What’s The Use of Sacrificing ?

sacrifice
Ever wanted to sacrifice yourself?

I can hear someone saying, Why in hell would anyone want to do that?

Our current world culture permits some to have the feeling they never have to give up anything while forcing millions into a state of perpetual sacrifice.

What’s the solution?

From Y Net News: Arab driver who ignited Akko riots ‘ready to sacrifice himself’

From Fair Investment Company: Scots sacrifice savings accounts to pay off debts, finds Lloyds TSB

From Daily News Central: Don’t Sacrifice Health to Stay Afloat in Tough Times

What’s really gained by never sacrificing?

What if mothers and fathers don’t sacrifice for their children?

What if politicians don’t sacrifice for their constituents?

What if the rich don’t sacrifice for the poor?

Time for a definition. “Sacrifice” has a root meaning derived from “sacred”—to make holy. It’s highest meaning is to give up something lesser for something greater.

Current culture seems to short-change most everything, even word meanings. Sacrifice has come to mean merely loss—giving up and not getting in return.

Naturally, if one is too egotistical, it’s very difficult to see what can be gained by sacrificing; but, one thing definitely acquired is growth.

The best example I can think of is the growth each of us has experienced in our journey through life on the Earth.

The first thing sacrificed is the womb. Next is mother’s milk. Then comes the loss of security in the shelter of home through introduction to the wider world. Each grade of school sees the sacrifice of limited understanding for an ever-growing fund of knowledge. Each love lost has the power to enlarge the heart. Every opportunity closed off opens new paths…

Even Life itself is lost with the rebirth of death—believed by some as new life in the ineffable Worlds of God.

Spiritual Quotes:

“Our greatest longing is that truth may be established in the world, and in this hope we draw near to one another in love and affection. Each and all are whole-hearted and selfless, willing to sacrifice all personal ambition to the grand ideal towards which they strive: Brotherly love and peace and union among men!”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 100

“He bore hardships, he lived through misfortunes, he suffered afflictions. From the lips of the Manifestation he heard marvelous things. He was shown the lights of Paradise; he won his dearest wish. And at the end, when the Daystar of the world had set, he could endure no more, and flung himself into the sea. The waters of sacrifice closed over him; he was drowned, and he came, at last, to the Most High.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Memorials of the Faithful, p. 35

“Know thou that when the Son of Man [Jesus] yielded up His breath to God, the whole creation wept with a great weeping. By sacrificing Himself, however, a fresh capacity was infused into all created things. Its evidences, as witnessed in all the peoples of the earth, are now manifest before thee. The deepest wisdom which the sages have uttered, the profoundest learning which any mind hath unfolded, the arts which the ablest hands have produced, the influence exerted by the most potent of rulers, are but manifestations of the quickening power released by His transcendent, His all-pervasive, and resplendent Spirit.”
Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 85

“Ponder that which befell Muhammad, the Seal of the Prophets, may the life of all else be a sacrifice unto Him. How severe the afflictions which the leaders of the Jewish people and of the idol-worshipers caused to rain upon Him, Who is the sovereign Lord of all, in consequence of His proclamation of the unity of God and of the truth of His Message! By the righteousness of My Cause! My Pen groaneth, and all created things weep with a great weeping, as a result of the woes He suffered at the hands of them that have broken the Covenant of God, violated His Testament, rejected His proofs, and disputed His signs. Thus recount We unto thee the tale of that which happened in days past, haply thou mayest comprehend.”
Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 57

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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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Path Toward Peace – Step Two

Eliminating Racism

Eliminating Racism


Do you practice racism?

From AsianWeek: “I’m Not, Like, Racist”

From IndependentOnline: Rhodes sorry for past racist actions

From TribalFootball: Scotland and Ireland slammed by anti-racism agency

Here’s a definition of racism:

belief in racial superiority: the belief that people of different races have different qualities and abilities, and that some races are inherently superior or inferior.

It might be good to define prejudice, too:
opinion formed beforehand: a preformed opinion, usually an unfavorable one, based on insufficient knowledge, irrational feelings, or inaccurate stereotypes.

I feel we all  have to be rigorous in self-examination concerning tendencies toward racism.

It’s an ingrained behavior, driven deep by ages of irrational action.

Ever been faced by any of these situations?

* Your child wants to marry someone of different color.

* You are asked to work closely with a person of different color.

* Your partner was formerly involved with someone of different color.

* You find yourself in a situation that demands you live for an extended time with people of different color.

If you haven’t had to face those situations, I urge you, with an open heart, to imagine you are experiencing them. *** How do you honestly feel?

One factor that clouds this whole issue is the behavior of people who identify with their skin color—acting in ways that make them feel exclusive.

It’s going to take a phenomenal commitment to rid our planet of this illness. It will take “genuine love, extreme patience, true humility, consummate tact, sound initiative, mature wisdom, and deliberate, persistent, and prayerful effort.”

Also, recent thinking has made the idea of separate human races a distinctly non-scientific viewpoint. I’ll offer one opinion for your examination.

Spiritual Quote:

“Racism, one of the most baneful and persistent evils, is a major barrier to peace. Its practice perpetrates too outrageous a violation of the dignity of human beings to be countenanced under any pretext. Racism retards the unfoldment of the boundless potentialities of its victims, corrupts its perpetrators, and blights human progress. Recognition of the oneness of mankind, implemented by appropriate legal measures, must be universally upheld if this problem is to be overcome.”
The Universal House of Justice, 1985 Oct, The Promise of World Peace

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Path Toward Peace – Step One

volition

Inducing the Will to Act

High-minded ideals are powerless to change the world unless we act on them. Seems simple enough yet it’s apparent that a sufficient amount of action has yet to occur—wars, terror, oppression, hate are still the gruesome menu of “modern” culture.

Even taking no action toward a more peaceful world is taking action. We can’t avoid action if we want to stay alive.

From OneWorld.Net: Development Aid Declining Worldwide

From the Center for Global Development: Poverty afflicts more than half the world’s people

From the Utne Reader: In Praise of Economic Pain

But, what do we choose to act on? Here’s the place most people get it wrong if they really want peace. Too many folk feel that talking it up with friends and neighbors is helping. But, if that talking never leads to concrete action, it was a total waste. Too severe a judgement? What if the talking is to “raise people’s consciousness” about what needs to be done? Still, if it doesn’t lead to concrete action, it’s been a waste of time. Preparing ourselves to take action for peace, even if we see most of the world huddling under the tent of inaction, is the first step toward helping our world attain lasting peace.

Our actions can be extremely local—peace in our family, peace in the neighborhood, peace in the village, town, or city.

Our actions can be extremely global—serving on international committees of action or Non-Governmental Organizations, traveling to take the message of acting for peace to other lands, serving others in local environments far from our home.

Strongly motivated action comes from high ideals blended with intense emotion—what some would call spiritual motivation.

Bottom-line, no one acts for peace if their life is completely focused only on themselves…

The next post in this series will focus on one of the most insidious barriers to peace—Racism.

Spiritual Quote:
“What profit is there in agreeing that universal friendship is good, and talking of the solidarity of the human race as a grand ideal? Unless these thoughts are translated into the world of action, they are useless.

“The wrong in the world continues to exist just because people talk only of their ideals, and do not strive to put them into practice. If actions took the place of words, the world’s misery would very soon be changed into comfort….

“If I love you, I need not continually speak of my love—you will know without any words. On the other hand if I love you not, that also will you know—and you would not believe me, were I to tell you in a thousand words, that I loved you.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 16

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More Global Unity

atlas with earthYesterday I brought your attention to a remarkable seed-event in the struggle for Global Unity. Today I’m providing more information about it, hopefully to encourage you to let it influence your thinking and feeling in a way that inspires you to take action !

The usual news clips and the usual spiritual quote are not here today. I feel bringing this event to your awareness is the news and your response to it is the spirituality.

Take a little time and re-live the initial dream for this amazing event, the whole event, or some highlights:

Video of Jehane Noujaim presenting her wish for Pangea Day

The whole four hours of Pangea Day

A one hour highlight video

The first twenty five minutes

Here’s some feedback, immediately after the event, from the Pangea Day website:

“The first-ever Pangea Day was a monumental success…People from everywhere tuned in to watch the live broadcast in Cairo, Kigali, London, Los Angeles, Mumbai, and Rio de Janeiro and grassroots events flourished in cities, communities, and private homes.

“The response has been tremendous. Here’s a sampling of the voices we’ve heard from so far”:

“This has been my dream to have such day for years, and today I see it come to reality!”

Farsheed, an Iranian-Canadian ‘global citizen’

“I just stumbled onto the last half hour of the Pangea Day show here in Toronto and am so happy I did…I’m 48 yrs old and got the most wonderful feeling of finally belonging to a community that speaks to and for me…I’m going to check out the web site and find a drum to bang and some people to hug and love!

Ursula of Toronto, formerly of Kircubbin, Northern Ireland

“It’s 4:00 am here and I couldn’t go to bed without writing to you and telling you how beautiful, thought-provoking and deeply moving the experience was.”

Rhea from Chandigarh, India

“Next year – and there MUST be a next year and many years thereafter – please have sponsors everywhere on our planet promoting and advertising this great event and making sure the world watches…”

Barbara, South Africa

“I did not intend to spend hours in front of the TV today but I could not turn it off. You have re-introduced hope in my life, and probably to millions of others today. You gave a gift to the world!”

Lisa, Victoria, BC

“Watching the different stories of people, I see that there is hope and will to come together, to unite. I hope to see Pangea Day every year.”

Nabeel in Karachi, Pakistan.

“We are Islamic people. We’re from Bangladesh. The Pangea Day event was great. We have to say, that was one of the greatest 4 hours of our lives!”

The Khan Family in Quebec, Canada

“I was touched, moved, and inspired. Coming from a third world country, which has a terrible reputation worldwide, where there is an extreme political unrest, suicide bombings all over the town…the events…made me feel a lot better. That maybe there is some hope.”

Fizza in Pakistan

“We started watching the event with the intention to go for dinner at some point… But… we couldn’t leave!”

Ana & Martin in Spain

Here are ways you can take action on the feelings spawned by Pangea day:

Avaaz.org – The World in Action
Stop the clash of civilizations. Support peace in the Middle East.
Take action 

Charity: Water
Make the right to clean water a reality.
Take action 

Interfaith Youth Core – Building a Global Interfaith Youth Movement
Experience religious pluralism; get involved in an interfaith dialogue or community service project.
Take action 

Kiva – Loans That Change Lives
Lend as little as $25 to an entrepreneur in the developing world today.
Take action 

ninemillion.org – A UNHCR Education and Sports Campaign
Give refugee children worldwide the chance to learn and play.
Take action 

ONE – The Campaign to Make Poverty History
Fight global poverty. Join ONE.
Take action 

United Nations Population Fund
Stand up for women and protect maternal health.
Take action 

The We Campaign – We Can Solve the Climate Crisis
Call on world leaders to prevent the worst consequences of global warming.
Take action 

WITNESS – See It. Film It. Change It
Sign the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and tell your story.
Take action

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Naked In Eden

Robin Easton

Robin Easton: Author . Speaker . Environmentalist . Musician . Adventurer

Today I honor women by honoring a woman–that’s how it starts: honor the ones you know and it spreads–a sea of acceptance and support.

I published the major portion of this post back in April but I’ll lead with a few fresh news items:

From Cleveland Indy Media Center: Towards Women’s Liberation

From the Rebel Yell: Self respect is crucial for women’s equality

From the American Thinker: They Hanged Her for Teaching Love

I’ve done, as a man, many things “only” women do: cry, have deep concerns, love flowers, hug trees, and leave my ego behind to relate to children…

Robin Easton, as a woman, does many things “only” men do . . .

Here’s the link to her blog.

Check out her Immense Spirit !!!

“Ere long the days shall come when the men addressing the women, shall say: ‘Blessed are ye! Blessed are ye! Verily ye are worthy of every gift. Verily ye deserve to adorn your heads with the crown of everlasting glory, because in sciences and arts, in virtues and perfections ye shall become equal to man, and as regards tenderness of heart and the abundance of mercy and sympathy ye are superior’.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 182

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Can Youth Guide Us ?

youth

Our politicians and corporate leaders are guiding us to the brink of total despair. What can youth teach us about faith and hope?

From the Record Searchlight (Redding, California): Local event raises cash for charities by raising the spirit of the ’60s

From Agence France-Presse: Baghdadis revel in first big football final in years “We’ve had only misery but we need to be happy. This is the first time that I forget everything. Can you distinguish a Shiite from a Sunni? No, they are all Iraqis,” said Mohammed Kazem, an 18-year-old deliveryman.

From OneWorld.Net: A Megaphone for Kenya’s Street Kids “Kenyan youth living and working in the streets are finding new ways to raise awareness about the issues that matter to them using online blogs and photography.”

Well, since most of the adults in the world are either part of the cause of the world’s crises or totally beat down by the crises’ oppression, it appears youth are the preeminent solution.

That’s not to say adults can’t help but I feel strongly that most of that help should be in the form of assisting the youth of the world in gaining confidence in the enormous potential they have for turning our poor, sick globe around—creating the faithful and hopeful impetus for positive change . . .

Today’s quote is addressed to Bahá’í youth but its message is a clear call for any youth to grab the reins and charge into the future:

“Indeed, let them welcome with confidence the challenges awaiting them. Imbued with this excellence and a corresponding humility, with tenacity and a loving servitude, today’s youth must move towards the front ranks of the professions, trades, arts and crafts which are necessary to the further progress of humankind—this to ensure that the spirit of the Cause will cast its illumination on all these important areas of human endeavor. Moreover, while aiming at mastering the unifying concepts and swiftly advancing technologies of this era of communications, they can, indeed they must also guarantee the transmittal to the future of those skills which will preserve the marvelous, indispensable achievements of the past. The transformation which is to occur in the functioning of society will certainly depend to a great extent on the effectiveness of the preparations the youth make for the world they will inherit.”
The Universal House of Justice, 1985 May 08, Baha’i Youth of the World

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