Tag Archives: Meher Baba

Be the Puppet

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John Keats

A Pinocchio Miracle

“He imagines that God is the creator and tries to believe that God is the sustainer; he makes an effort to think that God is a friend, and an attempt to feel that he loves God. But if this imagination is to become a reality then exactly as one feels for one’s earthly beloved sympathy, love, and attachment, so one must feel the same for God.”
–Hazrat Inayat Khan (The Object of the Journey)

You came to love your woman
By gradual approach
By gradual perception
By gradually seeing
Her beauty unfolded

But you can’t see God
You can’t know God
Except after the fact
For the factual clues from your being Sherlock

When in fact
What you love
Is the love God has shown you:

The sweetness of His tell-tale presence
(Dressing down in your actions)
Which you have to believe in to see

It’s natural when you think about it
Because God is beyond
Your brain or even
Your imagination

And so you have to hope
For a Pinocchio miracle
For which there first
Has to be a puppet

Be the puppet

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 refer you to the above Inayat Khan Invocation, which I have always included in my posts. It defines God as the perfection of love, harmony and beauty. It is the best summation I have found of the issue of God. In any case it is a tenet of the Hazrat Inayat Khan brand of Sufism: that since we cannot see the Real we must depend on our imagination being in tune with God’s ambassador, the heart.

I am thinking of another possibly soon post about what Inayat Khan said about the imagination.

It reminds me of a favorite quote from the immortal English poet, John Keats:
“I am convinced of two things, the sanctity of the heart’s affections and the truth of the imagination.”

So I thought for today I would let Inayat Khan elaborate on this theme of harmony and beauty. Which elsewhere he says is (we being imperfect beings) dependent n the imagination. You see each day I receive (free!) a pithy bit of succinct stuff from the writings of Hazrat Inayat Khan.* Which was a nice fit for me, because normally I haven’t had the patience for a close application on spiritual themes. But in this instance it all seemed so clear and interesting. I love Inayat Khan’s way of analyzing the situation. **

Which I was set to study as a student of Sufism (1972-79 in the San Francisco Bay area).
Commentary by Hazrat Inayat Khan:
(the links below each show the origin of the quote, in case one should want to see more context.
“Love produces harmony and harmony creates beauty. Therefore the chief motto in life is ‘Love, harmony and beauty.’ Love, in all things and beings, the beloved God, in harmony with all in the right understanding, and beautify your life by observing the beauty within and without. By love, harmony and beauty you must turn the whole of life into a single vision of divine glory.”
–From Vol II, Mysticism of Music, Sound and Word, Aphorisms ,” by Hazrat Inayat Khan

”How the words ‘love,’ ‘harmony,’ and ‘beauty’ delight the heart of everyone who hears them! One may wonder what it can be in these words that is able to exert such a natural power upon the human soul. The answer is that if there is anything in life which appeals to the human soul, it is love and beauty. If one asks, ‘And what besides those?’ then the answer is, ‘There is nothing else.’ Why is this? Because they are the very nature of life. Love is the nature of life, beauty is the outcome of life, harmony is the means by which life accomplishes its purpose, and the lack of it results in destruction”
from https://wahiduddin.net/mv2/VII/VII_1.htm

Our virtues are made of love, and our sins are caused by lack of it. Love turns sins into virtues, and its lack makes virtues meaningless. Christ said when a woman was brought before Him accused of sin, ‘Her sins are forgiven, for she loved much.’ Heaven is made so beautiful with love, and life becomes a hell through the lack of it. Love in reality creates harmony in one’s life on earth and peace in heaven.
from https://wahiduddin.net/mv2/V/V_22.htm

God be with you,

Eric Halliwell
*You can too! Just go to:
https://wahiduddin.net/saki/saki_new.php

**I wonder if it’s analogous (in a different sense of course) to true romantic love in which the study of the beloved is an engrossing pleasure. And of course it’s not often one comes across such compatibility. But so sweet when it happens!

A Reindeer Unto Caesar Thing

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Charley Brown

That Ironic Stem of Stunted 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

Because 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 stunted light
And then also of course you have Lucy
With her Charley Brown football ploy

Like I say
Things are complicated

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,
Up to now, except of course indirectly (and poetry which is the epitome of indirection, is also included as a possibly more extreme form of indirect) I haven’t (or have I?) dwelt overmuch on my personal Sufi philosophy which in a bombshell nutshell consists of an interest (at least as a favorite hobby) in the nuts and (sometimes) lightning bolts of adhering to the often curving (sometimes a bucking bronco ride) road which leads to being happy.

And so to start with, okay, yes I do have a self-serving personal philosophy in which I coddle myself, justifying it by saying one needs to negotiate a peace treaty with one’s lower self. Kind of a reindeer unto Caesar thing, if you get my Christian drift. (ho ho ho)

But to “bribe” (too strong a word, really) it the way I bribed my erst first grade students. Which was like* “A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants.” (my picturesque way of presenting my personally-invented preventing boredom (the arch enemy of education) in the classroom ploy.

Yes, I would dance and make jokes and funny faces, sneak up behind to scare them (with the pretext of curing their hiccups) and, you know, your kiddie version bag of slapstick tricks. And Dani, my best friend (the nonpareil Venezuelan artist) in these parts has a nickname for me:”Payaso” (clown).

So I fancy myself suited to the role.

It kept the kids on their toes. They never knew if what’s next might be a pitiful (and thus amusing) teacher pratfall.

But in the meantime, in between time, I would be delivering reading lessons or a how-to-draw-nice-letters game which involved a contest between students which I called, “Pink Chalk Time!” Etc etc. (And there were much sought after gaudy prizes!)

But I digress (my guess though is that there’s more progress with more digress. But there I go again . . .(self-serving wise)

And I apply these same lessons to myself. Fortunately, half of my (aka my better angels**) personality is really of a “spiritual” bent. I mean things like I am (fortunately) fascinated by metaphysical speculation, just for instance, pondering the meanderings of the “spiritual” path. And suchlike ancillary Sufi fun. (Which interests do keep me on a sort of Sufi path)

But yup I have to admit there is another half that’s like first graders who need to be distracted to be attracted. So I have invented my own personal Gospel of Fun. (And yes, I do cheat a bit what with the head start of my as I say built-in fascination with for instance Al-Hallaj etc. *** in which I coddle myself but then I cleverly get away with it, justifying it by saying one needs to bribe the lower self with the pretext of fun and enjoyment (kiddie fashion). And yes I will stipulate that I am from a metaphysical school opposite those hair shirt lovers with their austerity artists (the whips and chain gang).

I have no such hair shirt philosophy.

Because it is just not fun. And I worship at the Gospel of Fun.

This may be the downside of believing in reincarnation. Meher Baba said we have over eight million lifetimes as a human being (before finally reaching god-realizatiion (aka nirvana, or as the Christians put it, the peace that passeth understanding) I refer to my lack of ambition as in “there’s plenty of time.” No hair shirt for me, not when I can just cultivate a situation in which spiritual progress is a fun thing. Even if arguably it takes longer. I guess I prefer what my erst dear friend Gail, the trance medium’s spiritual guide used to refer to as “the scenic route.”

But yes I do hear the self-accusing voice that says I have thus gone astray. But as I say, I was a first grade teacher (Just before I left for Guatemala twenty years ago) and too, thereby hangs a tale. (Which you can peruse in this post: https://rumi-nations.com/2013/07/01/the-fates-found-her/)

But I digress (like a fierce tigress!)

So here’s an example from today. (aka the kick in the pants that started this post): As some who have been paying attention know, I tend to live in Guatemala. And in these parts, now and again, the electricity gets shut off, Ostensibly for maintenance and repairs.

And when this recently happened I decided to console myself with some sophisticated fun. Para precisar, I decided to sit down on my veranda, make up a tea tray (with muffins!) and read from my current favorite novel, Middlemarch by George Eliot****

I decided it was high class fun. And like with teaching first graders, I thought to teach myself via fun. Anyway but then I spied my sweet cat Dahlia (frequently an inspiration to me*****) with her contented post-exploratory look. And I noticed that I was noticing her and not so much my usually absorbing book. You see, I love Dahlia, and merely liked the book. Which made Dahlia the more interesting object of study. Which reminded me of what Inayat Khan had said about meditation. He was drawing a dichotomy between the study of meditation, and the spontaneous meditation of a mother as she gazed upon her child. He said that such love taught a better meditation than any study could have done.

And I succumbed to comparing myself to that mother with my cat as the child. But it was a pleasant feeling, thinking that. And I decided that sort of spiritual pride was okay. At least in my case. Perhaps because I lack ambition.

But to me it could be classified as a “good fruit” (as in when Jesus said, “by their fruits shall you know them.”)

God be with you,
Eric Halliwell

*I cribbed this reference from the Emmy-winning episode of the Mary Tyler Moore (“Chuckles Bites the Dust”) Show)

**Which reference now gives me the excuse to include my rotten angels poem (see above)

***A very interesting story of a yes hair shirt lover. So you see, I do keep an open mind on that. Perhaps someday I may take to that, but I bet if I do it will be because I have found it to be “fun.”

Any who are interested in Al-Hallaj, can find somewhat about him in the thoiusand year old Hujwiri treatise on extant Sufi saints circa 1200 A.D. (Kashf al-Majub–(Revelation of the Mystery) But a more accessible bit of Al-Hallaj explanation can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Hallaj

****FYI (in case you need a heads up) George Eliot was really a woman denombre Mary Ann Evans. I think she did this because when she wrote 150 years ago, women writers were discriminated against, and so (also as did George Sand aka Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin) wrote under a man’s name. Of course in those days writers didn’t travel every which place doing readings for the public, to garner publicity to help book sales. In which case the sex cat would have gotten out of the bag.

And bye the bye Middlemarch in my opinion was overflowing with spiritual insight.

***** Dahlia, incidentally inspired my book of poems The Cat Who Threw in the Tao.

“I Too, Would Like to Weep”

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My Painting of Meher Baba

A Grudging Little Miracle

In Guatemala the water stops a lot
So it was foolishness baking bread
With no water to wash off my sticky fingers

So there I was with my hands
Fresh from the masa
Looking at the water faucet

Fully open but nary a drip
I had a choice of whine or risa:
I just laughed and an instant later

The water started again but only a trickle
Barely sufficient to clean my hands
And then it stopped again

It was a grudging little miracle
But instructive: We get what we need
(With the right attitude)

~.~.~

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 Reader,
(A rewrite reprise from 2013)

I will call you that, perhaps because (apart from apropos) Gentle Reader was the name of the (now defunct) magazine in England where my first published poem appeared. (See above)

Today I saw on You Tube a very short video of Kurt Vonnegutt’s advice to writers (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmVcIhnvSx8). A key suggestion/point was to get to the reader as much information as soon as possible. So I start the blog rolling with this short bio that appeared in Umbrella, alongside my poem:

(http://www.umbrellajournal.com/fall2009/science/LikePicassoWhoNeverHadtoP.html)

Eric Halliwell has spent many years as student, carpenter, flunked-out nursing student (thereby hangs a tale) and then a first grade school teacher.

Through a tragic romantic misadventure he ended up in Guatemala where he lives on Lake Atitlan, writing poetry. It keeps him off the streets, or, rather, since there are no streets where he lives, off a dirt trail above the lake.

So that’s how I got to Guatemala, on Lake Atitlan, and the peace here seems to have facilitated a late blooming life-of-the-poet trip. In fact, I was just online and found an article (http://travel.yahoo.com/ideas/10-most-sacred-spots-on-earth.html?page=9) including Lake Atitlan on a list of ten most sacred spots on the planet. (I like that they use “sacred” as if it were objective fact. Because it is)

As you now see, my view is skewed toward the “sacred.” And as you might expect, my poetry is from a metaphysical, para precisar, Sufi perspective.

Yes, I was in a Sufi order in Walnut Creek, California for seven years. This order was founded by Hazrat Inayat Khan, who died circa 1927. I will no doubt regularly regale you, my readers, with some favorite inspirations (quotes and stories) of his. Indeed I start each new post with both his invocation, and suggested daily mantra (see above)

I trust you will enjoy as much as I have, his lucid common sense and inspired ecumenical focus on what is, after all, the science of happiness.

So it’s no surprise that my poems have a Sufi (read very broad-based) theme. I’m not sure how familiar my readers may be with Sufism, which is best known by the writings of Sufi ecstatic poets such as Rumi, Hafiz, Kabir, Saadi, Farīd ud-Dīn Attar, Ibn Arabi, and Omar Khayyam (he of the Rubaiyat) .

I started out in Guatemala, hitching my wagon**to art (drawing, painting). But within a year, having read a book of poetry, Love Letters from God, by Daniel Ladinsky, I was inspired to try my hand at my own “ecstatic” poetry. It was ecstatic for sure in one sense: my intense happiness and gratitude to be given this sudden gift of a compulsion to listen to sweet stuff pouring out from my heart, and write it down and even presume to call it poetry. My touchstone for that is if it touches the heart. And we know that by the metaphor that we find in our salty tears, small miracles which are a microcosm of the ocean. We know by these small miracles when we’ve written a poem from the heart. And these small miracles keep coming regularly, like the lanchas on lake Atitlan.

Indeed the first poem I got published, (see above) dealt with such “small” miracles. (FYI that really happened)

In future/upcoming blog posts, I will muse (as it were) about metaphysical themes, about poetry writing, particularly proselytizing the art form, art in general, favorite heart stuff. The wonderful thing about Sufism is it has relevance to every interest. You know it doesn’t matter what pebbles you install in your kaleidoscope. So they be of translucent colors and you see to a light source.

As my late Grandma Dorothy used to say at bed time, “See you anonymous!”
God be with you,

Eric Halliwell

PS—In the original version of this post I was speaking of weeping, and though I seem to have edited that out, still this is worth mentioning: I am reminded of something from Jean Adriel’s memoir of Meher Baba **(Avatar). When she told her friend Princess Norina Matchabelli (yes of the perfume prince) that there was a holy man in the vicinity, and upon meeting him people would invariably weep. And Ms Matchabelli memorably replied, “I too, would like to weep.”

*Full disclosure: Ralph Waldo Emerson reference (“Hitch your wagon to a star”)
** Meher Baba, the silent Mystic, was co-founder (along with Hazrat Inayat Khan) of my erst Sufi order in Walnut Creek, CA (Sufism Reoriented) for a summary of the life of Meher Baba see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meher_Baba. For Hazrat Inayat Khan see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inayat_Khan