Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Tag Archives: Baha’u’llah

#Bahaullah200 ~ a #Global #BirthdayParty


This blog is nearly seven years old; and, right now, I’m writing the Most Important post I’ve ever published.

I feel what I’m about to share is vitally important…

And, even though the reason for this post is a Global Birthday Party, I need to let you know a bit of my motivation for writing it:

I completely understand when folks say, “Oh, I’m spiritual; but, definitely, not religious.”; or, “Organized religion is Dangerous.”

Both my parents were ministers; and, my two sisters also became members of the clergy…

Twenty-nine years ago, I became a member of a Faith that has no clergy…

I’ve struggled for those twenty-nine years to become more spiritual—hard work for a man who first spent nearly twenty-five years drinking and drugging…

And, I’ve progressively learned that, in spite of what’s falling apart in our World, there’s a new World being created—it’s happening in communities all over the globe (more on that later in the post...).

So, what is this Global Birthday Party?

It’s the 200th Anniversary of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh, the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith200th Birthday of Baha'u'llah

My understanding of life has improved significantly since I began studying the Bahá’í Writings—so has my perception of what’s wrong with our World and what can be done to improve things

“…at the Bahá’í International Community U.N. Office in Geneva, a bicentenary celebration was held…The program included addresses from a number of distinguished guests including Ibrahim Salama, Director of the Human Rights Treaties Division of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.”

He said:
“One of the first quotes that struck me from the Bahá’í Faith is that ‘All human beings have been created to carry forward an ever-advancing civilization’”

A few notes about Religion:

‘Abdu’l-Bahá:

“Any religion which is not a cause of love and unity is no religion.”

“To look always at the good and not at the bad. If a man has ten good qualities and one bad one, to look at the ten and forget the one; and if a man has ten bad qualities and one good one, to look at the one and forget the ten.”

“Religion is concerned with things of the spirit, politics with things of the world. Religion has to work with the world of thought, whilst the field of politics lies with the world of external conditions.”

“In the Bahá’í Cause arts, sciences and all crafts are counted as worship…”

Queen Marie of Romania:

“The Bahá’í teaching brings peace and understanding. It is like a wide embrace gathering together all those who have long searched for words of hope. It accepts all great Prophets gone before, it destroys no other creeds and leaves all doors open.”

Leo Tolstoy:

“We spend our lives trying to unlock the mystery of the universe, but there was a Turkish Prisoner, Bahá’u’lláh, in ‘Akka, Palestine, who had the key!”

A few notes about Bahá’u’lláh:

Bahá’í World News Service:

“The occasion [Bahá’u’lláh’s 200th Birthday] is prompting people the world over to reflect on the life of a Figure Who accepted 40 years of imprisonment and exile to proclaim the oneness of humanity, inspiring generations to contribute to the construction of a peaceful and just world.”

The Universal House of Justice:

“…He was made to endure forty years of suffering, including successive exiles and incarcerations at the decree of two despotic monarchs, campaigns to vilify His name and condemn His followers, violence upon His Person, shameful attempts on His life—all of which, out of a boundless love for humanity, He bore willingly, with radiance and forbearance, and with compassion for His tormentors.”

UNITY

Bahá’u’lláh spoke about the principle of Progressive Revelation, that all the major Faiths have come from the same God; and, that it has been, primarily, the clergy who have not understood Progressive Revelation and have decided to argue with or fight other Faiths.

Also, there is an illuminating video exploration of Bahá’u’lláh’s Life and Teachings

All those ideas are a lot to think about; and, many folks these days are so devastated by what’s happening in the World they can’t seem to slow down enough to Ponder………

Here’s a video, with youth from the United Kingdom, that might help you ponder some of the Principles Bahá’u’lláh shared with the World:

And, here’s a video of the activities of four dynamically different Bahá’í Communities that can help you see the profound effect of Bahá’u’lláh’s Community Building Principles

For more on the Global Celebration, visit the Bicentenary of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh

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Writing about What You Don’t Know . . .


Some of the regular visitors to this blog know I’m a Bahá’í… 

Yet, even though both my parents were Christian ministers, I’m not prone to preaching ( though, I have been known to step up on a soapbox from time to time :-)

So…

There’s a WebSite called BahaiTeachings.Org where many of the Faith’s principles are given practical explanations—applied to some of the knottiest and thorny problems of our Age…

Lo and behold, three days ago, I spotted an article on that site related directly to Writing…

The title is, Why I Write about What I Don’t Know.

An excerpt:

“As a recently published novelist, I wondered before publication if a photograph of my black face should be reproduced on the book’s inside cover.

“Why? Well, I wrote a historical novel called “City of Desire” about a young white woman who, because of the severely limited options before her, chose to become a prostitute in 1830’s New York. Based on a true story, her rise and fall fascinated me, and I wanted to understand her character, her choices, and the culture that molded her. As a man, too, I wanted to understand the struggle of women to be free.”

Then, approaching very near the current hot topic of “Cultural Appropriation“, the author said:

“I heard those ‘identity police’ voices in my head: ‘How dare you? Who do think you are? How can you possibly know what it is to be a white woman? Stay in your place. Write about what you know, and only what you know. If you do otherwise, you are appropriating our space and taking from us what is legitimately and exclusively ours.’”

Then, tackling the too oft-repeated exhortation, “Write What You Know”, the author says:

“If all writers followed this admonition, then we would write only memoirs or autobiographies. Painters would paint only self-portraits. Actors would only play themselves. Instead, artists do much more, and have done so since the beginning of storytelling and artistry itself. Artists extend themselves into uncharted territory so they can imagine and empathize with others—so they can make a human connection unmitigated by the artificial barriers we erect to keep us apart.”

To find out if the author put the picture of their black face on the inside cover, and other reflections about what writers should consider, I encourage you to read the whole piece

I’ll finish this post with a quote from the article, from the Founder of my Faith, Bahá’u’lláh:

“… the true worth of artists and craftsmen should be appreciated, for they advance the affairs of mankind …. True learning is that which is conducive to the well-being of the world, not to pride and self-conceit, or to tyranny, violence and pillage.”

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Do I Celebrate Christmas?


I may completely lose a few of my readers today……… 

In fact, many folks who trusted me to post reasonable things might think I’m bonkers.

However

Judging from most of the mainstream media, Christmas is just the modern incarnation of some ancient ritual; or, it’s the season of festivity, happiness, and gift-giving; or, it’s a time to be with family and friends to warm-up before the cold sets in, in earnest

Of course, folks in the Southern Hemisphere are in their Summer

And, my Best Friend, in Australia, celebrated Christmas yesterday :-)

Sure, a few people know what Christmas really stands for

Actually, most people probably know but let the media steer them away from the truth.

I was raised in a Christian family—Mom and Dad were both ministers.

When I left home, I became quite non-religious

In my early forties, I discovered the Bahá’í Faith.

It taught me things about Jesus the Christ that most Christians never suspect.

It taught me that, if I celebrate the birth of Christ, I should also celebrate the birth of Abraham, Moses, Krishna, Buddha, Muhammad, and all the other Manifestations.

Of course, recorded history shows the tragedy of the “believers” of most Faiths treating those of a different Faith with disdain and contempt, or covering that ill-will with a mock good-will, or just harming or killing them

My Faith teaches me that all the Manifestations had the Truth and brought it to Humanity at different stages in its evolution.

Now, I’ll share the etymology of “Celebrate”:

“…from Latin celebratus ‘much-frequented; kept solemn; famous’, past participle of celebrare ‘assemble to honor’, also ‘to publish; sing praises of; practice often’, originally ‘to frequent in great numbers’, from celeber ‘frequented, populous, crowded’; with transferred senses of ‘well-attended; famous; often-repeated’.”

So, if Christmas is the birth of Jesus, I celebrate it—I celebrate the birth of every Manifestation, even the Ones I know nothing of

I celebrate the concept that there is a Manual for Living, taught by all the Manifestations—embracing Virtues like Honesty, Love, Justice, Courtesy, Joyfulness, Nobility, Truthfulness, and Gratitude.

Sure, to admit that one is religious can bring scorn, ridicule, and even death.

But, to ignore what religion really teaches (not what any given believer teaches) is, at least, as dangerous as ignoring the laws of science

That last sentence could make some think I’m rather odd, that I base my life on principles that come from people who say they have a message direct from God—yet, the Manifestations aren’t just “people”; their Lives show that and their Words support it.

That’s not easy to believe and, from my experience, interpreting any Scripture is about as easy as figuring out what the great poets write—it can be done, it usually leads to more than one interpretation, it depends on good sense and an open heart

I’ve spent 26 years as a Bahá’í and I’m still taking baby-steps; but, those steps are much better for me than the sleazy crawl and the pompous strut I used to do.

Let me share a quote from the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, Bahá’u’lláh.

It’s about Jesus but could apply to all the Manifestations:

“We testify that when He came into the world, He shed the splendor of His glory upon all created things. Through Him the leper recovered from the leprosy of perversity and ignorance. Through Him, the unchaste and wayward were healed. Through His power, born of Almighty God, the eyes of the blind were opened, and the soul of the sinner sanctified… We bear witness that through the power of the Word of God every leper was cleansed, every sickness was healed, every human infirmity was banished. He it is Who purified the world. Blessed is the man who, with a face beaming with light, hath turned towards Him.”

Dear reader, if you’ve gotten this far in the post, let me repeat the caution that a true understanding of religion does not come from what the believers say.

True understanding comes from an Independent Investigation of Truth
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Some Thoughts on Holy Days . . .


Christmas is a Holy Day?

Such a shame some have forgotten

As a Bahá’í, I don’t celebrate Christmas—I honor it.

The birthday of the Founder of any Faith is worth honoring, in my humble opinion

If we can’t honor Them for for Their Teachings, we still might be able to honor the otherworldly courage They displayed, or the immense compassion They had; and, if nothing else, we can admire Them for bearing the incredible persecutions They all suffered

Naturally, many folk have permitted Business to hypnotize them into treating Christmas as a Commercial Day.

I wonder if other Faiths face this same issue?

Please, if you are of another Faith, would you share your thoughts and feelings in the Comments?

And, if you subscribe to no Faith, I’d still appreciate your Comments :-)
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“Who Says Words with My Mouth”


I want to ask you a favor

A favor you can do for yourself

I’m asking anyone reading this post; but, especially, the writers (active or potential writers)

Ponder the title of this post for a few minutes, then write down what you feel it means

………

OK, I’ll venture to say that what you wrote is a key to who you really are—beyond your body, beyond your cares, beyond the pressures of daily living

That line is from a poem by Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi who lived from 1207 to 1273 in what is now Afghanistan.

The most honored translator of Rumi is Coleman Barks from Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Mr. Barks will read the poem that line is from in the video below.

I must quote Druzelle Cederquist, who also used the video on her blog, when she says, about Rumi, “…he asks the questions buried in our own hearts, that he digs deep but delivers with a light touch, capturing the heart with a voice that plays between humor and haunting longing. That he takes us to the threshold of answers, no further, and invites us to follow the trail he has blazed to find the answers for ourselves.”

In the blog post that quote is from, Druzelle mentions Bahá’u’lláh, Who quotes Rumi in His own mystical Writings and spent 40 years of His life in banishment and exile.

Bahá’u’lláh said:

“True loss is for him whose days have been spent in utter ignorance of his self.”

And, again, for anyone reading this (but, especially for the writers), “Who Says Words with My Mouth” could refer to your inner Self speaking and you wondering where the words came from

So, put together Rumi’s poem, Coleman Barks voice, a movie of a street in San Francisco in the early 1900s, and music by Claude Debussy and you get a video that is a marvel of a mash-up :-) {Supreme thanks to my Best Friend for sending a link to this video in my email…}


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