"When the music of union begins to play,
O destiny of a million lifetimes,
come and learn its song!"
- Rumi, as translated by Jonathan Star
And God Said...
February 25, 2005
ONE OF MY FAVORITE stories from the mystical branch of Judaism tells of the Great Maggid, who would gather with his closest disciples each evening to study sacred texts. Each night, when the Maggid came to the words, "And God said," Reb Zushya would leap up yelling, "And God said! And God said!" He would then spin around and around, eventually fainting and remaining unconscious for the rest of the evening.
Every night the same thing happened and the disciples would chide him, saying, "Zushya, you're missing all the holy teachings!" The Maggid, however, after listening to the disciples repeatedly reprimand Zushya, said, "Leave Zushya alone! He's the only one who gets it."
ALL SUBSCRIBERS to my newsletter will receive a 10% discount on either of my books at any event, excluding bookstore signings. Other discounts - for recommended CDs, conferences, classes and events - will also regularly be offered. To receive a discount on any offer in this newsletter, simply print the newsletter, showing your email address and the offer(s), and bring it to the event or send it in with your order.
DISCOUNTS ON SUFI BOOKS! www.sufibooks.com is offering free postage for any Pir Publication book order of $50 or more, purchased from the website. OR you will receive a 10% discount off of any book purchase of $50 or more when you visit Sufi Books in Manhattan. Call Tom at 212-334-5212 for directions to the book store. You must bring in a copy of the newsletter showing both your email address and this offer. If you'd like to learn more about this universal Sufi order, go to www.nurashkijerrahi.org.
MORE DISCOUNTS! Rabbi Tirzah Firestone, whose enchanting CD, Ashreynu!, was featured in my second newsletter, is offering free shipping to subscribers of this newsletter. Again, you must include a copy of this newsletter showing your email address and this offer with your order.
Events for the Week of March 7, 2005:
Tuesday, March 8, tune in to NPR's "Morning Conversation" with Jennifer Fuller at 8:30am. WSIU-FM, Carbondale, IL.
Week of March 7: WJPF talk radio with Tom Miller, AM1340. Email me for date and time if you're in the Southern Illinois area.
Friday, March 11, join us at 8pm at the Longbranch Coffeehouse in Carbondale, IL for a talk, reading and book signing.
Saturday, March 12, I'll be reading from and signing copies of my book at Barnes & Noble in Carbondale, IL. 1-3pm
Check my website for additional engagements and details: www.maryblyehowe.com.
Emotions can be fickle and unreliable, we're often told, and indeed, they can be. How many of us have watched televangelists conjure up manipulative tears, playing on the vulnerability of the uninformed and the aged.
Yet an outpouring of emotion is one sign that our hearts have been broken open to Divine Beauty.
Not too many years ago, during a period of time when I was struggling to leave fundamentalism, I was told by a therapist that I wasn't in touch with my emotions. That didn't much bother me. I was always the first to ridicule emotion during religious services. It seemed shallow to me. Rising ABOVE my emotions somehow seemed mature. Yet not long after I began having a series of mystical experiences, my heart, raw with a sensitivity I'd never before known towards the beauty and goodness of humanity and everything around me, began to feel overwhelmed by emotion.
Now, many weeks, during prayer services at my synagogue, I weep uncontrollably, unashamed, utterly and deeply immersed in God's Presence. A few weeks ago, I felt as if some part of me had actually left the synagogue, merging into the Divine Presence pulsating all around me. Often, I weep during my morning prayers, when I'm sitting in my back yard listening to the Carolina wrens, watching the Cardinals snap sunflower seeds from one of my many feeders, or when I'm walking through some beautiful place in nature.
Ignatius of Loyola, author and mystic Sophy Burnham writes, was once wounded in battle, and as he lay recovering, he had a mystical experience. Afterwards, Burnham tells us, Loyola wept so much, so intensely and so often that his friends feared he'd go blind.
Emotion and tears are great gifts from God.
Perhaps that's why I've always loved David, the passionate and emotional Psalmist, more than anyone in the Bible. Recently, I heard someone call this tender-hearted shepherd and king "a mess." Nonsense. David was a man deeply in love with God. It's impossible to read the Psalms without feeling the deep emotion that welled up within him as he communed with God.
In the same spirit, allow your heart to open fully, and if and when emotion wells up within you, express it freely and without embarrassment.