Eastern Thoughts


Many of us enjoy reading the poetry of Rumi, Hafiz, Kabir and others. I always feel as if I have been in the presence of God. Whatever form of the Divine you follow, their words take us into his/her presence. This is the same kind of experience. I hope you can enjoy these beautiful Zoroastrian words.

 

In Thy image let me pattern my life, Oh Ahuramazda,

Let me awake with Thy name on my lips,

In my eyes let me ever carry Thy image,

To enable me to perceive Thee and

Thee alone in everyone else.

 

Let my mind never waver elsewhere except

to hold Thee in mind.

Let me ever sing songs of praise for Thee.

Let me dance with joy ever in Thy presence.

Let me await Thee patiently for Thy coming

Let that be my everlasting joy.

To be with Thee forevermore.

 

I await Thee, Thee and Thee alone.

I seek none but Thee.

I long for Thee, I yearn for Thee.

Bless me with Thy vision and let me hold

That enchanted Vision every in my memory,

To Thy Glory, Oh Ahuramazda.

 

Teach me to knock, teach me to sing, to clim

So that the door may open with sweet music,

That will lull me to the world of creation,

World of geniuses, who all sing one song,

the song of Praise to Thee.

 

Oh Ahuramazda, I long for Thee,

I await Thee in patience, when shall I perceive?

When shalt Thou bequeath?

I patience I kneel and bow.

I await in silence, in expectation.

 

Have mercy on this aching heart.

Transform me with Thy Divine Touch.

My aching heart calls out to Thee.

My anguish can only cease with Thy Divine Touch.

I await Thee, I surrender to Thee.

I look forward to They coming in silent meditation.

–A Zoroastrian Prayer which is recited before meditating

 

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The Dove of Peace.

The Dove of Peace.

Love is in the Air


I dedicate this poem to everyone. Everyone of us who has experienced love. I send hugs to all who have loved and then lost that love. This year, my husband will have been gone twenty years. Hearts to all.

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HOW DO I LOVE THEE? LET ME COUNT THE WAYS

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and heightZentangle-Valentine2

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight

For the ends of being and ideal grace.

I love thee to the level of everyday’s

Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.

I love thee freely, as men strive for right.

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I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.

I love thee with  the passion put to use

In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.

I love thee with a love I seemed to lose

With my lost saints, —I love thee with the breath,

Smiles, tears, of all my life!  —And, if God choose,

I shall but love thee better after death.

 

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Love is the sweetest and most painful of emotions. Some say that love is a state of mind. I like what Gibran has to say about love. We experience love every day from somewhere, but let it not bound you and let your being be whole within the love.

 

LOVE ONE ANOTHER

From The Prophet

Khalil Gibran

Love one another, but make not a bond of love.FullSizeRender

Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.

Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.

Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.

Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone.

Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give you hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.

For only the land of Life can contain your hearts.

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And stand together yet not too near together

For the pillars of the temple stand apart,

And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

 

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Thank you for being part of my WordPress family. I love you all. Hearts, Barbara

Eastern Poetry and Thought


The poet who cannot express his poetry in his life is not complete. He/she has not reached that stage where his poetry can be called a ripened poetry. It is not what we say, it is what we are. We each express our heart, soul and condition in all we do. But the tendency of receiving all the beauty we can receive, and giving it to others—that is the poetic tendency, and this grows into the Prophetic tendency.

 

The dancing soul cannot express itself except in rhythm and in poetry. It cannot refrain from expressing itself in a music which appeals to other souls.

 

The Word of an Opening Rose

 

“Last night’s storm was a journey to the Beloved.

I surrender to that, the wind that

is my friend, and my work.

 

Each night, the lightening flashes.

Every morning, a breeze.

 

Not in some protected place, but in the flood

of the heart’s pumping in the wind

of a rosebud’s opening out,

that puts a small crown on each narcissus.

 

A tired hand collapse, exhausted,

that in the morning holds your hair again.

 

Peace comes when we are friends together,

remembering. Hafiz! Your honest desire

and your benevolence free the soul

to emerge as what it is.”  —-The poet Hafiz

 

It is said that the poetry of Hafiz and Rumi is living energy. I can understand their words in this manner.

 

I’ve become a rabid fan of Divine Order for one good reason. For all my supposed intelligence, I would routinely feel overwhelmed and frozen by life’s never-ending problems and decisions. Now I invoke the Divine Order to connect with the cosmos.

 

“Let every aspect of this journey unfolded in harmony.

Let Divine Order arrange and show me every detail.

Let me be gently guided to my path and I will follow

where I am shown where to go.”

 

Some days, we all need some humor. I have over a foot of snow here. So you get humor!!!

 

“Let the beauty we love be what we do.”   —Rumi

 

 

The Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama

 

The Dove of Peace.

The Dove of Peace.

Women’s Voices


There was a time when women had strong voices. They were lovers, mothers, healers, and midwives. Then came the “Burning Times”. Women and children called witches and tortured with drowning, hanging and burning. Millions were killed in Europe and really no woman was safe.

 

This was followed by Patriarchy and the silencing of women’s voices. There have been a few women through the years who discovered their voices but it was unusual. The Suffragettes found their vocal chords and their mouths and women have been speaking ever since. Of course, the louder we speak, the more some people close their minds off from truth and equality.

 

Clearing the Air

 

It’s been ten years since you tried to kill me.

Biking home one night, I saw only your legs

stepping behind a tree, then you fell on my throat

like a cat. My books crashed the birds out of sleep.

We rolled in the leaves like lovers. My eyes popped

like Christmas lights, veins snapped, your teeth wore

 

my blood, your fingers left bars on my neck.

I can’t remember your name,

and I saw your face only in court.

You sat in a box, docile as old shoes.

And I, who had never felt any man’s weight

sometimes felt yours for nights afterwards.

 

Well, I’m ready to forgive

and I don’t want to forget.

Sometimes I tell myself that we met

differently, on a train. You give me

a Batman comic and show me your passport

I have nothing but my report card.

 

but I offer my mother’s fudge for the grapes

rotting the one paper bag you carry.

In my tale you are younger and loved.

Outside you live in a thousand faces

and so do your judges, napping in parks,

rushing to fires, folded like bats on the truck.

 

mad and nude in a white Rolls’

pinching dollars and leather behinds.

Burned from a tree by your betters, you take

to the streets and hang in the dark like a star,

making me see your side, waking me

with the blows and the weight of it.

 

—Nancy Willard

 

 

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February Zentangle. Copyright 2015

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We can...we will change our one world.

We can…we will change our one world.

Rumi’s Legacy


Rumi Followers Fight To Keep Turkey From Cashing In On Mystic’s Legacy

Posted: 01/20/2015 8:40 am EST Updated: 5 hours ago
RNS-RUMI-RECLAIM a

ISTANBUL (RNS) Each Sunday, visitors line up outside of the old Sufi lodge, now a museum, in Turkey’s tourist-filled Galata district, informational pamphlets, cameras and $20 tickets in hand.

The site is but one of the many places tourists flock for performances by the country’s famed white-robed whirling dervishes.

Cafes, hotels and former Sufi lodges reinvented as tourist attractions, like the one in Galata, have all cashed in on the ritual’s popularity.

The “sema” ceremonies, as they’re called, promise attendees a peek into a 750-year-old practice that is as graceful as it is spiritual.

Yet as more ceremonies spring up, excitement has been met by skepticism by descendants of the very 13th-century mystic who first popularized it.

“It’s becoming like a show,” said Faruk Hemdem Celebi, a 22nd-generation descendant of the famous poet, jurist, Islamic scholar, theologian and Sufi, Jalaluddin Rumi (1207-1273). “There are people doing this now to make money and attract tourists.”

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Faruk Hemdem Celebi is a 22nd-generation descendant of Rumi and president of the International Mevlana Foundation. Behind him hangs a picture of his father and predecessor as the alleged hereditary leader of the Mevlevi order. Religion News Service photo by Michael Kaplan

Rumi was a highly revered Persian mystic who preached inclusivity and respect for all. His poetry and writings on divine unity and love have attracted a global following.

Celebi, who leads the International Mevlana Foundation, believes that Rumi’s practices have been wrongly appropriated for profit.

Last month, he announced the launch of a campaign to reclaim Rumi’s practices.

Through familial lineage, Celebi claims to be the heir of the Mevlevi (meaning “My Master”) order, which was founded by Rumi’s followers after his death and includes a collection of disciples who follow Rumi’s teachings.

Celebi is working to bring Rumi’s name under his foundation’s control. He has trademarked 10 terms related to the Sufi saint. But that has, so far, failed to stop its appropriation.

Celebi said he has meetings coming up with some high-ranking government officials, including Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, to discuss how the foundation can have more say in decisions related to Mevlana traditions, and particularly sema.

Istanbul’s Galata district is not the only site for Rumi’s practices.

Thousands of people gather in a sports arena in Konya — the site of Rumi’s shrine, about 450 miles southeast of Istanbul — each December to commemorate the saint’s death through a week of dancing and whirling. (Rumi died in Konya in 1273.)

Legend has it that Rumi, a devout Muslim, was walking through Konya’s gold district when, upon hearing the rhythmic hammering of goldsmiths and their chanting of God’s name, the religious scholar broke out into ecstasy. His body slipped into a trancelike state as his hands raised toward the sky, his body whirling until he reached oneness with the divine.

The whirling has grown into an iconic form of “dhikrullah” or “remembrance of God” — practiced primarily by Rumi’s followers. With each turn, practitioners repeat God’s name.

“It’s a very powerful, meditative experience,” said Ismail Fenter, an American dervish who belongs to the Mevlevi order. “To turn it into dance or into public exhibition … it just cheapens it,” he said.

Today’s Mevlevi leaders grew up at a time when Sufi orders were illegal under Turkey’s strict secular code. Sufi dens were shut down and religious whirling was outlawed in 1925, but reintroduced to the country in the 1950s, strictly for tourism.

It was then that religious whirling turned from a private form of meditative remembrance of God into a public and profitable national artistic display.

The length of sema ceremonies has been truncated to cater toward tourists, and some of the traditional requirements — such as studying for years in Konya to become a dervish — have been dropped.

The Mevlevi order has been trying to rein in the group ever since. While Mevlevi leaders welcome the admiration for Rumi, some are skeptical of the way his message has been interpreted.

“People in America find emotional highs, and Rumi becomes an emotional high,” Fenter said. “But they don’t all understand the part about Islam … and it doesn’t completely make sense without that.”

Many people, however, believe that the popularity of Rumi’s teachings and traditions has outgrown the control of any single family, even if the family claims to be rightful heirs of the saint.

“Rumi has inspired a lot of people and has given comfort and wisdom,” said Margaret Rose, an American expatriate living in Istanbul who has attended a number of whirling ceremonies. “It doesn’t seem offensive; it seems to be done in a respectful way.”

Rose said she would be sorry to see restrictions put on the ceremonies, which she considers a cultural treasure.

“It’s very spiritual and I felt like you could get a glimpse of this ceremony that might have otherwise been private,” she said. “I felt lucky that I got to see it.”

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The Sabbath of Mutual Respect


The Sabbath of Mutual Respect

Marge Piercy, Feminist author

In the natural year come two thanksgivings,

the harvest of summer and the harvest of fall,

two times when we eat and drink and remember our dead

under the golden basin of the moon of plenty

 

Abundance, Habondia, food for the winter,

too much now and survival later.  After

the plant bears, it dies into seed.

The blowing grasses nourish us, wheat

and corn and rye, millet and rice, oat

and barley and buckwheat, all the serviceable

grasses of the pasture that the cow grazes,

the lamb, the horse, the goat, the grasses

that quicken into meat and cheese and milk,

the humble necessary mute vegetable bees,

the armies of the grasses waving their

golden banners of ripe seed.

The sensual

round fruit that gleams with the sun

stored in its sweetness

The succulent

ephemera of the summer garden, bloodwarm

tomatoes, tender small squash, crisp

beans, the milky corn, the red peppers

exploding like cherry bombs in the mouth

 

We praise abundance by eating of it,

reveling in choice on a table set with roses

and lilies and phlox, zucchini and lettuce

and eggplant before the long winter

of root crops.

Fertility and choice

every row dug in spring means weeks

of labor.  Plant too much and the seedlings

choke in weeds as the warm rain soaks them.

The goddess of abundance Habondia is also

the spirit of labor and choice.

In another

life, dear sister, I too would bear six fat

children.  In another life, my sister, I too

would love another woman and raise one child

together as if that pushed from both our wombs.

In another life, sister, I too would dwell

solitary and splendid as a lighthouse on the rocks

or be born to mate for life like the faithful goose.

Praise all our choices.  Praise any woman

who chooses, and make safe her choice.

 

Habondia, Artemis, Cybele, Demeter, Ishtar,

Aphrodite, Au Set, Hecate, Themis, Lilith,

Thea, Gaia, Bridgit, The Great Grandmother of Us

All, Yemanja, Cerridwen, Freya, Corn Maiden,

Mawu, Amaterasu, Maires, Nut, Spider-Woman,

Neith, Au Zit, Hathor, Inanna, Shin Moo,

Diti, Arinna, Anath, Tiamat, Astoreth:

the names flesh out our histories, our choices,

our passions and what we will never embody

but pass by with respect.  When I consecrate

my body in the temple of our history,

when I pledge myself to remain empty

and clear for the voices coming through

I do not choose for you to lessen your choice.

 

Habondia, the real abundance, is the power

to say yes and to say no, to open

and to close, to take or to leave

and not to be taken by force or law

or fear or poverty or hunger.

To bear children or not to bear by choice

is holy.  To bear children unwanted

is to be used like a public sewer.

To be sterilized unchosen is to have

your heart cut out.  To love women

is holy and holy is the free love of men

and precious to live taking whichever comes

and precious to live unmated as a peachtree.

 

Praise the lives you did not choose.

They will heal you, tell your story, fight

for you.  You eat the bread of their labor.

You drink the wine of their joy.  I tell you

after I went under the surgeon’s knife

for the laparoscopy I felt like a trumpet

an Amazon was blowing sonorous charges on.

Then my womb learned to open on the full

moon with pain and my pleasure deepened

till my body shuddered like troubled water.

When my friend gave birth I held her in joy

as the child’s head thrust from her vagina

like the sun rising at dawn wet and red.

 

Praise our choices, sisters, for each doorway

open to us was taken by squads of fighting

women who paid years of trouble and struggle,

who paid their wombs, their sleep, their lives

that we might walk through these gates upright.

Doorways are sacred to women for we

are the doorways of life and we must choose

what comes in and what goes out.  Freedom

is our real abundance.

 

 

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Embrace your world and make it be whatever you want.

Embrace your world and make it be whatever you want.