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Toward the One
Posted by ayeshahaqqiqa in Religion/Theology
Sat Oct 10th 2009, 04:02 PM
In the Bible, Jesus is asked how many times to forgive--seven times? No, seventy times seven. In the Islamic tradition, five of the 99 Names of God deal directly with different aspects of forgiveness. Forgiveness is obviously viewed as important by these two faiths.

I recently had the opportunity to put this practice into action, and I can say that, for me, the act of forgiveness has been truly liberating, both emotionally and spiritually. So I'd like to share my story, in hopes that it will help those of you, whether believers or not, who have problems with those who have done things to you for which you have been deeply hurt.

My mother died a few days ago. Before she did, I gave her a rose. I told her I loved her, and thanked her for all she had done. All. She had emotionally abused her children, and yes, it left scars on us. I used recall events that happened decades ago, and all the pain and hurt was still there. But I recently decided to look at life a different way. Those sad times help create the person I am today, loved, respected, a person trusted and valued by the community. Those times also gave me a long and close spiritual relationship with That which is all things. And so I could see how I could be thankful. And I could tell her I loved her. And, later, as I watched vigil over her dying body, I could say "I forgive you." I thus made the forgiveness complete, I feel: it was more than just words, it was a release and also an appreciation for the difficult role she played in my life.

Since that time, I have felt a peace and lightness within that I hadn't felt before. I hadn't realized how the resentments and hurts and fear I had stored within had poisoned myself until I let them all go. And the love that I had always truly felt for the woman who had brought me my life was fully expressed. For those of a spiritual bent, I feel that by doing this I released my mother in some way, so that she could journey on and not be held back by regrets of actions done in this life.

I was there when she breathed her last, and I officiated at her memorial, which people came up and told me was filled with joy. I am still processing the event--but when I think back on those difficult times, ones that used to elicit anger, fear, and sorrow, they are but interesting dreams with no emotional hold on me.

It is because of this incredible change that I write. For those who would disparage, I can only say try it for yourself. Forgiveness does not have to have a spiritual context. And if it doesn't work, nothing has been lost. But if it does--ah, the difference!

Thank you mom, for everything you did. I love you, and I forgive you.

Please remember to forgive yourself.
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Posted by ayeshahaqqiqa in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Thu Jul 09th 2009, 08:52 PM
I was relaxing, doing genealogical research tonight when I came across an excerpt from "History of Andover", Massachusetts, by a Miss Bailey, written over 100 years ago. It gives details about some women of Andover who were caught up in the witch hysteria which will be forever linked to another town in Essex County--one called Salem.

She was an aged woman, a widow, without friends of influence to give aid in her distress. She was evidently weak in mind and body, and was ready at the trial to confess to almost anything, and believed anything which was suggested against them. Indeed, some of these women had so long used to contemplate their natural and acquired depravity, in its most aggrivated forms, that some of the sensitive and self-accusing were ready, even in ordinary religious meditations, to regard themselves as guilty of almost all sin, believing literally that 'he that offendeth in one point is guilty of all'. The piety of Ann Foster is especially spoken of by her sons, and there can be little doubt that she was led to charge herself with the sin of witchcraft with all sincerity and contrition. A broken down old woman, in her decreptitiude and weakness, torn from her quiet home, brought a long journey to prison and a court room, accused of blaspheming her God and forsaking her Savior--what wonder that she sank and died under such a weight of miseries. She was four times examined--July 15th, 16th, 18th and 21st. It is pitiful to think of this poor, tottering, feeble creature, dragged again and again before her accusers, and finally dismissed to the sheriff to be taken care of as guilty.


The chilling part is that Ann, a "pious" woman, had really been condemned by her own piety--the beliefs about original sinfulness which had been drummed into her since she was a child. She willingly confessed because, to her, she WAS guilty--of everything. And so the ministers used her, and others like her, to try and gain power in Massachusetts Bay Colony.

I see this same thing happening today amongst the fundamentalists of both Christian and Muslim faith. Their preaching is of hatred and fear, and their influence strong. Religion has its place in society--in the temple, church, or mosque. It must never be allowed to enter the assemblies and Congresses where laws are made.
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Posted by ayeshahaqqiqa in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Mon Dec 29th 2008, 08:03 PM
Our local health care meeting was tonight, and Doc was there to make a case for a different kind of health care--one that is caring and centered on improving and maintaining quality of life. Her three big points were as follows:

1. Insurance companies are interested in their bottom lines. Period. They aren't interested in keeping health care costs down because that would cut into their profit margin.

2. Doctors should be trained to and be allowed to see patients as individuals, not as "deviations from a norm". For example, patients can have a "normal" thyroid test yet still exhibit the classic symptoms of hypothryroidism (loss of hair, always feeling cold, etc.). Common sense and even some clinical studies have shown it makes sense to put the patient on thyroid medicine for a limited time to see if the symptoms disappear--yet insurance companies won't pay if you do because the test was "normal". When a doctor treats a patient as an individual, they must take more time with them. Yet some HMOs allow 6-10 minutes per patient visit.

3. Preventive care doesn't mean mammograms, tests for lipids, etc--these are detection measures. Prevention means having patients live a healthy lifestyle--a good diet, some supplements, and exercise. There was a clinical study done over 20 years ago where the lives of 2 groups were looked at over 17 years. The control group just lived their lives. The other group was given a generalized basic "healthy diet", one multi-vitamin a day, and a simple exercise program. At the end of the trial, it was found that the experimental group maintained their health for a longer time span than the control group. Interestingly enough, lifespan itself didn't change--people in both groups tended to die in their 80s. But with the experimental group, they kept their health up until about 9 months before their deaths, where the control group suffered serious health issues long before that. Prevention--good diet, some supplementation, and exercise--meant that the healthy life lasted until almost the end of life.

Thought these were very good points and wanted to share them with more than the handful of folks who showed up at our meeting.
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Posted by ayeshahaqqiqa in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Fri Dec 26th 2008, 09:49 AM
CAI stands for Central Asia Institute. It is a NGO that builds schools for children in remote villages in Pakistan and Afghanistan--and this includes classes for girls. It was started by Greg Mortenson, former mountain climber and nurse. He became lost and disoriented after a failed climb of K2, the second highest mountain in the world. He wandered into an impoverished village where he was given shelter. He was moved by the villager's kindness, and vowed to come back and build them a school. This promised blossomed and grew.

The book really gives us a blueprint on how we can work with Muslims in the region, gaining trust and even praise. The book shows another side of Islam rarely seen in the US--how Iranian Ayotollahs give Mortenson their blessing to build schools for girls ("our Holy Koran tells us all children should receive education, including our daughters and sisters."). It also shows that when women are given power through education and training, they can turn the lives of villages around.

There's lots more, including the threat from Saudi Arabia as perceived by Pakistanis.

Visit www.threecupsoftea.com for more information. Also check out www.ikat.org for more information on the Central Asia Institute.

Or send donations to:

Central Asia Institute
PO Box 7209
Bozeman MT 59771

It costs them $1 a month for one child's education, a penny to buy a pencil, and a teacher's salary averages $1 a day.

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I was talking to my 90 year old mother in our weekly phone conversation and, as usual, we discussed the debate. My mom, a registered Republican, is an ardent Obama supporter, mainly because of how Obama has conducted himself in the debates. Today she brought up a point I hadn't noticed:

"When McCain talks, it's 'I will do this' and 'I will do that'. When Obama talks, it is how WE will work together to solve our problems. That's what it's going to take."

Thought this was a very good point, and wanted to share.
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On a thread that was locked, a poster copied an email villifying Michelle Obama. At the top, it said the allegations had been verified by Snopes, but with no connecting link. Before answering any email of this sort, I would suggest you visit Snopes itself and see what is actually said. I did for this email, which was about Michelle Obama's college thesis, and here is the link:

http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/thesi...

My suggestion for emails of this source is to not only provide the link, but to quote from the article, especially parts that explain how and why the email is wrong. Always provide a link to the primary source, be it a college thesis or video, and challenge people to read and think for themselves.

This is the best way to combat smear emails.

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Posted by ayeshahaqqiqa in Religion/Theology
Sun Jun 01st 2008, 07:45 PM
In order to facilitate more understanding in this forum, I thought that it might be interesting to outline our individual journeys towards a greater understanding of ourselves and our world. I doubt if anyone here has remained the same in their views and beliefs since childhood, and I am looking forward to reading about your life's journey.

I'll use my journey as an example.

My first memories as a child were in going to church. I was in the choir from age 3 on; I remember going to the sanctuary and looking at a stained glass window in the ceiling, thinking that was where God lived, and that He looked down upon us from there. I will say that I always had a feeling of love and joy when I went to the sanctuary. But I did also absorb the dogma of the Methodist Church-the Crucifixion/Resurrection, and the need to believe in Jesus to have eternal life.

And then, at age 13, my mother gave me a book to read--"The Passover Plot" by Hugh Schonfeld. http://www.amazon.com/Passover-Plot-Interp...
For those who don't know this book, it posits the notion that it is possible that Jesus planned his crucifixion and how to live beyond it. It made me seriously question my faith--was I a Christian solely because I felt it was a way of insuring I would have eternal life? Was that the only role religion played, and, if so, what if it was a lie? I would say it was at this time that I really started searching for answers about the nature of life and reality and the role religion is to play in our lives.

At age 17, I had my first mystical experience, one that showed me a couple of things: one, that there is consciousness even at the cellular level; two, that there is an overwhelming unity of which we are all a part. At this point, I would say that the fear of death lessened a great deal, replaced by the question of what is the purpose of living this life. (FYI, I have never taken illegal drugs, though I have heard some who have tripped on LSD have had similar experiences)

Anyway, this personal experience sent me on a different path. It involved reading a series of books, including the Seth books, which talked about subatomic particles and that there is an underlying force that unifies all things--Seth termed it "All That Is". Other mystical experiences reinforced this concept and expanded it--the only way for me to continue on my path to understanding is through myself. This force, by whatever name you call it, can only be experienced through our own selves.

And where did religion go in all of this journey? Well, I recognized that what is important in religion is the message--the message of how a devotee is supposed to act. I was led to Universal Sufism, which strives to show the similarities behind all faiths and to show how science and spirituality are seeking the same thing.

My journey continues, as I explore and learn more about others' point of view. I continue to have mystical experiences, all of which come as great surprises, all of which I consider great treasures.

Thank you for reading of my journey. I am eager to read yours.
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Posted by ayeshahaqqiqa in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Thu Mar 06th 2008, 11:58 AM
Words from Paul Simon's "The Obvious Child" inspired this post:

Sonny's yearbook from high school
Is down from the shelf
And he idly thumbs through the pages

Some have died
Some have fled from themselves
Or struggled from here to get there....

Anyone else from the Class of 1968?

I see echoes of those troubled times now. Chaos in the Democratic Party, a rising young star giving us hope, the pragmatic older generation watching things cautiously. No assassinations or attempts now, and I hope they do not come, for I vividly recall what happens when hopes are dashed.

Oddly enough, at age 57 I am much more at peace within myself than I was at 17, though the first glimpse of reality was given to me back then. And I find refuge in that peace which is, indeed, beyond all human understanding. May 2008 be a turning point for good.

What are your thoughts, Class of '68?
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Posted by ayeshahaqqiqa in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Sat Mar 01st 2008, 10:40 AM
Posting on an internet board like this one is very different from talking to someone in real life. For one thing, there are no preconceived notions about an individual based upon physical characteristics. One is known here merely by username, avatar, and, most importantly, the words that they write.

It is what we write that not only tells other people about us, but tells us about ourselves. It is interesting sometime to sit back and look at one's posts and reflect on what they show. Kindness? Sympathy? Generosity? Fear? Anger? Sarcasm? Hate? Are the qualities showing up in your posts the ones you wish to hold?

It is important to remember that everyone does not espouse to hold the same qualities as valuable. Some look at posting here as a game, perhaps even a war, while others look at it as a means of obtaining information from sources that they trust. Others look to the board for companionship of like-minded individuals. And there are some brilliant souls here who use the board as a forum for their creative genius with words (oh if only I had their talent!).

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it is important to realize that people are here for different reasons, but all are bound by certain core ideals of supporting the Democratic Party and progressive thought. We all choose our words and actions, but we can always choose to choose again. If certain threads here have gotten you in a frazzle, it may be wise to consider backing away from them for a while, and to take the time to examine the qualities you wish to cultivate and to express, since the only way most DUers know you is through your words.

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Posted by ayeshahaqqiqa in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Sun Feb 10th 2008, 09:05 AM
I got the idea for doing this from another thread that wanted to write a smear email. I don't think that is necessary. I think we can use facts to make the argument that McCain isn't fit to be President.

Here's my idea for an email. I'm not that great at writing, so I'd appreciate additions, corrections, and general comments. Thanks!

WILL McCAIN REALLY HELP FIX OUR ECONOMIC CRISIS?

Everyone knows that we are in an economic crisis. The next President will have to deal with it from day one, so it is vital that we elect a person who understands the situation. I don't think John McCain does. In January of this year, he said "Things are tough now, but we're better off than in 2000."

Do you really think this is so?

How much were you paying for gas in 2000? How about now?

How much were you paying for milk and eggs in 2000? How about now?

Are your wages substantially better now than in 2000?

If you are a businessman, how is your business now compared to 8 years ago?

Can we really trust someone to fix our economy who doesn't even remember what it was like 8 years ago?

source: http://www.issues2000.org/John_McCain.htm

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Posted by ayeshahaqqiqa in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Mon Jan 21st 2008, 12:47 PM
Economically, I think things will get a lot worse before they get better, and so I thought it would be a good idea to talk about ways to weather the storm. The key to surviving economic hard times is to know your resources and your community, and to help one another.

With that in mind, I thought I'd start a list of resources in my area (Arkansas) and invite others to add their lists. Then we'll have a database to draw from when times get hard.

My broad categories are:

FOOD-
NW Arkansas has several good resources for food--stores include

Ozark Cooperative Warehouse (Fayetteville)-Members can buy in bulk, and goods include locally grown organic produce.

Duffy's (Harrison) This is a store connected with a food distributor, and you can get stuff there that didn't sell or was the undamaged part of a damaged pallet of goods. Just changed management, and my neighbors have told me they are stocking more health food store type items. Military and senior citizen discounts.

Newton County has two organic blueberry farms, where you can pick your own. They will trade with you for the berries (you pick so many for them, you get some free).

There are farmer's markets in Fayetteville, Jasper, and Harrison in season.

WATER-
Lewellyn Springs in Newton County is a large community spring where you can get your drinking water. No charge.

Hot Springs Arkansas also provides taps throughout the city where you can get the famed mineral water merely for loading up your jugs and drinking bottles. The mineral content of each spring is labeled. Remember that the water comes out HOT.

CLOTHING-
Thrift stores in Harrison include the Hospital Auxillary, Share and Care, and the Humane Society Thrift store.
Angel Works in Jasper provides work for developmentally delayed adults as well as offering clothing and household items for sale.

HEALTH CARE-
Herbalists abound in this region, and you can find them in Fayetteville and also Eureka Springs, I believe, but I don't have specific names of people.
Future Visions Foundation of Harrison is a non-profit foundation dedicated to holistic (integrative) medicine, and offers seminars and classes. Every June there is a free health fair where there are screenings for blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.
In Berryville, there is a compounding pharmacist. This is a fellow who is licensed and qualified to actually make up medicines from scratch, as it were. My doc uses him to make up specialized medicines.


Anyway, hope you add your lists.
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Dances of Universal Peace today was in a community center in a valley in northwest Arkansas. We had to build a fire in the wood burning stove, for it was quite cold. Two ladies showed up--both on the spiritual path and Dance path for years. It is hard to do even simple circle dances with so few, because you tend to get dizzy, so we started out with walks--and then with the Dances we tended to do ones where we didn't have to hold hands.

Spirit was evident and quite present as we merged from individuals to basically elements of One Being doing the Dance. One of the ladies is tone deaf, and usually sings way off key; today she was nearly right on every note, something this audio sensitive person picks up on quite readily.

We danced until my hands got cold (I forgot to bring gloves), and then stood by the fire discussing the concept of "surrender". My Sufi sister who shares my birth name said it meant letting go of the everyday and just Being. My husband said it meant accepting what happens to you as a gift. My other sister who was there and I agreed it was a process, started by forgiveness-forgiveness of others, of self, of everyone involved in a situation-so you could get beyond to the place of Being.

And then we danced a Rumi Dance, a new one to me, about snow melting and self melting away that segued into zikr and zikr and silent walking as if we were the Buddha, gently walking our path with compassion, radiating that compassion--and the strength of compassion-to all sentient beings, especially those working for peace. And I saw Dennis Kucinich's face and smiled as we began the Om Mani Padme Hung chant.

The energy sustained us, despite the cold. Allowed my husband to drum for us through his pain. We were there, Being. For ourselves, and for each other, and for those who were not there.


Peace.
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Posted by ayeshahaqqiqa in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Mon Jan 14th 2008, 01:30 PM
I don't think anyone here would disagree that we are in for rocky economic times ahead. There are some things that folks can do, no matter where they live, to make sure they have the basics-food, shelter, clothing. Here's some ideas of how to do that:

1. Networking. This is the key. Do you know who your neighbors are? Who can you count on to help out via swaps/trades? Who can share and teach their talents for things like gardening, sewing, organizing into groups?

2. Food.
A. Growing your own-this isn't hard, even if you live in the inner city. Sure, you can't grow as much as a person with acreage in the country, but you can save an old mayo jar, put cheesecloth over it, and start sprouting seeds. My husband, who is handicapped and has trouble moving, proudly keeps us in fresh sprouts. Their food value is superior to what you can get in stores, too. A step up from this is a window box style garden. You can raise lettuce and spinach or even a pepper plant in pots. You can use scrap materials to make a "lettuce boat" where the plants float in water under a flourescent light.

B.Bulk buying-this is where your network comes in. Around here, the Mormons give free seminars on where to buy food in bulk and how to store it. You can often go to distributors who will let you buy in bulk, too--the neighbors can get up a collection and decide what to purchase and where to store it. Dried lentils, canned veggies, canned fruits, etc, are good for long term storage.

3. Clothing
A. Besides regular stores and thrift stores, a neighborhood can have a clothing bank. In it, not only can clothing be swapped, but volunteers can alter and repair clothing, and teach others how to do this.
B. Good winter coats can be made from blankets. These "blanket coats" or capotes, were actually the kind worn by early fur trappers. You can find easy to follow patterns online, and to make them, you basically cut out the pieces and sew them up with yarn. Very simple to do.
C. Learn the basics of sewing, either by machine or by hand. You can make garments like skirts simply by wrapping cloth around the body, cutting it so there is a little more than your widest part, and then sewing it together into a loop. Turn under the top, put in either a drawstring (which can be yarn or twine) or elastic, and you have a skirt. Many good books online and in the library on sewing basics.

4. Shelter
A. To stay warm, make sure you have caulked all cracks and put plastic over windows. Wear sweats or drape blankets around to help stay warm.
B. If you are in a shelter crisis, go to your network. See who needs someone to house sit, or would trade a room for doing chores. Offer to fix up an old shed or garage and sleep in there. We have one chap in our neighborhood who spent one winter in a cave, but I wouldn't recommend this unless you are an outdoors type.

5. Make sure you have the right attitude
Me-me-me ain't gonna cut it any more. We must look to the group where we are for help and to help. We must think about the long term good of everyone, which means agree to disagree, but to keep going towards the goal.

Hope these ideas help.
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Posted by ayeshahaqqiqa in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Wed Jan 02nd 2008, 06:37 AM
For that's what it all comes down to. People support one candidate or another based upon their stands on certain issues. I'm curious to know what your take is on the following issues:

1. Iraq--what do we do there? Withdraw? How soon? Stay? How long?

2. Health Care--mandated that you get it from insurance companies? Medicare for all? Something else?

3. Economy--What do we do about NAFTA? Job outsourcing? Corporations running amok?

4. Environment--How do we address the problems of global warming, pollution, etc?

5. Your Concerns not listed here-please let us know if there is another issue that is very important to you.


Thanks for taking the time to reply. I'm really curious to find out how close-or how different-people's stands on these issues are.
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This is an article by Sam Waterston. I have met him, and he is, indeed, a very spiritual person.

Complete article here:

http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith...

Some interesting parts:

At the center of faith is a mystery beyond understanding, which is to say, beyond expression. Mystics worldwide and all across time recommend silence as the best route to that mystery. ďBe still and know that I am God.Ē I believe that: meditation, even by an amateur like me, is immeasurably helpful there, as well as yielding all kinds of side-benefits, like better blood pressure and clearer thinking. However, communicating in words about what is revealed in silence is the province of poets and prophets.

But I can point. So, with apologies for their lack of grand sweep:

1. Faith is in our nature, like an appetite, or an instinct. You may be able to live without religion, but faith, you canít choose to do without. Faith in the day gets us up in the morning. It's that basic.

2. Religious faith helps me, and I especially recommend meditation and prayer, which sometimes seem, at least in the West, to be poor cousins to preaching and ritual... or maybe itís just that they make less noise.

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ayeshahaqqiqa
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On Sufism and Sprituality
Here are some websites you may wish to explore:

http://www.churchofall.us

http://www.dancesofuniversalpeace.org

My Causes
If you are interested in the world family, especially those in most need, I would strongly recommend you visit Refugees International on the web at www.refugeesinternational.org or at their headquarters in Washington DC. This organization is composed of some rather remarkable people, including folks who have been in government in the US and national and international celebrities.

Why RI? For one thing, there aren't that many folks involved, they work on a shoestring, and they are grateful for any help they get. You won't see money you donate go for expensive airplane trips abroad-the Board of Directors each buy their own plane ticket when they go overseas-and they don't just stay behind in a luxury hotel-they go to the killing fields, the refugee camps, and places where refugees are building new lives. They are folks who know other folks and can, with a word or two, get organizations in place to help with a new refugee crisis or remind countries of the continuing trauma left after wars and genocides are long past.

The folks at RI are true heros to me--and some have even lost their lives trying to bring aid and comfort to refugees. If you'd like to know more about these heros, please go to this webpage I made in honor of them: http://www.geocities.com/ayeshahaqqiqa/her...
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