Blogs by Bahais

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Recommended link: The Science of Near-Death Experiences

Everybody Means Something


I have embarked on sequences of new posts whichexamineanumberofideasfrombooksIhaverecently read.  These ideas relate to our understanding of reality, to where our society is heading and to what we as individuals might be able to do about that. I will be posting links to related topics as and when I find them as this sequence of posts unfolds.

Below is an extract from an excellent article by Gideon Lichfield summarising the current state of research on NDEs: it manages, in a balanced dispassionate way, to express the author’s scepticism without offending those who believe in an afterlife. I will be re-posting my article on Pim van Lommel’s work from tomorrow. For Lichfield’s full post see link

Near-death experiences have gotten a lot of attention lately. The 2014 movie Heaven Is for Real, about a young boy who told his…

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Owen's Meanderings

Transformation is usually understood as a change of type rather than an improvement on the old. When faced with a challenge, there seem to be only a two types of strategies. The first and most common is to use the same vehicle (framework, tools etc) that has had previous success, perhaps increasing the effort (resources) and dominate the challenge by a well known activity. This strategy will either succeed or fail. If it succeeds the use of the strategy will be reinforced. If it fails it might still be used or it maybe that another strategy is implemented. If the failing strategy becomes defended and rationalised, even if critically, it might be improved through the increase of resources, but continued use will eventually meet absolute failure and defeat ensures all resources are exhausted. If the failing strategy is recognised for what it often is, a strategy that no longer meets…

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Recommended Link: Starved for Time? Here’s a Surprising – and Easy – Solution

Everybody Means Something

Christine Carter, Ph.D., is a Senior Fellow at the GGSC Christine Carter, Ph.D., is a Senior Fellow at the GGSC

. . . . . the sign of contemplation is silence, because it is impossible for a man to do two things at one time—he cannot both speak and meditate.

(‘Abdu’l-Bahá Paris Talks page 174)

There is a lot of evidence building up to reinforce the idea that quietness of mind, a current theme of mine, is a very positive experience indeed. In November this year for example there was a post on the Greater Good website suggesting this and pointing us in the direction of supportive evidence such as from Matt Killingworth’s piece of July 2013:

How does mind-wandering relate to happiness? We found that people are substantially less happy when their minds are wandering than when they’re not, which is unfortunate considering we do it so often. Moreover, the size of this effect is large—how often…

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The Currency of Suffering (1/2)

Everybody Means Something

Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh at Bahji Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh at Bahji

My recent post on the plight of Ramin Zibaei, as well as the recent executions by IS, called to mind my various attempts to grapple with the problem of  the existence of intense suffering in a world created, as I believe, by an all-powerful and all-loving God. This entails factoring in natural disasters, the Ebola outbreak being perhaps the most significant recent example, as well as human atrocity, the latter being also something I have attemptedtounderstand.

I felt it might be timely to republish some of my earlier posts on the issue of suffering. For reasons I explain in the second of this first sequence of posts, they are not meant to convince a sceptic that God exists, but may help to persuade him that believing in God is not completely irrational in spite of all the pain there is in the world.

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Writing Empowerments: Ink from Ochre Extract

Following the Crow Song


Ong argues that writing can “enrich the human psyche, enlarge the human spirit, intensify its interior life.” [1]  In other words writing can be moulded to fit those who use it, and can extend rather than diminish subjectivity and intersubjectivity.   Max Van Manen describes the power of writing:

Writing fixes thoughts on paper.  It externalises what in some senses is internal; it distances us from our immediate lived involvements with the things of our world.  As we stare at the paper, and stare at what we have written, our objectified thinking now stares back at us.  This writing creates the reflective cognitive stance …[2]

Writing has a paradoxical power that comes from its ability to objectify as ideas are placed onto paper, yet as it objectifies it subjectifies.  It can do this because writing can represent a dialogue with the self.   Even though many Indigenous women write in…

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The Terror of Conviction (1/3)

Everybody Means Something

Cruelty has a Human Heart,
And Jealousy a Human Face;
Terror the Human Form Divine,
And Secrecy the Human Dress.

William Blake: Songs of ExperienceAdditional Poem

In the wake of the anniversary of 9/11 and as a response, however inadequate, to the enormity of the recent beheadings of three innocent hostages by IS, I feel it is worth republishing a sequence of posts I first published several years ago. The situation in the world is at least as fraught as it was then, if not more so, making the sequence still as relevant now. Moreover, I feel that the ideas I tried to pull together continue to deserve careful attention if we are to learn how to respond effectively to those influences within and around us that might pull us into the quicksand of extremism. This is the first of three posts on consecutive days.

Terror and the Human Form


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The Effects of Mindfulness (3): apples in the air

Everybody Means Something

Mind Image scanned from Marcel Paquet ‘Magritte’ (Taschen)

My much earlier post on interconnectedness included a declaration of intent – I was going to seek a deeper understanding of the concept both by reading and by the practice of mindfulness, amongst other things. So, how have things been going in this phase of mindfulness practice, drawn from Mark Williams and Danny Penman’s book on Mindfulness?

I was dreading the Mindful Movement meditation. For a start it just feels weird, standing in a room with windows to the outdoors, following softly spoken instructions to reach in the air for an imaginary apple. The other stuff simply amounted to sawn off flexibility exercises. I couldn’t see how any of that could be conducive to mindfulness. The succeeding Breath and Body exercise was bread and butter to me – it made sense and was very like what I have been practicing off and…

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An Exploration of Reincarnation (2/2)

Part 2 of Peter’s discussion of reincarnation.

Everybody Means Something

Three-Faces-of-Eve-The-1957 Three Faces of Eve (for source of image see link)

In the previous post, drawing on Jeffrey Iverson’s book – In Search of the Dead – I explored three examples of the evidence cited in favour of reincarnation. I indicated that I felt they might possibly lie along a dimension from an experience that faded as a child grew up, through a more persistent identification lasting a lifetime, to outright ‘possession.’ This post now looks at the question of how to explain these data.

Is reincarnation the only possible explanation?

There is a degree of uncertainty in the literature about exactly how to interpret these phenomena. In the interests of space I am not going to explore the question of their authenticity. Given that Stevenson is definite that he has 25 cases pointing strongly in the direction of reincarnation I am going to assume, for present purposes, that this is…

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