Thursday, April 25, 2013

Make of yourself a pearl

Continuing with the same theme of the last two posts...The following is from  "The Second Birth"  p. 36 pb edition "Perfume of the Desert"

...Think of an oyster you fish out of the sea

That hasn't given birth to a pearl ---

What use is it? Who wants to buy it?

Its value will not appear to any eyes,

However experienced they may be.

You must, then, give birth to yourself a second time

Like silver and gold that are born from earth

And free yourself from all danger

And live in peace under God's protection...

When the soil of the mine is thrown in the furnace

It melts and transmutes and becomes precious.

You, too, if you are a real seeker; must melt away

Through the passion of the fire of love

In the furnace of absolute sincerity.

How else can you free yourself from the veils

Of your existence and become drunk on God?

...So you can know the secret of Union.

Dedicate your soul to the path of Reality

So you can receive the help and teaching of God.


Just a few notes:

The body everywhere sometimes seems to reign supreme.

Here in California there are the glamorous ones of every size, age and gender. Their build
and clothes dazzle every minute.  I marvel that the young everywhere have a chance to find
out who they REALLY are with such temptation on every hand.  I admire those who are able
to pursue a deeper path. The most beautiful persons who walk about appear pleasing without
seeking rather desperate attention -- even conventionally so.

Then there are the super-athletes here who's body astounds. In forested areas, there are the
mountain bikers.  In California, there are the "spinners", cyclists and walkers. Their aloneness or comraderie feels quite healthy to a point.  Of course, there is superb inspiration concerning health and discipline with much of this.  Yet by itself this too is limited.

Of course the TV, FaceBook and other media are full of bodies all over the world.

Yet of what value and good is just the body by itself alone?  All too soon there's not much
anyone can do to slow down time's mark.  Or by some hard work and miracle, a few are
able to do so, of what good is a perfect body not only at the end or along the way home?

The body is a necessary and beautiful part of life.  Yet it is only a part of the whole.

I love this poem of which part is above because just about anyone in their "right mind" can
do something about this secret -- no matter how limited their means nor how imperfect their body.
Finally, the pay off is huge:  receiving help and teaching from the Divine.  What could be more
important than that?


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Pearls and Poultices

A Teaching Story from Perfume of the Desert: Inspirations from Sufi Wisdom by Andrew Harvey and Eryk Hanut  (A highly recommended book -- a perfect gift from a friend who takes such a story as the following to heart.)

Here's a story by Junayd titled "The Pearl."

"Shibli sought out Junayd as a teacher and said to him, 'Many people have informed me that you are a supreme expert on the pearls of awakening and divine wisdom. Either give me one of these pearls or sell one to me.'

"Junayd smiled. 'If I sell you one, you won't be able to pay the price; if I give you one, coming by it so easily will drive you to undervalue it. Do like me; dive headfirst into the Sea. If you wait patiently, you will obtain your Pearl.' "

To Practice: Dive deeper into your spiritual practice and watch for a Pearl.


To  add more layers to the metaphor above, sometimes waiting for the gift of the Pearl may take time no matter how prepared we may be.  So, what about rejoicing with the little "gifts" along the way -- which are also often greater than we may notice at the time.  In fact these may be JUST what we or a loved one may need most.

See Steinbeck's The Pearl.  Here's the excerpt:

The baby, having been cured by the poultice of seaweed, the gift of the sea, does not need the doctor, but Juana does not fully appreciate the power of the sea, and hopes for a pearl so that they can pay the doctor to treat him. To satisfy their misguided understanding of what is best for their child and for their family, Kino violently cuts into the flesh of the oyster, making its "lip-like flesh...(writhe) and...subside)", and takes the pearl, in his ignorance and greed destroying the natural order between the land and the sea (Chapter 2).


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

BECOMING a human being...

May I open up a little conversation from an highly-trusted spiritual classic...
"Becoming a human a mandate and a mission, a command and a decision.  We each have an open-ended relationship to ourselves...

'We, however, are challenged and questioned from the depths of our boundless become
human through the exercise of our freedom -- that is the law of our Being...(yet) not devoid of law
and necessity. (This freedom)  reveals itself at work when we accept and approve with all our heart the being that is committed to us...Thus, the free process of becoming ...human...unfolds as a process of service...obedience and faithfulness to the humanity entrusted to us...

'By its very nature this process is a trial; imbedded in it is the danger of going awry...We are always a potential rebel.  We can secretly betray the humanity entrusted to us...we can try to run away from ourselves, from the burdens and difficulties of our lot, even going so far as to take our own life.  Under the myriad evansions of (the materialistic), we can stifle the truth of our Being...

'On the other hand, we may withstand this temptation and lovingly accept the truth of our Being.  For the moment we shall call this attitude "love of self"...the deep and positive significance of an attitude whose ethical and religious scope is usually overlooked and underrated...Understood correctly, our love for ourselves, our 'yes' to our self, may be regarded as the categorical imperative of faith:  You shall lovingly accept the humanity entrusted to you!  You shall be obedient to your destiny.  You shall not continually try to escape...

'You shall be true to yourself.  You shall embrace yourself."

From the forward of Johannes Baptist Metz'  "Poverty of Spirit" (an classic which has been translated by John Drury and includes Inclusive Language by Carole Farris):

NOTE:  funny that I just read the above and then a few hours later found this same discussion among a precious online community of people across the world with whom I've learned such similarly deep concepts.  So, I am hoping, inshallah, to come back to encourage some similar quotes from these dear friends.

Well, I heard the Spirit speaking to me twice before noon with this very same message and want to
get this out to some of my readers before I lose the essence.  I posted this beginning here on "No More Crusades" because I feel deeply it's time for each of us to embrace that which is so embedded in each one of us and thereby be slowly yet steadily done with violence toward one another once and for all.