Heads or Tails ?

soar above painIt’s always a choice, no matter how much pain is happening, whether you’ll attempt to rise above it or wallow in it.

From the Lewiston Sun Journal:The Sweet Sting of Relief

From empowher:You’re In Pain. You Want Relief. Naturally

From the Daily Record, Scotland:I climbed all 284 Munros [mountains] despite suffering from two debilitating conditions

I spent some time yesterday looking back at the first few posts of this blog. I began it in March, just two months before the end of a torturous eleven-month medical drug therapy to rid my liver of a deadly virus (Hepatitis C). The first posts were all about the pain of the treatments, about how debilitating and depressing they were but, also, expressing my determination to soar as far above the physical disorders as I could.

One of the greatest aids to flight above physical suffering was my music. I even offered some of my favorites in a post on March 28th:

My All-Time Favorite Song

My All-Time Favorite Singer

My All-Time Favorite Musical Group

The other great relief from my suffering was opening my mind and heart to spiritual sustenance.

If you’ve visited this blog before, you know I’m dedicated to raising the issues in current events to the level of Principle. Recently, I’ve been working toward my first comprehensive series of posts. The first in the series will be the very next post I write (more than likely posted on Tuesday). The subject will be Inducing the Will to Act. I’m taking the themes for the series from the fourth chapter of a book called, Peace: More Than An End To War.

To help with my thinking and feeling for the series (it will be a major spiritual and emotional effort) I used a really cool application called Wordle–transposing any text (including a blog) into a word-cloud. I used the text of the document, The Search for Values in an Age of Transition, which I’m studying for a future series of posts.

Here’s the word-cloud (click to enlarge):
spiritual word-cloud

Here’s the outline for the series of posts (with the post numbers):

1 Inducing the will to act.
Eliminating barriers to peace.
2 Racism.
3 Extremes of wealth & poverty.
Preventing economic disparity
Fostering altruism & philanthropy

4 Unbridled nationalism.
5 Religious strife.
6 Denial of the equality of women & men.
7 Ignorance & lack of education.
8 Multiplicity of languages.
Evoking Moral Attitudes Conducive to Enduring Peace
9 Material Achievements and Spiritual Perfections
10 Two Wings of Progress
11 The Power of a Moral Character

“Our greatest efforts must be directed towards detachment from the things of the world; we must strive to become more spiritual, more luminous, to follow the counsel of the Divine Teaching, to serve the cause of unity and true equality, to be merciful, to reflect the love of the Highest on all men, so that the light of the Spirit shall be apparent in all our deeds, to the end that all humanity shall be united, the stormy sea thereof calmed, and all rough waves disappear from off the surface of life’s ocean henceforth unruffled and peaceful.”
Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 87

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More Global Unity

atlas with earthYesterday I brought your attention to a remarkable seed-event in the struggle for Global Unity. Today I’m providing more information about it, hopefully to encourage you to let it influence your thinking and feeling in a way that inspires you to take action !

The usual news clips and the usual spiritual quote are not here today. I feel bringing this event to your awareness is the news and your response to it is the spirituality.

Take a little time and re-live the initial dream for this amazing event, the whole event, or some highlights:

Video of Jehane Noujaim presenting her wish for Pangea Day

The whole four hours of Pangea Day

A one hour highlight video

The first twenty five minutes

Here’s some feedback, immediately after the event, from the Pangea Day website:

“The first-ever Pangea Day was a monumental success…People from everywhere tuned in to watch the live broadcast in Cairo, Kigali, London, Los Angeles, Mumbai, and Rio de Janeiro and grassroots events flourished in cities, communities, and private homes.

“The response has been tremendous. Here’s a sampling of the voices we’ve heard from so far”:

“This has been my dream to have such day for years, and today I see it come to reality!”

Farsheed, an Iranian-Canadian ‘global citizen’

“I just stumbled onto the last half hour of the Pangea Day show here in Toronto and am so happy I did…I’m 48 yrs old and got the most wonderful feeling of finally belonging to a community that speaks to and for me…I’m going to check out the web site and find a drum to bang and some people to hug and love!

Ursula of Toronto, formerly of Kircubbin, Northern Ireland

“It’s 4:00 am here and I couldn’t go to bed without writing to you and telling you how beautiful, thought-provoking and deeply moving the experience was.”

Rhea from Chandigarh, India

“Next year – and there MUST be a next year and many years thereafter – please have sponsors everywhere on our planet promoting and advertising this great event and making sure the world watches…”

Barbara, South Africa

“I did not intend to spend hours in front of the TV today but I could not turn it off. You have re-introduced hope in my life, and probably to millions of others today. You gave a gift to the world!”

Lisa, Victoria, BC

“Watching the different stories of people, I see that there is hope and will to come together, to unite. I hope to see Pangea Day every year.”

Nabeel in Karachi, Pakistan.

“We are Islamic people. We’re from Bangladesh. The Pangea Day event was great. We have to say, that was one of the greatest 4 hours of our lives!”

The Khan Family in Quebec, Canada

“I was touched, moved, and inspired. Coming from a third world country, which has a terrible reputation worldwide, where there is an extreme political unrest, suicide bombings all over the town…the events…made me feel a lot better. That maybe there is some hope.”

Fizza in Pakistan

“We started watching the event with the intention to go for dinner at some point… But… we couldn’t leave!”

Ana & Martin in Spain

Here are ways you can take action on the feelings spawned by Pangea day:

Avaaz.org – The World in Action
Stop the clash of civilizations. Support peace in the Middle East.
Take action 

Charity: Water
Make the right to clean water a reality.
Take action 

Interfaith Youth Core – Building a Global Interfaith Youth Movement
Experience religious pluralism; get involved in an interfaith dialogue or community service project.
Take action 

Kiva – Loans That Change Lives
Lend as little as $25 to an entrepreneur in the developing world today.
Take action 

ninemillion.org – A UNHCR Education and Sports Campaign
Give refugee children worldwide the chance to learn and play.
Take action 

ONE – The Campaign to Make Poverty History
Fight global poverty. Join ONE.
Take action 

United Nations Population Fund
Stand up for women and protect maternal health.
Take action 

The We Campaign – We Can Solve the Climate Crisis
Call on world leaders to prevent the worst consequences of global warming.
Take action 

WITNESS – See It. Film It. Change It
Sign the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and tell your story.
Take action

Please leave your thoughts and feelings in the Comments.
Let’s have a conversation !

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Global Unity

Mother of Pangea Day

image credit
The Mother of Pangea Day


Yesterday’s post was about how we can live peace in our daily lives, in spite of the horrific violence and crushing oppression that bedevils us. This post is about how Global Peace can grow from the seeds of peace we sow in our daily lives.

From the San Angelo Standard-Times: 11 DAYS OF GLOBAL UNITY: An introduction

From the Naperville Sun: Naperville artist celebrates common ties by weaving threads from across the globe

From the Washington Times: Time for ‘Global Freedom Coalition’

May 10, 2008, Pangea Day, was historic—a Seed Day in humanity’s growth toward Global Unity—four hours of film, created by individuals around the globe, shared by individuals around the globe. In the words of the creators of Pangea Day: “In a world where people are often divided by borders, difference, and conflict, it’s easy to lose sight of what we all have in common. Pangea Day seeks to overcome that — to help people see themselves in others — through the power of film.”

I covered the event here when it happened but it just seems like a good time to bring it to our attention again . . .

Here’s a video of the first 25 minutes of Pangea Day:

Today’s Spiritual Quote:

“The economic connection between disarmament and development represents only one side of the issue. A spiritual connection also exists. Resources spent for weapons drain not only national treasuries; they also drain the reservoirs of human hope and trust.

“The two issues must be approached in an integrated manner. Not only can disarmament further the cause of development; development can further the cause of disarmament. Indeed, the key to advancing the cause of both disarmament and development lies in fostering a sense of global unity. Unless unity is attained, true peace and security will remain out of reach.
Bahá’í International Community, 1987 Aug 24, Relationship Between Disarmament and Development

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Peace ?

nonviolence
Peace?

When?

How?

Today, the spiritual quote will follow directly after the news clips, for reasons that will become very clear:

From the Chicago Tribune: Chicago schools, cops to curb student violence

From the Associated Press: Spain: Street violence after immigrant’s death

From the Guardian, UK: Sex, violence and classroom action

“There is nothing so heart-breaking and terrible as an outburst of human savagery!

“I charge you all that each one of you concentrate all the thoughts of your heart on love and unity. When a thought of war comes, oppose it by a stronger thought of peace. A thought of hatred must be destroyed by a more powerful thought of love. Thoughts of war bring destruction to all harmony, well-being, restfulness and content.

“Thoughts of love are constructive of brotherhood, peace, friendship, and happiness.

“When soldiers of the world draw their swords to kill, soldiers of God clasp each other’s hands! So may all the savagery of man disappear by the Mercy of God, working through the pure in heart and the sincere of soul. Do not think the peace of the world an ideal impossible to attain!

“Nothing is impossible to the Divine Benevolence of God.

“If you desire with all your heart, friendship with every race on earth, your thought, spiritual and positive, will spread; it will become the desire of others, growing stronger and stronger, until it reaches the minds of all men.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 29

“These principles for nonviolence were adapted by the Denver Area Task Force for: A Season for Nonviolence – January 30-April 4, 1998

“Inspired by the 50th & 30th memorial anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi
and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

1 — Today, I will reflect on what peace means to me.
2 — Today, I will look at opportunities to be a peacemaker.
3 — Today, I will practice nonviolence and respect for Mother Earth by making good use of her resources.
4 — Today, I will take time to admire and appreciate nature.
5 — Today, I will plant seeds–plants or constructive ideas.
6 — Today, I will hold a vision of plenty for all the world’s hungry and be open to guidance as to how I can help alleviate some of that hunger.
7 — Today, I will acknowledge every human being’s fundamental right to justice, equity, and equality.
8 — Today, I will appreciate the earth’s bounty and all of those who work to make my food available (i.e., grower, trucker, grocery clerk, cook, waitress, etc.)
9 — Today, I will work to understand and respect another culture.
10 — Today, I will oppose injustice, not people.
11 — Today, I will look beyond stereotypes and prejudices.
12 — Today, I will choose to be aware of what I talk about and I will refuse to gossip.
13 — Today, I will live in the present moment and release the past.
14 — Today, I will silently acknowledge all the leaders throughout the world.
15 — Today, I will speak with kindness, respect, and patience to every person that I talk with on the telephone.
16 — Today, I will affirm my value and worth with positive “self talk” and refuse to put myself down.
17 — Today, I will tell the truth and speak honestly from the heart.
18 — Today, I will cause a ripple effect of good by an act of kindness toward another.
19 — Today, I will choose to use my talents to serve others by volunteering a portion of my time.
20 — Today, I will say a blessing for greater understanding whenever I see evidence of crime, vandalism, or graffiti.
21 — Today, I will say “No” to ideas or actions that violate me or others.
22 — Today, I will turn off anything that portrays or supports violence whether on television, in the movies, or on the Internet.
23 — Today, I will greet this day–everyone and everything–with openness and acceptance as if I were encountering them for the first time.
24 — Today, I will drive with tolerance and patience.
25 — Today, I will constructively channel my anger, frustration, or jealousy into healthy physical activities (i.e., doing sit-ups, picking up trash, taking a walk, etc).
26 — Today, I will take time to appreciate the people who provide me with challenges in my life, especially those who make me angry or frustrated.
27 — Today, I will talk less and listen more.
28 — Today, I will notice the peacefulness in the world around me.
29 — Today, I will recognize that my actions directly affect others.
30 — Today, I will take time to tell a family member or friend how much they mean to me.
31 — Today, I will acknowledge and thank someone for acting kindly.
32 — Today, I will send a kind, anonymous message to someone.
33 — Today, I will identify something special in everyone I meet.
34 — Today, I will discuss ideas about nonviolence with a friend to gain new perspectives.
35 — Today, I will practice praise rather than criticism.
36 — Today, I will strive to learn from my mistakes.
37 — Today, I will tell at least one person they are special and important.
38 — Today, I will hold children tenderly in thought and/or action.
39 — Today, I will listen without defending and speak without judgment.
40 — Today, I will help someone in trouble.
41 — Today, I will listen with an open heart to at least one person.
42 — Today, I will treat the elderly I encounter with respect and dignity.
43 — Today, I will treat the children I encounter with respect and care, knowing that I serve as a model to them.
44 — Today, I will see my so-workers in a new light–with understanding and
compassion.
45 — Today, I will be open to other ways of thinking and acting that are different from my own.
46 — Today, I will think of at least three alternate ways I can handle a situation when confronted with conflict.
47 — Today, I will work to help others resolve differences.
48 — Today, I will express my feeling honestly and nonviolently with respect for myself and others.
49 — Today, I will sit down with my family for one meal.
50 — Today, I will set an example of a peacemaker by promoting nonviolent responses.
51 — Today, I will use no violent language.
52 — Today, I will pause for reflection.
53 — Today, I will hold no one hostage to the past, seeing each-as I see myself-as a work in process.
54 — Today, I will make a conscious effort to smile at someone whom I have held a grudge against in the past.
55 — Today, I will practice compassion and forgiveness by apologizing to someone whom I have hurt in the past.
56 — Today, I will reflect on whom I need to forgive and take at least one step in that direction.
57 — Today, I will forgive myself.
58 — Today, I will embrace the spiritual belief of my heart in my own personal and reflective way.
59 — Today, I will enlarge my capacity to embrace differences and appreciate the value of every human being.
60 — Today, I will be compassionate in my thoughts, words, and actions.
61 — Today, I will cultivate my moral strength and courage through education and creative nonviolent action.
62 — Today, I will practice compassion and forgiveness for myself and others.
63 — Today, I will use my talents to serve others as well as myself.
64 — Today, I will serve humanity by dedicating myself to a vision greater than myself.

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Who Is Writing The Future ?

starvation
It would seem that the Past and Present are just about too much to handle these days. So, who’s writing our Future? Will it just happen? Should it be left up to those who’ve wrecked our past and present?

From Agence France-Presse: HIV-AIDS orphans face life alone in Swaziland

From Unicef: Situation worsens for children as relief measures falter in Horn crisis

From Save The Children: Children living on highways to escape Bihar floods killed by traffic

The children that manage to live through these crises are the ones most likely to affect our future; they are, even now, “writing” the future–in their hearts . . .

And, it’s not just the children who suffer in extremely bleak ways in Africa, East Asia, India, or China that are doing this Writing. Children of the affluent are doing their heart-writing, too.

All these young and mostly tender souls are the Witnesses of our age. Those who live into adulthood are the ones who will, based on their past, decide what’s to be done in a world nearly completely devastated by near-term crises.

Children have always been the Future. Too bad I won’t live to see the remarkable achievements of the future adults who overcome our mistakes and build a new world on the skeleton of what we’ve left them.

Today’s Spiritual Quote comes from a document that evaluates the Twentieth Century:

“…the deliberate extermination of millions of helpless human beings, the invention and use of new weapons of destruction capable of annihilating whole populations, the rise of ideologies that suffocated the spiritual and intellectual life of entire nations, damage to the physical environment of the planet on a scale so massive that it may take centuries to heal, and the incalculably greater damage done to generations of children taught to believe that violence, indecency, and selfishness are triumphs of personal liberty. Such are only the more obvious of a catalogue of evils, unmatched in history, whose lessons our era will leave for the education of the chastened generations who will follow us.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1999 Feb, Who is Writing the Future: Reflections on the Twentieth Century

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The War Against Free Speech

journalistWhen most people see the words “police state” they think of Nazi Germany, or maybe some of the current African states, or possibly Niger:

From OneWorld.Net: U.S. Reporter Arrested Covering Nigeria Oil Story “An award-winning U.S. journalist covering ‘the economic and ecological disaster’ taking shape in a strategic oil-producing region of Nigeria was arrested this week on spying charges…”

Journalists (especially those covering abuse of rights by the police) have recently experienced the dreadful repercussions of police-state-mentality in the United States of America:

From OneWorld.Net: RNC: Media Intimidation Condemned “Police and local and federal officials in St. Paul, Minnesota are under fire from independent media groups for their crackdown on reporters at this week’s Republican National Convention.”

The last news link has some extremely interesting but possibly nerve-wracking videos showing abuse of journalists’ rights.

The quote below has these words, “…masses of people unable to exercise the functions of citizenship…”. When journalists are treated in repressive ways and arrested in the course of their duties, citizens are deprived of information critically necessary for competent discharge of their duty.

Today’s Spiritual Quote:

“An equal standard of human rights must be upheld, and individuals given equal opportunities. Variety and not uniformity is the principle of organic society. Since lack of opportunity, repression and degrading conditions have created masses of people unable to exercise the functions of citizenship, such persons are a moral trust laid upon the conscience of the rest, to educate the ignorant, train the immature and heal the sick.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1947 Feb, A Bahá’í Declaration of Human Obligations and Rights

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What Good Is The Military ?

military

The military has become part and parcel of life in our crisis-ridden world. Can we live without massive military investment?

From The Guardian: Time for a real review of defence spending

From the Zimbabwe Star: China rattled by Indian weapons buildup

From the Atlantic.Com: Military Resistance at the RNC “Footage of Iraq Veterans Against the War doing street theater in Denver during the Democratic National Convention”

“But wait, Alex. There’s so many bad people in the world. How can we defend ourselves without a strong military?”

Try this on for size: National Security Through Civilian-based Defense

Today’s Spiritual Quote:

“If a man slays another man, we brand him as a murderer and criminal and sentence him to capital punishment, but if he kills one hundred thousand men, he is a military genius, a great celebrity, a Napoleon idolized by his nation. If a man steals one dollar, he is called a thief and put into prison; if he rapes and pillages an innocent country by military invasion, he is crowned a hero. How ignorant is humankind! Ferocity does not belong to the kingdom of man. It is the province of man to confer life, not death. It behooves him to be the cause of human welfare, but inasmuch as he glories in the savagery of animalism, it is an evidence that divine civilization has not been established in human society.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 103

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