The Kind of Tears You Get From Laughing Too Much

Lud Dimpfl with Filis Frederick

Lud Dimpfl with Filis Frederick

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.)

About Eric Halliwell

I am the creator and sustainer of, a website which features (among a few other things, like interesting and inspiring quotes, and Sufi stories) my poetry and illustrative blog posts, about one 1000 word essay a month. It is Sufi-themed, probably because for seven years I was an officially initiated Sufi mureed, in San Francisco circa 1970’s. My poetry has appeared in these publications: Penwood Review, Ascent Aspirations, Umbrella Journal, (since defunct), Shine Journal, Ashé Journal, Berkeley Poetry Review, and Tipton Poetry Journal. I can be reached at

3 responses »

    • wow you lost some? I guess that means you have a website? Ashamed to admit I didn’t know. But better late than never let me know and I will be a devoted follower!

  1. Pingback: What They Do to 33 Year Old Carpenters | rumi-nations... poetry

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