Posts Tagged With: Islam

Go with The Flow

Surely, We have sent revelation to thee, as We sent revelation to Noah and the Prophets after him; and We sent revelation to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and his children and to Jesus and Job and Jonah and Aaron and Solomon, and We gave David a Book. We sent some Messengers whom We have already mentioned to thee and some Messengers whom We have not mentioned to thee …” (Koran, Ch.4 v.164, 165)

“Verily, We have sent thee with the truth, as a bearer of glad tidings and as a Warner; and there is no people to whom a Warner has not been sent.” (Koran, Ch.35 v.25″)

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I have to admit that I actually don’t have a lot of other Bengali/Indian/Pakistani  Muslim friends. 
While I did grow up in a largely non-orthodox Muslim household, being Bengali meant that many of my parents’ close friends were and are Hindu, and it meant absolutely nothing out of the ordinary for us to go over to their homes for various Puja celebrations or having them come over to our place for Ramadan
Breaking the Ramadan fast

Breaking the Ramadan fast

 
That’s not always the norm in many Bengali Muslim homes. In fact, there was anti-Hindu bigotry right in my own family. Several of my more “hard-core Muslim” uncles would forbid their kids (i.e my cousins) to play with us because they feared our family would have a “bad influence on them”.  
Just cause a girl wears shorts, does that make them a "bad influence"?

Just because a girl wears shorts, does that make them a “bad influence”?

 
The sources of that bigotry are many and it easy to see why so many hard feelings developed over the course of time. The British effectively ruled India by pitting Muslims and Hindus against each from Day 1. Divide and rule was official policy. While the British were there, preferential treatment was given to Muslims because it was an Abrahamic religion they could relate to, hence why Muslims got the choicest jobs and opportunities. When the British left, the tables were completely turned around, communal fighting broke out all over India, Muslims were discriminated against and Hindus went to the top of the power structure. 
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This is an excellent video about Partition, about how India and Pakistan were formed after British rule. While the video talks about what was happening on the Western front, please bear in mind the atrocities were also happening on the eastern front, namely West Bengal and East Bengal (—> which became East Pakistan and then finally, Bangladesh). 
 
I bring up the quotes from the Koran because, really what those quotes are saying is that named and unnamed prophets, teachers, seers, sages, wise and holy men and women have been sent to all people of this world, every creed, every color, of all lands, at all times and that Muslims are to revere and respect them all, no exceptions. This includes First Nations Elders, Australian Aboriginal Elders, Mongolian shamans,  Buddhist bodhisattvas, Gnostic Christian spiritual masters and anyone else who has genuine spiritual insight and can teach us all to become better human beings with wisdom and grace. 
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This sense of inclusiveness and plurality is unfortunately missing with many of the Muslims I grew up with and knew (which would probably explain why I don’t get along with many of them).  Rather, a certain rigidity in outlook, a sanctimoniousness and belief has set in and with the money from Saudi being poured into the rest of the Muslim world.  It has unfortunately meant that Wahhabi Islam, an extremely puritanical, minor, rigid and monolithic form of Islam native to Saudi Arabia is also spreading. It’s a “Live by the Sword – Die by the Sword” form of Islam which in my opinion,  is completely against life and sucks royally and anyone with even half a functioning brain would be wise to run away from. 
These guys and their ideology DO NOT represent all Muslims

These guys and their ideology DO NOT represent all Muslims

 
What’s also happening is that very poor, migrant workers from countries like Bangladesh, Indonesia and Pakistan are going to the United Arab Emirates to work as cheap laborers for construction companies.
Many of them are illiterate, not educated and completely ignorant about the history of their own countries, cultures and religions. Many of them don’t realize that there was a history in those areas long before the introduction of Islam. They see the vulgar wealth in the UAE and it’s then very easy to develop an inferiority complex in the face of that wealth and power especially in contrast to what they saw and lived through back home. What then happens is that they start using Islam and faux-piety as a form of showing up who is “more Muslim” and then that Wahhabi Islam then becomes something worth emulating, copying and spreading.
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If you went to Bangladesh in the 1970s and 1980s, you would never see a burqa or hijab on the streets. Women were always in saris and salwar kameez and were considered decently dressed according to Islamic norms.
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You go to Bangladesh now, and hijabs and burqas are everywhere. When I talk to my Turkish friends, they say the same thing is also happening in Turkey. 
This is NOT the way it used to be.

This is NOT the way it used to be.

 
It’s not just dress that’s being affected. 
Take for instance female genital mutilation which is NOT an Islamic practice, but one rather which is from  sub-Saharan Africa and became incorporated into those cultures, primarily Somali and Eritrean. When Islam was introduced to those areas, cultural and religious practices became fused and suddenly it was an “Islamic” practice. Now the practice is being exported to other countries like Malaysia under the guise of “Islam” when it has exactly zero to do with Islam.
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This is my biggest axe to grind with many in the South East Asian Muslim community. Nobody flippin’ questions or investigates anything. They just internalize whatever their parents and grandparents told them and that’s it. I remember once having a conversation with one of my cousins’ husband. Dude has a PhD in Biochemistry so he’s not exactly dumb. However, he is from the village in Bangladesh, was extremely bright, did well in school, got full scholarship and landed in the USA and completed graduate work there. We were discussing the very Koranic verses I cited above and hence why I read so much about other traditions. His response is that was “you don’t need to understand Buddhism. You don’t need it. Who cares?”
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It was a repudiation of Buddhism. It was a mechanical, pragmatic way of looking at the world and a deliberate method to staying ignorant and comfortable in a narrow worldview represented by his upbringing and socialization. It was also a slap in the face to my world view which is expansive and inclusive. (I should add, I can’t stand the guy and neither does most of my family.)
It’s not just Muslims who are like this. I mean we can point the finger at the Christian Right in the United States or Hindu radicals in India. That rigidity is everywhere. My only wish is that people everywhere become more fluid and accepting, like a stream or a river.
Afterall, isn’t it the Chinese who believe that water is the strongest element, capable of changing the earth itself?
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Categories: False prophits, Politico, Raise your EQ, Think like the Illuminati, This is why the planet is screwed up | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Eye Does Not Have Permission To Own

(WARNING: Explicit and NSFW images and links included in this article)

Diana Vreeland, probably the most powerful and influential fashion editor of all time, once said that, “the eye needs to travel” especially for sources of inspiration, ideas and creativity. I would largely agree with her, but to that I would also add, that unfortunately whatever the eye sees, it also usually wants to take or own and that it takes enormous discipline to train it.

Vreeland in her famous red room, a study in excess if you ask me.

Vreeland in her famous red room, a study in excess if you ask me.

I bring up this quote because of the latest kerfuffle involving Miley Cyrus, her online fight with Sinead O’Connor, the latest video by Rihanna which leaves very little to the imagination and has feminists of all stripes and shapes in a twist.
Rihanna, in one of the more "sedate" shots from her "Pour it up" video.

Rihanna, in one of the more “sedate” shots from her “Pour it up” video.

My own opinion is that all this physical exposure is going towards the slow but inevitable complete and total ownership of the female form in the public space. Very little is left of the mystery and the power of it. Some might argue that calling your own shots in how you expose your body, with whom and within what medium is actually self-empowering. While I do think what a woman decides to do with her body, where and with whom is completely and entirely her decision, I do think that controlling the level of that mystery and privacy around your own body is even more empowering.
Another display of the genius of Dov Charney, the president of American Apparel. Do we really need shots like these to sell SOCKS? (and no, I don't find this sexy at all)

Another display of the genius of Dov Charney, the president of American Apparel. Do we really need shots like these to sell bloody SOCKS? (and no, I don’t find this sexy at all)

I don’t mean hiding female bodies behind a niqab or hijab (or nun’s habit in the West) but rather that women should be able to share the most private parts of themselves when THEY choose, that their bodies are not just a given to be shared, shown and given to any eye, like a public billboard sign.
Burqas and niqabs are the other extreme. I think it's possible to find a balance between these two extremes.

Burqas and niqabs are the other extreme. I think its possible to find a balance between these two polar extremes.

That’s largely the debate in the West however it has major implications and spill-over effects in the East and  the rest of the developing world.
India is now in the midst of an epidemic of rape.
It’s not like it never existed there. It’s always been an undercurrent of life particularly for women of low caste (check out the life of Phoolan Devi, the Bandit Queen to see what I mean) . However because of recent well-known rape cases going public and the unprecedented protests and serious soul-searching in their wake, the issue is being talked about more than ever.
4 of the 5 Delhi rapists (the 5th hung himself in jail). from left to right: Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta, Mukesh Singh, Akshay Thakur

4 of the 5 Delhi rapists (the 5th, Ram Singh hung himself in jail). from left to right: Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta, Mukesh Singh, Akshay Thakur

Last winter 5 thugs boarded a bus and brutally raped a physiotherapy student on her way home from the cinema with her male companion. It wasn’t bad enough that they all took turns raping her, then raped her with a 4 foot long iron rod which caused such horrific internal damage that it eventually killed her. It was the fact that the gang rape lawyer representing the 2 of the men recently came out and said “If my daughter was having premarital sex and moving around at night with her boyfriend, I would have burned her alive. I would not let this situation happen. All parents should adopt such an attitude,” (This is a lawyer folks, someone with more than a high school education, living in a major urban area, the guy who is supposed to put the bad guys in jail, he’s not some toothless village hick.) While these comments and attitudes are really, truly repugnant and belong in the Stone Age as far as I’m concerned, it touches an issue few have yet broached.
Rapists' lawyer, A.P Singh = First class douche nozzle

Rapists’ lawyer, A.P Singh = First class douche nozzle

No one has really discussed this but I think these gang-rapes and the nature of how violent they have become in recent years is largely due to the prevalence of free porn on the internet.
Before the internet, Western pornography was something that circulated in the hands of very rich, discrete Indians who secretly brought them in either via the West or from Japan. Due to India’s very strict obscenity laws,  that stuff was and still is, illegal. Getting caught distributing a copy of Playboy, Penthouse or Hustler would definitely land you in jail. The culture is extremely conservative despite what Bollywood movies, posh yoga retreats, globalization, friendly call-centers and neo-liberal policies may lead you to think.
That for many men in India and in other parts of the world, there are only two types of women in the world, the kind you enjoy and the kind you marry and the two are NOT the same. So of course this creates a double standard in Indian society which continues, in much the same way we have on this side of the Earth (The “why is it a guy can sleep around and be stud but if a girl does, she’s a slut?” type of arguments). Only in India they openly admit it and don’t deny it in the least. (Check out Mira Nair’s documentary “India Cabaret” if you can if you want to pursue this topic even more.)
One of the dancers from "India Cabaret" and how she's treated by her clients.

One of the dancers from “India Cabaret” and how she’s treated by her clients.

However with the internet, any sort of access is now possible. Viewing any sort of pornography is a few keystrokes away. There are no airport security, police officers and disapproving family members and public shaming to worry about. You can see anything you want, any time you want.  And it’s not just well-traveled Indian business men, university educated engineers and doctors, wealthy urbanites who can view this stuff. It’s also the poor migrant rural worker who left his village , who has never gone to school, who has never touched a girl in his life (except maybe a prostitute if he can afford one) because the public version of the culture he comes from does not allow it. It’s the uneducated rickshaw puller who has never seen nor talked to a woman from the West or even from within his own life aside from his mother or sister but has access and watches these porn videos and  videos of singers like Rihanna or Miley or Madonna or Christina and because he doesn’t know any better, then thinks that ALL women from the West naturally behave that way, are naturally that easy and are naturally that sexually open and voracious as implied in the images they create themselves or participate in.
One of Madonna's favorite dance moves.  Thankfully not every female hangs out like this in public all the time.

One of Madonna’s favorite dance moves. Thankfully not every female hangs out like this in public all the time.

“Maybe,” he might even venture to think, “perhaps all women deep down inside are like that so if I just isolate her and get a chance, she’ll do the same things for me which I see the women in those videos do. I get what I want, she’ll never speak up and no one will be any wiser.” (I mean I remember when Dynasty and Dallas were shown there. I had cousins come up to me thinking that I must live in a similar kind of house!)
As if I would ever live like these folks....

As if I would ever live like these folks….

When I was living in Turkey and specifically in Antalya, a very high-end holiday resort city which these days is full of very wealthy Russians, I had a weekly ritual, of buying either a copy of “The Guardian” or “The International Herald Tribune” every Sunday morning, have my breakfast at a local café and then walk over to one of the lovely public parks which looked over the Mediterranean sea, sit down on a park bench and read my newspaper. Guaranteed, within 5 minutes, some Turkish maganda-type (a sleazy guy) would sit himself down and try coming on to me. When I started yelling at them that I was a teacher, a hojam, they freaked out, ashamed and quickly fled.
You can't even have a serene moment to yourself even in a park like this in broad daylight.

You can’t even have a serene moment to yourself even in a park like this in broad daylight, if you’re a woman on her own.

Why did he act that way towards me?
What did he assume about me?
Turkey, unfortunately is known for sex-tourism for women, in much the same way Thailand is for men or Morocco or the island of Mykonos is for gay men. Usually older, lonely European ladies, from Germany, Russia, Holland, Denmark, Norway and England come with their girlfriends and “spend time” in holiday towns like Bodrum, Alanya, Antalya, Marmaris, Kemer and there are unfortunately thousands of male Turkish hotel workers or workers in the tourism industry who are there to serve them. I even heard stories from some of my students who specifically wanted to learn English so that they could get a job at a hotel so that they could meet a “rich Western lady” and once saw a 50-something British lady, have a 20-something Turkish lad move in with her in Fethiye and bought him a car. That jerk who tried coming on to me, just naturally assumed that because I was not Turkish, and like the other 98% of other non-Turkish women he probably has encountered, I was obviously there looking for a bit of action and so he tried to make a go of it. He spoke perfect English so clearly he wasn’t completely stupid. This was also Turkey, not a poor, developing nation by any stretch of the imagination, say unlike Bangladesh.
19 year olf Turkish boy-toy Cihat Haciveliogullari, with the dogs of his 53 year old wife Julie Haycocks.

19 year old Turkish boy-toy Cihat Haciveliogullari, with the dogs of his British  53 year old wife Julie Haycocks.

Another time, during the summer holidays in elementary school, I was shipped back to the old country to visit and stay with relatives. I must have been 10 or 11 at the time and still basically a kid. I was on a shopping expedition in Dhaka with two elderly aunts and some female cousins. Under normal circumstances, we had a driver who took us everywhere we needed to go but for whatever reason that evening, he couldn’t fetch us in time and we had to take the bus which caused a lot of consternation with my aunts though I didn’t understand why at the time.
Gulistan bus station did NOT look like this when I was there. Imagine this picture but with people teeming everywhere instead.

Gulistan bus station did NOT look like this when I was there. Imagine this picture but with people teeming everywhere instead.

Gulistan Bus Station in Dhaka is literally hell on Earth. It’s crowded, it stinks,  it’s teeming  with wall-to-wall people, mostly poor men, migrant workers from the villages. An older cousin quickly told me before we entered the crowd that no matter what happened, I just had to keep walking fast and not look at or talk to anyone until we got to our designated bus platform. So I listened to her and followed her in. Not even 20 seconds into the mêlée, was I suddenly feeling hands trying to grope me in places where I still didn’t have any places to speak of. I couldn’t tell who was doing it because it was just a constant stream of people all around us and they all looked the same. After a minute, I was ready to scream. By the second minute my disgust had turned into pure blood-red rage. I couldn’t take it anymore and that blasted bus platform was still 50 feet away. I grabbed the wrist of the next hand I felt on me, saw the arm it was attached to, saw the shoulder and then saw the face and then duly punched it without hesitation. He was shocked and fled. Bangladesh is very conservative socially and Muslim. Women are generally quiet and submissive so for a young girl to punch a man publicly is unheard of. The people around us saw what happened, my aunts were mortified but we got to the bus stop without another hand touching us.
A pretty good facsimile of your's truly as a kid.

A pretty good facsimile of your’s truly as a kid.

How women carry themselves and how they behave here in the West, whether they realize this or not, has a direct impact and even deeper implications in the way women are viewed and treated in other parts of the world, even if it may seem there is no visible relationship at first glance. The digital world changed all of that forever. So when Miley decides to fellate a sledgehammer or have a noted sleazeball (and unfortunately, influential fashion photographer) like Terry Richardson direct her videos, or Rihanna decides to open her legs wide open for all and sundry to look in, it may very well be their form of empowerment in the confines of the photo studio or the tiny video screen or their personal handicams, but it certainly isn’t for millions of women out there in the rest of the world, who board buses at night or who want to enjoy their Sunday newspaper in peace at the park or just want to get home safely.
What is this really saying?

What is this really saying?

It isn’t empowerment in cultures where male eyes don’t just travel but feel the right to own anything it sees. I think that’s the main reason why so many men in the West feel uncomfortable around women who wear hijabs, because it forces them to realize that these are women who are not and never will be sexually available to them and I’m near positive that’s what pisses them off the most. (It’s a totally different discussion and beyond the scope of this blog post, but Islamic feminism does exist and I have a few Muslim friends who do wear the hijab as a form of protest and as a feminist statement. In short it’s their way of saying to men “Look at *me*, deal with *me* as a person and nothing else. Not as someone who you can daydream about, not as someone who you can try to make a pass at eventually.  Just a person, and nothing else.”)
Wearing a hijab can be a political statement. For some women who are forced to wear it, it can be a sign of male domination. In other instances, it can be a form of rejection of male-imposed standards of beauty and sexual availability.

Wearing a hijab can be a political statement. For some women who are forced to wear it, it can be a sign of male domination. In other instances, it can be a form of rejection of male-imposed standards of beauty and sexual availability.

It isn’t body-acceptance when there are hundreds of millions of men who view a largely uncovered female form as permission towards body ownership.
I wish some of these artists would finally understand that sometimes showing more doesn’t always mean more. They may be showing more, but it’s hurting others even more. That when it comes to the female body, the excuse of cultural context is now forever gone thanks to the digital world. Sometimes showing less can be just as artistic and powerful.
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Categories: Politico, Pop culture, Raise your EQ, This is why the planet is screwed up | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

The Journey to the Centre

A far-reaching science and a vast body of philosophy is contained in this figure monad The circle symbolizes the universe and the dot represents Cosmic Intelligence who sustains and animates it. Look at it and you will see that the central point is at exactly the same distance from every point on the circumference; and it is this that enables it to maintain the circle in perfect equilibrium. A ceaseless ebb and flow that exists between the centre and the periphery, communicating life to the whole area enclosed by the circle. The fullness of life is there: vibrating, palpitating, digesting and eliminating, breathing and thinking…Astrologers have always used the circle with a dot in the centre to represent the sun and this figure   monad  can be seen in every sphere of nature from the solar system to the atom. The dot represents the spirit, the prime mover, the space between the dot and the circumference represents the soul where currents between the spirit and physical are exchanged and the circumference represents the body, the physical limit. And now if you look at the structure of an eye, the inside of fruit or a tree, you will recognize the same pattern, these same three divisions: the spirit, the soul and the body.

– Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov, “The Symbolic Languages of Geometrical Figures

Ramadan starts tomorrow (pending if the crescent moon is sighted tonight of course) marking the holiest month for Muslims worldwide.

Ramadan crescent moon as seen over Bahrain.

Ramadan crescent moon as seen over Bahrain, near top right hand corner

When Ramadan ends, the Islamic calendar then celebrates one of it’s most important holidays of Eid al-Fitr, the breaking of the fast. When I was growing up, the fast was explained to me as a spiritual exercise in which we need to forget about mundane matters for a little while and think about deeper spiritual matters in that time instead. I was also told that the fasting was also to help us feel and understand what those who are less fortunate than us must feel when they are hungry and this is to instill a sense of brotherhood and sisterhood which is to extend to all members of the human family, that we have a duty to be each others keepers and feed those who are hungry and share with others what we have (hence the insane amounts of food which are distributed at mosques and street vendors every evening during Ramadan around the world when the fast breaks at sunset to anyone who shows up, Muslim or not).

Ramadan food stalls in the streets of Kuala Lampur.

Ramadan food stalls in the streets of Kuala Lampur.

It made me think about the other Pillars of Faith within Islam. For several years now, my brother and I have been asking my dad if he wants to do the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina all Muslims are supposed to undertake if they have the means. He keeps saying no. Mostly because my dad is not super-religious at all but keeps his spirituality private but I also suspect being alone in Saudi Arabia wouldn’t be fun for him either at his advanced age. I wouldn’t be against accompanying him for the pilgrimage to see first-hand what the experience would be like.

Some of my elder relatives have done the Hajj. When I asked one of my great-aunts about it, she would always inevitably tear up and say that she never felt closer to God than during the Hajj, that the whole experience shifted her perception of life and creation, that she really felt that sense of brotherhood and sisterhood with the rest of humanity, with everyone dressed the same in the white shroud (again to stress the equality of each human life and to signify no rank, no hierarchy, no caste, no chosen tribe, no separateness, that we are all in this together), everyone doing the same rituals (like the throwing of the stones to the devil), and the 7 rotations around the Kaaba, the centre of Islam, everyone coming together in unity irrespective of color, culture, race and gender and the overwhelming sense of peace it brought her.

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In Islam, the Kaaba is the centre.

I bring up the Aivanhov quote because that’s what the centrality of the Kaaba and Mecca reminds me of, as well as the rotations around it and the way that Muslims around the world, regardless of location need to pray towards Mecca. To me it’s symbolic, not literal.

Indian Muslims near the Taj Mahal, praying in the direction of Mecca.

Indian Muslims near the Taj Mahal, praying in the direction of Mecca.

I do however find the idea of pilgrimages to be a beautiful one, whether it’s the more established one like the Hajj or Hindus making their way to Varanasi,

Hindu pilgrims at Varanasi

Hindu pilgrims at Varanasi

…or Christians going to Rome, Jerusalem or doing the Camino in northern Spain or other holy sites like Medjugorje, Fatima or Lourdes.

Pilgrims walking along Santiago de Compostela.

Pilgrims walking along Santiago de Compostela.

Some people need to do the Pow-wow circuit which is in full swing now among First Nations communities with the Sun Dance happening out west later this summer.

Getting ready to do the pow-wow

Getting ready to do the pow-wow

I know at some point I need to make my way towards the Rila Mountains in Bulgaria for the August full-moon sessions of Paneurhythmy, a form of dance and solar yoga which the followers of Aivanhov and Peter Deunov follow. It takes place near the Seven Lakes of Rila.

Followers of the teachings of Aivanhov and Deunov doing the Paneurhythmy dance in the Rila mountains.

Followers of the teachings of Aivanhov and Deunov doing the Paneurhythmy dance in the Rila mountains.

Not a lot of people know about Paneurhythmy but several years ago but each year, more and more YouTube videos are going up. I have no idea when I’ll go but one of my contacts there once told me, “Don’t worry about when you come, Rila is always here for you.”

Other pilgrimages follow no rule-book or formula but instead are highly personal, simply places that they are compelled to go to, rituals they need to do for whatever reason, places which may very well be in the middle of nowhere and have no meaning to anyone else. To me it’s all good. Like anything else in life, it’s intention here which counts. It’s not the idea of going through the motions of certain rituals but rather what you bring to them which changes everything and your experience of it.

It’s the journey which got you there which counts, not the end destination.

Categories: Ascension, New Energy Centers, Raise your EQ, Those unseen things, Travels | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Spiritual trendiness

Joseph Campbell

Joseph Campbell

“When you find an author who really grabs you, read everything he has done. Don’t say, ‘Oh, I want to know what So-and-so did’ — and don’t bother at all with the best-seller list. Just read what this one author has to give you. And then you can go read what he had read. And the world opens up in a way that is consistent with a certain point of view. But when you go from one author to another, you may be able to tell us the date when each wrote such and such a poem — but he hasn’t said anything to you.”
– Joseph Campbell

Shrine of Rumi, Konya, Turkey

Shrine of Rumi, Konya, Turkey. The turquoise-tiled minaret shows where Rumi is buried.

Rumi's grave (May eternal peace be upon him)

Rumi’s grave (May eternal peace be upon him)

I remember while in Turkey, taking a long weekend off of work to journey to Konya to watch the Whirling Dervishes, the mystical Islamic Sufi order established by Jalaluddin Rumi (or Mevlana as he is known by in Turkey), dance the Sema dance and to visit Rumi’s grave. I’m sure you’ve seen in either in ads or commercials or documentaries.

To outsiders who don’t know any better, it just looks like a group of men in long flowing white skirts and jackets, wearing fez hats, twirling around in circles. The Sema, in fact has a deeper symbolism. The circles they dance in represents the Circle of Life. Birth, death and rebirth. Fall, winter, spring and summer. The blood in our bodies being pumped out by the heart to only return back to the heart. The examples are infinite. It induces a trance-like state for the dancer which is supposed to help them meet with That, like ayahuasca might for some or peyote for others.

Mevlana was actually born in present-day Afghanistan, wrote all his poetry in the Persian language and is buries in present-day Turkey.

Mevlana was actually born in present-day Afghanistan, wrote all his poetry in the Persian language and is buried in present-day Turkey.

Back then, Rumi was not the spiritual superstar that New Agers and certain yoga instructors these days love to quote. In fact even 10 years ago, I’m sure if you even mentioned Rumi to those who were knee-deep in Deepak Chopra-speak or Wayne Dyer-speak, they wouldn’t even know who or what you were talking about. It’s interesting to watch because since the Rumi train seems to be slowing down now, I’ve noticed that the Deepak/Dyer crowd have now jumped on another mystical Islamic, Persian poet, namely Hafiz. (I’m betting after they get sick of or run out of the Persian poets, they’ll return to the Russians like Alexander Blok, and Pushkin and then heaven forbid, the old Europeans mystics like William Blake, W.B Yeats, Goethe, Meister Eckhart and Emanuel Swedenborg. It’s always about finding a “new” bottle for old wine.)

When western yoga instructors "discover" Emanuel Swedenborg, will that lead to a revival of interest in Christian mysticism? Your guess is as good as mine...

When western yoga instructors “discover” Emanuel Swedenborg, will that lead to a revival of interest in Christian mysticism? Your guess is as good as mine…

Truth be told, I find the sudden interest in Islamic mysticism by some Westerners and bubble-headed yoga instructors who are normally Conservative, Republican, right-wing and very anti-Arab or anti-Muslim, strange to put it mildly. True, the poetry of Rumi and Hafiz have inspired wonderment across centuries. If you have even the smallest spiritual inclination in you, you can’t help but be touched by their words. But before Rumi, it was the Khalil Gibran train. Before Gibran, it was Marianne Williamson and Neale Donald Walsch. It’s this constant hopping around because it’s a trend, without any real study or serious reflection on the works of these past masters and then passing it off as “This makes me look serious” which I take issue with.

if you want to be trendy with what you wear and what you eat, fine. But don't expect anyone to take you seriously if you do it with your spirituality.

if you want to be trendy with what you wear and what you eat, fine. But don’t expect anyone to take you seriously if you do it with your spirituality.

And this brings me back to Campbell’s quote above. I have to agree with Campbell 150% on this one. It is best to find someone whose words ring so deeply and so true for you that you will need to read up on all their works to process and internalize their ideas and sentiments properly. That’s when you start to “get” them properly. One spiritual master whose words have consistently resonated deeply with me, as I have posted many times here is Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov.

It was Neem Karoli Baba who gave him the name "Omraam" and it was Swami Nityananda who explained that Aivanhov was an incarnation of Vedic sage from the Solar Age and in fact had come back to bring back the Solar teachings.

It was Neem Karoli Baba who gave him the name “Omraam” and it was Nityananda who explained that Aivanhov was an incarnation of Vedic sage from the Solar Age and in fact had come back to bring back the Solar teachings. Apparently he also met the legendary Babaji in the Himalayas as well but he refused to talk about it.

Like all seekers at the beginning of their road, I did my fair share of hopping as well. Not because a certain writer was the flavour of the month but because I was searching. I read George Gurdjieff, Rudolph Steiner, tried Jiddu Krishnamurti and Theosophy in earnest but none of it seemed to “stick” for lack of a better word. But with Aivanhov, it was like remembering a deeply treasured memory which had been forgotten and a flood of light breaking through a door. I’ve been reading Aivanhov since at least 1996 and have never looked back.
In fact here’s a photo of my Aivanhov bookshelf;

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Like I posted recently, these days it’s also Alan Watts which is speaking to me (thank God for YouTube!). While I don’t see myself going to Japan to study Zen in all seriousness with a proper Zen master ( and I’m not even sure if the monasteries there even accept women!), Watts, like Aivanhov, was/is able to synthesize the Perennial teachings along with recent scientific findings and present it with their own flair and in such a way the modern reader/listener can connect instantly.

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That is a rare talent and not one which New Age hucksters can ever master convincingly.

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Categories: Ascension, Ch-ch-ch-changes, False prophits, Raise your EQ, Shift of the Ages effects, Travels, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Cultural Ignorance is for Lazies

This is something which has been bugging me for a while now within the conspiracy-theory set.

Kerry Cassidy - a walking botheration

Kerry Cassidy – a walking botheration

I guess what set it off was this interview by Project Camelot’s Kerry Cassidy, who for the record, I can’t stand. From what I have read, she is someone who tried to go into acting and it just didn’t work out but even watching and listening to her interviews online, she drives me nuts because she’s constantly interrupting her guests and interjecting comments to try to show off how knowledgeable she is, when she isn’t and I just wish she’d learn some journalistic manners. She’s almost as bad as Lilou Mace.
David Wilcock - classic New Age shyster

David Wilcock – classic New Age shyster

When the whole Drake/David Wilcock-thing blew up and there was no rounding up and mass arrests of Illuminati members, Cassidy should have been accountable from the get go. Here is the pathetic interview she aired with David Wilcock crying his crocodile tears and freaking out over the (non)danger to his life.
But that’s not what bugs me about her. It’s her complete and total and utter cultural ignorance of anything out of the American, White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant (WASP) paradigm which she is a product of. I mean in that first interview, she’s interviewing some dude who is convinced the Jesuits are more powerful than the Illuminati. While I agree that there probably are not-very-nice secret societies and groups within the Catholic Church like Opus Dei, what strikes me over and over again within the conspiracy-world set is that many of them are either British or American. They view the world through that same British-American, White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant paradigm. Not all, but most.
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Before any of you freak out on me, I’m generalizing of course. I’m generalizing about the general public, most don’t know about the Catholic world and churches which predate Catholicism by millenia. Most of them know zilch about the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Coptic Church or even earlier churches like the Nestorian , Manichaean or Sabian Christians. They know even less about Islam. What boggles my mind is that these earlier churches and cultures are the roots of their own Western civilization and bridged that period between the fall of the Roman Empire and the Dark Ages and eventually laid the groundwork for the Renaissance and Enlightenment. They only know about Hinduism and Buddhism because they are popular due to yoga, Gandhi and the Dalai Lama. Or Bruce Lee movies.
Lalibela - Do many WASPs know that this church in Ethiopia is also a part of their religious background?

Lalibela – Do many WASPs know that this church in Ethiopia is also a part of their religious background?

Of course these other cultures and traditions do not speak English. Many of their original writings have not been translated into English or French or Spanish (the imperialistic languages) properly. They are usually in their original archaic Greek, Arabic, Aramaic, Armenian or Copt. However, very often, if you’re not alert, there usually is a hidden agenda of indirect cultural supremacy which is being promoted.
When you read history, you always have to keep in mind about biases and why those biases are there.

When you read history, you always have to keep in mind about biases and why those biases are there.

To give you an example of this cultural underhandedness, let’s use historian Thomas Cahill and the book he wrote “How the Irish Saved Civilization”. Cahill posits that after the fall of Rome, when Europe began to be overrun by barbarians like the Huns, Saxons and Visigoths and plunged into the Dark Ages, all those precious manuscripts and tomes from Classical Greece, the works of Aristotle, Plato, Pythagoras, Socrates etc. were saved by Irish monks who painstakingly preserved those works by copying them by hand, generation after generation and that they were the ones who saved these works which eventually were the cornerstones of the European Enlightenment.
A typical page from the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript from ireland.

A typical page from the Book of Kells, a beautiful illuminated manuscript from Ireland.

While I don’t disagree with Cahill on that point, he makes it out that ONLY the Irish saved civilization. What Cahill fails to mention is that while Europe slid into the Dark Ages, Islam was experiencing it’s Golden Age. All those classical Greek and Egyptian treatises were also copied, saved, studied and discussed in cities like Baghdad, Damascus, Alexandria, Timbuktu, Constantinople, Tehran, Bukhara leading to discoveries in algebra (al-jabr), advanced mathematics, astronomy, philosophy, optics, plumbing, water management and medicine. Much of that knowledge was then hauled off back to Europe during the different Crusades. The Crusades were not just about “re-capturing Jerusalem for the Christendom”. It was about economics, hauling back silks, carpets and most importantly, spices. That’s the equivalent of the American military saying that they want to “liberate” Iraq, when everyone now knows it’s about the oil, stupid. Same shit, different century.
The Silk and Spice routes

The Silk and Spice routes

More recently a THIRD area has now been identified by scholarship where many works from the ancient world were saved and that is the ancient monasteries of Armenia, in and around Yerevan. Polish writer Rzysard Kapuscinski (especially in his book “Imperium”) and Russian scholars have increasingly found that the ancient world was much more inter-connected than we realize. That knowledge did not go only in one direction (i.e West) but spread out like a cloud in ALL directions from the Mediterranean basin, Asia Minor and Near East.
Civilization and knowledge from the classical world did NOT just go into the orange areas on this map, unlike what most Western history textbooks will tell you.

Civilization and knowledge from the classical world did NOT just go into the orange areas on this map, unlike what most Western history textbooks will tell you.

Much has been written about and speculated about the Vatican Archives and library, about the fabulous treasures hiding there and how no one can access that library except the Pope. The Vatican Library is not the end all and be all of ancient human knowledge. In recent years, there has been an effort and push to catalogue and assess the holdings of Mount Athos, Greece. Mount Athos, in case you did not know is probably the holiest site in Orthodoxy and the Orthodox Church is far older that the Catholic one. The monasteries there have survived, uninterrupted, nearly for 1500 years and even survived the Nazi Occupation of Greece during WWII when the Patriarch outwitted Hitler. Mount Athos is also still regularly producing saints and seers in modern times like Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain.
Modern day saint - Elder Paisios of Mount Athos

Modern day saint – Elder Paisios of Mount Athos

Like I mentioned earlier, the older centers of learning were Baghdad, Damascus, Timbuktu, Alexandria, Tehran, Mount Athos and Yerevan.
Baghdad–> Iraq (museums were looted, libraries destroyed, ancient manuscripts gone)
Damascus–> Syria (in the throes of civil war)
Alexandria–> Egypt (still in transition)
Tehran–> Iran (ear-marked for war eventually)
Mount Athos–> Greece (in economic disarray)
Yerevan–>Armenia (your guess is as good as mine)
Almost daily demonstrations in Athens against austerity measures being imposed on the Greeks.

Almost daily demonstrations in Athens against austerity measures being imposed on the Greeks.

Iraq, Syria, Mali, Egypt, Iran, Greece…does anyone here see a pattern?
There is hope against this imperialistic attitude, historical revisionism and all-out bullshit. People are waking up and questioning things, slowly but surely but more needs to be done.
Watch what happens here when he showed up in New York City, in Times Square and tried to incite a crowd…
Categories: Ascension, Conspirio, Politico, Pop culture, Raise your EQ, Think like the Illuminati, This is why the planet is screwed up, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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