Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details


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How copper becomes gold

Photo: Saffron Moser

 

Some words that particularly guide the way for me, right now —

“The teachings of the Bahá’í Faith instruct us to work to reshape society based on principles of love, inclusiveness, and reciprocity.

“This requires that our means be consistent with our ends―that is, by transcending current approaches that tend to divide people into contending groups, raising consciousness in such a way as to bring them together in the earnest and honest search for solutions.

Photo: Diane Kirkup

“The language we use and the attitudes we take, while not ignoring the harsh realities that exist in the world, should appeal to the nobler aspirations of our fellow-citizens. They should reflect assurance that the vast majority of us sincerely desire justice, and must be unifying rather than divisive.

“Above all, our approach must be suffused with the spirit of the sacred Word, which grants us access to immense spiritual resources. Indeed, it is the one power on earth that can transform the copper of human consciousness into the gold of spiritual perception and behavior.”

 ~ National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States, February 25, 2017.


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Eternal life begins with what lasts forever

Some thoughts in darkening hours, and a dawning Season of Light:

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Photo: Oliver Schratz

Nothing that exists remains in a state of repose.

Everything is either growing or declining.

Benevolent Forces are in evidence, as we are invited away from “fighting evil” toward our human family’s next exciting stage: creative, collaborative, and limitless building of the good.

We are here to mirror to each other the attributes of our Creator.

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Photo: Nelson Ashberger

Every attribute and faculty we possess, known and unknown, comes into balance as we strive to align the acts of giving and receiving.

Eternal life begins when we honor what lasts forever.

The gift of this age, bestowed on all humanity, is the right each one of us has to investigate reality independently, and to learn to see with the eye of oneness.

The natural outcome of that is to express —  willingly — joyful acts of service, our personal and collective pathway for building the good.

These should be more than enough points of focus to free our hearts from the weight of a world’s unreal illusions this week.

Here’s hoping.

Learn more about these possibilities in With Thine Own Eyes: Why Imitate the Past When We Can Investigate Reality?

Find more about the book at:

http://www.amazon.com/Thine-Own-Eyes-Imitate-Investigate-ebook/dp/B00I1JPC7I


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Dancing with what is “impossible-to-predict”

Hot New Releases in Cultural Heritage Fiction

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The Munich Girl: A Novel of the Legac...


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The same winds blow on us all

There’s a game I used to share in my conference-planning days because it could quickly unite a diverse group of people who didn’t yet know each other.

Called “The West Wind Blows,” it has players sit in chairs arranged in a circle while one person in the middle calls out different sorts of descriptors such as “The West Wind blows on everybody wearing socks” or “The West Wind blows on everyone who’s ever gone skiing.” If the description applies to you, you stand up and scurry to another place in the circle.

In order to be a good sport and keep things lively, you have to move out of the “safe” comfort zone of simply swapping places with someone next to you and strike out into the circle itself. If the chairs are all filled before you find a new one, you get the privilege of being the one in the middle trying to think up the next description until you’re able to rush to an empty seat again.

11014906_824910567597565_94928212601865149_nAt its best, this game keeps everyone moving around, often for quite some time, and just about all ages can play it together. Within minutes, this resource can weld a motley group of 50 adults and children into a bustling, giggling mass of happy humanity all focused on the same thing. It’s one of those opportunities that gives everyone permission to let down barriers to knowing each other when we’re sometimes not even sure why those barriers exist in the first place.

As many games do, it also offers chances to model or reinforce positive kinds of behaviors. You have to cooperate and pay attention. You have to move skillfully and quickly while being considerate and careful of others’ movements.

And in order for the game to really be enjoyable, it absolutely has to avoid becoming competitive. In groups that can include grandparents, teens, schoolkids, parents, and toddlers, it doesn’t usually take long before big people start helping the very small ones and kids suddenly start giving up their seat to an elder or peer who’s having trouble getting out of the middle. (Not that being in the middle is such a bad thing.)

The variation and balance of similarities and differences is what seems key in this game, what keeps everyone attentive, and ensures that all will be included. Curiously, your best chance at getting out of the middle is to be as inclusive as possible. The greater the number of people you get up and moving, the greater your chances of finding a chair — and the more fun everyone has. You might say that inclusiveness is the game’s objective, and the way you reach it is by focusing on how much more similar we are than different.

A coming together of the world’s peoples in a relationship as harmonious, open, and welcoming as a good game of The West Wind Blows is clearly a need of our times, if a far more complex prospect. There seems little doubt that creating such a universal culture of collaboration and conciliation will require great, persevering effort on our part, as well as creativity, and compassion.

The job is big, the tasks complex, and many of the elements quite daunting. But the promise is big, and the reward unprecedented, if we can find the wisdom and will to truly embrace the diversity with which the Creator has gifted us and let it be the path to unity it’s intended to be.

Bahá’u’lláh reminds: “The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established. … Deal ye one with another with the utmost love and harmony, with friendliness and fellowship.”

And, lest we forget, feel frustrated, or think this all may not be achievable, it helps to remember the darkness it will dispel: “So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth.” LAFS6377506

No matter what kinds of winds may blow on us, or how hard, it does appear that we’ll benefit far more by facing them together.

From Life at First Sight: Finding the Divine in the Details

Find more about the book at:

http://www.amazon.com/Life-First-Sight-Finding-Details-ebook/dp/B00B5MR9B0/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=


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Eternal life begins as we acquire what lasts forever

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Image: Judy Wright

When the span between the trustworthy and the treacherous seems chasm-wide in the world of human doing, we can remember:

 ~ Nothing that exists remains in a state of repose. Everything is either growing or declining.

 ~ Kind forces are drawing us away from preoccupation with “fighting evil” toward creative, collaborative, and limitless building of the good.

 ~ We are here to mirror to each other the attributes of the Creator.

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Image: Judy Wright

 ~ Every attribute and faculty we possess, known and unknown, comes into balance as we strive to align the acts of giving and receiving.

 ~ An eternal life begins when we begin to acquire what lasts forever.

 ~ The gift of this age, bestowed on all humanity, is the right each one of us has to investigate reality independently.

 ~ The natural outcome of that expresses itself in willing, joyful acts of service — the personal and collective pathway for building the good.

How am I honoring and expressing that potential on my path?

How will it free my heart from the weight of a world’s unreal illusions this week?

WTOEimage.phpAuthors Ron Tomanio, Diane Iverson and Phyllis Ring explore these themes in With Thine Own Eyes: Why Imitate the Past When We Can Investigate Reality?.

Find more about the book at:

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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Devotee to the delight of discovery

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Artwork: Judy Hughey Wright

The greatest gift in creative process may be the way in which it leads so naturally — and enjoyably — to the harmonizing of heart and mind.

Show up for any blank page, canvas, or other creative endeavor and it quickly becomes obvious just how much our heart and mind are designed to be collaborators on a journey of learning, and expression, in service to truth. A lot of cultural influences set heart and mind against each other as adversaries, which may explain a lot of anguish in human experience.

In reality, the process of creating anything requires the harmonizing and partnership of these aspects of ourselves in a dynamic coherence and balance. And — the paradoxical bonus, if we’re brave enough to step onto the high wire of creating, which often has so much of the unknown looming underneath — is that it feels good. And so do we, when we experience it. Because wholeness is what we’re made for, and, mercifully, we can’t do it wrong.

Immersed in a book’s writing process again, I’m reminded that faithfulness to this process involves being present to discover what is ready to be revealed, and what I am ready to receive, rather than trying to force or impose anything. There is an invitation here, which, like any invitation, asks me to accept and receive it on its terms, rather than any agenda or desired outcome of mine.

When I’m able to comply, what comes to meet me feels powerful and also mysteriously subtle; encircling, and, at the same time, wholly liberating. It feels something like what life is meant to be, rather than what so much unhelpful information tries to convince us that it is.

A recent study that’s getting a lot of mileage right now describes how the experience of writing (and we could substitute any creative experience that attracts us) can lead to a greater sense of happiness and personal meaning. When the study engaged participants in writing activities, it found that they were shifted “from a self-defeating way of thinking into a more optimistic cycle that reinforces itself,” according to Timothy D. Wilson, University of Virginia psychology professor and lead author of the study.

Creative process apparently not only helps us feel better, but also broadens and elevates our worldview. The title of Wilson’s book, based on the study, seems to catch the gist of why and how this matters: Redirect: Changing the Stories We Live By. Perhaps an important question is: just who or what is creating those stories?

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Image: D. Kirkup Designs

On my own path of creative experience, I find that in order for a story to take its fullest shape, which necessarily involves my coming to know what I haven’t seemed to know before, my mind must surrender. As it does this, almost like an observing dreamer, it seems to merge with, and serve, something else. I’ve yet to find words that describe this more completely than Albert Einstein’s:

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

Just what would our world, and our lives, be like if we did remember that sacred gift, and the rational mind became able and willing, to serve it?

Perhaps that surrender that I experience, an easing up of the rational mind, with its “certainties” and limits, is what helped those study participants break through to a better-feeling place as they engaged in creative process.

What if the creative process itself is what helps us to remember that gift, and to treasure it, and remember just how it is meant to be served?


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Spiritual evolution, or identity crisis?

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

 

Humanity is on the verge of a spiritual evolutionary leap into a future where lasting global peace is not only possible but inevitable.

Do we believe it?

If so, what vision of it do we carry inside us, how precious do we hold that vision, and what do we each do to express it?

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

The human family is moving toward this stage of spiritual maturity through a dawning recognition of the oneness and interrelatedness in which it has been created, together with all of creation.

And it is approaching the beauty of this vision through the release of the gems of spiritual potential that lie waiting in every heart.

As human beings, we’re held back from crossing this bridge to the degree that we lack understanding about our true identity and purpose.

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Photo: David Campbell

All around us, we can see the ways in which this lack of understanding has reached a state of desperation that is reflected in disastrous consequences at every level of human activity and relationship.

Most often this leads to isolation, a perspective from which times can look dark, indeed.

However, as souls gain awareness and understanding of our truest identity and purpose, humanity will come to understand that the forces at work in human life are impelling us away from a centuries-old preoccupation with survival and “fighting evil” towards our highest destiny.

WTOEimage.phpThat vision might be described as a creative, collaborative and potentially limitless building of the good, in which every individual has a part to play, and every culture its unique contributions to make.

Explore these and related themes in

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

http://www.amazon.com/Thine-Own-Eyes-Imitate-Investigate-ebook/dp/B00I1JPC7I/