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  • Roger - Dr Roger Prentice 4:55 am on July 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: death matters, , Human Spirit, Journey of the Soul, , , , `Abdu'l-Bahá   

    Do you remember where you were when you had one of your more important ‘aha’ moments’? 


    I have appreciated greatly the ‘One Garden: the inter-spiritual way’ group’s dialogue and inspiration generated around insights, the aha moments, satori etc. One of our ‘One Garden’ members actually did her doctorate on the nature of ‘Aha! experiences.

    I am wondering if you remember where you were, not when President Kennedy was assassinated or the Twin Towers were attacked but when you had a particular ‘aha’ moment.

    Was it when you stood in the prow of a speeding boat like Kate Winslet in Titanic? Or whilst lying in bed? Or in front of a beautiful vista?

    For my ‘aha moment recalled’ I re-visited a subject necessary when I wrote my thesis namely ‘What is soul?’ If you want to see how challenging this apparently simple question is visit the WikiPedia page on ‘Soul’! – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soul

    I found I got most help from Baha’i teachings. I would like to correlate what I got from Baha’i with other major traditions – so if you want to do some research in one or several of the other traditions please send me the results of your investigation!

    The passage that gave me the most help doesn’t amount to scripture but if it is an accurate report it provides a great insight. So great was the impact when I discovered this passage about 20 years ago that not only did I yell something like ‘Eureka’ I can remember the exact spot of the exact place when I first read the passage – it was Talkin Tarn Country Park in Cumbria. I was sitting on a bench in front of trees facing the tarn.


    ‘…..it (Human Reality) is the same reality which is given different names, according to the different conditions wherein it becomes manifest.

    Because of its attachment to matter and the phenomenal world, when it governs the physical functions of the body, it is called the human soul.

    When it manifests itself as the thinker, the comprehender, it is called the mind.

    And when it soars into the atmosphere of God, and travels in the spiritual world, it becomes designated as spirit.’ – Star of the West 7.19 (March 1917):190.


    At one level I take the soul to be ‘human spirit individuated as a person’, as in ‘several souls were saved by the lifeboat crew’.

    But from the above passage, and from indications on the WikiPedia page, the soul is more a particular activity of being human – as the will particularly in regard to ‘governor of the body’. The singleness of being human or ‘human reality’ manifests as three roles or activities of which one is our will;

    1) The soul as will governs our body and our interactions with the physical world. The same human reality that manifests itself as soul, also manifests as
    2) mind when engaged in thinking and
    3) ‘spirit’ when soaring in ‘the atmosphere of God’ and ‘travelling’ in the spiritual world.

    For those who see themselves as inter-spiritual the three in this ‘three-in-one’ incorporates
    1) being engaged in thought or contemplation (mind),
    2) turning to God/The Whole/Mystery with mind quietened (ie spiritual connection as in prayer or meditation) and
    3) willing an action e.g getting up and closing a door or deciding to give some money to a particular charity etc.

    All three are modes within ‘the human spirit individuated as a person’ – in terms of levels of spirit (mineral, plant, animal, human and Holy Spirit). All three emanate from the singleness of Being, and from ‘being that individual’. But that singleness shifts into one of the three modes depending on circumstances and intention.

    A similar three-in-one I suggest in my SunWALK thesis. Each of us is a discrete individualization of the human spirit – the singleness of white light. But continuously, in micro-seconds even, we switch between the three modes of Caring, Creativity and Criticality – for the same reasons – need and circumstances. These three can be seen as the 3 primary colours of being human. We develop these, or fail to develop them, in a fourth C Community (in reality communities plural). These are NOT three kinds of thinking. If a child falls in front of you you don’t paint a picture (Creative response) or intellectually examine the frequency of particular kinds of accidents in UK families (Criticality response) – you pick the child up and dust her down, console & distract her.

    See HERE – https://wordpress.com/stats/insights/sunwalkmodelofholisticeducation.wordpress.com

    These three; Caring, Creativity & Criticality are THREE MODES OF BEING & ACTING not three ways of thinking (sorry to shout) – thinking is the servant, and in at least Caring & Creating can be at a very low level – like the hum of the nondual as we go about our daily lives. When we take a conscious breath we are simply ‘fore-fronting’ the nondual, which when we are doing the shopping or washing-up, is the ‘hum’ in the background – like the drone in certain kinds of music. This is our staying in contact with ‘home’, God if you prefer, the nowness to which we return via each ‘conscious breath’.

    DEATH MATTERS – especially dying before we die!
    Incidentally according to Baha’i teachings you retain your individuality through out the worlds of God after this life. So does that mean I don’t believe in the drop into Ocean idea? No – I think we as a drop are relieved of the burden of self whenever we rest in the Whole i.e our true Ultimate Self. Breathing in “I rest in…’ – breathing out; ‘….the Whole’. There this particular tiny drop, so far as he is able, just became at-one with the Ocean. Hooray! Wow as Tim Freke-ians say! It is a real-time nowness thing not a goal at the end of a journey. (Check out Richard Rohr’s The Naked Now, as stunningly good as Tim’s ‘The Mystery Experience’). Every time we rest in a circular breath we sense that at-one-ness. Wow – and Aha! Wow – and Aha! Wow – and Aha!

    The above passage attributed to Abdu’l-Baha was important to me since it it presents a ‘trinitarian driver’s-eye view’ of being human. We can simply ask which of these modes am I in most often or at a particular time. Am I getting as Tolle suggests of the human condition as a whole ‘lost in thought’ too often?

    My aha extract is far from being a comprehensive view of Baha’i teachings on the subject.

    Other Baha’i sources on this subject are here;

    Life Death and the Soul – http://info.bahai.org/article-1-4-0-5.html

    The Soul – http://info.bahai.org/article-1-4-5-1.html

    The Human Soul – Selections from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh – http://info.bahai.org/article-1-3-2-25.html

    Heaven and hell: a Bahá’í view of life after death – http://info.bahai.org/article-1-4-5-2.html

    Abdu’l-Baha on the Journey of the Soul – http://info.bahai.org/article-1-4-6-1.html



    1 How does the tradition that you know best explain ‘What is soul, mind and spirit?’

  • Roger - Dr Roger Prentice 5:54 am on June 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: beyond words, , Divine Philosophy, , intuition, , , Rumi, `Abdu'l-Bahá   

    Communion beyond words, prayer as 'conversation with God' meditation as speaking with your own spirit 

    ‘Abdu’l-Bahá says,

    1. “I have the greatest desire to speak with you, but if I do not talk with my tongue I commune with my heart and my soul is with you. Without the medium of words it speaks to you of mysteries. Those who understand can converse with me thus for night and day I cry, “Yá Bahá El-Bahá,” and I proclaim the kingdom of BAHA‘O‘LLAH so that intelligent hearts can understand the significance.

    Those turned toward the kingdom perceive the light of BAHA‘O‘LLAH; but if they are not turned, even should I address them in eloquent and resonant words, it would be like playing a marvelous instrument for the deaf.

    Thanks be to God, your hearts and intelligence are awakened, so that you hear the divine mention night and day, I hope that you understand what I say, that you comprehend the praises of BAHA‘O‘LLAH, for I have no aim save to proclaim the kingdom of El-Bahá; I have no occupation save to explain the book of BAHA‘O‘LLAH. My hope in you is great, that the song may penetrate.”
    (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy, p. 119-120)

    2 “In His talks ‘Abdu’l-Bahá describes prayer as ‘Conversation with God‘, and concerning meditation He says that ‘while you meditate you are speaking with your own spirit. In that state of mind you put certain questions to your spirit and the spirit answers: the light breaks forth and the reality is revealed.”
    (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 540)

    It seems that Rumi said something very similar;

    There is a voice that doesn’t use words.
    ~ Rumi (allegedly)

    1 How are we to understanding this communing with heart and soul?
    2 Who is the you? What is your ‘own spirit’ if it is separate from the ‘you’? Is there definitely the definite article implication of ‘your’ in ‘your spirit’ in the original language – might it be just ‘spirit’?

  • Roger - Dr Roger Prentice 11:17 am on January 11, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , changeless, eternal, eternal faith, interspiritulity, , Revelation, UK Baha'i community, UK Muslim community, `Abdu'l-Bahá   

    Reality – as the ‘Changeless’ and ‘progressive revelation’ 



    Changeless and Progressive

    Baha’u’llah says that The Baha’i Faith is ‘The changeless faith of God, eternal in the past, eternal in the future.’’ – Gl p.136

    If you combine this with what Abdu’l-Baha says here;

    We should earnestly seek and thoroughly investigate realities, recognizing that the purpose of the religion of God is the education of humanity and the unity and fellowship of mankind.

    Furthermore we will establish the point that the foundations of the religions of God are one foundation. This foundation is not multiple for it is reality itself. Reality does not admit of multiplicity although each of the divine religions is separable into two divisions.

    One concerns the world of morality and the ethical training of human nature. It is directed to the advancement of the world of humanity in general; it reveals and inculcates the knowledge of God and makes possible the discovery of the verities of life. This is ideal and spiritual teaching, the essential quality of divine religion and not subject to change or transformation. It is the one foundation of all the religions of God. Therefore the religions are essentially one and the same.

    The second classification or division comprises social laws and regulations applicable to human conduct. This is not the essential spiritual quality of religion. It is subject to change and transformation according to the exigencies and requirements of time and place. …………………

    Time changes conditions, and laws change to suit conditions. We must remember that these changing laws are not the essentials; they are the accidentals of religion.

    The essential ordinances established by a Manifestation of God are spiritual; they concern moralities, the ethical development of man and faith in God. They are ideal and necessarily permanent; expressions of the one foundation and not amenable to change or transformation.

    Therefore the fundamental basis of the revealed religion of God is immutable, unchanging throughout the centuries, not subject to the varying conditions of the human world.

    we can see that Abdu’l-Baha gives much greater emphasis to that which is changeless.

    This, Abdu’l-Baha’s ‘two classifications or divisions’, is what I was taught, and can be found not only in Abdu’l-Baha’s Writings but also in such books as Hand of the Cause John Ferraby’s book ‘All Things Made New’. e.g. in pages 40-41

    I became a Baha’i 52 years ago and I am now wondering if progressive revelation has been overemphasized and the changeless has been insufficiently emphasized. Might the changeless have appealed to larger numbers of seeking souls? During the last five decades, that the UK Baha’i community has remained tiny and stuck, Islam in the UK has had a meteoric rise so that today almost one in ten babies & toddlers are Muslim – see HERE  (Fecundity is not the only explanation!)

    Connected is the possibility that ‘progressive revelation’ has a) been misunderstood or given emphasis over and above the ‘changeless’ and b) bad attitudes and misuse has been current amongst some/many Baha’is.


    This I’m sure can be a major study but here I want to mention just a few points.

    The Revelations over the last few millennia have spoken to larger & larger social units.

    An argument might be made that the challenges set by the succession of Revelations increased.

    Most of all the infusion of potential into human reality took an almighty leap upwards.


    What do you think?

  • Roger - Dr Roger Prentice 1:43 pm on July 16, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Adler, At-one-ment, Attitude, , , Frankl, Freedom, Freud, , , , Personhood, Physical world, , , `Abdu'l-Bahá   

    Sex, power, meaning or all three – what motivates us, in what does our humanity lie? 

    Draft 1 16th July 2009

    Sexual drive is at the heart of Freud’s view of being human.   Desire for power is a the heart of Adler’s view. Frankl put the drive for meaning at the heart of his Logotherapy view of being human.

    Perhaps these are reconcilable in a Baha’i perspective?

    The key of course lies in the view that the physical world is a mirror of the spiritual.  At the centre of sexual drive is the desire for at-one-ment – a kind of transcendence, longing for a (temporary) unitive state.

    In the case of power we have to ask, ‘What kind, for what purpose?’ We all need empowerment to be empowered, to use power, personal or political, to good ends.

    Frankl, who was for years a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp, saw up-grading the meaning or significance of an event as a means to healing;

    “If a prisoner felt that he could no longer endure the realities of camp life, he found a way out in his mental life – an invaluable opportunity to dwell in the spiritual domain, the one that the SS were unable to destroy. Spiritual life strengthened the prisoner, helped him adapt, and thereby improved his chances of survival.”

    Frankl said;

    “We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

    `Abdu’l-Bahá of course was Master of this.

    I can’t think of any greater body of meaning, or of meaning-making possibilities than the Baha’i teachings and vision for a world of harmonized diversity.


    SunWALK Baha-i-inspired model and PhD are HERE

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