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Old 02-07-2016, 04:35 PM   #1
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And How About the West?

Somehow, we are stuck in a stereotype; that the East is spiritual and the West materialistic, as if that were a law of nature. As a compatriot of Emanuel Swedenborg, I'd say that I have some counter arguments. But what I'm thinking of now, is Bach's music. The prime example is the Passion of St. Matthew. It is a work of worship, built on a certain approach to holy texts, that of Pietism, which stressed the emotional side. Listen to the final choir, which begins at 2.32.15.

Wir setzen uns mit Tränen nieder
Und rufen dir im Grabe zu:
Ruhe sanfte, sanfte ruh!
Ruht, ihr ausgesognen Glieder!
Euer Grab und Leichenstein
Soll dem ängstlichen Gewissen
Ein bequemes Ruhekissen
Und der Seelen Ruhstatt sein.
Höchst vergnügt schlummern da die Augen ein.

We sit down in tears
And call to thee in the tomb:
Rest softly, softly rest!
Rest, ye exhausted limbs!
Your grave and tombstone
Shall for the unquiet conscience
Be a comfortable pillow
And the soul's resting place.
In utmost bliss the eyes slumber there.



Last edited by gnat; 02-07-2016 at 04:48 PM.
 
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Old 02-08-2016, 09:27 AM   #2
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Posts: 146
Greetings Gnat,

"Somehow, we are stuck in a stereotype; that the East is spiritual and the West materialistic, as if that were a law of nature."

Oh so true. Any idea that the people of the western world are not spiritual is a prejudice. We would be wise to treat it like racism. It is as vindictive as suggesting women do not have souls, a view once believed in Iran. There are many similar prejudices in existence today.

If you have not already done so try addressing this subject in a fireside sometime, you may be very surprised how well such thinking can be received. This is because prejudice is not overt, it is, as you have skilfully put it, a perceived "law of nature."

Music often plays a central part in western spirituality. I enjoy Bach. Thank you for the link.

Earth

Last edited by Earth; 02-08-2016 at 09:31 AM.
 
Old 02-08-2016, 02:09 PM   #3
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Dear Earth,
I love our Western culture very much, but to me the rich legacy of material culture looks like the jetsam and flotsam left on the shore of an ocean after the water of spiritual culture that brought it has subsided.

Time and again, when reading books from centuries past, I have been struck by the richness and variation of the spiritual culture that once existed. That is not to say that everything was good. There were horrors indeed. But there was room for amazing generosity, unbelievable unselfishness and surprising careers, where - contrary to our present-day ideas - a person could rise from the very bottom of society to the top. The richest and the poorest lived in the same houses, not miles apart like now.

People could allow themselves the luxury of being infatuated with a new, hitherto unknown kind of psyche. They actually invited friends for dinner in order to make others get to know that new person! I'd say that there were people who could allow themselves to follow the precepts of their faiths and be immensely respected for that. And they gathered money for all kinds of purposes, like building hospitals, churches, theatres. They invested in crazy projects like railroads and bridges, often not in order to get dividends, but for idealistic reasons. And how often you run across evidences of a living faith, which motivated all that!

Now I see a material culture that increasingly desperately shuffles huge material resources around, whereas the human, spiritual side of things at best is overlooked, at worst is actively suppressed - for the "best" of reasons. It makes me melancholic sometimes.

I can imagine a world where Bahá'u'lláh's words had been heeded a hundred and fifty years ago - how different it would have been!

Start listening to this at 51.05:


Last edited by gnat; 02-08-2016 at 02:37 PM.
 
Old 02-09-2016, 05:10 AM   #4
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Greetings Gnat,

There is a believer in the Netherlands that holds the view that Bahá'ís are magnets to attracting the adverse emotional debris and it is their task to gather it and incinerate it with the Fire Tablet. It is an interesting personal view. I think people simply need to take the reigns and control their own spiritual destiny, otherwise they can become a thrall to other people's emotional values.

I once marvelled at the rise of history and wondered how much of a change one could witness in a lifetime. As a child milk and groceries were delivered to my parents home by horse and cart, now we order them online. So I rather suspect this answers my question. Change is often dynamic and it comes about faster that we realise. As you know it can be difficult appreciating this at times.

Essentially the modern world, certainly since the advent of the mid-19th century, has been one of witnessing a number of narcissists and psychopaths holding positions of authority. Despite all of this human spirituality manifests itself through all the beauties we witness in human culture, be it through the pursuit of scientific endeavour to the creation of mind uplifting music. It is all a reflection of the innate spiritual qualities of our species. This force cannot be quenched or broken as it is innate to our very nature.

Melancholy is perfectly natural to us, unless it is clinical in nature. It can help us understand that we are capable of so much more and it gives us the desire to grow. Some of the greatest minds we have seen are known to have been gravely inflicted with melancholy. One of my personal favourites being Mozart.

Today the breaking scientific news is how cyanobacteria actually see light and respond to it. The BBC has one of the better reports as it contains a visual of the experiment itself where we can witness what is likely to be the first animal life on our planet responding to the light. Watching this simply made me the stop and ponder on the length and depth of our evolutionary cycle along with wondering what the next 2.7 billion years might bring Bacteria 'see' like tiny eyeballs - BBC News

Earth


Unfortunately I could not get your link to play.
 
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