Again, The Rising

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March 19, 2020- 

I crossed a personal watershed this evening, with the quiet conclusion of my last obligatory 19- Day Fast.  Spring and Autumn have taken their places, in North and South, respectively.  The Persian, and by extension, Baha’i, holiday of Naw-Ruz began at sunset and I will joyfully observe the occasion, tomorrow, in a way not yet determined.  I will not have to get up at 5 a.m., but may anyway, just to greet the New Year properly.  Yes, Naw-Ruz is Persian for another trip around the Sun.

I have joined a social group called Earth Rising, and sat in on a Zoom call, for the first time, doing a guided meditation along with dozens of others.  I was asked, by the moderator, what led me to this choice.  It goes back to my childhood.  I have felt a sense of unity with everyone, and with all Creation, since I was three.  That hasn’t always been easily understood by those around me, but it’s easier these days.

People, regardless of their political beliefs or personal Faith, tend to at least see some aspects of a Bigger Picture.  There are limits, though, to what each of us can understand. There are several in Earth Rising, to whom my grasp of the reality of the Universe seems sophomoric and pedestrian.  There are many others, whose understanding is limited to their immediate present, who see an extended view as living in a dream world.  I wish only for a bridge between the two.

There will be a revitalization, after COVID-19, which will likely incorporate a much greater sense of the Oneness of Humanity, a concept that figures prominently in Baha’i teachings and in the modern day focus of thinkers from traditions as old as Hindu to the newest of New Age.  It will be, again, mankind’s Rising.

Conjunction

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April 19, 2019-

God has never left Man alone.  In times past, the Divine has sent Guidance, in the form of Scripture and in the Personage of a Holy Being, to lead us away from the promptings of self and desire, which Zoroaster, Jesus the Christ, Mohammad and Baha’u’llah have each personified as Satan. Our lower, animal nature gets us in all sorts of difficulties, by interposing itself between God and our spiritual sense.

So, it seems that when the conditions of the world are darkest, we have the bounty of the sacred days of many faith traditions falling in the same time period.  This year,  for example, the Baha’i Festival of Naw-Ruz occurred at the same time as the Hindu Festival of Holi.   A scant month later, Jews are observing Passover; Christians, Christ’s death and the Day of Resurrection and Baha’is, the beginning of the twelve-day Festival of Ridvan, (commemorating Baha’u’llah’s Declaration of His Mission to the world.)

God never leaves Man alone.  The message that seems clear, from these conjunctions of spiritual celebration is that we ought each honour our neighbours’ spiritual traditions, as we honour our own.  There is, in essenceone continuous flow of spiritual energy.  I could never dishonour the Name of Christ, or those of Moses, Krishna, Gautama Siddhartha or Muhammad whilst claiming to honour the Teachings of Baha’u’llah.

Every one of the Divine Teachers has suffered immense physical pain, whilst on this Earth, at the hands of those who enjoyed earthly power and prestige, as well as at the hands of the uneducated and ignorant who chose to follow those in power.  This is the timeless lesson of Good Friday-the goodness of which stems from the fact that we are so loved by the Divine that the Purest of Beings submitted to unimaginable torture and humiliation.  It is thus, that people of all faith traditions would do well to contemplate the nature of Divine Love and Sacrifice, on this solemn day.

This Sunday, the Day of Resurrection and First Day of Ridvan, will find me celebrating both events of the continuous flow of Divine love and inspiration. May many find it in their hearts to do the same.  The Divine never leaves us alone. Let us honour one another.

This Singing House

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March 20, 2016, Prescott- I had the good fortune, this weekend, of being in two amazing places, locally.  The first was Chapel Rock Conference Center, of which more in a coming post.

Today being Naw-Ruz, the first day of the Baha’i  calendar, as well as an ancient Persian cultural festival (which used to last twelve days, I’m told, in the time of Zoroastrianism), I focus now on our community’s local celebration.

It was held, on this glorious afternoon, at the self-built home of two amazingly inventive and eclectic people, who I have been honoured to call friends, for over twenty years.  Each time I visit here, there are new items either added to the house, inside or out, or in the works, in one studio or another.

When we sat for the devotional part of our celebration, the hostess was asked whether recorded music would be part of the program.  She said “No”, and at that moment, the house itself began its music- in the form of three sets of wind chimes taking turns.

The chimes were not overly clangy, which would have not set a good mood, but gently interspersed our readings.  Afterwards, we had a light meal, which sufficed this one’s appetite for the rest of the day.  Some days are just meant for one meal, supported by snacks.

Here are some scenes of this lovely home, atop a bucolic hill.

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Yard art, Prescott

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The Seven “S’es” of Naw-Ruz

(See my next post, for a detailed description of this elegant holiday arrangement.)

Here are a couple of the reasons my friends were drawn here, in the first place.  Note the embedded iron ring, atop the crag.

So, another fine year has begun  for us Baha’is.  I wish all my friends north of the Equator a lovely Spring, and all to the south, a bountiful Fall.

The Road to 65, Mile 112: Spring Affirmations and Goals

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March 20, 2015,, Goodyear, AZ-  So, as I headed down to this western suburb of Phoenix, for a reunion with old friends, on the occasion of our Nineteen-Day Fast’s conclusion, the March Equinox brought Spring to the North and Autumn to the South.  The evening was mostly convivial, and I got to know someone, who had once been off-putting, a bit better.

The occasion of Naw-Ruz, the ancient Persian celebration of the Vernal Equinox as New Year, has been adopted by the Baha’i Faith as our New Year.  More about this, in my next post.

I used today as a time to formulate short-term affirmations and goals, for the season of Spring itself.  These are in the categories of personal, community and extended community.

Personal- I will adhere to waking at 5:30 AM, each day.

I have eliminated sources of frivolity from my daily routine.

I will continue the regimen of daily health checks, morning devotions and exercise.

I will add evening devotions to that daily regimen. (This being one activity that lacked consistency in my life).

I will walk at least a half-hour after dinner, wherever I happen to be, every evening.

Hikes will continue to be a regular part of my weekly regimen.

I will continue with random, and intentional, acts of kindness, each day, wherever I happen to be.

Community- I will remain actively involved with my Baha’i community, with the Red Cross, with Angels of Prescott, and with Slow-Food Prescott.

I will serve out the remaining months of my term with the American Legion Post, though continuing as its Chaplain is a matter on which I am undecided, at this point.

Extended community-  I will continue to expand on the size of this.

I will visit with friends both locally and farther afield.

I will offer daily  messages and acts of support to those in my world.

I will continue to share and educate people, regarding  Essential Oils.

I will make a journey, in late May and the month of June, to the Pacific Northwest and  to Southeast Alaska.

Knowing these affirmations and goals will resonate with some, and viewed askance by others, I will honour them anyway.