Archive for April, 2006

Kahlil Gibran’s A Tear and A Smile - Part IV

Thursday, April 27th, 2006

Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931)

Part IV (see previous blogs)

An excerpt from Kahlil Gibran’s A Tear and a Smile

Courtesy of www.kahlil.org (Gibran died in 1931 and under the rules of most countries, his works are now in the public domain)

If i’ve ever wondered how an hour of deep absorbtion in meditation or prayer could be expressed or represented meaningfully in prose…

The Playground of Life

One hour devoted to the pursuit of beauty and love is worth a full century of glory given by the frightened weak to the strong.

From that hour comes man’s Truth; and during that century truth sleeps between the restless arms of disturbing dreams.

In that hour the soul sees for herself the natural law, and for that century she imprisons herself behind the law of man; and she is shackled with irons of oppression.

That hour was the inspiration of the Songs Of Solomon, and that century was the blind power which destroyed the temple of Baalbek.

That hour was the birth of the Sermon on the Mount, and that century wrecked the castles of Palmyra and the Tower of Babylon.

That hour was the Hegira of Mohammed and that century forgot Allah, Golgotha, and Sinai.

One hour devoted to mourning and lamenting the stolen equality of the weak is nobler than a century filled with greed and usurpation.

It is at that hour when the heart is purified by flaming sorrow and illuminated by the torch of love.

And in that century, desires for truth are buried in the bosom of the earth.

That hour is the root which must flourish.

That hour of meditation, the hour of prayer, and the hour of a new era of good.

And that century is a life of Nero spent on self-investment taken solely from earthly substance.

This is life.

Portrayed on the stage for ages; recorded earthly for centuries; lived in strangeness for years; sung as a hymn for days; exalted but for an hour, but the hour is treasured by eternity as a jewel

Easter and every moment…

Friday, April 14th, 2006

So my birthday just passed three days ago…

I tend to joke a lot about being old, even though I’m only in my “early thirties” (by the way, the “thirties” are now considered the “new twenties”).

However, behind every jest lies a bit of truth. I do sometimes feel perturbed by the realization that bit by bit I’m drawing closer to an unknown expiration date.

This truth has hit home a little bit harder lately as one of my friends from work lost her father and another one just lost her mother (on my birthday).  In addition, Easter is now upon us and one can’t help but reflect on birth, death and also transcendence.

That brings me to my experience yesterday morning…

As I sat down to meditate I wasn’t pondering life’s great mysteries.  I simply sat down and became aware of the rising of the sun.  I felt the heat on my body and the light increase behind my fluttering eyelids,  With each passing moment I felt as if I was letting go, though of what, I can’t be certain. Eventually I became competely engulfed in the experience it seemed as if there was no sun, and no me.

*chime* meditation ends

And there I am again.. back to “normal”…except I feel somewhat blissful and there is a little voice inside me and its whispering a message I’ve heard before…

every moment is an opportunity to die to a greater experience

So while this leaves me no closer to answering any of life’s big questions, I do feel that each of us has an opportunity to experience something much much bigger than just ourselves at each and every moment.

Happy birthday everyone.

Kahlil Gibran’s A Tear and A Smile - Part III

Thursday, April 6th, 2006

Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931)
 
Part III see previous blogs

Chapter 12 of Kahlil Gibran’s A Tear and a Smile

Courtesy of www.kahlil.org (Gibran died in 1931 and under the rules of most countries, his works are now in the public domain)

Yesterday and Today

The gold-hoarder walked in his palace park and with him walked his troubles. And over his head hovered worries as a vulture hovers over a carcass, until he reached a beautiful lake surrounded by magnificent marble statuary.

He sat there pondering the water which poured from the mouths of the statues like thoughts flowing freely from a lover’s imagination, and contemplating heavily his palace which stood upon a knoll like a birth-mark upon the cheek of a maiden. His fancy revealed to him the pages of his life’s drama which he read with falling tears that veiled his eyes and prevented him from viewing man’s feeble additions to Nature.

He looked back with piercing regret to the images of his early life, woven into pattern by the gods, until he could no longer control his anguish. He said aloud, “Yesterday I was grazing my sheep in the green valley, enjoying my existence, sounding my flute, and holding my head high. Today I am a prisoner of greed. Gold leads into gold, then into restlessness and finally into crushing misery.

“Yesterday I was like a singing bird, soaring freely here and there in the fields. Today I am a slave to fickle wealth, society’s rules, and city’s customs, and purchased friends, pleasing the people by conforming to the strange and narrow laws of man. I was born to be free and enjoy the bounty of life, but I find myself like a beast of burden so heavily laden with gold that his back is breaking.

“Where are the spacious plains, the singing brooks, the pure breeze, the closeness of Nature? Where is my deity? I have lost all! Naught remains save loneliness that saddens me, gold that ridicules me, slaves who curse to my back, and a palace that I have erected as a tomb for my happiness, and in whose greatness I have lost my heart.

“Yesterday I roamed the prairies and the hills together with the Bedouin’s daughter; Virtue was our companion, Love our delight, and the moon our guardian. Today I am among women with shallow beauty who sell themselves for gold and diamonds.

“Yesterday I was carefree, sharing with the shepherds all the joy of life; eating, playing, working, singing, and dancing together to the music of the heart’s truth. Today I find myself among the people like a frightened lamb among the wolves. As I walk in the roads, they gaze at me with hateful eyes and point at me with scorn and jealousy, and as I steal through the park I see frowning faces all about me.

“Yesterday I was rich in happiness and today I am poor in gold.

“Yesterday I was a happy shepherd looking upon his head as a merciful king looks with pleasure upon his contented subjects. Today I am a slave standing before my wealth, my wealth which robbed me of the beauty of life I once knew.

“Forgive me, my Judge! I did not know that riches would put my life in fragments and lead me into the dungeons of harshness and stupidity. What I thought was glory is naught but an eternal inferno.”

He gathered himself wearily and walked slowly toward the palace, sighing and repeating, “Is this what people call wealth? Is this the god I am serving and worshipping? Is this what I seek of the earth? Why can I not trade it for one particle of contentment? Who would sell me one beautiful thought for a ton of gold? Who would give me one moment of love for a handful of gems? Who would grant me an eye that can see others’ hearts, and take all my coffers in barter?”

As he reached the palace gates he turned and looked toward the city as Jeremiah gazed toward Jerusalem. He raised his arms in woeful lament and shouted, “Oh people of the noisome city, who are living in darkness, hastening toward misery, preaching falsehood, and speaking with stupidity…until when shall you remain ignorant? Unit when shall you abide in the filth of life and continue to desert its gardens? Why wear you tattered robes of narrowness while the silk raiment of Nature’s beauty is fashioned for you? The lamp of wisdom is dimming; it is time to furnish it with oil. The house of true fortune is being destroyed; it is time to rebuild it and guard it. The thieves of ignorance have stolen the treasure of your peace; it is time to retake it!”

At that moment a poor man stood before him and stretched forth his hand for alms. As he looked at the beggar, his lips parted, his eyes brightened with a softness, and his face radiated kindness. It was as if the yesterday he had lamented by the lake had come to greet him. He embraced the pauper with affection and filled his hands with gold, and with a voice sincere with the sweetness of love he said, “Come back tomorrow and bring with you your fellow sufferers. All your possessions will be restored.”

He entered his palace saying, “Everything in life is good; even gold, for it teaches a lesson. Money is like a stringed instrument; he who does not know how to use it properly will hear only discordant music. Money is like love; it kills slowly and painfully the one who withholds it, and it enlivens the other who turns it upon his fellow man.”

March’s winner for the meaning of life contest!

Tuesday, April 4th, 2006

March’s winner - for the meaning of life contest!

nope.. it wasn’t me

As you may recall, I entered a contest not too long ago where you are allowed two submissions a year to define the meaning of life in 25 words or less. They pick a winner each month and then at the end of the year they select the grand prize winner from that bunch.

I got one more try to make it in.

My March Submission was:

the meaning of life is… awakening your awareness to the Truth and Beauty that lies within you, in the world around you and in this already perfect moment

When I look at the winners below, they’re good, but I’m convinced I got a chance.  

To be honest, I like mine the best :)

March:  “The Meaning of Life is… understanding that this life isn’t yours, but God’s!  The next hour could be your last, therefore embrace the current moment with your whole being.”  ~Bethany Toland, Brush Prairie, WA.

February:  “The Meaning of Life is… embracing passionately my personal journey to wholeness… with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.” ~ Elizabeth Ford, Memphis, TN.

January:  “The Meaning of Life is… to prosper and share our gifts, overcoming adversity along the journey, by maintaining a twisted sense of humor during our darkest hours.” ~Joe Nicassio, Long Beach, CA.

p.s. my next one is good…real good.

 

Kahlil Gibran’s A Tear and A Smile - Part II

Monday, April 3rd, 2006

Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931)
 
Part II  from my previous blog

Chapter 10 of Kahlil Gibran’s A Tear and a Smile (my favourite)

Courtesy of www.kahlil.org (Gibran died in 1931 and under the rules of most countries, his works are now in the public domain)

Vision

There in the middle of the field, by the side of a crystalline stream, I saw a bird-cage whose rods and hinges were fashioned by an expert’s hands. In one corner lay a dead bird, and in another were two basins — one empty of water and the other of seeds. I stood there reverently, as if the lifeless bird and the murmur of the water were worthy of deep silence and respect — something worth of examination and meditation by the heard and conscience.

As I engrossed myself in view and thought, I found that the poor creature had died of thirst beside a stream of water, and of hunger in the midst of a rich field, cradle of life; like a rich man locked inside his iron safe, perishing from hunger amid heaps of gold.

Before my eyes I saw the cage turned suddenly into a human skeleton, and the dead bird into a man’s heart which was bleeding from a deep wound that looked like the lips of a sorrowing woman. A voice came from that wound saying, “I am the human heart, prisoner of substance and victim of earthly laws.

“In God’s field of Beauty, at the edge of the stream of life, I was imprisoned in the cage of laws made by man.

“In the centre of beautiful Creation I died neglected because I was kept from enjoying the freedom of God’s bounty.

“Everything of beauty that awakens my love and desire is a disgrace, according to man’s conceptions; everything of goodness that I crave is but naught, according to his judgment.

“I am the lost human heart, imprisoned in the foul dungeon of man’s dictates, tied with chains of earthly authority, dead and forgotten by laughing humanity whose tongue is tied and whose eyes are empty of visible tears.”

All these words I heard, and I saw them emerging with a stream of ever thinning blood from that wounded heart.

More was said, but my misted eyes and crying should prevented further sight or hearing.