and what i found was
that i was lost
and what i found was
that i was lost
Do you wonder where you are headed, where you will end up? I sense you are afraid that you don’t know your purpose and worse, that you feel you may not even have any. Why your destination does not seem obvious when those around you seem to have it all figured out? Or have they?
You are worried that what you do not know far exceeds what you do know? That is only the first step to be a seeker. But wait, you have no need to be a seeker. Simply allow yourself to be found. “How?” I hear you ask. Come rest awhile, sit beside me. Advice is always free, mistakes may be costly, but only if they don’t teach you anything.
See the road before you? Keep your eye on the path and there is no need to focus on any destination. Destinations keep changing, indeed some journeys have no end. All you got to do is keep walking on and look around you appreciatively. Be not in a hurry, never ever hurt or distress others. This is, in fact, the easy part. The more difficult task is not to distress or hurt your own self. Remember you are your harshest critic.
What you gather along the way, be mindful of the fact that it is not you. Never confuse your experiences, thoughts and memories for yourself. As you walk all will be shed in good time, no reason to mourn for nothing is truly lost. How will you be found if you are well underneath all these layers?
And sometimes you should stop and dance like Shiva, the Lord of Dance. Let the entire creation shake in your own rhythm. When you sing let it be a meaningful and uninhibited Hallelujah. A time will come when you will need to resist. Then do so with the courage and intention of Hussain*. Fight reluctantly, only after all other means have failed but without fear, stand up for justice and against oppression. Though you are merely a grain in the bigger picture, you are a unique grain with an ability to transform the entire scene.
Moving every step forward, let my fragrance infuse into your very being but take care not to allow religion to taint you or instill fear. Blemished beliefs are the birthplace of bias and bigotry. Devotion could lie in serving others, words of prayer may be recited instinctively rather than habitually. Don’t merely pray, you have to become your prayer.
Take the help of your ego to propel you further. Yes you heard right, it’s not such a bad thing, use your ego. It is helpful in boosting your confidence especially with the doubters and the envious all around you. But then, you should also know when to discard it. Don’t permit the ego to feed upon you, replace it at once with dignity. Believe in yourself and bow before no one.
We still got a way to go, never look back except to check if you have left your footprints behind. Indelible and eternal they will become if you have been able to create something on your journey. Creativity equates you with me like nothing else, after all I am the ultimate Creator am I not?
It’s not a bad idea if you peek towards the future, don’t worry if you see nothing. Carry a dream, or even two, there is no baggage allowance limit on our journey 🙂 Though they may be fragile, dreams are easy to rebuild. All it requires is imagination… and a touch of hope, such a great companion to travel with.
And so I must ask you a question. Did you notice that though your intention was that you should be found, you never actually let it guide your way? Here’s the thing…the more you intend, the less likely it is to happen. Sometimes I love to have a laugh at your expense. So keep your plans a secret from me and we will get along just fine!
I have finally found you, my dear companion. This “God” gets lonely sometimes with everyone constantly seeking and fighting and humbling themselves (and too right, I see through their pretentiousness). All I ever wanted was for you to allow me to find you, bare and unlayered.
With much love,
*Imam Hussain – Prophet Muhammad’s grandson who sacrificed his life fighting injustice and oppression.
Re-posting this letter in full. It was originally written for the Walking with Intention series where I was encouraged by Sreejit to step out of my comfort zone of poetry and write in essay form.
Inspired by the quote: Space we can recover, time never ~ Napoleon Bonaparte
Space is infinite
While every moment time ends
Space devours time
Or else space dreams up time
Only in the span of now
Is time ever free of space
Give time space
And time shall serve you
a night when the gods appeared blurred
heavens intoxicated with
and angels danced till dawn
During the first week of November 2016, I received as a gift* an opportunity to attend the Inner Engineering program by the Isha Foundation. Though I was (and am) an avid listener of Sadhguru’s talks (many of you will be familiar with my poems inspired by Sadhguru), admittedly I went not expecting much. Curiosity and a chance to accompany a dear friend made me consider going to the program.
6 months later, I have been regular with the daily Shambhavi Mahamudra practise which in itself is a great achievement. Many people ask me what changes I have noticed. I will just say two things:
– Read this poem
– Just do the practise regularly, don’t focus on any result
I am going to share a little something here… Normally I meditate on my tiny balcony where I have bird houses to feed the passing birds. These birds don’t seem afraid to come near me in fact, during one session a bird ruffled my hair with its wings. And another time also during my Shambhavi a little bird sat on my shoulder! Though I was absolutely still, hardly daring to breathe, inside I was trembling. I will never forget those few seconds when I felt the tiny claws and its wings so close to my ear.
Going back to the Inner Engineering program, on the final day I had such a tremendous experience but when our teacher asked for my comments, I could not find the words to describe what I felt. That night around 3:30 a.m. I woke up and without effort, a poem came to my mind. This best describes what I experienced in the course.
Clouds, a Collision
When millions of dewdrops gather
To form gentle clouds seemingly innocent, impotent
Until they collide
And though the thunderous clap proclaims its power
An unseen hand extracts the flash of light
To fuse it into my being
So that I could see
If only for a moment
That nothing is real
Only nothing is real
I was not expecting anything, but I received more
I received nothing
The Inner Engineering program is a science and technology for inner well-being, I highly recommend it. Here is a short intro about What is Inner Engineering.
* P.S. Thank you for this beautiful gift (you know who you are)
Many of my poems have been created on or inspired by Twitter. Sometimes I receive brilliant replies or questions, and here is one such interaction between @mzungundege and myself. Very thought-provoking, don’t you think?
Evidence of the unknown
Is greater than that of the known
If only you would stop your search
In the temple mosque or church
Our known known is we have no evidence
To prove our religions’ dogmas
Our known unknown is the future of our universe
Our unknown unknown?
Our unknown unknown lies within us…
Now there is something to believe in
Thanks for the inspiration @mzungundege
He created all from vibration
We turned it into a world of words
With plenty of sound
But disturbed impact
Wavering between directions
Purity of vibration, misplaced
Are you able to observe something/someone without lending your words or even thoughts, just experiencing it/them?
I believe if we all observed without the need to form opinions or judgements (both positive and negative), we could experience freedom, invoke a different intelligence.
Doesn’t sound quite so easy but I might start by observing just one thing today, simply to experience it.
into a bottomless pit
a bottomless pit
is the best type of pit to fall into
not all who wander are lost
not all who are lost want to be found
you may try to silence sound
but you could never still vibration
you may make us shed blood, tears
but it will only flavour that essence
how shall you mute us?
how shall you abduct the rhythm in our anthem?
each explosion only lends itself to the reverberation
yes, grief is selective
yes, mourning is a luxury
but recognise that each time
and every time
we shall rise
every whirl represents rotation
how shall you halt the movement of earth?
how will you destroy that which has no form?
February 16th, 2017 at least 70 people, including women and children, were killed and more than 150 injured in a suicide attack by ISIS on the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan, Pakistan.
My heart was heavy.
Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar (1177 – 1274) was a Sufi saint, philosopher and poet. He represents love, beauty and togetherness. There is perhaps no other shrine in the country that captures the essence of religious syncretism like the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar. In his courtyard, it feels as if the riots of Partition never happened, as if Sindhi Hindus were never forced to abandon their land, as if Christian settlements in Punjab had never been burned after alleged cases of blasphemy. The courtyard of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar represents a different world, a world that once existed but has slowly disappeared outside its confines.
However even before the echoes of the screams died down, and the last strains of blood could be washed off the courtyard, dhamal began once again on Friday morning. It was like it had never stopped. The world never stops rotating.
A very famous Qawali has been written in honor of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar and is called Dama Dam Mast Qalandar. There are countless versions of this song, one of which I shared in my post The Song of the Sufi. It is an anthem of the simple yet highest form of love, which is devotion. Today I share with you another delightful version of the qawali.
Finally, I would like to leave you with the thought that there was very limited and selective outrage over the Sehwan attack. Why do some lives matter less than others?
This poem is the voice of the Sufis, the voice of Qalandaris
It is the voice of everyone who seeks love, togetherness, beauty
This poem is my voice
Let this poem also be your voice
Spread the awareness
Amit Misra's studio
Postdoctoral Researcher at The University of California, Irvine
musings & muses
Expressing myself through poetry
Welcome to the vertigo of waves.
Essays and opinions by Bina Shah