Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details


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“The path that is my duty now”

“I must pray more and more for courage, as I certainly have neither the courage or strength to follow the path that is certainly my duty now.

With the fears and rages, that possess many confused people, if I say things that seem to threaten their interests or conflict with obsessions, then I will surely get it.

I need patience to listen, to learn, to try to understand, and courage to take all the consequences and be really faithful.

This alone is a full-time job.

I dread it, but it must be done, and I don’t quite know how.

To save my soul, by trying to be one of those who spoke and worked for peace, not for madness and destruction.”

~ Thomas Merton, November 12, 1961

Image courtesy Judy Wright

“Man has two aspects: the physical, which is subject to nature, and the merciful or divine, which is connected with God. If the physical or natural disposition in him should overcome the heavenly and merciful, he is, then, the most degraded of animal beings; and if the divine and spiritual should triumph over the human and natural, he is, verily, an angel.

The Prophets come into the world to guide and educate humanity so that the animal nature of man may disappear and the divinity of his powers become awakened. The divine aspect or spiritual nature consists of the breaths of the Holy Spirit.

The second birth of which Jesus has spoken refers to the appearance of this heavenly nature in man. It is expressed in the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and he who is baptized by the Holy Spirit is a veritable manifestation of divine mercy to mankind. Then he becomes just and kind to all humanity; he entertains prejudice and ill will toward none; he shuns no nation or people.”

~ ʻAbdu’l-Bahá, Talk in Washington, D.C., April 21, 1912

 

“The foundations of the divine religions are one. If we investigate these foundations, we discover much ground for agreement, but if we consider the imitations of forms and ancestral beliefs, we find points of disagreement and division; for these imitations differ, while the sources and foundations are one and the same. That is to say, the fundamentals are conducive to unity, but imitations are the cause of disunion and dismemberment.

Whosoever is lacking in love for humanity or manifests hatred and bigotry toward any part of it violates the foundation and source of his own belief and is holding to forms and imitations.

Jesus Christ declares that the sun rises upon the evil and the good, and the rain descends upon the just and the unjust—upon all humanity alike. Christ was a divine mercy which shone upon all mankind, the medium for the descent of the bounty of God, and the bounty of God is transcendent, unrestricted, universal.”  ~ ʻAbdu’l-Bahá, Ibid.


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Seed of Reality, Tree of Life

Photo: N. Augusta Vincent

GLEANINGS FOUND HERE AND THERE:

From the seed of reality religion has grown into a tree which has put forth leaves and branches, blossoms and fruit. After a time this tree has fallen into a condition of decay. The leaves and blossoms have withered and perished; the tree has become stricken and fruitless. It is not reasonable that man should hold to the old tree, claiming that its life forces are undiminished, its fruit unequaled, its existence eternal.

The seed of reality must be sown again in human hearts in order that a new tree may grow therefrom and new divine fruits refresh the world. By this means the nations and peoples now divergent in religion will be brought into unity, imitations will be forsaken, and a universal brotherhood in reality itself will be established.

~ ‘Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace

Artwork: Tobey A. Ring

Even though we find a defective branch or leaf upon this tree of humanity or an imperfect blossom, it, nevertheless, belongs to this tree and not to another.

Therefore, it is our duty to protect and cultivate this tree until it reaches perfection. If we examine its fruit and find it imperfect, we must strive to make it perfect.

There are souls in the human world who are ignorant; we must make them knowing. Some growing upon the tree are weak and ailing; we must assist them toward health and recovery. If they are as infants in development, we must minister to them until they attain maturity.

We should never detest and shun them as objectionable and unworthy. We must treat them with honor, respect and kindness; for God has created them and not Satan. They are not manifestations of the wrath of God but evidences of His divine favor. God, the Creator, has endowed them with physical, mental and spiritual qualities that they may seek to know and do His will; therefore, they are not objects of His wrath and condemnation.

In brief, all humanity must be looked upon with love, kindness and respect; for what we behold in them are none other than the signs and traces of God Himself. All are evidences of God; therefore, how shall we be justified in debasing and belittling them, uttering anathema and preventing them from drawing near unto His mercy? This is ignorance and injustice, displeasing to God; for in His sight all are His servants.”

 ~ Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 230


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Keeping the wide-open way

GLEANINGS FOUND HERE AND THERE:

2014-12-01-chiletemple-thumbIf you love yourself, you love others. If you hate yourself, you hate others. Because in relationship with others … the other is nothing but a mirror.

~ Osho

11329830_987819617919145_6411517965831340097_nOne of the first things Seneca children learned was that they might create their own world, their own environment, by visualizing actions and desires in prayer. The Senecas believed that everything that made life important came from within.

~ Twylah Nitsch

In the morning when you wake up, reflect on the day ahead and aspire to use it to keep a wide-open heart and mind.

~ Pema Chödrön portalklosterbronnbach10402024_749105495185744_7950353891076367208_n

When, however, thou dost contemplate the innermost essence of all things, and the individuality of each, thou wilt behold the signs of thy Lord’s mercy in every created thing, and see the spreading rays of His Names and Attributes throughout all the realm of being …

not an atom of all the atoms in existence, not a creature from amongst the creatures but speaketh His praise and telleth of His attributes and names, revealeth the glory of His might and guideth to His oneness and His mercy …

~ ‘Abdu’l-Bahá



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Perceptions, beliefs, truth – oh, my!

“Love and appreciation are identical vibrations,” a passage from Abraham-Hicks reminds.

“Appreciation is the vibration of alignment with who-you-are … When you tell the story of how you want your life to be, you will come closer and closer to the vicinity of appreciation, and when you reach it, it will pull you toward all things that you consider to be good in a very powerful way.”

That certainly leads me to breathe more deeply, and say, “Yes.”

Then, of course, there’s what I “consider to be good”, and why it is that I do — and how open I am about the possibility of that expanding and changing.

This really is a culture of learning I’m invited into, where life continues to show me each day how important the presence of contrast is for observing, discovering, recognizing, and learning. We are not able to see without it, either in the outer world or the inner one.

Even as Thomas Merton said: “The very contradictions in my life are in some ways signs of God’s mercy to me.”

Finally, thanks to The Oneness Model and Becoming the Self Beyond Lore for the reminder about how beneficial it is to “uncover historic perceptions hidden in our belief codes, tucked away and bound to every modality of human experience … all disguised as truth”.

Phew!

We always do well to investigate, ask, ponder, and reflect, every single day. And, of course, with as whole a heart as possible, to then take action.

Blessings to every one as another week begins.


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The rugged road to blessings

GLEANINGS FOUND HERE AND THERE:

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Photo: Lara Kearns

We are all of us searching for love, for the intimacy, closeness, tenderness we may remember from when we were in our mother’s arms or may have glimpsed in a lover’s embrace. Or we may know it just as a sense of something we always wanted, something missing from our life.

This love is at the core of our being, and yet we search for it everywhere, so often causing our self pain in the process, losing our way, becoming entangled in our desires and all our images of love.

Then, one day, something makes us turn away from the outer world to seek this truth within us.

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Photo: Lara Kearns

~ Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter.

It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow.

Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.

~ Rumi

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Photo: Lara Kearns

The eyes of the future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time.

… To protect what is wild is to protect what is gentle. Perhaps the wilderness we fear is the pause between our own heartbeats, the silent space that says we live only by grace.

Wilderness lives by this same grace. Wild mercy is in our hands.

 ~ Terry Tempest Williams


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A leaf in the wind

 

Most grateful today to share the words of Guest Writer Esther Bradley-DeTally:

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

Forgiveness

By Esther Bradley-DeTally

To everything but anguish the mind will soon adjust … ~ Roger White

 

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

After a great wound no feeling comes
A white hot pain settles upon you
You stand in the fire of agony shivering
“Forgive them Father, they know not what they do,”
is a whispered voice, wrapped in cumulus clouds,
Tributaries of feeling blocked, the heart a mere stump
Enough, enough, enough

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

The well-intentioned speak of forgiveness skippingly on the tongue
Turn the other cheek produces a yellow, curled up feeling within
You’ve turned the other cheek so much, you have whiplash, and
your chiropractor is upping his fees.

You are so done
Chumped out by the world
Sick of greed lurch on the planet
Numb to the scalding rhetoric of gossip,
absolute abandonment of your Lord’s teaching
on mercy, on love Thy neighbor,

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

Dormancy is a tickling feeling
You feel your dormancy and know despite
Not wanting to, you are coming to life
It’s a crucible this world, and you have
Gone through the white heat of change
Ignorance and love will not cohabit within
You cast away the purple bruise of resentment
Which led you to the heart of your journey.
Your crucible.

You will no longer resent
You will not forget
Never forget
But, you are a leaf in the wind
Of the Will of your Lord

And you will love again. E.-Bradley-DeTally-175x26211

Copyright © Esther Bradley-DeTally
Writer Esther Bradley-DeTally teaches writing and traveled from Moscow to Siberia, and to Ukraine, then returned with her husband to live in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, and Minsk, Belarus. 

She is the author of Without a Net: A Sojourn in Russia and You Carry the Heavy Stuff.

Her blog can be found at: http://SorryGnat.wordpress.com .

 


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Every true gift has eternity in it

churchnight

United Baptist Church, Lakeport, NH

My friend, Carol, gave me a wonderful surprise at about the last place I’d have expected it — her funeral.

She received the devastating news about her cancer the same day her employer told her that she would soon be out of a job.

Things happened even faster for Carol, after that – fast especially for someone who, like most of us at this stage of life, was never looking to include life-threatening illness in her life experience. By early September, she’d been given three months to live. Her goal was to make it through all three of them, which, God willing, would be just enough time to see her first grandchild.

I made a trip to see Carol that week and brought a small CD player I’d picked up. She’d been feeling so terrible that even reading and watching TV were impossible, but she could still enjoy listening to music. However, her own CD player had broken.

CD playerThere was so much I couldn’t do for her. This, at least, seemed like one small thing I could offer. Knowing how weak she was, I searched for a little machine that was lightweight and, hopefully, something she’d be able to move herself.

The day I saw her, despite the fact that she was essentially drifting between worlds, she, as always, received my gift graciously.

But my heart was saddened by two things that were clear from the moment I watched the home-health nurse call for an ambulance to take her to the hospital: Carol was never going to use that CD player, and she wasn’t going to live to see her grandchild born.

A week later, I sat in a small Victorian church whose beautiful stained-glass windows flooded its pews with rosy light. Waiting for Carol’s funeral service to begin, I was thinking about her life, and all of the things that would never be, when I noticed that among the vases of cut flowers and the pretty candles that had been set out on a small table up front, there was something familiar.

Read the rest at BoomerCafe, kind enough to include my thoughts about Carol this week:

DSCF3564http://www.boomercafe.com/2014/07/14/touching-story-love-friendship/

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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=