"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
Birthed By God
March 11, 2005
NATURAL ECSTASY Newsletter
When Bullah Shah was a child, his teacher became frustrated that he couldn't seem to learn the Arabic alphabet. Months passed and Bullah would only recite alif, the first letter. In frustration, his teacher expelled him. At home, his parents tried to work with the boy to help him learn the alphabet, but Bullah would not progress past alif. Finally, not wanting to cause his family any further distress, Bullah left home and began to wander through the woods.
There, however, he saw the manifestation of alif in every aspect of nature: in the grass, leaves, trees, fruits and flowers. Alif permeated the mountains and hills, stones, insects, birds and animals. Bullah felt alif in himself and saw it in others. As Hazrat Inayat Khan writes, "He thought of one, saw one, felt one, [and] realized one."
Bullah spent his life learning alif, and then one day, he returned to his teacher, who was now very old, and had forgotten the boy. Bullah approached him and said, "Teacher, I have prepared the lesson you so kindly taught me; will you teach me anything more?"
- Khan, Tales (Omega Publications)
TO THINK about...
- Do you embrace your Divine origin?
- Do you see God in everything and everyone?
- Have you committed yourself to "remembering" - to returning to your Source - through a spiritual path, with the guidance of a master, and through regular spiritual practices?
- What is more important: living a single, powerful lesson, or possessing knowledge of hundreds of them?
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 sent it in with your order.
THIS WEEK'S featured website is www.tibetantraditions.com. Check out their beautiful incense burners, ritual items and CDs. Your money will help support the Drepung Loseling Monastery and Tibetan refugee artisans.
Sunday, March 20 at 10am, I'll be delivering the sermon, The Mystical Path of Sufism, at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Oak Cliff. For more information, see my website: www.maryblyehowe.com.
Both of my books will be available and I'll be signing after the service. To receive a 10% discount on either book, bring a printed copy of this newsletter showing your email address and this offer.
My guest column, "Mystical Journey is Exhilarating," appeared in the award-winning religion section of the Dallas Morning News, Saturday, March 5. If you don't live in Dallas (or if you missed Saturday's paper), log on at www.dallasnews.com, and click on "religion."
For most of us, sharing our struggles with one another means sharing them AFTER we've successfully found the solution. But don't you ever long for writers and speakers - and friends - to share what they're going through RIGHT NOW? What they AREN'T doing perfectly or even doing well?
In my own life, I'm going through a time of spiritual boredom, indecision and confusion. The other night I drove to a Jewish study I've attended for many years, then, in the parking lot, changed my mind and left. Immediately, I called a Sufi friend and said I was on my way to her class where I had, until recently, met weekly with a group to engage in Sufi rituals and practices. Then I hung up the phone and changed my mind. At home, I sat the entire evening in a kind of fog. My husband commented that I looked like I was on another planet.
A few days later, Shabbat (the Jewish Sabbath) arrived. Typically one of the most spiritually potent times of my week, I felt bored, which particularly distressed me. Again, I sat doing nothing. No meditation, no inner work, no sense of the holiness of the day. It was agonizing.
Yet as I wrote a close friend, I'm trying to relax into and not fight this discomfort. Usually when a void appears in my life, I rush in to fill it. This time, however, I'm trying to just rest in the void. Although I intend to spend more time in prayer and spiritual practices, I also hope that I can just sit and be. No expectations. Refusing to give into the anxiety that I need to do something all the time. For I believe that it's this very state of heart and mind - this void - that allows God to bring us to a new level of spirituality, and to fill our lives an souls in fresh and exciting ways.
THIS NEWSLETTER is sent every other Friday around noon, allowing you the leisure of the weekend to look it over. Please remember: readers of this newsletter consist of Jews, Christians, Muslims, Sufis and Buddhists, and I'll try to represent the mystical/spiritual aspects of all of these, as well as others.
IF THIS NEWSLETTER uplifted your heart and drew you closer to the Divine, please forward it to others who might enjoy it. Thank you!
I'D LOVE TO hear your personal stories, poems and thoughts related to the mystical path. Any and all religious and spiritual traditions are welcome. You must, however, subscribe to this newsletter in order to submit a story. Simply respond to the email by hitting "reply" and share with me the highlights of your spiritual journey, what path you're on, what struggles and disappointments you've faced along the way, and how you might be dealing with them.