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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What cannot be sequestered

The ways in which each of us chooses to show love, receive forgiveness, and express other attributes is our own spiritual fingerprint.

And just like our physical fingerprint, it is unique to us.

Nobody in the past, present, or future will love exactly the same way that each of us does.

Each time that we give or receive — especially in sequestered times like these — an attribute of God, a facet of the infinite jewel, is revealed.

In this way, we make an invaluable contribution because we have added to what can be perceived of divinity.

And because we are all capable of making such a contribution, this means that each individual is absolutely indispensable.

When we give or receive acts of service, we become engaged in the process of investigating our own reality and gradually, more is revealed about who we really are. And about the great mysteries of truth.

In this process, we gradually disperse the dust and veils of an illusory identity that has been formed by living in a culture that is immersed in blind imitation of the past.

That illusory identity of our human nature takes form, and is reinforced, through the ways in which we allow cultural conditioning, worldly attachment, and fear to determine what we see, feel, believe, and choose.

Curiously, the higher, truer perception from which, and for which, we are created is unfailingly and limitlessly generous and kind. If we choose it. And it appears that the “clock” and schedule for doing this, while we live on this earthly plane, is a daily one, often appearing hour-to-hour, moment-to-moment.

If anything seems called-for in a time like this one, it is N-E-W (non-ego-willed) awareness that can open the way to possibilities and solutions we haven’t yet been able to envision. That awareness will also bring the humbling grace of helping us to perceive and come to understand what has never been true, but has succeeded in keeping us from our highest reality.

Once those veils are lifted, we encounter and discover our true and unique individual identity.

The process can begin in any moment, with a genuine act of service that is always motivated by the attributes of God that are latent within each of our hearts.

It is our free-will decision that brings forth these “gems of inestimable value”. And these gems will light our way, in this season of change, growth, and renewal.

 

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

Find more about the book at: https://www.amazon.com/Thine-Own-Eyes-Imitate-Investigate-ebook/dp/B00I1JPC7I

 

 


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The cup is … refillable

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Georges De Feure, “Ferme au bord du Zuiderzee, 1910.

 

Our journey is about being more deeply involved in life and less attached to it.

~ Ram Dass

 

11892078_1011069658923828_8122238579020981986_nWhatever happens to you, don’t fall in despair.

Even if all the doors are closed, a secret path will be there for you that no one knows.

You can’t see it yet but so many paradises are at the end of this path.

Be grateful! It is easy to thank after obtaining what you want, thank before having what you want.

 ~ Shams Tabrizi

 


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Life’s generous invitations

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Photo: Saffron Moser

Spring flowers remind us to be happy.

It’s as though God treasured this invitation in each one, then spread them abundantly about the landscape to ensure we wouldn’t miss it.

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Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t. 

~ Steve Maraboli

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Painting: Judy Wright

 

Every day of your life is a page of your history. 

~ North African proverb

Life is lived forwards but understood backwards.

~ Congolese proverb

She who has not carried a load herself does not know how heavy it is.

~ Ugandan proverb


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Lighting the way

GLEANINGS FOUND HERE AND THERE

Love is a light that never dwelleth in a heart possessed by fear.

 ~ Bahá’u’lláh

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

Do everything with a mind that lets go.

Don’t accept praise or gain or anything else.

If you let go a little you will have a little peace; if you let go a lot you will have a lot of peace; if you let go completely you will have complete peace.

~ Ajahn Chah


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Pearls of great price

“Were ye to discover the hidden, the shoreless oceans of My incorruptible wealth, ye would, of a certainty, esteem as nothing the world, nay, the entire creation.

“… My holy, My divinely ordained Revelation may be likened unto an ocean in whose depths are concealed innumerable pearls of great price, of surpassing luster.

“ … This most great, this fathomless and surging Ocean is near, astonishingly near, unto you. Behold it is closer to you than your life-vein! Swift as the twinkling of an eye ye can, if ye but wish it, reach and partake of this imperishable favor, this God-given grace, this incorruptible gift, this most potent and unspeakably glorious bounty.

“Could ye apprehend with what wonders of My munificence and bounty I have willed to entrust your souls, ye would, of a truth, rid yourselves of attachment to all created things, and would gain a true knowledge of your own selves—a knowledge which is the same as the comprehension of Mine own Being.

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Image: Cary Enoch Reinstein / enochsvision.com

Ye would find yourselves independent of all else but Me, and would perceive, with your inner and outer eye, and as manifest as the revelation of My effulgent Name, the seas of My loving-kindness and bounty moving within you.

“ … Obstruct not the luminous spring of thy soul with the thorns and brambles of vain and inordinate affections, and impede not the flow of the living waters that stream from the fountain of thine heart.”

~ Bahá’u’lláh

 


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Beyond limits and doubt

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Courtesy Julie Bond Genovese / http://nothingshortofjoy.com

With thanks to Christine DeLorey for these November gems:

At any given moment, life is completely senseless. But viewed over a period, it seems to reveal itself as an organism existing in time, having a purpose, and trending in a certain direction. ~ Aldous Huxley

Nothing we ever imagine is beyond our powers, only beyond our present self knowledge. ~ Theodore Roszak

For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life! But there was always some obstacle, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business. Then life would begin. At last, it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.

~ Alfred D. Souza

The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. ~ Franklin Roosevelt

You must stoop a little in order to jump. ~ Scott Fitzgerald

Learn more about Christine DeLorey’s work at: http://creativenumerology.com


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Pathway to the hearing ear

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Photo: D. Kirkup Designs

The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.

~ Hans Hofmann

If I practice silence, even for small moments each day, what might I hear that is otherwise drowned out by my voice, or my thoughts? How can this allow what I express to move beyond the mind’s running commentary? How might it help me to imbibe, investigate, and reflect, and draw me into deeper, richer soils in which to plant seeds of viable ideas?

Lama Willa Miller, spiritual director of New Hampshire’s Wonderwell Mountain Refuge retreat center, describes how retreat, and silence, are gifts available to us each day — if we receive them. “Taking such a sacred pause allows us to draw away from the busyness of everyday life …. “That’s where we can check in with ourselves about what we’re doing and where we’re going, and why; where we can ask the kinds of questions needed for living a meaningful life.”

This, it seems, is where we have the most needful and life-sustaining conversation of all. “Once you find that quiet,” she says, “you also discover that it gives you space, and with that comes peace, and clarity.”

In an address given at the Westminster Friends’ Meeting House in London in January of 1912, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said: “Bahá’u’lláh says there is a sign from God in every phenomenon. The sign of the intellect is contemplation, and the sign of contemplation is silence; because it is impossible for man to do two things at the same time – he cannot both speak and meditate.

It is an axiomatic fact that while you meditate you are speaking with your own spirit. In that state of mind you put certain questions to your spirit, the spirit answers, the light breaks forth, and reality is revealed …

Meditation is the key for opening the doors of mysteries. In that state man abstracts himself: in that state man withdraws himself from all outside objects; in that subjective mood he is immersed in the ocean of spiritual life and can unfold the secrets of things-in-themselves. To illustrate this, think of man as endowed with two kinds of sight; when the power of insight is being used the outward power of vision does not see.”

This faculty of meditation frees man from the animal nature, discerns the reality of things, puts man in touch with God.”


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Fear’s remedy does not perish

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

Fear can be instructive when I experience it, though I’m not meant to dwell on it, or in it.

If I understand the inner signals of fear, whose purpose is to educate and inform me, I can choose to make the necessary adjustments in belief and behavior that will prevent for me the unhealthy and painful mental state of being consumed by that fear.

Most often, that state seems one of attempting to avoid the fear, rather than meeting it and receiving what it has to reveal.

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

In the physical world, a fear signal is often a potentially life-saving reaction that prompts me to move quickly out the way of harm to my physical self.

In spiritual terms, I can also experience triggers of fear that point to what could pose danger to my own true and most enduring reality. This signal often arises when I cross the line of moderation and form an attachment to some aspect of the material world.

For every worldly attachment I make, I can gain an unhealthy fear, then easily become overwhelmed by such fears. The remedy, detachment, is in refraining from allowing my physical possessions, the things I do, the things I think, feel, believe, to possess me. For these are what perish.WTOEimage.php

The heart, it seems, is never at rest and never finds real joy and happiness until it attaches itself to the eternal, to what does not perish.

Adapted from 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/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1410352058&sr=8-1&keywords=with+thine+own+eyes


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The journey from mind to heart

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“Colorado Moon” by Judy Hughey Wright

 

Perhaps the most subtle and most difficult transition for us to make is to move from the use and understanding of human traits by the human nature to the employing of divine qualities by our spiritual nature. This has been described as the longest journey — from the mind to the heart.

The human nature, using the limited vision of the rational mind, doesn’t have the capacity to perceive divinity and easily makes the mistake of believing that we, ourselves, are the source of such spiritually motivated actions as generosity, mercy and justice. This misconception leads inevitably to arrogance, the hallmark of the ego, and we cannot approach God with what is essentially the exact opposite of the attribute that is required for this — humility.

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“Bright Spot” by Judy Hughey Wright

In his book Love, Power and Justice author William Hatcher notes that “we are the only creatures of God who have the capacity to be aware of our dependency on God”.

It is the spiritual nature that possesses the capacity to recognize that the amazing virtues of love, mercy, kindness originate with God and that we are privileged to use these infinite attributes that God has placed within us in infinite combinations to enhance our lives. We can remember now, when someone thanks us for being kind or merciful, to acknowledge in our heart the divine source of kindness or mercy. In this way we can grow in humility,  and carry in our awareness the source of these qualities and thus draw closer to that source.

The animal and human nature each ask the same question in all our interactions with the world: “Do I eat it or does it eat me?” The human nature wears better clothes and couches the same question in more sophisticated language, such as, “Do I win or do you win?” or “Who controls who in this relationship?”

WTOEimage.phpThe spiritual nature always asks the same question, no matter in what world it happens to reside: “What do I need to do to ‘approach the Divine’?” Or perhaps more specifically: “What act of service do I need to give or receive in order to ‘approach the Divine’?”

 

Excerpted from 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/ref=la_B00IS9LEZA_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404764134&sr=1-4