Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details


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Possibility arrives anew in each moment

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Photo: Nelson Ashberger

With the return of each day’s light comes an invitation to investigate, throughout the span of that day, rather than imitate the past.

Do I accept it, and apply myself to what it invites?

It arrives in a world of imperfection, one that can easily draw negative reactions from my lower nature, which must find its way in that world.

Yet I’ve surely had opportunity to learn that dwelling on imperfections, berating myself or others for them, serves only to increase my perception of them. It’s a circle of suffering I draw for myself. It saps my time, energy, and attention (those aspects of life over which I have choice) when I could instead offer them for something that is always calling, if softly, at times: the building of the good that I’m invited into each day.

In responding to that call, I discover how very much there is to become aware of and relinquish—how much preoccupation with negativity can surround my life and fill my thoughts and absorb my personal resources.

This, in many lives, is the debilitating presence of blind imitation of the past, including the kind of thinking that was born in earlier, fearful experiences and has led to attitudes, behaviors, assumptions, and beliefs that have no basis in reality—nor, indeed, anywhere near it.

My encounter with imperfection extends an invitation, too—one urging me to recognize and accept how much I don’t know, or can’t change, yet I can always discover the limitless possibilities of love in the most essential kind of response I’ve been designed and equipped to make. Rather than exercising my survival-driven instinctual reaction to fight imperfection, or try to escape it, I can turn toward an innate, indwelling response—the possibility of it—that is better-aligned with the purpose for which I’ve been created.

As it invites me into the freedom of not fighting any one or any thing (including myself), it also reminds that every human interaction (including with myself) is either an act of giving or an act of receiving. By asking questions that encompass both giving and receiving, my sensitivity to my own true needs and those of others is increased daily.

Each part of this questioning is equally important, because giving depends on someone willing and capable of receiving from me, and receiving depends on someone willing and capable of giving to me.

The following two service questions have been conceived as a way to help us focus on and clarify reality for ourselves in the course of the countless decisions we are called upon to make each day.

These junctures of possibility arrive moment by moment, and as I seek to draw away from blind imitation of the past toward the true investigation of my own and others’ deepest reality, I return to these questions again and again:

WTOEimage.php

  1. At this moment in time, what is the act of service I am capable of giving that the other person is capable of receiving?
  2. At this moment in time, what is the act of service I am capable of receiving that the other person is capable of giving?

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

Find more about the book at: http://www.amazon.com/Thine-Own-Eyes-Imitate-Investigate-ebook/dp/B00I1JPC7I/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8


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The freedom in not fighting

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Photo: Lara Kearns

With the return of each day’s light comes an invitation to investigate, throughout the span of that day, rather than imitate the past. Do I accept it, and apply myself to what it invites?

It arrives in a world of imperfection, one that can easily draw negative reactions from my lower nature, which must find its way in that world. Yet I’ve surely had opportunity to learn that dwelling on imperfections, berating myself or others for them, serves only to increase my perception of them. It’s a circle of suffering I draw for myself. It saps my time, energy, and attention (those aspects of life over which I have choice) when I could instead offer them for something that is always calling, if softly, at times: the building of the good that I’m invited into each day.

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Photo: Lara Kearns

In responding to that call, I discover how very much there is to become aware of and relinquish—how much preoccupation with negativity surrounds my life and can fill my thoughts and absorb my personal resources. This, in many lives, is the debilitating presence of blind imitation of the past, including the kind of thinking that was born in earlier, fearful experiences and has led to attitudes, behaviors, assumptions, and beliefs that have no basis in reality—nor, indeed, anywhere near it.

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Photo: Lara Kearns

My encounter with imperfection extends an invitation, too—one urging me to recognize and accept how much I don’t know, or can’t change, yet I can always discover the limitless possibilities of love in the most essential kind of response I’ve been designed and equipped to make. Rather than exercising my survival-driven instinctual reaction to fight imperfection, or try to escape it, I can turn toward an innate, indwelling response—the possibility of it—that is better-aligned with the purpose for which I’ve been created.

As it invites me into the freedom of not fighting any one or any thing (including myself), it also reminds that every human interaction (including with myself) is either an act of giving or an act of receiving. By asking questions that encompass both giving and receiving, my sensitivity to my own true needs and those of others is increased daily. Each part of this questioning is equally important, because giving depends on someone willing and capable of receiving from me, and receiving depends on someone willing and capable of giving to me.

WTOEimage.phpThe following two service questions have been conceived as a way to help us focus on and clarify reality for ourselves in the course of the countless decisions we are called upon to make each day. Those junctures of possibility arrive moment by moment, and as I seek to draw away from blind imitation of the past toward the true investigation of my own and others’ deepest reality, I return to these questions again and again:

  1. At this moment in time, what is the act of service I am capable of giving that the other person is capable of receiving?
  2. At this moment in time, what is the act of service I am capable of receiving that the other person is capable of giving?

Adapted 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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A path of service and self-discovery

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Photo: David Campbell

When we translate the spiritual inspiration we receive into a genuine act of service, our motivation is most likely one of improving our relationships.

But something far deeper also transpires, though it may go unnoticed, at first. We are bringing out from the latent state of potentiality our true self and purpose.

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Image: Judy Hughey Wright

The genuine acts of service that we have exchanged with another person in this world form the eternal part of our relationship that transcends this material world. The material gifts we exchange with loved ones will return to dust, but the love we show them will last forever.

What is the connection between relationships and the concept of investigating our own reality?

Our personal investigation is an abstract endeavor and it can be difficult to assess progress. However, the more successful we are in uncovering our true self, the better the decisions we will make regarding our lives and the people in them, which translates into healthier and happier relationships. This will provide us with tangible evidence that we are making progress on the path of service and self-discovery.

WTOEimage.phpTo live to our highest potential, it seems that we need to come into consciousness of our true selves and also to establish a balance between our being and our doing that is rooted in our truest purpose.

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

Find more 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

and in print version at:

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

 

 

 

 


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Spiritual intelligence and subtleties of truth

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Image: D. Kirkup Designs /https://www.etsy.com/shop/DKirkupDesigns

“Collective spiritual intelligence (SQ) is low in modern society,” physicist and philosopher Danah Zohar has said. “We live in a spiritually dumb culture characterized by materialism, expediency, narrow self-centredness, lack of meaning and dearth of commitment.”

However discouraging that assessment may sound, she goes on to describe how, as individuals “we can act to raise our personal SQ – indeed, the further evolution of society depends upon enough individuals doing so …”

Among the ways she describes that we can light up that darkness are to use our inner gifts:

–     to look for the connections between things;

–     to bring to the surface the assumptions we have been making about the meaning behind and within things;

–     to become more reflective;

–     to reach beyond ourselves a little;

–      to take responsibility;

–      to become more self-aware; and

–      to be more honest with ourselves and more courageous.”

“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.

SO! The means of raising our SQ — and assuring the further evolution of society — is also – the source of happiness!

Each day presents us with a blank new canvas on which to place our steps toward this.

The world may seem a mess, but divine design remains both wondrous and unlimited, when we turn toward it and receive it with WTOEimage.phpwillingness.

Explore more about the spiritual invitation of our times in With Thine Own Eyes: Why Imitate the Past, When We Can Investigate Reality? 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 at: http://www.bahairesources.com/with-thine-own-eyes.html


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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

 

 

 

 


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Awareness needs both giving and receiving

Little Lamb Laying Low 31

Photo: Kathy Gilman

Can I recognize in my encounters with imperfection an invitation to accept that there is much I don’t know, or can’t change, especially about others?

How might I discover the limitless possibilities of love, of being open to the new possibilities in a situation or a moment? Might willingness to meet the present, rather than automatically imitate or recreate the past, be what it most truly means to “occupy” my self?

EB pix Germany and more 118The two service questions are conceived as a mechanism to help me focus on and clarify reality for myself in the decisions with which I am faced each day. Those junctures of possibility arrive moment by moment, and the goal of this pair of questions is to help me meet each one consciousl:

~ At this moment in time, what is the act of service I am capable of giving that the other person is capable of receiving?

~ At this moment in time, what is the act of service I am capable of receiving that the other person is capable of giving?

WTOEimage.phpEvery human interaction is either an act of giving or an act of receiving. By asking questions that encompass both giving and receiving, my sensitivity to and awareness of my own needs and those of others is increased daily. Both questions are equally important because giving depends on someone willing and capable of receiving, and receiving depends on someone willing and capable of giving.

Adapted 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


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Fear’s remedy does not perish

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

Fear can be instructive when I experience it, though I’m not meant to dwell on it, or in it.

If I understand the inner signals of fear, whose purpose is to educate and inform me, I can choose to make the necessary adjustments in belief and behavior that will prevent for me the unhealthy and painful mental state of being consumed by that fear.

Most often, that state seems one of attempting to avoid the fear, rather than meeting it and receiving what it has to reveal.

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

In the physical world, a fear signal is often a potentially life-saving reaction that prompts me to move quickly out the way of harm to my physical self.

In spiritual terms, I can also experience triggers of fear that point to what could pose danger to my own true and most enduring reality. This signal often arises when I cross the line of moderation and form an attachment to some aspect of the material world.

For every worldly attachment I make, I can gain an unhealthy fear, then easily become overwhelmed by such fears. The remedy, detachment, is in refraining from allowing my physical possessions, the things I do, the things I think, feel, believe, to possess me. For these are what perish.WTOEimage.php

The heart, it seems, is never at rest and never finds real joy and happiness until it attaches itself to the eternal, to what does not perish.

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

http://www.amazon.com/Thine-Own-Eyes-Imitate-Investigate-ebook/dp/B00I1JPC7I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1410352058&sr=8-1&keywords=with+thine+own+eyes


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Building the good

Painted Desert

“Painted Desert” by Judy Hughey Wright

Dwelling on imperfections, berating myself or others for them, saps time, energy, and attention (those resources over which I have choice). It offers them to what is counterproductive, even destructive — when I have been invited, instead, toward the building of the good.

“Their whole energy is directed towards the building of the good, a good which has such a positive strength that in the face of it the multitude of evils – which are in essence negative – will fade away and be no more.”  ~ From a letter from the Universal House of Justice, 1974

The same letter noted, “… demolishing one by one the evils in the world is a vain waste of time and effort.” When asked about evil, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá offered this definition: Evil is imperfection.

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“Pueblo” by Judy Hughey Wright

When I choose to participate in the building of the good, I become aware of how much preoccupation with negativity can surround our lives, fill our thoughts, and absorb our personal resources. I can also come to see how this is the debilitating presence of blind imitation of the past, including the kind of thinking that was born in earlier, fearful experiences and has led to attitudes, behaviors, assumptions, and beliefs that have no basis in reality — nor, indeed, anywhere near it.

My encounter with the contrast of imperfection can urge me toward accepting that there is much I don’t know, or can’t change, yet I can always discover the limitless possibilities of love in that more-productive kind of response that I’ve been created and equipped to make.

WTOEimage.phpRather than exercising my survival-driven instinctual reaction to fight imperfection, or try to escape it, there’s a response better-aligned with the purpose for which I’ve been created. It will contribute toward building what “has such a positive strength that in the face of it the multitude of evils – which are in essence negative – will fade away and be no more”. 

I open, today, to the possibilities of that response.

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

http://www.amazon.com/Thine-Own-Eyes-Imitate-Investigate-ebook/dp/B00I1JPC7I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1410352058&sr=8-1&keywords=with+thine+own+eyes


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Receiving the gifts that await within

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

 

For the first time, the realization of human oneness 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.

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

WTOEimage.phpOnly 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 remind myself. It’s this core part of my self that has the capacity to perceive honor and nobility in every human being, including the one who looks back from the mirror each day.

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

http://www.amazon.com/Thine-Own-Eyes-Imitate-Investigate-ebook/dp/B00I1JPC7I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1410352058&sr=8-1&keywords=with+thine+own+eyes


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Facets of the infinite jewel

How each of us chooses to show love, receive forgiveness, and express other attributes is our own spiritual fingerprint, and just like our physical fingerprint, it is unique to us. 

Nobody in the past, present, or future will love exactly the same way that each of us does. 

Each time that we give or receive, an attribute of God – a facet of the infinite jewel – is revealed.

In this way, we make an invaluable contribution because we have added to what can be perceived of divinity.

And because we are all capable of making such a contribution, this means that each individual is absolutely indispensable.

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

Find Kindle version at: http://www.amazon.com/With-Thine-Own-Eyes-Investigate-ebook/dp/B00I1JPC7I/ref=pd_sim_kstore_16?ie=UTF8&refRID=1SHQANAAFWRM932HC41M

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