It is always a danger
to aspirants on the Path
When they begin to believe and act
As if the ten thousand idiots
Who so long ruled and lived inside
Have all packed their bags
And skipped town
Yet another poem by Hafiz.
A reminder that the 10,000 idiots are still well in tact in me.
“So when will you arrive in Jakarta?” asked a friend.
“Insya Allah, God willing, mid April, “ I said.
He chuckled and said, “Insya Allah. So you are still a Moslem, uh?”
I smiled and said, “Of course.” The education has not (and never had the intention to) change my religion. If anything, it has strengthened and deepened (god willing) my understanding of my religion.
So, no worries 😉
What a question.
My first response was, “I don’t know. You need to ask the people around me back home and see whether they notice any difference in me.”
Second response was, “But I tell you what the theme that is so strong for me during this last months. It is “fix thy mind on Me” and “be still.” So if I can go home with this way of being, if I can fix my mind on Him and be still, allow myself to be educated, I think I shall be fine.” God willing.
During our last conversation as a group, there was a kind reminder how these last six months have helped us to have ‘a taste’, and the taste shall remain with us. We were reminded to keep returning (to Him) and keep asking (Him), especially to ask Him to keep increasing us in knowledge.
And keep companions in the Path with you, they said. It helps to have companions. I sat there and realized how blessed I am, having all those companions here and back home. So blessed.
Towards the end of my stay, I went up the hill to do my usual thing of sitting and conversing with self (or Self?). I asked: “What now? What else do I need to do?” The response was clear and simple: “Good deeper. Fly higher. And Love. Just love.” I smiled. It was the same old thing, but not really.
I knew the education would continue on. I am still learning to leave all the space in my heart to God, preparing it to receive the full impact of the weight the meaning represents and to be a mirror of God’s vision of Himself.
And if all praises belong to Him, then I shall be praising Him every time I look at you—my friends in Beshara and everywhere else in this world—and remember you.
On the last day of the course, a friend approached me and shared what she had heard in the morning meeting that day. Two things, she said.
One.This is the last day of the course, which means that the course has not ended yet. Even if the actual course has ended, be certain that the education shall continue on.
Two. Watch the endings. Whatever that may mean. Just watch the endings.
So I watched my endings. A rays of feeling—sad that this precious course will ‘end’ soon and we all will go our own way, happy to go home soon, thankful for the opportunity, etc. The day went on as normal—packing, abluting/cleaning rooms, preparing for the end-of-course feast. Chatted and ate during the feast. Cleaning up after that.
My moods fluctuated at that day/evening. Towards the end of the evening, I could not understand my own state. I grew more and more silent. It was time to go.
I left the party early (so sorry to not join the after-dinner occasion. It would have been great if I could come. But it would not be kind to myself.) I found myself walking around outside when I encountered a friend walking towards the dorm.
She made the kindest invitation. “Would you like to go to the monument up in the hill?” she offered. So at midnight, I found myself there, on top of the hill by the monument, pouring my heart out.
This is my ending. What it means, I don’t know. But I am thankful.
If there is one form of art to master, it would be the art of following.
Even a leader is a follower. He listens intently to his environment and follows its movement, while ensuring that the principles are forever in tact. He does not become the guide and follows the source of all guidance, the real Guide. He follows his pure heart.
To really look. To be still. To be educated. To love. To know. To follow. To be.
All this to help us prepare “a receptivity of the heart pre-ordained where meanings will filter in until the receptacle is so attuned to this meaning that it will lay itself open and ready to receive the full impact of the weight the meaning represents.
This condition is not obtainable either be it by resolve, application or fortitude. It is a gift, directly given by the Giver of all gifts for whatever reason He alone knows why”. A quote from Bulent’s forward in the white Fusus. I hope I have not taken it out of context.
If there is one form of art to master, it would be the art of following.
A(nother) poem by Hafiz. To a beautiful friend.
There is a Beautiful Creature
Living in a hole you have dug
So at night
I set fruit and grains
And little pots of wine and mil
Beside your soft earthen mounds
And I often sing
But still, my dear,
You do not come out
I have fallen in love with Someone
Who hides inside you
We should talk about this problem
I will never leave you alone.
My beautiful friend.
“Hold on to the rope of God in collectivity. Don’t let yourself fall apart.”
It is quoted from Al Qur’an (note to self: must get the reference on the exact chapter and verse).
We think we are in this together. Well, not really. At least, not the way we think it is.
How about this approach: Each of us holds on to the rope of God. We face God individually. Then let Him arrange how we interact between us and how relate to one another. Trust that He is the Best Arranger.
The friendship that grows from there would, God willing, be true friendship, through Him. We would be companions to one another in the path of God. How sweet is that.
By this time, some of you might be wondering what the h*ll has happened to her (meaning, me) with all this talk. Chill out, I’d say. Give me another two minutes and my wit and sarcasm would be back before you know it. Then you’ll be sorry :p
I cannot remember when exactly but we had a day of silence during our course, and it was a wonderful experience. I got to spend the day with myself. And Him.
That day I realized how this affair between Him and me—between this particular servant and her Lord—was very private. This is a private affair. The way He wants me to lead my life, the way He wants me to face Him is specific to me. This is my private religion.
I can feel how strongly this privacy is respected here as well. I—as with each of my friends—was given space to travel my path and to face whatever I needed to face. Sometimes I got lonely and felt that I was left alone, but I really was not. The support was always there, but I need to realize that each of us travels individually in our specific path.
It is not easy. Well, it is easy enough to see that for ourselves, in my opinion. It was not so easy to see that when it comes to other people, especially for a person such as I am who has this tendency of saving the world. Often my natural inclination is to extend help to the people around me, especially those whom I care so much.
I am sure we have experienced this. We think that we are strong enough. But when it comes to our partners, to our children, to our best friends, somehow we do not have the same confidence in them.
We think that they need our help. We extend our hands too soon, not realizing that they are much stronger than we think they are, not realizing that the help might jeopardize the education that they are undergoing.
So lesson of the day for me: Give people space. Give myself the space I need. Respect the process. And have a little more trust in Him. It is all a very private affair.
A private affair was also an important lesson I learned from you.
Let me pick up from where we left of in the previous text. This nodding business—being still in the midst of this education, acknowledging His expression, facing Him at all time—is not an easy thing. In fact—as I am sure you have had first hand experience(s)—it can be pretty tricky.
There was one time—thank God it was only that one time that it got that intense—that I felt it was too much. I was sure that He had overestimated me. I could not see how this could possibly be a movement of love. I could not see a single thread of education in that moment. I was frustrated and upset.
So I complained to Him. I went up the hill and sat on the bench, cried myself out, and said, “I thought I specifically asked you to make it easy for me.” That was one of my favorite prayers: May the Lord make this easy for me. It did not feel like it at that time.
The response to which came several days later. I suddenly dawned to me that this was easy. Honestly. Look at all the support, the cushion, and the help that I had around me. I could not have been in a safer place to experience this education. Praise be to Him.
I supposed this text still referred to the knee incident. I had an interview several weeks after the incident (we regularly have interviews with members of the staff about what’s going on with us) and I told my interviewer about this.
I went on and on about all the valuable lessons learned from the incident. She listened intently and attentively. Then she said, “You are being too positive.” Oops.
She was right, of course. I tried to see this in a positively light. Consciously I feel like I have totally accepted what had happened to me. Consciously. By being this positive, I have created a barrier for the ‘negative’ feelings that was swirling (like mad) in my subconscious. Anger. Sadness. Frustration.
I knew she was right. I fully realized that the conversation had touched something in me. Because three days after that, I spent most of the time crying without knowing why I cried.
God, she said, does not really want you to be all positives. He wants you to come to Him as you are—happy, sad, patient, angry, etc. Just come as you are. Don’t hide anything from Him. He accepts and loves you as you are. The question is do you accept and love you as you are? Touché.
The other day we went to visit a Buddhist monastery nearby. We talked about freedom. The monk said that freedom is about being what you really are, doing what you want to do, saying what you want to say.
This is not about being happy and positive all the time. It is about being who you truly are. Accept, be and love it. It is about nodding to everything that comes up and acknowledging it as His education and expression of Love.