Ever-Advancing

9

May 2, 2019-

Here’s what I’ve experienced,

over nearly seven decades.

For every person who has left my side,

five more have appeared.

For every person who has stuck his foot out,

so as to trip me up,

ten pairs of hands have broken my fall.

For every voice of doom,

there have been a dozen angels,

singing of hope and gladness.

For each act of destruction,

a host of projects,

glistening with resilience,

have sallied forth.

In each person,

who bristles outwardly with hate,

I see a small shining star,

struggling to get out,

and so dissipate,

the outer darkness.

In each act of destruction,

there is the seed of recovery,

that will burst forth,

given its nourishment.

One hundred fifty-six years ago, today,

the Light of the World,

set forth, once again,

to bring hope and strength,

to creatures that their Creator

loves so well.

Through all the darkness,

into the light,

we, of humanity,

are ever-advancing.

(Today is the Twelfth Day of Ridvan, commemorating Baha’u’llah’s departure from Baghdad, together with his family and closest followers, for the north of Iraq and on into Turkey.)

 

A Timely Bit of Guidance

0

April 29, 2019-

Today was the Ninth Day of Ridvan, the period of time when Baha’u’llah and His family/friends gathered in a garden north of Baghdad, preparing to leave that city, for an overland journey to further exile, in Constantinople (now Istanbul).  We Baha’is commemorate this Day, as it was one of the days that He first spoke more clearly of His Mission to the world.

I wish to share, and to examine closely, a quotation found on page 285 of a compendium of His Writings, itself entitled Gleanings From The Writings of Baha’u’llah.  I find it a good daily guide to my own behaviour, which has a long ways to go.  Then again, isn’t that the whole point of this life- to develop our spiritual qualities before we head for the next level of existence?

“Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity. Be worthy of the trust of thy neighbor, and look upon him with a bright and friendly face. Be a treasure to the poor, an admonisher to the rich, an answerer of the cry of the needy, a preserver of the sanctity of thy pledge. Be fair in thy judgment, and guarded in thy speech. Be unjust to no man, and show all meekness to all men. Be as a lamp unto them that walk in darkness, a joy to the sorrowful, a sea for the thirsty, a haven for the distressed, an upholder and defender of the victim of oppression. Let integrity and uprightness distinguish all thine acts. Be a home for the stranger, a balm to the suffering, a tower of strength for the fugitive. Be eyes to the blind, and a guiding light unto the feet of the erring. Be an ornament to the countenance of truth, a crown to the brow of fidelity, a pillar of the temple of righteousness, a breath of life to the body of mankind, an ensign of the hosts of justice, a luminary above the horizon of virtue, a dew to the soil of the human heart, an ark on the ocean of knowledge, a sun in the heaven of bounty, a gem on the diadem of wisdom, a shining light in the firmament of thy generation, a fruit upon the tree of humility.”-Baha’u’llah

It’s easy to give, when we have lots.  Giving, though, is too easily seen only in terms of money.  Hardly a day goes by, that I don’t see someone standing on a corner, holding a sign, get a message from someone far way-begging for my financial help or get an e-mail from someone with  a money-making scheme.  My generosity, though, is most often put to use, providing someone with information that they can use to help themselves, or extra items that I don’t need, or a connection to resources here in town.  The other gift I can many times offer, is that of time and energy.  Being thankful in adversity:  Well, as I have often done for myself, the thankfulness comes from being able to draw a lesson from the trouble.

Trustworthiness has been the source of a few bumps in my road, in the years immediately following Penny’s passing.  Trust, though, comes from self-knowledge, and self-acceptance.  No one who doubts one’s own worth is going to go the extra mile for another.  It took me a few years to get back on that highway.  I have, however, taken ownership of every single hiccup.  The sanctity of my pledge is again true.

I will look at sentences 5-8, in the next post.

 

Heavenly Flow

8

April 21, 2019-

Today brought me close to two faith traditions:  A musical, somewhat relaxed Evangelical Baptist service- which I attended at the invitation of a former co-worker.  I didn’t see her  there, but met up with another former colleague with the Red Cross.  After exchanging pleasantries, I took a seat in the congregation, while he took his place in the choir.  My part was to sing with the rest of those in the congregation, join in greeting those around me, and respond to an occasional call.  I only regret not raising my hand when the pastor asked who believes in the Christ. I do, certainly.  One cannot accept the Message of the Father and discard That of the Son.

At our Baha’i community’s gathering, this afternoon, I joined with about 45 fellows in Faith, to commemorate the first day of Baha’u’llah’s declaring His Mission, even as He and His companions prepared for a long journey overland, from Baghdad to what is now Istanbul.

The message is similar:  None of us is squeaky clean, and God alone can absolve us with Grace.   The sufferings of each Divine Messenger are what free us from our wrongdoings.  Only by acknowledging this, and not wanting to be distant from the Divine, does one progress spiritually.

So, that was my day of spiritual fellowship.  Connection with the Divine, though, is what has eased my path, even when I find myself alone.  In times of uncertainty, as to my course of action, I find my Spirit Guides provide a very clear framework, within which I must make informed choices.

This week, for example, will bring me to Flagstaff, then to the Desert View Tower, at the eastern end of Grand Canyon National Park- honouring the Centenary of that great national entity.  From there, it will be time to honour an old friend, who passed on, last week.  His services will be east of Tuba City, at another lovely locale:  Coal Mine Canyon.  Then, I must return here to Prescott, and look after my own health, with a lab test on Wednesday.   Matters of faith, possible acts of service with the Red Cross, another friend’s birthday party and a presentation by Slow Food-Prescott will fill out the week.

The flow of celestial energy is constant, and bears heeding.

 

 

 

 

 

Look Beyond

9

April 20, 2019-

Look beyond the slight,

which a tired, downcast soul,

hurls at the unsuspecting.

Look towards the joy,

that the angels of the Sun

are holding,

in their outstretched hands.

Look past the taunts,

which the fettered ones shout,

at one who struggles.

Look outwardly,

to the breaking

of all chains,

and to the rising

of every good heart.

These verses come to mind, as I complete a long, and mostly joyful, day of service, at the beginning of Ridvan, the Eastertide and “Earth Month”.

Conjunction

4

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.

A Step at a Time

2

March 31, 2019-

I made it to Planet Fitness, despite a sense of fatigue after a trip to Phoenix and back, having attended a worthwhile, but somewhat tiring, meeting.  I was glad to have not had to drive, with a competent friend at the wheel instead.

Tonight’s workout came after a twenty-minute catnap.  I feel better, having done the 30-minute express, followed by ten minutes on the hydrobed.  Bittersweet March has thus, in the end, affirmed that there is still quite a bit left in this sexagenarian frame.  I get appreciative glances from ladies, the younger among them knowing, as well as I do, that that is as far as it goes.  It feels nice, regardless.

It is now full-on Spring.  Tomorrow, we will see what practical jokes remain to be played.  Later in the month come Chalk-It-Up, Earth Day, Easter and the Twelve Days of Ridvan, commemorating Baha’u’llah’s Declaration of His Mission.  I will get my annual physical at the VA, sometime during the month, and will visit the Grand Canyon, on Good Friday.

April, as a wise colleague once remarked, cannot be the cruelest month.  Sorry, T.S. Eliot.

Another One Out Like a Lamb

2

March 28, 2019-

There is one more work day and one more trading day left in March.  A quarter of my sixty-ninth year will end on Sunday.  March has been roiling, as we have seen, in the areas of weather-based crises and human conflict.  It has also been a time of great joy for me, personally.

As I get ready for the last two months of a fairly successful work year, and begin to ponder what life might be like, after I leave full time employment and devote my time to family and to several months of the year as a traveling writer, there may be a catch.

Having said, a few times, that I am likely to leave Prescott, and Arizona, after nearly thirty years straight and thirty-eight years, all told, in the Grand Canyon State, there is the matter of who might prevail on me to remain here.  Most of my friends here will wish me well, regardless of what path I choose to follow.  There are some, not  counted as friends, who will be glad to see me leave.  One or two special people, who will remain nameless, could yet get me to stick around.  In any case, I know my meanderings would bring me back here, time and again.

This is all conjecture, at present.  I have two very full and rewarding years left, before “retirement”.  The March Lion will bow out, and April will bring pesky standardized testing, the beauty of Ridvan and of Easter, and the Proms.  May will likely see the first 90-degree day for Prescott, and 100-degree day in Metro Phoenix.  The weekends seem to be fully-booked, but I could very well get in a day trip to Grand Canyon, on the Centenary of its National Park.  This one would be to the east side of the Park, and Desert View Tower.  That was my Dad’s favourite spot, when he and Mom visited, in 1985.

Enough meandering, word-wise; I had a busy day and rest is of the essence.  See many of you, tomorrow.

Twelfth Day

0

May 2, 2018, Prescott-

The weather cleared,

the waters receded,

and it was time to go.

Baghdad had started

to feel like home,

and that was too close

for the comfort of

the powers that were.

He mounted his

roan horse,

and rode out of

the Ridvan (Paradise) Garden.

Friends and family

rode and walked

along with

the Light of the World.

Through yet more

mountains,

across more rivers

and the searing

Anatolian Plain,

one and all

heeded the edict

of the Ottoman Sultan.

The Black Sea would be

their host, from Samsun

to Constantinople.

The Ottoman capital

would be His residence,

for a scant four months.

Baha’u’llah,

the Messenger of Unity,

never added to discord.

Not Blustery

4

April 29, 2018, Prescott-

While it is a bit windy, outside

and there is a fire threatening

folks in a rural area up north,

I find myself in a calm mood again.

I was shocked to learn,

yesterday,

of a trusted friend’s

mid-life crisis.

The person is

taking steps , though,

to deal with some

deep-seated issues.

I went to exercise

at my local gym,

and then watched

“Inifinity War”,

the latest comic book-based

film saga.

Sleep came fairly easy

and was intense.

A pleasant breakfast,

and a nice greeting

from a new friend,

who’s far away,

made for a relaxing morning.

This is the Ninth Day of Ridvan.

On this day, in 1863,

the weather cleared

and the flood waters

subsided,

on the riverine island,

where Baha’u’llah

and His family/followers

were preparing for their

journey from Baghdad

to what is now Istanbul.

I will join several friends

in mid-afternoon,

to commemorate the occasion.

Now, though, it’s time

to honour those whose

service to the Red Cross,

this past year,

has been above and beyond.

I’m not blustery inside.

 

Observations on A Mid-April Morning

6

April 19, 2018, Prescott-

I appreciate the attention so many have paid to my reblog of the post on Bleach Enemas.  In what dimension anyone could think such a procedure is anywhere near good, I don’t know.  My blessed mother fought tooth and nail for our well-being, and would have clobbered anyone who even dared hint at something of this nature.  Dad loved us dearly, and would have had one thing to say to the suggestion of bleach enemas:  “Pig’s neck!” (His polite term for BS.)

Barbara Bush left a grand legacy of literacy promotion, continued by her daughter-in-law.  The gift of literacy is one key element, in the package of empowerment that loving people can offer to others.  Long may her legacy thrive!

Ridvan begins tomorrow evening, at sunset. It is the twelve day festival, commemorating Baha’u’llah’s Proclamation of His Mission to the world and His departure from Baghdad, towards Constantinople (Istanbul), on horseback and on foot, in April and May, 1863.  My Lord lived a life of exile, imprisonment and torture, yet, like unto Christ, never once turned His back on humanity.

Chalk-It-Up is Prescott’s annual art fair, at which a wide variety of chalk art is available for public view and on which viewers may vote.  I will be insanely busy on Saturday, but Sunday will find me taking in the wonders of human imagination, in that temporary gallery.

Arizona’s educators are winding up a vote, as to whether to walk out, or not.  I’ve cast my vote and will keep my own counsel on the matter.  My first loyalty, in any event, is to the students.

Speaking of whom, several students at our school will be out on the front lawn, in a 17-minute vigil, tomorrow morning, honouring the memory of the Parkland shooting victims.  They will then return to their studies.

Have a blessed day, my friends.