Sunday, December 13, 2009

Garden Of Love

I laid me down upon a bank,
Where Love lay sleeping;
I heard among the rushes dank
Weeping, weeping.

Then I went to the heath and the wild,
To the thistles and thorns of the waste;
And they told me how they were beguiled,
Driven out, and compelled to the chaste.

I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen;
A Chapel was built in the midst,
Where I used to play on the green.

And the gates of this Chapel were shut
And "Thou shalt not," writ over the door;
So I turned to the Garden of Love
That so many sweet flowers bore.

And I saw it was filled with graves,
And tombstones where flowers should be;
And priests in black gowns were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars my joys and desires.

... William Blake

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Only To The Door

Belief brings me close to You:
but only to the door.
It is only by disappearing into
Your mystery
that I will come in.

... Hakim Sanā'ī Ghaznavi

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Where Is The Life We Have Lost In Living?



'where is the life we have lost in living?
where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
where is the knowledge we have lost in information?'

... T S Eliot

As If We Never Said Goodbye

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

But Still Bless Me Anyway...


"Nothing's lost forever. In this world, there is a kind of painful progress. Longing for what we've left behind, and dreaming ahead"


"I've lived through such terrible times and there are people who live through much worse. But you see them living anyway. When they're more spirit than body, more sores than skin, when they're burned and in agony, when flies lay eggs in the corners of the eyes of their children - they live. Death usually has to take life away. I don't know if that's just the animal. I don't know if it's not braver to die, but I recognize the habit; the addiction to being alive. So we live past hope. If I can find hope anywhere, that's it, that's the best I can do. It's so much not enough. It's so inadequate. But still bless me anyway. I want more life"

... Angels In America, Tony Kushner

Monday, November 30, 2009

Live Like We're Dying


Our hearts are hungry for a food that won’t come
And we could make a feast from these crumbs
And we’re all staring down the barrel of a gun
So if your life flashed before you, what would you wish you would’ve done?

Well, if your plane fell out of the skies
Who would you call with your last goodbyes?
Should be so careful who we left out of our lives
And when we long for absolution, there’ll be no one on the line

Yeah… we gotta start lookin’ at the hands of the time we’ve been given here
If this is all we got then we gotta start thinking
If every second count on a clock that’s ticking
Gotta live like we’re dying

We only got 86 400 seconds in a day
To turn it all around or to throw it all away
We gotta tell ‘em that we love ‘em while we got the chance to say,
Gotta live like we’re dying

Monday, November 23, 2009

For The Sake Of Those In Need

It was Mary's painful need that made the infant Jesus
begin to speak from the cradle.
Whatever grew has grown for the sake of those in need,
so that a seeker might find the thing he sought.
If God Most High has created the heavens,
He has created them for the purpose of satisfying needs.
Wherever a pain is, that's where the cure goes.
wherever poverty is, that's where provision goes.
Wherever a difficult question is,
that's where the answer goes;
wherever a ship is, water goes to it.
Don't seek the water; increase your thirst,
so water may gush forth from above and below.
Until the tender-throated babe is born,
how should the milk for it
flow from the mother's breast?

... Mathnawi, Mevlana Rumi

The Scarlet Letter

"Who is to say what is a sin
in God's eyes?"

"How close they are,
love and hate.
We're no less bound by one
than the other"

... The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Twilight Saga: New Moon


"Nothing lingered here. Nothing more than the memories that I could have called back whenever I wanted to, if I was ever willing to endure the corresponding pain—the pain that had me now, had me cold. There was nothing special about this place without him. I wasn't exactly sure what I'd hoped to feel here, but the meadow was empty of atmosphere, empty of everything, just like everything else"

"As much as I struggled not to think of him, I did not struggle to forget. I worried—late in the night, when the exhaustion of sleep deprivation broke down my defenses—that it was all slipping away. That my mind was a sieve, and I would someday not be able to remember the precise color of his eyes, the feel of his cool skin, or the texture of his voice. I could not think of them, but I must remember them. Because there was just one thing that I had to believe to be able to live—I had to know that he existed. That was all. Everything else I could endure. So long as he existed"

"Before you, Bella, my life was like a moonless night. Very dark, but there were stars—points of light and reason... And then you shot across my sky like a meteor. Suddenly everything was on fire; there was brilliancy, there was beauty. When you were gone, when the meteor had fallen over the horizon, everything went black. Nothing had changed, but my eyes were blinded by the light. I couldn't see the stars anymore. And there was no more reason for anything"

"After all the thousand times I’ve told you I love you, how could you let one word break your faith in me? I could see it in your eyes, that you honestly believed that I didn’t want you anymore"

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sophie's Choice

The film that made me love Meryl Streep for the first time, and after all these years, still remain one of the best movies ever.

I Could Not Stop For Death

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.
We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We passed the school, where children strove
At recess, in the ring;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.

Or rather, he passed us;
The dews grew quivering and chill,
For only gossamer my gown,
My tippet only tulle.

We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

Since then 'tis centuries, and yet each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses' heads
Were toward eternity.

... Emily Dickinson

Saturday, November 14, 2009

There Is A Holiness To The Heart's Affections...


"A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness"

"I am certain of nothing but of the holiness of the heart's affections and the truth of imagination - what the imagination seizes as beauty must be truth - whether it existed before or not - for I have the same idea of all our passions as of love: they are all, in their sublime, creative of essential beauty"

"For myself I know not how to express my devotion to so fair a form: I want a brighter word than bright, a fairer word than fair. I almost wish we were butterflies and liv'd but three summer days—three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain"

“I had such a dream last night. I was floating above the trees, with my lips connected to that of a beautiful figure”


"Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
Fled is that music: - Do I wake or sleep?"

"Here Lies One Whose Name Was Writ In Water"

... John Keats (1795-1821)
I love Keats ...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I Am Vertical

But I would rather be horizontal.
I am not a tree with my root in the soil
Sucking up minerals and motherly love
So that each March I may gleam into leaf,
Nor am I the beauty of a garden bed
Attracting my share of Ahs and spectacularly painted,
Unknowing I must soon unpetal.
Compared with me, a tree is immortal
And a flower-head not tall, but more startling,
And I want the one’s longevity and the other’s daring.

Tonight, in the infinitesimal light of the stars,
The trees and flowers have been strewing their cool odors.
I walk among them, but none of them are noticing.
Sometimes I think that when I am sleeping
I must most perfectly resemble them—
Thoughts gone dim.
It is more natural to me, lying down.
Then the sky and I are in open conversation,
And I shall be useful when I lie down finally:
Then the trees may touch me for once, and the flowers have time for me.

... Sylvia Plath

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Most Difficult Task That Has Been Entrusted To Us

"It is also good to love: because love is difficult. For one human being to love another human being: that is perhaps the most difficult task that has been entrusted to us, the ultimate task, the final test and proof, the work for which all other work is merely preparation..."

... Letters To A Young Poet, Letter 7, Rainer Maria Rilke

Friday, October 30, 2009

Change


If you knew that you would die today,
Saw the face of God and love,
Would you change?
Would you change?

If you knew that love can break your heart
When you're down so low you cannot fall
Would you change?
Would you change?

How bad, how good does it need to get?
How many losses? How much regret?
What chain reaction would cause an effect?
Makes you turn around,
Makes you try to explain,
Makes you forgive and forget,
Makes you change?
Makes you change?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Make Me An Instrument Of Your Peace

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

Amen.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Of Becoming

Nietzsche's account of the eternal return presupposes a critique of the terminal or equilibrium state. Nietzsche says that if the universe had an equilibrium position, if becoming had an end or final state, it would already have been attained. but the present moment, as the passing moment, proves that it is not attained and therefore that an equilibrium of forces is not possible. But why would equilibrium, the terminal state, have to have been attained if it were possible? By virtue of what Nietzsche calls the infinity of past time. The infinity of past time means that becoming cannot have started to become, that it is not something that has become. But, not being something that has become it cannot be a becoming something. Not having become, it would already be what it is becoming - if it were becoming something. That is to say, past time being infinite, becoming would have attained its final state if it had one. And, indeed, saying that becoming would have attained its final state if it had one is the same as saying that it would not have left its initial state if it had one. If becoming becomes something why has it not finished becoming long ago? If it is something which has become then how could it have started to become? "If the universe were capable of permanence and fixity, and it there were in its entire course a single moment of being in the strict sense it could no longer have anything to do with becoming, thus one could no longer think or observe any becoming whatever." This is the view that Nietzsche claims to have found "in earlier thinkers." Plato said that is everything that becomes can never avoid the present then, as soon as it is there, it ceases to become and is then what it was in the process of becoming. "But each time I encountered this thought from antiquity," Nietzsche comments, "it was determined by other, generally theological, ulterior motives." By persisting in demanding how becoming could have started and why it has not yet finished, the philosophers of antiquity are false tragics, invoking hubris, crime and punishment. With the exception of Heraclitus, they did not face up to the thought of pure becoming, nor the opportunity for this thought. That the present moment is not a moment of being or of present "in the strict sense," that it is the passing moment, forces us to think of becoming, but to think of it precisely as what could not have started, and cannot finish, becoming.

How does the thought of pure becoming serve as a foundation for the eternal return? All we need to do to think this thought is to stop believing in being as distinct from and opposed to becoming or to believe in the being of becoming itself. What is the being of that which becomes, of that which neither starts nor finishes becoming? Returning is the being of that which becomes (Revenir, l'etre de ce qui devient). "That everything recurs is the closest proximation of a world of becoming to a world of being - high point of meditation." This problem for the meditation must be formulated in yet another way; how can the past be constituted in time? How can the present pass? The passing moment could never pass if it were not already past and yet to come - at the same time as being present. If the present did not pass of its own accord, if it had to wait for a new present in order to become past, the past in general would never be constituted in time, and this particular present would not pass. We cannot wait, the moment must be simultaneously present and past, present and yet to come, in order for it to pass (and to pass for the sake of other moments.) The present must coexist with itself as past and yet to come. The synthetic relation of the moment to itself as present, past and future grounds it relation to other moments. The eternal return is thus an answer to the problem of passage. And in this sense it must not be interpreted as the return of something that is, that is "one" or the "same." We misinterpret the expression "eternal return" if we understand it as "return to the same." It is not being that returns but rather the returning itself that constitutes being insofar as it is affirmed of becoming and of that which passes. It is not some one thing which returns but rather returning itself is the one thing which is affirmed of diversity or multiplicity. In other words, identity in the eternal return does not describe the nature of that which returns but, on the contrary, the fact of returning for what it differs. This is why the eternal return must be thought of as a synthesis; a synthesis of time and its dimensions, a synthesis of diversity and its reproduction, a synthesis of becoming and the being which is affirmed in becoming, a synthesis of double affirmation. Thus the eternal return itself does not depend on a principle of identity but on one which must, in all respects, fulfill the requirements of a truly sufficient reason.

Why is mechanism such a bad interpretation of the eternal return? Because it does not necessarily or directly imply the eternal return. Because it only entails the false consequences of a final state. This final state is held to be identical to the initial state and, to this extent, it is concluded that the mechanical process passes through the same set of differences again. The cyclical hypothesis, so heavily criticised by Nietzsche, arises in this way. Because we cannot understand how this process can possibly leave the initial state, reemerge from the final state, or pass through the same set of differences again and yet not even have the power to pass once through whatever differences there are. The cyclical hypothesis is incapable of accounting for two things - the diversity of co-existing cycles and, above all, the existence of diversity within the cycle. This is why we can only understand the eternal return as the expression of a principle which serves as an explanation of diversity and reproduction, of difference and its repetition. Nietzshce presents this principle as one of his most important philosophical discoveries. He calls it will to power. By will to power "I express the characteristic that cannot be thought out of the mechanistic order without thinking away this order itself."

... Nietzsche And Philosophy, Gilles Deleuze

The Fruits Are First In Our Thoughts

The fruits are first in our thoughts,
but only in the end
are they truly seen.
When you have done the work
and planted the tree,
when the fruit appears,
you read the first words.

... Mathnawi I: 971-972, Rumi

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Feels Like Home

Living In The Layers

I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray.

When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.

Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!

How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?

In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.

Yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.

In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
"Live in the layers,
not on the litter."

Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.

... The Collected Poems, Stanley Kunitz

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I Carry Your Heart With Me

I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart)
I am never without it (anywhere I go you go, my dear;
and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)
I fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet)
I want no world (for beautiful, you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart:
I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)

... E E Cummings

Until The Hour Of Separation

“And ever has it been known that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation”

... Kahlil Gibran

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Certainty

How long will you say, "I will conquer the whole world
and fill it with myself"?
Even if snow covered the world completely,
the sun could melt it with a glance.
A single spark of God's mercy
can turn poison into springwater.
Where there is doubt,
He establishes certainty.

... Mathnawi, Mevlana Rumi

Friday, September 25, 2009

My Heart

"For thirty years I sat watching over my heart. Then for ten years my heart watched over me. Now it is twenty years that I know nothing of my heart and my heart knows nothing of me" ... Junayd al-Baghdadi

"I know nothing, I understand nothing, I am unaware of myself. I am in love, but with whom I do not know. My heart is at the same time both full and empty of love" ... Farīd ud-Dīn ‘Attār

Setting Sun

The word is full of beautiful things until an old man with a beard came into my life and set my heart aflame with longing and made it pregnant with love. How can I look at the loveliness around me, how can I see it, if it hides the face of my Lover?

... Persian song

The Song Of The Reed

Now listen to this reed-flute's deep lament
About the heartache being apart has meant:

'Since from the reed-bed they uprooted me
My song's expressed each human's agony,

A breast which separation's split in two
Is what I seek, to share this pain with you:

When kept from their true origin, all yearn
For union on the day they can return.

Among the crowd, alone I mourn my fate,
With good and bad I've learned to integrate,

That we were friends each one was satisfied
But none sought out my secrets from inside;

My deepest secret's in this song I wail
But eyes and ears can't penetrate the veil:

Body and soul are joined to form one whole
But no one is allowed to see the soul.'

It's fire not just hot air the reed-flute's cry,
If you don't have this fire then you should die!

Love's fire is what makes every reed-flute pine,
Love's fervour thus lends potency to wine;

The reed consoles those forced to be apart,
Its notes will lift the veil upon your heart,

Where's antidote or poison like its song,
Or confidant, or one who's pined so long?

This reed relates a tortuous path ahead,
Recalls the love with which Majnun's heart bled:

The few who hear the truths the reed has sung
Have lost their wits so they can speak this tongue.

The day is wasted if it's spent in grief,
Consumed by burning aches without relief--

Good times have long passed, but we couldn't care
When you're with us, our friend beyond compare!

While ordinary men on drops can thrive
A fish needs oceans daily to survive:

The way the ripe must feel the raw can't tell,
My speech must be concise, and so farewell!

... Mathnawi, Jalalludin Rumi

O Captain My Captain!

To my beloved captain:

O Captain my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up--for you the flag is flung for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribboned wreaths for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You've fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchored safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

... Walt Whitman

Funeral Blues

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone.
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum,
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead,
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
... W H Auden

Al-Fatihah

A heartwrenching and heartbreaking day on the demise of my shaykh, my father, my guide, my friend, my pillar, my strength and mostly my الشمس as he returns to The Most Beloved. He is a true gem with a pure and beautiful soul. All that is good in me is due to his loving embrace when he took me in, for I would still be a lost soul without him in my life. I am absolutely blessed to be loved unconditionally by him, even when others have left. Through him, I found beauty - in myself, in life, in others, and especially in Him. He is my saint. I have been fortunate to have repeatedly conveyed to him his special place in my heart. Today, 20 years after my real father met the Lord, my spiritual father joined him. Even if you do not know this extraordinary person in my life, please join me in reciting Al-Fatihah...

"(To the righteous soul will be said:) "O (thou) soul, in (complete state of) rest and satisfaction! Come back thou to thy Lord, well pleased (thyself), and well-pleasing unto Him! Enter thou, then, among My devotees! Yea, enter thou into My Heaven!" ... al-Fajr 89:27-30

"Nor can a soul die except by Allah's leave, the term being fixed as by writing. If any do desire a reward in this life, We shall give it to him; and if any do desire a reward in the Hereafter, We shall give it to him. And swiftly shall We reward those that (serve us with) gratitude" ... ali-Imran 3:145

"Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods, or lives, or the fruits (of your labor), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere; Who say, when afflicted with calamity: "To Allah We belong, and to Him is our return":- They are those on whom (Descend) blessings from Allah, and Mercy, and they are the ones that receive guidance" ... al-Baqarah 2:155-157

"Not a single lover would seek union,
If the Beloved is not seeking it" ... Mevlana Rumi

"The flower fades, but its fragrance lingers in the hearts of all those who touched it" ... The Writing on the Water, by Muhyiddin Shakoor.



Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Years Shall Run Like Rabbits

... 'The years shall run like rabbits,
For in my arms I hold
The Flower of the Ages,
And the first love of the world.'

But all the clocks in the city
Began to whirr and chime:
'O let not Time deceive you,
You cannot conquer Time.

'In the burrows of the Nightmare
Where Justice naked is,
Time watches from the shadow
And coughs when you would kiss.

'In headaches and in worry
Vaguely life leaks away,
And Time will have his fancy
To-morrow or to-day...

... As I Walked Out One Evening, W H Auden

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

For my beloved Shzak:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

... Dylan Thomas

Among The Multitude

Among the men and women the multitude,
I perceive one picking me out by secret and divine signs,
Acknowledging none else, not parent, wife, husband, brother, child,
any nearer than I am,
Some are baffled, but that one is not--that one knows me.

Ah lover and perfect equal,
I meant that you should discover me so by faint indirections,
And I when I meet you mean to discover you by the like in you.

... Walt Whitman

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Self Pity


I never saw a wild thing
sorry for itself.
A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough
without ever having felt sorry for itself.

... D H Lawrence

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Leave Me, My Blamer

Leave me, my blamer,
For the sake of the love
Which unites your soul with
That of your beloved one;
For the sake of that which
Joins spirit with mothers
Affection, and ties your
Heart with filial love. Go,
And leave me to my own
Weeping heart.

Let me sail in the ocean of
My dreams; Wait until Tomorrow
Comes, for tomorrow is free to
Do with me as he wishes. Your
Laying is naught but shadow
That walks with the spirit to
The tomb of abashment, and shows
Heard the cold, solid earth.

I have a little heart within me
And I like to bring him out of
His prison and carry him on the
Palm of my hand to examine him
In depth and extract his secret.
Aim not your arrows at him, lest
He takes fright and vanish 'ere he
Pours the secrets blood as a
Sacrifice at the altar of his
Own faith, given him by Deity
When he fashioned him of love and beauty.

The sun is rising and the nightingale
Is singing, and the myrtle is
Breathing its fragrance into space.
I want to free myself from the
Quilted slumber of wrong. Do not
Detain me, my blamer!

Cavil me not by mention of the
Lions of the forest or the
Snakes of the valley, for
Me soul knows no fear of earth and
Accepts no warning of evil before
Evil comes.

Advise me not, my blamer, for
Calamities have opened my heart and
Tears have cleanses my eyes, and
Errors have taught me the language
Of the hearts.

Talk not of banishment, for conscience
Is my judge and he will justify me
And protect me if I am innocent, and
Will deny me of life if I am a criminal.

Love's procession is moving;
Beauty is waving her banner;
Youth is sounding the trumpet of joy;
Disturb not my contrition, my blamer.
Let me walk, for the path is rich
With roses and mint, and the air
Is scented with cleanliness.

Relate not the tales of wealth and
Greatness, for my soul is rich
With bounty and great with God's glory.

Speak not of peoples and laws and
Kingdoms, for the whole earth is
My birthplace and all humans are
My brothers.

Go from me, for you are taking away
Life - giving repentance and bringing
Needless words.

... Kahlil Gibran

On Death

Than Almitra spoke, saying, "We would ask now of Death."
And he said:
You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?

The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.
In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;

And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.

Is the sheered not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?
For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

... Kahlil Gibran

The Painted Veil

"Remember that it is nothing to do your duty, that is demanded of you and is no more meritorious than to wash your hands when they are dirty; the only thing that counts is the love of duty; when love and duty are one, then grace is in you and you will enjoy a happiness which passes all understanding"

... The Painted Veil, W. Somerset Maugham

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I Am The Captain Of My Soul

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

... Invictus, William Ernest Henley

I Wish You

First of all, I wish you love, and that by loving you may also be loved.
But if it’s not like that, be brief in forgetting
And after you’ve forgotten, don’t keep anything.
I wish that wouldn’t happen, but if it does and you forget, you could be a person without desperation.

I also wish you may have a lot of friends,
And even if they are bad and inconsequent,
They should be brave and true
And, at least one of them, should be completely reliable.

But because life is the way it is,
I also wish you may have enemies.
Not many or too little, just in the right number
So that you will have to question your own certainties and truths as well.
And may there be among them at least one who is just and fair,
So that you can never feel too secure in your ideas.

I wish you may be useful but not irreplaceable
And in your bad moments,
When you have nothing else,
That sense of usefulness will keep you on your feet.

So equally, I wish you to be tolerant,
Not with those that make little mistakes, because that is easy, but with those that make a lot of mistakes and can’t help it.
And make good use of this tolerance to set an example to others.

I wish that, being young, you don’t mature too quickly
And once you’re mature, don’t insist in getting younger.
And when you’re old, don’t feel despaired
Because each age has its pains and pleasures
And we need them both in our lives.

By the way, I wish you to be sad at least one day
So on that day you may discover
That to laugh everyday is good,
To laugh often is boring
And to laugh constantly is an illness.

I wish that you may discover
With maximum urgency
That, above and in spite of everything,
There are people around you who are depressed,
Unhappy and unjustly treated.

I wish you to caress a dog,
To feed a bird and to listen to its chirp as well
As it sings triumphantly early in the morning.
Because this way you will feel good for no reason.

And then I wish you may sow a seed
Even if it is really small.
And may you accompany it in its growth.
So that you will discover how many lives a tree is made of.

I wish as well that you may have money, because we need to be practical.
And that, at least once a year,
You put some of this money in front of you and say “This is mine”.
So it is very clear who owns who.

Also, I wish none of your loved ones may die,
But if some of them do,
I wish you may cry without regret and without feeling guilty for the things you never said or the things you never did.

Finally, I wish for you that being a man, you may have a good woman and being a woman, you may have a good man.
Tomorrow and the day after.

If all these things would happen to you,
Then I wish for you nothing more.

... Victor Hugo

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Don't Despair

Joseph to his father in Canaan shall return, don't despair;
and Jacob's hut will brighten with flowers, don't despair.

Aching hearts heal in time, vanished hopes reappear,
the disparate mind will be pacified, don't despair.

As the spring of life grows the newly green meadow,
roses will crown the sweet nightingale's song, don't despair.

If the world does not turn to your whims these few days,
cosmic cycles are preparing to change, don't despair.

If desperation whispers you'll never know God,
it's the talk of hidden games in the veil, don't despair.

O heart, when the vast flood slashes life to its roots,
Captain Noah waits to steer you ashore, don't despair.

If you trek as a pilgrim through sands to Kaabah
with thorns lodged deep in your soul shouting why, don't despair.

Though oases hide dangers and your destiny's far,
there's no pathway that goes on forever, don't despair.

My trials and enemies face me on their own,
but mystery always backs up my stand, don't despair.

Hafez, weakened by poverty, alone in the dark,
this night is your pathway into the light, don't despair.

... Hafez-e Sirazi

The Pomegranate

Once when I was living in the heart of a pomegranate, I heard a seed saying, “Someday I shall become a tree, and the wind will sing in my branches, and the sun will dance on my leaves, and I shall be strong and beautiful through all the seasons.”

Then another seed spoke and said, “When I was as young as you, I too held such views; but now that I can weigh and measure things, I see that my hopes were vain.”

And a third seed spoke also, “I see in us nothing that promises so great a future.”

And a fourth said, “But what a mockery our life would be, without a greater future!”

Said a fifth, “Why dispute what we shall be, when we know not even what we are.”

But a sixth replied, “Whatever we are, that we shall continue to be.”

And a seventh said, “I have such a clear idea how everything will be, but I cannot put it into words.”

Then an eight spoke-and a ninth-and a tenth-and then many-until all were speaking, and I could distinguish nothing for the many voices.

And so I moved that very day into the heart of a quince, where the seeds are few and almost silent.

... The Madman, Kahlil Gibran

I Am Much Too Alone in This World, Yet Not Alone

I am much too alone in this world, yet not alone
enough to truly consecrate the hour.
I am much too small in this world, yet not small
enough to be to you just object and thing,
dark and smart.
I want my free will and want it accompanying
the path which leads to action;
and want during times that beg questions,
where something is up,
to be among those in the know,
or else be alone.

I want to mirror your image to its fullest perfection,
never be blind or too old
to uphold your weighty wavering reflection.
I want to unfold.
Nowhere I wish to stay crooked, bent;
for there I would be dishonest, untrue.
I want my conscience to be
true before you;
want to describe myself like a picture I observed
for a long time, one close up,
like a new word I learned and embraced,
like the everday jug,
like my mother's face,
like a ship that carried me along
through the deadliest storm.

... Rainer Maria Rilke

Whosoever Relieves, Alleviates And Conceals

"Whosoever relieves from a believer some grief pertaining to this world, Allah will relieve from him some grief pertaining to the Hereafter. Whosoever alleviates the difficulties of a needy person who cannot pay his debt, Allah will alleviate his difficulties in both this world and the Hereafter. Whosoever conceals the faults of a Muslim, Allah will conceal his faults in this world and the Hereafter. Allah will aid a servant (of His) so long as the servant aids his brother. Whosoever follows a path to seek knowledge therein, Allah will make easy for him a path to Paradise. No people gather together in one of the houses of Allah, reciting the Book of Allah and studying it among themselves, except that tranquility descends upon them, mercy covers them, the angels surround them, and Allah makes mention of them amongst those who are in His presence. Whosoever is slowed down by his deeds will not be hastened forward by his lineage."

... Hadith 36 of Hadith Arba'in of Imam an-Nawawi, Muslim

Directionless


He has afflicted you from every direction
in order to pull you back to the Directionless.

... Mevlana Rumi

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

We Are Lutes: No More, No Less

There's hidden sweetness
in the stomach's emptiness.

We are lutes, no more, no less.
If the soundbox is stuffed full of anything, no music.

If the brain and the belly are burning clean with fasting,
every moment a new song comes out of the fire.

The fog clears, and new energy
makes you run up the steps in front of you.

Be emptier and cry like reed instruments cry.
Emptier, write secrets with the reed pen.

When you're full of food and drink,
an ugly metal statue sits where your spirit should.

When you fast, good habits gather
like friends who want to help.

Fasting is Solomon's ring. Don't give it
to some illusion and lose your power,
but even if you have, if you've lost all will and control,
they come back when you fast,
like soldiers appearing out of the ground,
pennants flying above them.

A table descends to your tents,
Jesus's table.
Expect to see it when you fast,
this table spread with other food, better than the broth of cabbages.

... Mevlana Rumi

Ramadhan Mubarak


Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad's talk on Fasting in the Month of Ramadhan


"Harken! O you who was not content to sin throughout Rajab.
His rebellion against his Lord had to continue the duration of Sha’ban.
The month of fasting has now come to shade and shelter you,
Do not transform it also into a month of sinning.
Recite the Qur’an and glorify [God], with diligent assertion.
Indeed! It is a month for glorification and the Qur’an.
Deny your bodily appetites, seeking your soul’s salvation.
Eventually, the earth will consume the body.
How many deceased people have you known who fasted?
Amongst your family, neighbors, and brothers.
Death has erased them, leaving you behind.
Get serious [about your faith], for the living are quite close to the dead!
You take delight in the ‘Eid outfits being cut out now for the festival.
But soon they will be your burial shrouds.
How long will the person be happy with his worldly home?
Knowing that his ultimate home is the grave."

... Lata'if al-Ma'arif, ibn Rajab al-Hanbali