I just finished my sequel to "Lilly&Peggy" and found myself thinking about beginnings and ends which led to passage from the "Seven Valleys", a mystical book written by Baha'u'llah in response to a letter from a Sufi. The number seven has great significance to a Sufi. It refers to the seven days of creation out of which came a belief that there are seven stages of self-knowledge. Another fact worth mentioning is that this particular Sufi held the belief, unlike others, that the condition of prophethood was an indispensable link between the condition of servitude and the condition of Diety. This indispensable link was eloquently voiced by His Holiness Christ who said "I am the way...".
Anyway in the "Seven Valleys" Baha'u'llah says "but the people of the Valleys above this see the end and the beginning as one; nay they see neither beginning nor end,"
When I wrote the last paragraphs today for "The Imperfect Pilgrim" I had that experience of closing a circle, blinking, and then not being able to see where the circle began and ended. I then thought of the other non-fiction book I recently finished with Phyllis Ring and Diane Iverson. The heart of the book is an essential practical step based on the premise that down deep we are one and interconnected--that the only logical act is an act of service to members of our family which, when done with a pure intent, is simultaneously an act of service to ourselves. I have been living, or more accurately trying to live like this for decades now. Again seeing the beginning as the end, blinking, and then not being able to tell the difference becomes reality. I will explain. When I was younger I was much more concerned with the the last stage of an act of service--namely the visible act. Someone needs a ride to the doctor and my focus was primarily on the outward act or the end. As I aged I began to pay more attention to the beginning. What motivated my outward act of service? Was it selfless? Did I expect some quid pro quo? At this time of my life I definitely saw a well defined beginning and end-the act and what motivated the act. Now at this stage of my life, almost 63, the beginning and end are blurring somewhat-enough for me to see where this path is leading. Now I spend more time contemplating what attribute of God should motivate my act of service-is it generosity, kindness, some mixture of justice and mercy maybe. The outward act is the visible vessel carrying the divine quality. In essence what I am seeing is kindness moving out in a circle and coming back to me completing the circle. I blink, look again, and see only one circle. The beginning was kindness and the end was kindness-the end and the beginning had become one. All I can take with me in the next stage of my journey are the infinite attributes of God that I have made my own through countless acts of service. It is definitely a feeling of contentment-not worrying so much about how my efforts are received. This line of thinking also leads to in time contemplating acts of service to a relationship you have with that person because the relationship is an endless circle of acts of service circling back and forth between you and the other person. So now I ask what is the attribute of God this relationship needs at this moment and how can that attribute be incorporated into an act of service. These are just my ramblings-no claim at being authoritative in the least. The end--or is it the beginning?