Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details


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Root causes and remedies

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Photo: Aletta Reimer Weiss

What underlies the root of all our ills: blind imitation of the past.

The remedy: 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.

Imitations of ancestral beliefs have hindered progress for thousands of years. Imitation emphasizes points of disagreement and division among religions, the real foundation of which is oneness.

Imitation obstructs the way to divine knowledge and bounty.

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Photo: Aletta Reimer Weiss

So long as the shadows of 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 the oneness of religion 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

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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Each day holds glimpses of heaven

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Photo: Cary Enoch

Many aspects of life these days bring a sharp edge that slices into our vulnerable hearts the way paper cuts snag us as if they’ve been lying in wait. Yet, as one friend points out, they happen because we make contact with something.

“Can’t we just try to be kind, to ease up? Can’t we just let love in?” another friend fairly gasped in despair one day recently when the onslaught of news about utterly savage things seemed too much to bear.

The simplest answer is, absolutely we can. Things can all feel so overwhelming, our small, human selves quite powerless, or overpowered — yet the real power we have has been deposited securely in a place that’s always safe from any sort of harm. And its use is designed to be easy and uncomplicated.

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Photo: Aletta Reimer Weiss

One experience that my friend Ronnie received in his work with brain-injured folks continues to bring this home to me, to really penetrate my heart with the truth of it, as the years go by.

In the day program for the clients with whom he works, activities are held in a large community building shared by several service organizations.

One day, an adult client who had been hit by a car as a child was being fed his lunch by his caregiver in the building’s cafeteria. Food was dripping down his chin onto his bib, and he was in no position to clean his own face, or even ask for it to be cleaned. Other than one arm that seems to have a life of its own, he has little control over his own body.

But he has total control over his own heart, Ronnie says.

He’d become the friend of a group of 3-year-olds who attend a pre-school in the same building. Each day, after they finished their lunch, they’d crowd around their friend’s wheelchair and tell him all about their day. They weren’t the least bit bothered by the fact that he is unable to answer them, or that bits of food fall off his bib onto the floor. After all, they often have the same problem.

11014906_824910567597565_94928212601865149_nOn this particular day, as Ronnie watched this little group, he suddenly spotted one of those glimpses of heaven we get to see, if we’re paying attention. The small, enthusiastic voices were regaling the young man in the wheelchair, and he was sitting quietly, as he has no choice but to do.

And then, in the next unexpected moment, he raised that sometimes wayward arm. There was, no doubt, some concern among the adult onlookers, as he waved it around. Then, it settled softly on a little girl’s shoulder, like a broken-winged bird.

She smiled up at him, and he smiled down at her.

Life is made up of moments, and some of those moments are pure heaven, Ronnie says. But you need to look carefully for them because sometimes they happen in a crowded lunchroom and if you are always looking up, or down, or somewhere else distractedly, you just might miss them.

Fortunately, he adds, life is very generous with the portions of these it dishes out — a veritable feast, no matter what harsh winds blow or dark clouds roll over our heads. These are the gifts waiting for us to exchange, and not a single day will withhold them from us.

coverthumbAdapted from Life at First Sight: Finding the Divine in the Details:

http://rcm-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=leaofthetre-20&o=1&p=8&l=as4&m=amazon&f=ifr&ref=ss_til&asins=1931847673″


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The whole sky to fly in

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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Photo: Saffron Moser

Spring and flowers and happiness all dwell together in a snapshot scene from a long-ago Equinox.

As I packed up our Toyota for the Naw-Rúz (New Year, for Baha’is) party that night, I opened the car door to find our small son sitting in the backseat so surrounded by a mass of daffodils that I could barely see him. To ensure that the flowers traveled safely, my husband gave him the task of holding them and it was the first time he’d seen these harbingers of spring.

It’s hard to remember which was bigger, or brighter — that explosion of golden blooms, or his huge grin as he clutched his precious cargo. That smile was about the only part of him I could see.

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Photo: Saffron Moser

This scene had prophecy in it. Today, our son grows hundreds of thousands of plants and sends them out into the wide world.

As I remember that day on this spring morning nearly 30 years later, with the sounds of wild geese flying over the house, I feel a soft sadness brush against me, rather the way a dog or cat might.

Such feelings seem the inevitable outcome of simply living through the decades, a necessary component of the blessing of life, the contrast between happy memories and wistful ones, wintry days and brilliant spring sunshine, dark and light.

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Photo: Kathy Gilman

When we pause to reflect, it’s so often the contrast we come to see and recall. As one character in my recent work says, when confronted with the passage — and wages — of  time:

Didn’t it all turn out differently than we expected?

Didn’t it once seem there would be the whole sky to fly in?”

It did, no doubt for all of us. It’s not what we thought, or perhaps planned or expected.

And yet, like the flowers and other plants that bloom and reappear so faithfully around us each year, there is fresh beauty and possibility in each new day. Even in the cells of the moments that make them up.

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Photo: Saffron Moser

No, it’s never what we thought, because it’s so very much bigger. When we look. And see. It really is the whole sky, and it will come to meet us when we stop hurling ourselves against it.

In their essence, daffodils, like so many spring flowers, remind us to be happy. It’s as though God treasured this special invitation in each one and then spread them abundantly about the landscape to make sure we wouldn’t miss it.

May each new springtime remind us we are truly unlimited  beings, however earthly our journey often seems.


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The treasures in the moments

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Image: Judy Hughey Wright

GLEANINGS FROM HERE AND THERE:

You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith, and hope.

~ Thomas Merton

The Universe does not know whether the vibration that you’re offering is because of something you’re observing or something you’re remembering or something that you are imagining. It just receives the vibration and answers it with things that match it.

~ Abraham-Hicks

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Image: Judy Hughey Wright

Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world. 

~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

photo 1

Image: Judy Hughey Wright

O God
Whenever I listen
to the voice of anything you have made —
The rustling of the trees
The trickling of water
The cries of the birds
The flickering of shadow
The roar of the wind
The song of the thunder,
I hear it saying:
God is One!
Nothing can be compared with God!

~ Rabi’a  717–801, Sufi saint, woman mystic


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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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What the indomitable spirit knows

So happy to share a Guest Post this week

from artist/writer Jane Bernhardt:

Yesterday I met a young man, Pierre Gerard, who is studying “phytoremediation”, which plant forms use for various kinds of detoxification.

When I expressed surprise he said, “Yes, it’s a large field of study.”

So now I’m picturing these fields, full of pollutants or damaged soil or toxic landfill …

and the scientist/farmers are planting fixer crops of sunflowers and grasses and all sorts of healing strains.

I let my mind wander and look around at the beautiful human efforts that have turned tides of darkness or despair, whether it is a young woman placing a flower on a tank, or a small Indian man leading a vast nation to keep its own salt and weave its own cotton and turn away the great British Empire.

Mother Theresa loving the outcasts and becoming a powerful global voice – a saint … or Nelson Mandela waiting decades behind bars for the chance to forgive and gently lead a wounded nation.

You could tell these stories for days on end and never stop being amazed.

So why are we soaking up our conscious fields with stress and fear? Yes: there are tragedies and terrible injustices. There are threats to our survival.

But what does the indomitable spirit know?

SC-front-cover-thumb-sizeThere is no death.

Love is the most powerful weapon in the universe for all eternity.

We are not alone: legions of ancestors and angels and divine emissaries of all descriptions are here to love us, encourage us … to show us that, really, there IS only love.

And we are here for each other.

Call your sisters and brothers. Gather in circles. We are powerful. We are great. We are weaving darkness into light, every time we choose to love … beginning with our gnarly selves.

Fall in love with everything. If it didn’t work today, try it again tomorrow.

Don’t give up. You are loved.1_janebernhardt

Learn more about Jane’s wonderful work at http://janebernhardt.com.

Jane shares illuminations in her first book, We Are Here: Love Never Dies, and her latest release, The Sweet Conversation, includes inspiring messages received over a six-year period as well as exercises for the reader to enter more deeply into a personal relationship with the Source of Love.

Join a widening community of Listening Circles that is springing up, using this manuscript as inspiration for expanding spiritual guidance.


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We’re all crew on this ship

481783_10151382929251802_706189485_nIn these times of tumult, for mind and heart, words of Buckminster Fuller’s are a kind of psychospiritual re-alignment that opens a horizon of hope:

“I live on Earth at present, and I don’t know what I am.

I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing – a noun.

I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process – an integral function of the universe.”

Bucky Fuller was deeply knowledgeable – and concerned – about sustainability, and also optimistic about humanity’s future.

He defined wealth as real and applicable knowledge that would also protect, nurture, support, respect and include the needs of all life here on what he called “Spaceship Earth”.

uss_united_statesHe suggested that humans had attained an “unprecedented state” at which accumulation of relevant knowledge, combined with quantities of major recyclable resources that had already been extracted from the earth had reached the level at which competition for necessities was no longer a necessary or a wise strategy.

Rather, he said, cooperation had become the optimum foundation for survival.

“Selfishness,” Bucky declared, “is unnecessary and hence-forth unrationalizable … War is obsolete.”

He also emphasized that truly viable views of humanity’s future need to include not only everyone’s needs, but their contributions as collaborators. On Spaceship Earth, we are all crew.


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The remedy still resides in us

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

My thanks to BoomerCafe for including a piece of mine this week:

Thirteen years ago, my father and I were reminiscing about his years in Civil Defense after a 22-year Army career, my mother’s experience during the London Blitz in World War II, and the incredible good that terrible times can uncover in people.

Then, as we were passing through Atlanta on I-75, we spied an electronic highway message board that read: “National Emergency — All Airports Closed.” As the car radio revealed a cascade of events too large to grasp, I experienced a feeling of smallness and vulnerability unlike any I remember as all my illusions of safety came down at once, like those two destroyed skyscrapers.

Four days later, after a Category 3 hurricane had made landfall near my dad’s Florida home and I’d truly begun to wonder whether the world was coming to an end, I took my place in a blocks-long line at Tampa’s International Airport. I was praying this might be the day I’d finally be able to get home to New Hampshire, on one of the very first flights in the country after eerily quiet days of empty skies.

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Photo courtesy Jen Verhelle

Every single child I saw that day looked scared. Most of the younger ones clutched their backpacks like stuffed animals, if they didn’t happen to be holding those, too. Their parents looked grim, if not equally frightened.

One boy of about 9, who, with his parents and younger brother was waiting to board the same plane I was, seemed unable to contain his terror. His plaintive sounds were agonizing, perhaps because so many of us also had them muffled way down deep. His parents, exhausted after days of canceled flights — a trip to Disney World that had become a nightmare from which they couldn’t seem to awaken — were doing their best to calm him, with no effect.

Gradually, others stepped forward to try, including airline employees. Obviously a polite child, he would hear them out, but then his sobs and agitation returned. He was convinced that if he got on that airplane, on any airplane, he was going to die.

Read the rest at: http://www.boomercafe.com/2014/09/11/remembering-9-11-importance-family

 

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Adapted from Life at First Sight: Finding the Divine in the Details: 

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

 


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The diamonds of spiritual treasure

I am grateful for a Guest Post from author Ron Tomanio, adapted from his

Walking the Mystical Path with Practical Feet series:

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Surviving Difficult and Painful Events – Unearthing the Diamonds Within

“The Great Being saith: Regard man as mine rich in gems of inestimable value.” Baha’u’llah

We see sparkling diamonds that have been cut and polished without giving a lot of thought to the difficult mining process that produced such beauty. Unearthing spiritual diamonds can also be a difficult process, but results in fully rounded wondrous qualities that have existed in a state of potentiality within us since the moment of our creation.

If we are fortunate, we have some friends who live lives of beauty every day. Sometimes we are able to know the difficult and painful events that have shaped them, but more often we see, like the diamonds in a jewelry store, only the finished product.Untitled1

One such friend was Larry Akeley. Larry’s father was an engineer who had great expectations that his son would follow in his footsteps by pursuing an engineering degree. Larry tried, he really tried, but God did not endow him with that sort of mind. He dropped out of college and his father was furious. He told Larry, “You’re no son of mine!”

This comment crushed Larry and he spiraled downhill, falling every way an individual can fall—drugs, nervous breakdown. and finally, homelessness that led him to live in the New-Hampshire woods in an abandoned cabin. The day came when he decided to choose quick suicide over slow suicide. His plan was to walk out of the woods to the main road turn right and meet up with other drug-users living in the woods and take an overdose. He stood at the crossroads and for reasons he didn’t understand, chose to turn left and away from taking his life, at least for the moment. He had no plan beyond putting one foot in front of the other.

An elderly woman stopped and offered him a ride. He was stunned, but he accepted. She offered to take him to her home where she gave him some of her son’s clothes and allowed him to use her shower. She gave him a hot meal, and hope, and they became lifelong friends.

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Photos: David Campbell / GBCTours.com

Decades went by and Larry’s father developed dementia. His mother became the primary caregiver until she passed away. Then Larry helped take care of his father like the elderly lady took care of him years earlier. Toward the end of his father’s life the nursing home insisted on strapping his father to the bed at night because he would roll out of bed and hurt himself. Seeing his father restrained in this way bothered the soft-hearted Larry. His solution was to sleep at night on the floor next to his father’s bed and let his father fall on his soft, cushy belly.

Because he was willing to let his experience help mine his inner diamonds, Larry accessed the educational aspects of his difficult experience while avoiding its potentially destructive aspects. He let it break open his heart, developing facets of the qualities of love and forgiveness that he might not otherwise have acquired.

Larry’s own life came to its end just a few years later. The brilliance of his spiritual transcendence still shines brightly for those of us who knew him here, and love him still.


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To live while we’re alive

Gleanings found here and there:

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“Treehugger”, Tobey A. Ring

It is not the end of the physical body that should worry us. Rather, our concern must be to live while we’re alive – to release our inner selves from the spiritual death that comes with living behind a facade designed to conform to external definitions of who and what we are.

~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

We have been called to heal wounds, to unite what has fallen apart, and to bring home any who have lost their way.

~ St. Francis to the first friars

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Blossoms, Vanessa R. Jette

As long as this exists,” I thought, “and I may live to see it, this sunshine, the cloudless skies, while this lasts, I cannot be unhappy.”

The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature, and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature.

As long as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.

~ Anne Frank