Lenten Season

audio of the text below

“Lent is the period of 40 days which comes before Easter in the Christian calendar. Beginning on Ash Wednesday, Lent is a season of reflection and preparation before the celebrations of Easter. By observing the 40 days of Lent, Christians replicate Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days. Lent is marked by fasting, both from food and festivities.” Source

Today we started the 40-days of releasing and renewing. We remember that historical Jesus, a man with a message of Love and Kindness above all, went into the desert. He fasted and contemplated on his fate and his work ahead.

Today I imagined Jesus as an everyday guy with fears and hopes. I imagined him in the desert struggling with his conscience. Maybe he wanted to run. Maybe he wanted to live longer. Temptation is just a thought. A though that is driven by fear, any fear, a fear of death or fear of humiliation or else. Jesus did what we all need to do: just sit with the fear until it dissipates. For him fear dissipated in 40 days.

Fasting and withdrawing from the world and sitting with our fears allow us to emerge stronger, without doubts and with a stronger sense of God-self at the end.

After the 40-days of ‘Lent’, Jesus faced prosecution and death with a sense of courage that looked God-like. We can do the same. We can chose to use the 40-days of Lent to face our fears, release and centre ourselves in God’s Love and Care for us.

Though Jesus’ crucifixion seems like a giant failure it is actually a miraculous success of overcoming one’s limited self. He died on the cross which is pretty much a fact. The way he did it, though, is the message. He stayed Loving and Kind till the very end. He epitomized God’s Loving intention even in the mist of war and conflict. (very appropriate in light of Russian-Ukrainian war)

What am I fasting on this Lenten season?

I decide to fast on my doubts. My fear of not being good enough! Daily, as an act of kindness towards myself, I will release all self-doubt and affirm my greatness as an expression of God, the Divine that is inherent in my constitution.

What are you giving up this Lenten Season?

Weekly Contemplations W7

Rule 7
Whatever happens in your life, no matter how troubling things might seem, do not enter the neighborhood of despair. Even when all doors remain closed, God will open up a new path only for you. Be thankful! It is easy to be grateful when all is well. A Sufi is thankful not only for what he has been given but also for all that he has been denied.

This week we will be contemplating on GRATEFULNESS. Recently, I ran a 30-Day GRATERUFLNESS ART-JOURNALING Challenge. Here are some of the drawings created below.

I suggest that you take out some paper and pens (pencil, crayons, paint, etc.) and create Gratitude Journaling Entries. Make a note of all the different things that you are grateful for. Pay special attention to that ‘you feel that you have been so far denied’ and still express your gratitude towards them.

I would love to know what you have come to realize!

Weekly Contemplations W6

Rule 6
Loneliness and solitude are two different things. When you are lonely, it is easy to delude yourself into believing that you are on the right path. Isolation is better for us, as it means being alone without feeling lonely. But eventually, it is best to find a person who will be your mirror. Remember only in another person’s heart can you truly see yourself and the Presence of God within you.

This week we will look at how we isolate ourselves so not to feel lonely. We will also look at ourselves in the mirror of our loved-one or loved-ones.

Let me know what you you have found in your mirror.

Week 5

RULE 5
Most of the problems of the world stem from linguistic mistakes and simple misunderstandings. Don’t ever take words at face value. When you step into the zone of Love, language, as we know it, becomes obsolete. That which cannot be put into words can only be grasped through silence.

This week we will contemplate on the or I should rather say in the Silence. We will take words such as LOVE, GOD, DIVINE, SECURITY, BELONGING, – any word that can have multiple meanings depending on context or you just simply wish to find your meaning to – and contemplate on it in the Silence.

So, what have I found int he Silence?
Tears, mostly.
It is rather interesting. I was hoping to contemplate on meanings beyond meaning but instead I found the ‘feeling’. It was amazing to realize, that for me, the words’ meaning is on a feeling level. 
So, there is not much I can share about my experiences because it is rather difficult to put these feelings into words.

What have YOU found?

Weekly Contemplations W5

RULE 5
Most of the problems of the world stem from linguistic mistakes and simple misunderstandings. Don’t ever take words at face value. When you step into the zone of Love, language, as we know it, becomes obsolete. That which cannot be put into words can only be grasped through silence.

This week we will contemplate on the or I should rather say in the Silence. We will take words such as LOVE, GOD, DIVINE, SECURITY, BELONGING, – any word that can have multiple meanings depending on context or you just simply wish to find your meaning to  -and contemplate on it in the Silence.

I would love to know what you have come to realize!

Week 4

Rule 4
Intellect and Love are made of different materials. Intellect ties people in knots and risks nothing, but Love dissolves all tangles and risks everything. Intellect is always cautious and advises, ‘Beware too much ecstasy,’ whereas Love says, ‘Oh, never mind! Take the plunge!’ Intelligence does not easily break down, whereas Love can effortlessly reduce itself to rubble. But treasures are hidden among ruins. A broken heart hides treasures.

So this week, I was contemplating on the different messages my Intellect and Love says. I also wondered what treasures my ‘broken heart’ hid. This is what I have found. Pls read and listen to the original post HERE (CLICK).

This past week, I experienced a split in personality so to speak. I became very aware the fragility of my intellect and that of others. It is painful to see how much we build out personality and basically our whole life on the power of our intellect.

Looking back, I know that as a child I was funny, bubbly, laud and cheeky. As a young adult, I was morose, critical and dramatic. As an aging person, I find myself in fear. When I was a child, I was in touch with Love, the essence of my being and Love said “it is all just too funny! Let’s have a ball!” In my twenties and early thirties, I was not in touch with Love any more. My intellect told me that the world was a nasty place inhabited with greedy people so I’d better guard myself. Now, I am confused. I can hear them both.

The reason I lost touch with Love was a broken heart. My heart got broken when I realized that I did not matter at all. When I understood that my presence is actually not a blessing but a burden on a mentally and psychologically challenged family. My intellect saved me and I am grateful for that.

However, I learnt over the years, that my intellect is though quick and clever it is also the home of all of my fears and insecurities. I also understand now that my intellect is incapable of fixing its fears because it is forever lost in the duality of the world. Intellect can only see through the lens of my broken heart and through the residue of my experiences as a child.

I have worked a lot on regaining my sense of hearing for what Love has to say and I still often find myself deaf. In my experience, Love though it is a gentle breeze, it is also always present. It is only audible if I focus into it.

The treasures of my broken heart is my seeking of the Truth. I was so incredibly lost and was so full of insecurities as a young adult that I basically had no other choice but to search for peace and meaning. I found it in the Silence where I can hear Love’s whisper again.

Weekly Contemplations W4

Rule 4
Intellect and Love are made of different materials. Intellect ties people in knots and risks nothing, but Love dissolves all tangles and risks everything. Intellect is always cautious and advises, ‘Beware too much ecstasy,’ whereas Love says, ‘Oh, never mind! Take the plunge!’ Intelligence does not easily break down, whereas Love can effortlessly reduce itself to rubble. But treasures are hidden among ruins. A broken heart hides treasures.

This week as we look at out life, particularly areas where we experience disturbance, we will contemplate on the following questions: 

  1. What does my Intellect say?

  2. What does Love say?

  3. What treasures my ‘broken heart’ hides?

The intellect is a cleaver; it discerns and rifts its way into the secret of things.
—Henry David Thoreau.

The greater our knowledge of anything, the more we love it.
—Leonardo Da Vinci.

 

Week 3

Rule 3
You can study God through everything and everyone in the universe because God is not confined in a mosque, synagogue, or church. But if you are still in need of knowing where exactly His abode is, there is only one place to look for him: in the heart of a true lover.

So, this week  we were contemplating about ‘God’s humble abode’ and asking the question: Who is the Lover?

I do not call myself ‘the Lover’. It just does not fit.  Love, in my eyes, is supposed to be kind and caring. The God I know – see week 1 – is a fierce God, like Zeus. It moves me restlessly to go beyond and beyond again of what I think I am. There is never a moment of ‘rest’ until I arrive face to face with ‘him’ so I can truly know myself.

I am more like a bohemian rhapsody. I am neither happy, nor unhappy. I am neither lost, nor found. I am not a devotee or an atheist. I am a helpless wanderer, a gypsy, a wayfarer, a vagabond, a nomad, a tramp.

My abode is inside of me. Like a snail, I carry my home with me wherever I go.

As I am starting a new journey once again, I feel scared. I feel helplessly scared. Anent’ I too old now to start all over again? Not as if I have ever finished anything ever. I start it and Life just carries me on.

It maybe hard to understand me and my life if you look at it through the lens of the world. The world wants us to be ‘reliable’ and ‘fit in’. I cannot do that. I am not sure why. I am just not set up that way. Naturally, it makes me a loner and a traveller.

So, I keep on going, wayfaring, going beyond what I know of myself, looking for my true abode where God resides so we can meet face to face.

 

Weekly Contemplations W3

Week 3 – Rule 3

Rule 3
You can study God through everything and everyone in the universe because God is not confined in a mosque, synagogue, or church. But if you are still in need of knowing where exactly His abode is, there is only one place to look for him: in the heart of a true lover.

This week, as we are contemplating on Rule3, we will also be asking ourselves the following question:

WHO IS THE LOVER?

At the beginning of your meditation or contemplation time, I would like invite you to read (listen to) this poem by Rumi

The springtime of Lovers has come,
that this dust bowl may become a garden;
the proclamation of heaven has come,
that the bird of the soul may rise in flight.

The sea becomes full of pearls,
the salt marsh becomes sweet as kauthar,
the stone becomes a ruby from the mine,
the body becomes wholly soul.

Kulliyat-e Shams, 21

I would love to know what you have come to realize!

If you are interested, please read more about the inspiration that resulted in me walking this 40-week journey with Rumi and Shamz HERE (CLICK)