Bahá’ís’ World Religion Day, January 15th, 2017

The Ringstone symbol represents humanity's connection to God

The Ringstone symbol represents humanity’s connection to God. Picture Credit: Wikipedia

World Religion Day is an observance initiated in 1950 by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States, celebrated worldwide on the third Sunday in January each year. Though initiated in the United States, World Religion Day has come to be celebrated internationally.

Its purpose is to promote the idea that the spiritual principles underlying the world’s religions are harmonious, and to suggest that religions play a role in unifying humanity. In April 2002, the Universal House of Justice published a letter “To the World’s Religious Leaders”, in which it was stated that:

Interfaith discourse, if it is to contribute meaningfully to healing the ills that afflict a desperate humanity, must now address honestly … the implications of the over-arching truth … that God is one and that, beyond all diversity of cultural expression and human interpretation, religion is likewise one.

Calligraphy of the Greatest Name

Calligraphy of the Greatest Name.

The Bahá’í Faith is a monotheistic religion which emphasizes the spiritual unity of all humankind. Three core principles establish a basis for Bahá’í teachings and doctrine: the unity of God, that there is only one God who is the source of all creation; the unity of religion, that all major religions have the same spiritual source and come from the same God; and the unity of humanity, that all humans have been created equal, coupled with the unity in diversity, that diversity of race and culture are seen as worthy of appreciation and acceptance. According to the Bahá’í Faith’s teachings, the human purpose is to learn to know and to love God through such methods as prayer, reflection, and being of service to humanity.

The Bahá’í Faith was founded by Bahá’u’lláh in 19th-century Persia. Bahá’u’lláh was imprisoned and exiled from Persia to the Ottoman Empire because of his association with the Babi movement. He was still officially under house arrest at the time of his death, more than forty years later. Under the leadership of his son, `Abdu’l-Bahá, the religion gained a footing in Europe and America, but it still suffers intense persecution where it originated, in present-day Iran. After the death of `Abdu’l-Bahá, the leadership of the Bahá’í community entered a new phase, evolving from a single individual to an administrative order with both elected bodies and appointed individuals. It is estimated that there are more than 5 million Bahá’ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories.

According to Bahá’í doctrine, religious history is seen to have unfolded through a series of divine messengers, each of which established a religion that was suited to the needs of the time and to the capacity of the people. Baha’i scripture specifically mentions Abrahamic figures such as Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad; other Bahá’í literature mentions figures from Dharmic religions like Krishna, Buddha, and others. For Bahá’ís, the most recent messengers are the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh. In Bahá’í belief, each consecutive messenger prophesied of messengers to follow, and Bahá’u’lláh’s life and teachings fulfilled the end-time promises of previous scriptures. Humanity is understood to be in a process of collective evolution, and the need of the present time is for the gradual establishment of peace, justice and unity on a global scale.

Three core principles establish a basis for Bahá’í teachings and doctrine: the unity of God, the unity of religion, and the unity of humanity. From these postulates stems the belief that God periodically reveals his will through divine messengers, whose purpose is to transform the character of humankind and to develop, within those who respond, moral and spiritual qualities. Religion is thus seen as orderly, unified, and progressive from age to age.

The Bahá’í writings describe a single, personal, inaccessible, omniscient, omnipresent, imperishable, and almighty God who is the creator of all things in the universe. The existence of God and the universe is thought to be eternal, without a beginning or end. Though inaccessible directly, God is nevertheless seen as conscious of creation, with a will and purpose that is expressed through messengers termed Manifestations of God.

Bahá’í teachings state that God is too great for humans to fully comprehend, or to create a complete and accurate image of, by themselves. Therefore, human understanding of God is achieved through his revelations via his Manifestations. In the Bahá’í religion, God is often referred to by titles and attributes (for example, the All-Powerful, or the All-Loving), and there is a substantial emphasis on monotheism; such doctrines as the Trinity are seen as compromising, if not contradicting, the Bahá’í view that God is single and has no equal. The Bahá’í teachings state that the attributes which are applied to God are used to translate Godliness into human terms and also to help individuals concentrate on their own attributes in worshipping God to develop their potentialities on their spiritual path. According to the Bahá’í teachings the human purpose is to learn to know and love God through such methods as prayer, reflection, and being of service to others.

The following principles are frequently listed as a quick summary of the Bahá’í teachings. They are derived from transcripts of speeches given by `Abdu’l-Bahá during his tour of Europe and North America in 1912. The list is not authoritative and a variety of such lists circulate.

•         Unity of God

•         Unity of religion

•         Unity of humanity

•         Unity in diversity

•         Equality between men and women

•         Elimination of all forms of prejudice

•         World peace and a New world order

•         Harmony of religion and science

•         Independent investigation of truth

•         Principle of Ever-Advancing Civilization

•         Universal compulsory education

•         Universal auxiliary language

•         Obedience to government and non-involvement in partisan politics unless submission to law amounts to a denial of Faith.

•         Elimination of extremes of wealth and poverty

•         Spiritual solutions to economic problems

With specific regard to the pursuit of world peace, Bahá’u’lláh prescribed a world-embracing collective security arrangement as necessary for the establishment of a lasting peace.

All Credit for Text and Pictures to Wikipedia.

Happy Father’s Day!

_0 640 Andy w Dad Grandparents DayHappy Father’s Day! Hard to believe my Dad has been gone for over 23 years now… I vividly recall our last time playing golf together and him draining a 25-foot putt for birdie on the last hole… caddied for him in high school when he won the club championship… truly a hero and an inspiration to me for all he overcame in life while being a loving father, husband, veteran, city policeman & fireman and a guy you would have like to be paired up with on the first tee of any golf course! He’s playing the Big Course up in Heaven today for sure today! I miss & love you Dad!

CLICK here for TROML Video Four—My Father is a Hero; My Mom & Dad Inspired Me in Life…

_7 640 Dad reading newspaperTo this day, my Dad is a hero and an inspiration to me. He stopped drinking and never had another drink for the last 25 years of his life. I accept alcoholism as a disease, it was not something he wanted to have. My father’s disease takes nothing away from his service to country, community and family. He was a great father to me. His darkest days were during my formative years. Looking back, I was confused a lot when I was growing up. Denial buried a lot of my emotions and memories for a long time. After learning and applying the Twelve Steps my life experience and my own feelings and behavior made a lot more sense to me. I am not perfect and neither was my Dad. I know for a fact that he was more loving and compassionate to me than his father was to him. What more can you ask of a person to give more than he received? I am proud to be my father’s son. We were fortunate to share life together, as fathers, for nearly ten years before his death in 1993.

Happy Mother’s Day!

_1 Andy w Mom 640I was very blessed to be with my Mom for 42 years of her life. I wish I could have been with her for longer as she was a dear beautiful woman that everybody loved right along with me. Her love, passion for and curiosity of life remains with me today. I miss being with her but I don’t miss her. As far as I am concerned my mother was a saint and my father a hero to me in life and beyond. I am grateful for not only the gift of life they gave me but for all the inspiration too!

CLICK here for a Video Tribute to My Saintly Mother…

Balloon Mom youre the bestMy Mom is a saint and an inspiration to me. She never stopped loving Dad or anyone else she ever knew, her whole life through. In fact, her love of aging people as a Senior Center Supervisor and her curiosity about life was the seed we planted and nurtured together that grew into the TROML process. We were close and shared many thoughts and feelings, especially after Dad died. I was inspired to capture her way of looking at life so I asked her to start writing down the story of her life. This turned into the beginning of the TROML book. Sadly, she died late the night before the September 11th tragedy in 2001. Looking back, my personal and professional world changed drastically within those few hours. Life would never be the same nor looking back would I want it to be.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms and Mom Memories out there in the world!

I love you Mom!

Your loving son…

‘All From One,’ Unity Amid Diversity Exhibit in South Africa…

_640 COVER PAST All From ONE

How can we go forward together if we don’t look at our past? Photo Credit: Palaeontological Scientific Trust (PAST)

On Tuesday, January 19th, 2016, Day 42 of the Golf & Life Journey to South Africa, after playing the East Golf Course of Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club, I ventured up to Pretoria to do some sightseeing.  What I saw was the PAST ‘All From One’ exhibit outside the Standard Bank offices in Rosebank.

You know how you know that a single brief interaction of a chance meeting with someone can change your life? Well this was one of those experiences with the ‘All From One’ exhibit and exhibit guide Gary Trower. It was brief but the seed was planted and of course the pictures taken for documentation purposes and future digestion of all the impacts.

With archaeologist Gary Trower at the 'All From One' exhibit in Pretoria, South Africa.

With archaeologist Gary Trower at the ‘All From One’ exhibit in Pretoria, South Africa.

While I am not a scientist in this regard, truth be known, we all do come from the same ancestors and are 99.9% alike yet why does the world focus on our differences?

‘All From One’ is the scientific base for our spiritual unity…

Here is more from the Palaeontological Scientific Trust (PAST) website and below the words are in the pictures to follow along in the exhibit just like I did during my visit to South Africa. Images courtesy of John Gurche.


I hope that you can commit to tolerance, unity, collaboration and conservation as I did that fateful day in South Africa.  We are all ‘spiritual beings living a human life,’ and ‘we are a part of nature, not apart from nature!’ TROML Baby!



The science of our origins reveals the shared African roots of all people. PAST uses Africa’s ancient fossil heritage to build African dignity, promote social cohesion and environmental conservation, inspire scientific curiosity among school-going youth, and establish African leadership in the sciences related to our origins.

‘Unity Amid Diversity.’ Cultural and physical differences ensure the uniqueness of every individual. Yet underlying this diversity is a deeply woven humanity common to all people.

Our Place in Nature. Africa’s fossil heritage shows that the environment played a major role in the evolution of life and humankind. If the pace and extent of environmental change is too rapid or large for species to adapt, some will go extinct.

'Unity Amid Diversity.' Photo Credit: John Gurche

‘Unity Amid Diversity.’ Photo Credit: John Gurche

Welcome to the website version of the PAST ‘All From One’ exhibition. The physical version of the exhibition opened on 10 November 2015 and is touring South Africa. It has thus far stood outside the Standard Bank offices in Rosebank, Johannesburg, the Soweto Theatre in Soweto, the Iziko South African Museum in Cape Town, and Maropeng in the Cradle of Humankind outside Johannesburg.

The exhibition is a striking structure recalling both a DNA double helix and the skeletons of two large prehistoric animals. A smaller, reconfigured version of the exhibition was produced as part of the South African Treasures exhibition at the United Nation’s World Intellectual Property Organization General Assembly in Geneva in October 2016.

_Humans part not apartThis website version of the exhibition contains similar information and some of the images from the two physical versions, plus additional information in “Dig Deeper” pages.

The ‘All From One’ exhibition draws on scientific evidence about our shared human origins and the shared origins of all life forms in order to challenge commonly held ideas about humankind and our place in nature.

You will see that you are unique, but that you share strong bonds of similarity with all other people, based on a deeply rooted common humanity. As a species, you will see we are but one twig among millions on the tree of life that sustains us all.

All told, you will see that shared origins is a potent force for tolerance, unity, collaboration and conservation.


Happy Arbor Day; I Want to Be a Tree Too!

_Trees 70 Ridge StreetI look forward to my retirement years up on a mountain in my hometown overlooking the intersection of two rivers and their valleys. It’s a beautiful wooded place to be. Ever since I started yoga back in the late 1990s and bought that piece of property I have imagined myself up on a little lookout platform amidst the trees doing my tree pose. I am grateful for trees. I want to be a tree too!

A few years ago i was invited by a friend to a Tree Ceremony on Arbor Day and ever since it has become a passage of Spring for me. My schedule is a little different than most and this time of year is my downtime when I am back home for a few months and recharging the batteries. Connecting with nature and in particular one Grandmother Tree gets my energetic and restorative fluids flowing.

_5 Andy Tree“In gratitude for all trees that sustain life on Mother Earth. Unite with thousands of others throughout the world restoring balance in our environment, and reconcile humanity’s relationship with trees. Active expressions of gratitude are the seeds of healing and nourishment for Mother Earth. As the smallest stone initiates unending ripples in a pond, this collective ceremony initiates a far reaching vibration of gratitude and healing for all trees.” Is how the invitation reads.

This year’s Tree Ceremony was more than a ceremony, it was a moving experience!

It took me out of my Western mindset so I could be a simple human being without the need to be active or to control our sacred environment. I went back to ancient times of the Plant Kingdom and the Animal Kingdom when they peacefully coexisted before there was a Human Kingdom on Earth. Luckily both their natures are not to give up and they have chosen to persevere and support our human race.

_6 Tree spiritual sanctuaryThere was a cleansing prelude rite before entering the sacred space of the Grandmother Tree. A story of pain, turmoil and grief was told making amends for the ignorant destruction of the sister trees of Grandmother Tree. It seems as if peace has come to this part of the forest, there is healing and renewed energy and vibrations. Two screeching red-tailed hawks flew overhead on cue to signal a new positive balance of animals, plants and humans in this heart of the woods. Though no more chickens are present on the family farm thanks to the Bobcat.

Once cleansed and perfumed by the incense, our human spirit entered the sacred spiritual sanctuary of Grandmother Tree passing by ten lighted candles and moving through a gate of colorful poles. The assembly encircled her humongous trunk as if that was our innate human desire. We read a blessing three times and summoned the energies of the wind, water, fire and earth from all four directions to join us honoring this magnificent creation of nature. We chanted “Earth my Body, Water my Blood, Air my Breath and Fire my Spirit as Godesses and Gods have done throughout time. Collectively and then individually we sprinkled her roots with water and decorated her with colorful ribbons. A beautiful ceremony and healing experience around Grandmother Tree.

_2 Palm TreesAs we lingered in her presence I noticed the palm trees shooting upward in her midst. Though not as tightly interwoven as the Love Trees found in St. Augustine, where beneath them a kiss seals a romance for eternity, these were more of a parental guiding and securing love. A love of mutual respect amongst the plants, animals and humans.

I felt that special love of nature today. The love I hope that will carry me through the rest of my life back to my hometown trees close to Heaven. I hope Grandmother Tree felt our love today and has a prosperous year between now and when we will gather in her honor again.

Happy Arbor Day!

_3 Ribbons

_7 Arbor Day Basket

_4 Tree Gang