Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Intention Is Everything


"The highest value is mercy; the worst sin is breaking hearts," said Maulana Zainulabedin Kazmi, a modern day Sufi saint. I know because I wrote it down in my Blythe notebook last night as I listened to him at the Chinese Cultural Center, an industrial building with office lighting and some rickety chairs in a cavernous room where Maulana sat on pillows, accompanied by a younger Sufi friend in training. How I got there, I do not know. I'm not one to go out at night very often, I don't like events that are cultural or threaten to run over two hours, or involve bringing bottles of olive oil to be blessed. But there I was, olive oil in hand, Virgin Mary holy water in the other with about fifteen other people waiting to hear whatever there was to hear, mainly that God is most loving, most gracious, the way to God involves love and sacrifice, to lose one's life is to gain it. And that intention is everything. I cannot say what my intention was that night, except that my intuition told me to go.

So much of my life involves thinking about what I have failed to do for others and for myself. Guilt and blame, the opposite ends of the same short stick. But I took heart watching all who had gathered in this inauspicious place to hear of God's love and to be healed. Of course, there were some jackasses behind me who had done this on a lark and spent a good portion of the time bursting out into giggles like some manic characters in a Flannery O'Connor story, about to get the grace of God to fall down on their wicked heads. But I'm pleased to say that this was a different story. By the end, they lined up like everyone else for Maulana to heal them, to tell him their woes and hope for the best. I had to forgive them as well because they were part of this world, a world with doors that said Authorized Personnel Only, a world with crappy tinkling music that nobody could turn off, a world where I sat on the floor and chanted, hoping for what I have no idea. But I left feeling lighter and more hopeful. Even as my friend and I discussed how we bemoaned all the wasted time in our lives, the ways that we wished we'd come to ourselves sooner, I thought about how glad I was that I had come to the point I am now of accepting something simple -- God is gracious and most loving. Even when we don't deserve it, and if we're honest, we never do.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"When you look into a mirror you do not see your reflection. Your reflection sees you." Sufi proverb

Cocktail Hour
Drinking music suggestion: New York Girls Morningwood

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Wednesday!

19 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

I think you've hit on why these kinds of things continue to have power in our current lives. They really do often leave you with a peaceful feeling, a feeling of community. For those things alone a religious group experience can be wonderful.

chris said...

I have a way of making good friends out of my enemies, I don't know how it happens but it does.

The last one to convert was threatened to have his throat cut,by me, man was I pissed. We seem to have found a middle ground that excepts each other for what we are.
Mercy and compassion are great, I wish more people had some, instead of being judgemental all of the time. It breaks my heart to be judged for what I am not.

I hope I have not misunderstood something here, To lose one's life is to gain it. Sorry Michelle, you will have to elaborate on that one.

Like I said yesterday, Life is and should be simple, we as humans,make it hard.
You look really happy in the photo, your beautiful smile says it all. You learned something ?

It would be really nice to see the whole wide world smile like that, and truly mean it.
Happy hunting on your personal quest, perhaps some day I may grow a pair and seek answers to these questions in my head.

Billy Angel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lana Gramlich said...

I agree with Charles, but would add that the effects are temporary & illusory at best. I'm reminded of a friend of mine who spends hundreds upon thousands of dollars to go to all kinds of retreats, speeches & workshops in the pursuit of spirituality, rather than merely engaging in spirituality (& saving his time & money for better things in the process.) But I'm cynical that way...

Billy Angel said...

Sorry, about the delete, I tried to post a picture of my Exemplar, but I guess I can't do that, or don't know how.

Billy

chris said...

Well, I went back and re read your post. My earlier comment still stands, Standing with the Sufi your smile is truly beautiful, and you really do look happy. I have always liked the picture of you in the black dress, the one that looks like you are standing next to Camel Rock, Very classy, very sexy photo. The photo of you with the Sufi,There really is something special about how you are feeling when you took the photo, I guess for a lack of words, you look to be glowing.

I will not try to bring anyone down here, but I do have a question. You do realize where this Religion came from don't you ?
Please do not start covering your face because you are female and by showing it, it would be a sin. Do not give up Pork BBQ, The state of Texas will disown you. We have all made and will continue to make mistakes in our life, when we are able to stop making them, it will be the second coming of Christ,Being a non denominational believer I do remember he was the only Perfect one.

Change nothing you are great as you are, from what I am able to tell, and never forget that I am a great Judge in Character, if I am to die as nothing else in this life.

I just felt that I had to say all of this, I am sorry if it offends you in any way.

Billy Angel said...

It came from the same area Christianity came from (I think we american tend to forget that Christianity is not an American religion. I guess it's our ethnocentricity issue), and Jews don't eat pork either. And I think there are reasons for these things if we try to understand them.

Billy

chris said...

No, we are well aware of where religion started from, I just can't help but think that we are following nothing more than a mere Man, who is spreading his beliefs.

There is nothing wrong with that if you want to follow a man. I am a believer of the Lord, but how could anyone pick or choose a religion with so many out there, who are all spreading their own version.

justin said...

yeah but pork is good.

the walking man said...

But Jesus was a man, Buddha was a man, Mohamed was a man, all of the Gita writers were men, them that formed Shinto were men. All "religions were thoughts of men. Yet they all share a common thread when it comes to harmony and peace of soul and spirit.

All prophets to man...were men?

God has always spoken to man through men. Few can "connect" in any other way. It is not wrong to derive peace and comfort from the words of men. It is how we learn.

To lose your life in order to gain it, it is not a difficult concept simply put---reorder your passions from the situations we covet and turn to the simple way of thought and spirituality.

FORGIVENESS, love peace and equality among men. Leave behind the pressing need for wealth, fame, power your success due the detriment of another. All of the desires of the heart are known by a God that loves you, he will guide your feet pointing out pitfalls if you but listen.

You do not have to die, physically. The Christian texts say serve God or mammon, you can not serve both. This does not mean you can not have wealth, fame etc. but do not covet it because it is illusory.

Again the Christian texts say you must be born again eh? How can you be born again 'cept you die. Well shit you're not going to physically die so what is this death before re-birth? It is different for all. the things that are important now are not the things that become important once you gain your life.

If you do some extended readings accepting all texts as sacred in their beginning you will see a very similar message, why is that? How is it that "religions" even those not of Torah in their origin express these same thoughts?

You must decide for yourself...is it mans regenerate DNA that caused such similarities or God?

Me personally, although I will never walk a perfect path, am constantly in need of forgiveness from my friends for thoughtless, stupid acts, I will choose the path that says the One who created all is present yet still.

I will believe the words of a Sufi master, giving them the same credence for truth as I will those words that Jesus is reported to have said. Truth is where you find it, the knowledge is only a first step, the initial "good vibe' is only a first step, but it shows the possibility. If you have felt the spiritual closeness to God then you know you have it within you to feel that presence. There is no greater knowledge to build on.

Rock on Brooks.

the walking man said...

And...yes pork is good.

chris said...

This one is going to hurt.I hope I don't break any hearts.
Islam, or any faction there of it can kiss my ass.
I'm just jealous because I know when I die there will not be several virgin women waiting for me, what man would not like that fantasy.

I have had a woman piss me off in the past and I wish I could have Stoned her to death, You know throw rocks at her until she was dead, For making a simple mistake. Simply because she tried our Western ways, you see she was not free to choose.

I think all religions have a certain ammount of Love built into them, Who is to say who is right and who is wrong. Can you not read the bible yourself and interpret, what it says and live a life of God? Or whatever someone may call him.

Believe what you may, it is your right as a person. I could personally care less what or who someone choses to put their faith in, it is theirs. Now I am going to say something that borderlines being a hipocrit, and I fucking despise them, so I guess I had better do a little Soul searching of my own.
Quote, follow whatever you will,as long as your beliefs do not infringe upon others, I may not even want to discuss religion, with a friend just to avoid the conflict that may arise.

Walking man, you definately have an uper hand on the subject of Religion, I can't even begin to keep up, Like I stated yesterday, the perfect path does not exist for man kind. If it did,for those who chose that path we would have to refer to them as Jesus Christ, and we know there was only one of them. Amen and pass those baked beans please.
My neck eagerly awiats to be beheaded by the sword I live by !!!! Meanwhile I will continue to be the kind, thoughtful,person I was raised to be and to help others who decide to help themselves when they need it the most. Everybody gets da blues.

Joe said...

That is a wonderfully written piece.

laughingwolf said...

lana, you got it... it's but a fleeting thing, and that's ok, too

as long as you don't mind parting with your $$$....

the walking man said...

Chris...*shrug* ultimate truth belongs to no doctrine or dogma.

In Islam it is also believed that the amount of time one spends in hell is determined by the amount of sin on the soul.

The virgins are reserved for them who died in a holy war which is directly related to the crusades. A holy war defined in the Quaran is a war fought only in the holy lands for the direct defense of Jerusalem.

Everyone else who dies simply gets a pass out of hell into paradise.

Them that would stone an innocent in the eyes of God, reap great penalty in those same eyes.

For me personally, I will take my chances and not adhere to any dogma or tract of men, even if I have learned in the past from them.

robthefob said...

my intuition has been putting me through the ringer the past few weeks.

R's Musings said...

Hey Miss M,
Lovely post. We are always worthy, yet few choose to accept it. --R

chris said...

Walking man , I have done a little more home work on the subject at hand. Although my views may be a little on the antiqudated side of things, I still can not support Islam and I know that there are some great people out there, who do in fact follow this religion.

I guess it seems to me that, from what I can read, Women are very respected in their society, I just don't know how they can say they respect a woman when she is required to cover her face and wear clothes that are not appealing to men, because the women is considered a Temptress.

If they truly wakled down that religious path for life . How can a mere woman tempt you ? It just all seems to be a little hipocritical to me, I guess that is why I have a hard time putting a lot of faith in a Mans words, he can only sell you his interpretation of the faith.

Thank you for all of enlightenment on the subect at hand, I am always willing to learn something new.

To those of you I may have offended yesterday I apologize, would you believe I was fighting the subject all night long and didn't sleep worth a damn.

Much Peace,Love and Respect to all. Lets put this one to bed, way to many inner fights going on here,in my old grey head.

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