Beauty and Love

rose


I scanned the news for this post, as I do every day. There was nothing there but bodies, fame, and sex…

Not too surprising in our current culture.

What is Beauty?

Never an easy answer to that question . . .

There’s an intriguing and compelling poem on PoetSeers by Khalil Gibran called Beauty. He says {and I do hope you’ll read the whole poem}:

“…beauty is not a need but an ecstasy.

It is not a mouth thirsting nor an empty hand stretched forth,

But rather a heart enflamed and a soul enchanted.

It is not the image you would see nor the song you would hear,

But rather an image you see though you close your eyes and a song you hear though you shut your ears.”

What is Love?

To answer this would take all the seas turned to ink and all the land turned to parchment . . .

But, still, we can approach an elevated answer.

I’m going to quote from a Work called The Seven Valleys by Bahá’u’lláh, but I want to preface that with reference to a much older work that has some relation to The Seven Valleys.

In the 12th century, Persian poet Farid ud-Din Attar wrote a work called, Conference of the Birds ( or, Bird Parliament ). Birds have been, from ages past, a symbol of Spirituality. In Attar’s work the birds must traverse seven valleys to attend the conference. Bahá’u’lláh made use of this ancient Persian theme when He wrote His Seven Valleys, but He extended and deepened the theme.

Some of His words on Love:

” Now is the traveler unaware of himself, and of aught besides himself. He seeth neither ignorance nor knowledge, neither doubt nor certitude; he knoweth not the morn of guidance from the night of error. He fleeth both from unbelief and faith, and deadly poison is a balm to him. Wherefore Aṭṭár saith:

For the infidel, error—for the faithful, faith;
For Aṭṭár’s heart, an atom of Thy pain.

The steed of this Valley is pain; and if there be no pain this journey will never end. In this station the lover hath no thought save the Beloved, and seeketh no refuge save the Friend. At every moment he offereth a hundred lives in the path of the Loved One, at every step he throweth a thousand heads at the feet of the Beloved.”

“Wherefore must the veils of the satanic self be burned away at the fire of love, that the spirit may be purified and cleansed and thus may know the station of the Lord of the Worlds.

Kindle the fire of love and burn away all things,
Then set thy foot into the land of the lovers.”

Please leave your thoughts and feelings in the Comments.
Let’s have a conversation !

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The Search For Truth

I search for news that I can comment on while raising the issues to the level of Principle—reaching the truth by climbing out of the mud…

Most media and almost all politics are miring swamps.

From the Bahá’í World News Service: Iranian media attacks on Baha’is and Nobel Prize Winner Shirin Ebadi seek to stir “irrational fears and prejudices”

From The Huffington Post: The Media’s Problem Of “False Balance” Showing Itself In Electoral Map Analyses

From the Lancaster Eagle Gazette: Candidates taking low road: Dirty politics is never helpful

From the Tampa Tribune: Truth, Please

Often, I find refuge from the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” in fiction. I am a poet and many would claim that poetry is fiction, along with myth and tradition . . . Contemplate these quotes:

“Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Fiction is the truth inside the lie.”
Stephen King

My favorite author, C. J. Cherryh, spins beautiful tales, taking media, politics, poetry, fiction, and myth to realms that reveal truth more clearly than most any media or political source available.

Consider these quotes from this multiple award-winning author:

“It is perfectly okay to write garbage—as long as you edit brilliantly.”

“Deal with the Devil if the Devil has a constituency – and don’t complain about the heat.”

“Trade isn’t about goods. Trade is about information. Goods sit in the warehouse until information moves them.”

“We’re in the hands of lunatics.”
“Of financiers. Far worse”

“The interests of all humans are interlocked…and politics is no more than a temporal expression of social mathematics.”

“Ignorance killed the cat, sir. Curiosity was framed.”

Want to join a community that honors and discusses this author’s work? Travel to the Realm of Shon’jir !

Today’s Spiritual Quote:

“Oh! why will man, the disobedient child of God, who should be an example of the power of the spiritual law, turn his face away from the Divine Teaching and put all his effort into destruction and war?
“My hope is that in this enlightened century the Divine Light of love will shed its radiance over the whole world, seeking out the responsive heart’s intelligence of every human being; that the light of the Sun of Truth will lead politicians to shake off all the claims of prejudice and superstition…”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 150

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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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Verse Five

This post is one in a series. All poems are from my free-to-download book, Is Your Soul In Here ? I’ll keep the series going as long as interest is shown through your comments. If there are enough comments, I’ll publish them in their own post !

~~~~~~~~~

Imperious

“Back so
Soon with
Scars so
Fresh,
Willing to be
Pressed against the
Sharp
Edge of
Pain?”

“Howling yet from
Severance
Won and
Sacrifice obtained by
Standing in the
Prow of
Life and
Facing every
Tempest hot, I turn
Again and
Lay it down—my
Blood a warming
Storm of
Victory.”


Verse One

This post is one in a series. All poems are from my free-to-download book, Is Your Soul In Here ? I’ll keep the series going as long as interest is shown through your comments. If there are enough comments, I’ll publish them in their own post !

~~~~~~~~~

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.


Everything is Plundered

Petrov-vodkin-akhmatova.jpg

image credit

Anna Akhmatova

1889 – 1966

The poem below takes on vast meaning when it’s known how much suffering and betrayal stalked this woman’s life. She was praised by other writers and poets but condemned by her government.

Why do the people who suffer so tragically have such power to inspire us to rise above suffering?

What is it about the human soul that makes it shine like gold when the fire is hottest?

Everything is Plundered

Everything is plundered, betrayed, sold,
Death’s great black wing scrapes the air,
Misery gnaws to the bone.
Why then do we not despair?

By day, from the surrounding woods,
cherries blow summer into town;
at night the deep transparent skies
glitter with new galaxies.

And the miraculous comes so close
to the ruined, dirty houses –
something not known to anyone at all,
but wild in our breast for centuries.

By: Anna Akhmatova

tr. by Stanley Kunitz with Max Hayward