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Inside this new love, die!

Posted by Pelgrim on 5th January 2012

Inside this new love, die
Your way begins on the other side
Become the sky
Take an axe to the prison wall
Escape

Walk out like someone suddenly
born into colour
Do it now

You’re covered with thick cloud.
Slide out the side.
Die, and be quiet.
Quietness is the surest sign that you have died

Your old life was a frantic running from silence
The speechless full moon comes out now.

– Jalaluddin Rumi

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evidence of Collective Unconscious (Archetypal) Memory

Posted by Pelgrim on 6th June 2010

Empirical Study of Associations Between Symbols and Their Meanings: Evidence of Collective Unconscious (Archetypal) Memory Related Papers

D. H. Rosen, M.D. , S. M. Smith, Ph.D. , H. L. Huston, B.A and G. Gonzalez, B.A

College Station, Texas

D. H. Rosen, M.D. Professor of Analytical Psychology, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, and Professor of Humanities in Medicine, Texas A & M University. Author of numerous publications, and general editor of Fay Book Series in Analytical Psychology. In private practice. Address: Department of Psychology, Texas A & M University, College Station, Texas, Texas 77843, USA.

S. M. Smith, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Psychology, Texas A & M University. Author of numerous publications on human memory research. Address: Department of Psychology, Texas A & M University, College Station, Texas, Texas 77843, USA.

H. L. Huston, B.A Second-year graduate student in clinical psychology (PhD) programme, Texas A & M University. Address: Department of Psychology, Texas A & M University, College Station, Texas, Texas 77843, USA.

G. Gonzalez, B.A Texas A & M University. Address: Department of Psychology, Texas A & M University, College Station, Texas, Texas 77843, USA.

Introduction

Jung postulated the existence of a collective unconscious that is common to all members of the human family (Jung 8, par. 3), and he makes a distinction between the personal unconscious ‘and an impersonal or transpersonal … collective unconscious because it is detached from anything personal [and is entirely universal]’ (Jung 4, par. 103).

Jung further posited that the collective unconscious contained archetypes: ancient motifs and predispositions to patterns of behaviour that manifest symbolically as archetypal images in dreams, art, or other cultural forms (Jung 10). Harry Prochaska writes:

An archetypal symbol rises from the deepest layers of the unconscious…. The archetypal quality in those instances where it occurs is recognized by the sense that the expression transcends specificities of time and space and ‘speaks’ to common human experiences…. Cultural expressions must transcend the boundaries of their own cultures to become genuine archetypal symbols which are recognizable as such in other times and in other places. (Prochaska 17).

We can infer that associated with the collective unconscious is a collective or archetypal memory that has its basis in biololgy, a result of the psychic evolution which parralels physical evolution.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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The best Islam is within you - the spirit of GOD (Rouh’u Allah) is within you

Posted by Pelgrim on 20th April 2010

“Rouh = Soul? This is the single biggest misconception that people have made which helped distort the issue of ‘who we are’. In Arabia, when someone dies, the people say: ‘let us pray on his Rouh!’ Also, when they speak about someone dying, the say: ‘his Rouh has left him’. In schools, they teach our kids that the ‘Soul’ is the ‘Rouh’ and that is what will die and be judged and punished or rewarded… However, the story changes when we look at what GOD has to say:

“GOD takes the ‘Nafs’ when death comes, and also at the time of sleep…” (39:42)

“No ‘Nafs’ dies except by GOD’s leave, at a predetermined time…” (3:145)

“Every ‘Nafs’ tastes death, then you receive your recompense on the Day of Resurrection…” (3:185)

“… You shall not kill the ‘Nafs’ that GOD has made sacred, except in the course of justice…” (6:151)

“… she said: my Lord, I have wronged my ‘Nafs”…” (27:16)

Well, you get the picture!

GOD tells us that our ‘Soul’ is called ‘Nafs’, and that this ‘Nafs’ is what is taken at death and what is judged on j-day (then rewarded or punished). The ‘Nafs’ is YOU, it is your entire being, it is your slate, which is burdened or lightened by your actions…

So, if the ‘Soul’ is the ‘Nafs’, then what is the Rouh?

Rouh = Spirit.

“While a barrier separated her from them, we sent to her Our ‘Rouh’. He went to her in the form of a human being.” (19:17)

“They ask you about the ‘Rouh’. Say: ‘The ‘Rouh’ comes from my Lord. And you were not given knowledge, except little.” (Quran 17:85)

It becomes apparent to the reader that the ‘Rouh’ is from GOD and it is the accumulation of ‘knowledge’ that will assist the human being in his life… It is best described as ‘Spirit’.

You see, animals also have ‘Nafs’ just like we do (it is their life-force), yet, you do not see monkeys building spaceships nor turtles working on computers!

The ‘Rouh’ is the gift that GOD gave to our species to allow us the advantage of ‘knowledge’.

“Once I perfect him (the human), and blow into him from My ‘Rouh’, you shall fall prostrate before him.” (15:29)

All animals can communicate with one another (remember the birds speaking to Solomon?). However, it is only man that has ‘knowledge’.

The ‘Rouh’ is GOD’s gift to us, and it is only GOOD. The information that the ‘Rouh’ provides each of us is to be used for our benefit, but we have the ‘choice’ to use it for evil (like nuclear fission being used to make a bomb).

Some unfortunate news about the ‘Rouh’: It will NEVER approach you and save the day. for example, you are struggling to understand something. If you don’t ask GOD for help, it won’t go; “hey, here is the answer!” no, you have to approach it. Also, it will always be LITERAL. you will have to be specific of what you are asking. Note, you don’t have to say this out loud. You can just think of it - because many times, humans have hard time expressing what exactly they want to ask. With the Spirit of God, you don’t have to worry about this - as long as you get the intention of asking, the Spirit will know the question… as much as you wanted to ask and that ALONE (though it knows all the questions you know - it is not going to answer anything you did not ask).

Thus if we can summarize what we have upto this point.

The human being so far is made-up of:

1. The ‘Soul’ - Nafs (the is YOU, the real person, what makes choices and what will be judged);

2. The ‘Spirit’ - Rouh (this is a gift from GOD, it is NOT yours, you do not own it, all people have access to it - like the Quran. It’s purpose is to help provide answers and knowledge to help your Soul make the right decisions). . . .

The best Islam is within you - the spirit of GOD (Rouh’u Allah) is within you. There is no such thing that truth lies outside of you. The ultimate truth lies within you. Please, take advantage of that blessing. It will be your ultimate weapon against falsehood.”

http://www.free-minds.org/human

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Brain waves and oneness experience

Posted by Pelgrim on 16th October 2009

What follows is an excerpt from a television program aired on October 7th, 2009 by German television station ZDF. It takes a skeptical viewpoint in trying to debunk God and Faith. They also address an interesting scientific experiment which tries to research what happens in the brain during deep meditation in which the state of oneness is experienced by the believer. The program brings this up in an attempt to give a natural explanation of a deep devotional experience. The problem is however that the program misses the deep mystery of consciousness, especially the duality of a brain wave field created by the matter of our neurons and how in this experiment synchronized wave patterns produce a perception of being at one with the underlying reality of our universe, which in turn is also based on a matter/wave duality.

When our brain wants us to focus on certain parts of our visual perception, neurons in the prefrontal cortex fire in unison and send signals to the visual cortex to do the same in order to become synchronized, directing our focus of attention. Source

During meditation we do not focus our sensory perception, still our brain waves become nearly completely synchronized by which the boundaries between inside and outside dissolve.

Science and religion has a hard time understanding the paradox of Jesus the God-Man, uniting two perfect natures in one person, fully divine and fully human, one in essence.

The skeptical view:

Abenteur Forschung
Brain Research Brain and God

Is faith measurable?
Every year millions of believers go on a pilgrimage to Lourdes in the hope of a cure, and all united in the belief in the power of a miracle. In 1858 in the grotto Massabielle the Virgin Mary appeared several times to the peasant girl Bernadette Soubirous. A vision, a fantasy, a perceptual illusion? Researchers are on the trail of the phenomenon. They want to find out exactly what happens when such a phenomenon occurs, and how faith can actually be created. Visions or apparitions are a particularly intense form of spiritual experience. Faith is apparently widespread in many different cultures as a universal principle. Does Faith have a material basis?Researchers are now looking in the brain for measurable traces of faith and religiosity. Experiments suggest that certain areas are more active in the brain during religious experiences than others.

What happens during a vision?
Meditation Is the brain of a believer distinct from that of non-believers, and how does our brain work, while we believe? During an observation brain researcher observe nuns during prayer in MRI. The aim is to find out what events occur in the brain during intense spiritual meditation, prayer, and if that leaves specific traces, so to speak, religiosity has a “place in the brain.” The comparison is striking: The brain of a person in prayer is different from a non-worshipers. The result: The activity of the brain during prayer varies by region. Fast passive is the center, with which we orientate ourselves in space and perceive. It is surprising that this region is supplied much less with blood during the prayer than, say, in resting subjects who do not pray. Some researchers see in this shut down of orientation the reason why prayer is often perceived as closeness to God.

The art of meditation
The Interest of science for Buddhist monks. In Buddhism meditation has for 2000 years placed meditation at its center. Many experienced monks train their brains in their lives often more than 10,000 hours. They describe their feelings as “one with the environment”, the borders to the outside world seem resolved.

That makes researchers interested. As neurophysiologists measure the brain waves of a monk in meditation, they are surprised: The brain waves vibrate remarkably uniform at a certain frequency. Die researchers draw the following conclusions from it: stimuli from our sense organs lead to nerve cells which continue to corresponding brain centers, there arises the perception of our surroundings. During the meditation changes the pattern. The derived excitation now shows nearly synchronized waves. A condition which probably completely changes the perception.
This provides the explanation for the brain researcher of what the monks during meditation experience: that the boundary between interior and exterior dissolves. This creates the feeling of being in complete harmony with the environment.

A matter of faith
Some scholars see in these results also a clue for the explanation of religious phenomena. As potential triggers they suspect specific excitation patterns in the brain. Some even go so far that they think they can selectively induce such visions. A converted helm is the ultimate tool for their experiment: It generates a weak magnetic field, and aims to stimulate such a small target area of the brain. The subjects should describe directly, which results in internal images. Some indeed report religious phenomena, others see mysterious luminous phenomena in the sky, UFOs or even extraterrestrial visitors. Again the images are determined by the individual cultural background. For example only those who have a strong religious commitment report corresponding appearances.

Source: ZDF Abenteur Forchung

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A discussion with a believer ….

Posted by Pelgrim on 6th September 2009

“So you believe in God?” said the self-proclaimed unbelieving skeptic, and he continued: “All nonsense!” and like if he was stating a fact: “I believe in evolution!”

The believer kindly replied “so you believe  all came from nothing?” And the unbeliever proudly continued “Yes, I believe in the inflationary universe!”

To which the believer answered “Then you believe all came from infinity, and it is not a matter of all or nothing, but nothing a part of all.” To which he unbeliever answered “That is the realm where all known natural laws of physics cease to exist, a reality we can not know or describe.”

The believer answered “We call that the transcended nature of God, and it does not matter how you call yourself, it matters how you are called.”

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President Barack Obama’s speech at Cairo University

Posted by Pelgrim on 4th June 2009

Good afternoon. I am honored to be in the timeless city of Cairo and to be hosted by two remarkable institutions. For over a thousand years, Al-Azhar has had stood as a beacon of Islamic learning. And for over a century, Cairo University has been a source of Egypt’s advancement. Together, you represent the harmony between tradition and progress.

I’m grateful for your hospitality and the hospitality of the people of Egypt. And I’m also proud to carry with me the good will of the American people and a greeting of peace from Muslim communities in my country: Assalamu-alaikum.

(APPLAUSE)

We meet at a time of great tension between the United States and Muslims around the world, tension rooted in historical forces that go beyond any current policy debate. The relationship between Islam and the West includes centuries of coexistence and cooperation but also conflict and religious wars.

More recently, tension has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims and a Cold War in which Muslim majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations. Moreover, the sweeping change brought by modernity and globalization led many Muslims to view the West as hostile to the traditions of Islam.

Violent extremists have exploited these tensions in a small but potent minority of Muslims. The attacks of September 11, 2001, and the continued efforts of these extremists to engage in violence against civilians has led some in my country to view Islam as inevitably hostile not only to America and western countries but also to human rights.

All this has bred more fear and more mistrust. So long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace, those who promote conflict rather than the cooperation that can help all of our people achieve justice and prosperity. And this cycle of suspicion and discord must end.

I’ve come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap and share common principles, principles of justice and progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.

I do so recognizing that change cannot happen overnight. I know there’s been a lot of publicity about this speech, but no single speech can eradicate years of mistrust nor can I answer in the time that I have this afternoon all the complex questions that brought us to this point.

But I am convinced that in order to move forward, we must say openly to each other the things we hold in our hearts and that too often are said only behind closed doors. There must be a sustained effort to listen to each other, to learn from each other, to respect one another, and to seek common ground.

As the Holy Quran tells us, Be conscious of God and speak always the truth.

(APPLAUSE)

That is what I will try to do today, to speak the truth as best I can. Humbled by the task before us and firm in my belief that the interests we share as human beings are far more powerful than the forces that drive us apart.

Now, part of this conviction is rooted in my own experience. I’m a Christian. But my father came from a Kenyan family that includes generations of Muslims. As a boy, I spent several years in Indonesia and heard the call of the azaan at the break of dawn and at the fall of dusk.

As a young man, I worked in Chicago communities where many found dignity and peace in their Muslim faith. As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Islam. It was Islam at places like Al-Azhar that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe’s renaissance and enlightenment. It was innovation in Muslim communities…

(APPLAUSE)

It was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra, our magnetic compass and tools of navigation, our mastery of pens and printing, our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed. Islamic culture has given us majestic arches and soaring spires, timeless poetry and cherished music, elegant calligraphy and places of peaceful contemplation. And throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality.

(APPLAUSE)

I also know that Islam has always been a part of America’s story. The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco. In signing the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796, our second president, John Adams, wrote,

The United States has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Muslims. And since our founding, American Muslims have enriched the United States.

They have fought in our wars. They have served in our government. They have stood for civil rights. They have started businesses. They have taught at our universities. They’ve excelled in our sports arenas. They’ve won Nobel Prizes, built our tallest building and lit the Olympic torch. And when the first Muslim American was recently elected to Congress, he took the oath to defend our Constitution using the same holy Quran that one of our founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, kept in his personal library.

(APPLAUSE)

So I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed. That experience guides my conviction that partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isn’t. And I consider it part of my responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.

(APPLAUSE)

But that same principle must apply to Muslim perceptions of America. Just as…

(APPLAUSE)

Just as Muslims do not fit a crude stereotype, America is not the crude stereotype of a self-interested empire. The United States has been one of the greatest sources of progress that the world has ever known. We were born out of revolution against an empire.

We were founded upon the ideal that all are created equal. And we have shed blood and struggled for centuries to give meaning to those words, within our borders and around the world.

We are shaped by every culture. Drawn from every end of the Earth, and dedicated to a simple concept, E pluribus unum: Out of many, one.

Now much has been made of the fact that an African-American with the name Barack Hussein Obama could be elected president.

(APPLAUSE)

But my personal story is not so unique. The dream of opportunity for all people has not come true for everyone in America, but its promise exists for all who come to our shores. And that includes nearly 7 million American Muslims in our country today who, by the way, enjoy incomes and educational levels that are higher than the American average.

Moreover, freedom in America is indivisible from the freedom to practice one’s religion. That is why there is a mosque in every state in our union and over 1,200 mosques within our borders. That’s why the United States government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab, and to punish those who would deny it.

So let there be no doubt…

(APPLAUSE)

… let there be no doubt, Islam is a part of America. And I believe that America holds within her the truth that regardless of race, religion, or station in life, all of us share common aspirations: to live in peace and security, to get an education and to work with dignity, to love our families, our communities, and our God. These things we share. This is the hope of all humanity.

Of course, recognizing our common humanity is only the beginning of our task. Words alone cannot meet the needs of our people. These needs will be met only if we act boldly in the years ahead. And if we understand that the challenges we face are shared and our failure to meet them will hurt us all.

For we have learned from recent experience that when a financial system weakens in one country, prosperity is hurt everywhere. When a new flu infects one human being, all are at risk. When one nation pursues a nuclear weapon, the risk of nuclear attack rises for all nations.

When violent extremists operate in one stretch of mountains, people are endangered across an ocean. When innocents in Bosnia and Darfur are slaughtered, that is a stain on our collective conscience.

(APPLAUSE)

That is what it means to share this world in the 21st Century. That is the responsibility we have to one another as human beings. This is a difficult responsibility to embrace, for human history has often been a record of nations and tribes, and, yes, religions subjugating one another in pursuit of their own interests.

Yet in this new age, such attitudes are self-defeating. Given our interdependence, any world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will inevitably fail. So whatever we think of the past, we must not be prisoners to it. Our problems must be dealt with through partnership, our progress must be shared.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, that does not mean we should ignore sources of tension. Indeed, it suggests the opposite. We must face these tensions squarely. And so, in that spirit, let me speak as clearly and as plainly as I can about some specific issues that I believe we must finally confront together.

The first issue that we have to confront is violent extremism in all its forms. In Ankara, I made clear that America is not and never will be at war with Islam.

(APPLAUSE)

We will, however, relentlessly confront violent extremists who pose a grave threat to our security because we reject the same thing that people of all faiths reject, the killing of innocent men, women, and children. And it is my first duty as president to protect the American people.

The situation in Afghanistan demonstrates America’s goals and our need to work together. Over seven years ago, the United States pursued Al Qaida and the Taliban with broad international support. We did not go by choice. We went because of necessity. I’m aware that there’s still some who would question or even justify the offense of 9/11. But let us be clear. Al Qaida killed nearly 3,000 people on that day.

The victims were innocent men, women, and children from America and many other nations who had done nothing to harm anybody. And yet Al Qaida chose to ruthlessly murder these people, claimed credit for the attack, and even now states their determination to kill on a massive scale. They have affiliates in many countries and are trying to expand their reach.

These are not opinions to be debated. These are facts to be dealt with. Make no mistake, we do not want to keep our troops in Afghanistan. We see no military — we seek no military bases there. It is agonizing for America to lose our young men and women. It is costly and politically difficult to continue this conflict.

We would gladly bring every single one of our troops home if we could be confident that there were not violent extremists in Afghanistan and now Pakistan determined to kill as many Americans as they possibly can. But that is not yet the case.

And that’s why we’re partnering with a coalition of 46 countries. And despite the costs involved, America’s commitment will not weaken. Indeed, none of us should tolerate these extremists. They have killed in many countries. They have killed people of different faiths but, more than any other, they have killed Muslims. Their actions are irreconcilable with the rights of human beings, the progress of nations, and with Islam.

The Holy Quran teaches that whoever kills an innocent is as — it is as it if has killed all mankind.

(APPLAUSE)

And the Holy Quran also says whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind.

(APPLAUSE)

The enduring faith of over a billion people is so much bigger than the narrow hatred of a few. Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism; it is an important part of promoting peace.

Now, we also know that military power alone is not going solve the problems in Afghanistan and Pakistan. That’s why we plan to invest $1.5 billion each year over the next five years to partner with Pakistanis to build schools and hospitals, roads and businesses, and hundreds of millions to help those who’ve been displaced.

That’s why we are providing more than $2.8 billion to help Afghans develop their economy and deliver services that people depend on.

Now, let me also address the issue of Iraq. Unlike Afghanistan, Iraq was a war of choice that provoked strong differences in my country and around the world. Although I believe that the Iraqi people are ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, I also believe that events in Iraq have reminded America of the need to use diplomacy and build international consensus to resolve our problems whenever possible.

(APPLAUSE)

Indeed, we can recall the words of Thomas Jefferson, who said, I hope that our wisdom will grow with our power and teach us that the less we use our power, the greater it will be. Today America has a dual responsibility to help Iraq forge a better future and to leave Iraq to Iraqis.

I have made it clear to the Iraqi people…

(APPLAUSE)

I have made it clear to the Iraqi people that we pursue no basis and no claim on their territory or resources. Iraq’s sovereignty is its own. And that’s why I ordered the removal of our combat brigades by next August. That is why we will honor our agreement with Iraq’s democratically-elected government to remove combat troops from Iraqi cities by July and to remove all of our troops from Iraq by 2012.

(APPLAUSE)

We will help Iraq train its security forces and develop its economy. But we will support a secure and united Iraq as a partner and never as a patron.

And finally, just as America can never tolerate violence by extremists, we must never alter or forget our principles. 9/11 was an enormous trauma to our country. The fear and anger that it provoked was understandable. But in some cases, it led us to act contrary to our traditions and our ideals.

We are taking concrete actions to change course. I have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States. And I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed by early next year.

(APPLAUSE)

So America will defend itself, respectful of the sovereignty of nations and the rule of law. And we will do so in partnership with Muslim communities, which are also threatened. The sooner the extremists are isolated and unwelcome in Muslim communities, the sooner we will all be safer.

Now, the second major source of tension that we need to discuss is the situation between Israelis, Palestinians and the Arab world. America’s strong bonds with Israel are well-known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied.

Around the world the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries. And anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented holocaust. Tomorrow I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich.

Six million Jews were killed, more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today. Denying that fact is baseless. It is ignorant, and it is hateful.

It’s about preventing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East that could lead this region and the world down a hugely dangerous path.

Now, I understand those who protest that some countries have weapons that others do not. No single nations should pick and choose which nation holds nuclear weapons. And that’s why I strongly reaffirmed America’s commitment to seek a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons.

(APPLAUSE)

And any nation, including Iran, should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its responsibilities under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. That commitment is at the core of the treaty. And it must be kept for all who fully abide by it. And I am hopeful that all countries in the region can share in this goal.

The fourth issue that I will address is democracy.

(APPLAUSE)

I know there has been controversy about the promotion of democracy in recent years. And much of this controversy is connected to the war in Iraq. So let me be clear. No system of government can or should be imposed by one nation by any other. That does not lessen my commitment, however, to governments that reflect the will of the people.

Each nation gives life to this principle in its own way, grounded in the traditions of its own people. America does not presume to know what is best for everyone, just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election.

But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed, confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice, government that is transparent and doesn’t steal from the people, the freedom to live as you choose. These are not just American ideas. They are human rights. And that is why we will support them everywhere.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, there is no straight line to realize this promise. But this much is clear. Governments that protect these rights are ultimately more stable, successful and secure. Suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. America respects the right of all peaceful and law-abiding voices to be heard around the world, even if we disagree with them. And we will welcome all elected, peaceful governments, provided they govern with respect for all their people.

This last point is important because there are some who advocate for democracy only when they’re out of power. Once in power, they are ruthless in suppressing the rights of others.

(APPLAUSE)

So no matter where it takes hold, government of the people and by the people sets a single standard for all who would hold power. You must maintain your power through consent, not coercion. You must respect the rights of minorities and participate with a spirit of tolerance and compromise. You must place the interests of your people and the legitimate workings of the political process above your party.

Without these ingredients, elections alone do not make true democracy.

(AUDIENCE MEMBER SHOUTS)

Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

The fifth issue that we must address together is religious freedom. Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance. We see it in the history of Andalusia and Cordoba during the Inquisition. I saw it firsthand as a child in Indonesia where devote Christians worshipped freely in an overwhelmingly Muslim country.

That is the spirit we need today. People in every country should be free to choose and live their faith based upon the persuasion of the mind and the heart and the soul.

This tolerance is essential for religion to thrive. But it’s being challenged in many different ways. Among some Muslims, there’s a disturbing tendency to measure one’s own faith by the rejection of somebody else’s faith.

The richness of religious diversity must be upheld, whether it is for Maronites in Lebanon or the Copts in Egypt.

(APPLAUSE)

And if we are being honest, fault lines must be closed among Muslims as well as the divisions between Sunni and Shia have led to tragic violence, particularly in Iraq.

Freedom of religion is central to the ability of peoples to live together. We must always examine the ways in which people protect it. For instance, in the United States, rules on charitable giving have made it harder for Muslims to fulfill their religious obligation.

That’s why I’m committed to work with American Muslims to ensure that they can fulfill zakat. Likewise, it is important for Western countries to avoid impeding Muslim citizens from practicing religion as they see fit, for instance, by dictating what clothes a Muslim woman should wear.

We can’t disguise hostility towards any religion behind the pretense of liberalism. In fact, faith should bring us together. And that’s why we’re forging service projects in America to bring together Christians, Muslims, and Jews.

That’s why we welcome efforts like Saudi Arabian King Abdullah’s interfaith dialogue and Turkey’s leadership in the Alliance of Civilizations.

Around the world, we can turn dialogue into interfaith service so bridges between peoples lead to action, whether it is combating malaria in Africa or providing relief after a natural disaster.

The sixth issue — the sixth issue that I want to address is women’s rights.

(APPLAUSE)

I know…

(APPLAUSE)

I know, and you can tell from this audience, that there is a healthy debate about this issue. I reject the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal. But I do believe that a woman who is denied an education is denied equality.

(APPLAUSE)

And it is no coincidence that countries where women are well- educated are far more likely to be prosperous.

Now let me be clear, issues of women’s equality are by no means simply an issue for Islam. In Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, we’ve seen Muslim-majority countries elect a woman to lead.

Meanwhile, the struggle for women’s equality continues in many aspects of American life and in countries around the world. I am convinced that our daughters can contribute just as much to society as our sons.

(APPLAUSE)

Our common prosperity will be advanced by allowing all humanity, men and women, to reach their full potential. I do not believe that women must make the same choices as men in order to be equal. And I respect those women who choose to live their lives in traditional roles. But it should be their choice.

That is why the United States will partner with any Muslim- majority country to support expanded literacy for girls and to help young women pursue employment through micro-financing that helps people live their dreams.

(APPLAUSE)

Finally, I want to discuss economic development and opportunity. I know that for many, the face of globalization is contradictory. The Internet and television can bring knowledge and information but also offensive sexuality and mindless violence into the home.

Trade can bring new wealth and opportunities but also huge disruptions and change in communities. In all nations, including America, this change can bring fear; fear that, because of modernity, we lose control over our economic choices, our politics, and most importantly, our identities, those things we most cherish about our communities, our families, our traditions, and our faith.

But I also know that human progress cannot be denied. There need not be contradictions between development and tradition. Countries like Japan and South Korea grew their economies enormously while maintaining distinct cultures. The same is true for the astonishing progress within Muslim majority countries from Kuala Lumpur to Dubai.

In ancient times and in our times, Muslim communities have been at the forefront of innovation and education. And this is important because no development strategy can be based only upon what comes out of the ground nor can it be sustained while young people are out of work.

Many Gulf States have enjoyed great wealth as a consequence of oil, and some are beginning to focus it on broader development. But all of us must recognize that education and innovation will be the currency of the 21st century. And in too…

(APPLAUSE)

And in too many Muslim communities, there remains underinvestment in these areas. I am emphasizing such investment within my own country. And while America, in the past, has focused on oil and gas when it comes to this part of the world, we new seek a broader engagement.

On education, we will expand change programs and increase scholarships like the one that brought my father to America.

(APPLAUSE)

At the same time, we will encourage more Americans to study in Muslim communities. And we will match promising Muslim students are internships in America, invest in online learning for teachers and children around the world and create a new, online network so a young person in Kansas can communicate instantly with a young person in Cairo.

On economic development, we will create a new core of business volunteers to partner with counterparts in Muslim majority countries. And I will host a summit on entrepreneurship this year to identify how we can deepen ties between business leaders, foundations, and social entrepreneurs in the United States and Muslim communities around the world.

On science and technology, we will launch a new fund to support technological development in Muslim majority country and to help transfer ideas to the marketplace so they can create more jobs. We will open centers of scientific excellence in Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia and appoint new science envoys to collaborate on programs that develop new sources of energy, create green jobs, digitize records, clean water, grow new crops.

Today, I’m announcing a new global effort with the organization of the Islamic Conference to eradicate polio. And we will also expand partnerships with Muslim communities to promote child and maternal health.

All these things must be done in partnership. Americans are ready to join with citizens and governments, community organizations, religious leaders, and businesses in Muslim communities around the world to help our people pursue a better life.

The issues that I have described will not be easy to address, but we have a responsibility to join together to behalf of the world that we seek, a world where extremists no longer threaten our people and American troops have come home; a world where Israelis and Palestinians are each secure in a state of their own and nuclear energy is used for peaceful purposes, a world where governments serve their citizens and the rights of all God’s children are respected. Those are mutual interests. That is the world we seek.But we can only achieve it together. I know there are many, Muslim and non-Muslim, who question whether we can forge this new beginning. Some are eager to stoke the flames of division and to stand in the way of progress. Some suggest that it isn’t worth the effort, that we are fated to disagree and civilizations are doomed to clash.

Many more are simply skeptical that real change can occur. There is so much fear, so much mistrust that has built up over the years. But if we choose to be bound by the past, we will never move forward. And I want to particularly say this to young people of every faith in every country. You more than anyone have the ability to reimagine the world, the remake this world.

All of us share this world for but a brief moment in time. The question is whether we spend that time focused on what pushes us apart or whether we commit ourselves to an effort, a sustained effort to find common ground, to focus on the future we seek for our children and to respect the dignity of all human beings.

It’s easier to start wars than to end them. It’s easier to blame others than to look inward. It’s easier to see what is different about someone than to find the things we share. But we should choose the right path, not just the easy path. There is one rule that lies at the heart of every religion, that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us.

(APPLAUSE)

This truth transcends nations and peoples, a belief that isn’t new, that isn’t black or white or brown, that isn’t Christian or Muslim or Jew. It’s a belief that pulsed in the cradle of civilization and that still beats in the hearts of billions around the world. It’s a faith in other people. And it’s what brought me here today.

We have the power to make the world we seek, but only if we have the courage to make a new beginning, keeping in mind what has been written. The Holy Quran tells us, Mankind, we have created you male and a female. And we have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another.

The Talmud tells us, The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace.

The Holy Bible tells us, Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

(APPLAUSE)

The people of the world can live together in peace. We know that is God’s vision. Now that must be our work here on Earth.

Thank you. And may God’s peace be upon you. Thank you very much.

Thank you.

END

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090604/ap_on_re_mi_ea/obama_muslims

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The Life’s house

Posted by Pelgrim on 26th March 2009

“Teacher”, the pupil said, “when I venture on the path of the spiritual journey what will happen to my life’s house?”

The teachter paused to scoop water from the brook and after a pause looked at the pupil and said “Our house will be shaken to its very foundations upon what it is build, it will come tumbling down around us. When we move on the contours of our old house are fading and instead we experience the promise of a house and a whole city without walls. The struggle is that our eye cannot perceive the air separating the inside from the outside, but that is just the illusion we cling on to.

To unearth the vision that lies beyond our grasp and reunite the light of the eye to its true source that shines brighter as a thousand suns and still is kinder than the sun in the sky.”

From a work in progress based on Psalm 119, 54
- working title “Songs from the wilderness””, H. Blum

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First encounter

Posted by Pelgrim on 4th January 2009

“What is the temple you are going to build me? Child of man! Do not I fill heaven and earth? And did not I establish its foundations? Did not Salomon inform you that his temple build of stones, cut out by human hands, could not contain me!”

“Is not Life an expression of itself and do not I form the the gift of Life within you? So what could you possibly give me, that is not mine?”

The student fell to his knees.

Thundering ”What is the desire of your heart? To have more of what belongs to me? ……. Or to be found worthy of the gift?”

The student ran to his teacher and cried out “I am unworthy!”

The teacher answered “Are we not all beggars and thieves? Still we can be found Kings and Priests. Remember that God through his Prophets predicted that Mount Sion would be plowed over and the temple made of stone destroyed. Plowing might be descructive to the old roots still it prepares the ground to receive the seed for the harvest.”

From a work in progress based on Psalm 119, 54
- working title “Songs from the wilderness””, H. Blum

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The Father of Jesus

Posted by Pelgrim on 16th December 2008

Indubitaly no man is born fatherless;
Only one Jesus exists in the world.

- Shabestari

The Sufis believe that Jesus was born of Mary through the breath of the Holy Spirit, and had no physical father.
The Qoran describes the Divine animation of man as a breathing of God’s Spirit unto the human frame, using the the same expression for the generation of Jesus as for the creation of Adam, that is, by a blowing of the Divine Breath, respectively, into the womb of Mary and into the clay of Adam’s body - a breath which is none other than the Grace of the Holy Spirit.

What the Sufis understand by a reference to the concept of ‘Father’ with respect to Jesus, such as when the Gospel quotes Jesus as saying, “I go to the Father” (John 16:16), is that the saints are the spiritual children of the Divine, so that Jesus as a saint, can be regarded as just such a ’spiritual offspring’.

As Rumi puts it,

My boy,
All the saints are sons of God:
Whether here or there, present or absent,
Always aware, vigilant and awake.

Shaikh Shabestari provides a lyrical rendering of this concept in his Golshan-e raz:

First the suckling infant,
Bound to a cradle, is sustained on milk,
Then, when mature, becomes a wayfarer;
If a man, he travels with his father.

The elements of nature for you
Resemble an earthborn mother,
You, a son whose father
Is a patriarch from on high.

So Jesus proclaimed upon ascension:
“I go to my Father (Abba) above.”
You too, favorite of your father,
Set forth for your Father!

Your fellow-travelers went on;
you too pass on!
If you wish to be a bird in flight,
Leave the world’s carcass to vultures.

In his commentary on the Golshan-e ráz, Shaikh Làhiji explains the concepts of the Holy Spirit (ruh al-qodos) and the ‘Spirit of God’ (ruho’lláh), which appear in another part of Shabestari’s work, verse by verse in the following manner:

Within the inner court of holy Oneness
Lies the soul’s monastery.
Perch of the Simorgh of Subsistence.

(The commentator, Làhiji): That is to say, the inner court of sanctum of holy Oneness (wahdat) of the Divine Essence, which transcends and is hallowed from all blemish of multiplicity (katharat), is the soul’s monastery (dair-e jan), and the temple (ma’bad) of the Christians, that is to say, the community of the prophet Jesus. Hence, the holy monastery of Divine Unity is the house of worship for the soul, the human spirit (ruh-e ensani), the origin of which is the World of Supra-Formal Entities (‘alam-e tajarrod). This sanctum of Divine Oneness is the soul’s temple and the roost of the Simorgh of true Subsistence (baqa) because the wellspring and reality of Subsistence is Divine Oneness, unblemished and consecrated from all contrariness and disparity generated through mortal annihilation (fana).
By realisation of this station (maqam), Jesus was graced with life and immortality. Since pure freedom from the bondage of custom, convention, blind imitation, and habit, which Christianity (tarsa’i) exemplifies, was manifested by Jesus, the poet further comments:
From the Spirit of God sprang this attainment,
Brought forth by the Holy Spirit.

The ‘attainment’ here implied is that of dispassion, detachment and emancipation from the bondage of multiplicity and habit, all of which Christianity represents, and consequent at-one-ment with the spiritual level and monastery of the Divine Essence in its sacred Oneness. Such labour was manifested by Jesus (as the ‘Spirit of God’). No previous prophet, however graced with the virtues of perfection, ever quite attained his degree.

Nurbakhsh, Dr. Javad. Jesus in the Eyes of the Sufis.Terry Graham, et al. Trans.
London: Khaniqahi-Nimatullahi Publications, 1983.

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The field of trouble

Posted by Pelgrim on 24th October 2008

Confronted with the grief of a student over the distress that has befallen him, the student asked him “why teacher, doesn’t the love of God protect us from harm?”

The teacher looked in the distance and answered “As his word teaches everything in life returns to us, so that should direct our ways. In life everything that befalls us is an opportunity to learn and I needed still a lot to learn about the essence of life as in His love He gave me many opportunities to learn. Sometimes a lesson is painful and only that pain can occupy our mind. If we widen our view the necessity to learn presents itself.
We are never alone in our times of distress. The field of trouble is also a door of hope as long as we allow His light to penetrate our darkness.”

From a work in progress based on Psalm 119, 54
- working title “Songs from the wilderness”", H. Blum 

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