Path Toward Peace – Step Ten

 

Two Wings of Progress: Material Achievements and Spiritual Perfections


Ever wondered why, if we’re such brainy and advanced creatures, we have so many critical crises going on?

Ever pondered how spiritual solutions to those crises could resolve even the material factors?

What’s wrong with the quote in the following news item?

From The Moultrie Observer: An Energy Overview: “A U.S. declaration of energy independence to be achieved in the next decade can develop the ‘know how’ to reconstitute the basis for our material civilization. This would replace the now skeletal wealth-generating engines of the smoke-staked industrial age with means of many magnitudes greater productive and wealth-building potential.”

The first thing wrong with that quote is the idea of U.S. energy independence.

When will the leaders get it right? We live in an interdependent world. Anything based on nationalistic independence will fail and, in the process, harm others in the Human Family.

The other thing wrong with the quote is the article it’s in: a careful analysis of the “solution” to a failed factor in the equation of material civilization. There is no mention of spiritual values. The only word even coming close is “ideal” and it indicates a material use of brain-power directed toward a material solution for a material world…

There is no doubt that we live in a material world.

There is also no doubt that the proponents of strict material solutions for the crises of our world have completely failed to resolve those crises and daily add to the confusion and suffering of our Family.

Material civilization has contributed many wonderful and positively helpful products and processes to our struggle as spiritual entities with material bodies  living on the Earth.

The issue is the continuing and disturbing failure to recognize the spiritual side of the equation…

Spiritual Quotes:

“Wert thou to attain to but a dewdrop of the crystal waters of divine knowledge, thou wouldst readily realize that true life is not the life of the flesh but the life of the spirit. For the life of the flesh is common to both men and animals, whereas the life of the spirit is possessed only by the pure in heart who have quaffed from the ocean of faith and partaken of the fruit of certitude. This life knoweth no death, and this existence is crowned by immortality. Even as it hath been said: ‘He who is a true believer liveth both in this world and in the world to come.’ If by ‘life’ be meant this earthly life, it is evident that death must needs overtake it.”
Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 120

“A superficial culture, unsupported by a cultivated morality, is as ‘a confused medley of dreams’,[1] and external lustre without inner perfection is ‘like a vapor in the desert which the thirsty dreameth to be water’.[2] For results which would win the good pleasure of God and secure the peace and well-being of man, could never be fully achieved in a merely external civilization….

“Be just: can this nominal civilization, unsupported by a genuine civilization of character, bring about the peace and well-being of the people or win the good pleasure of God? Does it not, rather, connote the destruction of man’s estate and pull down the pillars of happiness and peace?”
[1 Qur’án 12:44; 21:5.]
[2 Qur’án 24:39.]
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Secret of Divine Civilization, pp. 60-62

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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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Light In The Darkness


“The bed-rock of a strategy that can engage the world’s population in assuming responsibility for its collective destiny must be the consciousness of the oneness of humankind.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1995 Jul 16, Realization of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights

From The New York Times: Bank Investors Redefine Bad News
“…it has now been a year since the credit crisis erupted, and, so far, the optimists have been proven wrong time and again. Skeptics say it could take years for banks to recover from the worst financial crisis since the Depression. And even when things do improve, the pessimists maintain, banks’ profits will be a fraction of what they were before.”

From Forbes: Wachovia Loss May Spell End For Bank Rally
“After reporting second-quarter earnings that fell short of expectations, American Express said it does not expect to meet or exceed long-term financial targets until the economy recovers because conditions worsened more rapidly than expected.”

So much of the world is overextended.

So many people suffer.

A few get rich as the rest get poorer . . .

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I used to work as a telemarketer (Oh, my God, Alex, how horrible !) for one of the major credit card companies. There came a point when they expanded their services into Ireland. The CEO said the Irish appeared to be overly careful in their finances—they weren’t carrying any balance on their cards. I quit the company right after I saw a quote from the CEO: “We have every confidence in the Irish market. It may be slow now but we will educate them.”

Educate them . . .

Time for class kids! Gather round. There ya go. See, this is a wall socket. Some people say its dangerous to put your finger in here but today we’re gonna learn that it’s actually fun !!

We all need education, constantly—from the bottom up and from the Top down.

Sometimes I get a little nutsey and think that the separation of Faith and State has brought ruin to both.

“…material civilization is like unto a beautiful body, and spiritual civilization is like unto the spirit of life. If that wondrous spirit of life enters this beautiful body, the body will become a channel for the distribution and development of the perfections of humanity.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 11

Things sure are headed Somewhere . . . In fact, that reminds me of an old saying, “If ya don’t know where you’re goin’, any road will take ya there.”

“…it is unrealistic to imagine that the vision of the next stage in the advancement of civilization can be formulated without a searching re-examination of the attitudes and assumptions that currently underlie approaches to social and economic development….We are being shown that, unless the development of society finds a purpose beyond the mere amelioration of material conditions, it will fail of attaining even these goals. That purpose must be sought in spiritual dimensions of life and motivation that transcend a constantly changing economic landscape and an artificially imposed division of human societies into ‘developed’ and ‘developing.’ “
Bahá’í International Community, 1995 Jul 16, Realization of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights

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Freedom ! ? !

Today is the United States of America’s premier celebration of liberty and freedom.

Had a discussion in my neighborhood coffee shop today about how America is binding it’s citizens into materialistic and corporate and short-sighted captivities—just imagine the poor folk “chained” to their televisions and believing what they see…

Of course, “freedom” and “liberty” can be perceived from the material plane or the spiritual plane.

First, just today, from a New Zealand news source, there’s a story of the joyous liberation of French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt—six years in captivity:

“She bathed fully dressed to shield herself from her watchful male captors.

“Asked if they raped her, she said: ‘I have had painful experiences . . . but I don’t want to talk about this here, now at this time of happiness.'”

“Her attempts to escape captivity brought punishments – being chained at the neck, deprived of food and made to trek between camps barefoot.

“In the letter to her mother released last year, she wrote: ‘I’ve tried to keep my head above water, but Mom, I have given up. . . Your daily suffering, and the suffering of everyone, makes death seems like a sweet option.'”

And, on this Western holiday of liberty and freedom, I give you the words of an Eastern man, held captive for 40 years:

“Materially, man is the prisoner of nature; the least wind disturbs him, the cold hurts him, the heat incommodes him, a mosquito irritates him; but when we consider the intelligence of man, an elephant is powerless before him, a lion is his prisoner, and a boy of twelve can lead twelve hundred animals. Man dries up the sea, inundates the desert, circumnavigates the globe, discovers what is under the earth, rides upon the air and creates new sciences. These are the signs of the crowning spiritual power of man—that power which can make nature his prisoner.

“Reflect on the divine forces. What has assembled us together? It is not a material but a spiritual force which has created this bond between our hearts, this attraction and affection for one another—a power stronger than reason, a power which founds nations, creates human unity and makes us renounce the world to discover sciences and organize laws which work through all creatures. Man, the victim of a mosquito, by his spiritual intelligence is conqueror, for by spirit he is completed; he stands upright and gives well-being to humanity.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy, p. 95

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~ Unleash The Life Within ~
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