Tag Archives: Rumi

“I Too, Would Like to Weep”


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:


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

Cherchez la Beauté

John Keats

John Keats


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.”

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.”

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.