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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A song above all other songs

GLEANINGS FOUND HERE AND THERE:

… Let us hearken to the melody which will stir the world of humanity, so that the people may be transformed with joy.

Let us listen to a symphony which will confer life on man; then we can obtain universal results; then we shall receive a new spirit; then we shall become illumined.

Let us investigate a song which is above all songs; one which will develop the spirit and produce harmony and exhilaration, unfolding the inner potentialities of life.

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Image courtesy of Ziya Rezvani

~ ‘Abdu’l-Baha

 

Shut your eyes so the heart may become your eye
and with that vision look upon another world.

~ Rumi

Thank you, God, for this good life and forgive us if we do not love it enough.

~ Garrison Keillor


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What is Spirit calling for?

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As I’m preparing for some upcoming author visits, I’ve been reflecting on themes that are surfacing in these wildly turbulent times.

The planet, and the unfailing presence of Spirit in the world are speaking.

What are they calling for? How are we listening, or not? How are our hearts — Spirit’s intended home, by Divine design — responding, or not?

“All that is in heaven and earth I have ordained for thee, except the human heart, which I have made the habitation of My beauty and glory;” Bahá’u’lláh wrote nearly a century and a half ago, “yet thou didst give My home and dwelling to another than Me; and whenever the manifestation of My holiness sought His own abode, a stranger found He there, and, homeless, hastened unto the sanctuary of the Beloved. Notwithstanding I have concealed thy secret and desired not thy shame.”

14671193_10155473760553902_8364308015943477763_nThe indigenous, Native peoples in every part of the planet know, and honor, the truth carried in these words. They know, too, that in so many cultures, as in their own, water represents spirit, the very source of all life.

And today, they are speaking from the “heartland” of my country.

“The eyes of the future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time,” author Terry Tempest Williams has written. “To protect what is wild is to protect what is gentle. … Wilderness lives by this same grace. Wild mercy is in our hands.” 14720601_10155473760403902_8711454713838355839_n

Over the next two days, Baha’is around the world will focus our hearts on love, unity, and the oneness in which the Creator has fashioned humanity as we gather to celebrate Twin Holy Days, the Births of the Báb, and of Bahá’u’lláh.

“The tabernacle of unity hath been raised; regard ye not one another as strangers. Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch.”
Bahá’u’lláh
My thanks to Patricia Hupahu Locke (Patty), age 5, named for her brave-hearted Grandmother,
for the beautiful artwork here. Her family’s hearts are standing with those who, at Standing Rock, are standing for the truth of Spirit for all humanity. And my heart stands with them.


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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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Welcoming the wit to win

original.

Fifty-six years ago, in a little German village, my older sister, then a high-school sophomore, taught these words of Edwin Markham to me:

He drew a circle that shut me out —

Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.

But love and I had the wit to win:

We drew a circle and took him in!

 ~ Edwin Markham,  Outwitted

Phyllis-Nan-2-350x350At that time, I looked much the way I do in this photo that shows me outside the house where we lived. I’m accompanied by my British grandmother and my teddy bear.

Many evenings, my parents and I would climb the hillsides above that village to reach the table-like land at the top, where there were fruit trees like the ones in the photo above. It was a LONG climb, especially on short legs. The reward was the sweet fruit waiting at the end of the climb, and the sunsets visible from that vantage point. That’s a metaphor that has stayed with me for life.

Until my sister reminded me of this poem recently, I doubt I’d given it concrete thought for years. Yet when I “heard” it again, something began to play inside me like a song. All through the time and distance I’ve traversed since that German summer, this has traveled with me, setting the roots of the tree of my life into the soil that grew my view of myself, always, as a citizen of the world.

das-goldene-fass-postcardI’ve been fortunate enough to return to this village several times with my husband, and even once with our grown children. Although my family lived there a bare eight months, I realize now that the war-weary Germans there who showed me such kindness insured that it’s at the heart of all I’ve loved about their country ever since.

I also know today that because my WWII-veteran father could appreciate Germans, my British mother, injured in the Blitz, could forgive them, and my sister could be so determined to teach me the principle of oneness, my pathway of becoming a Baha’i no doubt began growing from the seed of my life that very summer.

11241717Because so many different people were willing to care about me, and about showing an open heart, I would come to recognize instantly, as though it were a song already inside me, the truth of these words:

Bahá’u’lláh has drawn the circle of unity, He has made a design for the uniting of all the peoples, and for the gathering of them all under the shelter of the tent of universal unity. This is the work of the Divine Bounty, and we must all strive with heart and soul until we have the reality of unity in our midst, and as we work, so will strength be given unto us.                 ~’Abdu’l-Bahá  (Paris Talks)


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Love is the true nourishment

GLEANINGS FOUND HERE AND THERE:

 

Bahá’u’lláh taught that hearts must receive the Bounty of the Holy Spirit, so that Spiritual civilization may be established.

For material civilization is not adequate for the needs of mankind and cannot be the cause of its happiness.

~ ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

Most human violence is neither necessary nor is it inherent, genetic, “animal” survival skill. We have the ability, and I believe an evolutionary mandate, to stop violence.

The best way to stop it is to realize, as I emphasized in the last chapter of Biology of Belief, that we are spiritual beings who need love as much as we need food. 

~ Bruce Lipton

 

 


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The ways of a greater part

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GLEANINGS FOUND HERE AND THERE:

You have the need and the right to spend part of your life caring for your soul.

It is not easy… To be a soulful person means to go against all the pervasive, prove-yourself values of our culture and instead treasure what is unique and internal and valuable in yourself and your own personal evolution.

~ Jean Shinoda Bolen

Discipline is not a means of accomplishing more, but a stance of patience and curiosity to witness more of the faces of God in which we are already contained and cared for.

~ Andrew Shier

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With image thanks to Following Atticus: http://tomandatticus.blogspot.com/

Gratitude as a discipline involves a conscious choice.

I can choose to be grateful even when my emotions and feelings are still steeped in hurt and resentment.

It is amazing how many occasions present themselves in which I can choose gratitude instead of a complaint.

~ Henri Nouwen

tobeytreehugger

Image: Tobey A. Ring

Yin is the receptive, feeling, compassionate force within.

It knows the wisdom of surrender and chooses to yield, even when everyone else is getting ahead.

For Yin, withdrawing is entering. … Like an ecosystem, Yin considers all counterparts essential.

So ideas that emerge from this level of imagination serve more than the individual cause – they serve the great ecosystem upon which we are all dependent.

~ Toko-pa