Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details


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Protection from our own ignorance

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“Stranded Lighthouse” image: Kathy Gilman

“…when thou traversest the regions of the world, thou wilt conclude that all progress is the result of association and cooperation, while ruin is the outcome of animosity and hatred. Notwithstanding this, the world of humanity doth not take warning, doth not wake from the slumber of heedlessness. Man is still causing differences, quarrels and strife in order to marshal the cohorts of war and, with his legions, rush into the field of bloodshed and slaughter.”

~’Abdu’l-Bahá

“Consider the pettiness of men’s minds.

They ask for that which injureth
them, and cast away the thing that profiteth them.

1509698_850882424962881_3108057775060869577_nThey are, indeed, of
those that are far astray.

We find some men desiring liberty, and priding themselves therein. Such men are in the depths of ignorance.

Liberty must, in the end, lead to sedition, whose flames none can quench.
Thus warneth you He Who is the Reckoner, the All-Knowing.

Know ye that the embodiment of liberty and its symbol is the animal.

That which beseemeth man is submission unto such restraints as will protect him from his own ignorance, and guard him against the harm of the mischief-maker.

Little Lamb Laying Low 31

“Little Lamb Laying Low” image: Kathy Gilman

Liberty causeth man to overstep the bounds of propriety, and to infringe on the dignity of his station. It debaseth him to the level of extreme depravity and wickedness.

Regard men as a flock of sheep that need a shepherd for their protection. This, verily, is the truth, the certain truth. We approve of liberty in certain circumstances, and refuse to sanction it in others. We, verily, are the All-Knowing.”

~ Bahá’u’lláh

 

 

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Beneath and between the facts

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Photo: Suzanne Birdsall-Stone

As I’ve been pondering the power and effectiveness of wholeness in healing, and in living, I find these words of writer Ian Lawton’s instructive:

“Your body’s wisdom is instinct. Your heart’s wisdom is emotion. Your mind’s wisdom is knowledge. Your higher self’s wisdom is intuition. Intuition works with, beneath and between the facts.”

I’ve appreciated his Soulseeds blog for some time now. He describes there how the multiple kinds of knowing with which we’re endowed work most effectively when they are used together.

He notes: “Being informed is necessary. Being intelligent is helpful. Being wise is essential. Wisdom is a deft combination of multiple intelligences.

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Photo: Suzanne Birdsall-Stone

“IQ is head smart. Emotional intelligence (EQ) understands the feelings behind facts. This is heart smart. Spiritual intelligence (SQ) is the mind’s meaning maker. It connects IQ and EQ by discerning what is significant and why. This is where moral intelligence comes from, as well as a sense of purpose. Another name for SQ is wisdom. Wisdom is street smart. It has its own way of knowing that combines all your years of experience and marshals the best team of feelings, skills and knowledge for each occasion.”

I encourage reading the rest of this post, and exploring the resource of Ian’s thoughtful blog at: http://www.soulseeds.com/grapevine/2012/06/from-knowledge-to-wisdom/

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Photo: Suzanne Birdsall-Stone

My reflections on these topics that Ian points to are also complemented by thoughts from a favorite catalyst of deep discourse, writer Christine DeLorey:

“… people have been talking about a great ‘awakening’ for a very long time now, but few envisaged the gut-level emotional route it would take to evolve as a species. We have often equated spirituality with the mind and consciousness – our electrical masculine energy – but maligned and ignored our magnetic feminine energy, without which we cannot be whole. The strategy of ‘divide and conquer’ starts right there!

“And as we seek balance and peace, the ‘wholeness’ dynamic is changing now, and we see how this inner battle between our masculine and feminine is reflected in all of our outer wars and atrocities.

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Photo: Suzanne Birdsall-Stone

“The war on women begins with the suppression of emotion, the feminine energy within all of us. Self-expression is our greatest power, but it depends on our ability to FEEL as well as think. Everything in life moves and grows through its ability to communicate – to take reality in – and respond outwardly to it.”

Although it is in subtle ways (and what else could it be?) my forthcoming book, The Munich Girl: A novel of the legacies that outlast war, is steeped directly in these realities.

Find more about The Munich Girl at:

http://www.amazon.com/Munich-Girl-Novel-Legacies-Outlast/dp/0996546987/

 

 

 

 


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Wonder wakes the hidden mystery

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“Colorado Moonlight” by Judy Wright

Nature is the kind surface, the intimate face of a great unknown.

It is uncanny to behold how boldly we walk upon the earth as if we are its owners. We strut along, deaf to the silence in the vast night of the unknown that lives below the ground.

Above the slim band of air which forms the sky around our planet is the other endless night.

Wonder makes the unknown interesting, attractive, and miraculous.

A sense of wonder helps awaken the hidden affinity and kinship which the unknown has with us.

 ~ John O’Donohue, Eternal Echoes

Rivulet

“Rivulet” by Judy Wright

 

If the people of the world were wise enough
to plant the root of their lives
deep within the Subtle Origin
Then the worldly affairs of life
would coherently follow their natural course
and harmony would abound of its own nature …

Then the peaceful order of the universe prevails
and unity manifests again of its own accord.

~ Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching


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The heart’s own gift

Painted Desert

Painting: Judy Hughey Wright

I once heard someone describe how, while traveling on a bus in Africa, where many roads look like something Americans would reserve for all-terrain vehicles, he’d had an unexpected encounter with the power of encouragement.

As the driver navigated the deeply rutted road, the passengers would repeatedly, and with great enthusiasm, cry out a phrase that sounded like “ay-kushay.” As the American man watched more carefully, he realized that this was a kind of cheer they made each time the driver successfully avoided a pothole.

His story brought to mind the friends I made when I lived in China. Seldom have I seen people work as hard, or live with so little. In addition to showing a generally uncomplaining and positive attitude, they demonstrated something whose effectiveness finally makes sense to me. As they’d wave me on my way, they’d unfailingly call out, “Do your best,” “Take your time” or “Enjoy yourself!” China3.2009 197

It wasn’t until I got back to the United States and no longer heard these things that I realized how much I’d appreciated such sources of encouragement. They had a lovely sound to my ears — and they were empowering.

To “encourage” each other, literally meaning “to give heart,” is one of the most spiritually beautiful gifts we can share. Perhaps the very scarcity of encouragement in daily life is what has so many feeling weary, fearful, and uninspired.

And an especially good reason to cultivate encouragement is that its opposite, discouragement, tends to breed complaint and criticism like weeds. Falling prey to these, which do nothing to draw us near to God, or goodness, is all too easy, leads nowhere new, and feels bad.

But surprisingly, practicing encouragement instead doesn’t require much more effort, other than willingly letting go. IMG_6181

Then there’s the surprise bonus in choosing encouragement, both for others and our own selves. Live long enough and you get to see how offering sincere encouragement to others turns out to be like giving it to yourself at the same time.

I just love when divine wisdom maximizes things in that very generous way.

Excerpted from Life at First Sight: Finding the Divine in the Details:

http://rcm-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=leaofthetre-20&o=1&p=8&l=as4&m=amazon&f=ifr&ref=ss_til&asins=1931847673″


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A growing wisdom and joy

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A heart full of thanks to Isha Lerner for the love she helps us invite into the world, and this wonderful poem of Rumi’s that she hopes “may prove to be a useful companion on your journey”.

Blessed journey to all.

 

This is how a human being can change:
there’s a worm addicted to eating
grape leaves.
Suddenly, he wakes up,
call it grace, whatever, something
wakes him, and he’s no longer
A worm.

IMG_6332He’s the entire vineyard,
and the orchard too, the fruit, the trunks,
a growing wisdom and joy
that doesn’t need
to devour.

~ Rumi


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The foundation of all economics

IMG_6129

Photo: D. Kirkup Designs

GLEANINGS FOR THE SPIRIT

A pure heart is as a mirror; cleanse it with the burnish of love and severance from all save God, that the true sun
may shine within it and the eternal morning dawn.

~ Bahá’u’lláh

The source of crafts, sciences and arts is the power of reflection. Make ye every effort that out of this ideal mine there may gleam forth such pearls of wisdom and utterance as will promote the well-being and harmony of all the kindreds of the earth.

~ Bahá’u’lláh

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Photo: D. Kirkup Designs

True Economics ~ from a talk shared by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Boston, 1912:

Strive, therefore, to create love in the hearts in order that they may become glowing and radiant.  When that love is shining, it will permeate other hearts even as this electric light illumines its surroundings.

When the love of God is established, everything else will be realized. This is the true foundation of all economics. Reflect upon it.

Endeavor to become the cause of the attraction of souls rather than to enforce minds. Manifest true economics to the people. Show what love is, what kindness is, what true severance is and generosity. This is the important thing for you to do. Mirror Love

… Economic questions will not attract hearts. The love of God alone will attract them. Economic questions are most interesting; but the power which moves, controls and attracts the hearts of men is the love of God.


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The gift we’re glad to see returned

Palm Canyon Trail

Painting: “Palm Canyon Trail” by Judy Hughey Wright.

I once heard someone describe how, while traveling on a bus in Africa, where many roads look like something Americans would reserve for all-terrain vehicles, he’d had an unexpected encounter with the power of encouragement.

As the driver navigated the deeply rutted road, the passengers would repeatedly, and with great enthusiasm, cry out a phrase that sounded like “ay-kushay.” As the American man watched more carefully, he realized that this was a kind of cheer they made each time the driver successfully avoided a pothole.

His story brought to mind the friends I made when I lived in China. Seldom have I seen people work as hard, or live with so little. In addition to showing a generally uncomplaining and positive attitude, they demonstrated something whose effectiveness finally makes sense to me. As they’d wave me on my way, they’d unfailingly call out, “Do your best,” “Take your time” or “Enjoy yourself!”

It wasn’t until I got back to the United States and no longer heard these things that I realized how much I’d appreciated such sources of encouragement. They had a lovely sound to my ears — and my heart. And they were empowering.

Parched2

Painting: “Parched,” by Judy Hughey Wright.

To “encourage” each other, meaning literally “to give heart”, is one of the most timelessly beautiful gifts we can share. Perhaps the very scarcity of encouragement in daily life is what has so many feeling weary, fearful, and uninspired. Parched, even.

Another good reason to cultivate encouragement is that its opposite, discouragement, tends to breed complaint and criticism like weeds. Falling prey to these leads nowhere new, and feels bad.

But surprisingly, practicing encouragement instead doesn’t require much more effort, other than willingly letting go.

Then there’s that surprise bonus of choosing encouragement and offering it freely: it mysteriously begins to feel like receiving it yourself, at the same time.

I love just when divine wisdom maximizes things in that very generous way.

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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=&qid=