Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details


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Living in an eternal kind of way

 

How does coming to understand who it is we are created to be change the way we see ourselves, each other, and our world?

Perhaps this understanding welcomes in a new way of thinking and perceiving that flows 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 the mind’s preoccupation with mortality and physical survival? That crippling fear has kept humanity, human thinking, and our greatest possibilities entrapped for eons.

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? All that we are here for?

12694774_1101434059887387_3146455513196508987_oVery possibly, however, we may have the chance to begin living in an eternal kind of way as we invite and employ what lasts forever – those gifts and qualities within us that await discovery, like gems in a mine. The ones that we uncover during presence, and awareness.

“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.

For 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 as a part of what is one reality, whatever kinds of separations we  may dream up or imagine.

“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. WTOEimage.php

Happy indeed.

 

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

 

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In a Light-infused season

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Claude Monet, The Road in front of Saint-Siméon Farm in Winter, 1867.

 

O PEOPLES of the world! The Sun of Truth hath risen to illumine the whole earth, and to spiritualize the community of man. Laudable are the results and the fruits thereof, abundant the holy evidences deriving from this grace.

This is mercy unalloyed and purest bounty; it is light for the world and all its peoples; it is harmony and fellowship, and love and solidarity; indeed it is compassion and unity, and the end of foreignness; it is the being at one, in complete dignity and freedom, with all on earth.

~ ‘Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha  944080_1103095966369547_7004980646450369999_n

 

There are two kinds of light.

There is the visible light of the sun, by whose aid we can discern the beauties of the world around us—without this we could see nothing.

Nevertheless, though it is the function of this light to make things visible to us, it cannot give us the power to see them or to understand what their various charms may be, for this light has no intelligence, no consciousness.

It is the light of the intellect which gives us knowledge and understanding, and without this light the physical eyes would be useless. 12241461_10150706218954999_7988366078325665830_n

This light of the intellect is the highest light that exists, for it is born of the Light Divine.

The light of the intellect enables us to understand and realize all that exists, but it is only the Divine Light that can give us sight for the invisible things, and which enables us to see truths that will only be visible to the world thousands of years hence.

 

~ ‘Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks

 


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Life’s generous invitations

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Photo: Saffron Moser

Spring flowers remind us to be happy.

It’s as though God treasured this invitation in each one, then spread them abundantly about the landscape to ensure we wouldn’t miss it.

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Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t. 

~ Steve Maraboli

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Painting: Judy Wright

 

Every day of your life is a page of your history. 

~ North African proverb

Life is lived forwards but understood backwards.

~ Congolese proverb

She who has not carried a load herself does not know how heavy it is.

~ Ugandan proverb


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The glorious leap awaiting us

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Image: EnochsVision.com

Humanity is on the verge of a spiritual evolutionary leap into a future where lasting global peace is not only possible but inevitable.

The human family is moving toward this stage of spiritual maturity through a dawning recognition of the oneness and interrelatedness in which it has been created, together with all of creation, and through the release of the gems of spiritual potential that await expression in every human heart.

As human beings, we’re held back in this process to the degree that we lack understanding about our true identity and purpose.

11800190_10155878221225385_4242285263363148219_nAll around us, we can see the ways in which this lack of understanding has reached a state of desperation that is reflected in disastrous consequences at every level of human relationship.

As souls gain awareness and understanding of our truest identity and purpose, humanity will come to understand that the forces at work in human life are impelling us away from a centuries-old preoccupation with survival and “fighting evil” towards our highest destiny: a creative, collaborative and potentially limitless building of the good, in which every individual has a part to play and every culture its unique contributions to make. WTOEimage.php

Explore these and related themes in With Thine Own Eyes: Why Imitate the Past When We Can Investigate Reality?

Learn more at:

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


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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:

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


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The cheeseburger that beat out prejudice

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Prior to his deployment to Korea in the early 1950s, a friend named Bernie was on his way home one steamy Southern day. Just 19, he’d grown up in the North and had just completed basic training down South. He was eager to get home to see his family before shipping out overseas.

Dressed in his stiff khakis, he was waiting at a bus depot in South Carolina on a day of triple-digit temperatures. His starched collar was tight around his neck, and as he entered the depot, he looked longingly at the air-conditioned waiting room on one side of the building.

Then he turned toward the cramped, stifling room marked “Colored”, went in and politely ordered a cheeseburger at its small counter.

IMG_0608The members of his family, like many African-Americans, had a wide range of skin colors because of a heritage of African, Native American, and European ancestry. The options this gave him as a light-skinned man were quickly brought to his attention when the man behind the counter leaned over to talk. The older man lowered his voice and told Bernie, “Now look, son, there’s no reason for you to get that nice uniform all messed up in here where it’s too hot to breathe. You’re serving your country; you deserve a break. Nobody here’s gonna know the difference if you go over there with the white folks and have your lunch where it’s cool. Go get comfortable before you take that long ride home,” he urged.

The roomful of people grew quiet as Bernie thanked the man, then told him, “I’m happy to stay right here.” His reply drew warm smiles, nods, and “God bless yous” from around the room. He was enjoying the first few bites of his lunch when two white police officers strode into the room. The lively chatter instantly ceased as the two made their way toward Bernie.

He braced himself for whatever might be coming, then was completely surprised by the placating tone of the officer who did all of the talking. “Now son, you’ve obviously made a mistake. We know you’re probably not familiar with the way we do things around here. There’s no reason for you to stay here where you surely don’t belong. You just take your lunch there and come on over next door where you can be cool and comfortable.”

When Bernie started to explain that he was happy to stay where he was, the man behind the counter gave him a warning look. So Bernie stopped talking.

Then the police officer continued, “Now, we sure don’t want any trouble here, son. You’d best come with us and be with your kind, where you belong.” The policeman’s tone had grown much sterner, Bernie noticed, echoing through the complete silence in the room. IMG_3155

The young soldier shrugged and rose to comply with the policeman’s request.The one who had done the talking stooped to lift Bernie’s duffel bag to his shoulder, and the other policeman carried Bernie’s plate and glass of milk carefully. Every set of eyes in the room was watching as the officers escorted the young black soldier as deferentially as if he were a visiting dignitary.

The most memorable moment came after the room’s double doors closed behind the three men. There was another beat of silence, and then the entire room broke into a chorus of delighted cheers and applause. Bernie, now a grandfather, says that he imagined that a great many of his ancestors were cheering right along with them.

312q7DGYsbL._SL110_Adapted from Life at First Sight: Finding the Divine in the Details

http://www.amazon.com/Life-First-Sight-Finding-Details-ebook/dp/B00B5MR9B0/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1385482351

 

 


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To forgive the world

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Photo: David Campbell

After both of my parents had died, I put off sorting through the boxes of their belongings that came back to my house.

Then I woke one day with the urge to explore them.

I was plunged into stirred-up memories and stored-up feelings.

As if whispered into my thoughts, an idea I’d encountered years ago in the work of psychologist Erik Blumenthal reminded:

“The person who comes to understand his parents can forgive the world.”

The writer, who grew up Jewish in Nazi Germany, knew firsthand how painful experience often makes forgiveness seem impossible. Yet he emphasized two needs that he believed eventually call to each of us: to become more understanding, beyond our rigid “certainties”, and to accept the freedom that forgiveness bestows. ErikB2index

As I unpacked my parents’ things, I gained a deeper view of what they had faced and the weight of the efforts and decisions they made. When they met, they were two people in their 20s entering a cross-cultural marriage at a time when no one knew what the next day would bring, who would live or die, or even what language everyone would be speaking, depending on the outcome of the biggest war the world had known.

I can now see, and appreciate even more fully, that whatever their circumstances, troubles, and significant mistakes or missteps, they made a place for me in this world, and stuck with that commitment.

I’m reminded of words of Rumi’s:

“When you eventually see through the veils to how things really are, you will keep saying again and again, this is certainly not like we thought it was.”

As I uncovered a broader view of my parents’ lives, I could see that most of my own resistance to forgiveness was forged at a stage when the imprint of my parents’ perceived omnipotence led me to believe that they were always in charge, in the know, in control of all situations.

I now share with them the certainty that that was never true, and the humbling realization that, whatever the hurts, it is not, indeed, as I thought it was. LAFS6377506

It’s been observed that many people hold back from forgiveness because they believe it might go against the grain of justice, might excuse a wrong or deny its occurrence.

But when we find a willingness to see beyond our own view about any situation, especially the actions and choices of others, it disarms that tendency our perception has to keep us wedded to beliefs that not only make us feel bad, but impede our healing and progress, too.

Adapted from Life at First Sight: Finding the Divine in the Details.