My roots…

The Persian poet Rumi Mo’avia was asleep one day in his palace. A strange man came and awakened him.

“Who are you?” he asked.
“I am Lucifer.”
“And what do you want?”
“It’s time for your prayer, and you’re still asleep.”

Mo’avia was impressed. But why was the Prince of Darkness, who always wants the souls of men of little faith, trying to help the poet fulfil a religious duty?

Lucifer explained,
“Remember, I grew up as an angel of light. Despite everything that happened in my life, I cannot forget my roots.”

Knowing that something was amiss, Mo’avia desperately began to pray for God to enlighten him. He spent all night talking and arguing with Lucifer, and despite the brilliant arguments he had, Mo’avia could not be swayed.

When the next day was dawning, Lucifer at last gave in, and said,
“Okay, you’re right. When I arrived this morning to wake you, my intention was not to bring you closer to the divine light. I knew that failing to fulfil this obligation, you’d feel a deep sadness, and over the coming days would pray with double the faith, asking pardon for having forgotten the correct ritual.

“In God’s eyes, each of these prayers made with love and regret, is worth the equivalent of 200 ordinary prayers said automatically. You would end up feeling like you are more purified and inspired, that God loves you this much more, and I wouldn’t be the farthest away from His soul.”

Raul Seixas – O inicio, o fim, o meio

Les lectures du printemps

Lectures

Lectures

I forgot my prayer book

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Illustration by Ken Crane

A Jewish peasant boy came to the big town to celebrate Rosh Hashanah.
But found himself without his prayer book.

The wheel of his cart had come off right in the middle of the woods and it distressed him that this day should pass without his having said his prayers.
He thought:
“The Holy One blessed is enthroned in the heavens and we pray all year long to Him. We especially pray during these two days of Rosh Hashanah when the whole world is being judged and each person is being judged for the rest of the year.
“But I forgot my prayer book”.

So this is the prayer he made:
“I have done something very foolish, Lord.
“I came away from home this morning without my prayer book and my memory is such that I cannot recite a single prayer without it.
“So this is what I am going to do:
“I shall recite the alphabet five times very slowly and you, to whom all prayers are known, will put the letters together to form the prayers I can’t remember.”

And the Holy One said to his angels,
“Of all the prayers I have heard today, this one was undoubtedly the best because it came from a heart that was simple and sincere.”

story takem from The Hasidic Stories Home Page

Give us the courage

Music: Veneziela Naydenova (2011)
for Soprano and baritone soli, Mixed choir (SATB) and small orchestra with organ

Text: ” We pray for Japan” by Paulo Coelho

Lord, protect our planet, because we live here, and here we dwell with our daily tragedies.
May our daily reconstruction be the result of the very best that we carry within us.
Give us the courage to be able to reconstruct what was destroyed to be able to recover what was lost to be able to accept what was gone forever.
May you give us courage to look ahead, may we never look back nor allow our soul to be discouraged.
Lord, give us enthusiasm, because Enthusiasm reaffirms to us that everything is possible, as long as we are totally committed to what we are doing.
Lord, may the Earth continue to transform seeds into wheat, may we continue to transmute wheat into bread. Do not leave us in solitude.
Have compassion on us, Lord. For we often think we are dressed when we are naked.
Do not forget, in your mercy, our friends in Japan, who are now teaching us the meaning of Courage, Reconstruction, Solidarity and Enthusiasm.
Amen

23 Abril: Viva São Jorge!

Jorge sentou praça na cavalaria
E eu estou feliz porque eu também sou da sua companhia
Eu estou vestido com as roupas e as armas de Jorge
Para que meus inimigos tenham pés e não me alcancem
Para que meus inimigos tenham mãos, não me toquem
Para que meus inimigos tenham olhos e nao me vejam
E nem mesmo um pensamento eles possam ter para me fazerem mal

Armas de fogo,meu corpo não alcançará
Espadas, facas e lanças se quebrem, sem o meu corpo tocar
Cordas, correntes se arrebentem, sem o meu corpo amarrar
Pois eu estou vestido com as roupas e as armas de Jorge

Jorge é de Capadócia, viva Jorge!
Jorge é de Capadócia, salve Jorge!

Perseverança, ganhou do sórdido fingimento
E disso tudo nasceu o amor
Perseverança, ganhou do sórdido fingimento
E disso tudo nasceu o amor

Ogam toca pra Ogum
Ogam toca pra Ogum
Ogam, Ogam toca pra Ogum

Jorge é da Capadócia
Jorge é da Capadócia
Jorge é da Capadócia
Jorge é da Capadócia

30 SEC READING: defeat

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Does a leaf, when it falls from the tree in winter, feel defeated by the cold?

The tree says to the leaf:
‘That’s the cycle of life. You may think you’re going to die, but you live on in me. It’s thanks to you that I’m alive, because I can breathe. It’s also thanks to you that I have felt loved, because I was able to give shade to the weary traveller. Your sap is in my sap, we are one thing.’

Does a man who spent years preparing to climb the highest mountain in the world feel defeated on reaching that mountain and discovering that nature has cloaked the summit in storm clouds?
The man says to the mountain: ‘You don’t want me this time, but the weather will change and, one day, I will make it to the top. Meanwhile, you’ll still be here waiting for me.’

Does a young man, rejected by his first love, declare that love does not exist?
The young man says to himself: ‘I’ll find someone better able to understand what I feel. And then I will be happy for the rest of my days.’

Losing a battle or losing everything we thought we possessed will bring us moments of sadness, but when those moments pass, we will discover the hidden strength that exists in each of us, a strength that will surprise us and increase our self-respect.

Wait patiently for the right moment to act.
Do not let the next opportunity slip.

Take pride in your scars.
Scars are medals branded on the flesh, and your enemies will be frightened by them because they are proof of your long experience of battle. Often this will lead them to seek dialogue and avoid conflict.

Scars speak more loudly than the sword that caused them.
 
 
taken from MANUSCRIPT FOUND IN ACCRA

Scattered ashes

I’ve always thought about what happens when we scatter a little of ourselves across the Earth. I have had my hair cut in Tokyo, have clipped my nails in Norway, watched my blood flow from a wound halfway up a mountain in France. In my first book, “The Archives of Hell” (which has never been reprinted), I speculated about this, as if we felt we had to sow a little of our own body in various parts of the world, so that in a future life, something would be familiar to us. I recently read in the French newspaper Le Figaro, an article by Guy Barret about a true story which took place in 2001, when someone took this idea to its final conclusion.

Who managed to do it? Vera Anderson, who spent her entire life in the town of Medford, Oregon. In old age, she was the victim of a cardiovascular accident made worse by emphysema of the lungs, forcing her to spend years in her room connected to a balloon of oxygen. As if all this wasn’t enough of a burden, Vera’s case was even more cruel, because she had always dreamed of going round the world, and had saved up in order to do so in retirement.

Vera managed to be transferred to Colorado, so that she might spend her remaining days in the company of her son, Ross. There, before making her final journey – the one none of us return from – she took a decision. Since she would never get to know even her own country, she would travel after she died.

Ross went to the local notary office and registered her mother’s will: when she died, she wished to be cremated. So far, nothing unusual. But the will went on: her ashes were to be placed in 241 little bags, which were to be sent to the chiefs of the mail services in 50 American states, and each of the 191 countries in the world – so that at least part of her body would end up visiting the places she always dreamed about.

As soon as Vera departed, Ross fulfilled her last wish with the dignity one would expect of a son.
Each parcel carried an accompanying letter asking for a laying to rest worthy of her mother.

All the people who received Vera Anderson’s ashes respectfully obeyed Ross’s wish.

Thus, Vera’s ashes were scattered on Lake Titicaca, in Bolivia, following the ancient traditions of the Aymara Indians; on the river outside the royal palace in Stockholm; on the banks of Choo Praya, in Thailand; at a Shinto temple in Japan; on the icecaps of Antarctica; in the Sahara desert. The brothers of a charitable orphanage in South America (the article doesn’t say which country) prayed for a week before casting the ashes in the garden – and they then decided that Vera Anderson should be considered a type of guardian angel of that place.

Ross Anderson received photos from the five continents, from all races and cultures, showing men and women honoring his mother’s last wish.
When we see such a divided world as today’s, and think no one could care less about each other, this last journey of Vera Anderson fills us with hope, knowing that respect, love and generosity still dwell in the souls of our fellow men and women, however distant they may be.

1 MIN READING: our daily miracle

Give us this day, Lord, our daily miracle.

Even if we are incapable of noticing it because our mind is focussed on great deeds and conquests. Even if we are too preoccupied with day-to-day life to know that our path was changed by it.

And when we are sad, help us to keep our eyes open to the life around us: a flower opening, the stars in the sky, the distant singing of a bird or a child’s voice nearby.

Help us to understand that there are certain things so important that we have to discover them without anyone’s help. And that we should not feel alone and helpless, because You are there with us, ready to intervene if our feet go perilously close to the abyss.

Help us to continue onward despite the fear and to accept the inexplicable despite our need to explain and know everything.

Help us to understand that Love’s strength lies in its contradictions and that Love lasts because it changes and not because it stays the same and never faces any challenges.

And to understand, too, that each time we see the humble exalted and the arrogant humbled, we are witnessing a miracle.

Help us to know that when our legs are tired, we can keep walking thanks to the strength in our hearts, and that when our hearts are tired, we can still carry on thanks to the strength of our Faith.
 
 
taken from MANUSCRIPT FOUND IN ACCRA

Rumi” Whispers of the Beloved “

I cannot sleep in your prescence.
In your absence, tears prevent me.
You watch me My Beloved
On each sleepless night and
Only You see the difference

Looking at my life
I see that only Love
Has been my soul’s companion
From deep inside
My soul cries out:
Do not wait, surrender
For the sake of Love.

If you can’t smell the fragrance
Don’t come into the garden of Love.
If you’re unwilling to undress
Don’t enter into the stream of Truth.
Stay where you are.
Don’t come our way.

All year round the lover is mad,
Unkempt, lovesick and in disgrace.
Without love there is nothing but grief.
In love… what else matters?

Love is our Mother and
The way of our Prophet.
Yet it is in our nature
To fight with Love.
We can’t see you, mother,
Hidden behind dark veils
Woven by ourselves.

Do you want to enter paradise?
To walk the path of Truth
You need the grace of God.
We all face death in the end.
But on the way, be careful
Never to hurt a human heart!

Do you know what the music is saying?
“Come follow me and you will find the way.
Your mistakes can also lead you to the Truth.
When you ask, the answer will be given.”

The Master who’s full of sweetness
Is so drunk with love, he’s oblivious.
“Will you give me
some of your sweetness?”
“I have none,” he says,
unaware of his richness.

You know what love is?
It is all kindness, generosity.
Disharmony prevails when
You confuse lust with love, while
The distance between the two
Is endless.

This Love is a King
But his banner is hidden.
The Koran speaks the Truth
But its miracle is concealed.
Love has pierced with its arrow
The heart of every lover.
Blood flows but the wound is invisible.

30 sec reading: The Beloved Man

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A Siberian shaman asked God to show him a man that He loved. The Lord advised him to look for a certain farmer.

“What do you do to make the Lord love you so much?” the shaman asked the farmer when he found him.

“I say His name in the morning. I work all day and say His name before going to sleep. That’s all,” the farmer replied.

I think I found the wrong man, thought the shaman.

Just then the Lord appeared and said, “Fill a bowl with milk, go to town and then return. Without spilling a single drop.”

The shaman did so. On his return, the Lord wanted to know how many times he had thought of Him.

“How could I? I was worried not to spill the milk!”

“A simple bowl made you forget Me,” said the Lord, “and the farmer, with all his tasks, thinks of me twice a day.”

Manuscript Found In Accra

 

The Seagull and the Mouse

A seagull was flying over a beach in the Black Sea when it saw a mouse. It swooped down from the skies and asked the rodent, “Where are your wings?”

Each of them spoke a different language, and the mouse did not understand what the seagull said, but did notice that the animal standing before it had two big strange things emerging from its body.

“It must suffer from some disease,” whispered the mouse.

The seagull noticed that the mouse was staring at its wings and said quietly, “Poor thing! It was attacked by monsters that left it deaf and robbed its wings.”

Filled with pity, the seagull took the mouse in its beak and swept it away for a ride in the skies. At least this will bring memories of the old days, the seagull thought as they flew higher and higher. Then it very carefully deposited the mouse back on the ground.

For a few months the mouse was a very unhappy creature, it had flown high up in the sky and seen a vast and beautiful world.

But as time passed, it eventually grew used to being a mouse again, and thought that the miracle that had taken place in its life was just a dream.

Twitcam 09/Apr/2013 (English)

Jeremy Irons reads “Manuscript found in Accra”

Two stories

Ekaterinburg (Russia): Shoes

Right after the fall of communism, a Belgian company sent two representatives to look into the feasibility of selling their products. Two different reports were received.

“Nobody wears Western shoes here,” wrote the first representative, “if we install a factory here, we will suffer heavy losses.”

“Nobody wears Western shoes here,” wrote the second representative, “If we install a factory here, we will start the fashion trend and sell the entire production.”

Kairuan (Tunisia): The Truly Devout

Abu Sari owned a haberdashery in the middle of the main market in the city. He spent all day selling, buying and bargaining with the customers.

But every afternoon he drew a cloth curtain in a corner of his shop around himself and prayed.

One afternoon, a mullah visited him.
He said he was close to God and wanted to share his joy with Abu Sari.

“Where do you live?” asked the merchant.

“In the desert. There, I manage to contemplate the face of the Almighty Lord and swim in his blessings.”

“If you live in the desert, that means that you are still far from the Divine,” answered Abu Sari.
“An enlightened man lives in the middle of a market, and is never a single moment absent from the company of God.”

Love as Eros, Philos and Agape

In 1986, when I was on the road to Santiago with my guide Petrus, we passed through the city of Logroño while a wedding was taking place. We ordered two glasses of wine, I prepared something to nibble on, and Petrus discovered a table where we could sit down together with the other guests.
The wedding couple cut an immense cake.
“They must love one another,” I thought aloud.
“Of course they love one another,” said a man in a dark suit sitting at our table. Have you ever seen anyone get married for any another reason?”

But Petrus did not let the question go unanswered:
“What type of love do you mean: Eros, Philos or Agape?”
The man looked at him without understanding a word.
“There are three words in Greek to designate love,” Petrus said. “Today you are seeing the manifestation of Eros, that sentiment between two persons.”

“The two seem to love one another. In a short time they will be fighting alone for life, establishing themselves in a house and taking part in the same adventure: that’s what makes love grand and dignified. He will pursue his career, she probably knows how to cook and will make an excellent housewife because since she was a little girl she was brought up to do that. She will accompany him, they will have children and they will manage to build something together, they will be happy for ever.”

“Al of a sudden, however, this story could happen the other way around. He is going to feel that he is not free enough to show all the Eros, all the love that he has for other women. She may begin to feel that she has sacrificed a career and a brilliant life to accompany her husband. So, instead of creating together, each of them will feel robbed in their way of loving. Eros, the spirit that joins them, will start to display only his bad side. And what God had meant to be man’s most noble sentiment will begin to be a source of hatred and destruction.”

“Notice how odd it is,” continued my guide. “Despite being good or bad, the face of Eros is never the same in all persons.”

Then he continued, pointing to an elderly couple:
“Look at those two: they haven’t let themselves be affected by hypocrisy, like so many others. They look like they are a couple of farm workers: hunger and need have obliged them to overcome many a difficulty together. They have discovered love through work, which is where Eros shows his most beautiful face, also known as Philos.”
“What’s Philos?”
“Philos is love in the form of friendship. It’s what I feel for you and others. When the flame of Eros no longer able to shine, it’s Philos who keeps couples together.”

“And what about Agape?”
“Agape is total love, the love that devours those that experience it. Whoever knows and experiences Agape sees that nothing else in this world is of any importance, only loving. This was the love that Jesus felt for humanity, and it was so great that it shook the stars and changed the course of man’s history.”
“During the millennia of the history of civilization, many people have been smitten by this Love that Devours. They had so much to give – and the world demanded so little – that they were obliged to seek out the deserts and isolated places because love was so great that it transfigured them. They became the hermit saints that we know today.”
“For me and you who have experienced another form of Agape, this life here may seem hard and terrible. Yet the Love that Devours makes everything lose its importance: these men live only to be consumed by their love.”
He took a pause.
“Agape is the Love that Devours,” he repeated once more, as if this was the phrase that best defined that strange type of love. “Luther King once said that when Christ spoke of loving our enemies he was referring to Agape. Because according to him, it was impossible to like our enemies, those who do us harm and try to make our daily suffering all the worse.”
“But Agape is a lot more than liking. It is a sentiment that invades everything, fills all the cracks and makes any attempt at aggression turn to dust.”
“There are two forms of Agape. One is isolation, life dedicated only to contemplation. The other is precisely the opposite: contact with other human beings, and enthusiasm, the sacred sense of work. Enthusiasm means trance, ecstasy, connecting with God. Enthusiasm is Agape directed at some idea, something.”
“When we love and believe in something from the bottom of our soul, we feel stronger than the world and we are imbued with a serenity that comes from the certainty that nothing can conquer our faith. This strange force makes us always make the right decisions at the right time, and we are surprised at our own capacity when we fulfill our objective.”
“Enthusiasm usually manifests itself in all its power in the early years of our life. We still have a strong tie with the divinity and we give ourselves with such zeal to our toys that dolls take on a life of their own and little tin soldiers manage to march. When Jesus said that the kingdom of Heaven belonged to the children, he was referring to Agape in the form of Enthusiasm. The children reached him without paying any attention to his miracles, his wisdom, the Pharisees and the apostles. They came happily, driven by Enthusiasm.”


taken from
THE PILGRIMAGE

“May you never lose your enthusiasm at any moment for the rest of your life: it’s your greatest strength, intent on the final victory. You cannot let it slip through your fingers just because as time passes we have to face some small and necessary defeats.”