Monthly Archives: July 2015

Using the Heart as a Geiger Counter

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Socrates

Socrates

PR–224

An Opal to Suddenly Remember

My holy man introduced me
To a friend whose name is Equipoise

He deserves more respect
(I keep him in my pocket)

A fine way to treat a friend!
Though he stays affably unflappably there

(A Steinway unplayed yet
Unoffended for unattended)

Equipoise and I we don’t go way back it’s
True as do I and alabaster

Turquoise moon or sapphire’s star
But I admire the unhand of mire

When I greet Equipoise like an old pal
An opal to suddenly remember

(Who somehow also forgets
About who treats whom how)

When things are scary disaster
He simply cuts through to the blue sky

Asking me why do I care?
Is the sky not still standing?

Aren’t amethysts still pretty purple
And banded agate geodes

Aren’t they still
(As in silence)

Hollow inside
And hallowed?

~.~.~

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.”

~.~.~

Gentle Readers,
Well, I have bad news. For some unknown reason all my weekly posts of more than two years (110 posts or so) have been lost from my website. Anybody who has followed this blog will know that this to me is a tragedy. What more can I say? At least it appears I can add new ones. And I do have back-up copies of most, but by no means all of them. So, I may start republishing some. I imagine though that for most of my gentle readers, it will look unfamiliar largely because I will begin with the first ones from when the blog began on April 1, 2013. Maybe it was a bad omen to have started on April Fool’s Day. It had seemed funny at the time.

Sigh

Well, on to the post:

This was written mostly on Monday, the day of Victoria’s death. She’s the lady I mentioned a few blog posts back. (The ones to do with Elisabeth). Her friends here in Panajachel, or in one of the communities along the coast of Lake Atitlan (where I live) formed what we called a “care circle.” (I helped with the food prep and some carpentry) I plan soon to do a blog post about her and her passing.

Either this or some other mood foible seems to have me down lately. Kind of an angst but no thanks kind of deal.

This is a strange phenomenon. I have been going around town allowing as how I was happy.

As the poet E. E. Cummings would say, a lot of sweet bull like that.

But I believed it. (Probably why it was sweet)

Of course, I had to. Because my least favorite sin is hypocrisy. But that’s a handy thing. You see once I’ve shot my mouth off on some metaphysical truth (and there’s this: that I am so much better at giving advice than taking it), I am stuck with sticking it out. Else I’m a hypocrite. Indeed I often lasso (yes and hogtie) myself with far flung-out statements concerning the presence of love and joy. How accessible (like sunlight) to sight even. Once you’ve learned a few Aikido tricks.*

But today all of a sudden I have to admit I feel a bit gloomy. It IS overcast and raining on and off, and my circle of friends dedicated to serving Victoria, (the friend who was dying of cancer) got broken this morning when Victoria went into a coma and within an hour or two, died.

And too, a recent disappointment in the love department. And that always tends to get us (Romantic) Cancerians (Moon folk) down.

So it’s not as if my sadness now is in any strange (hence doubtless pathological) contrast to blooming beauty everywhere I look. (It’s always handy when you can just blame circumstances)

But it does make me stop and think.

You know, a major (if not the only) tenet of Sufism is an old idea. Wasn’t it Socrates who said, “Know thyself?”

And it’s an engrossing hobby. And you don’t even need to visit the good ship Hobby Shop. You’ve not only got the raw materials already at hand but you’ve got the tools as well.

It’s actually a mystery story; hence arises an interesting question: What WERE the tools Sherlock Holmes used to use?

I’ll tell you this. One of those tools was intuition.

And intuition is a fun concept. My revered old Sufi preceptor, Lud Dimpfl said if you trust it and practice it regularly, your intuition gets better. (Interesting how what applies in sports and playing the piano is also valid in this internal sleuthing. I refer of course, to the improvement gleaned from constant practice.)

But back to the earlier musings. Specifically the bits about feeling gloomy.

You know what helped?

I just remembered the Sufi story “What have I to do with wishing?”**

Even if it weren’t an issue of “faith,” shouldn’t we at least be fair to God and the angels and at least play angel’s advocate? I mean since it’s so easily done.

Yes, even using evidence accepted everywhere in this worldly court everyone stipulates to.

It’s not as if God has to fake it with some supernal evidence an honest mechanist would not hold still for. (Though to the active cognoscenti it would not merely be sufficient, it would be eloquent)

Except of course as is perforce involved in any honest observation of the “worldly” environment we seem to live in. I use the word seem, because even the mechanists will admit that their truths are also “seeming” true. And you know what else I’ve noticed that “seems” true in this “world?” It’s the funny subtle glow which is visible using the heart as a geiger counter.

I mean it’s actually reproducible just like science is supposed to be. For instance, every time I stuff my ego into its handy modesty bag, and instead lead with my heart, well EVERY time, I feel great and oh so grateful.

Now that’s evidence.

But I am not surprised.

It fits right in with the fact that all (even this leaky illusion) is God in one disguise or another. I call it leaky because if you look closely and with your heart, you will see light leaking out of everything.

But (like a tigress) I digress, and this post is getting long in the saber-tooth.

Yours in truth,
God be with you,
Eric Halliwell

*Aikido is defined in Wikipedia as: “Aikido (Japanese: 合気道 Hepburn: Aikidō?) [a.i.ki.doː] is a Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba as a synthesis of his martial studies, philosophy, and religious beliefs. Aikido is often translated as “the way of unifying (with) life energy,” or as “the way of harmonious spirit.” Ueshiba’s goal was to create an art that practitioners could use to defend themselves while also protecting their attacker from injury.”

**From the Kashf al-Mahjub by Hujwiri (Circa 1000 A. D.):

(A dervish was unable to swim and about to drown and a passerby yelled,
“Do you want me to save you?”

“No.”

“You wish then to drown?”

“No.”

“What then DO you wish?”

“What God wishes! What have I to do with wishing?”

Cherchez la Beauté

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John Keats

John Keats

PR4–328

What They Do to 33 Year Old Carpenters

“Such beauty lies in Thy forgiveness, that it seems
to me that it would have been a sin in me if I had
not sinned; for then I should not have known Thy
loving kindness and the wonder and beauty of
Thy true nature and being.”
–Amir

Now I find this out but what a crunch it was
Back then when I was a Sufi carpenter
And at the stroke of age 33

My mother called me on my birthday
De rigueur drunk
In the middle of a dark night of my soul

To say she’d just had to remind me
What they do to 33 year old carpenters
And at that time I was torn

Between lust and a vision of Beauty
That no one needed to tell me about:
It was horrible to feel myself self-nailed

To a cross no not even for
Any fait accompli of disobedience
Just a fierce yearning to disobey was all

And I had to look around very carefully
To find God to remind God I had tried
To be happy and it seemed to me there

Was no blasphemy in thinking that
That in itself was enough like work
For all normal purposes and even

To the compass point–since part of my careful
Looking involved an understanding that
(As Keats said) “beauty is truth” and so

Since beauty is a happiness product there’s no
Conflict there where your simple motto is
“Cherchez la beauté”

~.~.~

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.”

~.~.~

Gentle Readers,
Well, it’s pushing midnight and I had wanted to post this on my birthday, so I have to rush. I just got back from a sweet birthday party, and one of my friends there (the Elisabeth prominent in the last two blogs) gave me some Sufi poetry, (from Rumi) which I have to include, if only for its Jungian synchronicity, as you will see, who persevere with this post:

You were born with potential.
You were born with goodness and trust.
You were borne with ideals and dreams.
You were born with greatness.
You were born with wings.
You were not meant for crawling, so don’t.
You have wings. Learn to use them and fly.”
–Rumi

Here’s what would have been:

Well it’s my birthday and so today I am going easy on myself. I will sort of wing it; although I don’t know how “winging it” got such a bad reputation. Maybe it’s a subtle dig at flying. (Kind of an earthbound sour grapes perhaps) But who knows what goes on in the minds of the debunkers.

Although if you do debunk somebody, doesn’t that at least wake them up? (Or even just poking them with a broom handle from the bottom bunk)

And all us spirituality mongers are always going on about waking up.

In fact, my favorite mystic, cierto Meher Baba, had a pithy description of his mission: “I have not come to teach, but to awaken.”

But I digress.

I just saw a quote which I may put on my website.

Did you know this website features a boatload of quotes? And I mention this because I’ve no special reason to think they are being read. My gut (That’s another word for intuition in this case) tells me there may be a shocking lack of awareness along those lines. Maybe I should devote the odd post* (as it were) to some choice bits from the quotes section.

Probably shoulda just done that for today. Make for an easy Birthday blog post.

Of course, maybe I’m not as lazy as I thought.

Anyway, here’s the quote I just came across. It’s not from a “spiritual” guy, just a political operative in an article I was reading today about the presidential race:

“It may be wishful thinking, but it is thinking.”
— Tad Devine

And that’s a very good start. Wishing I mean. The mind is powerful. (Which is the reason they say, “Be careful what you wish for.”)

It goes to show that one should always listen for the tone of a poem of truth that lurks in everyday life and interactions.

Because we can learn from everyone.**

God be with you,
Eric Halliwell

*I even wonder how many of my readers (God bless the gentlefolk!) are aware that there is in the archives to the right about 110 weekly blog posts, each with a (hopefully helpfully) illustrative poem. Illustrative of the theme du jour. Like as you might surmise, today’s overarching theme is “birthday.”

**This reminds me of a story from Hujwiri’s classic Sufi treatise, Kashf Al-Mahjub (The Revelation of the Mystery). Hujwiri tells of a renowned dervish who said he was the “pupil of a youth.” As Inayat Khan often emphasizes, God will put words in people’s mouths, and the people listening will be thereby instructed. In this case, the youth in question was a spoiled rich kid, who was bragging that he had no care in the world. If he needed anything, his rich father would just buy it for him. I think if you’ve gotten this far, you can see the obvious parallel.

When God Speaks

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Note the use of an alphabet board due to Meher Baba’s observing a silence that began in 1927, lasting until his death in 1969.

Note the use of an alphabet board due to Meher Baba’s observing a silence that began in 1927, lasting until his death in 1969.

PR–236

When God Speaks Through the Eyes of Animals

It is so sweet
When God speaks
Through the eyes of animals

I saw a dog in the streets
Of Antigua Guatemala:
Unbelievably skinny

Bones protruding
My heart was hurting
So I gave him chicken

I’d had in my mochila*
I looked back as I went on
And the dog for all his need

Found it more important than eating
To stare at me
All my way out of sight

Maybe he was thinking
How sweet it is when God
Speaks through the kindness of strangers

*backpack

~.~.~

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.”

~.~.~

Gentle Readers,
First, let me wish you a happy Silence Day.*

Because it’s Silence Day, I will reprise a Meher Baba photo (see above) from the 1920’s (or was it 30’s?) when he was visiting Hollywood on one of his visits to America.

But to today’s blog post.

I had an idea but wasn’t sure if it was a poem or an inchoate blog post.

I decided to compromise with the following, which I take to be an amalgam of the two forms (prose and poetry)

I suppose it may be a cop-out because to be honest, the stuff I show here (just now) is usually how a poem appears to me when I first begin to sculpt it, I guess you could say. But maybe it’s a cross between a poem and a prose poem or some stream of consciousness technique of fiction writing. Who knows? (Certainly not I) but I am always promoting poem production (as a key to happiness) and before I was a “spontaneous” poet** I used to wonder a lot about how poetry was done. So, I thought this may prove interesting to the poets or would-be poets among my readers.

My poems do tend to start out as a cloud of interstellar gas, which gradually condenses and coheres. Or at least that’s my story (or poem, as the case may be) and I am sticking to it.

Also, it might be of interest to see how a different poet starts a poem out.

I am focusing now on what Jesus said about being vigilant for not knowing the hour of his return. But of course this begs the question:

What is this famous return?

Seems to me the usual interpretation
Of this is as if the expected event
Involved some future
And visible
Christ

I lose patience with this non-metaphor capable thinking it’s
Just like with dogs
As sweet as they are
As eager to please but if you point to something–they just focus on the fingers

When what we need to do is take things a bit further:
Jesus was the hook
And now we’ve got to get through the hook
or even the famous eye of the needle
(and the camel and the whole bit)

Needless to say
I have something to say about this
Which is to extrapolate to the practical
Of if we’re to live in every moment
as per the holy rumor–
and so the matter is covered
(or uncovered as Hujwiri implied in his thousand year old Sufi treatise:
The Revelation of the Mystery
AKA Kashf Al-Mahjub

In other news:
I included the above poem, written years ago when I lived in Antigua instead of Panajachel, because of what happened yesterday. I often see emaciated street dogs in Guatemala, and so I always try to carry a supply of dry dog food. So I was out on my daily bike ride, and there was a dog who was obviously a nursing mother. So I stopped to give her food, (render first aid) and the same thing happened. She waited to start eating, staring fixedly at me, until I was about to turn the corner (must have been a minute–a long time to wait for food when you are a ravenous nursing mother dog). It was just like in the poem!

God be with you,
Eric Halliwell

*Silence Day is in observance of the anniversary of the Indian (Parsi, para precisar) mystic, Meher Baba, who commenced the rest of his life in silence starting on July 10 1926. (Or was it 1927?) I should mention that the collective group who follow Meher Baba are called “Baba lovers.” And Baba lovers tend to take July 10 off, if they can, by observing silence. Though exchange of written notes is a common practice on Silence Day.

To refresh memories or to advise new readers, Meher Baba was a co-founder of the Sufi group I was a member of between 1972 and 1979.

The photo above is both amusing and Silence Day oriented, as it shows Baba with the famous actress Talullah Bankhead when he was touring the Hollywood studios, being introduced to stars such as Talullah and Mary Pickford, who was especially drawn to him. The photo shows Baba with his alphabet board which he used to communicate when he first commenced his silence.

The amusing part is how Baba had convinced the Hollywood folk he would break his silence in the Hollywood Bowl. (Baba was always alluding to breaking his silence imminently. Personally though I took that to be akin to Jesus’ warning to always be alert because it was never known the hour of his return.) Of course Baba skipped town instead.

**I would say I am a “spontaneous” poet these days because whereas before in my life I had to have a special motivation to produce poetry (usually to say nice things to a girlfriend or someone desired for girlfriend) This as opposed to just writing down whatever comes down from wherever it had been to inspire me to write a poem, usually to do with some metaphysical speculation I was suddenly engrossed in. (Funny coincidence, eh?)

As for my not worrying any more about how poems are made, I mostly rely these days on practice, constant practice (occasioned of course by the constant muse-chatter I am listening in on) and of course a constant close observation of whatever occurs to me while I am in the road of that. And I’ve been doing that “religiously” for ten years now. While I’ve no real way of knowing if I am making any progress, I sure am relieved to believe I am, or if not, who cares? It’s all a matter of expressing the heart, and caring about the heart, and that enough to assure a constant introspection, a constant inspection of the rhyme (etc) situation (just as you would if the issue were your child’s safety).