Notes from An Alien

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Tag Archives: Baha’u’llah

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Broken but Useful

a Poetic Odyssey for the Peoples of the World

by

Alexander M Zoltai

A Project of B. I. D. E.

Benevolence In Dharmic Exploration

~~~~~~~~~

I’ve Escaped and found a way to Help…

to Help… somewhat

Between Escape and Help,

a long span of time;

and, it wasn’t always nice…

I’ll attempt an elaboration…

………

It began in a regular old state in a country not aware it was decaying…

“It” was my birth; and, I think my first cry signaled that the

War had begun…

 

So, also, begins the movie of my life; and, if the

Editor seems frail and puts That before This,

Bear with the story—

the actors are real, though flawed—

the scenes are true, though, at times, full of unrealities…

 

Unrealities in these troubled times…

 

And, while I’ll now relate to you what I grew up through,

there will be a eulogy for the future;

though, the past will have its say;

and, some judgements and remedies will be offered…

 

And, while I ponder in words about what has occurred and will happen,

Do, please, remember, there is really no “Them”, just Us…

 

One last idea before I sail the sea of story…

 

There is a primal Oneness that surrounds you; and,

perhaps you will allow it to embrace you…

 

A large part of my tale is how I failed, for so long,

yet regained,  somewhat,

that sense of Oneness…

 

So…

 

My life began with many moves—

city to city with few memories retained; but,

much of that memory was mined with later

conceptual digging—

If this, then that…

 

If I was overbearing,

Then at least one of my parents helped me learn it—

If I hated my father for my first thirty years, for the way he treated my mother,

Then I didn’t realize my mother, for all that time, must have bought into his verbal abusing—

If I wandered so often, covering much territory, becoming, often, homeless,

Then I must have felt quite unmoored in my youngest home life…

 

The earliest pressures can have the longest pains.

The mistakes of parents can harm for years.

My heart is still bearing such things…

 

The things that nearly engulfed my soul

seem legion beyond surcease—

There is but one way they’re gone for good,

A grace from regions Beyond…

 

And, I must pause my dealings with the past

to deal with where this odyssey heads—

No doubt I was born into and developed in a quaking world—

No doubt it will continue shuddering, ‘till it releases,

through pain and ordeal, its new Self—and,

I’ve felt, so deeply, this long travail,

this extended birth through pain

of humanity’s destined maturity—

so hazardous, this path, for any sensitive soul…

 

Back to the harrowing times of my youth—

a dogmatically fervent father,

a strong but obsequious mother,

two older sisters—all so far from my inner World…

So much of that time is blank—extended family orbiting my own,

yet all far distant and forgotten…

 

Memory enlivens in the high school years…

My first love…

My first fight with a woman…

My first running away from life…

My most toxic instance of burying embarrassment…

 

Apart from the love leading to embarrassment,

I remember high school being the time

of beginning to hate the

procedure of education; though,

I’ve never stopped learning on my own.

I swiftly became an educated maverick…

 

College?

Started…

Had my head smashed against a brick wall—

perfect excuse to leave college behind…

 

Soon realized I was headed for a major clash with society and

was weak enough to still believe my success in life demanded

adherence to social norms—while realizing I had no chance of

adhering by myself,

I joined the Navy,

to be forced to adhere—

four interesting years…

Vietnam for one of them…

 

Return to San Francisco in time for the

Summer of Love

and

the beginning of a forty-five year binge on pot and beer…

 

Naturally, memory, in the main, fails

except for certain landmarks:

 

First time of being critically broken—

being banished from my daughter’s life…

Broken; but, instantly wiser about my being

an addicted social outcast…

 

Second time of being critically broken—

Mother’s death…

Followed within a few years by

oldest sister’s death…

Followed within a few years by

Dad’s death…

 

It could be said I’d been not only broken; but,

shattered, crushed, and ground to dust…

 

I believe I was all of 40 years old; but,

the constant pot and beer took a massive toll on memory—

this part of my life’s movie may have some mistakes in timing—

yet, what I’ve mentioned happened—

in some order of its own…

 

Still, I can date something precisely at 42—

The beginning of the Escape…

 

I’d thought before the Navy I needed

severe discipline to tow Society’s line—

I now knew I needed to adhere to a much

Higher Code than society could offer—not

a maverick life—more a life

apart—a life dedicated to

Eternity…

 

I found a Faith—

I call it an Escape—

An Escape that still demands

constant Adherence to

a way of living the prevailing culture

abhors…

 

Yet…

The Escape that

demands Adherence also

demands an awareness that

all Faiths are One—

while most believers still want to fight each other—

while most of the western world shuns any Faith—

while the majority of humanity are

closer, in their simple, grounded beliefs to

True Faith…

 

Seem confusing…?

 

Understandable,

what with all the contentions swirling while

humanity experiences the

Travail of Rebirth—

entrance to the new Age—

Unity…

 

Still…

The Spring of Unity

demands the Winter of the

dissolution of what the

Rulers and Financiers deem

Standard Operating Procedure—

Procedure that rapes the earth—

that destroys trust—

that breeds contempt—

that will eliminate current

Givens and

give

new

Life

Seem confusing…?

For most, it is confusing…

How can what seems to have always been

become so seemingly suddenly utterly outmoded?

 

One simple act can unwrap the religious confusion that permits such human suffering—

a humble appraisal of the actual Teachings of the Prophets—

Not the beliefs of the believers—

the actual Teachings bear witness to a fundamental

Unity…

 

I force no claims—

I demand no agreement—

I only state the State I’ve discovered—

existing above yet within us all…

 

Yet…

I struggle…

Have for thirty years…

Accumulated dross seems solidified—

Karma reeks of retribution—

Mistakes of the past call for repentance…

 

Was that shot in the arm, from a needle wiped by

the bloody rag used on the guy in line ahead of me—all of us being prepped for

Vietnam—could that simple swipe have been the infecting that

grew for so many years?

 

Backing up a bit…

The early years of struggling for my Faith led to

radical resistance by my ego,

which led to attempted suicide.

Went to a psychologist—

Blood was taken—

Diagnosis delivered—

Hepatitis C…

 

A deadly disease shook me out of a desire to kill myself…

 

Stranger things have happened.

 

Eleven months of sledgehammer medicine…

They said I was “cleared”; a cure not possible…

 

Mind and emotions still vied for a basis of understanding—

the Solution was very clear—

applying it is still problematic,

not to be wondered at in this world of ours—

Fraught with vexations,

full of troubles,

frantic with worries—

rulers dismantling justice and fairness,

corporations acting like rulers,

both fouling our Earthly nest…

 

Our current world is like a badly written

horror-crime novel…

The antagonists of the book are those

financiers I mentioned and

the rulers those money-folk control.

 

Justice has wilted and fairness been crippled and love become a street-walker…

 

A Short Laundry List of Crimes Against Humanity:

* Corporate takeover of peoples’ lands that pollutes those lands.

* Materialists controlling economies, polluting peoples’ hearts with consumerism.

* Rulers claiming exclusive sovereignty and imperiling their peoples’ well-being.

* Companies creating toxic products.

* Advertisers making false claims.

* Doctors in bed with Big Pharma.

* Clergy encouraging contention.

* Education that isn’t…

* Sham democracies brewing materialistic “Rights”,

turning “liberated” individuals into warring camps of protestation—

freedom of speech being so misused it’s ashamed of what it’s saying…

* Countries causing or funding wars in other countries,

then refusing entry to the innocent folks trying to flee

and encouraging radicals to hassle and kill the refugees…

 

Just a few of the reapings of the multinational-greed-dealers

 

Just a few of the factors that will demolish the old Order,

be the Winter preceding the blessed Spring…

 

So…

There’s a new Order…?

 

Yes.

There are people, around the Globe, building the foundations of this

New Order of Unity—

this Equality of All—

this Oneness of Humanity.

 

And…

Since my Escape some thirty years ago,

I’ve been attempting to master my particular way to Help.

To Help… somewhat

 

I’ve written a novel,

Nearly one hundred fifty short stories,

A fable,

A book of poems, and

blogged for nearly eight years straight—providing aid and assistance to other writers…

All of that took nineteen years,

all of that just a bit of Help for our ailing humanity…

 

How could it help…?

By portraying Principles in Action—

an animated representation of Ethics—

Morals contrasted with Immorality—

Stories, Poems, Articles that have

reached eighty countries and territories—

Global Effort that’s still just a bit of Help…

 

All the while, I’ve struggled to live up to my Faith—

struggled against the inertia of the old Order—

nearly sucked down into the materialistic morass—

stumbled over my own virtues, kept walking on

bloody knees—

striven toward

transcendence of self…

 

I still pray, will always pray for aid and assistance…

 

I pray all the words I’ve written,

here and elsewhere,

have helped—somewhat

 

All of these ups and downs and ins and outs and damage and repair

led me to writing this Poetic Odyssey…

 

Led me to say:

May all your tribulations be slight—

May you live to see a slightly better World—

May your children thrive…

 

I leave you with a small bit of advice:

In

You

is the strength you seek elsewhere

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Twin Birthdays for Twin Manifestations


Twin Birthdays ~ Bab and Baha'u'llah

In lieu of a re-blog today, I’m sharing a video that’s very meaningful to me and may interest some readers of this blog…

I offer an alert for certain folks, being aware that a presentation of a part of my Faith might trouble various people…

Yesterday and today are the Birthdays of the Baha’i Twin Manifestations…

The video was released in 2015…

Our Conversation About “Serious Writing” Continues…


Serious Writing This particular conversation about “serious writing” began last Wednesday —> Blog Conversation ~ “Serious Writing”

And, by way of prologuing the repetition of part of what that post said, here’s the comment that kept this conversation going:

“I was trying to choose a poem to read at a charity gig we are putting on next week ‘Music and Words’ and found I didn’t want to read anything serious. I wanted to make people laugh. However, I do write political stuff sometimes, trying to influence how people think and behave. There’s a time and place for everything.”

To reinforce what that commentor said, here’s a quote from Bahá’u’lláh:

 “Not everything that a man knoweth can be disclosed, nor can everything that he can disclose be regarded as timely, nor can every timely utterance be considered as suited to the capacity of those who hear it.”

And, because this is a blog that explores language quite a bit, I should mention that Bahá’u’lláh wrote in Persian and Arabic; and, translations into English (partly out of classical experience) use “he” and “man”, when the actual text has non-sexed words—the closest English can come to that is the word “they”; but, some folks resist it; and, using it can make the original meanings hard to convey

Short Form:

Bahá’u’lláh was also talking about women :-)

So…

We can’t always disclose what we know in writing; we can’t always consider what we want to write as timely; and, everything we write is probably not suitable for all readers…

And, while this advice can refer to “serious” writing, it could as well refer to writing that’s only meant to entertain…

As the author who kept this conversation going said: “There’s a time and place for everything.”

Still, I feel there are aspects of a conversation about “serious writing” that we haven’t yet discussed…

With a nod toward that potentiality, here (one more time) is the word history of “serious”:

mid-15c., “expressing earnest purpose or thought” (of persons), from Middle French sérieux “grave, earnest” (14c.), from Late Latin seriosus, from Latin serius “weighty, important, grave,” probably from a PIE root *sehro- “slow, heavy” (source also of Lithuanian sveriu, sverti “to weigh, lift,” svarus“heavy, weighty;” Old English swær “heavy,” German schwer “heavy,” Gothic swers “honored, esteemed,” literally “weighty”). As opposite of jesting, from 1712; as opposite of light (of music, theater, etc.), from 1762. Meaning “attended with danger” is from 1800.

So…

“Serious” can mean “heavy” but also “weighty”; “earnest” or “grave”; and, even somewhat “dangerous”

What’s your conception of “serious writing”?

When, especially, do you think it’s “necessary”?

When should it be “avoided”?

And, if you dare go there, when is “serious” writing “meditative”, “ruminative”, “contemplative”, or “introspective”?

Finally, if all those quotation marks haven’t scared you away, what are Your thoughts and feelings about “serious” writing?

It only takes one comment to keep this conversation going :-)
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#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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