‘Wherever you turn, there is the face of God’ Quran
Go into a forest and gaze at a tree. Travel up to the mountains and smooth its rocks with your fingertips. Heal the illusion of separation – of you and nature (people, plants, animals, the clouds, the sun, the sky).
‘Walk through nature with your eyes open. Run through nature, surrendering to the energies that surge through your body. Remember that vision is touch at a distance. Better yet, dance through nature. That’s what Rumi did. Dance with her until you become one with her. All of it is welcoming. By paying attention to the sensory reality – the sounds, sights, sensations, smells and tastes – you remain present. Whatever you look upon, you see His face, hear His voice, feel His touch. Take it all in, its full spectrum of appearances, its dreariness as well as its resplendence, its faded hues as well as its rich tones, its dust as well as its water. ‘ Will Johnson
This God is not a Man on a Throne in Heaven. Why do we create this fiction that he is difficult to see, to hear, to touch; that he is separated when he is just that before you. Surely reaching him must be most simple and natural, like breathing is. How in our self-aggrandizement, we forget him. The real priest is he who steps down from the stage, leaves the great architecture built on the back of slaves, walks amongst us and tells us to address him by his first name. Maulana, Mullah, Qazi, Sultan, Khalifa…..these titles separates us.
Love is interesting. My friend asked me two days ago, ‘You have so much faith in the perpetuity and vitality of love?’ I answered, ‘I could have phrased it another way and asked you the same question, and it would not be a question to you.’
‘You have so much faith in the perpetuity and vitality of God?’
How does ‘faith’ and ‘God’ sit in the same sentence, phrased as a question?
Love is God to me. It is his truest form. Not Hollywood or Bollywood – this one is simpler. I remember I was in Delhi and I met an old woman in a bright orange sari. It was tattered and torn. I squatted down with her, we drank lassi together – never exchanged one word. We looked at each other, smiled, she touched my hair, I touched hers and we laughed. Then she hands me one of her glass bangles. I did not know what to do with it so I handed it back to her. She puts it on for me and makes a gesture telling me the red looks good on me. I handed her my Pashmina shawl telling her the brown looks good on her. She feels slightly shy but she keeps touching the shawl. She tears. I hold her and tell her ‘Thank you’ in Hindi. Then I get up. We look at each other one more time and laugh.
What a moving experience!
We are all lovers. Sometimes though we love for own ourselves, sometimes we love for others. Both is okay so long as one can distinguish between the two. Few years ago, I met a man who cared dearly for me. But I noticed his care for me fulfilled his own self-concept of being a carer, of a father figure, a protector. I also know of a woman who is extremely charitable to me because of a past wrong she had done against me, which she alone felt guilty of. I do not dismiss their love. In fact I remain grateful for the memories of their goodwill and love. We all learn eventually when we become sensitive to the origins of our words and actions. I learnt something about myself today; and all illusion and constraints fall away immediately upon acknowledgment.
If I asked you ‘Why do you love your father?’, ‘Why do you love your husband?’, ‘Why do you love your girlfriend?’… What will you answer? He makes me happy. He gives me so much love and happiness. He treats me well. She cooks great food.
Hilaz was asked this many years ago. I remember his immediate reply ‘I want to make her feel beautiful.’
One is not right over the other. In fact many reasons exist alongside each other – the aim is to seek harmony between all of them. Eventually the ‘I’ and the ‘You’ disappear. Only the love exist. You both love each for each other’s happiness. The ‘I’ and ‘You’ – falls away…it cannot but do so!
This is very easy between strangers and friends maybe, but most difficult between romantic partners. Romantic partners can tend to love out of insecurity.
Why did I write all of this? I came across one line of Rumi’s poetry:
But when Living itself becomes the Friend,
What a powerful verse.
Have you seen souls that knit together without being sewn ?