Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details

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Shall we come to our spiritual senses?

In this world we possess both outer and inner senses. The first helps us to navigate in the world, while our inner senses enable us to connect with our soul’s highest purpose and manifest it.

In the next world, the equivalent of our inner, spiritual senses are the attributes of God. Such divine qualities as love, justice, mercy, and patience become our eyes and ears, so to speak.

If we only developed the many facets of these attributes during what we define as our happy times in this life, we would be unable to fully discern the world beyond, because we would not have fully developed our spiritual senses enough to be aware of all that that reality includes.

The times that we characterize as difficult in this life are named so because they usually go against the grain of our desires.

Yet those desires are often defined by our human nature, which bases its assessments on past experience. Even in this world, there is so much more that we can know, but it requires being willing to go beyond the perceived limits of our past experience.

One of the spiritual attributes of God, also a name of God, is the Creator. As with all attributes of God that we have been asked to acquire, this one has facets of both giving and receiving.

Thus, a wide variety of experience — including the painful and difficult — offers the contrast that helps us build our capacities for both giving and receiving. This is indispensable if we are to fully develop any attribute, particularly the attribute of creativity.

Unless we adopt an unlimited belief in our ability to create, we will never know what we are capable of creating. Cultivating an unlimited faith in the rightness of every one of our experiences to bring exactly what’s needed for the very highest possibilities in our development and that of other souls is a wonderfully effective way of “coming to our spiritual senses”.


Co-authors Ron Tomanio, Diane Iverson, and Phyllis Ring explore related themes in With Thine Own Eyes: Why Imitate the Past When We Can Investigate Reality? from George Ronald Publisher.

Buy the book at: http://www.bahairesources.com/with-thine-own-eyes.html

or find the Kindle version here:



The secret life of alleys

Wertroofs76971_374138912682406_791237199_nAn editor reviewing my novel manuscript asked whether I might include a smidgen more variety in my use of sensory details. I tend to engage with life visually, like scenes in a movie, and must remember that we humans need all of our senses satisfied.

A curious surprise surfaced in a notebook when I set to work on revisions, like a postcard from the Universe: jottings I’d made last spring and then forgotten. They record what my senses encountered as I hurried through alleyways in a small German town one rainy day.

Perhaps it was the confinement of those narrow spaces immersing me in shadows and light that made everything seem so pronounced and strong that I was moved to sketch it down from fresh memory the moment I was inside a warm café.

Maybe, as sensing and comprehending beings, we need a scale of manageable size in which to experience what we encounter, like the pathways I navigated on my way to these rediscovered impressions:


When she stopped for me at the crosswalk, it felt like a rabbit-hole of role-reversal. SHE was the one on the red, four-wheeled scooter with its sticker that grants parking and other privileges to those traveling through life with disability.

Her nod was authoritative as she waved me across, adjusting the strap on her helmet while she waited. When I took too long in my confused indecision, she squeezed a horn that played bars of a Brahms lullaby. Teasing this laggard, perhaps?

A long-haul lorry slowed and panted behind her like a smokestack. I scurried across, a startled chicken, and heard her hoarse cackle — a smoker’s. Not unkind, but unquestionably satisfied. Her scooter’s motor was a roar, then a whir, then a faint whine as she sped away, lumbering lorry in close pursuit.

Enveloped by a cobble-stoned alley, I was greeted by tinkling piano scales, nearly machine-like in their precision. They grew louder when I neared the open window that was letting them escape. I reached the house as a steel-haired man arrived from the opposite direction carrying a sewing machine under one arm. Photo on 6-4-14 at 12.39 PM

When he unlocked the door, a face-full of frying-onions fragrance blasted out at us so forcefully, I was sure I’d never smell anything else again. My mouth watered instantly. Even the insistent piano sounds, louder, now, seemed muted by this aroma.

It followed me past three more doorways before a thin ozone of rain on cobblestones replaced it. The drops gradually grew larger and louder as the speed of their fall increased.

strudel629-10-gdcomOverhangs on the buildings jutting into the alley sheltered me nearly as well as my umbrella would have, had I remembered to bring it.

The piano was having the last word as the café door shut behind me.

My glasses steamed up over a bakery case lying in wait, crammed with sweet temptation, inescapable as a huge, friendly dog.

“Why, yes, a slice of that warm strudel WOULD be lovely with my coffee, thank you.”