Monthly Archives: December 2013

One More Tears and Laughter Lud Thing

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Kate Wolf and Friends

Kate Wolf and Friends


 

PR5–45

Feeling Competitive Lately, Playing Scrabble

(In memory of Lud Dimpfl)

Feeling competitive lately
Playing scrabble and not exactly just for fun
And I need to tell you a story about my old
Sufi preceptor beloved Lud who had come

To one of our monthly Sufi
Games of charades; here’s the history:
You see I and my arch rival (one Doug)
Were in a blistery and blustery rules attack

Or some such unsightly or even uglier gaffe
But who can remember thirty years back?
What I do remember is Lud’s look
Which was the pure picture of puzzlement he

Couldn’t wrap mind around why our demented
Looking faces coursed with blood until truth like
Sun dawned on innocent Lud who (tho long in years)
Then belatedly burst into his hearty laugh

A sound I swear it seemed would never slack
And which perforce then led to rolling tears;
He’d finally unraveled the mystery:
We actually CARED about who won

 

And while we are on the subject of tears and laughter, I want to share this song, Give Yourself to Love, by the immortal Kate Wolf who lives on in hearts many years after her tragic death:
 

~.~.~

Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Invocation:

“Towards the one, the perfection of love, harmony and beauty, the only being, united with all the illuminated souls who form the embodiment of the master, the spirit of guidance.”

~.~.~

Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Prescribed Daily Mantra:
“My thoughtful self: Reproach no one. Bear malice towards no one. Hold a grudge against no one. Be wise, tolerant, considerate, polite, and kind to all.”

~.~.~

September 14, 2016:
This is another blog post reinstated from those which mysteriously and suddenly went missing. There were over a hundred posts in all dating from April Fool’s Day, 2013, and as I have occasionally mentioned, the vast bulk of them were wiped out by some apparently malicious entity who got access to the inner workings of my website. And as I have promised, I am gradually (and laboriously) reintroducing them, from back-up files. This is one in a series of those. Also, I should add, this whole debacle explains the gaps you will see in the Archives section. This is a continuation promised from the backup posted two weeks ago, in a series about my old beloved Sufi preceptor, Lud Dimpfl. This repost is from the one for December 30, 2013.

Gentle Readers,
Last week, in connection with my old beloved Sufi preceptor Lud Dimpfl, I was talking about tears and laughter. And that’s the salient image of this wonderful Kate Wolf song. It’s already a classic. For those unfamiliar with Kate Wolf, she died many years ago though it seems like only yesterday we all loved the heart that we found in her music. And then tragically, she died young. That was twenty-five years ago. And still whenever I think of tears and laughter, I remember this song, and love itself. And like as not shortly after, I start to cry.

So in keeping with this theme, and as I promised last week, here’s one more tears and laughter Lud thing. But of course, again, these were the kind of tears that come from laughing too much. A loveable thing was that Lud had a sense of humor. Of course Lud was also relatively sane. And not to laugh is insane. Or at least bespeaks a lack of perspicacity, given the pretty funny stuff going on.

But it was useful too, because Lud admitted to having a scary Teutonic side. And it could be marvelously defused if only you made him laugh. (Kind of a miniature Scheherazade thing, perhaps) And Lud was always already ready to laugh. And as I’ve mentioned, at his peril, when it comes to tears. Because they could and did come and torrentially too when he found something really funny. But here’s the Lud story:

You must know that certain Sufis gathered every month or so to have a polite game of charades. (or that was the plan) But for some reason it always ended up with me on one team and an arch nemesis (In our bizarre quest for conquest) Sufi on the other. This fellow shall for multiple reasons remain unnamed. Not least of which is likely he’s not as willingly a clown as I, who live to serve. (Say the word, I’ll be absurd)

Especially it was sweet to have given Lud such amusement. And it wasn’t like I didn’t already know that I went for blood when there was competition. As some of you may have seen in the biographical bits (Press the tag “Biography”) that I was alone and friendless as a youth with only my genius older brothers for company and they were to be polite, avid competitors. If I ever operated at their level or even close, they were impressed. It was my “ticket to ride.” And so I had always practiced with a lead sword. And the most useful weapon I found (in these contests) is to care if you won or not. So, it was in my blood by the time Lud came along.

I don’t know the etiology of my Sufi friend’s competitive spirit, but just know that if possible his determination was more steel and mine merely hammered copper. Oh hell I can’t say I was any better. Anyway so we were in vigorous combat, and arguing over a minor point, the upshot of which would have given my side or his an advantage and so it was fiercely fought.

Though I of course had my heart in the outcome, so much did I love Lud that it didn’t escape me his reaction to this scene. His mounting perplexity as he played Sherlock Holmes trying in his mind to get to the bottom of this odd behavior on our parts. And it finally dawned on him. We actually cared who won. Not merely as a matter of preference but with no deference whatever to civilized behavior, just so one won.

And when Lud saw the magnitude of our egos, the recklessness with which we unaccountably courted avoidable disappointment, and why indeed there was any issue of a disappointment at all let alone sufficient to justify the ferocity of our arguments, suddenly he was overcome by the absurd incongruity. And he started to laugh his Lud laugh. And laugh and laugh until guess what? Tears again. And rolling down his cheeks, and the poor fellow had mislaid his handkerchief and we had to fetch kleenex.

But you know I’ve heard tears and laughter produce endorphins, which are the heart’s own medicine.

And boy did it feel good to give Lud such a healthy dose of those. I live to serve.

Not sure what I’ll talk about next week. By the by if any of you gentle folk have any ideas for a theme you’d like addressed, I am looking forward to hearing of them.
There is a comments section.
Or just email me at estlin3@yahoo.com
God be with you,
Eric Halliwell

The Kind of Tears You Get From Laughing Too Much

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Lud Dimpfl with Filis Frederick

Lud Dimpfl with Filis Frederick

PR3–340
There Are a Lot of Angels Back Home Who Miss You

“Light can penetrate any amount of darkness
but no amount of darkness can penetrate light.”
–Meher Baba

A lot of people get a lot of mileage
Out of not liking evil:
They expend a lot of energy
Announcing it and especially so

When they discover it in somebody disliked
And they’re very proud of that
But the road of sanity
(That’s to say happiness)

Is not negation:
It’s better to like something good and
Better still if you find it in one you like
Like yourself

Because as Meher Baba also said
There is no evil–just lesser and greater
Degrees of good because evil is like cold
It’s just a matter of less heat

And very subjective
(Ask an Eskimo)
And focusing on looking for
And denouncing evil is to look for

What doesn’t exist
(Except in an insane dream)
And by focusing on something
That really exists (however small)

You are following Theseus’ thread
Out of the Minotaur’s Labyrinth
And as you focus the thread gets thicker
Stronger and more hope-like

More rope-like: you are escaping
Which is a good thing too because
There are a lot of angels back home
Who sing about how much they miss you

~.~.~

Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Invocation:

“Towards the one, the perfection of love, harmony and beauty, the only being, united with all the illuminated souls who form the embodiment of the master, the spirit of guidance.”

~.~.~

Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Prescribed Daily Mantra:
“My thoughtful self: Reproach no one. Bear malice towards no one. Hold a grudge against no one. Be wise, tolerant, considerate, polite, and kind to all.”

~.~.~

August 28, 2016:
This is another re-instated blog post from those which mysteriously and suddenly went missing. There were over a hundred posts in all dating from April Fool’s Day, 2013, and as I have occasionally mentioned, the vast bulk of them were wiped out by some apparently malicious entity who got access to the inner workings of my website. And as I have promised, I am gradually (and laboriously) reintroducing them, from back-up files. This is one in a series of those. Also, I should add, this whole debacle explains the gaps you will see in the Archives section. Today’s is occasioned by it being of a piece with the one I reposted yesterday or was it Friday? (Because it had to do with my old beloved and departed Sufi preceptor, Lud Dimpfl)

And expect another one very soon, on the same Lud tears and laughter theme.

Note regarding the above photo of Lud and prominent Baba follower Filis Frederick: I once had the privilege of driving her across the San Francisco Bay Bridge with the probable destination of the old Sufi Center on Van Ness in San Francisco. What I remember is her upbraiding me for not keeping both hands on the steering wheel. You would think being criticized wouldn’t be such a good memory. But it turned out to be a pleasant memory if only as proof I’d had the privileged position of Chauffeur to Filis Frederick. Kind of like if you had been slapped by Bette Davis you would have hurried to get your face photographed while it was still red.

But back to regular programming:

Gentle Readers,
Do you remember the classic movie I Remember Mama? It’s a catchy title and that’s probably why it’s stuck with me. And probably why just now I had thought of titling this post, I Remember Lud, (short for Ludwig, rhymes with blood–my old Sufi preceptor from the 1970’s.)

Because Lud was memorable.

Heart things always are. (Have you noticed?) Too bad scientists (or as E. E. Cummings called them, a “one-eyed son of a bitch”) can’t see the compelling evidence in that mere fact. An artifact of evolution I suppose they suppose. As if there’s a greater survival or fertility rate associated with tears.

Not that there aren’t some honest scientists who do their Euclidian homework and realize it’s all dependent on which axioms (a priori, inherently unprovable givens) one wishes to use as a logical springboard. The classic case being Euclid’s “The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.” Now I’ve heard rumors that Mr. Non-Euclid posited alternatively that the shortest distance between two points is a curved line. Which understandably leads to some weird and (to me) incomprehensible theorems though I adored geometry and aced it in high school. But you get my point, that an honest scientist reveals his axioms.

But I digress.

So, back to tears. And back to Lud Dimpfl, my Sufi preceptor. As it happens my favorite Lud stories have to do with his tears.* But in this case they were the kind of tears you get from laughing too much.

For the first story, (as they say in the Victorian novels) you must know that it was Lud’s birthday, and his Sufi class was planning a birthday party. I was in on the planning meetings, and got excited about the idea for a gift someone suggested. The idea was for everybody to write down their favorite Lud sayings, or Lud-oriented vignettes and write and paste them (if there were ancillary photos or art, paste those too) into a scrapbook which we would present to him at the party.

Wow I thought what a great idea. Especially since I felt I had a Duesenberg of an idea. It was a quote which I thought was Lud’s own but I soon found out he’d been quoting someone. It was in a private pre-nuptial interview Lud wanted to give me and my imminently new bride, Sally. (This was of course after my divorce from the original wife Judy, whom I’ve mentioned before.)

Lud wanted the meeting to advise us about finances. I think it was rather obvious that he knew more about such stuff than we did. Of course we were much younger. In my memory the thing he most wanted to emphasize was how greatly our expectation (read confidence) could be of use, since it was mental attitude that mas que todo influenced how financially secure you were.

And to underline his point he said, “There’s money out there, lying in the streets.” Which you can see was an interesting statement coming from a religious tradition which emphasized the distinction inherent in Jesus’ dichotomy of God and Mammon.

Sally and I were impressed. Largely since it reinforced that it was not a zero sum game. We could prosper and it would add to, not subtract from the general prosperity.

In any case it gave me a dynamite and authentic quote to amuse Lud with, on his birthday.

But someone (the lady whose job it was to supervise entering in the scrapbook the guests’ contributions) was not thinking it would be amusing. In fact I could see she had severe doubts that perhaps it didn’t show Lud proper respect. She wanted me to see what others had contributed to the scrapbook. These were mostly not quotes from Lud (I thought that was the point! A personal tribute) Now to me that was ironic in that what they were mostly putting in was not Lud quotes but stuff from Ramakrishna or Rumi, or other spiritual masters. As if our aim was not to celebrate or amuse Lud, but rather to educate him. Which I felt was too presumptuous even for a birthday present.

But she put doubt in my mind. I would have rather died than insult Lud. So I asked Sally what she thought and she saw immediately that Lud would be vastly amused.

So I insisted.

And the Sufi in charge, she said, “As you wish.” with an air of resignation.

So then picture poor Lud. Seated in front of thirtyish or fiftyish people and given his scrapbook present. He looked through it, reading stuff and desperately trying to look appreciative, and find an example to hang his hat on.

And then he came to my quote. Maybe because he could recognize my singularly messy handwriting, he just started laughing. And laughing. And laughing (Looked like a dam had broken). And then came the tears.

Finally, when he could speak, he said it wasn’t really his quote and told us the story of how he’d heard it, explaining the amusing context.

I looked back at the Sufi who’d been such a skeptic and she seemed to be squirming in her chair. Because she loved Lud too and saw her mistake. That in fact it was Lud’s laughter and tears that was his birthday present and she’d almost sent it packing.

Next week: one more tears and laughter Lud thing.

God be with you,
Eric Halliwell

*Apart of course from the one I recently mentioned in which Lud wept, talking to his Sufi class, when he told of his frustrated wish to have been allowed to live in the primitive ashram Meher Baba kept in India. (That in exchange for his cushy life as a senior research chemist.)