What A Laugh !

This blog tries to be quite serious. It’s aim is to address the crises assailing our world by using news clips, commentary, and appropriate spiritual quotes.

This means I spend most of my time looking for news that can be illuminated with higher thought—issues brought up to the level of Principle—raising consciousness far above the mire and muck of current materialistic concerns.

Some days my search for appropriate news clips brings me only unrelieved sorrow, depression, and heartbreak.

Today was one of those days, so I turned to my favorite comic relief, Jon Stewart. If you watch him you might have a few belly laughs while also seeing the absurdity of the competing parties in our sorry world drama.

For a good time, click here…

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Since this blog is my global home, I chose the following spiritual quote:

“My home is the home of peace. My home is the home of joy and delight. My home is the home of laughter and exultation. Whosoever enters through the portals of this home, must go out with gladsome heart. This is the home of light; whosoever enters here must become illumined….”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, from a Tablet, published in Star of the West, vol. 9, no. 3, (28 April 1918), p. 40

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“Bring thyself to account ere thou art summoned to a reckoning…”

Time for an accounting. I’ve been writing nearly everyday on this blog since March—since I was nearing the end of eleven months of taking five highly abusive medical drugs to rid my liver of a deadly virus—jury’s still out on whether it worked . . .

From the New York Times: Uncertainties About the Role of Doubt in Religion “Religious faith was once the air everyone, even the doubter, breathed. Today, religious faith, in its many forms, stands as but one possibility alongside a range of nonreligious outlooks that the honest believer cannot simply dismiss as deluded or depraved.
“Religious thinkers, of course, have long argued that uncertainty and faith are not the polar opposites often supposed; that indifference, and not doubt, for example, is the greater adversary of faith; that absolute certitude about God often reflects a dangerous arrogance.”

I’ve been trying to live up to my Faith for almost twenty years now—struggling against my grasping ego—contending with the oh, so easy rationalizations to just be “human”; imperfections flowering into weeds of uncertainty.

This blog is part of my personal covenant with God—hopeful action to stave off the demons of doubt.

I value the feedback I receive from my visitors, especially the indicators of which posts are the most viewed (see the far right sidebar). I struggle to interpret what’s going on in the world in terms of my Faith and post my thoughts and feelings here. What people choose to read is a “message” to me—a wake-up call—about how my private efforts are connected to other members of our human family . . .

So…

Thought I’d take the current most-viewed-posts and put them together (for my meditation and, hopefully, your edification) in these files:

Word File ——— PDF File
For an undetermined reason the Word file didn’t hold the images.
If you’re able, download the PDF…

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“Examine the wondrous behaviour of the Prophets, and recall the defamations and denials uttered by the children of negation and falsehood, perchance you may cause the bird of the human heart to wing its flight away from the abodes of heedlessness and doubt unto the nest of faith and certainty, and drink deep from the pure waters of ancient wisdom, and partake of the fruit of the tree of divine knowledge. Such is the share of the pure in heart of the bread that hath descended from the realms of eternity and holiness.”
Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 5

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How Hungry Are *You* ?

Cartoons can be brutal in their portrayals yet nowhere near as brutal as the facts.

Who’s starving?
Who’s well-fed and determined to stay that way, whatever the price?
Who deserves to starve?
Who’s working to stop the inequities?

From Reuters: Biofuels major driver of food price rise: World Bank “Large increases in biofuels production in the United States and Europe are the main reason behind the steep rise in global food prices, a top World Bank economist said in research published on Monday.”

From OneWorld.Net: Trade Negotiations Cannot Solve Food Crisis Created by WTO and World Bank “Trade negotiators are using the current food crisis as a Trojan Horse at the WTO negotiations to push an agribusiness agenda on farmers and rural communities around the world,” stated Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “Agriculture should be removed from WTO negotiations until international leaders fully examine the impact on developing countries’ ability to feed themselves.”

Hmmm…
The World Bank states one of the major problems then persists in striving toward a non-solution.

Why are people so subjugated they can’t raise their own food? Why do the multinationals work so hard to deny human rights?

Let’s see . . . Couldn’t be massive greed, could it?

It took me most of 40 years to get the idea that we are One from my head to my heart. During that time, I committed actions that benefited me and ignored my brothers and sisters in our global family.

My head said I deserved what I could grab. I’d suffered and needed those material things to comfort me . . .

Now my heart aches with bleeding feelings that stun my sensibilities. The world’s in the clutches of the temporally powerful. Temporal because the Spirit of humanity will survive and the materialistic “rulers” will turn to dust and be forgotten.

This post and its implications are so grief-ridden I’m reduced to a state of utter hope—hope that my grandchild’s children will see better days.

What’s your estimate of when things will turn from greed to compassion?

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“Good God! Is it possible that, seeing one of his fellow-creatures starving, destitute of everything, a man can rest and live comfortably in his luxurious mansion? He who meets another in the greatest misery, can he enjoy his fortune? That is why, in the Religion of God, it is prescribed and established that wealthy men each year give over a certain part of their fortune for the maintenance of the poor and unfortunate. That is the foundation of the Religion of God and is binding upon all.
“And as man in this way is not forced nor obliged by the government, but is by the natural tendency of his good heart voluntarily and radiantly showing benevolence toward the poor, such a deed is much praised, approved and pleasing.
“Such is the meaning of the good works in the Divine Books and Tablets.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 276

“Unfortunately, the arbiters of human affairs have, instead of embracing the concept of the oneness of mankind and promoting the increase of concord among different peoples, tended to deify the State, to subordinate the rest of mankind to one nation, race or class, to attempt to suppress all discussion and interchange of ideas, or callously to abandon starving millions to the operations of a market system that all too clearly is aggravating the plight of the majority of mankind, while enabling small sections to live in an unprecedented condition of affluence.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1989 Feb 09, Right to Development

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Wordless Post

I had a major shock today and can’t get my brain wrapped around the blog…

Tomorrow truly is another day, eh?

Here’s a picture to fall into . . .

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Detachment Means Never Having To Say You’re Sorry…

“We can appreciate without attaching ourselves to the things of this world. It sometimes happens that if a man loses his fortune he is so disheartened that he dies or becomes insane. While enjoying the things of this world we must remember that one day we shall have to do without them.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy, p. 134

I’m featuring two recent posts from UrbanMonk.net, both dealing with the widely recognized (and, frequently misunderstood) spiritual principle of Detachment.

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The first post, Attachment: Understanding the Origen of Human Suffering, contains these ideas:

“This teaching is marvelous, for there is nothing in there that cannot be verified simply by looking into your own experience. Look deeply into your own life, the times you have cried, the times you have raged. What was the cause of it all? The next time you are in pain, pause, and look. Ask yourself – why? What am I holding on to?

“Without attachment, suffering does not exist. Let go of your attachments, little by little. By and by you will see the freedom, the happiness that is there.”

“We have spent so much of our lives, every waking moment, following desire. We expend huge amounts of energy and time; we make extreme sacrifices, in the hope of finding happiness by attaining them. But as Lorne Ladner says in The Lost Art of Compassion, rarely does it occur to us the very way we go about seeking happiness has been causing our problems.”

There is much more of interest !

Part Two, How Our Cravings and Attachments Cause Our Pain and Suffering, goes even deeper into this vital spiritual principle:

“…when we crave, when we cling, we do not see people as they are. We are projecting our neediness, our sorrows – all the garbage inside us – onto them. And it is an insult. For them not to be seen as a human being; but for what they can do for us. Make me feel good, make me feel loved, make me feel safe, feed me, take care of me, impress my friends. That is all they are reduced to – a function, a service.

“And it is just as likely they are doing it to us too, and then what do we have? Not two human beings together, but two images, two roles, two cardboard cut-outs. Where has the humanity gone? This is so cruel, and yet so painstakingly common that it simply seems normal.”

“A rich man could have everything he wanted, and enjoy them all the more without the cravings, the attachments. There is nothing wrong with having most of the things we desire. Naturally, some cravings are just plain nasty – wanting to hurt another person is a fine example. But if you want money, or love, or any of those, then go for it. Does removing your attachment to health mean you stop exercising, stop looking after yourself?

“Most definitely not! Chasing new joys, setting new goals, all of these can still be pursued, but from a place of freedom, and not from the unease of craving.”

There is also much more of interest in this second post of the series !

Reading the full articles would reap great spiritual profit;  just be careful you don’t become attached to what’s said… 

“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-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 87


Think Globally ~ Act Locally

You Be The Judge

First Statement:

1 July 1912

Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York

“The fundamental basis of the community is agriculture, tillage of the soil.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Foundations of World Unity, p. 37

Second Statement:

“Strive as much as possible to become proficient in the science of agriculture, for in accordance with the divine teachings the acquisition of sciences and the perfection of arts are considered acts of worship.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 144

Third Statement:

Late 1990s

“It has been estimated that without the use of pesticides food production would drop by 40%, resulting in both a dramatic increase in food costs and the associated problems of starvation.”

Fourth Statement:

Wikipedia

“Intensive farming or intensive agriculture is an agricultural production system characterized by the high inputs of capital, fertilizers, labour, or labour-saving technologies such as pesticides relative to land area. This is in contrast to the concept of Extensive Agriculture which involves a low input of materials and labour with the crop yield depending largely on the naturally available soil fertility, water supply or other land qualities.”

Fifth Statement:

March 2001

“Imagine the surprise of going online and discovering that the vitamin and mineral content of vegetables has drastically dropped….Some of the differences in vitamin and mineral content were enormous–a 50% drop in the amount of calcium in broccoli, for example. Watercress down 88% in iron content; cauliflower down 40% in vitamin C content–all since 1975.”

Sixth Statement

June, 2008

“Global food prices are expected to rise further as world leaders failed to take concrete actions to reverse the trend. “

Seventh Statement:

June, 2008

Hungry Farmers Urge Local Control over Food

“…they emphasized the importance of protecting the land, water, and seeds rights of communities necessary to grow food… [to] guarantee a dignified future to peasants and indigenous people….Otherwise, the farmers said, the poor in their communities would remain at the mercy of the large corporations that dominate agricultural production now and are largely responsible for the spiraling price of staple foods across the planet. “

Call In The Jury !


One-Man Peacekeeping Force

The Play

Adapted from A True Story

The Actor: Sait Sanli, a 64-year old former butcher and cattle-raiser in southeastern Turkey.

The Scene: 10 years of blood feuds (or, vendettas).

The Action: Sanli personally facilitates the end of 446 potentially bloody disputes. 67 families are on his waiting list…

And the Actor says: “The cost of the suffering that these feuds cause cannot be estimated. One person may be killed, but the lives of 100 people are affected. Based on the tradition here, when one person commits a crime, every one of their relatives is responsible,” says Sanli, who has a grey mustache and deep set brown eyes. “We are really suffering here from a gap between the official law and traditional law. What I’m trying to do is fill in that gap, to prevent things from escalating. I’m a messenger.”

Enter Mazhar Bagli (a sociologist at Diyarbakir’s Dicle University): “It’s not easy to do what [Sanli’s] trying to do. He’s going against something very ancient.”

An aside from the Narrator: “Ten years ago, he decided to let his eight children run the business and dedicate himself full-time to peacemaking.”

The Actor: “I am trying to show people the importance of forgiveness, how important it is in our holy book, and to show them how much they have been sacrificing by seeking revenge….
The main thing is making people think about how they are acting, about what kind of example they are setting. I try to appeal to that sense in people. I’m trying to show people that there’s a different way to do things, that there’s a different way to live….”

The Author: He gets little sleep (maybe 2 hours a night), never stops thinking about others, and says, when he does fall asleep, he feels at peace . . .

Written in response to Postcards from the Funny Farm