(it's been a long time since i've written this early in the morning... i've just finished a paper but i've got a small slip of paper from my pocket with notes on it...)
for an athiest, i sure do get around when it comes to religions. this week my two favorites have come together - taoism and sufism, niether of which i really understand, but both appeal in their relative simplicity. someday i'll write about taoism. today it's sufism.
secrecy and revelation in islam class took a field trip to the bawa fellowship, a local modern american sufi mosque. we sat with the imam (? is that his title?), a large man with small blue eyes hidden in creased eyes, and a five-inch beard that projected from his tanned face like a triangular prism of gray and brown. i soon found that he was doctrinal and overbearing, but with his station i guess some of that is expected. he spoke to us of many things...
the image of a traffic cop, who waves people on, to the right or to the left, depending on their blinker. then someone stops and asks him "i heard about this great place - where is it?" he says "pull over, i'm going there too." must be looking to be directed.
teachers wake you up when you are dreaming that you are awake.
i'm not sure how much i like this... so we are covered in illusion until we can be saved? does our ego lock us into thinking that "this is real"?
purity - to understand god, must become god - do this by sheering away everything else, and what is left is god, which was there all along. purity is the ticket (to heaven?) man is god's secret, god is man's secret. born with purity, but accumulate illusions/obscurity. jihad - change - reverse process, back towards child
remove the world, the material, the self, and you have the fabric of the universe - like upanisadic brahman, or the tao. is it like innocence?
intuition - if heart feels uneasy about something, don't do it - that's one-way communication from the god inside you, need purity to make it two-way (talk back, ask questions?)
it's the becoming, not the knowing... the king of the dung beetles stands infront of a fire and asks his aids to explain it to him... the tell himit is hot, and red, but he wants more. so he flies into it, and becomes fire. he can't tell anyone about it tho.
on a side note, he says that you can't escape things by going into the forrest - everything that you're running from comes with you.
this dashes my plan to go out into the desert with massey and cut our hair off... i look for revelation in such things, but i know he is right - you can not leave yourself behind... or can you? to remove to a foreign place you depend on what you know, yourself, yet it is a place where change can occur... you become more aware of yourself and everything you brought with you, and you can then look it in the eyes and stare it down, or else realize its importance.
breathing - moving air, talking, this is good
is that why i talk so much sometimes without knowing what i'm saying? because talking is theropeutic? i used to be very quiet, and at one point people told me that i needed to express opinions, so i did, and when i didn't have any, sometimes i'd pick a random on that sounded good and go with it, which got me caught in sincerity problems, which made me shut up. i'd like to think that i know the difference now.
after all this we go through the motions of practice... ablution - kneeling on a low marble pedastle the men, in a seperate room, wash our hand, mouth, nostrals, ears and neck, forearms, and feet, three times each. then into the mosque, a plain room with a niche for the man calling the prayer. toes on a thin line on the carpet, and shoulders touching the man on either side (women are behind us, seperated by white lace curtain), we lean and bow, touch foreheads to ground, several times. it could have been a trick of my contacts, but the walls shimmered, and the room became otherworldly. i was thinking about other things, nothing spiritual... mostly anthropological explanations for the effectiveness of religion - communal ritual, clensing for health reasons, time to focus and slow down, comradery. we al hug each other at the end. the imam's beard is soft.
change scenes: sitting on the railroad-tie steps in the edge of the woods behind the performing arts center, reading about ancient islamic music and waiting for the library to open, i pick up a small dry stick, and imagine myself putting energy into one end of it, a bit of my life force. this scares me, so i visualize pulling the energy out the other end into those fingers. but i know i can't get it all, so i plant it in the soft ground and think "the earth gives me enrgy every day, i'm not losing anything." this is the stuff that goes on inside my head... everyday spiriuality... wierd shit.
as i put on my tevas this afternoon i examined the bottom of my right foot. a splinter that i'd tried to dig out a month ago had finally worked its way to te surface, so i pulled it out with my sweezers. something to be said for waiting, letting things take their course? i also felt like the lion with the thorn removed from his paw... a small bit of relief, but the jungle is still all around me.