First published in The Jakarta Post Weekender – July 2011 Issue
Some years ago, I sat before the Kaa’bah in the Holy City of Mecca. I said to God, “Please show me how to I read the Koran. Because I do not believe that God The Compassionate The Merciful is as strict and punishing as they say You are.”
I think God has been responding ever since. Life has become a dialogue, a nice friendly conversation between us.
Occasionally, I wonder why I am doing what I am doing. Or What I am doing at all. Something is not pitching perfectly. But I am not sure what and I don’t know how to move on (or out of) the situation. A sense of restlessness arises, and refuses to subside. Like a persistent soft knock at the door.
Yesterday afternoon was one of those moments. I was in a car, driving. Then suddenly I heard this song over the radio. Loosely translated into English:
As the night was bare without stars
An overcast image of the moon emerged
A gripping stillness and quietude
Even the breeze was keeping her hush very low
I stood there, in complete silence, gazing at nature
The surrender in me has gone deeper
The world and all that it contains
A painting of the Almighty
Life in this world
Never seizes to amaze me
More and more, I come to realise the grandeur
The morning dew and wet grass
The green leaves and colorful flowers
Chirping of birds on the branches
The sun shines ever so brightly
And I can feel this, now stronger than ever
As blessings that You have endowed (to me)
I shall never take another step
Without Your guidance, O Lord
My heart melted. I could feel the reminder. I supposed, we’re still in conversation, God. Thank You. Playing me a song on a radio, uh? Cool.
Then the radio played the call to prayer. The conversation continues.
Picture taken at Losari coffee Plantation, Central Java, Indonesia
Lyric above was originally from the song “Hening” by Chrisye
It is the way you listen to me
It is how you seem to really hear me
You don’t always understand me, I know
It does not matter, for even I don’t always do either
You have heard me. I am heard
I always knew listening was an art
I did not realize how subtle it was until recently
To really listen, without much judgment or urge to comment
To sit there and simply be
Mind you, I still don’t know how to do that
To really listen, to simply hear
But I have had a taste, whenever we sit or walk together
At those times, my heart understands a bit better
How can it be
That a simple exchange of “how are you?” “I am fine, thank you.”
feels like a complete conversation when it is with you
The hearts have spoken. Have heard. Have been heard.
Truly God is Kind
The last time we parted, I said to you,
“This morning, I was thinking: I love you, but it is not you.”
You nodded with an understated smile, “I know what you mean.”
I knew you would understand. Like only you would
Our friendship is greater than you and me
And I always remember
That beautiful invitation that was conveyed through you
“Listen, to what cannot yet be heard.”
I am still listening.
Pictures taken from here.
Waking up to a bright blue sky and swaying trees
…to the sound of birds, and bursts of unguarded laughter
…to soft breeze caressing every pore of the body
…to familiar faces of loved ones, a cuddle or two perhaps
…to candid smile on fresh faces – yours and theirs
…to no thoughts but “I wonder what’s for breakfast”
A seemingly random stretch to get the muscles going
A hot cup of tea, occasional coffee or fresh juice
An unfinished book or magazine
An exciting chatter of what the day might bring on the background
An open day to fill in for your pleasure
A deep breath, bright eyes, and a huge grin
You at your best
It has only been 30 minutes
But what a blissful way to start the day
Picture taken from here
You are invited to participate in a foundation course under the theme of “Love and Beauty”, which will be held in Jakarta, July 16-17, 2011.
The non-residential weekend foundation course introduce students to the point of view of the School, namely, the Unity of Existence. They address in depth the question of self-knowledge. What is self-knowledge? Who are we, what are we, why are we and what is the way to self-knowledge?
From a careful study of key texts on the subject – which are drawn from a wide variety of sources and some of which are unique to these courses – discussion correlates the various aspects and finds the single-pointed focus: the unity of all existence and the real meaning of what it means to be human.
This course is open to anyone who is looking for a way to examine the most important questions one could ask from a unified perspective.
Course conducted in Bahasa Indonesia. Contribution of Rp350,000 will be appreciated.
For info on Beshara School, visit: http://www.beshara.org