Happy New Year 2012 :)))

December 31, 2011

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Happy New Year 2012 to all my Brothers and Sister of every faith and race and creed around the world!  May God bless us all this year with health, happiness, wisdom, and love, so that we may better serve God by serving His creation.  I can think of no better resolution for the New Year than to try and live up to these true words:

Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.Martin Luther King, Jr.

Ya Haqq!


“There are no answers – there is only the quiet speaking to me…”

December 27, 2011

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Often I try to solve a problem by adding more information. When that does not solve it, I seek out more. The more my search yields nothing, the more desperate I become for just the right answer, the correct word or phrase that will dispel all my anxiety and solve the ache in my heart – forever.

There are no answers – there is only the quiet speaking to me, the void reaching out its hand for me to take. The answer, if there is one, emerges in the stillness within one or reveals itself naturally over time. I do not need to feel afraid of falling into a dark abyss within my soul. I do not need to be afraid because God is there. There is no reality that is not penetrated by God. I am alive. If we did not worry, most of us would feel we were not alive. To be struggling with a problem is for the majority of us an indication of existence. We cannot imagine life without a problem; and the more we are occupied with a problem, the more alert we think we are… Will worry resolve the problem or does the answer… come when the mind is quiet?  

- Jiddu Krishnamurti

 

Ya Haqq!


Coming of the Magi

December 19, 2011

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

In the days before Christmas, I confess that one of my favorite parts of the story of the birth of Jesus, or Isa ibn Mariyam, is the coming of the Magi, and the legends that have grown up around them.

In Christian tradition, the Magi, also referred to as the Three Wise Men, Three Kings, or Kings from the East, are said to have visited the baby Jesus after his birth, bearing gifts of gold, myrrh and frankincense.

The word Magi is a Latinization of the plural of the Greek word magos, itself from Old Persian maguŝ from the religious/priestly caste into which Zoroaster was born. As part of their religion, these priests paid particular attention to the stars, and gained an international reputation for astrology, which was at that time highly regarded as a science. Their religious practices and use of astrology caused derivatives of the term Magi to be applied to the occult in general and led to the English term magic.

The Gospel of Matthew (2:1-16), the only one of the four Gospels to mention the Magi, states that they came “from the east” to worship the Christ, “born King of the Jews”. Although the account does not tell how many they were, the three gifts led to a widespread assumption that they were three as well. Their identification as kings in later Christian writings is linked to Old Testament prophesies such as that in Isaiah 60:3, which describe the Messiah being worshipped by kings.

The Syrian King Seleucus II Callinicusis recorded to have offered gold, frankincense and myrrh to Apollo in his temple at Miletus in 243 BC, and this may have been the precedent for the mention of these three gifts in the Gospel of Matthew (2:11). It was these three gifts, it is thought, which were the chief cause for the number of the Magi becoming fixed eventually at three.

A model for the homage of the Magi might have been provided, it has been suggested, by the journey to Rome of King Tiridates I of Armenia, with his magi, to pay homage to the Emperor Nero, which took place in 66 AD, a few years before the date assigned to the composition of the Gospel of Matthew.

And finally, this account by Lewis Williams expands the story in a lovely spiritual way:

While oftentimes conflicting lore muddles the story of the Magi, those bearing gifts for the Christ child are most often named Caspar of Tarsus, Melchior of Persia and Balthasar of Sabia, which was the ancient name of Yemen/Ethiopia (as in the Queen of Sheba/Sabia). Weary from desert travel, the Magi humbly offer their gifts. Caspar is young, European, and offers gold. Gold finances the Holy Family’s coming flight to Egypt and also symbolizes Christ’s immortality and purity. For his generosity, Caspar receives the gifts of charity and spiritual wealth. Melchior is middle-aged, Persian and offers myrrh. Myrrh is a fragrant gum, which the ancient Israelites believed to strengthen children. This symbol of Christ’s mortality was blended with wine and offered to him on the cross, and also mixed with aloes to wrap his body for the tomb. Melchior receives the gifts of humility and truth. Balthasar is elderly, Ethiopian and offers frankincense. Frankincense is a resin used in incense for worship and also symbolizes prayer and sacrifice. Balthasar receives the gift of Faith. And Christ, humbling himself to become man, offers us the greatest gift of all, the light that forever burns in the darkness.

Merry Christmas to all :)

Ya Haqq!

Note: The above painting is Adoration of the Magi by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617-1682).


Rumi’s Wedding Night – December 17th, 1273

December 17, 2011

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

On December 17th, 1273 AD, Mevlana Jalal al-din Rumi died at Konya. The 17th of December is thus called Sheb-i Arus, meaning ‘Bride’s Night” or ‘Nuptial Night’ or ‘Wedding Night,’ because of the union of Mevlana with God. As Rumi’s epitaph states:

‘When we are dead, seek not our tomb in the earth, but find it in the hearts of men.’

Rumi was a universally loved genius, one of the greatest servants of humanity, founder of the Mevlevi Sufi Brotherhood, his poetry and doctrine advocates unlimited tolerance, positive reasoning, goodness and charity, and awareness through love. Looking with the same eye on Muslim, Jew and Christian alike, his peaceful and tolerant teaching has reached men of all sects and creeds.

Love and imagination are magicians

Who create an image of the Beloved in your mind

With which you share your secret intimate moments.

This apparition is made of nothing at all,

But from its mouth comes the question,

“Am I not your Loved One?”

And from you the soft reply, “Yes. Yes. Yes.”

~ Rumi ~

Inna lillahi wa-inna ilayi raji’un.
(We belong to God and to God are we returning)

Ya Haqq!


EBook News – Master of the Jinn: A Sufi Novel

December 12, 2011

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Merry Christmas!  Happy Hanukkah!  Joyous Kwanza!

May love and good fellowship fill the heart this holiday season :) And to help, here is news and gift ideas :)

Something Borrowed:

If you own an Amazon Kindle Book Reader, you can now BORROW Master of the Jinn from the Kindle Lending Library for FREE :)  Click HERE and scroll down to see how to borrow books from your Kindle.  Or click HERE to see Master of the Jinn on the Amazon Ebook website!

Something New:

Master of the Jinn: A Sufi Novel is now available as a Kindle EBOOK in the English Edition on the Amazon websites in Spain and Italy, France and Germany :) Just CLICK on the titles you want:

Master of the Jinn English Edition in SPAIN 

Master of the Jinn English Edition in ITALY 

Master of the Jinn English Edition in FRANCE

Master of the Jinn English Edition in GERMANY

Something Old:

Master of the Jinn is, of course, also available in the Spanish translation, El Maestro de los Jinn, in the US and the UK/Europe, and in the German translation, Meister der Jinn, in Switzerland/Germany/Europe. Just CLICK on the titles below:

El Maestro de los Jinn –  in the US

El Maestro de los Jinn –  in the UK/Europe

Meister der Jinn – in Germany/Switzerland/Europe 

Something Blue:

Ya Haqq!


Love is the Answer to Every Question – In Memory of Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh

December 10, 2011

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

December 10th, would have been the 85th birthday of Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh (12/10/1926 – 10/10/2008), the late and beloved Master of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order.  In his memory, this poem is dedicated.

Love is the answer
to every question

An ocean emerging
from a drop

This you taught us, by your
every action, every word,

The revealed science
of the heart, the key

to every door that is
never locked to anyone

To serve the One,
serve all, you said,

Eat but a little,
Feed the soul instead

As long as life
remains, and then

The drop returns
again to the Ocean of

Love, of love, of love
Ya Pir! Ya Haqq!


Way

December 7, 2011

Shun Yuan, the author of the lovely poem above, is a student of the Tao (also called the Way), an Adept of  Taiji martial arts, and the primary subject of Robert Shaeffer’s truly remarkable forthcoming book, 10 Methods of the Heavenly Dragon.  I asked him to enhance the experience of the poem with his commentary, which is below:

My Journey
As a novice I was convinced that I was living in darkness.  I was “looking” everywhere for “enlightenment”.  I knew intellectually that I was “in the forest of the Tao” and might even have had a vague sensation of the forest all around me, but this was drowned out by the insistent urge to “keep looking”, caused by the notion that “I haven’t found it yet”.  Even while making progress forwards I berated myself for the fact that it was “stumbling” and blamed my own “blindness” for the state of darkness I was living in.  If only I could “see” the truth!

It was through an entirely unexpected avenue that the first hint of awareness came.  As far from my preconceived notions as my foot is from my eyes.  So strange and unexpected it was that it felt as if it had happened by “pure luck”.  I did not then have the understanding that my every step and my stumbling gait were intimately part of my foot meeting that root.  Even less did I understand the significance of a seed falling in a certain place ages ago and the effect on the growth of the tree that the passage of the seasons ever since had had.  Nor did I have the experience of long years of reliance on the Tao to recognize that these moments of magnificent good fortune are all around and demonstrate the abundance of the Tao.

Stopped in my tracks, stillness came to me then at that perfect moment.  I still name it a magnificent gift!

Penetrating deep into me in that quiet state, yet another blossoming of awareness, yet again through an entirely unexpected but intoxicating way.  Then suddenly the life of the forest is revealed all around me and in that same instant I gaze upon the shining star which had always been there for the eye to see, had my head not been lowered to the dirt looking for “something precious”.

The Methods
In the physical methods of my Order, one talks of three “levels” or perhaps more correctly “modes” of work.  The tree represents the first mode called the “fixed way”.  Novices spend a lot of time working on their physical structure.  The exercises are strictly defined and “feeling wooden” is a very common statement to hear from them.

After some time, the body learns to relax into the new form which it is taking on.  The movements become much looser and more fluid.  This “living way” is represented by the leaping stag.

Ultimately, one sheds any notion of a predetermined form and allows the energy to flow freely.  This “changing way” is represented by the light of the star.

With much love,

Shun Yuan

Ya Haqq!


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