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!


Mystic Heart – The 3rd Sufi Poetry Carnival!!!

April 7, 2011

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

God hath treasures beneath the Throne,
the keys whereof are the tongues of poets.
- a saying of the Prophet (pbuh)

Alhamdulillah!

Welcome to the 3rd Annual Sufi Poetry Carnival, co-hosted by our brother Sadiq of the highly acclaimed Technology of the Heart blog.

The Carnival will run from April 7th to April 30th, during National Poetry Month in the US, and will be posted on our blogs on May 7th, inshallah.  The Sufi theme this year is:

The Mystic Heart

If you have a blog or website, you can submit a direct link of your poem. If you don’t have a blog or website, you can email your submission to the address below, with the subject line:  Sufi Poetry Carnival

All May Enter: We are all spiritual beings having a human experience,  so may submit their poetry, whether a Sufi or not, as long as the poetry is in English and the Mystic Heart theme is followed.

Send your links and entries to me at: Irvingk1945@gmail.com

And please send a duplicate copy to Sadiq at mysticsaint@gmail.com

We will then each post a selection of the poems chosen :)

In your light I learn how to love,
in your beauty, how to make poems.
You dance inside my chest where no-one sees you,
but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art.
- Rumi

 

Ya Haqq!


The Open Heart of Lao Tzu

April 18, 2010

A sound man’s heart is not shut within itself
But is open to other people’s hearts:
I find good people good,
And I find bad people good
If l am good enough;
I trust men of their word,
And I trust liars
If I am true enough;
I feel the heartbeats of others
Above my own
If I am enough of a father,
Enough of a son.

- Lao Tzu


Together

March 29, 2010

If I accompany you

will we go to where love opens us

like flowers in the sun

where veils lift and we can see

the beauty of living, of breathing

of listening always to our hearts

Will we move as one towards who we are

without tripping over yesterdays

or the fears or feelings we were taught

that complicate the simple wonder of being here?

Can we ignore the voices

telling us we are not as good as

or that deserving is something you earn

Can we forever drop the belief

that keeping busy is the answer and rather

in the manner of all small beautiful things

just be

I hear your ‘yes’ so I will accompany you

just one thing more . . .

can we dance instead of walk?

- Paddy Noble, copyright 2010


Everywhere I Look, You Are

November 13, 2009

O Beloved, everywhere I look, You are!
Every sound I hear is You!
Every touch, taste, scent, all You!

Every child’s face is You,
Every stranger, every friend
Of every nation, end to end.

Every sound echoes Your voice!
The wind stirs the trees and
The leaves sway to La Illaha ill Allah!

The sea waves Your name to the shore
The earth grows Your name in its bounty
The sky colors Your name in aching blue.

In all the worlds, everywhere
Without end, there is only You
The Merciful and Everlasting Friend.

- Irving Karchmar,  © July 2007

Ya Haqq!

Note: This poem was originally part of a longer post which you can read here.


Happy Easter!!!

April 11, 2009

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Everyone has eaten and fallen asleep. The house is empty. We walk out to the garden to let the apple meet the peach, to carry messages between rose and jasmine.

Spring is Christ,
Raising martyred plants from their shrouds.
Their mouths open in gratitude, wanting to be kissed.
The glow of the rose and the tulip means a lamp is inside.
A leaf trembles. I tremble in the wind-beauty like silk from Turkestan.
The censer fans into flame.

This wind is the Holy Spirit.
The trees are Mary.
Watch how husband and wife play subtle games with their hands.
Cloudy pearls from Aden are thrown across the lovers,
as is the marriage custom.

The scent of Joseph’s shirt comes to Jacob.
A red carnelian of Yemeni laughter is heard
by Muhammad in Mecca.

We talk about this and that. There’s no rest except on these branching moments.

- Jalaluddin Rumi (from The Essential Rumi by Coleman Barks)

Ya Haqq!


A Beard Made of Love

April 2, 2009

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

It is related that two religious fundamentalists once came to visit our late Master, Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh (may Allah bless his exalted soul and raise his rank to those of His nearest beloveds.) They had bristly whiskers and Master invited them to stay for lunch. One of them sought to provoke the Master by asking how he could become a Sufi

Dr. Nurbakhsh said, “Cut off your beard.”

“But,” protested the man, “what about him?” pointing to Mr. Niktab, the Sheikh of Sheikhs, who had a long white beard.

“Ah!” The Master said, “But his is not a beard of religion. His is a beard of love.”

Grow a beard made of love, O darvish

and claim the name of lover,

or do not pretend to the circle of the Friend.

Ya Haqq!

Note: With gratitude and special thanks to Terry Graham for the original telling of this true story on the Nimatullahi Sufi Order website.


Rumi’s Nuptial Night – Dec. 17, 1273

December 14, 2008

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!


The Islamic Writers Alliance

May 1, 2008

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Alhamdulillah! I have been named the Marketing Director of The Islamic Writers Alliance, whose website you can view by clicking HERE. And I urge all Muslims in the literary arts to join this worthy organization.

From the IWA website:
The Islamic Writers Alliance is a national professional organization with an international membership for Muslims involved in the literary arts — published and aspiring authors, novelists, poets, essayists, publishers, editors, illustrators, journalists, spoken word artists, and playwrights. We support one another in our goals as writers, whether it be honing our craft, seeking publication opportunities, or promoting our published works to both the Muslim and non-Muslim world. We are dedicated to writing about, presenting, and supporting positive Islamic fiction and non-fiction reading materials, in all genres, for all ages.
The IWA is an inclusive organization and welcomes Muslim men and women of all races, ethnicities, linguistic backgrounds, abilities, and creeds.

This is true. All members of the IWA – whether they write books, plays, poems, newspaper articles, blogs, or are graphic designers of the written word – have one thing in common. Each is dedicated to portraying Islam is the best possible light in both fiction and non-fiction, and to advancing the cause of quality Islamic Children’s Books, and Islamic Fiction and Non-Fiction for teens and adults.

Many of the Muslimah in the group write Islamic Children’s Books, which are sorely lacking in schools and libraries, especially in masjid libraries. They are also excellent to use for Muslim home-schoolers.

The dues for joining as a full member are only a nominal $25.00 per year. If you cannot afford it, or live in a country where it is difficult for you to pay in US dollars, there is a fund set aside to provide your membership fee. And you get your own webpage and bio, plus a sales link to your book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc., or to your website or blog if you wish. And it’s a great way to network for writers :)

You also will receive the quarterly magazine Islamic Ink, to which all members are encouraged to contribute stories, poems, and articles.

Once again, click HERE to visit the Islamic Writers Alliance website, and check out the catalog of books by its members, including many excellent children’s books.

Join me in supporting this worthy and growing organization by becoming a member today.

Ya Haqq!


Beware Proud Heart

December 1, 2007

Beware proud heart,
the Titan’s curse!
Hubris forged those chains,
each link of arrogance and scorn

Woe Prometheus, to mankind sworn
whom Zeus, in wrath and wonder,
commanded everafter torn
by heaven’s kite asunder

- Irving Karchmar, © 1992

Ya Haqq!


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