Tuesday, March 24, 2009

It's been on my mind lately...

This morning, very early morning, I was walking down the street with you know who, Augustus and Ollie, the two early bird cats of Pasadena, and I started to think about this blog. It occurred to me that I had nothing to say. I thought, wow this is weird, is it possible that there is nothing in my head. Then it occurred to me that the reason for this may be related to my anxiety or preoccupation with what is shown below:

Now, don't get me wrong, I love science and my work but I don't like to be in 'last-minute, this must be done" type of situations and that is where I am. For the next 10 weeks I will be studying as I teach a fairly routine college level course in CHEMISTRY, the most mysterious of all sciences.

Augustus, the wise cat, suggested that I meditate, some YOGA perhaps, and some nap time on his bed. Ollie wanted to make sure that I don't forget to give him snacks.

Augustus also brought the following passage to my attention:

'..Know that the reality of man embraces the realities of things, and discovers the verities, properties and secrets of things. So all these arts, wonders, sciences and knowledge have been discovered by the human reality. At one time these sciences, knowledge, wonders and arts were hidden and concealed secrets; then gradually the human reality discovered them and brought them from the realm of the invisible to the plane of the visible. ..The mind and the thought of man sometimes discover truths, and from this thought and discovery signs and results are produced. This thought has a foundation. But many things come to the mind of man which are like the waves of the sea of imaginations; they have no fruit, and no result comes from them. In the same way, man sees in the world of sleep a vision which becomes exactly realized; at another time, he sees a dream which has absolutely no result.
What we mean is that this state, which we call the converse and communications of spirits, is of two kinds: one is simply imaginary, and the other is like the visions which are mentioned in the Holy Book, such as the revelations of St. John and Isaiah and the meeting of Christ with Moses and Elias. These are real, and produce wonderful effects in the minds and thoughts of men, and cause their hearts to be attracted.' Abdul-Baha

I think Augustus wants me to snap out of frenzy and to take control of what could be a very important learning experience for me. I wish you all had a wise cat like we do.

Happy Tuesday to All.

PS- the first two images were pitch black but i-photo has enhanced them so much it appears like daylight!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Two tired cats and a lazy Sunday...Day after Naw Ruz

Happy Naw-Ruz to all!

I wish everyone a joyous spring. We had a real spring... with spring showers! The grass is growing (even in my plate), the tulips are smiling, and as I sit here writing this little note I see Augustus the cat dash back and forth in the courtyard. I had a much needed cup of coffee and made it better by eating half of a truly yummy bear claw.

One tired babe, just a few hours ago: Augustus

Another tired babe: Ollie

Have a wonderful first week of spring!


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Awaiting the Vernal Equinox...

Augustus and Ollie (aka, the Ging or Ginger) have been awaiting the arrival of spring anxiously. They monitor changes in sunrise and sunset, chanting of birds, behavior of squirrels, and people, naturally. Although there is not much of a change in weather in southern California, these two wise felines are atuned to the movements of the planets and stars and moons. One might say that they are wizards.
In the shots below, I have captured the many meditative looks of Augustus, and at the very end I have shown a blurry picture of Ollie who grew some oat grass in celebration of the New Spring and the Ancient Persian New Year.

Toodles to all...Spring is almost here!

"The sphere of that which is relative"

This morning appeared to me to be one of those "same thing, same place, same time" type of days. I said boys, what's up, this is exactly the same thing we did yesterday.

Augustus said: "Mama, meow, just follow me!"
And so I did. We walked down the street, me flash light in hand, he, taking a few steps, and examining left and right as we walked toward our unkept house.
He suddenly stopped and said: "Mama, look! Ginger is by that unkept yard!"
I said, so what is so different about this. The only thing is that yesterday Ginger dashed in front of me and you joined later but we ended up at the same unkept yard.

Augustus said: "Mama, we live in a relative world and you are comparing too much instead of living each day for itself."
I thought to myself, wow, my 1.5-year old cat is a philosopher now. At this very instant when the thought dashed in my head Augustus said: " I want you to read page 27 of the book called Seven Valleys and Four Valleys."

And so we hung around for a while and returned home for our daily reading.

Our reading for this Thursday, 19th of March 2009:

"Although a brief example hath been given concerning the beginning and ending of the relative world, the world of attributes, yet a second illustration is now added, that the full meaning may be manifest. For instance, let thine Eminence consider his own self; thou art first in relation to thy son, last in relation to thy father. In thine outward appearance, thou tellest of the appearance of power in the realms of divine creation; in thine inward being thou revealest the hidden mysteries which are the divine trust deposited within thee. And thus firstness and lastness, outwardness and inwardness are, in the sense referred to, true of thyself, that in these four states conferred upon thee thou shouldst comprehend the four divine states, and that the nightingale of thine heart on all the branches of the rosetree of existence, whether visible or concealed, should cry out: “He is the first and the last, the Seen and the Hidden….”
These statements are made in the sphere of that which is relative, because of the limitations of men. Otherwise, those personages who in a single step have passed over the world of the relative and the limited, and dwelt on the fair plane of the Absolute, and pitched their tent in the worlds of authority and command—have burned away these relativities with a single spark, and blotted out these words with a drop of dew. And they swim in the sea of the spirit, and soar in the holy air of light. Then what life have words, on such a plane, that “first” and “last” or other than these be seen or mentioned! In this realm, the first is the last itself, and the last is but the first.
In thy soul of love build thou a fire
And burn all thoughts and words entire.
O my friend, look upon thyself: Hadst thou not become a father nor begotten a son, neither wouldst thou have heard these sayings. Now forget them all, that thou mayest learn from the Master of Love in the schoolhouse of oneness, and return unto God, and forsake the inner land of unreality for thy true station, and dwell within the shadow of the tree of knowledge..."

What do you think you are doing in this relative world?

Toodles for now and happy March 19th!


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Here we go again...what's up this morning?

Well, this was another early morning for me...the usual. Little ging pulled off the cover from me, and told me to get up and let him out. No, he actually spoke, I am not kidding. This boy talks. I have been working all day, writing, working on a proposal, teaching, and training and now I am officially tired. However, I did check out a book from the library, and I plan to read a few pages tonight. Go check it out. It is called "The Ornament of the World" by Maria Rosa Menocal.

Toodles for now.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Reconstructing Early Morning...

Mmmm...what's going on over there?

I see "Gingerella" !(Augustus calls Ollie Ging or Gingerella because he is a ginger cat)

"Simply an unkept lawn presenting many possibilities, perhaps a bit unkept!"

"Ehh...not interesting! I will go across the street to the well-groomed lawn."

Each day has its story to tell, and one must try to discover the story hidden in each day. Or perhaps the thing to do is really to write the story of the day before it just happens. What do you think?

Have an eventful story-filled day, and may it be filled with happy stories!


Monday, March 16, 2009

I had a dream (not MLK silly goose)

I dreamt last night, clear as day, and I often do. Sometimes however I am so busy in my dream that my head hurts in the morning. I think this was one of those mornings and as I was pondering what to share it occurred to me that it had to do with dreams and dreaming.

Augustus and Ollie, also dream, and they make little jumps or little cute noises. They have such busy souls, God bless them.

Here's our reading for today...

'...It is clear that when man is thinking, it is as though he were consulting with some other person. With whom is he consulting? It is evident that it is another reality, or one aside from this body, with whom he enters into consultation when he thinks, “Shall I do this work or not?” “What will be the result of my doing this?” Or when he questions the other reality, “What is the objection to this work if I do it?” And then that reality in man communicates its opinion to him concerning the point at issue. Therefore, that reality in man is clearly and obviously other than his body—an ego with which man enters into consultation and whose opinion man seeks.
Often a man makes up his mind positively about a matter; for instance, he determines to undertake a journey. Then he thinks it over—that is, he consults his inner reality—and finally concludes that he will give up his journey. What has happened? Why did he abandon his original purpose? It is evident that he has consulted his inner reality, which expresses to him the disadvantages of such a journey; therefore, he defers to that reality and changes his original intention.
Furthermore, man sees in the world of dreams. He travels in the East; he travels in the West; although his body is stationary, his body is here. It is that reality in him which makes the journey while the body sleeps. There is no doubt that a reality exists other than the outward, physical reality. Again, for instance, a person is dead, is buried in the ground. Afterward, you see him in the world of dreams and speak with him, although his body is interred in the earth. Who is the person you see in your dreams, talk to and who also speaks with you? This again proves that there is another reality different from the physical one which dies and is buried. Thus it is certain that in man there is a reality which is not the physical body. Sometimes the body becomes weak, but that other reality is in its own normal state. The body goes to sleep, becomes as one dead; but that reality is moving about, comprehending things, expressing them and is even conscious of itself.
This other and inner reality is called the heavenly body, the ethereal form which corresponds to this body. This is the conscious reality which discovers the inner meaning of things, for the outer body of man does not discover anything. The inner ethereal reality grasps the mysteries of existence, discovers scientific truths and indicates their technical application. It discovers electricity, produces the telegraph, the telephone and opens the door to the world of arts. If the outer material body did this, the animal would, likewise, be able to make scientific and wonderful discoveries, for the animal shares with man all physical powers and limitations. What, then, is that power which penetrates the realities of existence and which is not to be found in the animal? It is the inner reality which comprehends things, throws light upon the mysteries of life and being, discovers the heavenly Kingdom, unseals the mysteries of God and differentiates man from the brute. Of this there can be no doubt...."(Abdul Baha)

Well, I wish you happy dreams...light ones that cheer your heart and enlightening ones that help you solve mysteries.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

A passage that must be shared...

Last night I was asked to do a "fireside". I think President Roosevelt had fireside chats...not totally positive. Anyhow, when one is asked to do a fireside these days, it usually means that they are of the Baha'i faith and are going to share some aspect of their beliefs with people who are interested. It is a fun exercise. In the process of trying to answer questions the person who has to do the fireside ends up reading, studying, meditating.

Anyhow, I am not going to do a fireside; however, my cat boys, Augustus and Ollie, asked me to share a passage that I was rehearsing with them. Ollie usually sits with his paws crossed when I read or rehearse a talk. If he yawns, that means trouble. Augustus does not want to hurt my feelings by making gestures during the talk. He goes into a zen-like mood right from the start. I will try to capture some pictures to show the expressions.

In this case they just headed for the salad, and I had to get them back again and ask them to listen.

...O My servants! Could ye apprehend with what wonders of My munificence and bounty I have willed to entrust your souls, ye would, of a truth, rid yourselves of attachment to all created things, and would gain a true knowledge of your own selves—a knowledge which is the same as the comprehension of Mine own Being. Ye would find yourselves independent of all else but Me, and would perceive, with your inner and outer eye, and as manifest as the revelation of My effulgent Name, the seas of My loving-kindness and bounty moving within you. Suffer not your idle fancies, your evil passions, your insincerity and blindness of heart to dim the luster, or stain the sanctity, of so lofty a station. Ye are even as the bird which soareth, with the full force of its mighty wings and with complete and joyous confidence, through the immensity of the heavens, until, impelled to satisfy its hunger, it turneth longingly to the water and clay of the earth below it, and, having been entrapped in the mesh of its desire, findeth itself impotent to resume its flight to the realms whence it came. Powerless to shake off the burden weighing on its sullied wings, that bird, hitherto an inmate of the heavens, is now forced to seek a dwelling-place upon the dust. Wherefore, O My servants, defile not your wings with the clay of waywardness and vain desires, and suffer them not to be stained with the dust of envy and hate, that ye may not be hindered from soaring in the heavens of My divine knowledge...Baha'u'llah

Well, Happy Sunday Evening to all...hope to see you tomorrow.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Contemplating how to possess pure, kindly and radiant hearts...

Last night I went to a meeting where a speaker did a presentation on the concept of the oneness of all religions, oneness in that they all essentially teach the same principles. I cannot tell you all about it in the few minutes that I have but trust me, it was very good. Anyhow, the reason I bring this up is that yesterday I shared a quote with you on possessing a "pure, kindly and radiant heart" and told you that it was a very powerful quote. So, as I listened to the talk it occurred to me that this idea of purity of motive, kindness, radiance is greatly emphasized in all of the major religions and interestingly, hardly ever recognized in the sciences.
So this morning as I was walking the doodle bugs (that would be Augustus and Ollie, two of the cutest cats in the world) I started thinking about this idea of possessing a "pure, kindly and radiant heart" again. It occurred to me that one reason the injunction asking us to "possess a pure, kindly and radiant heart" is so important is because it leads firstly to personal transformation, and secondly, to world transformation, i.e., if pursued collectively. Think about it... We really do need to work on WORLD TRANSFORMATION. So let's try to possess a pure, kindly and radiant heart whenever we can.

So I am going to share with you a prayer concerning this. Here it is:

O God, my God! Aid Thou Thy trusted servants to have loving and tender hearts. Help them to spread, amongst all the nations of the earth, the light of guidance that cometh from the Company on high. Verily, Thou art the Strong, the Powerful, the Mighty, the All-Subduing, the Ever-Giving. Verily, Thou art the Generous, the Gentle, the Tender, the Most Bountiful. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

I also included pictures of the doodlebugs while they were contemplating upon this thought after our walk. By the way, these photos were taken at early dawn but after iphoto touch up and enhancement they appear like full morning.

Well, I also like to add that I will not post for you (or rather MOI) tomorrow because I will be out of town just for the day.

Toodles to all and wishing you a happy Thursday!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Thinking of earlier days...

Today I cannot think. I had all these grand ideas on doing a MAARVELOUS post, and now suddenly, after spending all morning and the first hour of this Wednesday afternoon in the lab, all ideas have left me. I am truly exhausted. I need coffee and a pastry, followed with a place to nap. I am even willing to forgo the food and go straight for the nap. No, I cannot forgo the coffee, chocolate, apple torte, peanut butter and jelly...anything.

Oh well! Not today.

Times like this I start going through old pictures, happy places, happy times. I came across this:

Now admit it...can you resist this? I say NOPE. No one can. This is baby Augustus about a week after we got him. He stole our hearts.

Aside from that, let's not waste these precious days and try to memorize something. I choose something that I already know, but YOU (whoever you are in cyberland), please commit this to memory if you don't know it. There is a lot of power hidden in this quote.

O SON OF SPIRIT! My first counsel is this: Possess a pure, kindly and radiant heart, that thine may be a sovereignty ancient, imperishable and everlasting. Baha'u'llah

Now go have yourselves a great day.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Memorize this today!

Bonjour a tous! Good morning everyone!
I was searching for a passage I had read that I really liked. You see I am trying to make the most of each day...reflect, find values, meditate, all the good stuff. It occurred to me that I am getting tired of hearing all the "good" news about our economy. I don't find most of what I hear terribly informative, and certainly not uplifting, and I am not even surprised, or I should say that I don't expect much more. It was then that two smart cats (playmates of Augustus and Ollie that we have not met yet) came to me with this book, and wouldn't you know, they had it opened to the page I was looking for. I think this is IT!!!

I created thee rich, why dost thou bring thyself down to poverty? Noble I made thee, wherewith dost thou abase thyself? Out of the essence of knowledge I gave thee being, why seekest thou enlightenment from anyone beside Me? Out of the clay of love I molded thee, how dost thou busy thyself with another? Turn thy sight unto thyself, that thou mayest find Me standing within thee, mighty, powerful and self-subsisting. (Baha'u'lah)

What do you think? "Turn thy sight unto thyself, that thou mayest find Me standing within thee, mighty, powerful, and self-subsisting." Now, isn't this uplifting?

Happy Tuesday everyone in that invisible cyber-dimension!


By the way, our cats, Ollie and Augustus have asked for the same ladder in our home. We'll see about that. : )

Monday, March 9, 2009

Gaining Appreciation!

(another great photo from Angel, my scientist colleague!)

“He is beloved in His acts and obeyed in His decree, merciful in His nature and compassionate to His creatures!” (Baha'u'llah Prayer for the Fast)

Happy Monday everyone! My cats say hello too!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Augustus and Ollie Meditating Early Sunday Morning!

"...Thou hast endowed every hour of these days with a special virtue, inscrutable to all except Thee, Whose knowledge embraceth all created things. Thou hast, also, assigned unto every soul a portion of this virtue in accordance with the Tablet of Thy decree and the Scriptures of Thine irrevocable judgment..."

I suddenly decided to read a prayer, and I picked the right one. Imagine! Every hour of these (fasting) days is endowed with a special virtue, and furthermore, to every soul is given a portion of this virtue.

Something to think about.

And now, please go listen to this. It is quite heavenly! (not the entire song though- get it from itunes)


Saturday, March 7, 2009


O, how much more doth beauty beauteous seem
By that sweet ornament which truth doth give!
The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem
For that sweet odour which doth in it live.
(Shakespeare Sonnet 54)

The fabulous felines follow a beauty routine because they want to look their best when they go out.

Here's Ollie with his scarf ready for his walk. Augustus did not wish to be photographed today.

I will share with you their routine little by little. By the way, I really do wash Augustus' little chin with soap to help his acne. Baby also has allergies and recently got an allergy shot.

Don't you love these babes?


Friday, March 6, 2009

Lucky to have fallen in love with my best friend!

Make sure you fall in love...My love is hiding behind ginger cat.

And everyone, go listen to this. PRONTO!
And sing along loud!


The Miracle of Grace

"...Unasked, I have showered upon thee My grace. Unpetitioned, I have fulfilled thy wish. In spite of thy undeserving, I have singled thee out for My richest, My incalculable favors..." (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, pg. 323)

By the way, this beautiful picture was taken by Angel Di’Billio in 2009, Death Valley, CA. Thanks Angelo.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Tricking the Cats is my Daily Job

The last photo is not mine. These cats are modeling sweaters a store that makes cat clothing. I think Augustus and Ollie should each have one...what do you think?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Covenant on Mount Paran

“O My Friends! Call ye to mind that covenant ye have entered into with Me upon Mount Paran, situated within the hallowed precincts of Zaman. I have taken to witness the concourse on high and the dwellers of the city of eternity, yet now none do I find faithful unto the covenant. Of a certainty pride and rebellion have effaced it from the hearts, in such wise that no trace thereof remaineth. Yet knowing this, I waited and disclosed it not.”

Abdul-Baha, the elder son of Baha'u'llah (remember, the prophet founder of the Baha'i faith), whose name means the Servant of Baha explains the above passage from Baha'u'llah's book, The Hidden Words. By the way, Abdul-Baha was chosen by his father as the Center of His Covenant, the Expounder of His Writings, and the Perfect Exemplar.

“…regarding the Covenant entered into on Mount Párán, this signifieth that in the sight of God the past, the present and the future are all one and the same—whereas, relative to man, the past is gone and forgotten, the present is fleeting, and the future is within the realm of hope. And it is a basic principle of the Law of God that in every Prophetic Mission, He entereth into a Covenant with all believers—a Covenant that endureth until the end of that Mission, until the promised day when the Personage stipulated at the outset of the Mission is made manifest.
Consider Moses, He Who conversed with God. Verily, upon Mount Sinai, Moses entered into a Covenant regarding the Messiah, with all those souls who would live in the day of the Messiah. And those souls, although they appeared many centuries after Moses, were nevertheless—so far as the Covenant, which is outside time, was concerned—present there with Moses...” (Ref: Some Answered Questions)

This is one of my favorite writings because it shows how we are trapped within our own boundaries of time, space, thought, limitations, nature...

I was planning to sign off with delightful pictures of our feline ZEN MASTERS: Augustus Gorbah and Ollie Anderdunk! Alas, I must go. Next time for sure.


Monday, March 2, 2009

'Purification and Training'

This is the second day of the Baha'i month of Fasting and I already know that I don't plan to post something everyday, only if something interesting comes to mind. Anyhow, I thought to share this writing from Baha'u'llah ( prophet founder of Baha'i faith for those who do not know)

'Even though outwardly the Fast is difficult and toilsome, yet inwardly it is bounty and tranquillity. Purification and training are conditioned and dependent only on such rigorous exercises as are in accord with the Book of God and sanctioned by Divine law, not those which the deluded have inflicted upon the people. Whatsoever God hath revealed is beloved of the soul. We beseech Him that He may graciously assist us to do that which is pleasing and acceptable unto Him.'

I like this passage. Don't you? (Well, I know no one is reading this...ha ha ha) I was happy to see that even Baha'u'llah considers Fast to be difficult and toilsome. What a relief!

I also have to share a scientific article on 'fasting', mucho interesting, in my opinion. This comes from JAMA, 2008, and here it is:

Unfortunately, it is illegible but if you must know, the article was published in JAMA, May 7, 2008, p. 2017, Vol. 299(17). Essentially researchers have discovered that normal cells go into 'hibernation' or low activity within a few days of fasting while cancer cell continue growth at rapid rate. Chemotherapy following short fasting period will affect the cancer cell and not destroy normal cells. This is outstanding!!!

Well, I tried to get some cat photos this morning, and hope to share them with you soon.

If you NEED to listen to heavenly music, listen to this!

Ciao dear buddies!

And so begins the Baha'i Fast!

Today is the first day of the Baha'i fast, which will last 19 days. And, I am trying to observe it to the extent that I can. To most the idea of 'fasting' evokes strange thoughts. Do you fast because you have to see a doctor? Are you trying to lose weight? Oh, don't tell me, you are religious zealot, yikes! Well, I fast (at least try to fast), because it is a spiritual perscription just as is the saying of daily prayers.

Anyhow, some Christians observe the Lent, and some Muslims observe the Ramadan, and Baha'is observe the Fast from March 2nd to 21st of each year. We believe that saying of daily prayers and fasting, are not only important for our spirituality but also protect us from tests in life.

If you like to learn more about the Baha'i faith and the fast, please go to:

And, now I want to tell you something unrelated to fasting.

Yesterday, I went to a soap-making workshop from an urban survival expert, Pascal, and he served us a delicious green salad made entirely of different greens that he had collected on the hills surrounding his apartment. Of course he did use lemon juice and avocado for dressing. Well, not only I did not die from eating it but I found it totally delicious.

I will tell you more on this topic later but I must leave now.

Have a wonderful day, and fast.