Into the Night

Photo by johnpaulsimpson on Foter.com

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They left into the night, like thieves, far from the crowd and the taxis. The old Delhi airport was still human-sized for them to be able to get away from it so easily. Peter had no idea what was going on. Where was he going, riding on the determined, almost fiery steps of his two guides? What madness had he gotten himself into?

The little group stopped in front of a garage door. By accepting the hotel proposal from his flatterer, Peter had set in motion a chain of events of which he was not yet aware. Barely off the plane for his first trip to India, he chided himself for being so malleable, for not being more resistant. But the abandonment to which he had now succumbed had the full-bodied taste of the tropical Indian night that enveloped him. A shiver of excitement appeared and mingled with his general apprehension. He became more attentive to the scene unfolding before his eyes.

[…]

A very short story that narrates Peter’s entry to sacred India… (READ MORE…)

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A Furnace of Love

‘Sunset over a forest lake’ – Peder Mønsted, 1895 – Wikimedia

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Birgitta was sitting by the window, considering once again the recent chain of events that led to her present day situation. Twenty years ago, she came on this small Danish island for the first time, to never leave again. Lolland! What a beautifully telling name! She loved the place immediately. It is called by some the ‘pancake island’, for it is the flattest place here in the kingdom of Denmark. Its highest point: twenty five meters! But the skies were tall and wide with majestic clouds and the land imbued with a quiet remoteness that she loved on first sight. She had often smiled and still smiles on at the incongruous nature of her new home. For she was born in the heart of the French Alps, the daughter of a mountainous landscape where peaks are soaring high above deep valleys. 

Birgitta was a Catholic nun here, in a small monastery on the outskirts of the charming town of Maribo. Her actual name was Brigitte, but the sisters around her had quickly, and laughingly at first, re-baptised her Birgitta, which was the name of the fourteenth century Swedish saint and founder of their religious Order. She liked her new name for its Nordic and melodic quality. She had fit well here, in this quiet building amongst the trees, close to a little lake that she could see from her bedroom window. She came from a very religious family, and had always felt an attraction for all things spiritual. The trigger to espouse a religious life came rather abruptly, after her first dashed expectations in life. So she embarked on the preparatory journey, a few years of education in France and trips to the mother house in Rome.

[…]

A short story that narrates Birgitta’s journey of love… (READ MORE…)

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Love Remains

‘Harlequin’ (part) – by Paul Cezanne, 1890 – WikiArt

O my self, why do you stand in the way? For the living of these many experiences, you are not necessary. The pure consciousness that is present in all of us here and now is perfectly equipped. So don’t worry and please move away. This pure being has held effortlessly the millions of billions of beings and experiences generated so far, and has allowed for ever more choices and decisions to be made, so it need not being chaperoned by you. I thank you for your good will, but your work has been too laborious. Come again if you really want to, but your presence here is not welcome anymore. 

Haven’t you noticed, by now, how your participation has been an unnecessary feature in the unfolding of experience, in the many activities of our human company? Haven’t you seen how all your unnecessary thoughts and feelings have been a perturbing element among the team work that is generated here? And has cost us dear in our expenses and plannings? We understand that you want to participate, that all this is important to you, is dear to your heart, and we have accommodated you so far the best we could. But now we gently ask you to revise your presence here. […]

A humorous divagation where the self is being confronted… (READ MORE…)

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A Perfect Bull’s-eye

‘Defender. Cloud-archer.’ – Nicholas Roerich, 1937 – WikiArt

The Mullah Nasruddin is what could be called a sublime idiot. He is a liar, irreverent, a disturber of peace. But he is also ingenious, free, full of wit, a timeless figure whose stories have spread and been adapted the world over. In the Sufi tradition, they were used for study purposes. “There is the joke, the moral — and the little extra which brings the consciousness of the potential mystic a little further on the way to realisation.” writes Idries Shah.

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The Mullah Nasruddin brought his students to the fair so that they could watch him compete in the archery contest. Before his first shot, the Mullah fixed his cap military style and, assuming a soldier’s posture, drew the bow and fired. The arrow missed the target completely, and the crowd roared with derisive laughter.

Then he picked up the bow again, this time with little strength, and shot the second arrow. It flew straight, but landed far short of the mark. Again, the onlookers guffawed. For the last of his three allotted shots, Nasruddin nonchalantly turned to face the target, aimed, and let fly. It was a perfect bull’s-eye.

The crowd went wild, then fell into a stunned silence. Nasruddin chose the moment to take his prize and indifferently started to walk on. 

But his students and the astonished throng demanded an explanation. 

Nasruddin complied and told them, “For the first shot, I was identified with a soldier, face-to-face with the enemy. Fear made the arrow miss. With the second shot, I became like the man who, having failed miserably with the first shot, was so anxious and eager he could not concentrate. He simply had no power.”

“And the third shot?” inquired a brave soul. “Who fired that one?” 

“That? Oh, that was me.”

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Nasruddin’s pointers:
Nasruddin makes the point perfectly clear. Why is it that to be ‘me’, I think that I have to do something? I have to pretend, imitate, add, subtract, hide, and god knows what else. I make such efforts, such desperate attempts, at being myself, and yet it’s not really working. I fail again and again at being just myself. I am only myself plus. But simply being my plain, simple self, I’m not. I miss the mark. And then I find ways to reconcile my various fabricated selves into an acceptable one. One that would make a little sense, that would have some kind of logic, that would  be presentable to the world. Well, it seems that there is too much thinking that goes into it, isn’t there? So how can I be ‘me’? Nasruddin is almost discarding this ‘being me’, brushing it aside very matter-of-factly. He seems to imply that ‘being me’ is the simplest thing to achieve. It’s not even worth considering. I am ‘me’ by only ‘being’. There is no ‘more’ in simply being. And don’t think that this is too easy, too universal, not enough the fancy ‘me’ that you’ve been trying to be for so long — and all along failing it so miserably. Listen carefully: This ‘being’ is the ‘me’ that has been perfectly designed for the ‘you’ that you truly are. No ‘me’ could ever be more ‘you’ than this me-being, this ‘I am’. This ‘being’ will make your life easier, happier. You will never miss the mark with ‘I am’. For the mark is yourself. And see for yourself: by being my most precious, simple self, I already am that, that I am. See? This is a perfect bull’s-eye! Nasruddin knew it all along. What clever man he is! Always hitting the target — as far as his true Self is concerned!

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The Nasruddin’s story is borrowed from ‘365 Spirit: A Daily Journey for Your Soul’ – by Aaron Zerah – (A to Z Spirit Publishing).

‘Nasruddin’s pointers’ is by Alain Joly

Bibliography:
– ‘365 Spirit: A Daily Journey for Your Soul’ – by Aaron Zerah – (A to Z Spirit Publishing)
– ‘Every Day is a Blessing: 365 Illuminations to Lift the Spirit’ – by Aaron Zerah – (Grand Central Publishing)
– ‘As You Grieve: Consoling Words from Around the World’ – by Aaron Zerah – (Sorin Book, U.S.)
– ‘The Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin’ – by Idries Shah – (ISF Publishing)
– ‘Nasreddin Hodja: 100 tales in verse’ – by Raj Arumugam – (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform)

Websites:
A to Z Spirit (Aaron Zerah’s website)
Nasreddin Hodja (Wikipedia)
The Idries Shah Foundation
Nicholas Roerich (Wikipedia)

Suggestions:
Self Recognition (An interrogation by Nasreddin Hodja…)
I Am Nobody (The newly discovered identity of Nasreddin Hodja…)
Hodja Tells the Truth (A story where Nasreddin Hodja tells the truth…)

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God Wants it All

Photo by Gerson Rodriguez / Pixabay

“(et hi tres unum sunt)
And these three are one
~ Bible, 1 John 5:7–8

 

God wants it all.
Beware if you’re planning
A little visit.
But don’t worry now!
He’s not going to eat you.
It doesn’t work that way.
Rather you will be pushed,
Through some gentle pressure of His,
To eat Him yourself.
How do we eat God?
Now relax!
It’s all been chewed already.
You just need to let go,
To leave the place for Him
To move in.
It’s not such a big move.
He’s here anyway,
Occupying your couch,
Eating your food,
Breathing your air.
Only gently move away.
Start by going out
Of your precious apartment.
It lives perfectly well
Without your being present.
Give it some air,
Take a little walk,
Have as many outings
You feel!
Let God gather its belongings
And get used to the place.
It’s His already but
You failed noticing it.
Don’t think you will feel crowded
When you come back.
God is the best room-mate ever.
He will make it all nice for you!
I bet you will enjoy
His presence.
He will only stay to the extent
You let Him in;
So don’t be so anxious!
He’s not the kind to impose Himself.
Rather do it yourself:
Impose Him on yourself!
You will feel so free;
You will enjoy and pray Him
To stay,
To live here for ever
While you keep on strolling
In the city.
But don’t feel shy!
Make the effort,
Pay Him a little visit.
It is your home after all!
He’ll be happy to see you,
For by seeing you,
He is enjoying your sweet friendship 
And flavour —
Which is His by the way!
Befriend Him as your best friend.
You might even start
Going out with Him,
Everywhere,
To enjoy the world:
Listen through His ears;
Admire through His eyes;
Sense the world with all
His generous being.
You will laugh!
You will love!
And who knows,
You might even date Him
Just as He might date you,
And you two will melt and
Go back home.
He might move in.
You might move in
Back into your flat.
But not alone this time,
And yet not two either.
Yet your presence
Will not feel lonely.
You will feel bigger,
Wider,
Richer,
Though still
Your own unique self.
As for your friend,
You won’t even see Him
Anymore,
For He is just only you.
But His glorious heart
Will beat inside you
Manifold
In your life.
I warned you!
Remember…
God wants it all.

 

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Text by Alain Joly

Photo by Gerson Rodriguez / Pixabay

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Suggestion:
Eternity with a Smile (other pieces from this category)

 

Self Recognition

‘Hibiscus and Sparrow’ – Katsushika Hokusai, 1830 – WikiArt

 

Nasreddin Hodja is what could be called a sublime idiot. He is a liar, irreverent, a disturber of peace. But he is also ingenious, free, full of wit, a timeless figure whose stories have spread and been adapted the world over. In the Sufi tradition, they were used for study purposes.

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One day Nasrudin walked into a shop. 
The owner came forward to serve him. 
‘First things first,’ said Nasrudin. ‘Did you see me walk into your shop?’ 
‘Of course.’ 
‘Have you seen me before?’ 
‘Never in my life.’ 
‘Then how do you know it is me?’

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Nasrudin’s Pointers:
I happen to be me, apparently located in, and certainly connected with this body, amongst billions, trillions of other possibilities. I am me, I can be addressed, recognised, challenged, by other beings or things without them ever having the experience of being this particular ‘me-form’ that I am. I am uniquely built. And yet how silly it would be that the consciousness that I am was just but one version of trillions of other consciousnesses. If it was, what would be the chances for these different consciousnesses — including animals’ — to be so closely related to each other, let alone meet in any deep way? Separation does’t seem to make sense. Like Nasrudin is implying, how would we even recognise each other? How would we know, when we address another person, that we could relate at all, that she is a ‘me’ in the same way that I too am a ‘me’? This simple recognition of the ‘I am’ in me, or her, or him, is the very experience of our own true nature, the oneness that reverbates in each and every human ‘I am ness’. It is said in one Upanishad, “When a man directly realises this effulgent Self, the Lord of all that has been and will be, he no longer wishes to hide himself from it.” So even though we think we are, nobody is in fact hidden, private, with his essential being. We are being in full light. We think we are hidden because of a few petty thoughts, images, or memories. But the essential and fundamental part of our being is shared. Stephen Jourdain once wrote: “Somewhere behind you, someone calls for you. Hey, John! Or Peter, or Paul, or Annie. You turn around. I give the name ‘me’ to the gentle and saintly reason of this movement. It’s as simple and luminous as that. No reason to search further. (…) To aim for another encounter other than this one is furious folly.” I had this thought one day that if a young man, a westerner, rich, educated, were to suddenly experience the being of an old, poor, uneducated Indian woman, it would take him a long time to notice that a change had occurred. Such is the power of ‘I am’, of the sense of ‘me’ in every being, of the pervasiveness of our shared being in — or more accurately said, beyond — our apparently different forms. Maybe that’s why, as Nasrudin once asserted, “everything is true”…

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One day a fool asked Nasrudin ‘is God true?’
‘Everything is true’ replied Nasrudin.
‘Even false things?’
‘Even false things are true’, said Nasrudin.
‘But how can that be?’
‘I don’t know. I didn’t do it’, shrugged Nasrudin.

 

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The Nasreddin stories are borrowed from ‘The Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin’ by Idries Shah, and ‘Sufism/Nasrudin’ Wikibooks.

‘Nasreddin’s pointers’ is by Alain Joly

Bibliography:
– ‘The Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin’ – by Idries Shah – (ISF Publishing)
– ‘Nasreddin Hodja: 100 tales in verse’ – by Raj Arumugam – (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform)
– ‘Radical Awakening: Cutting Through the Conditioned Mind’ – by Stephen Jourdain – (Inner Directions Publishing)

Websites:
Nasreddin Hodja (Wikipedia)
The Idries Shah Foundation
Katsushika Hokusai (Wikipedia)
Stephen Jourdain

 

Ishani’s Quest

‘Girl Streched out on the Grass’ – Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1890 – WikiArt

C13B4E22-B500-482A-B5FA-8105E1A2E541here was once a young girl of about ten years old, called Ishani. She lived on a mountain farm with her father. Her mother died a few years ago, and since then her father has grown bitter, hard, a gruff man. He started drinking, stopped seeing anybody, and forced his daughter to the same isolation. He wasn’t a bad man, but was saddened by the loss of his wife, and exasperated at not being able to communicate with his daughter.

Ishani had long black hair, and large greenish eyes. Martyred by her father who expected her to replace her mother with the chores of the house, she had become fearful and shy. She spoke faintly and her demeanour was hesitant. Yet, despite her misfortune, she has kept an angelic face and her innocence was intact.

Although still a little girl, Ishani was ahead of her age, because of the work and responsibility that fell on her, the suffering that went with it. As for her father, he was exasperated by Ishani’s silence and withdrawn attitude, by her lack of courage at work, her mistakes and forgetfulness. He could easily get angry, which further frightened Ishani. She no longer knew if she should hate him, submit, run away, feel guilty, or take pity on him. These two beings were caught in a spiral where each fed the other with his or her inability to break this burden. […]

A fairy story, about the inner quest of a little girl… (READ MORE…)