We Raise Our Flag And Anthem

We raise our flag and anthem
International Flag of Planet Earth, created by Oskar Pernefeldt, 2015
We raise our flag and anthem
Oskar Pernefeldt, creator of the International Flag of Planet Earth

The New Message from God tells us repeatedly that human unity is not just a good idea. Human unity is a requirement for survival in a future of big, ongoing disruptions. A future world of diminishing resources, less hospitable climate, environmental degradation, and extraterrestrial intervention. I therefore take encouragement in action taken to promote human unity. The person taking the action is Oskar Pernefeldt. The action is creating an international flag for planet earth.

We raise our flag and anthem

We raise our flag and anthem
Astronaut with International Flag of Planet Earth

In 2015, Oskar was a student of the Beckmans College of Design in Stockholm. As part of his graduation project, he designed a flag for the world. I consider this a project requiring not only graphic skill, but a certain openness of heart and mind. This flag must be more than a beautiful design. It must be a graphic proclamation of human unity.

How does this promote human unity?

Seed of Life pattern in Temple of Osiris, Abydos, Egypt

The pattern of the flag of planet earth is a variation on a ancient pattern. This pattern has come to be known as the “seed of life.” It is part of a larger pattern called the flower of life.


The Seed of Life embedded in the Flower of Life

This pattern has been seen in temples of many faiths in many nations. I consider this a feature in prospective world flag. It’s important that any flag for planet earth not have a strong association with any ethnicity, nationality or religion. I find the multiple symmetries of the pattern to be satisfying. Many people see flower images when they look at this pattern. I see chain mail and strength. Each circle is held in place by a number of other circles. I find the seven circles of this pattern to be particularly satisfying.

“In the meeting place I sit beside betwixt the points of heaven
I befell a friendly atmosphere revolving around seven
Oh that number mystified my soul captured within feelings
Those of doubt and understanding hand in hand they set me reeling”

Jon Anderson – “Song of Seven

We husband seven continents

We raise our flag and anthem

I am taking inspiration from Oskar Pernefeldt’s design to make my own attempt at human unity. Last year I dreamed of an anthem for the world. This year, I am writing one.

We chant the human family,
We sing humanity!
We husband seven continents,
We nurture seven seas!
Pursuing Heaven’s freedom
With open heart and mind,
We raise our flag and anthem,
We sing of humankind!

In my mind’s ear, I hear the melody “Aurelia,” composed in 1864 by Samuel Sebastian Wesley. I realize that using a Christian hymn tune could be a disqualifer, but it’s what I hear. Someone is reading this and thinking, “Douglas, humanity is not ready for these words!” But I say that one day we will be. It took 39 years between the time Jana Gana Mana was first sung at the India National Congress in 1911, and the time it became the national anthem of India in 1950. I will learn patience today. We raise our flag and anthem.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

The Poorest, The Lowliest, And The Lost

Tagore2 The poorest, the lowliest, and the lost

Is finding God merely difficult, instead of tricky?

Is God hiding in plain sight, in the guise of the least of these?

Dear God, can the veil of my vanity be rent, that I might touch thy holy feet?

Have I come to this world to find God in the poorest, the lowliest and the lost?

The poorest, the lowliest, and the lost

I have written a number of posts about the New Message from God revelation, “The Race to Save Human Civilization.” Humanity is indicted for plundering and looting a beautiful world. Individuals are indicted for ignoring their deeper intelligence. Political leaders and religious leaders are indicted as blind guides leading the blind. There is a message of hope, but I haven’t written about it yet. Therefore, I am in great need of poetry at this time, to strengthen my soul. What shall I do in the face of the Great Waves of Change, a predicted series of large, ongoing disruptions in the not-too-distant future? In the difficult times ahead, you and I might meet some of the poorest, the lowliest and the lost. They might be migrating from a place where they can no longer live. Rabindranath Tagore wrote a poem about them (#10 in Gitanjali)

Here is thy footstool and there rest thy feet where live the poorest, and lowliest, and lost.

When I try to bow to thee, my obeisance cannot reach down to the depth where thy feet rest among the poorest, and lowliest, and lost.

Pride can never approach to where thou walkest in the clothes of the humble among the poorest, and lowliest, and lost.

My heart can never find its way to where thou keepest company with the companionless among the poorest, the lowliest, and the lost.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

Don’t Let Me Forget

Rabindranath Tagore. Don't let me forgetI recalled this poem by Rabindranath Tagore as I contemplated Step 95 “How can I possibly fulfill myself?” of Steps to Knowledge. Here is the portion of Step 95 which sparked a memory:

“Only in fantasy and imagination can you possibly even entertain the idea of fulfilling yourself. There is no fulfillment here, only increasing confusion. As the years progress, you will feel a growing darkness within you, as if a great opportunity has been lost. Do not lose this opportunity to realize life as it truly exists and to receive fulfillment as it is truly offered to you.”

Don’t let me forget

I recall Step 95 having a significant impact on me when I did it in October of 2011. I consider this another step to be addressed in a series of posts, like Step 26, “My errors give birth to my Knowledge,” and Step 51, “Let me recognize my fears so that I may see beyond them.” I am letting Rabindranath Tagore open the discussion. This is a slightly modernized version provided by Robert Bly. The original version is here.

If I am not to meet you again in this life then I want to feel that I have missed the meeting, don’t let me forget, let me feel the pain of it in my dreams and while awake.

As the time passes in the black dust of the body, and I get fat with money, I want to feel that I have gotten nothing out of it all — don’t let me forget, I want to feel the slivers of pain in my dreams and while awake.

When I walk up the steps, exhausted and tense after a long trip, or when I climb into some lonely bed, I want to feel that the long trip is still ahead of me — don’t let me forget, I want to feel the pain in my legs both while asleep and while awake.

When my house is all cleaned, and drinks are set here and there, and I hear people laughing, I want to feel that I haven’t invited you to my house — don’t let me forget, I want to feel the pain of that grief both while asleep and while awake.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

Where The Mind Is Without Fear by Rabindranath Tagore

When I was looking for an image to go with the word “possibility,” I encountered the Emily Dickinson poem “I dwell in possibility.”  While that poem is a very fine poem indeed, as I contemplated sharing it, I recalled another poem with a closer vibration to this blog.  This poem is from Gitanjali (available for Kindle for free; go ahead, I’ll wait)

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

I interpret the word “free” in the line “Where knowledge is free” to mean “unfettered, unchained, unrestricted,” as opposed to “without cost.”  Whether one is talking about the secrets of nature, or the great mystery of one’s life, knowledge cost someone something. Whether one is talking about the original discovery, or the sharing of the discovery at a later date, knowledge had a price in time, effort and trust.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

“Few” Is Not “None,” “Rarely” Is Not “Never”

I confess discomfort with the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:13-14, a section of a group of teachings commonly known as “the Sermon on the Mount:”

“Enter through the narrow gate.  For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14, New International Version)

While other Bible translations may tweak the words slightly, the common-sense meanings of the passage in different translations are very similar.  I have found the Matthew Henry Commentary (written in 1710) to be nourishing to my soul.

His commentary on this passage is too long to quote, but could be summarized as saying, “The wide gate doesn’t require you to restrain your appetites.  The broad road doesn’t require you to control your impulses.  If you knew where the crowd was headed, you wouldn’t follow the crowd.  There’s no point in trying to blink the fact or dodge the issue. Do you want life?  Jesus tells you how to find it.  The multitudes unwilling (for whatever reason) to follow his instructions are making an insane, unfortunate choice.”

There is a similar idea in this poem of Kabir, 15th Century poet of India, translated by Rabindranath Tagore:

TELL me, Brother, how can I renounce Maya?
When I give up the tying of ribbons, still I tied my garment about me:
When I gave up tying my garment, still I covered my body in its folds.
So, when I give up passion, I see that anger remains;
And when I renounce anger, greed is with me still;
And when greed is vanquished, pride and vainglory remain;
When the mind is detached and casts Maya away, still it clings to the letter.
Kabir says, “Listen to me, dear Sadhu!  the true path is rarely found.”

My discomfort comes from the word “few” in “only a few find it” in Matthew 7:14.  I have a similar discomfort from the word “rarely” in “the true path is rarely found.”  Matthew Henry tells me to get over it, saying “This [the idea that only a few find the road that leads to life] discourages many: they are loath to be singular, to be solitary; but instead of stumbling at this, say rather, If so few are going to heaven, there shall be one the more for me.”

I take comfort in the fact that over the course of human history, there seem to be people who have found the road that leads to life.  There seem to be people who have found the true path.  These people are often called saints.  Steps to Knowledge calls them “people who have reached Knowledge.”

“There is a way to Knowledge. It requires skill and desire. Both will take time to develop.You must learn to value the true and not to value the false, and it takes time to learn to separate the two and to recognize them. It takes time to learn that the false does not satisfy you and that the true does satisfy you. This must be learned through trial and error and through contrast. As you approach Knowledge, your life becomes more full, more certain and more direct. As you go away from it, you reenter confusion, frustration and anger.” (Steps to Knowledge, Step 37, “There is a way to Knowledge”)

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

2012 New Message Encampment Day 4 – You Don’t Know What A Day Will Bring

On the morning of Sunday, September 16, the fourth day of the 2012 Encampment of the New Message from God, I started having a certain…discomfort.  Specifically, I was thinking that it might be quite some time before I see some (or many) of these people again, and therefore I should say whatever it is I have to say to them, while I have the chance to say it to them in person.  I wondered if there was anything in particular I had to say to Marshall Summers.  And as I pondered, I recalled this poem from Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore:

I had gone a-begging from door to door in the village path, when thy golden chariot appeared in the distance like a gorgeous dream and I wondered who was this King of all kings!

My hopes rose high and methought my evil days were at an end, and I stood waiting for alms to be given unasked and for wealth scattered on all sides in the dust.

The chariot stopped where I stood. Thy glance fell on me and thou camest down with a smile. I felt that the luck of my life had come at last. Then of a sudden thou didst hold out thy right hand and say `What hast thou to give to me?’

Ah, what a kingly jest was it to open thy palm to a beggar to beg! I was confused and stood undecided, and then from my wallet I slowly took out the least little grain of corn and gave it to thee.

But how great my surprise when at the day’s end I emptied my bag on the floor to find a least little gram of gold among the poor heap. I bitterly wept and wished that I had had the heart to give thee my all.

I read this poem to Marshall in the late afternoon.  Marshall said “Would you like to share that poem tonight?”  I said “Indeed yes!”  I spent the next couple of hours working on memorizing this poem.  It turns out that an opportunity for sharing this poem didn’t really present itself, but that’s ok.

Rabindranath Tagore won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913, for the collection of poems from which this poem came.  In the spring of 1921, he embarked on a lecture tour of North America.  One of the stops on this tour was Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, slightly north of Austin.  One of the young men who heard his lecture there was Myron Bass, my paternal grandfather.  Southwestern is a university run by the United Methodist Church, but my grandfather was impressed by the magnanimity of Tagore.  I believe he may have been the first person from India my grandfather had ever seen.  I am pleased to have but one degree of separation between myself and Rabindranath Tagore.

I believe someone is reading this and thinking “I say, you have a bit of thing for this Summers fellow, don’t you?”  I read something today that got me.  It was written by someone I met at Encampment.  He wrote:

As I support Marshall, I feel myself supporting myself, or a future version of myself.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.