Metaphysical

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April 24, 2022- The imposing figure sat comfortably in his folding chair, and detailed the struggles which led him to his current career as a metaphysical healer. Metaphysics, essentially, is the process of first having an idea, then bringing it into fruition. It is conception, followed by manifestation. The healer described his once decrepit health, and the long process of meditation, natural supplement-taking and overall lifestyle changes that have restored him to a modicum of good health. While he is still exhausted at the end of a day and has to make choices as to activities, his countenance is robust and youthful, his intellect sharp and his demeanor energizing to all who are around him.

The notion of a spirit being able to manifest what is desired is an ancient one- Gautama Siddhartha, the Founder of Buddhism, said “When you truly want something and go after it, without limiting yourself with disbelief, the Universe will make it happen.” He also said ” All that we are is the result of what we have thought.” This sentiment would be repeated by Jesus the Christ: “Ask and it shall be given to you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.”– Gospel according to Matthew 7:7 and by ‘Abdu’l-Baha, “The reality of man is his thought, not his material body. The thought force and the animal force are partners. Although man is part of the animal creation, he possesses a power of thought superior to all other created beings. “– Abdu’l-BahaParis Talks, pp. 17-18. Native American and African tribal traditions say the same thing.

The concept of transcendence, then, is an essential one. We must remember, also, as the healer above acknowledged, that the last step of any thought process is action. The Universe will present a soul with what is requested. It is up to the soul, to the spirit, to accept what is offered. Thus, it is a person’s duty to self to take what has been asked to have manifested and to use it in a manner conducive to the elevation of the soul.

I have a sense that he will long continue in healing himself and others. As for me, I look forward to similarly continuing to manifest what is beneficial both to myself and to all around me.

The Paschal Feast

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April 17, 2022- I begin this post with a song by the contemporary Christian duo Cassandra Star and Callahan, who are sisters.

Certainly, a worthy sequel to Kaylee Rodgers’ 2018 Christmas version of the Leonard Cohen classic.

All told, I’m certain that there were millions of households where families and friends gathered in a feast to commemorate the Resurrection of Christ, which many regard as having occurred literally and others regard in a symbolic sense. Millions more will do the same, in two weeks or so, when Orthodox Christians mark the Pasch. The most important thing, to me, is that Christ was showing humanity that the Supreme Being does not forget His Creatures, especially not those who are conceived in His image and likeness- in terms of spiritual qualities. As Jesus was given spiritual renewal, so are we able to receive it, not through entitlement or deserving, but through Divine Grace. It has always been thus, and has ever been disregarded by humanity as a whole. Therefore, God the Patient offers us the Example of His Messenger, time after time.

I joined with Christian friends, this afternoon, to mark this splendid event. Baha’u’llah, too, suffered enormously that we might not endure the rotting fruits of our fecklessness and waywardness. “God hath forgiven what is past.” is what He tells us in Kitab-i-Aqdas, or Book of Laws. As Creation is eternal, so too is the learning process. Yet, little by little, day by day, I believe we are getting there. Our Creator is waiting, patiently waiting.

Thorns, and Scars

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April 15, 2022- The weary Teacher completed the task assigned Him, by the feckless Roman Governor of Palestine. He carried the wooden cross that was to be His final abode on Earth, laid upon it, at the designated spot on Mount Calvary, was nailed to it hand and foot, and watched as slaves using ropes, raised Man and Device to uprightness and secured it in the ground.

It was asked of the onlookers, “Who do you wish us to absolve, this day?” Legend says that the crowd chose a suspected insurrectionist, Barabbas, to be released, leaving the Teacher to be left to die on the cross. The rest that transpired is solemnly commemorated, by all who love the Teacher, as Good Friday, the day on which the sins of the faithful were subsumed by His death.

The Creator has forgiven His creatures, throughout the life of the Universe. It has always come at the expense of the suffering of the Divine Teachers, sent to show us just what the cost of ignorant and feckless behaviour is. Jesus the Christ wore a crown of thorns and later appeared to His Disciples, showing them the scars on His hands and side.

Some Hindus believe Krishna, the Founder of the Hindu Faith, was tied to a tree and shot with arrows until dead. Al-Bab, the Herald of the Baha’i Faith, was executed by a firing squad of 750 soldiers. Baha’u’llah, while not executed, was tortured at various times, before and after He proclaimed His Mission. Such acts have always been carried out by the powermongers of the time, who know that the Teacher has come to bring purification to the human race, thus potentially ending their reigns and bringing true knowledge and power to the common folk.

Today is the most widely observed commemoration of such a travesty, and may its lessons be truly brought home to human consciousness, after nearly 2000 years of its Story being told.

In Praise of Candles

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February 2, 2022- Long before the Groundhog was deemed a prognosticator, the world turned to blessings with candles, to get a sense of when the North could expect to see buds and feel the promise of new life. Today’s date was the time for having one’s throat blessed by two candles, crossed at the median point of the throat. The idea was to ward off respiratory ailments, and like many practices of Christianity, arose from a mix of commemorating reported events in the life of Jesus the Christ and the faithful’s understanding of Roman or indigenous northern European practices. Candlemas happens to fall forty days after the western date for Christmas and roughly thirty-thirty five days before the Lenten Season, which itself commemorates the forty days spent by Christ in the wilderness of Judea-thus representing a midpoint of sorts.

Candles more commonly provided a way to light the night, especially inside a dwelling or place of business, where the use of torches would have been more dicey. Even in the age of electric or solar-powered lighting, candles are important to have on hand, in the event of a power outage or in case flashlights turn out to have expired batteries. Candles also help us in celebrations, such as birthday parties, and in vigils for fallen community members.

Animal tallow, once the most common material from which candles could have been made, competes with oil-based paraffin as a source for candle-making. As with all things petrolean, there is a lot of controversy as to whether those who use candles are somehow contributing, collectively, to climate change. I prefer to use candles made from essential oils, and these are only lit sparingly.

To me, candles are simply an important symbol of hope and of resilience.

His Fierce Love

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December 25, 2021-

The Carpenter did not skimp, on building His House of Love. Only the finest of materials, albeit obtained in an economical and judicious manner, were used in this endeavour. Those who demeaned His efforts were still welcome to enter, but they first had to wash themselves of the stains of doubtfulness and error.

The Fisherman did not refuse anyone who was hungry, offering His catch to all who showed up at His weir. Those who turned their noses up at His offering were free to change their minds and hearts, so long as they abluted their hands before partaking.

The Worshipper did not suffer those who turned the House of the Lord into a bazaar. He cast them out of the Temple, with the message that true Love is like a sword. It cleaves away the darkness of those sins which impair the soul and divide the people.

The Cross Bearer did not take umbrage at those who had been duped into believing He was a menace to the established order. He asked forgiveness for them, not out of weakness, but out of the strength that only comes with knowing of the true nature of Eternity.

The Messenger knew only compassion for the sick, the homeless, the destitute and the wayward. He cried for the errors of His followers, who conflated Faith in God with loyalty to the earthly powers. He appreciated the grand cathedrals, the sincere efforts to grow His flock and the devotion of even the most grievously ill among adherents to His Message. He also reminded one and all, that they must take stock of their thoughts and actions, day to day.

Such was the fierce love of the Son of the Creator.

The Cave and The Silo

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December 24, 2021-

In the season of accountability, circa 4 B.C., a Child infused with extraordinary spiritual power began moving down His mother’s birth canal, whilst His parents were seeking lodging, in a town where all comfortable rooms were long claimed by more well-healed travelers, most of whom were in town on taxpayer business.

By dint of necessity, the Child’s father secured a spot in a manger, with the land owner’s livestock as the family’s companions for the evening. The Child was born in the early morning hours, with the family huddled among the animals for warmth, the landowner having also given them a few hide blankets out of concern for mother and baby.

The veritable cave where Jesus, son of Joseph, was born has a superstructure built over it: The Church of the Nativity. Within that house of worship are three distinct chapels: One, Roman Catholic; one, Greek Orthodox and one, Armenian Apostolic. The territory of each is clearly demarked, and very closely guarded by the adherents of each denomination. It is now, however, a UNESCO World Heritage Site , requiring co-operation between the three, as well as between the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Prior to this status being conferred, in 2012, the three shrines were like silos, unto themselves, despite a 250-year-old agreement between three denominations’ leaders, for the preservation of the edifice. The point of agreement that made any co-operation possible was the recognition that the grotto, over which the church was built, was the site of the birthplace of Jesus the Christ. Like any agreement made in perpetuity between leaders of a given time, its meaning’s understanding has ebbed and flowed, fluctuating with successive generations, and newcomers to the area, adding their own interpretations.

Thus, the silos rise and contain the adherents to these philosophies, who eschew any fellowship with those of different viewpoints. Thus has even the most sacred of places become a focal point of human narcissism, whether individual or collective.

May the 2021st Celebration of Christ’s Birth be a day when such fellowship be given honour. We have seen the futility of its opposite number.

“We are the messengers now.”

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December 12, 2021- Those words were spoken by actor Jonathan Roumie, who plays the role of Jesus the Christ, in the ongoing series “The Chosen”, in his commentary on the series’ Christmas special. He spoke, of course, as to the responsibility of Christians to bear witness to their Faith, in word and deed.

I extend that further, to all people of Faith. We Baha’is recently commemorated the Centenary of the Passing of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, the only perfect exemplar we had, other than Baha’u’llah Himself-in terms of living our Faith, day to day. Every other person, in living memory, has their own struggles and challenges. That, however, can never be an excuse for lack of striving.

Like it or not, everything one does reflects on her/his professed creed. Even atheists, relying on Ethics as their credo, have a standard to uphold. I think of this each day, bringing myself to account-as to who I have helped and from whom I have turned aside. No one person can meet the needs of every outstretched hand, but there is the matter of at least showing them the Light.

If I am not growing, day by day, then what?

Pasch

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May 2. 2021

Freedom of worship makes for a magnificent tapestry of holy days and festivals. The past month has brought us Passover, the Eastertide, Ramadan, Beltane, Vesak and Ridvan. Soon, it will time for Eid-at Fitr, the end of Ramadan.

Today was Pasch, the Eastern Orthodox observance of Christ’s Resurrection. I have an eclectic group of friends, observing various ways of honouring the Creator of us all.

My Eastern Orthodox friends are every bit as dear to me as all who pass my way. This confirmation of Jesus’ promise thus augments, and never contradicts, the strengthening of His Teachings on how we may renew ourselves,

No matter how far back, in the mists of time , a Faith goes, the way in which it honours the Almighty is its proof.

As with all the holy days gone before it, a Most Joyous Pasch!

Rising and Renewal

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April 5, 2021- As many are aware, today is Easter Sunday (Resurrection Sunday). The day was first intended to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesu the Christ from the dead, three days after His Crucifixion and death, at the hands of Roman soldiers acting at the behest of two Jewish Zealot leaders, Annas and Caiaphas.

Jesus’ disciples were understandably despondent, feeling as if their faith was shaken and not knowing in which direction to go from that low point in their fortunes. There was just one fly in the Zealots’ ointment: They were not acting according to the Will of God, but according to their own craving for power. What is willed by the Creator, whether we think it is coming from the Universe, or from God’s Messenger (Divine Teacher) for the day in which that Messenger makes Self known, is what will happen-maybe sooner, or maybe later-but in any case, in God’s own time.

Three days after He was killed, Christ appeared to His Disciples, even allowing one of them, Thomas, to put his hand in His side. Spiritual Beings can do whatever God wants Them to do-especially if They have been teaching humanity in His Name. So, it is not hard to understand the appearance of Jesus the Christ before His Disciples, three days postmortem.

In July, 1850, Baha’u’llah’s Herald, al-Bab, did the same thing, albeit for a much shorter period of time. When He was first executed by a firing squad, in Tabriz, Persia, al-Bab was not to be found, when the smoke had cleared. He was subsequently found in a small room at the prison, dictating some business to an associate. Once He had completed His business, al-Bab consented to be brought back to the execution court. There, He was again the target of a firing squad, which this time completed its mission.

The Creator does not abandon us, nor does He prevent us from making our own choices, both good and bad, based on free will. The decisions Man makes which are counterproductive do not hurt God in any way. In the two cases cited above, Christ and al-Bab returned to Their Father, Who sent Them. People were left to do the hard work of interpreting Their guidance, on our own. Those who truly loved their Teachers followed those instructions. Others followed the whims of their own fancies and imaginations-as the Zealots had before them.

Resurrection Sunday thus celebrates the undying Power of the Creator, to renew the Message He sends us, and to renew our Faith in His Guidance, which is, as Baha’u’llah said, “Eternal in the past, eternal in the future.”

Alpha/Omega

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April 2, 2021- Every so often, I get a reminder about the commitment that I, as “an American of some affluence”, must have towards the poor of other parts of the world. It usually comes in the form of a veiled demand, but is at least offered with good wishes for my health and well-being. That stands to reason, as a sick person would hardly be able to offer anything to others.

My dealings with people who primarily view the world through a transactional lens are, of necessity, getting more and more limited. Even among those businesses I frequent, I regard the people therein as friends first, and means to an end second. One example is a local family restaurant, Zeke’s, where I sit at the counter, gab with the wait staff and other patrons, and comment freely on goings on. The same is true of Rafter Eleven, Synergy and, to a lesser extent, The Raven Cafe. It is increasingly true in the schools where I am taking on special assignments until the end of May.

My circle of friends trends larger these days, even with-and in some cases because of-virtual connections. The first and last, alpha/omega if you will, is compassion based on love. Those whose primary focus is transactional have a hard time seeing this-and there was a time when part of me was there. Much of my standoffishness had to do with lack of self-confidence, and a degree of self-loathing, as if I were not “good enough” for others. I suspect that is true of those who behave in this manner now. More’s the pity.

There is, to a good extent, the notion that failure to thrive is a Catch 22, a vicious circle. That realization came to me, about four months after I met Penny, back in 1981. Gradually, over several decades, the self-doubt has fallen away-so that even in the most harrowing of circumstances, the faint light has been in view.

I thought of this today, as the Mystery of Alpha/Omega from 33 A.D.: The Passion of Jesus the Christ, plays out in the minds and hearts of millions across the planet. His basis for everything was compassion, rooted in love.