Thursday, June 19, 2008
The real pain and loss is to live your life in ignorance of spiritual things. That is the hell that is talked of in all the spiritual books.
“True loss is for him whose days have been spent in utter ignorance of his self.”
(Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 156)
That ‘self’ is our soul, its our true identity. We must nurture our spiritual side, let it grow and develop into something glorious. So how do we do it? Since our creator loves us and has only our best interests at heart, it follows that we should listen read and study what the Divine teachers have given us. Only then can we be assured that the paths we are trying to tread are indeed the right paths. The latest messenger has given advice and instruction for every aspect of our lives today and it is current with todays world. It follows therefore to hearken to His teachings, after all it is a wisdom that far exceeds anything that we may be able to create. When you accept this, your life becomes so much easier and much more beautiful and fulfilling, it gives you wings to soar with, it allows you to enjoy this life to its fullest, it gives you an appreciation of things like you could have never imagined possible before, and most of all it gives you a peace of mind, knowing that you are trying to live a life which is true to yourself.
In the garden of thy heart plant naught but the rose of love, and from the nightingale of affection and desire loosen not thy hold. Treasure the companionship of the righteous and eschew all fellowship with the ungodly.
O SON OF JUSTICE!
Whither can a lover go but to the land of his beloved? and what seeker findeth rest away from his heart's desire? To the true lover reunion is life, and separation is death. His breast is void of patience and his heart hath no peace. A myriad lives he would forsake to hasten to the abode of his beloved.”
(Baha'u'llah, Hidden Words)
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Those who have passed on through death, have a sphere of their own. It is not removed from ours; their work, the work of the Kingdom, is ours; but it is sanctified from what we call 'time and place.' Time with us is measured by the sun. When there is no more sunrise, and no more sunset, that kind of time does not exist for man. Those who have ascended have different attributes from those who are still on earth, yet there is no real separation.
"In prayer there is a mingling of station, a mingling of condition. Pray for them as they pray for you! When you do not know it, and are in a receptive attitude, they are able to make suggestions to you, if you are in difficulty.
(Abdu'l-Baha, Abdu'l-Baha in London, p. 96)
Thursday, January 04, 2007
Still it hurts every day
The soap and shampoo she used
has now all gone away
I sit and recall conversations had
Her pictures hanging makes me feel
Things have changed and I have
had experiences which she didn’t share
I think of her every day
and offer a prayer
I want to leave this mortal world
now as never before
I’m sad and weary and want
to close that door
To move to pastures new
To sing His praises
I long to be with her again
To serve together in the Real domain
Tears roll as before
I so much want to go through that door
An animator for His faith
Is this going to be my saving grace?
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
I recently held a class on bereavement for nurses and those in the caring profession who care for terminally ill people. It was really all about faith and death. I was there to give the Bahai perspective – a personal approach. I showed the film of Nickie which was filmed last summer as she was dying.
There are certain things we cant change or elude – one is death, we are all going to die, its been happening for years so we may as well get used to it.
A friend sent me a poem the other day called Emerging Essence Its all about us being in a half-light clinging on with faith and trust. Anyway it got me thinking about the talk thing I did. I certainly conveyed the fact that when we believe with a certainty then there is nothing to fear. Its like when you know what is going to happen then the unknown doesn’t exist so we cant fear it if its not there. Now that’s well and good if you know but if you don’t then what sort of help can you offer especially if you are nursing a terminally ill person and they are in fear of their impending death? I think when people are in a state of fear or uncertainty they look for comfort in others. That is where it is vital to have an understanding of how things work so you can show that conviction and sincerity in your actions. It is strange how that works – so as you have faith, so shall your powers be. Its like if we have faith in the doctor to help us then invariably what they do, works. But if we doubt the expertise of the doctor then chances are the medicine will have little effect. That’s how witch doctors managed to get such a strong power over the tribe. I remember reading about an experiment which was done on a prisoner who was condemned to death, he was put on a table and a needle was inserted into his arm, a doctor announced as each 500ml of blood was taken out and what the patient should be feeling. It went on until the patient had died because he believed what the doctor was announcing when in actual fact not one drop of blood was taken from him. Amazing that isn’t it!
So we put our trust in people when we feel they can be trusted. So how do we figure they can be trusted? Well I suppose we use our powers of reason. That’s a bit like the independent investigation of truth which we are encouraged to do when checking out anything.
So we should apply this to everything we do right? One of the first quotes I ever learnt was ‘Be ye guided by wisdom in all your doings, and cleave ye tenaciously unto it’ I must have been about 9 or 10 at the time. I had done something which was not very well thought out and this quote obviously hit a chord with me at the time.
So if the ultimate apex of our strivings should be God then it kinda figures we should put a bit of effort into figuring it out. And what tools do we use to figure it out? Well lets start with our reason capacities. Look at the facts. Read what the founders of all religions have to say. See if it makes sense to us. What some do here is get scared as there is a power in the words you read and when you open yourself to taking them to heart it can be a bit scary at first. But eventually if you persevere you trust and they become part of you. There is that word again – trust. Then you start reading and questioning to understand not to find fault or difference. Then the real journey of discovery begins. You will get such a wonderful knowledge of who you are, what your reality is, how the soul and progression all fits into things. What your life should be about. Why we need to develop attitudes and behaviors which are beneficial to mankind. How to bring up our kids to be open and sincere to themselves. How all this is such a liberating thing and not a straightjacket in life – as many see religion as being. Now then once you gain a bit of an understanding of what life is all about what happens is that you can relax. Yep that’s it just relax and take each day as it comes. You can confidently follow your passions and hearfelt desires knowing that its fine to do so and that its your God given right to do so. When adversities come in your life they wont affect you so severely as to shake your very core but your understanding of how it all works will make these challenges appear as learning opportunities and you can truly rejoice in them at a heartfelt level.
You will live your life in awe and wonder like a little child who experiences something for the first time.
You end up taking extreme pleasure in how others think and do things. You see others as special noble spiritual beings who were created for a purpose and that gives you an inquisitiveness and natural curiosity which fills you with excitement and awe. People smile at you and warm to your presence. Its all very very pleasant.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
We are told that this world is not worth anything much - infact it’s been referred to as a rubbish heap, a mere shadow of the real world, worth as much as the black in the eye of a dead ant.
Now then, think about the beauty of this physical world in which we live. The wonders in nature; The beauty of space and other planets; At the molecular level there are worlds within worlds to be in awe of. The varied foods which are absolutely wonderful – I love tandoori and it amazes me how much pleasure I get from a well cooked tandoori dish.
And then we have visual delights, sunsets, again in nature there are images of an incredible variety to feast our eyes on. Hearing - another sense which has again a wealth of surprises and delights to wallow in whilst in this physical world, a beautiful bit of music a poem a story, I am currently playing a blues music piece on a loop as I think its wonderfully uplifiting.
Then there are things like communication. The helping of another person to realize something; The passing on to another of an awareness or skill which we might have learnt, now I don’t know about you but the pleasure in doing that sort of act surpasses all else – well maybe the tandoori meal comes close! No joking aside it really is overwhelmingly pleasing to be able to help another person. It is surely the ultimate joy.
Then there is stuff like prayers, which is a natural thing to do in the same way its natural for a flower to turn towards the sun to get the warmth and sustenance. But then there is praying for others too which again when done selflessly gives a pleasure on a different plane from any of the physical pleasures.
Now then, all this kind of stuff we can lump together and categorize it into earthly existence. Some of the pleasures we can say are spiritual but really they are as nothing when compared to what true spirituality is all about and to what we will partake when we leave this world at the point of death. And that’s what gets me really exited. If this wonderful awe inspiring, beautiful universe in which we live is regarded as nothing when compared to the ‘real’ world then that makes the next world something absolutely way beyond anything we can possibly imagine or experience, again going back to the womb and trying to tell the child what this life is like its just not possible. We get glimpses of the next world by the pleasures we feel from doing selfless acts. The ultimate act as we know is to help another soul find its true calling and place in this world. So many go through this life without giving any regard for their true identity and spiritual growth – a tragedy indeed.
Grieve thou not over the troubles and hardships of this nether world, nor be thou glad in times of ease and comfort, for both shall pass away. This present life is even as a swelling wave, or a mirage, or drifting shadows. Could ever a distorted image on the desert serve as refreshing waters? No, by the Lord of Lords! Never can reality and the mere semblance of reality be one, and wide is the difference between fancy and fact, between truth and the phantom thereof.
Know thou that the Kingdom is the real world, and this nether place is only its shadow stretching out. A shadow hath no life of its own; its existence is only a fantasy, and nothing more; it is but images reflected in water, and seeming as pictures to the eye.
(Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 177)
Rejoicest thou in that thou rulest a span of earth, when the whole world, in the estimation of the people of Baha, is worth as much as the black in the eye of a dead ant? Abandon it unto such as have set their affections upon it, and turn thou unto Him Who is the Desire of the world. Whither are gone the proud and their palaces? Gaze thou into their tombs, that thou mayest profit by this example, inasmuch as We made it a lesson unto every beholder. Were the breezes of Revelation to seize thee, thou wouldst flee the world, and turn unto the Kingdom, and wouldst expend all thou possessest, that thou mayest draw nigh unto this sublime Vision."
(Baha'u'llah, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 55)
Now read this bit from Adibs book -
Obstruct not the luminous spring of thy soul with the thorns and brambles of vain and inordinate affections, and impede not the flow of the living waters that stream from the fountain of thine heart. Set all thy hope in God, and cleave tenaciously to His unfailing mercy.
In this Tablet Bahá'u'lláh defines the real purpose for which God bestowed faculties on man:
Thine eye is My trust, suffer not the dust of vain desires to becloud its lustre. Thine ear is a sign of My bounty, let not the tumult of unseemly motives turn it away from My Word that encompasseth all creation. Thine heart is My treasury, allow not the treacherous hand of self to rob thee of the pearls which I have treasured therein. Thine hand is a symbol of My loving-kindness, hinder it not from holding fast unto My guarded and hidden Tablets.
These exalted concepts give us a glimpse of the nobility and purity to which man, under the shadow of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh, will attain. The study of the Writings clearly indicates that the purpose underlying the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh is to create a new race of men whose thoughts and deeds will reflect and manifest in this world the most lofty attributes and divine virtues.
(Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Baha'u'llah v 2, p. 139)
Sunday, November 12, 2006
If only it was that easy
Truthfulness is the foundation of all the virtues of the world of humanity. Without truthfulness, progress and success in all of the worlds of God are impossible for a soul. When this holy attribute is established in man, all the divine qualities will also become realised.
(Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith - Abdu'l-Baha Section, p. 384)
Now then, this is extremely interesting. Read it again. See the middle sentence “Without truthfulness, progress and success in all of the worlds of God are impossible for a soul”
All the worlds of God! Although we can understand why being truthful is of benefit in this world we cant understand why its good in all the worlds of God. This goes for all the virtues, to be reliable to be joyful, courageous, forgiving, just, loving, understanding there are loads of them. I wonder how it all works in the other worlds of God to which we will attain and how virtues we acquire and develop here allow us to contribute to the animating force which the arts and wonders of this world are made manifest.
The light which these souls radiate is responsible for the progress of the world and the advancement of its peoples. They are like unto leaven which leaveneth the world of being, and constitute the animating force through which the arts and wonders of the world are made manifest. Through them the clouds rain their bounty upon men, and the earth bringeth forth its fruits
(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 156)
Bob Brozman a fantastic guitar player said in a concert I went to once that ‘if you always tell the truth then you don’t have to remember anything’. Isn’t that neat?
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Some say ‘all religion does is cause wars. If you have no religion then there will be no wars’
Well lets have a look at the scale of human suffering caused by religion and caused by non religious activity. There are many more than I have listed below but these are pretty major conflicts and are quite dominant in our history.
In the name of religion
Witch hunting burning.
Islamic militant activities
Non religious attocities
The 19th centuries worst crime against humanity was the killing of some 6 million jews.
Stalins regime in former
Apartheid segregation of blacks in
Scientific communities in
So to go back to the question – does religion cause wars I think the answer is clearly no it does not. It is clearly mankind who uses religion to dominate over others as he uses any power at his disposal to dominate over others. This is undeniably a sad state of affairs but nevertheless a true one.
if we throw out religion from the world then what will we have?
Well Baha’u’llah clearly states :-
Should the lamp of religion be obscured, chaos and confusion will ensue, and the lights of fairness and justice, of tranquillity and peace cease to shine. Unto this will bear witness every man of true understanding.
(Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 125)All religions teach that we must do good, that we must be generous, sincere, truthful, law-abiding, and faithful; all this is reasonable, and logically the only way in which humanity can progress.
(Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 141)