Tag Archives: Faith

Let’s Go Heisenberg on the Angst

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Lud Dimpfl with Filis Frederick

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 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 a 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,

Sorry Readers.

This last month has been a challenge for me. and I stubbornly refused to post this sans my uusal photo of inroduction. But incredibly I couldn’tremember my compu expert lady’s advice (but she is suddenly awol) anent that and so it’s been postponed to the point that (in my despair) I post it without the photo I would have like to post of my beloved erst Sufi preceptor, Lud Dimpfl.

I do tend to feel I should follow the usual basic format of this blog which then involves starting with a poem that epitomizes my point du jour.  But as you will see (see below) todays

Points are varied.

So I  will choose a poem about attitude since that was the most important advice of my erst sufi preceptor Lud Dimpfl. He was always talking about attitude. So above is my favorite of my attitude poems.

Well this post is past due and would be even paster due if I as usual kind of started from scratch. So THIS TIME I am taking this opportunity to remind readers that there is much MORE TO THIS WEBSITE THAN MY (SORT OF) M0NTHLY BLOG POSTS.  In terms of poems, quotes, and Sufi stories. So here are some select items:

My poem section if you click on it shows headings like these:

Angels

That Ironic Stem of Light

I have never liked the phrase
The better angels of our nature and now
I find it was coined by Abraham Lincoln

(Who suspended habeus corpus–
So stuff gets complicated one could argue)

But still it connotes there might be some
Rotten angels in the barrel . . .
Though come to think of it the name Lucifer

Has that ironic stem of light
And then also of course you have Lucy

With her famous football ploy—
Like I say
Things are complicated . . .

Angst

“You can dissect a joke just as you can a frog.
But it tends to die on you.”
–E. B. White

An angst observed
Would make a good poem title
Because that would be a constructive thing:

Dissect the crap out of it so it will die
So here’s this:
Let’s go Heisenberg on the angst

Like just now for example
I had a little internal pique brewing
When something was mildly disappointing

Like I was shaking the ketchup bottle
And so I braced myself determined
To give it the front of my hand and when

Whack one hit the jackpot . . .
My angst was palpably disappointed
(Probably because it had wanted to whine some more)

Faith

Quizzical Eyes, Inquiring As to Your Faith

Life is like a cat sometimes
In your lap perhaps spurred on or purred out
She jumps off preferring the couch

And with muzzle-snide paw-licking slaps
Asides that seem such a cruel
And pale wraith of former moments

With cat larynx spherical music
Which champagne had gone
To your head but then you wake

And she’s in your lap again
With quizzical eyes
Inquiring as to your faith

Quizzical Eyes, Inquiring As to Your Faith

ATTITUDE

Wondering Now About Divine Communication

(To Lud)*“The one whom I have called God, whose personality I haverecognized, and whose pleasure or displeasure I have sought, hasbeen seeing His life through my eyes, has been hearing throughmy ears. It was His breath that came through my breathing . . . “
         –Hazrat Inayat Khan  (The Personality of God)

 
When I was a Sufi and I needed
To call my preceptor for advice
Even though he was at his work
He would sound like an excited child
At the prospect of an Eric interaction

One wonders about if God hears prayers
The same way as Lud (rhymes with blood)
Did my need for advice
And as for the advice
(Wondering now about divine communication)

It didn’t come in words
Even with Lud
His attitude was all I needed
And God Lud said is all about attitude:
The beatitude of love
 

COURAGE

Courage Is a Thing to Look Beyond

“Be valiant, and powerful forces will come to your aid.”
–Goethe

Courage is a thing to look beyond:
I think it’s just a bent grass blade
For Aragorn* to track
But Aragorn can do that

And he isn’t even God not yet
Yes things aren’t what they seem
And my probably Midas hunch
(Or call it an angel in a dream)

Is that just beyond certain thresholds
Which divide this world
From the next most real one
Is a diaphanous (light-porous) screen

And on the other side this courage
Is something else:
A sweet smile perhaps
The smell of a rose . . .

*A hero of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings

Bumper Stickers:


It’s Never Too Late to Have a Happy Childhood


Don’t Believe Everything You Think


The Floggings Will Continue Until Morale Improves


Let Go Let God

Other Quotes

“I cut it and cut it and it’s still too short.”
–Old Carpenter Joke

“My friends tell me I’m asking for a lot. Are you a lot?”
–A line in a personals ad

“You don’t paint objects, you paint the way the light strikes them. Paint the light.”
–Bertram Abramson

“A thing can be explained only by what is more subtle than itself: there is nothing subtler than love; by what then, shall love be explained?”
–Abu ‘L–Hasan Sumnun (As related in Al-Hujwiri’s Kasfh Al-Mahjub –The Revelation of the Mystery–Circa 1100 A.D.)

STORIES:

Related by Joseph Campbell

      “There is a charming story told of the great nineteenth century Indian saint Ramakrishna. A lady came to him in some distress because she realized that she did not actually love and truly worship God. ‘Is there, then, nothing you love?’ He asked her; and when she replied that she loved her baby nephew, ‘There,’ said he, ‘there is your Krishna, your Beloved. In your service to him, you are serving God.’ ”

(from Myths to Live By)

Stories Related by Murshida Ivy Duce of Sufism Reoriented

      A story Murshida Ivy Duce used to tell about Meherjee, one of the  mandali of  Indian (Parsi) mystic, Meher Baba. She had always an odd feeling that there was some wonderful thing of peace about him but she couldn’t put her finger on it and then one day she said, “I have it!  He never worries!”

And when she confronted Meherjee about that worrying thing, he said, “Of course not! The master forbids it!”

 At sea amid a violent storm which threatened to capsize the ship, a woman asks the captain what is to be their fate.
He replies, “Can’t say, Ma’am.  It’s in the hands of God!”
To which she replied, “Oh! It’s as bad as that?”

Story Related by Hazrat Inayat Khan

      The Prophet (Mohammed) and his companion Siddiq were hiding behind a rock when a troop of men were following to attack them and when the noise of the hoofs of horses came to their ears, Siddiq said, “Hark they are coming!”

 “Why fear?” said the Prophet.

“They are very near!”

 “What matter?” said the Prophet.

 Siddiq said, “They are many and we are only two.”

 “No”, said the Prophet,“We are three: you and I and God.”

God be with you,

Eric Halliwell

*My old and yet beloved Sufi preceptor, Lud Dimpfl.

The Mystical Utility of the Imagination

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Hazrat Inayat Khan, circa 1920

Published by wordcatalyst.com
PR–476

At the Window Pane

“The natural initiation may come to a person at any time of his life. It does not come to everyone, but only to some. And for this initiation one need not go to a teacher; it comes when it is time for it to come. It comes in the form of a sudden change of outlook on life; a person feels that he has suddenly awakened to quite another world; although he remains in the same world it has become totally different to him.”
–Hazrat Inayat Khan (Three Aspects of Initiation)

The wide-eyed boy lingers at the window pane
Looking out at slants of raining sadness.
But there’s rhythm from a dark
Symphonic horn and yes a gladness;
A basking-in from rose and thorn
Blood vermilion dance
To eclipse such sadness
As descants close the arc
(Like the ocean does the sand)
A divine madness brings round the circle
(It’s romantic when the Ring does the asking)
Which band symbolic born
Slips around his finger
As he holds his own hand.

~.~.~

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,
As you may recall (it is oft said) that this is a Sufi blog. But that begs the question what is Sufism? And I speak mainly from my own experience, since my time as a Sufi mureed (initiate) was seven years (1972 to 1979) of studying the writings of Sufi Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan, who was of the Moinuddin Chishti school. (As I was taught, there were four main schools of Sufism). This Chisti one placed an emphasis on the arts, as their path toward God. Indeed Inayat Khan was a celebrated musician. And the order I belonged to was heavily nto the arts. Each year we put on a musical play, on mystical themes. There were also many singers, dancers, artists and poets. Well, at least two I can think of. Me and Rachel Dacus–then Abrams (Well-published now–google her!).

The photo above is of Inayat Khan with his instrument, which I believe is called a vina.

But the arts carry certain connotations, such as the immense value of the imagination. (Try to write a poem, or compose a song without using your imagination!)

And so big surprise that Hazrat Inayat Khan seemed to agree with my favorite quote from the poet John Keats, “I am convinced of only two things, the sanctity of the heart’s affections, and the truth of the imagination.”

Here is what Inayat Khan had to say about the mystical utility of the imagination:

“Somebody can be praised by one and hated by another, and ten people may all have a different idea of the same person, because each understands him according to his state of evolution. Each sees that person according to his own point of view, each looks at him through his own eyes, and therefore the same person is different to each being. In the mind of one the person is a sinner, in the mind of another he is a saint. The same person who is considered gentle and good by one is considered the opposite by another. If this can be so in connection with a living being, it is equally possible that various ideas of the deity should be formed in each heart, and that each soul should mold his own deity according to his own evolution and according to his way of idealizing and understanding. Therefore the deity of every heart is different and is as that person has imagined; but the God of every soul is one and the same, whatever people imagine. It is the same God that they all imagine, but their imaginations are different and it is the lack of understanding of this that has caused the differences in religion.”

And for this reason Inayat Khan often quoted the Prophet Mohammed who said, “Every man has his own religion.”

And an objection might be raised saying, but what if God is nothing like what is imagined?

Since God is infinite and we are not, our brains and intellect are not, and so perforce it comes down to imagining stuff.

I fancy some will throw up their hands saying well then what chance is there we’ll have any accurate conception of God?

But this presupposes this to be an important question.

After all, understanding in this sense being impossible, is that ipso facto a problem?

Especially since in trying to understand the infinite with our finite brains is a wild goose chase, since as the cofounder of my Sufi order, Meher Baba said, to try to understand God with your brain is like expecting to see with your ears. It’s the wrong organ. The right organ for that is the heart.

Or, again to quote Inayat Khan, ”As one can see when the eyes are open, so one can understand when the heart is open.”

I will carry this further. We can imagine God to be in a totem pole or a doll, and God will manifest in that. Just like Pinocchio turned into a real boy.

Inayat Khan liked to tell this story:

Moses once passed by a farm and saw a peasant boy talking to himself, saying, ‘O Lord, Thou art so good and kind that I feel if Thou wert here by me I would take good care of Thee, more than of all my sheep, more than of all my fowls. In the rain I would keep Thee under the roof of my grass-shed, when it is cold I would cover Thee with my blanket, and in the heat of the sun I would take Thee to bathe in the brook. I would put Thee to sleep with Thy head on my lap, and would fan Thee with my hat, and would always watch Thee and guard Thee from wolves. I would give Thee bread of manna and would give Thee buttermilk to drink, and to entertain Thee I would sing and dance and play my flute. O Lord my God, if Thou wouldst only listen to this and come and see how I would tend Thee.’

Moses was amused to listen to all this, and, as the deliverer of the divine message, he said, ‘How impertinent on thy part, O boy, to limit the unlimited One, God, the Lord of hosts, who is beyond form and color and the perception and comprehension of man.’ The boy became disheartened and full of fear at what he had done. But immediately a revelation came to Moses: ‘We are not pleased with this, O Moses, for We have sent thee to unite Our separated ones with Us, not to disunite. Speak to everyone according to his evolution.’

And to nail down the the mystical utility of the imagination, Hazrat Inayat Khan wrote,

“All works of art and music and poetry come from imagination, for imagination is the free flow of mind, when the mind is allowed to work by itself and bring out the beauty and harmony it contains. But when it is restricted by a certain principle or rule, then it does not work freely… No one has believed in God, no one has loved God, and no one has reached the presence of God who has not been helped by his imagination.”

And according to Inayat Khan, this is his destiny:

Then there is the person who has imagination which is strengthened by faith. He not only prays to God, but he prays before God, in the presence of God. Once imagination has helped a man to bring the presence of God before him, God is awakened in his own heart. Then before he utters a word, it is heard by God. When he is praying in a room, he is not alone. He is there with God. Then to him God is not in the highest heaven but close to him, before him, in him. Then to him heaven is on earth and earth is heaven. No one is then so living, so intelligible as God; and all names and forms disappear before Him. Then every word of prayer he utters is a living word. It not only brings blessing to him, but to all those around him.

It might take a long time, admittedly. And while Inayat Khan never explicitly talked about reincarnation,* it was obviously something he believed in, from the connotation given in his writings of the perforce gradual and drawn out nature of our spiritual development.

But then there is always grace (which keeps things from being cut and dried) and so the issue is complicated. As seen in my poem above.

God be with you,
Eric Halliwell

*Sufism is originally derived from Islam, which does not talk about reincarnation. And neither does Christianity, though I have heard rumors it was in the Christian tradition until the fourth century when it was no longer talked about. And if you read much about Inayat Khan you will gather that he was big on not rocking boats, going with the flow of everyone’s belief system, saying that what mattered was the heart behind it all. Hence unlikely that he would dwell on anything controversial, except as was connoted in his writings, which as I say are rife with talk which would not be meaningful without reincarnation.

And Meher Baba, who thirty years later reoriented my Sufi order, quite explicitly confirmed the reality of reincarnation.

I Am Biased Toward Joy

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John Keats

New Start–31

Make a Heaven to Hide In

“I am convinced of only two things,
The sanctity of the heart’s affections,
And the truth of the imagination.”
–John Keats

Belief does wonders:
Witness the placebo cure
And you can control what you believe
For instance you can easily believe in this:

The blessing of the God in gratitude
Which is an incontrovertible thing
As in for instance
Think about this:

What do you think were
The odds of your being here with your eyes
And heart as sacred witnesses?
And if you don’t think much about

The Midas touch of sacred music
You don’t know what solemnis missas this misses
So invent your sacred and God will follow
Use your imagination–Allow God

A fair shot more intoxicating than
Whiskey has ever been–It’s like
What the famous manna from heaven was
And what is heaven?

It’s a happy place like gratitude
Or any truly happy place will do
So make a heaven to hide in
Make heaven your placebo

~.~.~

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,
I noticed my last biographical post (from my childhood) was written last September. So I figured I was due for another. Indeed part of the reason this blog post is belated is that I’d been working on that, but it was extending into a two parter (I try to keep them around 1,000 words) which I was still far from finishing (I have to write out both parts to decide where to put the break) and then suddenly out of the blue (or in Spanish, fuera de la nada, which means out of nothing) came a new non-bio idea but right up my Sufi alley meditation on a theme-wise and I do have a bias in choosing direct Sufi stuff over indirect Sufi stuff (e. g. my biographical sketches). Not to mention it seemed “written” as the Arabs say because of how it came about. It reminded me of the famous volcano Paricutín erupted fuera de la nada (out of the blue in English) in a Mexican cornfield circa 1943 and threw up such a quantity of volcanic ash and lava til by 1952 it had reached a height of 1300 feet. (Always I have been fascinated by that) and so I defer to that as my blog post this time.

Every day I get sent* a choice bit from Hazrat Inayat Khan (founder of Sufism in the Western world circa 1920) and here in today’s is this quote: “There is one moral; the love that springs forth from self-denial and blooms in deeds of beneficence.” And this brings an issue about “self denial” which I would like to talk about.

I usually adore Hazrat Inayat Khan. But sometimes his advice doesn’t seem to apply or at least it depends on what is the meaning of is or such. Like here (about self-denial) for instance.

I say the best of Sufism and spirituality in general is being on a quest for happiness. You see, I feel that happiness is the sine qua non of what’s apt spiritually. And if it makes you happy how can that be called “self denial?”

Ipso facto for me if advice depresses me I look at it twice. Because no doubt I do need to bite bullets. But unless on careful inspection the matter is indeed such a case I am biased toward joy. Not only as a reward to be sought but as a compass. If I am getting progressively happier that means I am going in the right direction.

And so here’s a confession:
I am in this for selfish motives.
I am in it because it makes me happy.
From this I conclude it’s good because I believe happiness is from God (read love), and is impossible otherwise to achieve.

And thanks to following the advice of Inayat Khan, I have a sovereign right to imagine God the way I want. (a such-tailored God is hard not to worship, unless of course one has a problem with gratitude.) Not only a right but Inayat Khan has that as a prescription for spiritual advancement and, as I say, a route toward happiness.

And so I have spiritual cover. I have Inayat Khan himself. He stresses over and over the need to use your imagination to project an image of God to follow. The way I see it then is this:

You can imagine God in any way you like, so the image be beautiful hence from the heart. And then God will, like in Pinocchio, bring the wooden boy to life. God (what humility!) being the wooden boy.

And back to Inayat Khan:
“No one has believed in God, no one has loved God, and no one has reached the presence of God who has not been helped by his imagination.”

And this:

”Then there is [the] person who has imagination which is strengthened by faith. He not only prays to God, but he prays before God, in the presence of God. Once imagination has helped a man to bring the presence of God before him, God is awakened in his own heart. Then before he utters a word, it is heard by God. When he is praying in a room, he is not alone. He is there with God. Then to him God is not in the highest heaven but close to him, before him, in him. Then to him heaven is on earth and earth is heaven. No one is then so living, so intelligible as God; and all names and forms disappear before Him. Then every word of prayer he utters is a living word. It not only brings blessing to him, but to all those around him.”

And imagination connotes creativity and creativity is fun. It sounds suspect to say I worship fun. Yet I am a fun lover. But doesn’t that depend on your definition of fun? In my case and for instance, the circus bores me, but following a rainbow or better, a rainbow in my mind, now there’s where you DO find a pot of gold. Yup, it’s back to the Philospher’s Stone. Except we need to refine the meaning of “gold.”

Which is not only where you find it but where you seek it (e. g. “Knock and the door will be opened.”)

Anyway here my definition of fun is love. Nothing is more fun than that. And if you don’t know that, I do fear that you aren’t happy.

And remember the old Beach boys song (“We had fun fun fun, til Daddy took the T Bird away.”)? It begs the question, Why settle for Daddy’s whim? To hell with him. Our imagination has better T birds. And they never fly away.

God be with you,
Eric Halliwell

*You can get a free daily subscription for that here:
https://wahiduddin.net/saki/saki_new.php