Art and Literature

Entries about creativity in all its forms, plus original creative material.

"Belief"

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Is there anyone who
Ever remembers changing their mind from
The paint on a sign?
Is there anyone who really recalls
Ever breaking rank at all
For something someone yelled real loud one time

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Everyone believes
In how they think it ought to be
Everyone believes
And they're not going easily

Belief is a beautiful armour
But makes for the heaviest sword
Like punching under water
You never can hit who you're trying for

Some need the exhibition
And some have to know they tried
It's the chemical weapon
For the war that's raging on inside

Everyone believes
From emptiness to everything
Everyone believes
And no one's going quietly

{josquote}Belief is a beautiful armour
But makes for the heaviest sword{/josquote}

We're never gonna win the world
We're never gonna stop the war
We're never gonna beat this
If belief is what we're fighting for

What puts a hundred thousand children in the sand
Belief can
Belief can
What puts the folded flag inside his mother's hand
Belief can
Belief can

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An extract from "Restless Souls" (Sarah Farmer and Green Acre)

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[Horatio] Dresser ... praised Greenacre not only as an outpost for the metaphysical movement, but also more broadly as a center of religious liberalism and progressivism, a place where one could live "the ideal of the fullest spiritual life":

The two months spent there in camp, at the Inn, or at some farmhouse nearby, have been the turning-point in life for many people, and many return year after year because of the great help they receive in daily living.... Early and late there is some lover of nature ready to call you up to see the sunrise, to study insect or plant life, or sit in silence with you while the sun sets across the river. It is indeed a unique experience to be one of a throng of people gathered on the hill at sunset, while the Parsee chants a native hymn, or some one reads from one of our own poets. And after one has heard Emerson expounded underneath the pines, or listened to the Swami setting forth in his quiet way the venerable doctrines of Vedanta, one is ready to exclaim that there are no such woods anywhere outside of Greenacre.

{josquote}In light of the new revelation Greenacre became in Farmer's mind less about an open door than a final realization, less about a quest than a fulfillment.{/josquote}

There were few airtight compartments or creeds in New Thought, at least as Dresser and his friends in the Metaphysical Club articulated their mission. They seemed as bound and determined as any Whitmanite to pursue self-reliant individuality and boundary-crossing cosmopolitism.

One of the implications of that openness was that the New Thought contingent at Greenacre formed a natural alliance with the Transcendentalist wing. Horatio Dresser's Applied Metaphysics with Franklin Sanborn's Concord School. New Thought leaders were as charged with a heady sense of emancipation from authority and tradition as ever Emerson was in addressing his audience at Harvard Divinity School. "We affirm the freedom of each soul as to choice and as to belief," the International New Thought Alliance proclaimed. "The essence of the New Thought is Truth, and each individual must be loyal to the Truth he sees. The windows of his soul must be kept open at each moment for the higher light, and his mind must always be hospitable to each new inspiration." Religious identity, in this light, was free form and improvisatory, not fixed or ascribed. By definition, people were supposed to keep seeking, to remain open to new perspectives and insights, not to settle on one path alone among many. A generous dose of open-mindedness was at the heart of the spiritual quest.

continued...

Read more: An extract from "Restless Souls" (Sarah Farmer and Green Acre)

Developer works on a future for Beijing's high-end housing market


SOHO China already is the capital's largest commercial builder

Lately Pan Shiyi has been reading the scriptures of one of the world's oldest religions, Buddhism, and one of its newest, Bahai, but he has yet to find the quiet enlightenment he is searching for.

"I have been seeking for 10 years and read many scriptures but I've failed to find the truth," said Pan, 44, sitting in the avant-garde headquarters of his SOHO real estate and design empire. "I'm in the process of stepping back. I felt Buddhist scriptures brought limited enlightenment to my life. Maybe others have found it."

{josquote}Release of individualism is the precondition of creativity.{/josquote}

The meaning of life does not come easily to anyone, let alone a property tycoon who is busy controlling what Forbes magazine has identified as the seventh-largest family fortune in frenetic, secular China. But Pan's quest for meaning is leaving its mark on the urban landscape of Beijing.

Decades of Maoism followed by rapid economic changes had buried one of the world's most elegant ancient capitals beneath a dirty gray concrete sprawl. In the past decade, however, Pan and his wife and business partner, Zhang Xin, have helped to nudge the city's architecture from the purely functional to the aesthetic.

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A Lifetime with 'Abdu'l-Baha: Reminiscences of Khalil Shahidi

Khalíl Shahídí's family background can be traced to the early days of the Bábí Faith, and it was in Baghdad where his grandfather joined Baha'u'llah's company and suffered martyrdom in the path of his Divine Beloved. The family of Khalíl Shahídí journeyed with Bahá'u'lláh through all the stages of His exiles and settled in Akka, where Khalíl was born in 1894.

Many years later, Khalíl Shahídí narrated his fascinating recollections of decades in the Holy Land, under the shadow of 'Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi.

In exceptionally simple but direct and sincere language, Shahídí recalls many episodes of his interactions, spanning over five decades, with 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Shoghi Effendi or Bahá'í residents of the environs of 'Akká-Haifa. Khalíl Shahídí makes it clear that he did not set out to write a detailed history of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's august Personage or His ministry for a worldwide audience.

His objective was much more personal and immediate. At the insistence of family members, Shahídí was moved to share stories and recollections of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi that had been inscribed on his heart, and through them to encourage, inspire and even edify his kinsmen or anyone else that would come upon his narrative.

The stories are simple. Their common denominators are the wisdom of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, firmness in the Cause and obedience to the Head of the Faith for in these, Shahídí believed, lies one's salvation.

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"Views of Acca..." sold on eBay for $US375

This book was published by The Bahais Supply and Publishing Board of Chicago. This book is hardbound covered with a silver colored cloth with Red embossed lettering. The photographic images are preceeded by a thin onionskin overlay page with captions printed in English and Arabic. The book measures 11 1/4" by 8" and contains about 40 pictures on 20 pages. The photographs are in full color. From what I have read, this book was published in the early 1900's.

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An electronic copy of the book is at ViewsofAkka.com