Saturday, February 17, 2007

Essay on Spiritual Transformation, part 1

In spiritual transformation, what is it that we are attempting to transform? It is our lower self, or our ego. When we recognize the Truth, through the Word of God, we realize we fall short of the standard set for us by the Prophets. At this point, several responses might occur. A sense of guilt may be triggered--a feeling of inadequacy. We want to cover this up, so we set out to follow the laws and rules to give us a sense of worth, and so we will be seen as acceptable in the eyes of God and others. Another response might be to feel this inadequacy without attempting to cover it up with good behavior. The inadequacy may be painful, and leave us feeling exposed. We may then turn to God in prayer, read His Word, and commune with His spirit, and feel that His powerful presence wipes away our feeling of inadequacy, or transforms it into power—spiritual power which is not from our ego, but from the grace of God.

Words, concepts, and acquired knowledge often act as a veil or cloak covering our feelings. Negative feelings are an indicator or a barometer for our body and soul, revealing to us that we are in need or out of balance in some way. We avoid experiencing negative feelings so we can continue to uphold our idealized self-image and continue to receive the approval and validation from others that comes from conforming to society’s standards of how one should be. Not only are these feelings painful to experience, but when we do experience them, we suddenly find ourselves out of step with society, alone, and unsupported by those whose life’s purpose is to avoid insecurity and instead uphold the idealized self-image. We fortify and shore-up our ego self in order to shield against and ward off feelings of insecurity, loneliness, or emptiness.

So you see there is great resistance to experiencing pain. When one can allow himself to actually feel pain or shame or heartache, it is a step away from falseness. It is an act of bravery. It breaks the rigid fear that comes from constantly repressing one’s feelings in the name of trying to look good. We think this ‘looking good’ and ‘keeping up appearances’ helps others and sets a good example, but we just teach others to be fake and superficial, without real humility, and leaving no room for growth. It is actually selfish, because we are afraid to feel the inner shame and emptiness that comes when we realize we have been fake our whole lives and that we don’t know what reality is.

If we’re busy upholding an image for others, we cannot grow or transform. If we cannot feel insecurity, we cannot turn to God for security. If we’ve acquired knowledge, house, family, job, religious and secular titles and positions, relationships, possessions, and received our security and identity from these things, then there is no room for God, no way to realize that God is the only Comforter and Provider. If our heart is attached to the comforts of this world, how can we experience God as the one who bestows the joy and peace? How can we seek peace if we cannot feel the struggle inside us? If we are constantly appeasing our struggle with the pleasures and securities of this world, how then can we let God into our hearts? Even religion and our religious friends serve as worldly comforts, which perpetuates our attachment to this world. We actually use religious meetings and religious knowledge as objects to possess, which serve to build up our personal power and give us worldly security, in order to shield against feeling our inner emptiness, shame, fear, and insecurity.

We need to dig deep into our life, and recognize that we have feelings of fear, insecurity, shame, inadequacy, and this makes up the greater part of our inner self. And we’ve been conditioned to attach ourselves to our knowledge, family, job, position, house, etc., in order to prevent us from experiencing these feelings. But those inner feelings don’t go away—they just get covered up. And then we become superficial, materialistic, intellectual, and unspiritual. Then comes the creation of the false shell which may imitate spirituality, or at least imitates what the mind thinks is spirituality. True spirituality may not look like what you imagine it to be--because you can’t have true spirituality without authentic recognition and experience of that which is not spiritual—the untransformed ego self. After the arduous process of letting down the defenses against your unwanted ego self, you can spiritualize that very self, and apply the remedy of the Writings, and enter the battle with ego. After awhile, you will see that the struggle, the battle, the pain, the selfishness, is all part of God, it is all good, and it all issues from His grace. But these are just concepts until you first get real with yourself, and feel your pain and your inadequacy, instead of talking about it in your head from a safe distance.

We spend our whole lives shielding against and warding off feelings of fear, insecurity, and weakness, and especially against showing it or expressing it in front of others. Instead, we spend all our time creating false identities of power and security and attach ourselves to various things in the world which we and society as a whole consider symbols of power and security. Underneath all our anger, fear, worry, resentment, shame, and guilt is a need and desire to be loved, forgiven, and comforted. If we can let ourselves feel that need wholly, and turn to God through His Prophets instead of turning to the things of this temporal world, we will have eternal rest--the deep peace and love our souls crave.

Since it is extremely difficult to be this vulnerable in public--while working and conducting our daily affairs around people who are not going through spiritual transformation--we need to have support groups which train us in how to stay open-hearted and turn to God for our strength while still interacting with people in our daily lives. No less than intense, sustained, and regular support and cooperation among small groups of interested individuals is required for authentic spiritual transformation.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A poem, or something like it (I wrote it)

The Llama King (1/30/04)

This note is to inform you that your fleetersnitzen has expired, and there is no more foovenhoffen for you anymore. It is all gone. I am sorry, but we must run away from all the grangerblitz, and instead embrace the floopjigger. All our efforts have appeared as dreams before us, figments of our massive hysteria, cumbersome ulcers of our imaginations. They are destroyed in the abyss of wonder, overturned in a flash by the quick and sharp turn of destiny, never to be witnessed again. Not one moment goes by, and suddenly the fabric of life turns inside out, and we are cut down, flailing about with fever in our blood.

The reins have turned inward, we blossom as once we faded. New and fresh, the hopeful day arrives, eager and anticipatory; the embrace comes for us and we turn heavenward, rescuing ourselves from the flood of what was once only doom. Now it is here, the truth, the light, the gaze, the Holy Outlook! God bless the souls of the wise. Here it is for you, and all of us dine with delight. The freegrifter has won our souls and plunged us into plunderwunder! Amen for the Llama King! Long lived the Queen! Holy souls arise and win your fortune!

This message is brought to you by the Council on Holy Increments, making dander into hay. It is for educational purposes only, and is not to be taken literally.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Short quotes and notes on life and spirituality 1

Growing in spirituality means having a deeper realization of your need for God.

People believe in and trust in human love, but not in God’s love, even though God created humans, and He is the Originator and Author of love, and His love is infinitely greater than any human’s love.

People don’t like to feel painful feelings. They use materialism as an escape from unpleasant feelings. They don’t admit that they feel disconnected from God and are materialistic: relying on job, money, house, family, people for comfort and security.

We say the world is a mess. God says yes, it’s a mess, but it’s a perfect mess.

You must let yourself feel the pain of God’s judgments (or the consequences of your actions) in order for it to work as a deterrent for future wrong actions. If you numb your pain, you won’t learn or grow from your mistakes. If the pain is not a result of wrong action or personal weakness, then the suffering is a test from God for the growth of your soul. Either way, suffering is a beneficial test from God. But if we numb the pain, repress it, or escape into material pleasures, we will lose the opportunity for human depth, relationship, love, connection, compassion, as well as spiritual growth, love, unity, closeness to God, love for God, feeling God’s love, healing, mercy, and compassion.

There is nothing but God-goo surrounding you.

You can’t be attached to the teaching work, your understanding of the process of spiritual growth, your understanding of anything, the work of helping people, your accomplishments, your knowledge, any person, your thoughts or feelings. Just cling to God—attach to Him only. Then you will know selfless love. No one can generate or produce selfless love, obviously. We must untangle from our attachments first, otherwise it will always be selfish love. To the extent we are detached from this world is the extent to which we can love others.

Your spirituality is different from your worthiness. Not everyone is spiritual, but everyone is worthy.

I want someone who is made happy by my presence, and whose presence makes me happy.

People use religion for ego power and ego security. It breeds guilt and competition just like the work/school/family/friends world.

You play their game to escape from your pain.

We need to shed the husks of ego patterns, and reveal the vulnerable stuff inside—then shed that husk.

We don’t know our destiny; we can’t figure out our destiny. God does what He wills. All we can do is use our gifts and talents to serve Him by surrendering our all to Him, and by making choices in life that conform to the best understanding of His Word. His destiny for us is that we completely trust in Him, and entrust our future to Him without knowing what will come of it.

If everything God did seemed outwardly just, then we could never have the opportunity to exercise our faith in Him.

Most people have a negative relationship to suffering. We want to try to have a positive relationship to it by embracing it and seeing how God uses suffering to help us grow spiritually and reach out for His love. It also helps us to forge bonds of love with others, and it promotes detachment from worldly things.

Insecurity and fear come because others do judge and criticize us, and that hurts. We judge others in the way we fear others will judge us, or in the way we judge ourselves. By judging others, it gives us the power we lose from being judged and criticized by others or ourselves.

When you become emotionally dependent on someone, it produces a sense of expectation and entitlement from the person. When you don’t get what you want from the person, you may get angry with them because you think they owe it to you—but that is just coming from your attachment to them and lack of connection with God’s love.

The more you get hurt, the more your heart breaks open—the greater measure of love you can receive from God as you turn to Him for comfort.

Human beings are like flowers. We need to be continually deriving sustenance from the soil of our trust in God, and opening up our hearts to the sun of His grace and love.

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Spiritual talk in park: What is Truth? (audio)

After a busy July 4th weekend, I attempt again to find the truth, my truth, and process my pain a bit.

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Essay on Spiritual Transformation, part 2

People perceive each other and behave towards each other in terms of how that other person can be used to satisfy their need to defend against feeling their fears and insecurities, guilt or shame. We all use people to shore up and fortify our outer shell, to gain a feeling of security based on worldly pleasures and worldly attachments. This is not love. This actually precludes and impedes love. This is selfishness. No matter how nice and loving we may seem on the outside—the sole purpose of the interaction has at its root the selfish desire to protect oneself from pain, hurt, weakness, fear, insecurity, guilt, or shame. Often the unconscious intention is to appear loving and good, so as to gain approval from the person or from God, or to compensate for or cover over and hide an inner feeling of inadequacy. Here, again, the goal is to avoid appearing weak and needy, and to ward off feelings of weakness or fear. Although it is right to appear loving and good, if the motivation does not come from a felt realization and communion with the transcendent realms, then it originates in the self, and it only veils the self from the realms of grace.

(I should say there are times when a person can show altruistic love, compassion, and concern for another when there is no threat, such as when someone is showing weakness and neediness, during sickness, tragedy, etc. I believe there is this natural human love, but it is not totally pure and selfless--there is always some stain of self involved. Only God's love is totally pure, and without this love, there will never be a sense of being totally or completely loved and understood.)

There is a danger that measuring ourselves to a religious standard can reinforce feelings of inadequacy, when we realize that we don’t or can’t live up to these ideals and standards. Many of us have an inner critic that condemns us when we don’t live up to ideals we have imposed on ourselves, especially from religious training. When we haven’t experienced unconditional love and grace, when we don’t feel forgiven, we have the tendency to see religious laws and ideals as judgmental and punitive, which reinforces our original childhood wounds of feeling bad, wrong, guilty, and not good enough. Of course on the outside, we show the idealized self-image, how we think we are supposed to be. But inside there is shame, guilt, insecurity, and fear of punishment for not being good enough. We do anything to cover up these feelings of worthlessness and shame. We make it our life’s goal to ward off these seemingly life-destroying feelings. Who wants their life to topple and collapse in front of them? So a sense of security and stability is created through the outer life, so that one can remain stable and semi-peaceful, while warding off the inner pain.

One of our biggest fears is public ridicule or humiliation. We definitely don’t want someone or a group of people to make fun of us in public. This we defend against with our very lives. For this alone we would spend our lives creating a mask, in order to not have to feel the pain of a public mocking. Many adults were mistreated or ridiculed as children by their classmates, peers, or even parents, and they carry the wounds of these torments. As a coping mechanism, these adults can be seen occasionally attacking or ridiculing others, as a way to compensate for the unhealed wounds and hurts they have inside—as memories of our past hurts are carried within us.

When we allow ourselves to feel our pain and unhealed wounds, we will be forced to attempt to heal them, and we will want to receive and feel the love we did not get as children and do not receive in our daily lives. We hide these wounds because there is no love in us which would heal the pain. So what else can we do in order to function through the day? We cannot walk around emotionally bleeding around everyone, so we create walls and defenses, and put a nice false self around the whole inner mess, and we go about our business. That works as long as you keep warding off all your pain, and keep manipulating your mind and your circumstances so as to not run into any bumps on the road. Inevitably, we come up against the truth that this world and its struggles have an eternal counterpart, a realm within which is sanctified from the changes and chances of life. When we feel pain, the mature soul will crave the eternal, sanctified realm, and will cry out to God for His presence and ask to be taken into His love. When we experience His love, not only as an intellectual truth, but as a bodily-felt experience, there will indeed be healing. The healing needs to go deep, so we need to feel and experience God's love deeply. This occurs as a result of our own practice of accessing the parts of ourselves which are normally hidden. When we bring to light these hidden 'demons', they become exposed to the light of truth and awareness, and then we can bring God's remedy to these 'dark' aspects. You will see that the light will transmute this darkness, and without repressing our feelings, we will change ourselves, and we will see a new creature--a spiritual being--emerge within us. This being is created by God—but we allowed ourselves to be transformed and we gave up our hidden aspects and brought them to His threshold for transmutation and purification.

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Facing feelings

(This is from 5/18/94)

Here's a big challenge: we need to be honest with God about our feelings. We don't necessarily have to share our feelings with another person, but we need to share them with God. In other words, we need to come out of denial, stop stuffing the emotions inside, and start opening up the heart and praying to God, and trusting in God that He will help us and heal us of our suffering. Share the joys and the sorrows. Commune with God, be honest with Him--share thoughts and feelings! Why deny the heart its joy of communing fully with God? God understands us, even if we don't understand ourselves. We can let it all out--all the pain--to God. He will turn it into joy, just because we shared it with Him. You know how sometimes when we open up to a person, we feel better, our problems are mysteriously solved, or at least they don't seem as important anymore? It's because we've let God's love in as we opened our heart and trusted Him. And the transcendent Spirit comes into our hearts and lifts us above this temporal world and shows us the visions of the eternal realm. The emotions of the Kingdom of Heaven are revealed to us, and suddenly our earthly problems don't seem significant anymore.

But if we're constantly denying our emotions in the name of being 'a man', who doesn't feel pain or any emotions for that matter, we'll never know the love of God. We'll be blocked because we haven't faced an important part of ourselves. We can't always be in 'business' mode. Just because that's the society's conditioning doesn't mean it's God's way. God has other ways to remedy the problem of suffering. Don't deny it, but give it to God, or transcend it with love and understanding. The truly religious way to be a 'man' is not society's way. Don't be fooled by the apparent similarities: both say 'be happy and loving'. But God says 'be truly happy and loving by my grace'. Society says 'be happy and loving on the outside even if it means you have to be a hypocrite and stuff or ignore your feelings of discontent or confusion'. Society says don't think too deeply about yourself or reality--you might just find out something--you might see through the game of the old world order and its institutions, God forbid!

God says 'face yourself'. And face Him. Give yourself to Him, along with your feelings of hurt, discontent, confusion, or even joy. When God says try to act positive when you feel negative, it is only because He wants you to eventually become the act and be positive--not to deny any reality. Society is big on denying reality.

But I'm big on being honest and finding the truth in any situation. Especially when it comes to what you feel as a human being. It really helps to be honest about your feelings without any fear of others. And when you open your feelings to God, there's no fear, only love. You can get in touch with His love that way, and experience the feelings of His love--the peace and joy. The emotions can again flow smoothly, the love for others comes out. Without the emotions, we're a shell, doing business in a cold world. Sure, we can accomplish things and be moral and serve God and help people. But if we deny such a part of ourselves, are we truly being spiritual? Can we truly share the love of God and show others the joys of the Kingdom? How can we help others face reality if we're not facing a part of our reality--a part which can feel the love of God, the beauty of life, which can feel the wonders of reality and communicate it like a child? Sure, there are parts of ourselves we haven't faced because they haven't presented themselves to us--that's part of our natural growth process of discovery. But I'm talking about simply feeling the feelings that have indeed come our way, but we stuffed away or denied. These indeed have been shown to us. We must use them to grow closer to God. We must use them to trust God more. They are given to us for our growth, for the growth of our love, of our heart. We cannot deny them any longer.

And this comes back to families and community-building. We need to help each other work through the confusing thoughts and emotions which cause us suffering and joy. We must draw closer to each other as we discover that we all experience similar feelings of isolation, hurt, confusion, etc. We draw on God, and open up to Him and to one another. By sharing in this way, God will bless us with His Holy Spirit, and faith will grow in our hearts and faith will grow in the communities, and people will see the love, and they will be attracted to it. If you have faith, and act on that faith, they will come! There must be initiative and inspiration. And there must be some resources. If people see the love, they will open their hearts and trust, and share. We must create this open, loving, trusting, sharing environment. God help us create this environment. Please create this environment in myself. The pain makes me grow. It stretches my heart and I pray to you more--I must find the Way to Peace. I can never block the truth of Love and the Open Heart. It must come out!

Are Baha'is doing more outer work than inner work? For now, it is important to spread the Teachings. But we must do the inner work, and get in touch with the Real Transcendent Love, that flies above this temporal world. Love that is calm and powerful, and gives tremendous hope. Love that is patient and kind and not overbearing. Love that listens and hears and is compassionate and understanding. Love that heals the suffering. Love that unites the people and unites the hearts. Love that purifies souls and builds families and communities. Love that will one day unite the world in perfect love and harmony.

With this love that comes from God, we can face ourselves and face the world. And we must! We must move forward as an Army of Light and conquer the hearts of men, for the good of the world, for the Cause of God! But we must not force the Message on anyone. People, with their free will, may reject the Message if they wish. We will move on, unshaken, and with complete faith, being nourished by the love of God and His unshakable Word of Truth!

Help us God! Help us find the resources to do this! Oh God, all things come from you. I pray that you give us what we need to fulfill our potential in this earthly realm. Bless us, help us!

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Contemplation and Rest (guitar playing)

This was recorded in 1990, and it’s a guitar jam to a Casio keyboard accompaniment. It is from my first ‘album’ entitled ‘Contemplation of Life and Spirit, and the Concomitant Intermingling of the Two’, renamed 'Guitar Musings Vol. 1, Contemplation of Life and Spirit'.

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Intimacy (a prayer)

Oh, God, help us be You. You are us, so give us, transform us, be us! Brighten our day, be our Light, be who we are! Make us You, make of us what You will, and cause us to accept us, to accept You! Let our unity be apparent. Flow into our lives right now, purify us, open our hearts to You right now, oh God. I pour my heart out to You. I want only to love You and to love others, make it true. Make this prayer a humble loving gesture for all to know You, without deceit, without pride. Help me, help us all, oh God. I want all to love You, and it is all okay anyway. I don't know what they think. This is free, it is me, it is You. Bring them to You, they are You, they are Yours. Love us all, love is all, there is love in us all. Let it be so. You are our Lord. Let love be our Lord, for You are love.

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Call for healing

(This is from 6/17/95)

There are very many desperate and hurting people out there who are lonely, alienated, and unable to make any loving connection with people or even with a loving Creator. Some indulge in alcohol to drown the pain, some use sex, many are diagnosed as depressed and take anti-depressants, and some just sit and cry! It's unbelievable--the hardships people must endure these days. Then there are those who must endure the torture of abuse of all kinds, the victims of violent crimes, disease, poverty, starvation, and the like.

Don't we need to reach out and help one another like never before? Isn't this the time of all times in the history of the world that we need to transcend our worldly attachment, let down our defenses, open our heart, pray to God, and help each other through these difficult times? Yes, we need to read the Writings on our own and understand the nature of tests as beneficial and necessary for our spiritual growth. But we also need to see how God uses tests to bond the community in loving unity. An example is the Oklahoma City bombing incident. This tragedy actually helped bond the community as people rushed to help one another in sacrificial and self-transcendent love! Isn't there already a tragedy happening in the world today? We can no longer shut our eyes to it.

Here's a quote I read recently that really inspired me, from Shoghi Effendi's "Directives from the Guardian":

"Deep as are family ties, unless supported by spiritual bonds, are confined to this life. You should do all in your power, through prayer and example, to open the eyes of your family to the Baha'i Faith, but do not grieve too much over their actions. Turn to your Baha'i brothers and sisters who are living with you in the Light of the Kingdom."

"Indeed, the believers have not yet fully learned to draw on each other's strength and consolation in time of need. The Cause of God is endowed with tremendous powers, and the reason the believers do not gain more from it is because they have not learned to draw fully on these mighty forces of love and strength and harmony generated by the Faith."

Some of us are suffering outwardly more than others. Some of us have Baha'i families or supportive communities and have more emotional resources than others. But we're all in this together and we must help those who need it! If one is sick we're all sick! Does this sound drastic? Well I think we need a drastic change in our attitude towards people who are suffering, because there may be more hurting people than you think, and one may be you! You know many people have difficulty expessing their emotions in this materialistic culture, and that means their pain remains unvoiced, repressed, and therefore they are unable to receive help and guidance. But sadly, often when they do express their pain, their cries remain unheeded and they turn to unspiritual activities to escape the pain. It takes a very spiritual person to overcome the trials of life without any loving support from others!

We need to share the teachings with others, pray for them, and listen to their problems! We need to have forums where people feel comfortable expressing, (and even feeling!) their emotions (within limits of course!). Too many of us are stuck in conventional ways of relating to one another, having developed defense systems supposedly appropriate for the materialistic society we live in. But we must change all that. Listen to this excerpt from "The Prosperity of Humankind" (don't you just love that they used the word "humankind"?):

"In order for the standard of human rights now in the process of formulation by the community of nations to be promoted and established as a prevailing international norm, a fundamental redefinition of human relationships is called for. Present-day conceptions of what is natural and appropriate in relationships-- among human beings themselves, between human beings and nature, between the individual and society, and between the members of society and its instituitions--reflect levels of understanding arrived at by the human race during earlier and less mature stages in its development. If humanity is indeed coming of age, if all the inhabitants of the planet constitute a single people, if justice is to be the ruling principle of social organization--then existing conceptions that were born out of ignorance of these emerging realities have to be recast."

We need to help people release emotions, and to unleash that latent trust in God that is the most powerful healing force in a human. Then the love can flow, the trust can grow, the power of the Holy Spirit can manifest itself, and healing can take place! We need to trust one another--we are more closely bonded than family, in reality! Why shouldn't we act that way? Just envision in your heart and mind what it would be like if groups of people all over the world were inspired and enlivened by God to pour out their hearts to one another in perfect trust and all had their hearts open to God, and they received one another and loved one another with spiritual love, and this love spread to all in the region, and searching souls were magnetized beyond description to this powerful and overwhelming love, and tears were shed--tears of joy and lifelong relief for having revealed to them the meaning of life, the meaning of existence itself, and lifelong questions were answered, and lifelong pains were healed, and the Holy Spirit of God was unleashed like never before in onrushing gales of surrender, reverence, awe, holiness, sacrifice, peace, love and ultimate comfort and healing as the souls bonded together in an indissoluble, heavenly, eternal bond that kept growing and opening up like a flower in bloom, as hearts connected to Baha'u'llah's heart, and we all connected to each other's heart, and we all served the Kingdom forever in eternal bliss!! Sound drastic??!

May God help us use our talents and abilities to serve Him and to serve humanity, and to promote healing in the hearts of everyone we meet. May we all be guided in this endeavor, and ask Baha'u'llah's blessings and confirmations in all that we do. Let's remember nobody's perfect and we all need healing in one way or another.

God bless all of you. Please stay in touch and send me any messages, thoughts, ideas, criticisms, exhortations, musings, questions, answers, opinions, guidance, poems, stories, songs, quotes, etc. The goal is for everyone to share with everyone, and to network with one another, and to spread the unity far and wide. Any ideas on how to network and get the ball really rolling would be greatly appreciated.

Baha'i love,


(prayer, from a letter to a friend, 8/25/03):

...May the dawn of Reality envelop our souls and cut through our worldly attachments, so that His Love and Wisdom would reign in our hearts, so that we can be a Light to the world of humanity, which is suffering in darkness and imitation. May our thoughts and intentions become purified, so that we can dedicate our lives to the Cause of Unification of all peoples and all souls. May our hearts be directed to the Beloved One, the Manifestation of all Goodness, so that we can taste the sweet Elixir of Life, the only taste that truly satisfies, beyond all worldly and ephemeral tastes. May His life enter ours, may we long for the presence of the Pure One, may our own desires dissolve in the utter beauty of the Longed-for One, the Healer who came for us, who rescued us from perdition and base desire.

God, please help us in our sins and our needs. We are helpless, like fish writhing on the shores of hell, utterly in our desires, lost in earthly cravings, needing a home for our hearts. Please open the door of Your guidance--show us the way to go, so we may have the peace and love that You gave us. Guide ____ in her life, open the way for her to be a servant of Thine, purify her, give her the comfort of Your love, keep her safe with certitude in Your beneficence. Pour out Your Grace to her, as she experiences the blows of Your decree! Be her lifeboat, keep her close to You, console her in her distress and loneliness, O Lord! Help me in my endeavors, and cause me to be fearless and loving to the people, so I may raise Your Word among the peoples and spread Your fragrance to the needy. Help me in my weakness and neediness. Help us, Lord, bond the souls together, remove this dissension and separation. Illumine us, awaken us! O Lord!!

(letter to friend, a prayer, from 12/26/02):

Oh, God, we beg of Thee, O Lord, as we sit in the filth of this world, to cause us to drink down Your Grace and Love, lift us out of this mess of worldly attachment and ego and materialism, and cause our souls to soar in the atmosphere of Your Love and Healing Grace! Help us to want You, and not this world, for we know this world is but an illusion, a vain and empty show. Remove the scales, unveil the eyes, unravel the barriers, O Lord, and penetrate our souls, so we may know Thee, desire only Thee, and want the best for all humanity! We are weak, and Thou art strong. We are lowly, and Thou art powerful. Help us, O Lord, and heal us! Make us strong with Your Grace! Awaken our hearts and make us open to Your Love! Send us love from Your Kingdom and also from Your loved ones scattered around the world. Unite us, Lord, into one indissoluble bond, which will last all of eternity, and which will nourish our hearts, bodies and minds.

Do what You deem best for us, O Lord! We put our lives in Your Hands--for You are the Creator, the All-Wise, the All-Knowing, the Most-Giving, the Most-Bountiful, the Wondrous Lord over everything ever created or will be created! We give Thee thanks for creating us and enabling us to recognize Thee! Please, God, increase our knowledge of Thee, and increase our awareness of Thy Grace towards us, so that we may better serve Thee, and may be healed through Thy love!

(prayer, from a letter to a friend, 4/24/01):

...Please God, please, take us out of this pain and suffering. Take us away from this nether world, and lift our thoughts, hearts and spirits to Your eternal rest, and cause us to move and act with Your hands and Your spirit, to bring a mighty wind of change into this community, which You have blessed. Please give ____ respite and comfort amongst the darts and judgments--lift her up to Your presence, and give her hope and courage to remain firm in Your love. Please give me patience and solace and companionship, and give me comfort regarding my attachment to ____...

...Please God, help us, heal us, preserve us, protect us, guide us, comfort us. Reveal to _____ Your clear tokens of guidance, and bless her and confer goodness upon her, and brighten her soul with Your love, and strengthen her in her duty on this earth, and cause her to be a light to humanity, and a guide to the suffering. Resolve her conflicts, and keep her close to You, so that she may know that she is a chosen child of Yours, with a special calling which brought her to this place at this time.

Please, God, guide us, and bring some answers and resolutions to this community. Supply us with our material needs, oh God, so that we may be occupied with Thee, and not downcast and lonely. We are babies, God, we are weak, and we are needy. Meet our needs and desires, Lord, as we continue to strive to consecrate ourselves to service and renunciation. Reveal to us the mysteries of detachment, Lord, as we strive to embrace You. Forgive us, purify us, and heal us, oh Lord. Please heal this community, and bring great blessings upon us, please, and unite us soon!! Keep us close to You, Lord!!

(prayer, from a letter to a friend, 7/25/06):

Enter into the trust of God with an open heart, and He will feed your soul with the fruits of the Kingdom. The taste of these nectars shall enthrall your being, and you will cast away all attachment to anything this world offers you. You will, like a divine child, partake of these heavenly flavors, and spend your life enjoying the essence of creation, the Divine Elixir. You will see nothing in existence except His Face, and speak of nothing but His Love. All of creation will be a divine plaything for your heavenly soul. This will be the station of those who struggle and strive in My Holy Name, through the power of My Holy Spirit. May it be so. May the helpless ones be revived and refreshed through the bountiful waters of My grace, and the effulgences of My Holiness now and forever. May they be led to My Sacred precincts above and beyond the empty pleasures of this nether world, which I have created to test My servants as to their faithfulness before My Holy, All-Seeing Eye. May My mercy waft over all the inhabitants of this darksome globe, and illuminate their inner being with the Holy and Sacred fragrances of My Word, which are shed upon all the souls of mankind.

Rise up, O souls, and hearken unto the Mighty call of this Wronged One, and heed the warning of the Messengers. Do thou observe the commandments, lest the wrath of the Judge overtake you. He is merciful in His dealings, and His wrath is equal to His mercy. Do not tarry in your waywardness, O peoples. The dove of Holiness warbles on the tree of Eternity, calling the holy souls to reunion. Comfort us, O Divine One. Heal us, O Upraiser. Renew our hearts and souls, and put a new spirit in us, so we may fulfill our divine destiny, and carry forward Your Beneficent Cause. We pray with our hearts, with the mystery of Your Sovereignty before us, O Mighty and Exalted One! Hear our prayer, O Father! Hear our prayer!

Short quotes and notes on life and spirituality 2

If we praise or love people because they exhibit certain qualities, then it is conditional love. Then our likes and dislikes determine which people are worthy of praise and love. We should love and praise all people, and love them despite their personality. Any quality you see is just a development and manifestation of the compensatory self. So you’re just praising the person’s ego. He should be praised and loved for his soul, and for God, for we are praising God, who created all people.

We must look beyond personality and be a SOULSEER!

When we feel sadness or worry about someone, it is basically because we’ve lost our connection with God. We don’t have faith and we don’t have love. In order to help someone, we need to have strength and power from God. Instead of worry, we can have faith. Instead of sadness, we can have compassion. How can we help people if we become weakened by their hurt, sadness, and pain? As well, we have to be comfortable with our own pain and weakness and turn to God with our pain and weakness in order to help others do the same, so that they can feel comforted by us in their pain.

“If life gives you lemons, make lemonade!” Turn the sourness of suffering into the sweetness of God’s healing balm, as you supplicate the Holy Threshold.

The greater the hole of need and desire, the greater the faith and love that fills it!

Install God in your secret inner weakness and He will replace it with His strength.

Pain is necessary and positive. Without it, we wouldn’t build, invent, or work for justice. Without suffering, we are dead. It is a necessary part of human life. What is negative is denying or repressing pain, and then saying that we are transcending it. If there were no suffering, there would be no need for prayer, supplication, love or compassion. Our hearts would no longer grow wide. We would grow proud and self-satisfied. Indeed, God works through the suffering of His chosen ones. This is His way, and it will ever be so. Whoever tries to live without suffering is doing a disservice to himself and to the Cause of God.

These are our basic feelings: fear of getting hurt; and desire for comfort, love and connection.

Feel the pain that that implies for your life.

Look how they posture all day, even for God!

It’s simple: God is our foundation and is the primary Reality. Then there is the human mind and its perceptions, feelings, and will. We need to align with God. The problem comes when we put our perceptions and will before God; and we shouldn’t rely on our perception of God, either. That would be putting our perception first. How can we know God except for our perception of God? That is the path of mystics, my friend!

The biggest comfort and security about remaining deluded and trapped in illusory self is that everyone else is caught in it also. So it seems the right thing to do, and there is apparently validation and fellowship in this illusion.

True spiritual awareness is an integration of self-awareness and God-awareness. It is not a denial of the self, with its lower nature. But the lower nature, as it is held in the light of God-awareness, becomes transmuted, and is then seen in its purified form as an expression of God’s grace and creative power, to be used in service to humanity as an expression of His all-encompassing Love.

People are riding on the cultural engine of materialism and individualism, and can’t seem to get off the train in order to enter the Kingdom of God.

Pain and suffering from injury, illness, or emotional hurt is good for us. It can humble us and cause us to bond with all others who are similarly hurting and suffering.

Spirituality is experiencing my humanity as a divine creation.

Sexuality is my humanity wanting to fuse and merge with another’s humanity.

Anger is masculinized discontentment.

Until you become filled with the Holy Spirit, all your efforts toward humility will be in vain. And after you are filled with the Holy Spirit, all your efforts toward humility will be in vain.

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Path of Authentic Transformation (a letter)

(letter to friend, 'path of authentic transformation'):

____, it's very difficult to go through deep spiritual transformation, whereby the conditioned personality, with its attachments to this world and its comforts, is surrendered to God for the sake of the His Beauty and Cause. But Truth is truth, there is no way around it. A big problem comes when this fire of God's love breaks through the veils of the outer personality and the new birth emerges, one is surrounded by people who are still operating from the conditioned personality, and the society is designed for this very worldly method of operation. And it is quite difficult when one cannot find any support in one's spiritual community to do the intense and painful work of self-surrender and trust in God on the level of absolute sincerity and honesty. This work brings a break down of the old self and a building up of a new configuration of individual spiritual substance which is always a mystery since it is in the Hands of God at all moments.

Anyway, I don't know if this makes sense to you, or if you experience any of this, but I am always looking for people to really get serious about the work of true spiritual transformation. I know this isn't what most Baha'is talk about, but I believe it is important, and I'd like to discuss it with you if you want to. Although if you need to stay focused on administration, and cannot be open to explore the inner mysteries of the self dissolving into the divine, as an actual real-time experience, then it is best not to discuss further. I have found intense resistance from people to the idea of actual in-the-moment transformation, whereby the self interfaces with the Holy Spirit, and the veils of self are rent asunder, and a transmutation takes place. Some people think this is something that you should only possibly experience alone, and never with other people. With people, the thought is to remain heavily defended and operate only from the shell of the person. It seems people don't know how to act with others if they are touched by God in a deep way. The resistance is due to the fact that the self-personality is the person's whole identity, and there is dread to be without it, to actually trust God for real, and have Him recreate us each moment. People think it can't be done, that one can't live like that. But this is what Baha'u'llah asks of us. And he never said that we should only experience transformation when we are alone.

If more people begin living by God's grace such that the person actually changes, then we can work together to change the world, and make it a world which will fit the new configurations which will emerge. It is called evolution, and it will happen, whether we do it, or somebody else does it! We need to learn how to be open to experience God with others as well as alone. We need to feel safe to do this.We need to learn to communicate with others while we are allowing God to enter into our hearts, while we are not defending our ego territory. We need to learn to relate not from our worldly personalities, but from a letting go of our defense structure. This will bring fear and it will expose our worldly attachments. But if we never go through this fear, if we never allow an honest look at ourselves, if we never face our fears, insecurities, needs for love, we will never grow individually or as a community.

Inside, don't we all want love and unity? Don't we all want to let down our walls, and feel love? But we are afraid of getting hurt. As children we got hurt, so we built walls and conformed to the standards of society so we would get approval and security from parents, peers, and others. We went to school, got jobs, got married, got all the security and approval, and now we are stuck in worldly shells, and the soul is dead. It is all an imitation now, an idealized self-image, but the connection to the living Truth is gone. We are relating to each other from behind veils of self, too afraid to say what we really feel inside, too afraid to admit our wants and needs, too afraid we'll get hurt like we did as kids. So we keep conforming, and most people don't even know they are living an artificial life. You have to deny truth in order to really live like that. The truth would be too painful. Too many years have gone into building up the false self. Only the most disastrous of calamities can break down the falsity of most people.

Okay, ____, by now, you might think I'm too critical, and this is where many people leave me alone. But there are millions of people who see things this way, there are so many books about it, it is just that Baha'is are so afraid to admit these things, because the facade will collapse. But don't we want the real thing? Don't we want to show the world real people, who are truly struggling to manifest God's love through inner transformation, instead of just a focusing on administration? How long should we wait? Now is the time to trust in God and join together for real, as a true community, and serve each other from a deep place of honesty. The spiritual bonds must grow in an environment of honesty and humility. We have so much work to do! I feel the work can start in small groups at first. We can talk more if you want. I have many more letters about this.


(Please click on 'February 2007' in the 'Archives' section and scroll down to read more letters. Also, click on earlier months to see earlier posts and pictures.)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Spiritual Work, letter to Sherlock

(Spiritual Work, letter to Sherlock, 7/4/06):

Sherlock, I'm curious to know what kinds of conversations you anticipate with me and perhaps others, as we enter into an approach to the threshold of the Beloved. I think it is quite difficult to anticipate what might happen, since to truly break new ground, we will witness the breaking of the old foundations of our life--the attachments to self and this world. The noise resulting from a true transformation of our old self may not be something we have quite heard of late. Perhaps the sixties was a taste of it, without the religion to guide it. Letting go of ego and pride and the old 'tricks' will be a necessary precursor to a humble receiving of the Spirit. We will have to feel a divine safety in order to reveal the tender underlayers of our personhood, to empty out enough to 'merit' the infusing of the Glorious Transcendent Light! How can this occur without a tumult and upheaval, the likes of which can tear down an entire civilization!

Alas, for we, as the spiritual descendants of the Dawnbreakers, must sacrifice all of ourselves on the altar of His Love. Thus, all that was built up for the sake of self, in all its subtlest forms, must be razed to the ground, ground up, and with the power of the Divine Elixir itself, turned into spirit, and unleashed onto the world with the overwhelming radiant splendor of Baha! All the needs and longings will be used for fuel to create the very love that will heal hearts and minds. We cannot bypass the struggle, for the struggle is the fuel for the fire! It is the pain of longing which leads us to Him. Without pain we cannot grow. The pain humbles us and shows us that we are in need of greater love, and that our ego is still here, needing more purifying. Those who don't struggle have false humility, since they feel they have arrived and have no inner need or impetus to seek with fervor for a greater measure of the Beloved. The Beloved is infinite--He never ends--our search for Him is ongoing.

Praise God we can be humble at His threshold, be honest about our needs and shortcomings, and bare ourselves to Him, since He sees us, and He created us. May we be able to, if in our longing for Him it is deemed beneficial, to also bare ourselves to one another, so that we can better reflect His love in our interactions, without the veils of contrived personality we are so used to. God, give us the wisdom and grace to accomplish this. We do this for Your Cause, out of the outpourings of Your Love and Mercy. Give us patience and humility, and discernment. Give us an open mind and heart, and cause us to apprehend the glorious intimations of regeneration and renewal which are vibrating within every atom of existence, so that we can rest assured that we are alive and growing beings, capable of change and transformation, in accordance with Your glorious command!

Through His Love,

"Through that Word the realities of all created things were shaken, were divided, separated, scattered, combined and reunited, disclosing, in both the contingent world and the heavenly Kingdom, entities of a new creation." --Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations, pp. 295-96

"Throughout the world, immense intellectual and spiritual energies are seeking expression, energies whose gathering pressure is in direct proportion to the frustrations of recent decades. Everywhere the signs multiply that the earth's peoples yearn for an end to conflict and to the suffering and ruin from which no land is any longer immune. These rising impulses for change must be seized upon and channeled into overcoming the remaining barriers that block realization of the age-old dream of global peace. The effort of will required for such a task cannot be summoned up merely by appeals for action against the countless ills afflicting society. It must be galvanized by a vision of human prosperity in the fullest sense of the term-an awakening to the possibilities of the spiritual and material well-being now brought within grasp." --Bahai International Community, The Prosperity of Humankind (Haifa: BahaiInternational Community Office of Public Information, 1995) P. 1.

"I beg of Thee, O my God, by Thy most exalted Word which Thou hast ordained as the Divine Elixir unto all who are in Thy realm, the Elixir through whose potency the crude metal of human life hath been transmuted into purest gold, O Thou in Whose hands are both the visible and invisible kingdoms, to ordain that my choice be conformed to Thy choice and my wish to Thy wish, that I may be entirely content with that which Thou didst desire, and be wholly satisfied with what Thou didst destine for me by Thy bounteousness and favor. Potent art Thou to do as Thou willest. Thou, in very truth, art the All-Glorious, the All-Wise." --Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha'u'llah, p. 53

"Know thou, moreover, that every created thing is continually brought forth and returned at the bidding of thy Lord, the God of power and might...Verily, the Word of God is the Cause which hath preceded the contingent world--a world which is adorned with the splendours of the Ancient of Days, yet is being renewed and regenerated at all times." --Baha'u'llah

Two short letters--One Light!

(two excerpts from letter to friends, 'One Light', and 'struggle of self'):

...I know your life is complicated. I wish I could convey to you the importance of clinging to God, to His Cause, to the hope of ultimate victory, to the vision of service in His Cause. It is that One Light that shines constantly amidst all the tumult and turmoil of this nether world, all the melodramas of this passing, ephemeral world; all the power games, the judgments, the cruelties, the ignorance of all the people that dwell here on earth. There is that one Point of Light, of Hope, that is expanded in fantastic Glory, and with it comes all the Hope and Joy and True Life, and all of Reality exists in It, and only in It. All else will pale in comparison to Its Wondrous Glory!

____, I know you want to remove the struggle of self, and the feeling of shame, guilt, or inadequacy you may feel. By actually doing the physical things which you think will be living up to the standards you feel will make you worthy, you will still not remove the struggle of self. For without having your inner being lit by the love of God, and being lifted into the Transcendent Kingdom, and soaring on the wings of the Spirit above all created things, you are still bound to the cravings of self--cravings for approval and acceptance from people perpetuating the myth that doing something outwardly in order to gain the acceptance or approval you crave will save you from your pain.