The Slow Path

A prayer is an invitation to rest or abide in what is most essential in our being. So it is something like an intimation, a subtle realisation of something that may take the form of a longing, or wishing, but is in fact already here, subtly present if not yet realised. I loved this humble prayer by Michael Leunig, so I share it here with you…

 

~

 

Dear God,

We pray for another way of being:
another way of knowing.

Across the difficult terrain of our existence
we have attempted to build a highway
and in so doing have lost our footpath.

God lead us to our footpath:
Lead us there where in simplicity
we may move at the speed of natural creatures
and feel the earth’s love beneath our feet.

Lead us there where step-by-step we may feel
the movement of creation in our hearts.

And lead us there where side-by-side
we may feel the embrace of the common soul.
Nothing can be loved at speed.

God lead us to the slow path; to the joyous insights
of the pilgrim; another way of knowing: another way of being.

Amen.

 

~~~

Payer and cartoon by Michael Leunig

~~~

 

0526BD00-7BB3-43AD-BE57-E91737A198CCMichael Leunig is an Australian cartoonist, writer, painter, philosopher and poet. He describes his approach as regressive, humorous, messy, mystical, primal and vaudevillian – producing work which is open to many interpretations and has been widely adapted in education, music, theatre, psychotherapy and spiritual life. His work reflects, in his own words, “the fragile ecosystem of human nature and its relationship to the wider natural world.” He was declared a national living treasure by the National Trust for his unique contribution to Australian culture.

Read this article about Michael Leunig in Miriam Louisa Simon’s blog ‘The Awakened Eye’.

Bibliography:
– ‘The Penguin Leunig’ – by Michael Leunig – (Penguin Random House Australia)

Websites:
Michael Leunig
Michael Leunig Appreciation Page (on Facebook)

 

The Unattainable One

Parvathy Baul – Wikimedia

If you want to attain 
the unattainable One,
Free yourself from all that is
Fragile and temporary.
Know yourself
.”
~ Rasika Dasa

 

In the deepest villages of Bengal, there remains today a community of vagrant singers, both mystical bards and wandering minstrels, the Bauls. For centuries they have been treading the dust of the roads, with a firm and aerial step, at the rhythm of their daily needs and highest aspirations. The term ‘baul’, derived from the Sanskrit ‘vatulā’, means ’he who is affected, or carried away by the wind’. It might also refer to the term ‘vyakula’, meaning ‘impatient eagerness for god’, or ’auliyā’, a word of Arabic origin meaning ‘holy’, ‘ascetic’. But the asceticism of the Bauls is not lost in penances and meditations, is not only about achieving the set goal. It is rather a kind of refinement in the expression of the moment, a healthy ‘madness’ expressing through dance, music, and songs, the love of the divine and the spontaneity of living. Coming from both Hindu and Muslim religions, the Bauls retain nevertheless a fierce freedom of spirit and are rebellious to any ideology, following no ritual, referring to no scriptures. They are ’outside’, offbeat, refreshing and unique. […]

Continue reading about the Bauls of Bengal… (READ MORE…)

 

Naked Presence

A prayer is an invitation to rest or abide in what is most essential in our being. I have tried here to express my own version of a prayer:

 

I don’t know, sweet beloved, 
what to do with my fear, my anger,
all my overwhelming feelings
and the limits I impose on myself.

So please take them into your loving lap,
tender them till they melt 
and are taken away to be
one with your infinite being.

It is my plea and my wanting,
rather my offering – for I’m asking nothing,
to be rid of all my clothes and be seen 
naked in front of your most naked presence.

Let your constant outpouring of love
be my daily inescapable anchor,
let me I be you and you I
and feel no more the pain of separation.

You were so unnoticed,
at best visited from time to time,
let me now be the absent, unnoticed one.

Let me be whole and one with all things,
let me find in the pain, in the ache,
your most gracious presence,

my heart!

 

~~~

Text and photo by Alain Joly

~~~

 

Suggestion:
Fragrance (on the role and nature of prayer)

 

Precious Little Remains

I have chosen to share with you here a few of the haiku-poems written by Ray Andrews, a friend from Wales. They are lovely little poems, making our heart soft, provoking here a smile, there some tenderness, taking you gently to a place in yourself where silence abides. They are, as one of Ray’s little haikus read, like “Precious little remains On the pathway To the sun”. I have married them with the evanescent photographs of Nicki Gwynn-Jones. Let them both be like little bubbles of meditation in ourself…

 

I gave my beloved
A wild rose
But did not realise
My heart would be the vase

 

A teardrop
Fell slowly
In an ocean
Of joy

 

786A6562-DF9F-4744-AE40-5CA95F1B8251Sometimes our hearts
Grow so much
They cease caring 
Who the owner is

 

 

 

 

 

When the lakes
Mirror surface is broken
No one in their right mind
Would try to repair it

 

Waves break
On the shoreline of ourselves
Sighing with relief
Into the sand

[…]

Enjoy many more of these poems and photographs… (READ MORE…)

 

~

 

Bibliography:
– ‘Just Being One’ – by Ray Andrews (illustration by Anna Fraser) – (The Swirling Leaf Press)

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– “In the Dreamtime: A Meditation on the Flowers of Orkney” – by Nicki Gwynn-Jones – (Orcadian Ltd)

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Rumi

“We are all returning.”
~ The Koran

 

“On the seeker’s path, wise men and fools are one.
In His love, brothers and strangers are one.
Go on! Drink the wine of the Beloved!
In that faith, Muslims and pagans are one
.”
~ Rumi, Quatrain 305

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در راه طلب عاقل و دیوانه یکی است
در شیوه‌ی عشق خویش و بیگانه یکی است
آن را که شراب وصل جانان دادند
در مذهب او کعبه و بتخانه یکی است

 

Rumi is a giant. Somebody whose words resonate with the perfume of truth, but about whom we paradoxically know very little. At least I didn’t. Quoted far beyond the small circle of spiritual seekers, he is taken for granted, like a distant angular stone of spirituality. His verses are shared, loved as so many gems of human history, but without showing off. And yet, what depth of understanding they convey! In what subtle and intricate ways they describe the torturous alleys of spiritual endeavour! And with what simplicity!

 

Why do you stay in prison
When the door is so wide open?
Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking.
Live in silence.
Flow down and down in always 
widening rings of being
.”
~ ’The Essential Rumi’ (Translated by Coleman Barks)

 

Rumi was a Sufi. He was born Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Balkhī, in 1207, in Balkh in present day Afghanistan, in a family of Sufi tradition. Sufism, which could be defined as ‘the inward dimension of Islam’, has its origins shrouded in mystery. How did it suddenly grow, nobody knows. The word comes from ‘sūf’ which refers to the woollen garment worn by the first mystics who broke away from the mainstream Islamic religion. Sufism didn’t grow in opposition to Islam, the religion that gave it birth around the 9th century, but as a deepening, a going back to the very source and meaning behind traditional Muslim orthodoxy. The Sufi devotee wanted to feel, to know God as the true presence in the heart, not putting an illusory figure at a distance to be worshipped. That’s how Sufism placed love, the love of god, at the centre and expressed it in the most exquisite poetry. That’s how music and dance were allowed and praised. Sufism is understanding and living this primary statement of faith in Islamic religion: ‘There is no god but god.”

Immerse yourself in Rumi’s path of divine love and poetry… (READ MORE…)

 

God Only Knows

This poem was written by Katarina Jonsson, a Danish friend. I loved this poem from my first reading for its truth and simplicity. 

 

Where do you come from
he asked
I never arrived
she answered
but I come from a thousand different places
sometimes from sorrow and hurt
sometimes from the greatest joy
other times from shame and guilt
from projections and competition
she said

But where do you come from
he asked
I come from a thousand different places
she answered
I never arrived
Sometimes I come from ignorance and blame
sometimes from darkness and despair
I have come from happiness and communion
from disappointment and loneliness
she said

But where do you come from
he asked
I come from a thousand places 
I never arrived 
she answered 
I came from inferiority and superiority 
sometimes from equality 
I have come from thoughts and emotions 
and I have called them love

They both fell silent

Where do you come from
he asked 
I come from silence 
from love 
from God
she said
I have arrived 

Who has arrived 
he asked
I don’t know
she said

 

~~~

Poem by Katarina Jonsson

Photo by Alain Joly

~~~

 

Kabir Says:

(Painting by Tanya Bonello)

Lift the veil that obscures the heart
and there you will find what you are looking for
.”
~ Kabir

 

Little is known about Kabir. Legends abound and certainties are scarce. He was a weaver, probably spending most of his time working at his handloom. He was born in a Muslim family in fifteenth Century Benares, and became a mystic and a poet whose songs and ‘bānīs’ – meaning ’utterances’ – spread in the whole of India and beyond, mostly handed down orally between seekers and sadhus along the roads, sometimes written down. They were the expression of a simple man, probably illiterate, and his first-hand understanding of the deepest truth of living. 

Kabir wasn’t a philosopher, far from it, and many of his poems were deeply grounded in everyday life. His expression was often ruthless, “I see the world. What a bag of tricks it is!” He execrated the bigotry and hypocrisy of Hindu and Muslim devotees alike, and he never tired of denouncing the contradictions between the religions in place, each asserting their own god, beliefs, practices, about something Kabir knew in his flesh and soul to be one single reality, unbroken, and timeless.

Servant, where dost thou seek Me? 
Lo! I am beside thee.
I am neither in temple nor in mosque:
I am neither in Kaaba nor in Kailash: 
Neither am I in rites and ceremonies,
nor in Yoga and renunciation. 
If thou art a true seeker, thou shalt at once see Me: 
thou shalt meet Me in a moment of time. 
Kabir says, ‘O Sadhu! God is the breath of all breath.’

Discover more of the wonderful poetry and legacy of Kabir (Read more…)