Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Thanksgiving day I met a new friend, shared a sample plate of a wonderful Thanksgiving Feast she had prepared, AND shared a Who and Where we are on this journey.
Later that evening after returning home this bit from a longer work by this unknown Sufi poet came in the mail and rather summed up the primary subject of a remarkable conversation after a remarkable meal with a remarkable Mystic.

I sought her from myself,
she was there all along;
how strange that I
had concealed her from me.

I kept going back and forth
with her, within myself --
my senses drunk,
her beauties, my wine --

Setting out
from certain knowledge
to its source and truth,
reality my quest,

Calling to myself from me
to guide me by my voice
to that part of me
lost in my search.

Me begging me
to raise the screen
by lifting up the veil,
for I was my only means to me.

I was gazing
into the mirror of my beauty
to see the perfection of my being
in my contemplation of my face,

And mouthing my name, I listened
and leaned toward me,
looking to one who could make me hear
mention of me in my voice,

Placing my hands
upon my heart,
hoping to hold me
there in my embrace,

Rising toward my breaths
pleading they would pass by me
that I might find
me there.

Until a flash appeared
from me to my eye;
the break of my dawn shone clear,
my dark sky disappeared.

There, where reason recoils,
I arrived,
and my bond and union
reached to me from myself.

Then I glowed in joy,
as I attained to me
with a certainty that spared me
from my journey's hard ride.

I led myself to me
after I called me back;
my soul my means,
my guide to me.

When I pulled away
the curtains of sensuous disguise
brought down
by the mysteries of wisdom,

I raised the screen from my soul
by lifting up the veil,
and so it answered
my question.

I had rubbed the rust of my attributes
from the mirror of my being,
and it was encircled
with my beaming rays,

And I summoned me to witness me
since no other existed
in my witness
to rival me.

My mentioning my name
made me hear it in my recollection
as my soul, negating sense,
said my name and listened.

I hugged myself --
but not by wrapping arms around my ribs --
that I might embrace
my identity.

I inhaled my spirit,
while the air of my breath
perfumed scattered ambergris
with fragrance,

All of me free
from the dual quality of sensation,
my freedom within,
I, one with my essence.

Shaykh Umar Ibn al-Farid

from The Poem of the Sufi Way

The poetry of Shaykh Umar Ibn al-Farid is considered by many to be the pinnacle of Arabic mystical verse, though suprisingly he is not widely known in the West. (Rumi and Hafiz, probably the best known in the West of the great Sufi poets, both wrote primarily in Persian, not Arabic.) Ibn al-Farid's two materpieces are The Wine Ode, a beautiful meditation the "wine" of divine bliss, and The Poem of the Sufi Way, a profound exploration of spiritual experience along the Sufi Path and perhaps the longest mystical poem composed in Arabic.

When he was a young man Ibn al-Farid would go on extended spiritual retreats among the oases outside of Cairo, but he eventually felt that he was not making deep enough spiritual progress. He abandoned his spiritual wanderings and entered law school.

One day Ibn al-Farid saw a greengrocer performing the ritual Muslim ablutions outside the door of the law school, but the man was doing them out of the prescribed order. When Ibn al-Farid tried to correct him, the greengrocer looked at him and said, "Umar! You will not be enlightened in Egypt. You will be enligthened only in the Hijaz, in Mecca..."

Umar Ibn al-Farid was stunned by this statement, seeing that this simple greengrocer was no ordinary man. But he argued that he couldn't possibly make the trip to Mecca right away. Then the man gave Ibn al-Farid a vision, in that very moment, of Mecca. Umar Ibn al-Farid was so transfixed by this experience that he left immediately for Mecca and, in his own words, "Then as I entered it, enlightenment came to me wave after wave and never left."

Although hailed throughout the Muslim world as one of the great spiritual classics, Ibn al-Farid's Poem of the Sufi Way has also been controversial because in it he refers to the Beloved -- God -- as "her," rather than in the more traditional masculine gender.

I sought her from myself,
she was there all along;
how strange that I
had concealed her from me.

These lines say so much. Spiritual seekers tend to look everywhere for the Divine -- by visiting holy places and teachers, through spiritual practices and austerities, through service -- but at a certain point we are surprised to discover that "she was there all along." The Divine, the living sacred source, is discovered to be present within us, within this very moment -- and most surprising of all, we recognize that It has always been there, that we have never been separate or apart from It. In truth, God is found to be the very Self of our self; we could never possibly be apart from That. Yet, how could we have missed this overwhelming truth of our own being? How could we have thought we were separate from God? "How strange that I / had concealed her from me."

There is so much depth and splendor in this selection from The Poem of the Sufi Way. The only other thing I'll point out is the general theme Ibn al-Farid here plays with: the psychic dilemma of how the dualistic state of the lover melts into the nondual unity of the Beloved. It is a dilemma because the normal consciousness can't conceive of it even when it is directly experienced. What can one say about "self" and "God" when the veil has been lifted and the two pour into each other as one?

To try to put this into the conceptualized world of words becomes farcical, and Ibn al-Farid plays mastefully with this:

Calling to myself from me
to guide me by my voice
to that part of me
lost in my search.

And what a perfect summation, the final line of this selection:

I, one with my essence.

Ivan Granger

Friday, November 25, 2005


"Pulsar Advanced Technologies has announced that, starting next week, they will launch the MK4, a microwave-powered on-demand water heater. Why is this cool? Well, until now, you had two options: electric heaters that keep a large amount of water hot at all times, or natural gas heaters that heat up water on-demand. The first is very costly and wasteful, and the second is not available to everyone, especially those in rural areas. You can't heat water up quickly enough with conventional resistance-based electric elements, as it would require huge amount of electricity. Not so with microwaves. The Vulcanus MK4 can heat water from 35 degrees Fahrenheit to 140 degrees Fahrenheit in seconds and can source multiple applications at once: showers, dishwasher, sink usages and more.
Hat tip Slashdot...

Monday, November 21, 2005

Sunday, November 20, 2005


QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I have never seen a Party so full of shit when it comes to supporting the military. They fight wars on the cheap and get people killed unnecessarily, instead of fighting with everything we’ve got under a coherant and cohesive strategy that ensures military victory. They let domestic politics trump military necessity, preferring to lie and shift the blame rather than address the problems and solve them like real men. They care about image rather than substance, empty rhetoric instead of courage, mediocrity instead of excellence, and machiavellian maneuvering instead of strong moral character. They have demonstrated nothing but contempt for us and for those that have served honorably in the past. They play us for suckers and weep crocodile tears at our deaths as their stock values rise. They are strangers to integrity and completely bereft of the basic values that we hold dear. They are without honor. They can go to hell.
If this is what Republicans mean by 'supporting the troops,' then they can by all means support the insurgents. (If they did,) We'd have a free and democratic Iraq by the end of the year."
by Stryker at DIGITAL WARFARE...
hat tip DAILY DISH...


One of Basho's fans, a poetry student ... came to him and said, "I've got a great idea for a poem! It goes: 'Pull the wings off a dragonfly, and look - you get a red pepperpod!'"

Basho said,
"No. That is not in the spirit of haiku. 'Add wings to a pepperpod, and look - you get a red dragonfly!'"

Thanks to


I have come to the realization over the last few days just how lazy I am, how, although I say I want to be awake, in truth, just how little I'm willing to commit to the goal of freedom from fear.
Then this admonition arrived in my email from a Wise and Great Teacher. Exactly what I needed to hear, exactly when I was ready to hear it. Dear Hafizullah, for the Inayat Khan AND the ZY Qigong, Thank you.

"The path of freedom does not lead
to the goal of freedom. It is the path of discipline which leads to the goal of liberty." ---Inayat Khan

And another beautiful take:

Truly, discipline is the road to liberation….
Sooner or later, without fail, every seeker
learns this. He comes to understand that by
applying himself to spiritual discipline he
is placing his life in God's hands. And at
that moment, his sadhana takes off.

--Gurumayi Chidvilasananda
Thanks to Bondzai

These two pointers arrived this morning.

Friday, November 18, 2005


“Still, the spiritual quest is no different than the quest for the candy bar. Same old story, only you have refined the candy bar and made it abstract and holy and blessed and so on. So it is with the higher self. The higher self is your same old ego, but you sure hope it is eternal, indestructible, and all-wise."

Alan Watts
The Way of Liberation

Pages 60-1

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Last night as I was sleeping I dreamt a marvelous illusion
that there was a spring breaking out in my heart.
I said, "Along what secret aqueduct are you coming to me
Oh water, water of a new life that I have never drunk."

Last night as I was sleeping I dreamt a marvelous illusion
that there was a beehive here in my heart.
And the golden bees were making white combs
and sweet honey from my old failures.

Last night as I was sleeping I dreamt a marvelous illusion
that there was a fiery sun here in my heart.
It was fiery because it gave warmth as if from a hearth
And it was sun because it gave light and brought tears to my eyes.

Last night as I was sleeping I dreamt a marvelous illusion
that there was God here in my heart.
God, is my soul asleep?
Have those beehives who labor by night stopped, and
the water wheel of thought, is it dry?
The cup's empty, wheeling out carrying only shadows?
No! My soul is not asleep! My soul is not asleep!
It neither sleeps nor dreams, but watches, its clear eyes open,
far off things, and listens, and listens
at the shores of the great silence.
It listens at the shores of the great silence

~Antonio Machado

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for - in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it.

~Ellen Goodman

Monday, November 14, 2005


The fifth tenet of my teaching says I want to be free not for my own sake but for the sake of the whole. When this becomes our spontaneous response to the longing for liberation, something very significant has occurred. What began as a freely made choice has become a choiceless obligation. Our fundamental motive has evolved from one that is self-serving to one that is not separate from the very motive behind the expanding universe—the pure passion of the big bang, the God impulse, which is our own authentic self.

When that pure passion becomes our own passion, human life becomes ennobled—it becomes the holy life, the spiritual life, a life of meaning and value. We discover that we have come home and have found our place in the whole matrix of the cosmos. We know who we are and why we are here. As long as our fundamental motive is personal and self-centered, life will never deeply make sense. But when we embrace a motive that transcends ourselves absolutely, every moment becomes infused with a powerful sense of purpose. That's the death of the ego. All our petty self-concern is radically displaced because we are no longer living for our own sake but are now living for the sake of the whole, consumed by a passion to be utterly free so that nothing will inhibit our ability to participate wholeheartedly in the evolutionary process.
~Andrew Cohen



Once I lived as a rock
& let things happen to me
One thing that happened
was I broke down
into soil & a plant
took me into its roots
& I grew another leaf
Then a lizard ate me
& I walked about
on my own legs running
down some prey
until a bird snatched me
& I traded my scales for feathers
I beat my wings
against each other & rose
haltingly at first
but I grew stronger
I made friends with the wind currents
I opened my beak
& broke the long silence

Look for me on the sidewalk
Look for me on the mudflats
on the pebble beach polishing myself
rolling with the waves
Look for me in bed
bundled against the cold
with my broken foot propped up
Look in the woods behind every tree
at the grocery store in the aisles
in the alley where they smash the pumpkins
in the back row of a movie

Look for me with your glasses on
Seek me out with a hose
or a book of matches
Look where the sun comes up
Look for me by moonlight
Look with your brain
Look with your heart
Keeping looking
until you find me
I want you to find me

Steve Toth

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


A wonderful piece from my very wise
Israeli Sufi Friend of the rose with
one thorn signature and a glowing
example of why the 21st Century
may be called The Age Of Fusion.

My friend, the traveler

We are here,
Hidden under various disguises,
As guards, guides and companions
Along your life's journey,
To give you assistance
To extend a helping hand
To provide succor.

We are
But a reflection of your virtues
Manifesting in time
Of necessity.
Placed by your forgotten
Selfless deeds
In the inexhaustible
Yours for the taking
When the need arises.

We are
The friend
Of friends
Whose face is always hidden
Yet ever revealed
In the silent smile
Of your heart,
In the caress of the wind,
In the soothing coolness of spring water.

And the secret is
Forgetting yourself
You too
Are one


Friday, November 04, 2005


And The Future of Gay Life

An excerpt from an op-ed written by ANDREW SULLIVAN for THE NEW REPUBLIC, November 1, issue.

One point I found particulary Provocative in Sully's essay is hightlighted in the excerpt below ...

And, while social advance allows many of us to contemplate this gift of a problem, we are also aware that in other parts of the country and the world, the reverse may be happening. With the growth of fundamentalism across the religious world--from Pope Benedict XVI's Vatican to Islamic fatwas and American evangelicalism--gayness is under attack in many places, even as it wrests free from repression in others. In fact, the two phenomena are related. The new anti-gay fervor is a response to the growing probability that the world will one day treat gay and straight as interchangeable humans and citizens rather than as estranged others. It is the end of gay culture--not its endurance--that threatens the old order.

Complete article HERE...