One Common Faith ~ The Story – Part Six

devilnegative

The Story Continues…

{the beginning is here}

More About My
Dark Night of the Soul

Last post, I’d said my search for spiritual answers in secular haunts led me to a lot of devilish activity. I’m not knocking all secular (non-religious) knowledge—we’d still be in the Stone Age without it.

What I’m getting at is acquiring only  secular knowledge—keeping your knowledge grounded in materialistic concerns, not hitching it to a spiritual star…

“If the material details blind us to the spiritual meaning, then we should be better without them…”
Dr. J.E. Esslemont, Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era, p. 204

Our ancestors struggled with the material world one hell of a lot more than people now living in affluent countries. Of course, there are still millions forced, through a lack of spiritual will and conviction on the part of affluent governments, to live at a level of struggle much like our distant ancestors. Humanity has gained much material knowledge but the sharing of that knowledge leaves much to be desired…

Our ancestors also struggled with the religious knowledge they acquired. Most of it was so perverted by overly materialistic priests and clergy that it was only of benefit to the money bags of the spiritual leaders. It appears that, apart from the material advancements made over the centuries, the spiritual advancement of civilization was aided by a mere handful of devoted, truly “religious” individuals.

For most of my life I was a greedy gatherer of materialistic knowledge—eager for whatever would put me ahead of the pack, secure my earthly position, and bring me the adulation of others. Having come from a serious religious background, I plunged into what the world had to offer and continually failed to attain happiness. Oh, sure, I’ve had my moments of joy but they were always followed by depression and dejection.

Our human family’s been through the same thing—pulling themselves up to new heights of achievement only to plunge into hellacious backwaters of degraded existence. Certain countries have attained super heights of glorious prestige then sunk into forgotten holes of history.

The best way I can relate the continuing, overpowering feeling that haunted me in my misguided, ego-controlled secular exploits is to share a poem I wrote in the midst of one of the darkest times:

Again?

Creeping up a
Hill of life from a
Valley too well-known;
This time, this
Time reach some
Height not leading
Back to have-to;
This time, this
Time free enough to
See beyond these
Patterns locked in
Self so locked in
Dust.

Next post, I’ll share what I discovered that definitely has the potential power to keep me facing the Light so the swirling greys of earthly existence don’t pull me back down into the Dark as

the story continues…

Spiritual Quote :

“Man is not a pre-existent being, but a newly produced and created being, consisting of two aspects or portions, the spiritual and material, which may be likened to hell and paradise; and he does not know whether he will be in hell or paradise. For instance, man is composed of evil as well as good, of darkness as well as light, of guidance as well as misleading; the most evil character is to be found in man, while the greatest and most excellent character is also found in him. We must see that the good qualities gain victory over the bad. If so, the man will become an ‘angel’, but if the bad qualities conquer the good ones, then he will become a ‘devil’. If the light conquers the darkness in man, of course he will be true light, and if the darkness conquers the light, he will be of the material.”
Compilations, Bahá’í Scriptures, p. 499

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Games That Can Kill Us . . .

So many dangerously childish actions in the world political drama. For sheer silliness (which could blossom into rank trauma) the American Presidential campaign is a sad example.

From AlterNet: Top 10 Idiocies of the General Election … So Far

From the Los Angeles Times: John McCain, Barack Obama spar over ‘celebrity’

From CNN: McCain, Obama ad wars heat up

So, with all this dangerous silliness, why has the American public not used its Constitutional power to elect sane and sober leaders?

* Attachment to materialistic living and not caring too much what happens?

* Not being sufficiently educated about the issues?

* In a state of cultural shock?

Well, even if every malady of the American electorate were healed, their vote would still not guarantee that their political wishes came true. Ever heard of the Electoral College? This institution separates the popular vote from the election results. Plus, it has happened that the voice of the people was overridden by the electoral process . . .

Still, even if the people had their say, who are the people? Are they exemplary citizens, educated and compassionate?

I’m afraid I’m veering off into a rant so I’ll close this discussion {still hoping for your comments!} with today’s spiritual quotes:

“How incalculable have been the negative results of ill-directed criticism: in the catastrophic divergences it has created in religion, in the equally contentious factions it has spawned in political systems, which have dignified conflict by institutionalizing such concepts as the “loyal opposition” which attach to one or another of the various categories of political opinion —conservative, liberal, progressive, reactionary, and so forth.”
The Universal House of Justice, 1988 Dec 29, Individual Rights and Freedoms, p. 9

“The aggressiveness and competitiveness which animate a dominantly capitalist culture; the partisanship inherent in a fervidly democratic system; the suspicion of public-policy institutions and the skepticism towards established authority ingrained in the political attitude of the people and which trace their origins to the genesis of American society; the cynical disregard of the moderating principles and rules of civilized human relationships resulting from an excessive liberalism and its immoral consequences—such unsavory characteristics inform entrenched habits of American life…”
The Universal House of Justice, 1994 May 19, response to US NSA

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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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“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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Sharing in a Community

Blogging about communication today. Most of my regular visitors are bloggers but the message I hope to convey goes far beyond blogging . . .

From The Inquisitr (that’s exactly how it’s spelled): The Changing Blogosphere and Blogging 2.0 “It’s easy to be sentimental about ‘the good old days’ of blogging, and I could wax lyrical about the community spirit that has seemingly been lost as blogging has grown up. Without being able to quote empirical evidence, take it as a given that the collective sense of community once shared by all bloggers in no longer.”

From RIZZN: I’m at the Edge of a Eureka Moment “Darren Rowse [of ProBlogger] says that the blogosphere just doesn’t get along with each other anymore. He obviously hasn’t read a political blog in a while. It’s mostly just for-profit tech bloggers that hate each other, and only a couple of them participate in that foolishness.”

From ProBlogger: Has Blogging Lost Its Relational Focus? “The blogosphere is a different place now in many ways. For starters there are a lot more blogs. There is almost a bigger focus upon blogging as a business tool and the idea of making money online in general.”

From ReadWriteWeb: Mixed Messages in The Blogging Landscape “While ultimately professional blogging is reliant on social media, if it becomes too reliant on the ‘social’ part then it implodes. We’ve seen a lot of the symptoms over the past year: burnt out bloggers, ‘bitchmemes’ (when lots of bloggers complain loudly about something usually inconsequential), hints of corruption as bloggers write about things they’ve invested in or have an interest in, stirring up controversy as a business tactic. We’ve even seen a kind of mafia mentality emerge – vendettas, ring-kissing, sychophants surrounding power bloggers, etc.”

That last writer brought out the materialistic side of blogging but further on they positively glowed about “personal” blogs.

Actually, I’ve seen personal blogs that have that “mafia mentality”.

It all boils down to communication and the heart and spirit of the communicator.

But, what does “communication” really mean?

From the Online Etymology Dictionary:to impart, to share, to make common

So whether you’re a CEO, a line worker, a blogger (professional or personal), a door-to-door salesperson, a mother, a friend, or a just-plain-folk, no matter who you are, if you open your mouth or put pen to paper or harness electrons with your computer, communication is ultimately doomed if you don’t come from a place of sharing, imparting, making common—contributing to your commun-ity

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“Human nature is fundamentally spiritual. Communities are unlikely, therefore, to prove prosperous and sustainable unless they take into account the spiritual dimension of human reality and seek to foster a culture in which the moral, ethical, emotional and intellectual development of the individual are of primary concern. It is in such a milieu that the individual is likely to become a constructively engaged, service-oriented citizen, working for the material and spiritual well-being of the community, and that a common vision and a shared sense of purpose can be effectively developed.

“It follows that the material aspects of community development—environmental, economic and social policies; production, distribution, communication and transportation systems; and political, legal and scientific processes—must be driven by spiritual principles and priorities. Today, however, the substance and direction of community development are largely determined by material considerations.

“Our challenge, therefore, is to redesign and develop our communities around those universal principles—including love, honesty, moderation, humility, hospitality, justice and unity—which promote social cohesion, and without which no community, no matter how economically prosperous, intellectually endowed or technologically advanced, can long endure.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1996 Jun 07, Sustainable Communities in an Integrating World

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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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