"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
May 20, 2005
This Week's newsletter: Indestructible Love
"Apart from you my Beloved, I've found no joy in the two
Though I've seen many wonders, none compare with you....
Suddenly you lavished grace upon your servant:
There was no reason for it but your infinite kindness.
O chosen cup-bearer, apple of my eye, your like
Have I never seen in Persia or Arabia.
Pour out wine until I become absent from myself;
In selfhood and existence I've felt only fatigue.
O you who are milk and sugar, sun and moon,
O you who are mother and father, no other kin have I
O indestructible Love, O divine Minstrel,
You are both stay and refuge; no other name equals you.
We are but iron fillings, your love the magnet...
- Rumi, as translated by James Cowan
RABBI SHEFA GOLD has, over the course of many years, produced some of the most beautiful meditative and devotional music ever. If you meditate or pray with the accompaniment of music, Shefa's CDs will be a treasured addition. Her selections are designed to bring you into various states of divine awareness and levels of consciousness, such as "sacred space, satisfaction, comfort, joy, flow, and holy conversation."
Jewishmusic.com will offer free postage on any of Shefa's CDs. All you have to do is mention that you're a subscriber to my newsletter. Visit www.jewishmusic.com to choose your CD, and contact Zippy Freedman at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive your discount.
My most recent article appears on Judaism's home page of Beliefnet.com. In addition, the Dallas Morning News reviewed "Sitting With Sufis" in its religion section on April 30.
On May 17, I'll be teaching at North Hills in Irving. New events are posted regularly on my website: www.maryblyehowe.com (click on ‘events').
Sign up now!! Wednesday, August 17 - Sunday, August 21: WRITER'S RETREAT in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. If you want to spend time in guided self-reflection, or if you want to write for publication, this retreat is for you. Click on ‘classes' on my website for details.
Some years back I dreamed that I was looking for something very precious, symbolized in my dream by a gem encased in a far-away jewelry store. I called the jewelry store and asked a man for directions and he told me exactly where the jewelry store was located, but his directions confused me. I soon realized he couldn't give good directions simply because he didn't know where I was coming from. How can someone guide you if they don't know your current location?
After looking around a bit, I spotted a man standing nearby and asked him for directions. "Let's see," he began, and then he launched into a long and complicated explanation which involved numerous roads and paths. At times, he seemed confused, and would start over, giving me new directions, but soon it became clear that he had no idea how to guide me to the jewelry store, and I politely excused myself.
When I asked a third person, she just looked at me in bewilderment and shrugged. She had no idea what I was even talking about.
Suddenly I spotted a close Sufi friend. "Can you tell me how to get to the jewelry store?" I asked him. Without a word, he took my hand and led me to a cliff which looked onto one of the most beautiful and scenic expanses of mountains and valleys I'd ever seen. It seemed to stretch endlessly outward, and I stood there speechless. My friend then pointed in a general direction. "The jewelry store is over there," he said.
I looked at him confused. "What kind of directions are those?" I wondered. How was I to find a jewelry store by having someone point a finger in a vague direction?
When I awoke, however, the message drifted clearly and immediately into my consciousness. The way to the kingdom of God - a state of intimacy and union with the Beloved - can't be handed to someone in a stark, step-by-step recipe. We can find our gem only by taking a step at a time. From the view of the precipice, we see innumerable valleys, but we won't know just how treacherous or risky they're going to be until we're in the middle of them. Peaks lie scattered in front of us, but until we're standing upon them, we won't experience the breathless wonder, the unimaginable beauty, or the exquisite joy and ecstasy they offer.
Recently I found myself engaged in an in-depth conversation with a new friend at a party. Both of us had spent plenty of time floundering, at times, in indecision and uncertainty, sometimes making wise choices, sometimes screwing up royally. One friend of mine recently expressed his frustration over not feeling a firm conviction over the present course of his life. I know other people who feel an anger over a childlike view of God in which they count on God moving stars or clouds to give them clear, individual guidance. Some of my friends jump from teacher to teacher, from religion to religion, from path to path, never understanding that the answer would be clearer if they delved more deeply within themselves.
Most of us, at different times in our lives, find ourselves in a quandary over some decision that will affect our lives and the lives of others, sometimes in painful and/or dramatic ways. Many of us understand and make nearly heroic efforts to live day to day, not worrying about the future, and not rushing into major decisions. But that doesn't make these periods any less difficult. For me, both the comfort and the agony lie in the knowledge that I have to keep on pushing forward, walking through the valleys, and remembering that both the journey and the goal hold the treasure for which I'm looking. And I have to take time to pause frequently along the way, being whisked to heights of such beauty that I can do nothing but stand and weep in awe. Only then will I find my gem.
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, Buddhists, and others, and I'll try to represent the
mystical/spiritual aspects of all of these.
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