Life & Death ~ Survey Results

life-and-death_resultsOur previous post contained a survey that asked folks to comment on this statement:

Life ends at the moment of death.

There were 40 people voting (though more may vote in the future…) and the top response, with 30%, was:

Physical life ends but Spiritual life continues.

Next, with 20%, was:

No, spiritual life continues and heaven and hell are states of being here on earth.

13% merely said, “No.

Yes but we get another chance at it in a new body. and I don’t know. tied at 8%

What’s Life?, What’s Death?, Maybe., and Yes. all had 5% of the vote.

Most interestingly, Yes and you go to heaven or hell. was last with 3%…

I don’t have to say this wasn’t a “scientific” survey. It was a survey of Faith. And, it was a survey “biased” by the answers and the responses of people who found my blog and spent enough time to take the survey.

What conclusions can be made?

Maybe none. Maybe that a “representative” segment of my readers believe more strongly in “Life” after “Death” than in Nothingness… Maybe those readers also don’t believe in the dogmatic preachments about “Heaven” and “Hell”…

Spiritual Quote:

“The soul is the focal point for love and compassion, for faith and courage, and for other such ‘human’ qualities that cannot be explained
solely by thinking of a human being as an animal, or as a sophisticated organic machine. The soul does not die; it endures everlastingly. When the human body dies, the soul is freed from ties with the physical body and the surrounding physical world and begins its progress through the spiritual world. Bahá’ís understand the spiritual world to be a timeless and placeless extension of our own universe—and not some physically remote or removed place. Entry into the next life has the potential to bring great joy. Bahá’u’lláh likened death to the process of birth. He explains: ‘The world beyond is as different from this world as this
world is different from that of the child while still in the womb of its mother’.

Just as the womb constitutes an important place for a person’s initial physical development, the physical world provides the matrix for the
development of the individual soul.
Bahá’í International Community: 1992 Magazine – The Bahá’ís

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Human Life and Death

life_and_death

What Do You Think?

It’s time for a survey about this life and the next one—or is  there a “next life”—and, is it on earth or not?

Would love to have (and feel a strong need to know) your ideas and opinions about what may or may not lie beyond that moment we call death…

Please take a moment to complete the survey. And, come back in the next few days and check the ongoing results.

Leave your comments on the survery and the results, too.
There’s a link at the bottom of the poll to view the ongoing results.

You can select multiple answers

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Insanity !

bombThe man was strong, confident, and well-equipped.

The boy was weak, terrified, and destitute.

The man moved his finger and unleashed death.

The boy moved his eyes and saw his world erupt in flame.

The man flew his plane back to base and celebrated with his comrades.

The boy’s soul ascended to his True Home. He greeted his parents and sisters and began to pray for those left behind . . .

~~~~~~~~~

So much of our lives boil down to what we focus on—Light or Dark, Spirit or Body.

So much of our world is enmeshed in the materialistic claws of the gods of war.

So many of our human family are dispossessed and hopeless.

The Dark Ones are far from God through willful blindness.

The Ones carrying the Light are far from God only because their souls are still hovering near their bodies . . .

Please share your comments about this insane situation enveloping our human family!

Also, watch this video about some present-day Darkness and Light, Body and Spirit, Hell and Heaven . . .

Spiritual Quote :

“O God, my God! Thou seest how black darkness is enshrouding all regions, how all countries are burning with the flame of dissension, and the fire of war and carnage is blazing throughout the East and the West. Blood is flowing, corpses bestrew the ground, and severed heads are fallen on the dust of the battlefield.

“O Lord! Have pity on these ignorant ones, and look upon them with the eye of forgiveness and pardon. Extinguish this fire, so that these dense clouds which obscure the horizon may be scattered, the Sun of Reality shine forth with the rays of conciliation, this intense gloom be dispelled and the resplendent light of peace shed its radiance upon all countries.

“O Lord! Draw up the people from the abyss of the ocean of hatred and enmity, and deliver them from the impenetrable darkness. Unite their hearts, and brighten their eyes with the light of peace and reconciliation. Deliver them from the depths of war and bloodshed, and free them from the darkness of error. Remove the veil from their eyes, and enlighten their hearts with the light of guidance. Treat them with Thy tender mercy and compassion, and deal not with them according to Thy justice and wrath which cause the limbs of the mighty to quake.

“O Lord! Wars have persisted. Distress and anxiety have waxed great, and every flourishing region is laid waste.

“O Lord! Hearts are heavy, and souls are in anguish. Have mercy on these poor souls, and do not leave them to the excesses of their own desires.

“O Lord! Make manifest in Thy lands humble and submissive souls, their faces illumined with the rays of guidance, severed from the world, extolling Thy Name, uttering Thy praise, and diffusing the fragrance of Thy holiness amongst mankind.

“O Lord! Strengthen their backs, gird up their loins, and enrapture their hearts with the most mighty signs of Thy love.

“O Lord! Verily, they are weak, and Thou art the Powerful and the Mighty; they are impotent, and Thou art the Helper and the Merciful.

“O Lord! The ocean of rebellion is surging, and these tempests will not be stilled save through Thy boundless grace which hath embraced all regions.

“O Lord! Verily, the people are in the abyss of passion, and naught can save them but Thine infinite bounties.

“O Lord! Dispel the darkness of these corrupt desires, and illumine the hearts with the lamp of Thy love through which all countries will erelong be enlightened. Confirm, moreover, Thy loved ones, those who, leaving their homelands, their families and their children, have, for the love of Thy Beauty, traveled to foreign countries to diffuse Thy fragrances and promulgate Thy Teachings. Be Thou their companion in their loneliness, their helper in a strange land, the remover of their sorrows, their comforter in calamity. Be Thou a refreshing draught for their thirst, a healing medicine for their ills and a balm for the burning ardor of their hearts.

“Verily, Thou art the Most Generous, the Lord of grace abounding, and, verily, Thou art the Compassionate and the Merciful.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Baha’i Prayers, p. 182

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How Valuable Is Your Life ?

next_world
Susan just wanted to die…

Her parents had done it, just last year—smashed to a pulp in their car.

David had left her—”I’m really sorry about your parents but you’re mind just isn’t right, Susan. Grief is one thing; but, this is just too weird.”

She’d been talking to her parents in her sleep—sometimes when she was awake…

She stood at the end of the tunnel that ran under the road in the park and started screaming.

Unnoticed, just to her left, sat an old man, back to a tree. He looked up in his stupor and shouted, “Hey, Twinkles, nothing’s that bad.”

Susan’s scream strangled itself and she whirled on the man—”Why did you call me Twinkles!? ”

“‘Cause it’s your name . . .” The man promptly passed out.

Susan began a slow twirl that sank toward the ground as her mind revealed her mother and father, floating in nothingness, smiling and saying the name they’d called her when she was a child—Twinkles . . .

~~~~~~~~~

Just a story? Ever heard one like it?

Right when I was ready to write a post about the Next World and our connection to it, and as mysteriously as the old man calling Susan Twinkles, a fellow-blogger posted a friend’s powerful short essay on just that topic. It first appeared, as a guest post, in Bahá’í Perspectives  then, the writer posted it to her own blog, Two Points for Honesty. Here it is:

nava-kavelin
Nava Kavelin

The Prelude

“It is not an easy task to present minds obsessed with the conception of this world and its affairs as complete in itself rather than as an ante-room to a larger, freer life, a scene in which the dominant note [is] Eternity.”

~Howard Colby Ives


What would it look like if we lived our lives at every moment aware of the fact that this world and everything in it was merely a prelude to a world much greater than this. Rather than allowing that knowledge to dull us into nonchalance or trick us into thinking the prelude was inconsequential, we would live knowing that the prelude was absolutely crucial in dictating what was to come.

The prelude would define the rest of the play—the body and the characters, the scene titles, and even the very last period on the very last page of the final act.

How might we live if we understood that the prelude was not more important than the rest of the play, but was absolutely essential to its unfolding.

And what if we knew that this play told the greatest love story of all time. Greater than Romeo and Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra, Bella and Edward, Leili and Majnun…greater than the love felt by the most adoring, devoted, sacrificial father for his favorite daughter…and that the prelude’s purpose was to set forces in motion which would allow for the lover and the beloved to meet in the chamber of eternity.

The meeting of the two was inevitable. But the prelude would determine how quickly it would happen. The prelude would determine how long the lover would sigh in longing for her beloved. How long she would feel consumed by the flame of separation from the one for whom every cell in her body existed, every beat of her heart resounded, nay, the reason why every atom in the universe was. For these two to meet, to love, to be near.

What if you knew that you were the lover in the prelude. And that every decision you made, every thought, every action or inaction, bore direct influence on how near you would be to the greatest, most radiant, most resplendent, kind, loving, wonderful, unimaginably glorious being.

That every kind act, every selfless thought, every step taken to help ease someone else’s burden, to help improve the quality of another’s life, to help those other lovers living the prelude with you would draw you nearer to this object of adoration—and what if you knew that your time in the prelude was very, very fleeting, especially as compared with the dominant note of eternity, which the rest of the book would unfold—would you waste a single moment on anger? On jealousy? On lethargy or inactivity?

How much time would you devote to leisure? To pleasure pursuits that distracted you, perhaps even furthered you away from, the path that led to this all-glorious one?

If we lived every moment of our lives consciously aware that we were created to know and to love God, to worship and adore Him in our actions towards His other creatures, that in serving our fellow man, we drew nearer unto Him, that whether or not we felt it now, when we exited the ante room and entered the chamber of eternity, we would be totally aware of and consumed by our love for Him and that if we were remote from Him we would feel sorrow and regret more intense than any hellish brimstone or scalding fire could impose on us …and that our nearness or remoteness from Him would be in direct proportion to how we had spent our time in the ante room, or how we had penned our story in the prelude—I wonder how differently we would behave. How different our entire atmosphere would be. One directly affects the other, after all, and both help shape the kind of eternity that awaits us. An eternity which we are already a part of, which is always as near to us as the air we inhale and exhale at every moment.

“…This most great, this fathomless and surging Ocean is near, astonishingly near, unto you. Behold it is closer to you than your life-vein! Swift as the twinkling of an eye ye can, if ye but wish it, reach and partake of this imperishable favor, this God-given grace, this incorruptible gift, this most potent and unspeakably glorious bounty.”

~ Bahá’u’lláh

Spiritual Quote :

“Love is the one means that ensureth true felicity both in this world and the next. Love is the light that guideth in darkness, the living link that uniteth God with man, that assureth the progress of every illumined soul. Love is the most great law that ruleth this mighty and heavenly cycle, the unique power that bindeth together the divers elements of this material world, the supreme magnetic force that directeth the movements of the spheres in the celestial realms. Love revealeth with unfailing and limitless power the mysteries latent in the universe. Love is the spirit of life unto the adorned body of mankind, the establisher of true civilization in this mortal world, and the shedder of imperishable glory upon every high-aiming race and nation.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 27

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GoodBadGoodBadGood

good and bad

What is  good or bad?

Can anyone say with surety that any given act is one or the other?

Aren’t there cases where what’s thought bad ends up furthering good?

How the heck should we decide?

Some would say, “Should  we decide?”.

From Country Music Television: Good Songs for Bad Times

From the Times Online – UK: Why you can bet that a good read will be truly bad

From MarketWatch: The bad economy is good for the environment

I’m not about to tell you what’s good for you or what you do that’s bad. It wouldn’t be good for me to do that ’cause it’s bad form—won’t make me or you any better.

There are a ton of sources that will tell you what’s good or bad, from scholarly essays to rap songs. There are even people shouting on street corners, shouting right in your face, that you’re going to Hell.

And, with penetrating effect and long-lasting influence, our mothers and fathers (and, sometimes, sisters and brothers and uncles and aunts and grandparents) have told us we should do This and never do That…

I’m a member of a Faith that my parents never practiced. They were Christian ministers and I’m a Bahá’í. They worked to put their Faith into practice and I struggle, daily, to be true to mine.

So, is it reasonable to cling to the moral standards of a religion? Is it more reasonable to cling to a humanistic, scientific view of human behavior? Can the two perspectives be blended?

Are we intelligent enough to decide what’s good or bad on our own with no input from others, whether human or divine?

Just to keep the discussion lively, consider this: Within every horribly bad happening is the seed of a gloriously good outcome.

Here’s a video that should stir up even more discussion. It starts out with a bit of a shock, quickly becomes fascinating, and ends as pure delight!

Spiritual Quotes:

“Question. — Is man a free agent in all his actions, or is he compelled and constrained?

“Answer. — This question is one of the most important and abstruse of divine problems. If God wills, another day, at the beginning of dinner, we will undertake the explanation of this subject in detail; now we will explain it briefly, in a few words, as follows. Some things are subject to the free will of man, such as justice, equity, tyranny and injustice, in other words, good and evil actions; it is evident and clear that these actions are, for the most part, left to the will of man. But there are certain things to which man is forced and compelled, such as sleep, death, sickness, decline of power, injuries and misfortunes; these are not subject to the will of man, and he is not responsible for them, for he is compelled to endure them. But in the choice of good and bad actions he is free, and he commits them according to his own will.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 248

“The sundering of science and religion is but one example of the tendency of the human mind (which is necessarily limited in its capacity) to concentrate on one virtue, one aspect of truth, one goal, to the exclusion of others. This leads, in extreme cases, to fanaticism and the utter distortion of truth, and in all cases to some degree of imbalance and inaccuracy. A scholar who is imbued with an understanding of the broad teachings of the Faith will always remember that being a scholar does not exempt him from the primal duties and purposes for which all human beings are created. All men, not scholars alone, are exhorted to seek out and uphold the truth, no matter how uncomfortable it may be.”
The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 390

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“Hope Springs Eternal…”

glowing fountain

Here are the first ten links I found [9:22 pm edt, 2Aug08] using the word “hope” in Google’s News Search:

HOPE FOR A CURE
Leading article: Enjoy the Olympics, and hope
Vice-president hope fades for Hillary Clinton
One Million Homes Lost and Counting: How to End the Foreclosure …
Pat Nevin: Hope is in the air before the pressure really kicks in …
Jobless Rate Hits a High, Dims Hope For Recovery
New Hope For Answers In Anthrax Case
Petition offers hope for schools
Zimbabwe has to figure out its future – the West can only hope it …
McCain tells Urban League that Obama talks about hope, but isn’t …

All of them are about very Earthly hopes.

I don’t expect today’s news to carry items about Spiritual Hopes (unless they’re buried under all the hopes of our materialistic cultures).

I’m now a Baha’i but was raised a Christian (I honor all Faiths…) and in their scripture is this Hope: Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:10

This, to me, says that heavenly things should happen here; that, on planet earth, our wills should be directed by spiritual concerns.

By the way, to those who cringe at their will being oriented toward spirituality because it sounds like their earthly life is unimportant and their dearly loved material relationships should stop [like I used to think], my experience says:

Material concerns will never satisfy or bring profit if they have no spiritual core. Spirit drives the body, gives sight, allows dreams to soar…

I decided to include a poem from Poet Seers—Poem of The Day. For those disinclined to read poetry, please try this one. I’ve found that most good poetry needs more than one reading to have its full flavor develop; like a relationship . . .

The Instinct of Hope

Is there another world for this frail dust
To warm with life and be itself again?
Something about me daily speaks there must,
And why should instinct nourish hopes in vain?
‘Tis nature’s prophesy that such will be,
And everything seems struggling to explain
The close sealed volume of its mystery.
Time wandering onward keeps its usual pace
As seeming anxious of eternity,
To meet that calm and find a resting place.
E’en the small violet feels a future power
And waits each year renewing blooms to bring,
And surely man is no inferior flower
To die unworthy of a second spring?

John Clare

One final spiritual quote:

“My hope is that through the zeal and ardour of the pure of heart, the darkness of hatred and difference will be entirely abolished, and the light of love and unity shall shine; this world shall become a new world; things material shall become the mirror of the divine; human hearts shall meet and embrace each other; the whole world become as a man’s native country and the different races be counted as one race.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London, p. 38

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