Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details


May the flowers remind us …



There is no need to choose between science and spirituality.

But there is certainly a need, as there has always been, to choose between materialism and spirituality.

~ Mario Beauregard


Times are difficult globally; awakening is no longer a luxury or an ideal. It’s becoming critical.

Photo: Lara Kearns

We don’t need to add more depression, more discouragement, or more anger to what’s already here.

It’s becoming essential that we learn how to relate sanely with difficult times.

The earth seems to be beseeching us to connect with joy and discover our innermost essence.

This is the best way that we can benefit others.

~ Pema Chödrön


Photo: Lara Kearns

Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose.

~Eckhart Tolle



If we can stay true to the sacred substance and sacred meaning of the seed, it will help us to be a place of rebirth: a place where the inner and outer worlds meet, where real nourishment can once again be born and flower.

Working together with the Earth, with its wonder and mystery, we can help in its healing and regeneration.”

~ Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

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Uncovering our inner diamonds

My thanks to Ron Tomanio for this Guest Post, from his Walking the Mystical Path with Practical Feet series:

Surviving Difficult and Painful Events – Unearthing the Diamonds Within

The Great Being saith: Regard man as mine rich in gems of inestimable value. ~  Baha’u’llah

Untitled1We see sparkling diamonds that have been cut and polished without giving a lot of thought to the difficult mining process that produced such beauty. Unearthing spiritual diamonds can also be a difficult process, but results in fully rounded wondrous qualities that have existed in a state of potentiality within us since the moment of our creation

            If we are fortunate, we have some friends who live lives of beauty every day. Sometimes we are privy to know the difficult and painful events that have shaped them, but more often we see, like the diamonds in a jewelry store, only the finished product.

             One such friend was Larry Akeley. Larry’s father was an engineer who had great expectations that his son would follow in his footsteps by pursuing an engineering degree. Larry tried, he really tried, but God did not endow him with that sort of mind. He dropped out of college and his father was furious. He told Larry, “You’re no son of mine!”

 Mirror Love             This comment crushed Larry and he spiraled downhill falling every way an individual can fall—drugs, nervous breakdown. and finally, homelessness that led him to live in the New-Hampshire woods in an abandoned cabin. The day came when he decided to choose quick suicide over slow suicide. His plan was to walk out of the woods to the main road turn right and meet up with other drug-users living in the woods and take an overdose. He stood at the crossroads and for reasons he didn’t understand, chose to turn left and away from taking his life, at least for the moment. He had no plan beyond putting one foot in front of the other.

An elderly woman stopped and offered him a ride. He was stunned, but he accepted. She offered to take him to her home where she gave him some of her son’s clothes and allowed him to use her shower. She gave him a hot meal and hope and they became lifelong friends.

             Decades went by and Larry’s father developed dementia. His mother became the primary caregiver until she passed away. Then Larry helped take care of his father like the elderly lady took care of him years earlier. Toward the end of his father’s life the nursing home insisted on strapping his father to the bed at night because he would roll out of bed and hurt himself. Seeing his father restrained in this way bothered the soft-hearted Larry. His solution was to sleep at night on the floor next to his father’s bed and let his father fall on his soft, cushy belly. WTOEimage.php

Because he was willing to let his experience help mine his inner diamonds, Larry accessed the educational aspects of his difficult experience while avoiding its potentially destructive aspects. He let it break open his heart, developing facets of the qualities of love and forgiveness that he might not otherwise have acquired.

Larry’s own life came to its end just a few years later. The brilliance of his spiritual transcendence still shines brightly for those of us who knew him here, and love him still.

Ronald Tomanio is a co-author of With Thine Own Eyes: Why Imitate the Past, When We Can Investigate Reality? Find more information about the book at:


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


Within the treasury of trust


Painting: “Sunrise” by Diane Kirkup

Although the Realm of Glory hath none of the vanities of the world, yet within the treasury of trust and resignation We have bequeathed to Our heirs an excellent and priceless Heritage.

Earthly treasures We have not bequeathed, nor have We added such cares as they entail. By God! In earthly riches fear is hidden and peril is concealed. … Fleeting are the riches of the world; all that perisheth and changeth is not, and hath never been, worthy of attention, except to a recognized measure.        ~ Bahá’u’lláh


Image: Cary Enoch

The religion of God has two aspects in this world. The spiritual (the real) and the formal (the outward). The formal side changes, as man changes from age to age. The spiritual side which is the Truth, never changes.

The Prophets and Manifestations of God bring always the same teaching; at first men cling to the Truth but after a time they disfigure it. The Truth is distorted by man-made outward forms and material laws. The veil of substance and worldliness is drawn across the reality of Truth.

~ Abdu’l-Bahá



Awareness: spirit of a new and wondrous age


As the edits for With Thine Own Eyes: Why Imitate the Past When We Can Investigate Reality? arrive from George Ronald Publishing, I re-encounter in its pages so many themes dear to my heart.

They suggest things like: “In this new and truly wondrous age there’s a door that’s been opened wider than heaven and earth through which we’ve been invited to pass.”

Do I believe that? Do I live and act as though I do?

Am I ready to embrace the truth that my deepest reality, that for which I’ve been created, “is a presence and power in whose light fear and the trappings of mere survival disappear like shadows?”

The blind imitation of the past that my human nature can’t help but fall into “veils me from the principles that are the light on my path and the very spirit of this age”.

Experience has certainly shown this to be the case, without exception. It’s a little sad that I’ve repeated that experience so often, but so I have, and there it is. What have I learned from it? What have I believed that has led me to do that? Why?DKSIMG_0921

“How does coming to understand who it is we are created to be change the way we see ourselves, each other, and our world?” That’s definitely a question to take into the day, and every possible moment.

Perhaps this understanding welcomes in a new way of thinking that evolves out of love and attraction toward the latent spiritual gifts in myself and others that are waiting to be revealed. Do I remember that I can always choose this love and attraction over the kind of near-instinctual reactions that arise from a fear that’s rooted in preoccupation with physical survival? That crippling fear has kept humanity, human thinking and our greatest possibilities entrapped for eons.

Fact is, I’m not going to survive physically forever, nor is anyone else. (I wonder why that aspect of life receives so very much attention? Might it be that some believe that’s all there is?)

I might, however, have the chance to begin living in an eternal kind of way as I invite and employ what lasts forever – those gifts waiting within, like gems in a mine.

“Only our spiritual nature can look beyond outward appearances, first impressions and personality flaws to see `all the virtues of the world of humanity latent within’ ourselves and each other,” I’m reminded. It’s this core part of my self that has the capacity to “perceive honor and nobility in every human being”, including this one who looks back from the mirror each day.

IMG_1258For the first time, the realization of human oneness, in reality, is within our grasp. And each of us is invited to discover our unique, true identity as a soul, as well as our unique purpose, and our unique way of solving problems. 

“Happy are those who spend their days in gaining knowledge, in discovering the secrets of nature, and in penetrating the subtleties of pure truth,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has reminded in a book called Some Answered Questions.

Happy indeed.

With Thine Own Eyes: Why Imitate the Past When We Can Investigate Reality?, co-authored by Ronald Tomanio, Diane Iverson, and Phyllis Ring, will be released by George Ronald Publishing.


Entirely a spiritual practice

EB pix Germany and more 368    After writing — and reading — nonfiction for weeks, I’m now seeking novelists’ words for company once again.

A friend’s invigoratingly beautiful response to a soul-sized, soul-evoking novel launched this quest. Wise, experienced words from several fiction writers I admire then shifted my inner compass in fiction’s direction. I paused to breathe that in, recollect how much I’ve missed my connection with that inner realm.

Re-entering pages of my current work, I’m enveloped by scenes like those captured in the photos here, taken by one of the story’s characters long ago. They show a time and place when telephones were scarce; when people left a room when someone received a call, as a sign of respect and courtesy.

No one could have imagined overhearing something so private.    EB pix Germany and more 345

It would have almost seemed indecent. The goal was to uphold modesty, privacy, and dignity. In a world that can look as though it has forgotten what these are, they remain my own daily goals, and those of many. Some days, however, the attempt to value and practice them can feel like navigating a very murky swamp.

Perhaps that is why the work of writing feels so welcome. As the awareness that it offers begins to shift me into a slower, steadier rhythm, more like that of the decades in the book’s story, I feel my inner life slow down to presence again. I think of words novelist Elizabeth Gilbert shared in an interview with Karen Bouris in Original Story:

“I think creativity is entirely a spiritual practice. It has defined my entire life to think of it that way. When I hear the way some people speak about their work, people who are in creative fields who either attack themselves, or attack their work, or treat it as a burden rather than a blessing, or treat it as something that needs to be fought and defeated and beaten. . . . There is a war that people go to with their creative path that is very unfamiliar to me. To me, it feels like a holy calling and one that I am grateful for.

… I was given a contract, and the contract is: ‘We are not going to tell you why, but we gave you this capacity. Your side of the contract is that you must devote yourself to this in the highest possible manner, you must approach it with the greatest respect, and you must give your whole self to this. And then we will work with you on making progress.’ That’s sort of what it feels like for me.”EB pix Germany and more 523

What good companionship I find here, as she speaks for my own heart.

The entire interview can be seen at http://www.dailygood.org/view.php?sid=413

Good wishes this week to all who bravely enter the writing realm.

And may all who read find words that keep our hearts the best of company.