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Old 12-06-2014, 11:20 AM   #1
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Question living with and among other people

I am recently reading a book by the Christian theologian and philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg. this book, I have started to read, after reading "Private Dawding" and another book of the same nature. there are many interesting parts in the book about which I would like to ask for your opinions:

"I have talked after their death with some people who during their
earthly lives had renounced the world and devoted themselves to a virtually
solitary life, wanting to make time for devout meditation by withdrawing
their thoughts from worldly matters. They believed that this was
the way to follow the path to heaven. In the other life, though, they are
gloomy in spirit. They avoid others who are not like themselves and they
resent the fact that they are not allotted more happiness than others.
They believe they deserve it and do not care about other people, and they
avoid the responsibilities of thoughtful behavior that are the means to
union with heaven. They covet heaven more than others do; but when
they are brought up to where angels are, they cause anxieties that upset
the happiness of the angels. So they part company; and once they have
parted, they betake themselves to lonely places where they lead the same
kind of life they had led in the world

now my questions are:
1- is there any quotes, talking of the same idea in our sacred writings?
2- I have recently been (and still am) engaged in a VERY TOUGH matter of marriage and the problems which I am faced with (parental consent and etc). it has made me think most of the time about my life and what will happen next, I can't do anything else. is it an example of distancing from others and as a result distancing from heaven?
3-because of the change in my religion I lost almost all my friends (I have two or three of them left for me now). they didn't leave me but to tell the truth I suddenly felt that their companion is not beneficial to me anymore so I distanced myself from them and now I am kind of REALLY alone.

do you think I am going to the wrong direction? am I forgetting people and merging with myself? this idea is really annoying me....
 
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Old 12-06-2014, 11:47 AM   #2
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Having read Emanuel Swedenborg before my thought is that this is not directed at people like you, who have lost your friends and feel isolated as a result, but against monks, priests, etc.- those who for a lack of a better word disengage with the world at large, believe themselves to be above everyone else, and think that solitary prayer will help them get into heaven. This may be related to the Baha'i belief that asceticism is not appropriate for the Baha'is (although I can't remember where that's talked about).

Some of the central principles of Swedenborgianism include a belief that God is Love incarnate and that salvation is available to all good people of any Christian or non-Christian belief, so long as they actively live loving lives in the world (in effect, almost universalism). In other words, as a Swedenborgian once explained to me, serving God because you covet heaven or are afraid of hell and nothing more is a false motive that causes you to be set back spiritually, and that it is better to not believe in God and be concerned with loving other people as a result. Again, I think there's an equivalent idea in the Baha'i Faith but I can't remember the quote.

Last edited by SmilingSkeptic; 12-06-2014 at 11:49 AM.
 
Old 12-06-2014, 11:56 AM   #3
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Quote:
2- I have recently been (and still am) engaged in a VERY TOUGH matter of marriage and the problems which I am faced with (parental consent and etc). it has made me think most of the time about my life and what will happen next, I can't do anything else. is it an example of distancing from others and as a result distancing from heaven?
3-because of the change in my religion I lost almost all my friends (I have two or three of them left for me now). they didn't leave me but to tell the truth I suddenly felt that their companion is not beneficial to me anymore so I distanced myself from them and now I am kind of REALLY alone.
Beloved friend

I feel your pain, I realy do.
But answers, well I retreat myself to the Words of Baha'u'llah, herein I find my answers.

But saying that I would like to respond to the above quote.

I can understand that you lost many friends, does this not prove to you that these lost ones were not in fact true friends? I have experienced the same. A true friend is one who accepts you for the person you are, and does not give you away if you believe another religion, they remain true in friendship.

But you say some remained your friend, but you have distanced yourself.............why?
As you have discovered it is hard to find true friends, why would you distance yourself, and as a Baha'i we are to love all, are we not.
Just wondering dear friend.
Of course if you feel it is too dangerous to keep contact with your other friends, this I can understand.
Are their no Baha'is near where you live that with caution you can have friendship and loving support.

My heart truly cries because of your distress.
 
Old 12-06-2014, 12:11 PM   #4
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Maryamr, I do understand why you are asking this. I do not believe, however, that the situations described are the same. As SmilingSkeptic has said, it is about asceticism. You have simply distanced yourself from certain individuals. This can sometimes be healthy, actually, depending on the kind of people you're distancing yourself from. I have done the same, in fact, after realizing that certain people were having a negative impact on my life.

The key is not to totally separate yourself from people. If you feel the people you distanced yourself from were having a negative impact, very well. Distance yourself from them. But draw near to others. Make new friends, friends that uplift your spirit, support you as you struggle upon the path of God. And remember to always be there if people need you, even those you have distanced yourself from.
 
Old 12-06-2014, 01:05 PM   #5
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Hmmm...people, I feel at present, tend to be overrated.

gnat
 
Old 12-06-2014, 04:36 PM   #6
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Good morning SmilingSkeptic

Yes, there is a quote from the Bab which this concept concurs with. Page 77 of Selections from the Writings of the Bab:

Quote:
WORSHIP thou God in such wise that if thy worship lead thee to the fire, no alteration in thine adoration would be produced, and so likewise if thy recompense should be paradise. Thus and thus alone should be the worship which befitteth the one True God. Shouldst thou worship Him because of fear, this would be unseemly in the sanctified Court of His presence, and could not be regarded as an act by thee dedicated to the Oneness of His Being. Or if thy gaze should be on paradise, and thou shouldst worship Him while cherishing such a hope, thou wouldst make God’s creation a partner with Him, notwithstanding the fact that paradise is desired by men.

Fire and paradise both bow down and prostrate themselves before God. That which is worthy of His Essence is to worship Him for His sake, without fear of fire, or hope of paradise.

Although when true worship is offered, the worshipper is delivered from the fire, and entereth the paradise of God’s good-pleasure, yet such should not be the motive of his act. However, God’s favour and grace ever flow in accordance with the exigencies of His inscrutable wisdom.

The most acceptable prayer is the one offered with the utmost spirituality and radiance; its prolongation hath not been and is not beloved by God. The more detached and the purer the prayer, the more acceptable is it in the presence of God.
With my most warm greetings

Romane
 
Old 12-06-2014, 04:44 PM   #7
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Good morning maryamr

"Private Dowding" is a work of fiction. As for Swedenborg, my knowledge is quite limitied, so not qualified to make any comment.

I make no apology for the length, finding myself unable to shorten it and still say everything in my heart.

As for the ideas / concepts existing in the Baha'i Sacred Texts similar to those expressed by Swedenborg and in "Private Dowding"; yes, but in different words and much more accurate, no mythasizing. My recommendation is to follow the instruction of Baha'u'llah, as written in the Kitab-i-Aqdas in Paragraph 182 (link)

Quote:
Immerse yourselves in the ocean of My words, ...
Questions 2 and 3 I will combine in one answer. Remember as I say these things that I am moving toward the time of old age (as defined by Baha'u'llah), and "it" does get easier as one gets older.

Baha'u'llah makes a very interesting statement on page 10 of Tabernacle of Divine Unity (link). I do recommend that you see the actual section it comes from so that you gain the context as well. He said:

Quote:
The past is the mirror of the future.
If I could suggest, hopefully without offence, you are moving toward the future with no set goal. You have found the Most Loved of the Nations, you have imbued His Love, His Wisdom, His Understanding, His Supreme Purpose, you have gained the desire to serve His Purpose and move toward His goals. Yet now, you strike a crisis point. It is a test, such a most bountiful outpouring of the Love of God and His Bounty.

This is related to the quote from the Bab given in reply to SmilingSkeptic, and also to this exerpt from Adib Taherzadeh which I have quoted before elsewhere:

Quote:
To appreciate the true meaning of detachment, let us examine the nature of a human being. We note that the animal nature in man makes him selfish. The instinct for survival drives him to find food, clothing and shelter for himself. He pursues comfort, wealth and well-being, and has an insatiable appetite for collecting any beautiful and pleasurable object that comes his way. All these, as well as his emotional, spiritual and intellectual pursuits are aimed at benefiting his own self. He is the master of his own life, a pivot around which circle all his material possessions as well as his intellectual pursuits. One day he finds the Cause of God, recognizes its truth, falls in love with it, and then he adds it, like his other possessions, to his collection. He remains the master figure in the centre and all his possessions, including the Faith, revolve around him and serve his interests. Such a person is attached to the things of this world, for he allows his own interests to take precedence over the interests of the Cause, and his own ego to rule over his spiritual side. He puts his religion on a par with his other pursuits and selfishly expects to benefit from it just as he benefits from his other possessions.

On the other hand, genuine detachment from earthly things is achieved when the individual makes the Cause of God the pivot of his life, so that all his personal and material interests may revolve around his Faith. In this case, he can benefit from his material possessions without being attached to them. And since the Cause of God is the prime motivating influence in his life, he will never act against the teachings of his Faith. Every step he takes in his daily activities will be in harmony with the commandments of God. When a person reaches this exalted position, the interests of the Faith take precedence over his personal interests. And when he arises to serve the Cause of God, he will be ready to meet the challenge whatever the cost. Such a person has reached the summit of detachment.
(Adib Taherzadeh, The Covenant of Baha'u'llah, p. 22)
Now, if anyone ever says to you that any of this is easy, you have everybodies permission to roll on the floor and cackle with maniacal sounds. When you have recovered from your mirth, just turn and walk away, knowing they know not.

What is more important - that the companionship of those friends is beneficial to you, or that your companionship is beneficial to them?

As for item 2 in your queries, the Bab, again, has the entire solution. The first is this Prayer:

Quote:
Is there any remover of difficulties save God? Say: Praise be God, he is God. All are His servants, and all abide by His bidding.
The other is this Prayer:

Quote:
Say: God sufficeth all things above all things, and nothing in the heaven or the earth but God sufficeth. Verily He is in Himself the Knower, the Sustainer, the Omnipotent.
Ask yourself - what do these two Prayers really say? Go far beyond the words, and examine the ramifications. Keep in mind the quote from the Bab which has been provided in response to SmilingSkeptic. They speak far more than merely taking a difficulty from your shoulders, but speak instead of the personal internal condition, attitudes, beliefs and ways of thinking and behaving. Amongst many things, they speak of trust and resignation, of which Baha'u'llah says in the first sentence of His Kitab-i-Ahd (page 219 of Tablets of Baha'u'llah):

Quote:
ALTHOUGH the Realm of Glory hath none of the vanities of the world, yet within the treasury of trust and resignation We have bequeathed to Our heirs an excellent and priceless heritage.
The past is the mirror of the future.

This is a most important concept and principle, so I will repeat it:

The past is the mirror of the future.

To change your present, you must change your future. Your current future is without a destination, having no goal. Thus, your present has no destination, no goal, and becomes confused and battered by the winds which blow over us all. Through the process of immersing yourself in His Writings, through the very painful process of letting go, of learning how to place trust utterly and completely in God, by consciously setting your destination and goals, your future can become filled with wonderful friendships, great achievements and tremendous joy, which means your present will flow to match, and you will lose your aloneness.

Go, see your friends. Be friends for the joy of the friendship, seeking not what you can get, but what you can give. And in the giving, you wll find you receive far more than you have given. Knowing that this is but a first, very tiny step.

I hold you close to my heart, knowing that you have the capacity and ability to grow through this pain, this trauma, to come through with, as they say, flying colours. The way may not be easy, but anything worth gaining is not gained with ease but only with effort, pain and striving.

With my most warm greetings

Romane

Last edited by Romane; 12-06-2014 at 04:48 PM.
 
Old 12-06-2014, 09:31 PM   #8
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I am happy beyond words that I have such good friends here I'll answer all your kind suggestions, one by one ....
 
Old 12-06-2014, 09:34 PM   #9
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[QUOTE=SmilingSkeptic;61189]Having read Emanuel Swedenborg before my thought is that this is not directed at people like you, who have lost your friends and feel isolated as a result, but against monks, priests, etc.- those who for a lack of a better word disengage with the world at large, believe themselves to be above everyone else, and think that solitary prayer will help them get into heaven. This may be related to the Baha'i belief that asceticism is not appropriate for the Baha'is (although I can't remember where that's talked about).

thank you SmilingSkeptic. this is a comfort for me to think that those words cannot include people like me. but I am afraid that I "have chosen" to be isolated, because of some reasons, and one of them MAY have been that I was thinking through isolation I can more peacefully live my life. that is what frightens me because I have walked a great distance in this path! but again, If I know for sure that I had been wrong, I will come back to my past road.
thank you again, dear friend
 
Old 12-06-2014, 09:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlinkeyBill View Post
Beloved friend
But you say some remained your friend, but you have distanced yourself.............why?
As you have discovered it is hard to find true friends, why would you distance yourself, and as a Baha'i we are to love all, are we not.
Just wondering dear friend.
Of course if you feel it is too dangerous to keep contact with your other friends, this I can understand.
Are their no Baha'is near where you live that with caution you can have friendship and loving support.

My heart truly cries because of your distress.
Dear kind brother, my friends (none of them except for the two or three which are still my friends) knew nothing about my change of faith; they still don't. so if I distanced myself it was not because they would bother me about my faith. the real reason was that I could no more be interested in the things they were interested in; as a matter of fact, I am no more interested to talk about the latest clothing fashion, parties, love stories of different boys, and above all "backbiting" which makes the greatest part of people's talks here. my friends were not "bad" people, they are kind, I had very good and happy times with them when I was living at dormitory 8 5 years ago. but I have changed and they have not. they still enjoy to talk about past and I don't and when I try to talk to them about my present state of mind they laughingly tell me that I have became a philosopher. so why should I like to be laughed at?
I like to find new friends, no one likes being lonely. BUT I like to find friends who are similar to me, with similar ideas, similar values of life. I like to have Baha'i friends and I can't find any of them here.
(well, I don't deny that I always "even before becoming a baha'i" was interetsed in a kind of isolation. now that I have it, I am not happy about it!)
 
Old 12-06-2014, 09:47 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EternalStudent9 View Post
The key is not to totally separate yourself from people. If you feel the people you distanced yourself from were having a negative impact, very well. Distance yourself from them. But draw near to others. Make new friends, friends that uplift your spirit, support you as you struggle upon the path of God. And remember to always be there if people need you, even those you have distanced yourself from.
thank you Eternalstudent for the advice (by the way, I wish YOU the best)
about negative impact, my personal idea is that those people whose talks is not about higher truths of life can have negative impact on me. I can't tolerate sitting among people talking about useless things for a whole day. this can be fun, I will laugh at what they say, but can it build any good characteristics in me?
 
Old 12-06-2014, 10:03 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maryamr View Post
thank you Eternalstudent for the advice (by the way, I wish YOU the best)
about negative impact, my personal idea is that those people whose talks is not about higher truths of life can have negative impact on me. I can't tolerate sitting among people talking about useless things for a whole day. this can be fun, I will laugh at what they say, but can it build any good characteristics in me?
Dear Maryamr - Dear Friend in God, you have hit upon a very tricky subject, to which I fully understand what you are saying. I also find this with entertainment, as I can no longer watch the vast majority of the rubbish that is being produced these days as so called entertainment!

You have to find the Balance you can handle.

In the Long run I feel you do have to have people you can talk to about what you believe and feel. If you do not I would agree that it can have an effect.

I have found a True Friend will discuss these issues with you if they are indeed a friend, they know that you are passionate about the subject and only wish to talk, not convert. Thus they will share a chat.

Another way is to try to impart the Spirit of the Teachings within the Conversation, a lot of times this does lead to more meaningful discussion on a subject.

God Bless and I wish you well with finding a path with this issue - Regards Tony
 
Old 12-06-2014, 11:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gnat View Post
Hmmm...people, I feel at present, tend to be overrated.

gnat

 
Old 12-06-2014, 11:27 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by tonyfish58 View Post
Another way is to try to impart the Spirit of the Teachings within the Conversation, a lot of times this does lead to more meaningful discussion on a subject.
God Bless and I wish you well with finding a path with this issue - Regards Tony
this is a VERY good suggestion Tony thank you. I will try it and I will report the outcome
 
Old 12-07-2014, 02:03 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Romane View Post
Good morning maryamr

"Private Dowding" is a work of fiction. As for Swedenborg, my knowledge is quite limitied, so not qualified to make any comment.

I make no apology for the length, finding myself unable to shorten it and still say everything in my heart.

As for the ideas / concepts existing in the Baha'i Sacred Texts similar to those expressed by Swedenborg and in "Private Dowding"; yes, but in different words and much more accurate, no mythasizing. My recommendation is to follow the instruction of Baha'u'llah, as written in the Kitab-i-Aqdas in Paragraph 182 (link)



Questions 2 and 3 I will combine in one answer. Remember as I say these things that I am moving toward the time of old age (as defined by Baha'u'llah), and "it" does get easier as one gets older.

Baha'u'llah makes a very interesting statement on page 10 of Tabernacle of Divine Unity (link). I do recommend that you see the actual section it comes from so that you gain the context as well. He said:



If I could suggest, hopefully without offence, you are moving toward the future with no set goal. You have found the Most Loved of the Nations, you have imbued His Love, His Wisdom, His Understanding, His Supreme Purpose, you have gained the desire to serve His Purpose and move toward His goals. Yet now, you strike a crisis point. It is a test, such a most bountiful outpouring of the Love of God and His Bounty.

This is related to the quote from the Bab given in reply to SmilingSkeptic, and also to this exerpt from Adib Taherzadeh which I have quoted before elsewhere:



Now, if anyone ever says to you that any of this is easy, you have everybodies permission to roll on the floor and cackle with maniacal sounds. When you have recovered from your mirth, just turn and walk away, knowing they know not.

What is more important - that the companionship of those friends is beneficial to you, or that your companionship is beneficial to them?

As for item 2 in your queries, the Bab, again, has the entire solution. The first is this Prayer:



The other is this Prayer:



Ask yourself - what do these two Prayers really say? Go far beyond the words, and examine the ramifications. Keep in mind the quote from the Bab which has been provided in response to SmilingSkeptic. They speak far more than merely taking a difficulty from your shoulders, but speak instead of the personal internal condition, attitudes, beliefs and ways of thinking and behaving. Amongst many things, they speak of trust and resignation, of which Baha'u'llah says in the first sentence of His Kitab-i-Ahd (page 219 of Tablets of Baha'u'llah):



The past is the mirror of the future.

This is a most important concept and principle, so I will repeat it:

The past is the mirror of the future.

To change your present, you must change your future. Your current future is without a destination, having no goal. Thus, your present has no destination, no goal, and becomes confused and battered by the winds which blow over us all. Through the process of immersing yourself in His Writings, through the very painful process of letting go, of learning how to place trust utterly and completely in God, by consciously setting your destination and goals, your future can become filled with wonderful friendships, great achievements and tremendous joy, which means your present will flow to match, and you will lose your aloneness.

Go, see your friends. Be friends for the joy of the friendship, seeking not what you can get, but what you can give. And in the giving, you wll find you receive far more than you have given. Knowing that this is but a first, very tiny step.

I hold you close to my heart, knowing that you have the capacity and ability to grow through this pain, this trauma, to come through with, as they say, flying colours. The way may not be easy, but anything worth gaining is not gained with ease but only with effort, pain and striving.

With my most warm greetings

Romane
this was not offensive at all dear Romane first of all thank you for this answer and second I guess you are partly true about me having no goals. I say partly because I HAVE goals but I am not yet sure about my ability to do them

I remembered a saying from I guess Bab (I am not sure, maybe Bahaullah) when you said this: Be friends for the joy of the friendship, seeking not what you can get, but what you can give.
but Bab says: Don't even open your mouth when there is not a receptive ear (a wise person mentioned this to me some days ago)
that is my situation, where there are not many receptive ears. but I be friend those few ones who are interested in what I am interested in as well.
 
Old 12-07-2014, 03:09 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by maryamr View Post
Dear kind brother, my friends (none of them except for the two or three which are still my friends) knew nothing about my change of faith; they still don't. so if I distanced myself it was not because they would bother me about my faith. the real reason was that I could no more be interested in the things they were interested in; as a matter of fact, I am no more interested to talk about the latest clothing fashion, parties, love stories of different boys, and above all "backbiting" which makes the greatest part of people's talks here. my friends were not "bad" people, they are kind, I had very good and happy times with them when I was living at dormitory 8 5 years ago. but I have changed and they have not. they still enjoy to talk about past and I don't and when I try to talk to them about my present state of mind they laughingly tell me that I have became a philosopher. so why should I like to be laughed at?
I like to find new friends, no one likes being lonely. BUT I like to find friends who are similar to me, with similar ideas, similar values of life. I like to have Baha'i friends and I can't find any of them here.
(well, I don't deny that I always "even before becoming a baha'i" was interetsed in a kind of isolation. now that I have it, I am not happy about it!)
Ah dear sister, now I have a little more information, I have a little more understanding of your plight.

You appear to be very much like myself, I also never had many friends, because I also was not interested in frivilous things that many find important.
This is not a bad thing it means you are selective in who you call friends, I consider you are most wise. It is far better to have a very few wise friends than many foolish ones.

Concerning being laughed at because they consider you have become a philosopher, I consider they have paid you a compliment, even though they may not see it. To have a philosophers mind is a sign of wisdom, a searching mind is why you have accepted Baha'u'llah into your life. This is wealth beyond your friends wildest dreams, so be happy very happy.

My loving regards and prayers with you always.
 
Old 12-07-2014, 05:29 AM   #17
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Ooo. Swedenborgianism. Something on my list of things I want to research some day (mainly due to the name, I'll admit).

Answering 2 and 3 first: I do not think Swedenborg is talking about your situation. This seems directed at monastacism or asceticism, practices of trying to seperate oneself from the other people and the world to get closer to God. You're not trying to be a hermit or nun, so you have not "renounced the world" in the way Swedenborg describes.

Answering 1: Yes, both Baha'u'llah ("O concourse of monks! Seclude not yourselves in churches and cloisters. Come forth by My leave, and occupy yourselves with that which will profit your souls and the souls of men.") and Mohammed ("To Jesus the son of Mary We gave the Gospel, and We put into the hearts of those who followed Him kindness and compassion: but as to the monastic life, they invented it themselves. The desire only of pleasing god did We prescribe to them, and this they observed not as it ought to have been observed.") dislike monastic practices.
 
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