The Forty Rules of Love…(4)

As human beings our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world…as being able to remake ourselves…said Gandhi! Being in harmony with our hearts…beliefs…and Universal truths increases our ‘human’ potential and strength! Kindness in thinking…words…sharing…giving…allowing the laws of God to take precedence over the laws of man…creates profound pockets of love and confidence…and becomes a source of an exponential power! 

In this world of changing values…perceptions…priorities…we need to hold fast to the values we have grown up with…be unafraid to defend them…hold firmly to our tenets of belief and let them be our help and guide…but being able take the reins of our life in our hands requires a deep abiding commitment to stay the path…take personal moral responsibility for the space we occupy…believe in the ultimate wisdom of the divine…so that it can all come together to help us develop into our personal potential and greatness…

31. If you want to strengthen your faith, you will need to soften inside. For your faith to be rock solid, your heart needs to be as soft as a feather. Through an illness, accident, loss, or fright, one way or another, we are all faced with incidents that teach us how to become less selfish and judgemental, and more compassionate and generous. Yet some of us learn the lesson and manage to become milder, while some others end up becoming even harsher than before. The only way to get closer to the Truth is to expand your heart so that it will encompass all humanity and still have room for more Love.

32. Nothing should stand between yourself and God. Not imams, priests, rabbis, or any other custodians of moral or religious leadership. Not spiritual masters, not even your faith. Believe in your values and your rules, but never lord them over others. If you keep breaking other people’s hearts, whatever religious duty you perform is no good. Stay away from all sorts of idolatry, for they will blur your vision. Let God and only God be your guide. Learn the Truth, my friend, but be careful not to make a fetish out of your truths.

33. While everyone in this world strives to get somewhere and become someone, only to leave it all behind after death, you must aim for the supreme stage of nothingness. Live this life as light and empty as the number zero. We are no different from a pot. It is not the decorations outside but the emptiness inside that holds us straight. Just like that, it is not what we aspire to achieve but the consciousness of nothingness that keeps us going.

34. Submission does not mean being weak or passive. It leads to neither fatalism nor capitulation. Just the opposite. True power resides in submission –- a power that comes from within. Those who submit to the divine essence of life will live in unperturbed tranquillity and peace even when the whole wide world goes through turbulence after turbulence.

35. In this world, it is not similarities or regularitiesthat take us a step forward, but, blunt opposites. All the opposites in the universe are present within each and every one of us. Therefore the believer needs to meet the unbeliever residing within. And the nonbeliever should get to know the silent faithful in him. Until the day one reaches the stage of Insan-ı Kamil, the perfect human being, faith is a gradual process and one that necessitates its seeming opposite: disbelief.

36. This world is erected upon the principle of reciprocity. Neither a drop of kindness nor a speck of evil will remain unreciprocated. Fear not the plots, deceptions, or tricks of other people. If somebody sets a trap, remember, so does God. He is the biggest plotter. Not even e leaf stirs outside God’s knowledge. Simply and fully believe in that. Whatever God does, He does beautifully.

37. God is a meticulous clockmaker. So precise is His order that everthing on earth happens in its own time. Neither a minute late nor a minute early. And for everyone without exception, the clock works accurately. For each there is a time to love and a time to die.

38. It is never too late to ask yourself ‘Am I ready to change the life I am living? Am I ready to change within?’ Even if a single day in our life is the same as the day before, it surely is a pity. At every moment and with each new breath, one should be renewed and renewed again. There is only one way to be born into a new life: to die before death.

39. While the parts change, the whole always remains the same. For every thief who departs this world, a new one is born. And every decent person who passes away is replaced by a new one. In this way not only does nothing remain the same but also nothing ever really changes. For every Sufi who dies, another is born somewhere.

40. A life without love is of no account. Don’t ask yourself what kind of love you should seek, spiritual or material, divine or mundane, Eastern or Western… Divisions only lead to more divisions. Love has no labels, no definitions. It is what it is, pure and simple. Love is the water of life. And a lover is a soul of fire! The universe turns differently when fire loves water.

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The dots that connect…

My granddaughter read my last post and said with a reluctant air of disappointment…but it is mostly about mum! Children have this precious gift of saying it like it is…not hiding their feelings…no camouflaging…no masking…which is a refreshing…upfront…laying it on the line…an oft much needed breath of fresh air in this world of ours, when we often say one thing…mean another…posture…whilst inwardly flinching…lay it on thickly…well aware of the hypocrisy of it all…

Yes…being in my daughter’s home does beam the focus more on her…my first born…but what I have to get my very dear first born grandchild to understand is…that every relationship has it’s own special place…and the emphasis…focus…accent on any one, does not in the least take away from the other! This does however, more often than not, need the experience of age and years to fully comprehend…letting this understanding and realization wash over you without leaving any residue of an unintentional slight!

Spending time with my grandchildren is a blessing…a gift that I feel strongly about. Physical distances have put us in parts of the world that does not always give me the opportunity or chance to be more of a part of their world and I feel I have lost out on having been part of the process of their growing and formative years…our changed and changing lifestyles…relocations to different climes and lands…just pure and simply more insular and distant homesteads…have led to these changed and evolving relationships…that deprive and divest us all, of the love…care…interaction…time…happiness and dare I say…wisdom…that elders of families have imparted over the years…in more communal type of family environments…

The relationship with grandparents is a very special bond…those of us who have had the privilege and good fortune to have been closely favored by this bond…understand that we have been fortunate and blessed…and so this time that I have together with my grandchildren has to be used optimally…snatching every moment together in the very rushed and incredibly busy work schedule children these days are wont to have…making sure they understand and believe their all-important place in a grandparent’s heart and life…to make them totally secure in the knowledge of their place in the circle of life and love, one I believe is further boosted and supported by the fact that they are truly…the dots that connect one generation to another…

A favorite passage from the Bible for A precious Granddaughter

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

A precious Granddaughter…

From a little girl so very small…how and when did you get so tall?

This line fits my granddaughter, my first born’s first born, to a tee, as she now towers over both of us! It is her 16th birthday today…thoughts of where and how the time flew by come rushing in, as also a host of wonderful…precious…joyous…memorable….memories of this journey…

My first grandchild…a beautiful baby whom I was loath to set down…in spite of endless comments of how I was spoiling her…the joy and wonder of holding her for the first time…the miracle of creation leaving you awestruck at it’s infinite grace and mercy…the smiles that melted your heart…the wonder of hearing her first take your name…the joy of dressing her up…seeing her grow, sometimes all too fast…carrying innumerable pictures of her and being the painfully proverbial proud grandmother…precious memories of playing together…sharing secrets…late night whisperings…pride at her warmth, thoughtfulness and love…delight at her laughter and special charm…blissfully understanding that grandchildren are truly the dots that connect the lines from generation to generation…

The sense of completion…at seeing my daughter fulfilling all her roles with so much…patience…tenderness…wisdom…love and ease…coming full circle in the deep love that is channeled from my child to hers…comes with the prayer to see it continue through ensuing generations…with gratitude for this blessing…because daughters and granddaughters are blessings from above…to cherish and love…and dare I say…compensations from God for growing old! The prayer is that my young granddaughter on the threshold of a different stage in life, will be able to dream all her dreams…make worthy goals of them…and make a difference…nurture strenght of spirit…compassion and a sense of right…take kindly the counsel of experience…and know that this comes with much love and prayers on her special day, to celebrate the gift of “her” to us…above all to always remember that…

                         What we are is God’s gift to us…

                         What we make of ourself is our Gift to God…

Passage of Time…

Days…weeks…months…sometimes they all seem to merge into one another and at others…they never seem to end…or so it seems to us! The truth here is not quite so simple, because what really influences us in this passage of time, is our personal and biased perception of what we are passing through…that is what colors our viewpoints and choices…however, the moment we switch off our innate…biased …perceived views and notions…our preconceived ideas…a whole different aspect of looking at things opens up…or at least a more credible way of viewing the other facet…

The words of truth are often paradoxical…truthful words are not always beautiful just as beautiful words are not always truthful….so too is the fact that good words are not always persuasive and persuasive words not always good…a favorite quote to cover all one’s flanks comes to mind…Do I contradict myself? Very well then…I do…I am large and full of multitudes…but the fact is that everything is not always what you think it is and when we sometimes encounter that…we are taken aback…sometimes quite surprisingly and positively but, because we think we have a position to maintain, we quickly put our biased blinkers back on…

Human understanding is often inconsistent with true understanding…constant effort is necessary to keep knowledge square with the march of time. The paradoxes of life bring us to points when we start to understand just a little more…apparent loss may be real gain…cruelty may be real mercy…returning good for evil may really be justice and not generosity…as well as the realization that sometimes justice is easy, doing right not always so…the real test is being  humane enough to reel in the negative…and begin the journey to a more compassionate awareness…through it all, recognizing the Good Lord’s hand and wisdom which transcends all human calculations…

In the Good Lord’s name…

“I am convinced about the veracity of my opinions, but I do consider it likely that they may turn out to be incorrect. Likewise, I am convinced about the incorrectness of the views different from mine, but I do concede the possibility that they may turn out to be correct.” – Imam Shafa’i

In the wake of so much distilling of religious thoughts…so much misrepresentation of belief systems…so much misdirected and misguided action and adherence…it is noteworthy to ponder the above as also, be pro-active oneself, in the dissemination and understanding of life as a whole…with special attention to belief systems.

As in all systems of belief…conduct…posture…interaction…relationships…responsibility, humility as a vital human element cannot be underscored or undermined in it’s most basic factor…the human aspect. Belief systems across the board give this the importance and place it deserves…requires and demands. It is only when we give in to man made injunctions and laws, based on misguided interpretations…given wind by traditions based on traditional practices…without thought or research into it’s veracity or divine background…fanned by popular and mindless rhetoric that we get situations and scenarios that are harmful…tragic…unbelievably sad and undeniably reactive. The sadness is, that this is all done in the Good Lord’s name…whereas the need of the hour is knowledge of the Divine based on compassion…love…wisdom…tolerance…understanding…dialogue…submission to a higher authority, as also a deeper…pervasive…intelligent…responsible and more humane attitude and behavior…in the Good Lord’s name…

A literary bonanza…

Poetry…prose…theater performances…discussions about literature…art…the meaning of life…manna for the spirit and soul! The last two days have been spent around this environment and it has been a truly uplifting experience. Great thoughts, beautifully articulated…inspiring dialogue, compassionately delivered…a barrage of wise and informed discourse, brilliantly presented. The download speeds for absorbing and assimilating it all had to work overtime…and did so with joy and enthusiasm…

What it has also helped to highlight and bring home more forcefully, is the inherent need to connect to these things in the comfort zone of the vernacular. I have had the opportunity and privilege to study languages and speak a few…but the joy of hearing the vernacular being spoken with the ease…fluency and beauty that some great writers and poets have spoken in, these past couple of days, has touched a core…a core we often do not even acknowledge in the “busyness” of our daily life, which has now become so…global and international in the practice and practical scheme of things.

Although this globalization of speech…manner…dress…execution…has now become a natural need and way of life…and perfectly acceptable on many levels…the sense…significance…understanding that is enriched by the core perception of our roots…traditions…language is a space entirely on its own…a most comforting, comfort zone…

Validation is key…

Sometimes….no, most of the time, it is the little things that make the difference…that put the pep in your step…the song on your lips…and if truth be told…the joy in the doing…

We are strange creatures we humans…we say one thing…posture to another…state indifference…get hurt by the neglect…show attitude…often in spite of oneself…whereas all we really want is to feel heard…acknowledged…understood…appreciated. We need the expressions of acknowledgment and affirmation…as William James so rightly said…The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated! This is how the Good Lord made us…but we go against our nature and forget that as another wise man said…the ultimate aim of the ego is not to see something…but to be something! Truly wise words…words to live by…for oneself and for others…

All relationships require this…we do however go to great lengths to hide this…show nonchalance…act and posture to the contrary…to no avail! Relationships require emotional validation…the skill of emotional validation is a vital one…one that needs to be nurtured and demonstrated. Validation is what helps people to share feelings…emotions and…themselves…it is not said without reason that…Feelings of worth can only flourish in an atmosphere of tolerance…open communication and…appreciation…

The readership on my last post and last week was the most ever since I have started writing…it makes my heart sing…I want to thank you all…God bless…

May you live every day of your life. Jonathan Swift.

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