Seventeen Analogies

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May 1, 2019-

Baha’u’llah ends his advice to the reader of the Tablet under discussion by listing seventeen analogies, which I repeat below.

“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.”

In physical terms, my current Home Base is a tiny spot, though big enough to offer 3-4 other people space to sleep.  Yet, I like it when people feel at home in my presence.  I work to relieve suffering, in both physical and social terms.  It is always best when  errant people can stop running, on their own.  I have walked with them, and tried to guide, using whatever time is needed.  Being a pillar of the temple of righteousness, the name of my blogsite aside, is more problematic.  We have all had feet of clay at times. I will own mine, and certainly have either been sent, or have sought after, people who will take me to task for them.  Truth, even by, or especially by, admission, is part of what Baha’u’llah calls “spotless purity”- a goal He has set for each of us to pursue, in the course of our spiritual development.  Inculcating wisdom, the valuing of knowledge, the maintenance of humility in a boastful society, each serve to invigorate not only one’s spirit, but the collective spirit of one’s generation.

So, as Ridvan draws to an end, with tomorrow’s commemoration of the Beloved’s departure from that sanctified garden, and His long overland journey to what is now Istanbul, I take stock of all the ways in which advancement, in these virtues He offered us, as divine gifts, is being manifested and the still further way that I have to go, in that regard.

I have learned, since last Ridvan, that even when life does not roll out in a tight plan, it has the most exquisite of offerings to place at one’s feet.  I sense it will be thus, in the next twelve months.

Desiderata- Part 1

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April 11, 2019-

Having woken this morning, in need of reassurance, I found myself looking at a copy of Desiderata, which I first present in its full text, before relating its words to my own state of being.

“GO PLACIDLY amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”

By Max Ehrmann © 1927
Original text

This past week, there has been little noise and even less haste, yet I recall being often viewed as too slow and benign, when there was commotion.  There is a lot of peace in my silence, especially when that silence pertains to inside my head, as well as in my surroundings.

I have done better, these past few years, at speaking my truth in a quiet manner-and at listening, even to the most insipid nonsense, without interrupting.  It most likely has to do with being more secure in myself.

There will always be greater and lesser persons than me, and I’ve felt this for a long time. Loud and aggressive people have never like me much, nor have I liked them.  This has always seemed to end up as my undoing, as such people are frequently favoured, at least outwardly, by many in our society.

I’ve enjoyed those achievements of mine that were genuine, and I have had more of them than my critics care to admit.  If I had it to do over, I’d have stayed a counselor, and not given in to the false ambition that brought me down.

I’ve learned to be careful in business, and with my generosity-as yes, the world is full of trickery.  This learning has been, a few times, accomplished through trial and error.  I’ve seen true heroism and practiced it myself, a few times.  The world is full of virtue.

Thus are the thoughts which come to mind, in reading the first half of Max Ehrmann’s inspired verse.  I will continue, with the second five paragraphs, in the next post.

In The Blood

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February 14, 2019-

It’s been a rough few days- with a dear friend falling and suffering some serious injuries, another friend diagnosed with cancer and still others with chronic illnesses, not getting any better. The weather here has been rambunctious- soaking rain, a good thing in the long run, has fallen steadily for the past thirteen hours.  More is on the way, followed by snow in the latter part of this weekend.

I have had much time to reflect on the nature of love, on this day of cards and chocolate.  I have to look at myself, as always. I don’t hold grudges; if a person who savaged me later comes to me in need, I find a way to help meet that need.  I have made terrible errors in judgement- and find it critical to make amends to the person, where possible.  I don’t always feel loved, and have to then look at what I am projecting outward.

Love shows itself in a myriad ways-the bottom line being that the beloved feels the goodness of heart.  Words alone are not one of those ways.  Neither is merely providing a place of residence: Slavemasters, after all, provided a home of sorts, for those who were frequently brutalized.  Constantly abusing another, and getting by with apologies, is NOT love.

Love is in the blood.  My parents’ love for us came naturally and never receded.  The same is true of my love for my late wife, and for our child.  Suffice it to say, any children coming from his own marriage will find three truly loving grandparents standing behind their mother and father.

Love is in the blood.  Any way I can help a suffering friend, I will.  Grand gestures, though, have to be kept to a minimum.  Those are the first things, upon which a hater or critic will seize, as evidence of one’s fecklessness.   I’ve had that thrown in my face, more than once, and sometimes rightfully.

Love is in the blood, and thus can’t be erased easily, if at all.

Sacrificed Pants

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October 17, 2016, Prescott- The small boy wasn’t supposed to show today at school.  He is being disciplined, for an infraction, committed before Fall Break.  As that wasn’t clear to him, he came anyway, ready to make amends for what he’d done.

When the truth was made clear, he asked to work off his frustration and anger with a walk up among the rocks on our campus.  Being his designated minder, in this anomalous situation, off the two of us went.  I have wanted to go up among these granite boulders for some time, so the pretext was perfect.

I kept pace with his small frame, clambering among the rocks, and going around one bend or another.  Then, in the last little slide down a long granite slab, I followed my inclinations since boyhood, and tore the bottom of my back pocket, on the rough surface.  No harm came to me, or to my young charge, but I will have to get one pair of work pants to a tailor shop, in a few days’ time.

The little man will, hopefully, serve his days away, and we’ll see how things go, when he returns in earnest, next week.  Meanwhile, the rocks stand guard, and serve this overgrown kid a warning.