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


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

Monday, August 17, 2009

Summer '09 - San Francisco

The live and sounds of Market St, San Francisco.

The view of downtown San Francisco from Twin Peaks.

Legion of Honor.

Union Square, San Francisco.

The beautiful and famous, albeit crowded, Fisherman's Wharf.


The Golden Gate Bridge.

University of Berkeley, San Francisco.

Picnic at a winery at Napa Valley.

Muir Woods, the largest and oldest redwood trees in the world.

The most beautiful Big Sur. Sitting atop a cafe watching the sun sets.

Pebble Beach - along Highway 1.

Pebble Beach, approaching Big Sur.

Highway 1 along the coastal route which brings me all the way south to San Diego.

A house surrounded by Ghost Trees.

The Lone Cypress along the 7-mile drive of Pebble Beach.

The palm-covered entrance to Stanford University.

Sufi Coffee Shop at Mountain View, San Francisco of the Ni'matullāhī Order.

Zaytuna Institute, now known as Zaytuna College.

The dryness of Phoenix, Arizona.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Summer '09 - Las Vegas, Disneyland

Sleeping Beauty Castle just before the commencement of its daily summer fireworks.

The castle at Disneyland.


Star Tours based on Star Wars.

What is Disneyland without Mickey?

Treasures found buried under the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

Ghostly apparition at the Haunted Mansion.

Columbia, Disneyland.

Sleeping Beauty Castle in the day.

Instant marriages at the Chapel of the Flowers in Las Vegas strip.

The Stratosphere, Las Vegas.

Summer '09 - Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon was just too surreal. I will let the photos do the talking.