Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details


Leave a comment

The lights of the love of God

GLEANINGS FOUND HERE AND THERE

Man has two powers; and his development, two aspects.

One power is connected with the material world, and by it he is capable of material advancement.

The other power is spiritual, and through its development his inner, potential nature is awakened.

These powers are like two wings. Both must be developed, for flight is impossible with one wing.

Praise be to God! Material advancement has been evident in the world, but there is need of spiritual advancement in like proportion. We must strive unceasingly and without rest to accomplish the development of the spiritual nature in man, and endeavor with tireless energy to advance humanity toward the nobility of its true and intended station.

For the body of man is accidental; it is of no importance. The time of its disintegration will inevitably come.

But the spirit of man is essential and, therefore, eternal.

It is a divine bounty. It is the effulgence of the Sun of Reality and, therefore, of greater importance than the physical body.

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

 

Today the world of humanity is walking in darkness because it is out of touch with the world of God. That is why we do not see the signs of God in the hearts of men. The power of the Holy Spirit has no influence.

When a divine spiritual illumination becomes manifest in the world of humanity, when divine instruction and guidance appear, then enlightenment follows, a new spirit is realized within, a new power descends, and a new life is given. It is like the birth from the animal kingdom into the kingdom of man.

When man acquires these virtues, the oneness of the world of humanity will be revealed, the banner of international peace will be upraised, equality between all mankind will be realized, and the Orient and Occident will become one.

Then will the justice of God become manifest, all humanity will appear as the members of one family, and every member of that family will be consecrated to cooperation and mutual assistance.

The lights of the love of God will shine; eternal happiness will be unveiled; everlasting joy and spiritual delight will be attained.

~ ‘Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, Talks Delivered by ‘Abdu’l-Baha during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912 

https://www.bahaibookstore.com/Promulgation-of-Universal-Peace-P6382.aspx

Advertisements


3 Comments

The longest, sweetest journey

Photo: David Campbell

A most subtle and most difficult transition for us to make is to move from the use of human traits by the human nature to the  employing of divine qualities by our spiritual nature.

This has been described as the longest journey — from the mind to the heart.

The human nature, using the limited vision of the rational mind, doesn’t have the capacity to perceive divinity and easily makes the mistake of believing that we, ourselves, are the source of such spiritually motivated actions as generosity, mercy and justice.

This misconception leads inevitably to arrogance, the hallmark of the ego, and we cannot approach God with what is essentially the exact opposite of the attribute that is required for this — humility.

In his book Love, Power and Justice, author William Hatcher notes that “We are the only creatures of God who have the capacity to be aware of our dependency on God.”

It is the spiritual nature that possesses the capacity to recognize that the amazing virtues of love, mercy, kindness originate with God and that we’re privileged to use these infinite attributes that God has placed within us in infinite combinations to enhance our lives. We can remember, when someone thanks us for being kind or merciful, to acknowledge in our heart the divine source of kindness or mercy. In this way we can grow in humility instead of arrogance. We can carry in our awareness the source of these qualities and thus draw closer to that source.

The animal and human nature each ask the same question in all our interactions with the world: “Do I eat it or does it eat me?” The human nature wears better clothes and couches the same question in more sophisticated language, such as, “Do I win or do you win?’”or “Who controls who in this relationship?”

The spiritual nature always asks the same question: “What do I need to do to approach the Divine?” Or perhaps more specifically: “What act of service do I need to give or receive in order to approach the Divine?”

Excerpted from With Thine Own Eyes: Why Imitate the Past When We Can Investigate Reality? https://www.amazon.com/Thine-Own-Eyes-Imitate-Investigate-ebook/dp/B00I1JPC7I


4 Comments

Escaping the prison of our imagined past

Artichoke flower 131

Photo: Kathy Gilman

The spiritual nature has a value system that places priceless relationships above any object or hoped-for outcome. But the human nature, if left in charge, does not.

The sign that we’re in a situation that requires a shift from the eyes of our human nature to the vision of our spiritual one is when we find ourselves focusing on the imperfections of others to such an extent that we experience an increasing intensity of negative emotions that, in turn, causes deterioration in personal relationships.

The only escape from this vicious cycle is to change what we see, to elevate our perception, and to begin looking at others with the sin (imperfection)-covering eye of the spiritual nature.

IMG_8762

Photo: Saffron Moser

The spiritual nature doesn’t dwell on perceived imperfections but instead seeks the missing spiritual attributes that the situation is calling for and creates an act of service designed to release those latent virtues, which exist within the heart of every soul. When that happens, the destructive negative emotions and imperfections begin to dissipate. They are, after all, merely perceptions and `decisions’ of the mind or human nature, and the resulting emotion is the energy of those thoughts in motion.

However, in the survival-motivated blind imitation that is the human nature’s customary behaviour, our mind and emotions can liken our current experience to one that has registered as negative in the past. In order to truly investigate the reality of the matter, we need the spiritual nature and its vision to come into the driver’s seat, to interrupt this reflexive imitating of what happened — or what we perceive to have happened — in the past. If we are unwilling to do this, we will remain prisoners of that past, and of what, in essence, is actually an imagined past, the perspective of the mind alone.

A sign that we’re progressing away from imitation towards investigation is that negative emotions we’ve experienced are replaced by positive ones, and there is also a noticeable improvement in the way we feel, and within the tone of our relationship  with others.

WTOEimage.php

Excerpted from With Thine Own Eyes: Why Imitate the Past When We Can Investigate Reality?, from George Ronald Publisher:

Find the book here:

http://www.amazon.com/Thine-Own-Eyes-Imitate-Investigate-ebook/dp/B00I1JPC7I/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1455105839&sr=1-1&keywords=with+thine+own+eyes


1 Comment

Quenching our deepest thirst

IMG_3521

Photo: Nelson Ashberger

Imagine we are desert-bound souls desperately seeking water. If we are offered anything but water we will turn away. We might be offered a change of clothes, food, shelter — all good things. But the desperate nature of life-threatening thirst will cause the thirsty one to reject what is offered as if the offering were poison.

DCforelle482472_10152259722231802_1312604230_n

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

When we experience intense suffering, our world seems to narrow dramatically and become very small. Imagine the intense pain we feel when we sustain a deep burn–or a deep loss.

Do we really care, at that moment, about any other needs in our life, no matter how legitimate they are? The need that seems most desperate can crowd out of our consciousness all other needs until that need is met, whether it is removing our hand from a heat source, healing from grief, or quenching our thirst with life-giving water. WTOEimage.php

If it is our desperate need to discover our authentic self and purpose, then once we become aware of that true identity and purpose, we’ll understand the most beneficial choices for us to make. As with any thirst, it is a matter of first things first. The tricky challenge is that often, rather like seeking water in sand, our mind seeks purpose and fulfillment in the material realm that, much like sand, offers neither resources to meet our deepest need, nor a viable foundation upon which to build.

Without the awareness and involvement of our spiritual nature — who we truly are — our life is rather like a gift we can never unwrap nor fully receive.

Excerpted from With Thine Own Eyes: Why Imitate the Past When We Can Investigate Reality?

More information: http://www.amazon.com/With-Thine-Own-Eyes-Investigate-ebook/dp/B00I1JPC7I/ref=pd_sim_kstore_11?ie=UTF8&refRID=0TQC490J7FVBRTJWM70H

Print version at: http://www.bahairesources.com/with-thine-own-eyes.html


2 Comments

The universe folded within us

cycle development

Image: Jane E. Harper

I’m delighted to share this guest post from author Jane E. Harper.

Jane’s The Universe Within Us, an inviting synthesis of science, religion, and personal experience, offers n-e-w (non-ego wrought) insight and perspective about our place and purpose in the universe.

It invites – and makes an excellent case for — the understanding that every human being possesses a spiritual nature. What we recognize and choose to do in relation to that is at the very core of life.

From Author Jane E Harper:

 

Dost thou reckon thyself only a puny form

when within thee the universe is folded?*

Within you

is that which binds every atom in your body together.

ATTRACTION

Within you

is that which divides cells, turns food into energy, and grows.

AUGMENTATION

Within you

is that which is aware of its environment and learns.

PERCEPTION, EMOTION, INTELLIGENCE

geode

Image: Jane E. Harper

These powers are nested, one within the other. The power of attraction makes possible the power of augmentation. The powers of attraction and augmentation make possible the powers of perception, emotion and intelligence.

But I am not done!

From these powers springs another power, unique to the human being.

Within you

is that which contemplates the world and unlocks its hidden secrets.

You solve problems.

INTELLECT

There is yet more!

Within you

is that which turns your focus of concern away from yourself.

You solve problems for others.

VIRTUEJane's cover

caring • forgiveness • tolerance • love • service • wonder • perseverance • respect • creativity • detachment • faith • courtesy • reliability • justice • mercy • sacrifice • assertiveness • loyalty • friendliness • openness • thankfulness • truthfulness

This puny form is the ground in which all these capacities are cultivated and bear fruit, its highest yield — your virtuous qualities.

Within you every quality of the universe is folded.

Dost thou reckon thyself only a puny form

when within thee the universe is folded?

_____

*Quote attributed to the Imam Alí, the Prophet Muhammad’s appointed successor, as quoted in Bahá’u’lláh’s The Seven Valleys, p. 34.

Learn more about Jane and her book, The Universe Within Us at http://janeeharper.com.


Leave a comment

Unlocking the prison of the past

IMG_6521Our spiritual nature has a value system that places priceless relationships above any object or hoped-for outcome.

But our human nature, unassisted by the spiritual nature’s vision and perception, does not.

The sign that we’re in a situation that requires a shift from the eyes of our human nature to the vision of our spiritual one is when we find ourselves focusing on the imperfections of others to such an extent that we experience an increasing intensity of negative emotions that, in turn, causes deterioration in personal relationships.

The only escape from this vicious cycle is to change what we see and elevate our perception and to begin looking at others with the sin (imperfection)-covering eye of the spiritual nature. The spiritual nature doesn’t dwell on perceived imperfections but instead seeks the missing spiritual attributes that the situation is calling for and creates an act of service designed to release those latent virtues, which exist within the heart of every servant of God. IMG_0608

When that happens, the destructive negative emotions and imperfections begin to dissipate. They are, after all, merely perceptions and “decisions” of the mind or human nature, and the resulting emotion is the energy of those thoughts in motion.

However, in the survival-motivated blind imitation that is the lower nature’s customary behaviour, our mind and emotions can liken the current experience to one that has registered as negative in the past. In order to truly investigate the reality of the matter, we need the spiritual nature and its vision to come into the driver’s seat, to interrupt this reflexive imitating of what happened — or what we perceive to have happened — in the past. If we are unwilling to do this, we will remain prisoners of that past, and of what, in essence, is actually an imagined past, the perspective of the mind alone.

A sign that we’re progressing away from imitation towards investigation is that we will feel negative emotions being replaced by positive ones. Then we can experience  a noticeable improvement both in the way we ourselves feel and within the tone of our relationships, most especially the one we have with the various aspects of our own selves. 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

 

 

 

 


Leave a comment

The heart’s kind road to peace

A Flock of Geese, Laindon Common, Billericay 50

Photo: Kathy Gilman

Our spiritual nature has a value system that places priceless relationships above any object or hoped-for outcome.

But our human nature, if left in charge of our lives without divine illumination, cannot do this. Left to its own devices, it will focus only on its own survival.

DCbird1555324_10153015357616802_8878068770793212932_n

Photo: David Campbell

The sign that we’re in a situation that requires a shift from the eyes of our human nature to the vision of our spiritual one is when we find ourselves focusing on the imperfections of others to such an extent that we experience an increasing intensity of negative emotions that, in turn, causes deterioration in personal relationships.

IMG_1734

Photo: Nelson Ashberger

The only escape from this vicious cycle is to change what we see and elevate our perception and begin looking at others with the imperfection-covering eye of the spiritual nature.

The spiritual nature doesn’t dwell on perceived imperfections but instead seeks the missing spiritual attributes that the situation is calling for and creates an act of service designed to release those latent virtues. They exist within the heart of every one of us.

IMG_1670_2

Photo: Nelson Ashberger

When that happens, the destructive negative emotions and imperfections begin to dissipate. They are, after all, merely perceptions and `decisions’ of the mind or human nature, and the resulting emotion is the energy of those thoughts in motion.

However, in the survival-motivated blind imitation that is the lower nature’s customary behaviour, our mind and emotions can liken the current experience to one that has registered as negative in the past. In order to truly investigate the reality of the matter, we need the spiritual nature and its vision to come into the driver’s seat, to interrupt this reflexive imitating of what happened — or what we perceive to have happened — in the past. If we are unwilling to do this, we will remain prisoners of that past, and of what, in essence, is actually an imagined past, the perspective of the mind alone.WTOEimage.php

A sign that we’re progressing away from imitation towards investigation is that we will feel negative emotions being replaced by positive ones. There will be a noticeable improvement both in the way we ourselves feel and within the tone of the relationship.

Excerpted from With Thine Own Eyes: Why Imitate the Past When We Can Investigate Reality? from George Ronald Publisher.

Find more about the book at:

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