The Imperative


There is a lot of negativity and darkness in the world right now. I still don’t believe in war but I can see we need to stop this barbaric and horrific genocide. In the UK, there was a demonstration and it consisted of Muslims holding up signs which said, “They don’t speak for me.” I give these young people my support and I want to praise their bravery to take a stand against the fundamentalists in their countries. It will be important going forward that we remember that not all Muslims are fundamentalists and extremists. Many thousands of them are just like you and I. They don’t want war anymore than we do. They want peace and the ability to live their lives without constant danger and retaliation.

 

“Hunger for love, He looks at you.

Thirsty for kindness, He begs from you.

naked for loyalty, He hopes in you.

Sick and imprisoned for friendship, He wants from you.

Homeless for shelter in your heart, He asks of you.

Will you be that one to Him?”   —Mother Teresa 

 

“What we need is to love without getting tired. How does a lamp burn? Through the continuous input of small drops of oil. What are these drops of oil in our lamps? They are the small things of daily life: faithfulness, small words of kindness, a thought for others, our way of being silent, of looking, of speaking, and of acting. Do not look for Divinity outside of yourself. It is not out there. Divinity is within us. Keep your lamps burning, and you will recognize the Divine.”   —Mother Teresa

 

Rumi was very good friends with Shams Tabriz. He absorbed all of the traditions and doctrines in the ocean of reality. The way that Rumi and Shams clarified for the world of mystical experience is their continuously unfolding friendship. The source of that friendship-sunlight, everything the sun lights, and the mystery of the inner sun-is what he worships. This is a difficulty some traditional believers have with Rumi: he does not stress the distance  between human beings and the Beloved, but rather he stresses the remembered intimacy. Rumi taught a continuous conversation with the Beloved.

 

Coming up on September

 

White butterflies, with single

black finger paint eyes on their wings,

dart and settle, eddy and mate

over the green tangle of vines

in Labor Day morning stream.

 

The years grinds into ripeness

and rot, grapes darkening.

pears yellowing, the first 

Virginia creeper twining crimson,

the grasses, dry straw to burn.

 

The New Year rises, beckoning

across the umbrellas on the sand.

I begin to reconsider my life.

What is the yield of my impatience?

What is the fruit of my resolve?

 

I turn from my frantic white dance

over the jungle of productivity

and slowly a niggun slides,

cold water down my throat.

I rest on a leaf spotted red.

 

Now is the time to let the mind

search backwards like the raven loosed

to see what can feed us. Now,

the time to cast the mind forward

to chart an aerial map of the months.

 

The New Year is a great door

that stands across the evening and Yom

Kippur is the second door. Between them are song and silence, stone and clay pot 

to be filled from within myself.

 

I will find there both ripeness and rot,

what I have done and undone,

what I must let go with the waning days

and what I must take in. With the last

tomatoes, we harvest the fruit of our lives.”   —Marge Piercy

 

Tonight at sundown, the Jewish New Year begins. It is the beginning of the Days of Awe. It is a time for reflection and introspection. Where each Jew and the community look inside and see and confess their sins. The Jewish people look at things like lack of compassion, lack of kindness and withholding love as sins. They use these ten days to review their lives and decide what to change within themselves. Jews around the world will be eating a holiday dinner and going to Temple. Prayers and love for G-d will open their hearts for reflection. So I wish every Jewish person on Mother Earth to have a sweet New Year. May it be a good year.

 

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A time of renewal

A time of renewal

 

New Year prayers and candles

New Year prayers and candles

 

 

For a sweet New Year

For a sweet New Year

Flutes For Dancing


” It’s lucky to hear the
flutes for dancing
coming down the road.
The ground is glowing.
The table set in the yard.

We will drink all this wine tonight
because it’s Spring. It is.
It ‘s a growing sea.
We are clouds over the sea,
or flecks of matter
in the ocean when the ocean
seems lit from within.
I know I’m drunk
when I start this ocean talk.

Would you like to see the moon split
in half with one throw”?
——-Rumi

This small homage to Rumi was inspired by a message I received from a friend who is traveling in Turkey. She is on a tour to promote peace. Yesterday she visited the tomb of Rumi. I am so excited for her and a little envious.

Persians and Afghanis call Rumi “Jelaluddin Balkhi.” He was born on September 30, 1207. His father was a theologian and jurist and a mystic of uncertain lineage. Rumi’s life was a fairly normal one for a religious scholar. He taught, meditated, and helped the poor. In 1244 he met a stranger who put a question to him. Shams of Tabriz was the stranger who wandered through the Middle East searching and praying for someone who “could endure his company.” He found Rumi. It is said that the questions he asked Rumi caused him to faint. Shams was a dervish and Rumi and Shams became inseparable

They spent months together without any human needs, transported into a realm of pure conversation. This ecstatic connection caused difficulties in the religious community. Rumi’s students felt neglected and Shams, sensing the trouble, disappeared as suddenly as he had appeared in Rumi’s life.

Scholars feel that the disappearance of Shams began Rumi’s transformation into a mystical artist. Rumi began to write poetry and to listen to music and sing. He began whirling and would whirl for hours at a time. Rumi spent the last twelve years of his life dictating the six volumes of his master-work. He died on December 17, 1273.

Photo by Barbara Mattio