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Old 06-21-2017, 03:18 PM   #1
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Interacting with matter after death

I don't want to abandon the physical universe after I die.

I was pondering this yesterday. Whatever the wonders in the afterlife, I wouldn't like to say "Good bye" for ever to the physical reality.There are so many things to enjoy! Consider all the beauties of nature, all man-made pieces of art, all the greatness from the atom to the galaxies.

Fortunately, I found today a reassuring passage in Gleanings from Bahá'u'lláh (bold is mine):

"Thou hast, moreover, asked Me concerning the state of the soul after its separation from the body. Know thou, of a truth, that if the soul of man hath walked in the ways of God, it will, assuredly, return and be gathered to the glory of the Beloved. By the righteousness of God! It shall attain a station such as no pen can depict, or tongue describe. The soul that hath remained faithful to the Cause of God, and stood unwaveringly firm in His Path shall, after his ascension, be possessed of such power that all the worlds which the Almighty hath created can benefit through him.

Such a soul provideth, at the bidding of the Ideal King and Divine Educator, the pure leaven that leaveneth the world of being, and furnisheth the power through which the arts and wonders of the world are made manifest. Consider how meal needeth leaven to be leavened with. Those souls that are the symbols of detachment are the leaven of the world. Meditate on this, and be of the thankful.

In several of Our Tablets We have referred to this theme, and have set forth the various stages in the development of the soul. Verily I say, the human soul is exalted above all egress and regress. It is still, and yet it soareth; it moveth, and yet it is still. It is, in itself, a testimony that beareth witness to the existence of a world that is contingent, as well as to the reality of a world that hath neither beginning nor end. Behold how the dream thou hast dreamed is, after the lapse of many years, re-enacted before thine eyes. Consider how strange is the mystery of the world that appeareth to thee in thy dream. Ponder in thine heart upon the unsearchable wisdom of God, and meditate on its manifold revelations…."


We will keep interacting with the worlds God has created. And we will be instruments to bring benefits to them!!

Indeed, we will know physical reality from a much deeper perspective.
We believe we know this world, but truth is that we don't know it. We see it like through a turbid flow of muddled water. It is like a dream to us. The whole current human experience, beautiful and pleasurable as it can seem, is nothing compared with its true reality.

After death, if we keep faithful to God, we will truly know the reality of mountains, trees, planets, symphonies, poems, playful children, horses, grapes, hydrogen, skyscrapers.

We will not escape from the this world. On the contrary, we will for the first time experience it as it really is, not like in a dream. And in addition, we will know thousands of new worlds, so far only imagined in TV programs like COSMOS. Indeed, to die will be equivalent to throwing away an old black&white TV and sitting in front of a UHD hollographic, interactive TV.

What do you think?

Last edited by camachoe; 06-22-2017 at 08:53 AM.
 
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Old 06-25-2017, 09:17 AM   #2
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Sounds Plausible.
 
Old 06-25-2017, 06:47 PM   #3
Kam
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"....to the plant, the animal is the spiritual reality...." - Abdu'l-Baha

The animal and the plant have various levels of interaction and indeed, they both have interactions with the lower, mineral reality.

I don't think it is implausible that when we die, we can have all the joys of the material existence if we choose to. However, we may find that non-physical realities are much more attractive

Kam
 
Old 06-26-2017, 03:13 PM   #4
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When we achieve Heaven, we will be in such ecstasy that we will have little care for anything other than interceding for those left behind
 
Old 07-31-2017, 02:00 AM   #5
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Greetings Camachoe,

As an open minded medical professional with a fresh spiritual outlook on life, perhaps you might welcome a very personal insight on this matter.

Together with my soulmate we were both clinical diagnosed as being dead at a young age. My soulmate at the age of nine and myself at birth. We both self-resuscitated without medical intervention in the presence of medical professionals around an hour after our parents were informed of our deaths. As this was prior to the abstract term of near death experience being employed, our parents were not offered a medical explanation.

The Catholic doctor that delivered me into the world felt compelled to administer last rites on me. As fate might have it, he passed away around the same time I declared my faith in Bahá'u'lláh. So I had the good fortune to pray for the progress of his soul too. It is therefore an interesting fact for me that I share a rather unique spiritual bond with the doctor that helped to bring me into the world. It is as if our lives and deaths are tangibly interrelated with one another in both a material and spiritual sense.

My soulmate, after being pronounced dead, explained that while floating outside of her body she moved from ward to ward until she witnessed the sincere actions of one medical professional. In her mind this was the stimulus for her to return to life. Not enough consideration is made to sincere medical professionals in this area because this matter is practically unknown about. It is of course very relevant in the field of paediatrics because the mortality rate of children surviving resuscitation from clinical death is much lower than what it is for adults. Some simply choose to stop breathing if they resuscitate. This is not viewed as suicide; merely an attempt to return to a former state of being. So spiritually rich people do contribute towards saving lives. They do so through the power of spiritual example to those that have begun, but not completed, the spiritual transition from our world to the next; especially if their body is still potentially capable of supporting life.

Between us it has now been over a century since we experienced clinical death. Because our deaths were medically verified, we are among the longest recognised post clinical death couples in the world.

Current research indicates that babies, children and adults that resuscitate after clinical death have very different outlooks from one another. It is worth pointing out that babies and child that have undergone such an experience will not seek to evangelise their experience like some adults; unless they are groomed to do so by their parents. This might be because they have not established fixed cognitive ideas that separate the spiritual and material world from one another. So the younger a person is when they experience resuscitation from clinical death, the more likely they are to relate to both worlds as being the same as one another. This removes any desire to engage in sensationalism. It takes a number of years before people like us will be comfortable to talk about their unique experience with others. For instance, we never even mentioned the fact to anyone until we were close to our thirties.

To help you understand how we see the spiritual world. We naturally read people's sincerity rather like empaths. Indeed we naturally feel others emotions like an elementary form of telepathy. Empathy is a natural spiritual trait that is highly accentuated in those that resuscitate from clinical death; but it can be extremely intense for babies and children. This is why we naturally learn how to disguise it from others so as not to alarm them.

My soulmate profiles people by the words that they choose to use. Her skill set is now scientifically recognised. It is used to identify fraud and deception. However, she still refers to it as rhythm reading because in her mind see literally feels the rhythm of a persons heart by the words that they choose to use, both in the positive and the negative. So in her eyes she can quite literally feel a persons intent every time she hears or reads words.

I profile people by spiritual intuition. This is complex to explain but it usually manifests itself through colour that I see around a person or object. It can be actual or representative like with a vision or dream. Colour is my primary language and this is why I struggled with verbal and written communication, both as a child and a young adult. My skill set is not formally recognised by science at this time, but I can sometimes employ it in productive ways by cementing it to a recognised field in order give it material legitimacy. However, in more recent years, the police now have an interest in obtaining the support from people like myself. This is because we can sense people's intent before they commit a premeditated crime. So we have the ability to help prevent a crime before it happens along with working with evidence in such a way as to find those responsible for committing a crime that has already transpired. As the police have no interest in how we come to our conclusions, only in verifying if they are correct, we are afforded the opportunity to work in raw spiritual terms. This is much faster than having to cement it to a skill set in order to justify our insights in a rational way. As this partnership continues to grow, hopefully the actual science behind it will become better appreciated and understood in time.

In our eyes spirituality is measured through each human virtue. A low score will results in a negative predisposition, a high score a positive predisposition. Of course what this also means is that every human virtue has an opposing name in the negative. For instance while the virtue of courage is the positive, the negative is generally known as complacency. So courage and complacency are merely different degrees of the same virtue. Add in all the other virtues and you will begin to appreciate that rather like musical notes, our characters can literally sing in a spiritual chords. Naturally we all have spiritual strengths and weaknesses, but the one thing we have learnt is that anyone with a high spiritual quality in a given virtue will possess unique gifts. Indeed, it was once remarked that each of the Hands of the Cause of God possessed one spiritual virtue to such a high degree they possessed unique spiritual gifts. In reality it is possible for all people to obtain these spiritual qualities. However, in order to develop them a person has to be subjected to hardship and tests. They cannot be obtained through desire.

In the Bahá'í Writings spiritual progress transpires through becoming like a hollow reed. In such a state we permit the divine breath to flow through us. Naturally, as common humans, this process is not as pure as what it would be for a Manifestation of God or His Chosen One's. Nevertheless, if the path is free from the sense of self, it has the potential to turn any person into vehicles to support His Cause; no matter how narrow the passage. At its heart, living the spiritual life should be kept as simple as possible.

Dying is often, but not always, the last test that a person will face in the material world. Naturally we have no fear of death because for us we will simply be returning home. But this does not mean that we will willingly invite it. Life is for living. Try to look on it like this and view every experience you have as being packed in your suitcase ready for you to take with you when you are ready to travel too. This way you may be permitted to live a full and active life in this world and the next.

As we have a second chance at life, we make every day count. Our suitcases are packed with a number of values acquired from a number of people and cultures from around the world. In mine this includes influences from time spent in Central and South America. While there are common roots between English and Spanish, some values do not translate that easily because some spiritual notions within Spanish are much more colourful than what they are in English. It was here where I began to enjoy the spiritual metaphors of perhaps one of the most loved Mexican folk songs of all time, La Bamba. In its original form it is a recipe for material and spiritual wellbeing because it naturally promotes the joy of life along with celebrating our transition from it too. Indeed its influence arguably originated in Africa, but I have always admired the Latin approach towards developing this song to celebrate life itself. We can all benefit from more positive Latin influences in our lives. Olé!

https://playingforchange.com/videos/la-bamba/

Earth
 
Old 07-31-2017, 06:33 AM   #6
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This videoclip was great, Earth!
It has all the ingredients I like to enjoy a musical experience: it is fresh, heartfelt and smart render of an old song, linking people from many different backgrounds into the same joy of living.

So thank you!
I will share it with some friends.

Regarding to the experiences you have shared, I also thank you for that.

You see... I foresee no big problem in leaving my acquaintances, home, work, body pleasures and material possessions.... but I don't want to give up to the exploration of this material universe.

In the end of the day, isn't creation eternal... co-eternal with its Creator? If it is (and we are taught by The Master that it is) then material reality as a whole (not as individual components, which perish) is everlasting and perhaps God can grant me a life of discovery in it.

Wasn't the universe created for me? Isn't it written: "All that is in heaven and earth I have ordained for thee, except the human heart, which I have made the habitation of My beauty and glory" (Hidden Words)?


So this is my prayer:

O God, My God. Thou hast created me to know Thee and worship Thee. Thou hast created everything for me, except my heart which is the habitation of Thy Beauty and Glory. I beg you, therefore, upon my transition, to continue my progress towards Thy Light through the exploration of the universe. Grant me the privilege of becoming the most humble servant of the souls of those who Thou hast chosen to heal and inspire mankind through science, and who are now transitioned. Furthermore, I beg Thee to serve from the spiritual world those still working in the scientific and teaching enterprises of this material world.
Let me rejoice in Thy Presence through every drop of dew, every breathing cell and every question in the mind of a curious child.

Were this not Thy Will, though, I beseech Thee to forget my petition, extend Thy infinite blanket of Mercy over me and concede whatever Thou thinkest is best.
Thou art verily the All-Knowing, Ocean of Truth, Desired of my Heart.

Last edited by camachoe; 07-31-2017 at 07:44 AM.
 
Old 07-31-2017, 10:31 AM   #7
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Greetings Camachoe,

What a beautiful heartfelt prayer. It resonates with unique love and potency.

The history of the Faith, certainly outside of Persia, was actually built by the early believers who created and used their own prayers. Indeed some of these appeared so genuine some have found their way into official Bahá'í prayer books under the claim of being a revealed by one of the Central Figures. Indeed the Universal House of Justice recently identified one possible candidate and advised the Bahá'í Community that it did not hold an original. This does not mean that the prayer is not original because some Bahá'í Writings are still held outside of the Bahá'í Faith by private parties. But these type of things actually humour me because they help to remind all of us how young the Bahá'í Faith really is.

Over the years the friends have really produced some exquisite prayers for their personal use. Indeed even Shoghi Effendi has produced some prayers for his personal use too. These are particularly moving and you are going to be in for a real treat when you read them or hear them translated into Spanish because they are going to encourage you to write more prayers for your personal use. If you can find a dedicated Persian family in Mexico. They might be kind enough to share some of these with you.

There is a moving passage in the Bahá'í Writings where the friends are encouraged to obtain material wealth so that they can better experience spiritual wealth. So enjoy the material world for everything it can offer you and always be happy to deputise the less fortunate. When you embrace the concept that we possess everything but the human heart, life becomes a liberating experience because we are freed from the vice of believing we need reciprocation for our actions. However, do be aware that trustees that are treasurers to Bahá'í Institutions do advise that the friends only give within their means. So enjoy what God has chosen to grace you with and have no concerns for your love of material things. Bahá'ís were always envisaged to hold both material and spiritual values. We are people of both worlds.

To finish off in good humour. Enjoy driving my Ferrari when you decide to purchase one with my money.

Earth
 
Old 07-31-2017, 07:46 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Earth View Post
There is a moving passage in the Bahá'í Writings where the friends are encouraged to obtain material wealth so that they can better experience spiritual wealth. So enjoy the material world for everything it can offer you and always be happy to deputise the less fortunate.
Can you quote me that passage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Earth View Post
So enjoy what God has chosen to grace you with and have no concerns for your love of material things. Bahá'ís were always envisaged to hold both material and spiritual values.
I do not know where in the Writings wherein Baha’is are envisioned to hold material values. Can you quote me those passages? Granted, we have to live in the material world, but that is not the same as having material values.

Abdu’l-Baha told us to turn our hearts away from the world of matter and live in the spiritual world. He told us how all happiness comes from the spiritual world; so why would we even look to the material world for happiness? I do not mean to sould critical but I am genuinely confused as to why any Baha’i would look to the material world for happiness.

“All these examples are to show you that the trials which beset our every step, all our sorrow, pain, shame and grief, are born in the world of matter; whereas the spiritual Kingdom never causes sadness. A man living with his thoughts in this Kingdom knows perpetual joy. The ills all flesh is heir to do not pass him by, but they only touch the surface of his life, the depths are calm and serene.

Today, humanity is bowed down with trouble, sorrow and grief, no one escapes; the world is wet with tears; but, thank God, the remedy is at our doors. Let us turn our hearts away from the world of matter and live in the spiritual world! It alone can give us freedom! If we are hemmed in by difficulties we have only to call upon God, and by His great Mercy we shall be helped.....

You see all around you proofs of the inadequacy of material things—how joy, comfort, peace and consolation are not to be found in the transitory things of the world. Is it not then foolishness to refuse to seek these treasures where they may be found? The doors of the spiritual Kingdom are open to all, and without is absolute darkness.”
Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, pp. 110-111

I have great concerns for love of material things given what Baha’u’llah has revealed. I have an entire Word document, 13 pages long, consisting of passages from Gleanings where the word “world” appears in the context of attachment... I cannot post all of those here so I picked out the most salient passages:

“Blessed are they that have soared on the wings of detachment and attained the station which, as ordained by God, overshadoweth the entire creation, whom neither the vain imaginations of the learned, nor the multitude of the hosts of the earth have succeeded in deflecting from His Cause. Who is there among you, O people, who will renounce the world, and draw nigh unto God, the Lord of all names? Where is he to be found who, through the power of My name that transcendeth all created things, will cast away the things that men possess, and cling, with all his might, to the things which God, the Knower of the unseen and of the seen, hath bidden him observe?” Gleanings, p. 34

“Say: O men! This is a matchless Day. Matchless must, likewise, be the tongue that celebrateth the praise of the Desire of all nations, and matchless the deed that aspireth to be acceptable in His sight. The whole human race hath longed for this Day, that perchance it may fulfil that which well beseemeth its station, and is worthy of its destiny. Blessed is the man whom the affairs of the world have failed to deter from recognizing Him Who is the Lord of all things.” Gleanings, p. 39

“It behoveth the people of Bahá to die to the world and all that is therein, to be so detached from all earthly things that the inmates of Paradise may inhale from their garment the sweet smelling savor of sanctity, that all the peoples of the earth may recognize in their faces the brightness of the All-Merciful, and that through them may be spread abroad the signs and tokens of God, the Almighty, the All-Wise. They that have tarnished the fair name of the Cause of God, by following the things of the flesh—these are in palpable error!” Gleanings, pp. 100-101

“Delight not yourselves in the things of the world and its vain ornaments, neither set your hopes on them. Let your reliance be on the remembrance of God, the Most Exalted, the Most Great. He will, erelong, bring to naught all the things ye possess. Let Him be your fear, and forget not His covenant with you, and be not of them that are shut out as by a veil from Him.” Gleanings, pp. 127-128

“Know ye from what heights your Lord, the All-Glorious is calling? Think ye that ye have recognized the Pen wherewith your Lord, the Lord of all names, commandeth you? Nay, by My life! Did ye but know it, ye would renounce the world, and would hasten with your whole hearts to the presence of the Well-Beloved. Your spirits would be so transported by His Word as to throw into commotion the Greater World—how much more this small and petty one! Thus have the showers of My bounty been poured down from the heaven of My loving-kindness, as a token of My grace; that ye may be of the thankful….” Gleanings, pp. 139-140

“He is indeed as one dead who, at the wondrous dawn of this Revelation, hath failed to be quickened by its soul-stirring breeze. He is indeed a captive who hath not recognized the Supreme Redeemer, but hath suffered his soul to be bound, distressed and helpless, in the fetters of his desires.” Gleanings, p. 169

“Should the greatness of this Day be revealed in its fullness, every man would forsake a myriad lives in his longing to partake, though it be for one moment, of its great glory—how much more this world and its corruptible treasures!” Gleanings, pp. 197

“The voice of the Divine Herald, proceeding out of the throne of God, declareth: O ye My loved ones! Suffer not the hem of My sacred vesture to be smirched and mired with the things of this world, and follow not the promptings of your evil and corrupt desires. The Day Star of Divine Revelation, that shineth in the plenitude of its glory in the heaven of this Prison, beareth Me witness. They whose hearts are turned towards Him Who is the Object of the adoration of the entire creation must needs, in this Day, pass beyond and be sanctified from all created things, visible and invisible. If they arise to teach My Cause, they must let the breath of Him Who is the Unconstrained, stir them and must spread it abroad on the earth with high resolve, with minds that are wholly centered in Him, and with hearts that are completely detached from and independent of all things, and with souls that are sanctified from the world and its vanities. It behoveth them to choose as the best provision for their journey reliance upon God, and to clothe themselves with the love of their Lord, the Most Exalted, the All-Glorious. If they do so, their words shall influence their hearers.” Gleanings, pp. 200-201

“We beseech God that He may graciously vouchsafe His grace unto all men, and enable them to attain the knowledge of Him and of themselves. By My life! Whoso hath known Him shall soar in the immensity of His love, and shall be detached from the world and all that is therein. Nothing on earth shall deflect him from his course, how much less they who, prompted by their vain imaginations, speak those things which God hath forbidden.” Gleanings, p, 205

“Wert thou to consider this world, and realize how fleeting are the things that pertain unto it, thou wouldst choose to tread no path except the path of service to the Cause of thy Lord. None would have the power to deter thee from celebrating His praise, though all men should arise to oppose thee.” Gleanings, p. 214

“Thou art God’s shadow on earth. Strive, therefore, to act in such a manner as befitteth so eminent, so august a station. If thou dost depart from following the things We have caused to descend upon thee and taught thee, thou wilt, assuredly, be derogating from that great and priceless honor. Return, then, and cleave wholly unto God, and cleanse thine heart from the world and all its vanities, and suffer not the love of any stranger to enter and dwell therein. Not until thou dost purify thine heart from every trace of such love can the brightness of the light of God shed its radiance upon it, for to none hath God given more than one heart...” Gleanings, p. 237

“That seeker must, at all times, put his trust in God, must renounce the peoples of the earth, must detach himself from the world of dust, and cleave unto Him Who is the Lord of Lords.... He should treasure the companionship of them that have renounced the world, and regard avoidance of boastful and worldly people a precious benefit....” Gleanings, pp. 264-265

“When the channel of the human soul is cleansed of all worldly and impeding attachments, it will unfailingly perceive the breath of the Beloved across immeasurable distances, and will, led by its perfume, attain and enter the City of Certitude.” Gleanings, p. 268

“Say: Should your conduct, O people, contradict your professions, how think ye, then, to be able to distinguish yourselves from them who, though professing their faith in the Lord their God, have, as soon as He came unto them in the cloud of holiness, refused to acknowledge Him, and repudiated His truth? Disencumber yourselves of all attachment to this world and the vanities thereof. Beware that ye approach them not, inasmuch as they prompt you to walk after your own lusts and covetous desires, and hinder you from entering the straight and glorious Path.” Gleanings, pp. 275-276

“Dispute not with any one concerning the things of this world and its affairs, for God hath abandoned them to such as have set their affection upon them. Out of the whole world He hath chosen for Himself the hearts of men—hearts which the hosts of revelation and of utterance can subdue. Thus hath it been ordained by the Fingers of Bahá, upon the Tablet of God’s irrevocable decree, by the behest of Him Who is the Supreme Ordainer, the All-Knowing.” Gleanings, p. 279

“God is Our witness! Whoever hath tasted the sweetness of those words will never consent to transgress the bounds which God hath fixed, neither will he turn his gaze towards any one except his Well-Beloved. Such a man will, with his inner eye, readily recognize how altogether vain and fleeting are the things of this world, and will set his affections on things above.” Gleanings, p. 298

“By the righteousness of God! The world and its vanities, and its glory, and whatever delights it can offer, are all, in the sight of God, as worthless as, nay, even more contemptible than, dust and ashes. Would that the hearts of men could comprehend it! Cleanse yourselves thoroughly, O people of Bahá, from the defilement of the world, and of all that pertaineth unto it. God Himself beareth Me witness. The things of the earth ill beseem you. Cast them away unto such as may desire them, and fasten your eyes upon this most holy and effulgent Vision.” Gleanings, p. 304

“Go thou straight on and persevere in His service. Say: O people! The Day, promised unto you in all the Scriptures, is now come. Fear ye God, and withhold not yourselves from recognizing the One Who is the Object of your creation. Hasten ye unto Him. Better is this for you than the world and all that is therein. Would that ye could perceive it!” Gleanings, p. 314

“The Most Great Name beareth Me witness! How sad if any man were, in this Day, to rest his heart on the transitory things of this world! Arise, and cling firmly to the Cause of God. Be most loving one to another. Burn away, wholly for the sake of the Well-Beloved, the veil of self with the flame of the undying Fire, and with faces joyous and beaming with light, associate with your neighbor. Ye have well observed, in all its aspects, the behavior of Him Who is the Word of Truth amidst you. Ye know full well how hard it is for this Youth to allow, though it be for one night, the heart of any one of the beloved of God to be saddened by Him.” Gleanings, p, 316

“The world is but a show, vain and empty, a mere nothing, bearing the semblance of reality. Set not your affections upon it. Break not the bond that uniteth you with your Creator, and be not of those that have erred and strayed from His ways. Verily I say, the world is like the vapor in a desert, which the thirsty dreameth to be water and striveth after it with all his might, until when he cometh unto it, he findeth it to be mere illusion. It may, moreover, be likened unto the lifeless image of the beloved whom the lover hath sought and found, in the end, after long search and to his utmost regret, to be such as cannot “fatten nor appease his hunger.” Gleanings, pp. 328-329

“All praise be to God Who hath adorned the world with an ornament, and arrayed it with a vesture, of which it can be despoiled by no earthly power, however mighty its battalions, however vast its wealth, however profound its influence. Say: the essence of all power is God’s, the highest and the last End of all creation. The source of all majesty is God’s, the Object of the adoration of all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth. Such forces as have their origin in this world of dust are, by their very nature, unworthy of consideration.” Gleanings, p. 341
 
Old 08-01-2017, 12:44 AM   #9
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Greetings Trailblazer,

As a number of scholars have pointed out, religion can easily be misrepresented through quotes. One of the more interesting ones on this subject matter was presented by Moojan Momen. He once explained that by using quotes one can cherry-pick from the Bahá'í Writings to present the Bahá'í Faith from either a liberal or conservative position. He then went on to suggest that this approach was misleading. Some will fully agree with such an insight because it is completely rational. In addition to this literate people are free to read and come to their own conclusions. Indeed, as Bahá'u'lláh has encouraged the believers to read and interpret the entire Bahá'í Writings for themselves, it stands to reason why the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

All people present issues from their own unique perspective. For instance, some former Christians, especially from some Protestant denominations, will enjoy using Bahá'í quotations in a liberal manner. This is because they might be accustomed to presenting religion in such a way. So understandably, they might present the Bahá'í Faith in such a way too. This is simply part of the natural transition. However, in contrast, a former Catholic or person in a predominantly Catholic country might find such an approach to their disliking. This is because the Church of Rome does not sanction any Bible in use today. The point being is that people communicate with one another based on on assumed values. So all published responses need to take account of the cultural context of their audience. Now a forum is simply a less formal means of publication, but it is still subject to the same principle, but only in the context of the opening post. It is however a learning experience for all people that communicate this way. This is why I find it humorous to examine some posts made by Bahá'ís when the World Wide Web was very new. It is also why the Bahá'ís in the future might find it equally humorous the examine the way Bahá'ís communicate online today. We are all products of an ever advancing civilisation.

To help offer a a general overview to the points made here you might find the following article useful because it will help to place these thoughts into better context for you:

Wealth, Poverty and Spirituality - Matt Giani, Bahaiblog
Wealth, Poverty and Spirituality - Baha'i Blog

Earth
 
Old 08-01-2017, 07:53 AM   #10
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Greetings Trailblazer,

As a number of scholars have pointed out, religion can easily be misrepresented through quotes.
Using the metaphor of the elephant and the blind men who had never met an elephant, some quotes represent the description of an ear, some of the tail and some other of the trunk of Truth.

The Truth, however, is the whole elephant. Each separate quote of the Scriptures conveys an aspect of the truth: Furthermore, each quote uses a language that intends to be intelligible for a given audience (e.g. the tail may de described as a "rope", and an ear as a "fan"). We, by reading here and there, and sharing with each other our experiences are expected to decode the language, make sense of it, integrate the pieces of knowledge, figure out the elephant, and do it in awe and wonder.



The material world is good, and reflects the perfection of God. This is well established in numerous quotes in the Scriptures, let alone in the common sense.

If this was not the case, as I have stated, why to bother on eliminating the extremes of wealth and poverty? (It implies that a full stomach, running water, electricity and housing do matter). Why to bother in achieving real gender equality? (It implies that sex, salaries and literacy matter) Why to bother in building a Commonwealth of nations based on principles of justice and peace? (It implies that crime, climate, jobs and trade matter)

All quotes cited by our friend Trailblazer warn us about asking from the material elements of this world what that they cannot provide.
Asking a Ferrari to give me true friends, respect, security and happiness is an illusion ... and if I cling to that illusion, I will be unhappy.

Now, asking a Ferrari to take me at great speed with almost perfect stability in curves is not an illusion. It is a fact from physics.
Asking a Ferrari to give me in exchange value the possibility of buying a ticket to Haifa is not an illusion. It is a fact from economy.
Asking a Ferrari to give me the excitement of a fast ride, or aesthetic appeal is also not an illusion. It is a fact from psychology.

So, living in the spiritual world of God means expecting from the Ferrari only what the Ferrari can truly give me. If I live in that way, my heart will not be in the Ferrari, but in the physics, economy and psychology behind it. Furthermore, my heart will be in the Big Framework of Reality where psychology, economy, physics and all other knowledge come together and fit.

Last edited by camachoe; 08-01-2017 at 12:10 PM.
 
Old 08-01-2017, 12:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camachoe View Post
So, living in the spiritual world of God means expecting from the Ferrari only what the Ferrari can truly give me. If I live in that way, my heart will not be in the Ferrari, but in the physics, economy and psychology behind it. Furthermore, my heart will be in the Big Framework of Reality where psychology, economy, physics and all other knowledge come together and fit.
I really enjoyed this part of what you said.

now coming back to your original topic in this thread, do you really think the source of your enjoyment of this world are the created things? and do you think a mortal thing (all created things are mortal) can be the source of everlasting joy? and what if there is nothing material in the net world and yet you find a bigger joy in there in comparison to what you feel here?

I know that we will keep interacting with all the worlds of God after we die, but even if it was not so, I am sure we could find enough joy, pleasure, and happiness in the world to come without ever taking a look back at this world.

Last edited by maryamr; 08-01-2017 at 12:20 PM.
 
Old 08-01-2017, 12:33 PM   #12
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Greetings Camachoe,

A picture is indeed worth a thousand words. Fantastic!

The elephant cartoon sums up so much of what we naturally witness within human society. Indeed few people realise the history behind the first full frame picture taken of our planet. It was not actually in the Apollo Mission space programme because no one had thought to put it in. Such is the limited vision of humans... In the end one astronaut realised that he had a few frames left in his camera. So he turned the craft into position and finished these off taking pictures of our home planet. It was one of these photographs that really galvanised human society in the 1960s. As odd as it might sound, some people have used the analogy of your elephant to demonstrate humans on our planet too. Namely, like a flee on the back of an elephant, we are blind to the Earth from our limited perspective. This of course also means we can be blind to many other things too.

The point of all this is that is our heart determines how we feel about the material world. So even if everything within it is granted to us, as Bahá'u'lláh has stated, it does not mean that our heart will wish to possess it. Rather like the Apollo Missions, we need to look outside of ourselves to see the real beauty of the natural world around us. This requires a shift in perception. As spiriutal and material progress often march hand-in-hand, both are necessary.

We really do live in a very beautiful age where the material and spiritual worlds can become better harmonised.

Earth

Last edited by Earth; 08-01-2017 at 12:37 PM.
 
Old 08-01-2017, 09:53 PM   #13
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Thank you for your reply.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Earth View Post
As a number of scholars have pointed out, religion can easily be misrepresented through quotes. One of the more interesting ones on this subject matter was presented by Moojan Momen. He once explained that by using quotes one can cherry-pick from the Bahá'í Writings to present the Bahá'í Faith from either a liberal or conservative position.
A religion could be misrepresented if one cherry picked the quotes to suit their personal desires and people often do. Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh was compiled by Shoghi Effendi and it is comprised of excerpts from many Tablets of Baha’u’llah. Here is what is written in the Introduction:

“Gleanings is a book for meditative study. It is not a book of history and facts, but of love and spiritual power. No one can understand the faith of the thousands of martyred followers of the Bab, unless he catches the spirit of this book. No one can appreciate why thousands of Baha’is give up the comfort of settled homes and move into strange countries to tell the people about Baha’u’llah, unless he clearly glimpses the spirit of this book.” Gleanings

The quotes I selected to post were not cherry picked, not unless one considers Shoghi Effendi a cherry picker. They are representative of what Baha’u’llah has said about the world and God and what our attitude should be towards them. He either wrote what He did or not and if He did the message is clear.

Materialism has spread its ominous tentacles all over the world. What I have seen since I became a Baha’i over 46 years ago is a growing materialism that corresponds to a gradual slowing down in the growth rate of the Faith, at least in materialistic countries like the United States. I cannot say that is the reason for lack of growth, but certainly all the material world distractions that the modern world has to offer take peoples’ attention away from God and their spiritual nature. William Sears wrote about this in the 1960s, how much more is it true today!

Moreover, if Baha’u’llah has anything to say about this, the human heart is one and cannot be divided:

“Thou art God’s shadow on earth. Strive, therefore, to act in such a manner as befitteth so eminent, so august a station. If thou dost depart from following the things We have caused to descend upon thee and taught thee, thou wilt, assuredly, be derogating from that great and priceless honor. Return, then, and cleave wholly unto God, and cleanse thine heart from the world and all its vanities, and suffer not the love of any stranger to enter and dwell therein. Not until thou dost purify thine heart from every trace of such love can the brightness of the light of God shed its radiance upon it, for to none hath God given more than one heart. This, verily, hath been decreed and written down in His ancient Book. And as the human heart, as fashioned by God, is one and undivided, it behoveth thee to take heed that its affections be, also, one and undivided. Cleave thou, therefore, with the whole affection of thine heart, unto His love, and withdraw it from the love of any one besides Him, that He may aid thee to immerse thyself in the ocean of His unity, and enable thee to become a true upholder of His oneness. God is My witness. My sole purpose in revealing to thee these words is to sanctify thee from the transitory things of the earth, and aid thee to enter the realm of everlasting glory, that thou mayest, by the leave of God, be of them that abide and rule therein….” Gleanings, pp. 237-238

Quote:
Originally Posted by Earth View Post
All people present issues from their own unique perspective.
Yes, that is true. All our upbringings and life experiences are very different, not to mention our hereditary differences that give us our mental and emotional predispositions.

I gravitate towards books like Gleanings because I consider the spiritual message of Baha’u’llah very important, more important than anything related to the material world. It is only because of what is in Gleanings that I even believe in God at all, in any serious way. I came into the Faith for the teachings, but I never really believed in God or really understood who Baha’u’llah was as a Manifestation of God until I read that book seriously three years ago.

I realize there needs to be a balance between the spiritual and the material. I am not an ascetic but I lean towards austerity. I lived most of my life as a Baha’i, until the last five years, in pursuit of material world enjoyments, wealth and career success. I guess I was deluded into thinking I would find happiness. Now, in retrospect, I can safely say that it was the material world attachments that intervened between me and God all those years. As such I have no desire for them, now that I have found a new life. Not all of us have the same threshold balancing material with spiritual. Those of us who are not close to God do not have the luxury of playing with material fire and hoping we will not get burned.

Most Baha’is are more concerned with practical matters of everyday living and in making this world a better place for all. Indeed, that is what Baha’is have been enjoined to do by Baha’u’llah, build the Kingdom of God on earth, the New World Order. I commend the Baha’is who exert themselves towards this end but presently I am not involved in those activities.

I have my own road to follow and I know not where it leads. I am a Trailblazer and I am on my own. I realize that. It is often a lonely place but I cannot be someone I am not. One of my favorite passages is the following:

“Be not grieved if thou performest it thyself alone. Let God be all-sufficient for thee. Commune intimately with His Spirit, and be thou of the thankful. Proclaim the Cause of thy Lord unto all who are in the heavens and on the earth. Should any man respond to thy call, lay bare before him the pearls of the wisdom of the Lord, thy God, which His Spirit hath sent down unto thee, and be thou of them that truly believe. And should any one reject thine offer, turn thou away from him, and put thy trust and confidence in the Lord, thy God, the Lord of all worlds.” Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 280

Quote:
Originally Posted by Earth View Post
To help offer a a general overview to the points made here you might find the following article useful because it will help to place these thoughts into better context for you:

Wealth, Poverty and Spirituality - Baha'i Blog
Thanks. That is a very informative website. I will have to read it in more depth when I have more time.
 
Old 08-01-2017, 10:33 PM   #14
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Thank you for your reply.

The material world is good, and reflects the perfection of God. This is well established in numerous quotes in the Scriptures, let alone in the common sense.

I would say that given what Baha’u’llah wrote all of creation reflects the perfection of God:

“Know thou that every created thing is a sign of the revelation of God. Each, according to its capacity, is, and will ever remain, a token of the Almighty. Inasmuch as He, the sovereign Lord of all, hath willed to reveal His sovereignty in the kingdom of names and attributes, each and every created thing hath, through the act of the Divine Will, been made a sign of His glory. So pervasive and general is this revelation that nothing whatsoever in the whole universe can be discovered that doth not reflect His splendor. Under such conditions every consideration of proximity and remoteness is obliterated…. Were the Hand of Divine power to divest of this high endowment all created things, the entire universe would become desolate and void.”Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 184

However, I would not go so far as to say that what mankind has created in the material world, e.g. cars, boats, houses, etc. reflects a perfection of God.

Nevertheless, the material world is the material world and I do not think it is bad in and of itself. It is attachment to the material world which is about self that is problematic, and that is in all scriptures.

What do these scriptures say to you?

Matthew 6.24 “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”

Matthew 16:23-26 “But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

If this was not the case, as I have stated, why to bother on eliminating the extremes of wealth and poverty? why to bother in achieving in practice real gender equality? Why to bother in building a Commonwealth of nations based on principles of justice and peace?

We have to make this world a better place, eliminate wealth and poverty and work towards realization of the twelve principles because people have to “live” in the material world, plain and simple. It is not justice that some people should live in poverty while others live extravagantly, but as long as people are selfish and materialistic this will not change. Thus without a spiritual transformation of humanity those principles are just words on paper.

All quotes cited by our friend Trailblazer warn us about asking from the material elements of this world things that they cannot provide.

That is one meaning embedded in the quotes, yes, but it is not the only message.

But given that message, then my question is why anyone would pursue them? In other words, as Abdu’l-Baha said “You see all around you proofs of the inadequacy of material things—how joy, comfort, peace and consolation are not to be found in the transitory things of the world.Is it not then foolishness to refuse to seek these treasures where they may be found? The doors of the spiritual Kingdom are open to all, and without is absolute darkness.” Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 111

I think there is a lot more meaning to those quotes than that. They are speaking loud and clear and they are telling us to turn away from the world and self. Are we Baha’is going to say they do not mean what they say?

That does not mean we cannot have the comforts of a nice home and rather have to live as recluse in a cabin in the woods with no electricity, or that we cannot have any enjoyments for ourselves, as that would be fanaticism. It means (to me) that we are to choose God and things related to serving God over self and the worldly things. I really have to think that if anybody has read what Baha’u’llah wrote they cannot miss this message. It is not cherry picking when everything that Baha’u’llah wrote about world and self is concurs with everything else He wrote.

So, living in the Light of God means expecting from the Ferrari only what the Ferrari can truly give me. If I live in that way, my heart (my treasure, using Jesus's words) will not be put on the Ferrari, but in the physics, economy and psychology behind it. Furthermore, my heart will be in the Big Framework of Reality where psychology, economy and physics all come together and fit.

The spiritual verities never change from age to age; they are eternal. It is interesting to note the striking similarity between what Jesus said and what Baha’u’llah wrote:

Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

“For every one of you his paramount duty is to choose for himself that on which no other may infringe and none usurp from him. Such a thing—and to this the Almighty is My witness—is the love of God, could ye but perceive it.

Build ye for yourselves such houses as the rain and floods can never destroy, which shall protect you from the changes and chances of this life. This is the instruction of Him Whom the world hath wronged and forsaken.”
Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 261

For me, being a Baha’i is about trying to follow the injunctions of Baha’u’llah to the best of my ability. If I trust Baha’u’llah, I have to believe that it is in my best interest as well as what is for the good of all of humanity. I try not to think of what I might want because if I do that will surely lead me to pursue my selfish desires, given we all have a lower nature as well as a higher nature to struggle with.

I am also very pragmatic. Anything I spend time on that is what I consider frivolous takes time away from something else I could be doing that is more important for the furtherance of this Cause.

“O ye beloved of God! Repose not yourselves on your couches, nay bestir yourselves as soon as ye recognize your Lord, the Creator, and hear of the things which have befallen Him, and hasten to His assistance. Unloose your tongues, and proclaim unceasingly His Cause. This shall be better for you than all the treasures of the past and of the future, if ye be of them that comprehend this truth.” Gleanings, p. 330

“Whoso ariseth to teach Our Cause must needs detach himself from all earthly things, and regard, at all times, the triumph of Our Faith as his supreme objective. This hath, verily, been decreed in the Guarded Tablet. And when he determineth to leave his home, for the sake of the Cause of his Lord, let him put his whole trust in God, as the best provision for his journey, and array himself with the robe of virtue. Thus hath it been decreed by God, the Almighty, the All-Praised.” Gleanings, pp. 334-335

“Wert thou to consider this world, and realize how fleeting are the things that pertain unto it, thou wouldst choose to tread no path except the path of service to the Cause of thy Lord. None would have the power to deter thee from celebrating His praise, though all men should arise to oppose thee.

Go thou straight on and persevere in His service. Say: O people! The Day, promised unto you in all the Scriptures, is now come. Fear ye God, and withhold not yourselves from recognizing the One Who is the Object of your creation. Hasten ye unto Him. Better is this for you than the world and all that is therein. Would that ye could perceive it!”
Gleanings, p. 314

I look all around me and I see people attached to the material world and all it has to offer by way of enjoyments that offer distractions from any suffering or discomforts they might have... They are forgetful of God and think only of self and their immediate family and friends. Unless this changes, there is no hope for humanity.

I understand that those who are not Baha’is are simply living in the dark, so they do not have a mission as we do. They have no reason to do anything differently than they are doing. Most Christians are still waiting for Jesus to return and fix everything that is wrong in the world but we know that is not going to happen...

One reason so many people are in the dark is that they have not even been given the opportunity to hear about Baha’u’llah. Sure, some have heard and turned away, but more have not even heard at all! As I see it, people are not going to go online and find the Baha’i Faith by themselves, and given much of what is online are websites seeking to defame and denigrate the Faith that can do more harm than good. No, just as was true in the early days of Christianity, it is our responsibility as Baha’is to arise and disseminate the Cause.

“The time foreordained unto the peoples and kindreds of the earth is now come. The promises of God, as recorded in the holy Scriptures, have all been fulfilled. Out of Zion hath gone forth the Law of God, and Jerusalem, and the hills and land thereof, are filled with the glory of His Revelation. Happy is the man that pondereth in his heart that which hath been revealed in the Books of God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting. Meditate upon this, O ye beloved of God, and let your ears be attentive unto His Word, so that ye may, by His grace and mercy, drink your fill from the crystal waters of constancy, and become as steadfast and immovable as the mountain in His Cause.

In the Book of Isaiah it is written: “Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty.” No man that meditateth upon this verse can fail to recognize the greatness of this Cause, or doubt the exalted character of this Day—the Day of God Himself. This same verse is followed by these words: “And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that Day.” This is the Day which the Pen of the Most High hath glorified in all the holy Scriptures. There is no verse in them that doth not declare the glory of His holy Name, and no Book that doth not testify unto the loftiness of this most exalted theme. Were We to make mention of all that hath been revealed in these heavenly Books and holy Scriptures concerning this Revelation, this Tablet would assume impossible dimensions. It is incumbent in this Day, upon every man to place his whole trust in the manifold bounties of God, and arise to disseminate, with the utmost wisdom, the verities of His Cause. Then, and only then, will the whole earth be enveloped with the morning light of His Revelation.” Gleanings, pp. 12-14

This Faith grew in the early days because Baha’is made sacrifices. That is the only reason why the Baha’i Faith is only second to Christianity in the number of locales worldwide to which it has spread. What I have seen since I became a Baha’i in 1970 is a lack of enthusiasm and growth, at least in America. I have to wonder if part of the reason is because of the increase in materialism.

All that said, I tend to be very serious about the Faith, but that is because of how important I consider it to be. I was not always this way though; it took decades for me to realize the true significance of this Faith. I do not expect others to be serious like me... We are all unique individuals with unique gifts to offer the Faith. I tend to be a proclaimer and a teacher, and I feel that is my calling. That is how I have amassed all these passages.

Last edited by Trailblazer; 08-02-2017 at 05:13 AM.
 
Old 08-02-2017, 03:17 AM   #15
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Greetings Trailblazer,

You're very welcome. We are all souls trying to navigate through the material and spiritual maze we call life. It is actually very instinctive for the believers to wish to help one another. So thank you for all your contributions too.

Try not to concern yourself over the way others might appear to relate to the spiritual world around them, because you can be assured that everyone that embraces this Faith, regardless of how they might or might not perceive it, have spiritual riches they are not even aware off. Even if you were raised to view the world and others within it rather like an agnostic. Try to accept that one day you are going to see your inner beauty in ways that you cannot even envisage at this time. Your soul is impervious to the machinations of others, even if your intellect is not. Hold firm to this truth because God rewards us for the tests that He chooses to imposes upon us.

My Father was an adamant agnostic, but he gave up try to indoctrinate me into his belief by the time I was around five years old. When he passed away I was by his bedside relating to him about all the things that he valued while comforting him with the notion that it was fine to let go. He passed away in a state of spiritual bliss.

We do not get to choose our DNA or our upbringing. However, we all have the opportunity to choose what we are going to do with the other third of our character. This is the part that we control. So in a manner of speaking two-thirds of our character is constructed by others. When we realise this we begin to understand why we all have the right to view spiritual and material things in different ways from one another.

Diversity is good for us because when people are honest with each other it helps all parties to grow. Thank you for helping me to grow too.

Earth

Last edited by Earth; 08-02-2017 at 03:23 AM.
 
Old 08-02-2017, 08:45 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trailblazer View Post
What do these scriptures say to you?

"For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”[/COLOR]
Hi, Trailblazer!

To me, this passage still presents your individual life as the most precious thing. It starts from the assumption that you value your life, and it is because your life is so important that you must deny yourself, in order to find it.

Deny yourself on what? Comfort? Money? Family? Personal projects?
All of them and none of them.
As you have pointed out, things are not the problem: the problem is our attachment to things. And our attachment stems from considering things not as they are, but as we fantasize them to be.
This is why all Prophets from God, from the Buddha to Bahá'u'lláh, stress the transient nature of material things, and the illusory nature of our dealing with them.

In this regard your call for austerity is of utmost importance, trailblazer.
There is a very interesting documentary in Netflix, "Minimalism" that presents how an austere life can be rational and spiritually fulfilling. I am striving to change my life towards that end.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trailblazer View Post
We have to make this world a better place, eliminate wealth and poverty
More precisely, extremes of wealth and poverty.
Wealth and poverty are the natural result of differences in genes, interests, effort, and the tests that God allow us to go through.
Absolute economic equality is impossible, as Abdul Bahá has taught.

Extreme wealth coexisting with extreme poverty, though, tell us that there is something very wrong, very sick about our social system. Something we must fix through a rational, balanced strategy that includes free market, smart taxes to provide real opportunities for the poorest, and more importantly, a cultural revolution about what happiness means. It would be very interesting to discuss possibilities around this in other thread.

Last edited by camachoe; 08-02-2017 at 08:49 AM.
 
Old 08-02-2017, 10:03 PM   #17
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Greetings Earth,

It is always good to hear from you. I came here for spiritual substance having just been beaten and bruised day and night for over three years on a forum comprised mostly of nonbelievers who do not believe that “Messengers of God” are any sort of evidence for the existence of God.

I have not left that forum entirely but I decided that I was only going to post on one thread I started and that I was going to lay low, because on that forum the Baha’is (that being me, since I was the only one of us that said much of anything about the Faith or posted much) were accused of proselytizing, although all I was doing was answering questions and replying to posts. That is all I care to share on the forum about that. Suffice to say, in spite of some harsh words that passed between the atheist forum owner and myself, I consider us friends and I harbor no ill will towards him, nor he towards me. He is a good person with high morals, but he thinks belief in God is... well, let’s just say unfounded, and that is putting it lightly.

I did go to the Planet Baha’i forum for about two years before I went to that forum and during the last three years, but not very often because I was too busy on the above-mentioned forum.So my recent forum exposure has been mostly to nonbelievers... I have a natural affinity for nonbelievers and I am a very empathetic person. I also have a sense about people given my personality type is intuitive feeling.

I see myself as kind of a liaison between belief and non-belief. Although I stand on the believer side of the great river that divides us, I understand what the terrain is like on both sides of the river and often I am not sure which side I actually belong on... I am always falling off the bank and into the river, nearly drowning and trying to swim back to shore...

I agree it is instinctive that believers help one another and I do go for help wherever it might be found! Normally I only get “believer help” from Baha’is but on occasion I get it from a Christian, because many Christians have strong faith in God, something I often need a loaner on.

I do tend to compare myself to others and you probably sensed that. That is the gift that keeps giving from my childhood, and I fight against it still. I was the youngest and always got the short end of the stick, a stick that was very short to begin with. That is one reason I have learned to go it alone and blaze my own trails, I never really had parents that were in any way emotionally available.

What you said about souls being impervious to the machinations of others reminded me of something Baha’u’llah said, and I quote from memory because I cannot locate the original source: “no man can harm a man of insight.” If I can find the full passage I will post it here.

If your father was an agnostic, I have to wonder how you became a believer, maybe because of your mother. Share that if you wish. Both my parents were “fallen away” Christians in that they were raised going to Church but never went after they became adults, so none of us three children ever saw the inside of a church. My dad died suddenly of a heart attack when I was 12 and my mother later told me he was an agnostic or an atheist, I cannot recall which. I think my mother retained her belief in God after she left the church and she became a Baha’i at age 60, and then everyone in my family were Baha’is. My father never heard of the Faith because he died before we all discovered it.

I cannot recall thinking about God before I found out about the Baha’i Faith from my older brother at age 17 and became a Baha’i two weeks later, along with my older sister. Even after that, I never thought much about God or the Baha’i Faith much until the last five years or so, although I always knew in the back of my mind who Baha’u’llah was. That is my own “falling away from Baha’i” story which kind of resembles my parents’ experience... I only just now realized the similarity while writing this, although I am sure it was for different reason we fell away.

I really had no interest in religion per se until the last five years, and I am still not much interested in being part of the Baha’i Faith organization. I never even read a Bible or knew what was in it until I came to these forums about five years ago and started talking to Christians. I still do not now much of what is in it, just certain verses that I like and anything that pertains to the return of Christ.

Aside from my parental influences, I feel like most of my character has been constructed by me, because I am a real introvert... Aside from my husband of 32 plus years, I have been on my own... He is Comtemplator on this forum and you might meet him later. He does not post as much as me because he has many duties around the house taking care of our many animals, and right now we have only one computer up and running and I am on it most of the time.

I view material things and things of the flesh in a negative light because I have been so hurt by them, and I lost so much of my precious time to them. However, I am Buddhist-like in that I live in the present moment and rarely ever think about the past or future, unless I am writing something on a forum. The past is gone and what happened to me happened for a reason, and I have learned from it... In retrospect, I would not have been “ready” to be a “real Baha’i” had I not gone through all of that. I tend to think that God was preparing me for something important I needed to do later. I am very mission-oriented and once on a mission I am unstoppable...

I hope this Baha’i mission will be my last stop in the road because I have gone through several others and I have no doubt this supersedes all of them. I once thought psychology was the best way to help people and later I thought it was homeopathy, so I studied those for many years and acquired degrees in both... I do see the value in psychology, but its capacity for healing a wounded soul is very limited... Homeopathy however saved my life since it addressed the vital force and my deep-seated emotional issues.

I enjoy diversity much more than sameness and I find this is what has helped me grow; not only the diversity of beliefs and non-beliefs, but also the diversity among fellow Baha’is.Thank you for helping me to grow too.

Trailblazer
 
Old 08-02-2017, 10:10 PM   #18
Senior Member
 
Joined: Jul 2017
From: Olympia, WA, USA
Posts: 101
Hi camachoe!

I lost a very long post I wrote to you late last night because the forum timed me out, so then I decided not to use the Quote function on this forum on longer posts, at least not until I get better at it... So as you will see I normally put Bible and Baha'u'llah quotes in navy blue and other quotes in green... Anything I said before will be bold black, and you will be dark red italics.

I am a cartographer by profession so colors are my thing. ;-)

What do these scriptures say to you?

"For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

To me, this passage still presents your individual life as the most precious thing. It starts from the assumption that you value your life, and it is because your life is so important that you must deny yourself, in order to find it.

To me the first part of these verses mean that if we deny self for God and service to God, we will find our true selves... The second part to me means we would profit not at all if we gained everything there is in the material world and lost our soul, which to me means our spiritual nature.
I certainly have found this to be the case for me as I find myself when I abandon myself to God and service to others. That is when I am the happiest. I have many material assets and money but they have no meaning for me. I have them from a former life when I though they mattered and now they are more of a burden than a blessing. The more material things I have the more there is to worry about and the more my time is taken away from what I feel is really important.

Deny yourself on what? Comfort? Money? Family? Personal projects?
All of them and none of them.
As you have pointed out, things are not the problem: the problem is our attachment to things. And our attachment stems from considering things not as they are, but as we fantasize them to be.


I agree with that. I have been chided about being materialistic by certain nonbelievers who know about all my money and assets, but materialism is an attitude, not what one owns. How one spends their time is very telling. I do not spend any time on my possessions and they suffer as a result, but the way I see it a house or yard or car can always be fixed up later, if need be.

I prefer a simple life. I rarely drive because I do not like cars, I ride a bicycle to work although it is a long way.

This is why all Prophets from God, from the Buddha to Bahá'u'lláh, stress the transient nature of material things, and the illusory nature of our dealing with them.

In this regard your call for austerity is of utmost importance, trailblazer.
There is a very interesting documentary in Netflix, "Minimalism" that presents how an austere life can be rational and spiritually fulfilling. I am striving to change my life towards that end.

We do not have Netflix but I will try to locate the documentary. I used to watch movies and TV before my “forum era” started five years ago... Now I am lucky if I watch a Forensic Files or ID TV show late into the night...

I only wish I could cut back. ;-) The main reason it got complicated was because we have many, many animals we love, wild and domestic, and needed a large house and property... Also, I was acquiring assets a while back, during my “fallen away from Baha’i” period of life. As we get older, I think it is wise to have money and assets as long as they do not weigh us down or cause too many worries... I find I can still live just as austerely as I want to.

We have to make this world a better place, eliminate wealth and poverty
More precisely, extremes of wealth and poverty.
Wealth and poverty are the natural result of differences in genes, interests, effort, and the tests that God allow us to go through.
Absolute economic equality is impossible, as Abdul Bahá has taught.


Yes, I am aware of what Abdu’l-Baha wrote about economics. It is not all that different from (what I consider) the unequal distribution of suffering which is also related to genes and life circumstances, and choices we make. I find it detestable whenever someone blames another person for their suffering because no man can know another’s life unless they have walked in their moccasins....

Extreme wealth coexisting with extreme poverty, though, tell us that there is something very wrong, very sick about our social system. Something we must fix through a rational, balanced strategy that includes free market, smart taxes to provide real opportunities for the poorest, and more importantly, a cultural revolution about what happiness means. It would be very interesting to discuss possibilities around this in other thread.

I agree with all that you said above. I think it will take a long time to fix this broken system, but with God and Baha’u’llah all things are possible! I steer clear of politics because these days it is just like following a soap opera, and it has a baneful effect on my psyche to see both sides tearing into each other. Whatever solution there is will have to be spiritual, and then the smart minds can apply the economic strategies. ;-)

Last edited by Trailblazer; 08-02-2017 at 10:12 PM.
 
Old 08-03-2017, 09:04 AM   #19
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Joined: Dec 2012
From: Earth
Posts: 160
Greetings Trailblazer,

Online forums are still a very new learning experience for people that choose to use them as vehicles for communication. Indeed they have the potential to divide and alienate just as much as they have the potential to unify and befriend. If anything it should help all of us to better understand how diverse peoples cultural values really are in the wider world, along with appreciating how language can be perceived so differently from one person to the next.

If something troubles you try not to concern yourself over it too much because it can cause you unnecessary pain, stress and suffering. Sometimes we simply need to grant ourselves the time to heal. Indeed it is my understanding that we are encouraged to forgive ourselves every day. This can be a very therapeutic exercise. Always remember that Bahá'u'lláh intended His Revelation to be for the human heart. It is your heart that is important here. Not the external anxieties of others, regardless of their beliefs.

It took me a while looking around before deciding to join this forum. This is because Daniel, the person this website is licensed to, has a very calm spirit. He might not realise this, but by allowing the community to self-regulate itself, the users will naturally incline themselves towards unification. In addition to this, it has a wide and diverse membership for its limited size. So users naturally span both Northern and Southern Hemispheres. It is not confined to a largely U.S. audience and this makes it much richer to my mind. Hopefully you might find some time to heal here because there are some truly wonderful users here, even if they do not visit is as regularly as some other forums. So the pace here tends to be very manageable. Once you can move at the same rhythm it becomes more like a peaceful river rather than an incoming tsunami.

Relax, allow goodness to fill your mind and heal your spirit. Learn to feel good about being you. As only you can live your own life, it underpins why it is so important for you to be kind to yourself. So be kind to yourself.

Now I just want to hug you.

Earth
 
Old 08-03-2017, 09:34 PM   #20
Senior Member
 
Joined: Jul 2017
From: Olympia, WA, USA
Posts: 101
Greetings Earth,

Online forums are my primary means of communication to discuss what really matters. I do not socialize in “real life,” only occasionally at work. We do not normally talk about personal things, although religion has come up on occasion.

Yes, online forums can divide or unite. I have experienced both but from the division I have learned to unite. I do not think I could have learned that in “real life” situations for the mere fact that I would not normally be in the company of people who are as different from me as I am online. Indeed, I have sought out those who are very different from me.

Have you ever noticed that a few people tend to do all the talking on these forums? I am guilty as charged. The same seems to hold true where I work, a few do most of the talking. I never talk at work unless someone speaks to me first and then usually only about a work-related matter. I am very shy, although nobody on forums seems to believe that.

I do not worry about “things” as much as I used to because at the end of the day, what really matters is our spiritual state of mind and how we treat other people. I take care of what material world things as needed and with dispatch and I do not sweat the small stuff.

I have been on the Planet Baha’i forum for almost five years. It used to be quite active but it has been slow for quite a while now and there are only a few regular posters and the occasional passersby. I know the core group very well, so I feel I can share whatever I need to share there, including my “God issues.” This forum seems to have a wide variety of people and topics and I enjoy that very much. I think I will learn many new things and meet different kinds of Baha’is, which should broaden my horizons.

I was just shopping around but as luck, or fate, would have it I was snared into another forum that has a “mix” of believers and nonbelievers so I may need to come here for the slower pace as well as repairs! I go where the wind blows me, and as Baha’u’llah has instructed:

“Be unrestrained as the wind, while carrying the Message of Him Who hath caused the Dawn of Divine Guidance to break. Consider, how the wind, faithful to that which God hath ordained, bloweth upon all the regions of the earth, be they inhabited or desolate. Neither the sight of desolation, nor the evidences of prosperity, can either pain or please it. It bloweth in every direction, as bidden by its Creator. So should be every one that claimeth to be a lover of the one true God. It behoveth him to fix his gaze upon the fundamentals of His Faith, and to labor diligently for its propagation. Wholly for the sake of God he should proclaim His Message, and with that same spirit accept whatever response his words may evoke in his hearer. He who shall accept and believe, shall receive his reward; and he who shall turn away, shall receive none other than his own punishment.” Gleanings, p. 339

I do not know if that is the thing to do on this forum but on the other forums we do hugs.

So << Hugs >> to you!

Trailblazer
 
Old 08-03-2017, 11:09 PM   #21
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
tonyfish58's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2010
From: Normanton Far North Queensland
Posts: 3,966
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trailblazer View Post
Greetings Earth,Online forums are my primary means of communication to discuss what really matters. I do not socialize in “real life,” only occasionally at work. We do not normally talk about personal things, although religion has come up on occasion.Trailblazer
Welcome Susan, we used to chat a little over on Delphi Forums.

I Hope you are well and happy.

Regards Tony
 
Old 08-04-2017, 06:33 AM   #22
Senior Member
 
Joined: Jul 2017
From: Olympia, WA, USA
Posts: 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyfish58 View Post
Welcome Susan, we used to chat a little over on Delphi Forums.

I Hope you are well and happy.
Thanks Tony... I am well physically and as happy as happy gets, which for me is not being in some kind of crisis!
 
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