowed to convince me otherwise.

I must remind myself that the human world offers very little reinforcement for this; often, none. But I am well capable of remembering what does — and of asking for help when I forget.


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Presence dissolves the past

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Painting: “Ice Flow” by Diane Kirkup / https://www.etsy.com/shop/DKirkupDesigns

As you become more conscious of your present reality, you may suddenly get certain insights as to why your conditioning functions in those particular ways; for example, why your relationships follow certain patterns, and you may remember things that happened in the past or see them more clearly.

That is fine and can be helpful, but it is not essential.

What is essential is your conscious presence. That dissolves the past. That is the transformative agent.

So don’t seek to understand the past, but be as present as you can. The past cannot survive in your presence. It can only survive in your absence.

~ Eckhart Tolle

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The minute you say, ‘My memory isn’t what it used to be’ or ‘I can’t remember a thing today,’ you are actually training your brain to live up to your diminished expectations.

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Photo: Fran Berman

Low expectations mean low results …

But what if you do the opposite? What if you teach your brain to be unlimited?

Think of your brain as being like a Steinway grand piano. All the keys are in place, ready to work at the touch of a finger.  Whether a beginner sits down at the keyboard or a world-renowned virtuoso like Vladimir Horowitz or Arthur Rubinstein, the instrument is physically the same. But the music that comes out will be vastly different.

The beginner uses less than 1 percent of the piano’s potential; the virtuoso is pushing the limits of the instrument.”

~ Deepak Chopra