May 22, 2012

striving to connect a material world

"Observe how darkness has overspread the world. In every corner of the earth there is strife, discord and warfare of some kind. Mankind is submerged in the sea of materialism and occupied with the affairs of this world. They have no thought beyond earthly possessions and manifest no desire save the passions of this fleeting, mortal existence. Their utmost purpose is the attainment of material livelihood, physical comforts and worldly enjoyments such as constitute the happiness of the animal world rather than the world of man."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

we are all in the world together but we are all living in different worlds.  i am striving to live in the world of the spirit, a world that connects many kinds of people together who can relate to each other as souls and connect with each others' hearts..we don't have to be the same in any other way except that we are conscious of the holy spirit operating in our lives as souls -- rather than superficially connecting with each other on some material level..

"The world for the most part is sunk in materialism, 
and the blessings of the Holy Spirit are ignored. 
There is so little real spiritual feeling, 
and the progress of the world is for the most part merely material."

 (Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 122)

i recently attended a PTA meeting at the kids' school.  i felt like i was immersed in the world of materialism.  it is a world without radiance of spirit, without humility, and often without the purity of heart.  it is full of love, but not the love which emits radiance and humility.  this is the world with many layers of love for one's self and of the things of this world..  i was surrounded by wigs, fake nails, excessive jewelry and make-up, fancy clothes, high heels, tight jeans, exposed breasts and attitude.. i couldn't spiritually connect with anyone.

i tried to judge fairly, to look for the light in everyone, and to see with the eye of perfection.  but i had to be fair and honest with myself:  i didn't feel the warmth of spirit in the room.   in its absence was the coldness of materialism which takes over the soul of man like a disease and leaves the body cool..  i kept thinking to myself, 'who is that person beneath those layers of self-love?  who are you without your wealth, degree, position and body image?'  it made me long to be in a world with people who are at least striving to free themselves of becoming entangled by the tentacles of materialism..

"Should a man wish to adorn himself with the ornaments of the earth, to wear its apparels, or partake of the benefits it can bestow, no harm can befall him, if he alloweth nothing whatever to intervene between him and God, for God hath ordained every good thing, whether created in the heavens or in the earth, for such of His servants as truly believe in Him. Eat ye, O people, of the good things which God hath allowed you, and deprive not yourselves from His wondrous bounties. Render thanks and praise unto Him, and be of them that are truly thankful."

Baha'u'llah is announcing to the peoples of the world that they may adorn their outer being with the delights of the earth and enjoy the good things which come from the material world -- if we allow 'nothing whatever to intervene' between us and God.

this is a big if.  if materialism is like a disease, and if we are able to partake of the benefits of this material world, i'm concluding that it's not a simple matter of choice.  it must require an ever-present, conscious effort of making God's love one's greatest treasure, and that one's heart must remain full with God's love and not become filled up with the love of this world, including one's self -- if we want to remain radiant in spirit, humble in countenance, and pure in heart..

as the extremes of wealth and poverty pervade every corner of the earth, i find my heart yearning more and more to be surrounded by a world of humble souls and protected from the world of worldly people.   i thrive on being around people whose souls are not wrapped under layers of self-love and love for the vanities of this world.  i am striving to keep my heart pure in its servitude to God, being and doing everything wholly for the sake of God and not for myself.  being close to humble souls helps keep my world genuine and real, down to earth, sincere and rooted in reliance on and love for God more than myself or the things i possess.

The candle of thine heart is lighted by the hand of My power, quench it not with the contrary winds of self and passion. The healer of all thine ills is remembrance of Me, forget it not. Make My love thy treasure and cherish it even as thy very sight and life.
Abandon not for that which perisheth an everlasting dominion, and cast not away celestial sovereignty for a worldly desire. This is the river of everlasting life that hath flowed from the well-spring of the pen of the merciful; well is it with them that drink!

Put away the garment of vainglory, and divest yourselves of the attire of haughtiness. In the third of the most holy lines writ and recorded in the Ruby Tablet by the pen of the unseen this is revealed:
Be forbearing one with another and set not your affections on things below. Pride not yourselves in your glory, and be not ashamed of abasement. By My beauty! I have created all things from dust, and to dust will I return them again.
Put away all covetousness and seek contentment; for the covetous hath ever been deprived, and the contented hath ever been loved and praised.

(Baha'u'llah, The Persian Hidden Words)

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