Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details


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The widest thing in the universe

 

GLEANINGS FOUND HERE AND THERE

A wee garden of Springtime ponderings:

 

Love makes your soul crawl out of its hiding place.

~ Zora Neale Hurston

Nature does nothing in vain. 

~ Aristotle

The widest thing in the universe is not space, it is the potential capacity of the human heart.

~ A.W. Tozer

The time of your transformation is at hand. It is always at hand. It is not a question of whether you “have what it takes,” but of whether you take what you have—and then use it.

Take the gifts you have—they are plenteous—and share them with all the world. Apply them to the challenge at hand. Use them and give them in your life as if there’s no tomorrow. Cultivate the desire to do this. If you have the desire, you will have what it takes—precisely because desire is what it takes.

~ Neale Donald Walsch

The work of the eyes is done. Go now and do the heart-work on the images imprisoned within you.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

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Wonder wakes the hidden mystery

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“Colorado Moonlight” by Judy Wright

Nature is the kind surface, the intimate face of a great unknown.

It is uncanny to behold how boldly we walk upon the earth as if we are its owners. We strut along, deaf to the silence in the vast night of the unknown that lives below the ground.

Above the slim band of air which forms the sky around our planet is the other endless night.

Wonder makes the unknown interesting, attractive, and miraculous.

A sense of wonder helps awaken the hidden affinity and kinship which the unknown has with us.

 ~ John O’Donohue, Eternal Echoes

Rivulet

“Rivulet” by Judy Wright

 

If the people of the world were wise enough
to plant the root of their lives
deep within the Subtle Origin
Then the worldly affairs of life
would coherently follow their natural course
and harmony would abound of its own nature …

Then the peaceful order of the universe prevails
and unity manifests again of its own accord.

~ Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching


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A useful kind of going astray

During the weeks I spent in Europe last spring, I got reacquainted with the power of the natural world to quiet my mind in order that my heart will be able to hear at all. For the voices that assist and guide it are soft and subtle, and are drowned out by the din of life and the world.

Because of the wide-open nature of so many European settings, the sky is a constantly-changing panorama I found myself stopping to watch like a movie, and there was always something on the horizon that I would set out on a long walk simply to see up close.

A Well Groomed and Tidy Land 86

Photo: Kathy Gilman

Ironically, more often than not I never made it there because I was waylaid by something magnificent along the way.

It could be the slant of the light on a field; the shape of a lone tree in the midst of hectares of rolling hills; one small, stunning blossom on a branch that brushed me as I walked past, like a woods creature trying to get my attention.

Diedenbergen_signs“To reach something good it is very useful to have gone astray, and thus acquire experience,” wrote Saint Teresa of Avila

Astray from what? I wonder.

My preconceived notions? Insistent, certain ideas or opinions?

When I leave room for wonder or miracles, it leads me back to something Pema Chödrön has summarized beautifully in her book,

Practicing Peace in Times of War:

“If we want there to be peace in the world, we have to be brave enough to soften what is rigid in our hearts, to find the soft spot and stay with it.

We have to have that kind of courage and take that kind of responsibility.

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

That’s the true practice of peace.”

And Pema has also captured the very fulcrum of living:

“Compassionate action starts with seeing yourself when you start to make yourself right and when you start to make yourself wrong. At that point you could just contemplate the fact that there is a larger alternative to either of those, a more tender, shaky kind of place where you could live.”


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Questions asked the wrong way

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

Problems that remain persistently insoluble should always be suspected as questions asked in the wrong way.
~ Alan Watts

The feminine is the matrix of creation.

The choice is simple. Can we remember the wholeness that is within us, the wholeness that unites spirit and matter?

Or will we continue walking down this road that has abandoned the divine feminine, that has cut women off from their sacred power and knowledge?intuition

If we choose the former we can begin to reclaim the world, not with masculine plans, but with the wisdom of the feminine, the wisdom that belongs to life itself.

If we choose the latter we may attempt some surface solutions with new technology. We may combat global warming and pollution with scientific plans.

But there will be no real change. A world that is not connected to its soul cannot heal. Without the participation of the divine feminine nothing new can be born.

leaflet

Photo: Eric Olson

~ Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

The feminine is the love of nature, and a belief in the body as a part of nature as we see it outside in the woods or rivers.

The feminine takes time for spontaneity and slow time, honors inner reality, and gives values to feelings without brutally repressing them as “sissy” or meaningless.

Rivulet

“Rivulet” by Judy Hughey Wright

Those living the feminine way choose to do something because it’s of genuine worth, and because they love it, and can therefore put their energy into something honestly.

Whether a man or a woman, they’re guided by the question: Is this of value to me personally? Is this worth putting my energy and effort into it? Is this who I really am?

This path is different from hammering through something, even though one’s heart isn’t in it. But living from the heart in this culture takes courage.

  ~ Marion Woodman

… the soul of this world is the subtle growth of spirituality, heavenly morals, divine favors and sacred powers.

~ ‘Abdul’-Baha


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Nature’s pathway to the heart

Ladyslphoto 1

Ladyslippers by the pair

During the weeks I spent in Europe this spring, I got reacquainted with the power of the natural world to quiet my mind so that my heart will be able to hear anything at all.

For I have found that the voice that guides and assists it is soft and subtle, and drowned out by the din of life and the world. I have to make an effort to turn away from the chaos if I hope to hear this companion.

Because of the wide-open nature of so many settings in Germany, the sky is a constantly-changing panorama that I found myself stopping to watch like a movie, and there was always something on the horizon I set out on a long walk simply to see up-close.

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Turtles, future tense

Ironically, more often than not I never made it there because I was waylaid by something magnificent along the way: the slant of the light on a field; the shape of a lone tree in the midst of hectares of rolling hills; one small, stunning blossom on a branch that brushed me as I walked past, like a woods creature trying to get my attention.

When I sit inside for too long, hunched over a screen of some sort, my view narrows to a piteously small scope that has no room for wonder or miracles, in part because it doesn’t know what they even are.

The mind — the human nature — is here to solve basic problems of practical life. Period. It will always bog down without exercise, both physical and spiritual, and life couldn’t have made this easier to attain. All I have to do is go outside, under the sky.

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Delicate neighbors

“Nature in its essence is the embodiment of My Name, the Maker, the Creator,” Baha’i writings remind, adding that it also offers many signs for souls that wish to discern them.

“Nature is God’s Will and is its expression in and through the contingent world. It is a dispensation of Providence ordained by the Ordainer, the All-Wise.”

 

My special thanks to Nelson Ashberger for the use of these photos, some of the signs he encountered on one of his own recent sojourns in the natural world.


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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

flowers

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