Changes…

Fire_zone

“How many are My servants whose deeds have become veils between them and their own selves, and who have been kept back thereby from drawing nigh unto God, He Who causeth the winds to blow.”
Bahá’u’lláh, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts

This blog has 322 posts…

I mention that because this blog will live as long as the Internet exists; and, the way things are looking, that will be for a very long time…

I also mention the number of posts because I’ve worked very hard to make each of those posts worth reading for as long as the Internet exists—each, even if about a particular topical event, has spiritual principles expressed which never die…

I won’t be writing any more posts on this blog (I’m working on my memoirs…) but the blog’s usefulness won’t cease…

There’s a search box in the right panel…

Put some words of interest to you in the box and read the posts that come up…

I guarantee you’ll find wisdom—wisdom I don’t have—wisdom in the words I chose to include from others…

Go ahead…

I dare ya…

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A “Dangerous” Faith…

dangerous_faithThe Bahá’í Faith is dangerous, according to the government of Iran…

The Faith was born in Iran in 1844…

Tens of thousands of Bahá’ís have lost their lives because they won’t recant…

According to a Bahá’í source: “Currently, there are at least 31 Baha’is in Iran’s prisons, including the seven people who comprised the leadership group known as the Friends in Iran. Those seven have now been in prison more than a year, awaiting trial.” During that time, they have had no access to their legal counsel…

Their trial is currently set for October 18th. The charges against them include two that could bring the death penalty…

Bobby Aazami recently won a Baha’i-sponsored video contest for this:

Spiritual Quote:

“At this writing, the expectant voices of Bahá’ís can be heard despite the persecution they still endure in the land in which their Faith was born. By their example of steadfast hope, they bear witness to the belief that the imminent realization of this age-old dream of peace is now, by virtue of the transforming effects of Bahá’u’lláh’s revelation, invested with the force of divine authority. Thus we convey to you not only a vision in words: we summon the power of deeds of faith and sacrifice; we convey the anxious plea of our co-religionists everywhere for peace and unity. We join with all who are the victims of aggression, all who yearn for an end to conflict and contention, all whose devotion to principles of peace and world order promotes the ennobling purposes for which humanity was called into being by an all-loving Creator.

“In the earnestness of our desire to impart to you the fervour of our hope and the depth of our confidence, we cite the emphatic promise of Bahá’u’lláh: ‘These fruitless strifes, these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the “Most Great Peace” shall come’.”
The Universal House of Justice, 1985 Oct, The Promise of World Peace, p. 5

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Well-Woven Crises…

Global_CrisesFrom Machines Like Us: “The world faces a compounding series of crises driven by human activity, which existing governments and institutions are increasingly powerless to cope with, a group of eminent environmental scientists and economists has warned.”

And, quoting the scientists they cite in the article, they add:

“The major powers must be willing to enforce an agreement – but legitimacy will depend on acceptance by numerous and diverse countries, and non-governmental actors such as civil society and business…To address common threats and harness common opportunities, we need greater interaction amongst existing institutions, and new institutions, to help construct and maintain a global-scale social contract…”

“…a global-scale social contract…”

They also point out some of the well-woven crises: “Energy, food and water crises, climate disruption, declining fisheries, ocean acidification, emerging diseases and increasing antibiotic resistance…”

A global-scale social contract to resolve these and many other intertwined crises will take, in my opinion, a massive change of heart on the part of all the people involved…

Change of heart…

I’m going to integrate our normal, closing Spiritual Quote into the body of this post…

From the Bahá’í International Community:

“The central theme of Bahá’u’lláh’s writings is that humanity is one single race and the day has come for its unification into one global society. Through an irresistible historical process, the traditional barriers of race, class, creed, faith and nation will break down. These forces will, Bahá’u’lláh said, give birth in time to a new universal civilization. The crises now afflicting the planet face all its peoples with the need to accept their oneness and work towards the creation of a unified global society.

“Bahá’u’lláh outlined certain fundamental principles upon which this new world civilization should be founded. These include the elimination of
all forms of prejudice; full equality between the sexes; recognition of the essential oneness of the world’s great religions; the elimination of
extremes of poverty and wealth; universal education; a high standard of personal conduct; the harmony of science and religion; a sustainable
balance between nature and technology; and the establishment of a world federal system, based on collective security and the oneness of humanity.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1992, Magazine – The Bahá’ís

Massive Change of Heart………

~~~~~~~~~

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A Socially-Redeeming Ad?

adsI normally wouldn’t put an advertisement video on this blog…

My goal here is to bring social and cultural issues to light and attempt to raise them to the level of Principle…

Too often we take the facts of a situation and try to find a resolution at the level of the facts themselves. This rarely works since facts alone won’t reveal reasons and values and goals that the facts are merely pointing to…

Solutions happen when values are considered; especially if the solution involves more than one person…

So, all that said, here’s a Pantene commercial; yes, the shampoo. I wish more products had such socially valuable ads…

Spiritual Quote:

“See how, in this day, the scope of sciences and arts hath widened out, and what wondrous technical advances have been made, and to what a high degree the mind’s powers have increased, and what stupendous inventions have appeared.

“This age is indeed as a hundred other ages: should ye gather the yield of a hundred ages, and set that against the accumulated product of our times, the yield of this one era will prove greater than that of a hundred gone before. Take ye, for an example, the sum total of all the books that were ever written in ages past, and compare that with the books and treatises that our era hath produced: these books, written in our day alone, far and away exceed the total number of volumes that have been written down the ages. See how powerful is the influence exerted by the Day-Star of the world upon the inner essence of all created things!

“But alas, a thousand times alas! The eyes see it not, the ears are deaf, and the hearts and minds are oblivious of this supreme bestowal. Strive ye then, with all your hearts and souls, to awaken those who slumber, to cause the blind to see, and the dead to rise.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 111

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False Religion

false_religionSo much hate being spread in the name of religion…

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, son of the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, once said:

“Any religion which is not a cause of love and unity is no religion.”

He also said, “A Bahá’í denies no religion; he accepts the Truth in all, and would die to uphold it.”

Recent events in Pakistan show the dark side of this issue:

From The New York Times: Hate Engulfs Christians in Pakistan “The attack in this shabby town in central Pakistan — the culmination of several days of rioting over a claim that a Koran had been defiled — shows how precarious life is for the tiny Christian minority in Pakistan.”

From CNN: About 200 arrested in violence against Christians in Pakistan “Seven people were killed and 20 injured Saturday when Muslim demonstrators set fire to houses in a Christian enclave…”

From Agence France-Presse: Pakistan Christian schools strike after killings “An angry mob of Muslims torched 40 houses and a church in the remote village of Gojra in Pakistan’s heartland province of Punjab…”

It’s no wonder more and more intelligent people can say things like, “I’m very spiritual but certainly not religious…”.

Spiritual Quote:

“…it is evident that the Divine religions are meant to create a bond of love among humanity, and to bind the people together for no other purpose than amity. Divine religion is not a cause for discord and disagreement. If religion be the cause of discord and difference, then no religion is preferable, for religion is meant to be life to the body politic. If it be the cause of death to humanity, then its non-existence is preferable. Therefore, in this day religion is to be sought, for religious teachings may well be likened to remedies. If a remedy be productive of worse symptoms, the lack or absence of the remedy is preferable.”
Compilations, Bahá’í Scriptures, p. 312

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Prayers Make History…

image credit
namaz7There is political foment happening in Iran but it’s not my place to comment on purely political happenings…

Yet, the underlying spiritual struggle, the human suffering, the psychological horror, the emotional drama; these I will address…

From a story on Tehran Bureau: An independent source of news on Iran and the Iranian diaspora  entitled, Prayers Make History, I want to quote various passages that set my mind and heart ablaze:

From A First-Hand Account

“As with other such days, I felt a dual sense of fear and fervor, heightened by the uncertainty of whether people would turn out or not. I arranged to go with friends, because the past month’s experiences have taught me that going alone is unsafe. I remembered to put my name and number on a piece of paper in my pocket so if anything happens to me, my family can be notified.”

“They came in all types: hipster with a rainbow-cannabis medallion resting on his open neck, a family with a ten-year-old child, women in that Islamic Iran archetype black chador, scruffy-looking men, laborers, girls in sunglasses, senior citizens.”

“…phenomenal spectacle, a first in the history of Friday Prayers in Iran (and perhaps in a large part of the Muslim world), men and women were not segregated. Thy prayed side by side. This did not appear to offend the religious-minded; they seemed to accept the situation.”

“Personally, as an atheist, I’ve always found it difficult to socialize with the religious masses. For the first time in my life, however, I really enjoyed being among my religious compatriots. I even tried to behave in such a way as to avoid causing them any discomforrt or disrespect.”

“The word online was that protests would start after prayers were over. …I was intoxicated by the boom of thousands of reverberating voices chanting in unison….We pushed forward, a deluge thickened by people spilling in from alleys on either side where they’d been praying. The drone of chanting carried over from other streets and we felt empowered in the knowledge that thousands more were on the move like us.”

“Suddenly, to our shock, they began firing tear gas in rapid succession — six, seven, eight? I don’t know how many hissing shots landed in quick succession in our midst. Panic ensued, as the crowd’s stampede-like retreat was constricted by the density of the crowd and the lack of space to expand into.”

“My eyes and throat and lungs were on fire. As I inhaled more toxic fumes, breathing became laborious. The muscles in my limbs felt numb, lax…People huddled around, and I went forth too, to get black smoke and cigarette smoke in my eyes to counter the effects of the tear gas.”

“The feeling of suffocation grew inside of me. A new awareness suddenly occurred as well: I may die. At that moment, I physically felt the possibility of death. Then I heard voices. I felt hands pulling me up, hands passing me along, and that’s the last thing I remember.”

The story continues, the man recovers, tells of help given him and his helping others, scenes of violence, bravery, human drama…

Spiritual Quote (about the early history of the Bahá’í Faith in Iran):

“Agitations, trials, woes, afflictions, and torture, arson, expulsion, plunder, beating, vilification, captivity, banishment, imprisonment, destruction of life—none of these could hinder the advancement of this beloved Cause, none could weaken the high resolve of its followers and champions in any part of the world, none could damage or disrupt the structure of its New Order, none could create a cleavage, a division, a schism or any form of sectarianism in the ranks of its embattled hosts. Nay rather, were one to observe with a discerning eye, it would become clear and evident that commotion in itself, the very succession of calamities, upheavals and hardships. and the recurrence of trials, adversities and sufferings have lent an impetus to the power latent in the Cause and reinforced its compelling force and pervasive influence. Indeed as a result of the onrushing tempests of tribulation and the raging hurricanes of tests and trials, the Faith’s scope of operation has been enlarged, its pillars have been raised to loftier heights, its foundation has become more secure, its glory more resplendent, the spread of its influence more rapid, its ascendancy and dominion more conspicuous and evident.”
Shoghí Effendí Rabbání, Fire and Light, p. 36

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18 Tir = 9 July

Cyrus the GreatThe image is of Cyrus the Great, an ancient ruler of Persia—modern-day Iran.

“It is said that, in universal history the role of the Achaemenid empire founded by Cyrus lies in its very successful model for centralized administration and establishing a government working to the advantage and profit of its subjects…”

This year, 18 Tir in Iran
(9 July in the Gregorian calendar) is said to be planned to be a day for major protest.

From Tehran Bureau : “As the atmosphere in Iran continues to thicken, with the number of arrests rising daily, and several hangings (reportedly on the charge of having been involved in protests), everyone is looking towards the anniversary of the 1999 student uprising at Tehran University on 18th Tir (9 July). Exactly ten years ago, the students of Tehran University began to protest against the regime’s policy on social freedoms. In reply, scores of Basij militia raided the university halls of residence with the sole aim of extinguishing the protest, beating students, throwing tear gas, throwing people from the third floor windows shouting ‘Ya Zahra’, and causing several deaths including Ezzat Ebrahim Nezhad who, much like Neda, became a symbol of injustice.”

[important update (9 July): unrest continues…]

Video Update:

Here’s another video… Notice the prominence of women…

Also on July 9th, the Bahá’ís of non-Middle Eastern countries will hold memorials for the Martyrdom of the Báb—a profound Holy Day. For members of the Bahá’í Faith in Iran (the country’s largest religious minority), who are being viciously persecuted, the Martyrdom of the Báb is observed this year on August 20th, due to Lunar Calendar reckoning. The Iranian Bahá’ís will most likely hold their memorial services in secret…

From Planet Bahá’í : “The Martyrdom of the Báb took place on July 9, 1850 at noon. An event with no parallel in history save the crucifixion of Jesus, it is commemorated as a solemn Holy Day by Bahá’ís around the world.”

I would love to be able to walk the streets of Iran on that day, when citizens march for their rights, Iranian Bahá’ís pray for their fellow citizens’ safety, and Bahá’ís in other countries pray for all Iranians…

Spiritual Quote:

“Thus, after the martyrdom of the Báb, Bahá’u’lláh appeared. The government arose against Him. The priesthood in Persia opposed Him, subjecting Him to severe persecution. His possessions were confiscated, His relatives and friends were killed, and He was placed in a dungeon. For a long period He was imprisoned, chained and subjected to severest suffering. Afterward, He was exiled to Iraq, or Mesopotamia, from thence to Constantinople, then transferred to Adrianople and finally to ‘Akká in Syria. He spent twenty-four years in the prison of ‘Akká, where He underwent the severest ordeals and privations without a day or night of relaxation and repose. Notwithstanding this imprisonment and suffering, He manifested utmost spiritual power and majesty. Although imprisoned, He withstood two tyrant kings and eventually overcame both.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 371

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