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The Unbearable Heaviness of Being

My quest for the eternal lightness

Category Archives: contemplative

I feel a little in the ‘mystical mood’ today. 

The ‘sufism’ tradition in Islam seeks the experiential knowledge of the divine unity – by letting go of notions of duality. In Zen, attainment of enlightenment (consciousness of the divine) – the merging of human and the divine through silent and mindful meditations, often requiring abandonment of the conceptual thinking and of the dualistic way one orders the world.

From the Jewish Kabbalistic thought:  …the true essence of G-d is so transcendent that it cannot be described. This true essence of G-d is ‘without end’, which encompasses the idea of His lack of boundaries in both time and space; yet this essence interacts with the universe through its emanations which are all interconnected.

The Rebbe’s teaching on ‘Oneness through the Kabbalah’ seeks to integrate our reality and G-d’s reality, to see how they are really one -attaining peace between our own body and soul, between us and G-d. (Uniting heaven and earth).

What could it have also meant then, when one says, the Father (G-d) and I are One?

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Doctor Lessing! Where are you going?
             

Urgent telegram. I must go to Berlin immediately.
What are these flowers?

They’re for your departure.
             

I’ll take just one. I’ll take it to my wife: Guido’s flower.
I truly enjoyed myself with you.
You’re the most ingenious…waiter I’ve ever come across.

Thank you. You’re the customer with the most culture I’ve ever served.
             

Thank you.
             

Good-bye, Doctor Lessing.
             

By the way.
“If you say my name…I’m not there anymore. Who am I?”

If you say my name, I’m not there anymore.
What is it? What did he say?
“Silence!”
Beautiful. If you say the word, it’s not there anymore. Silence.

– Life Is Beautiful

When we are frightened, or unsure of ourselves, we don’t like ambiguities. When I am frightened into believing that the name of God is so holy, that one is not worthy to call and shall die when beholding, then YHWH will be the name feared most. Yet, beautiful is that name when the name simply means I AM WHO I AM. If you say my name, it is not there anymore; it no longer is. A name revered most. 

Perhaps then, life will indeed be beautiful. When I AM WHO I AM is not about how much accurate words are put into discourse (there is none). That perhaps, we could merely attempt to listen, to feel, to live, to be part of, to observe and to multiply all that.

 

It’s lunch time now and I’m sitting in my office on the fourth floor. The cleaning lady is replacing the plastic bag from the wastebin. I could hear the Azan Zohor resounding in the air on the other side of the window (the mosque is next to  my office). She approached my table and began wiping my pc. 

 “Thank you,” I said with a smile.  – “Ha??”

I repeated myself, “thank you,” my hand already approaching my lips trying to sign the ASL ‘thank you’ , thinking she was deaf.

“Oh…ya.” She carved a smile. “Belum makan?”

I think I blushed. I replied, “oh belum lagi, tapi dah nak turun la ni”.

She smiled again before disappearing behind the door.

I stared at the door a while longer thinking about the seeming harmony that holds our multi-racial (multi-religious) nation together. I am tempted to examine the depth of our commitment to each other. It won’t be long before we hit the polls again. With much that is demonstrated so far from all ends, I wonder if we have ever believed in such a kinship. I fail to see a meaningful attempt to renew and rethink such commitment as embraced by this 50-year old nation.

My friend posted this some time back and I think it is a story worth retelling. I am also intrigued to reimagine this story in our context. What would we be telling our children? Would we tell them that the Azan is my neighbour’s expression of  loving God? 

I am still recovering from my ‘active’ weekend. Sat through a meeting this afternoon with my head spinning…had lots of juices since the morning.

Some interesting conversations during the weekend. I am still processing them.

  1. That we inevitably put God in a box. Inevitable because we need to define God in a way that we can talk about God within our culture. To speak of the divine within a framework that is imaginable, connectable and acceptable.
  2. To speak of God as a being, i.e. father is to limit God. My friend reminded me that there are those in ancient times who connected with God through statutes – that God is not spoken of as a person. Still, others through sound and light.  
  3. That I cannot find any value that is exclusively of a particular faith. In the sense that the way to God (the right way that is) requires our embracing of certain values. But what values then? I am inclined to think that values are that which hold a community together. Some values are cultural. These values may sometimes seem to contradict from one culture to another. Others are universal – but simply not religious. 
  4. We want to understand God as a definitive. Controlled and well defined parameters. Morality is one of the parameters. Is it? What are other parameters? 

By now my head is feeling much better. Thanks to coffee.

Palm oil price swelled another rm50 today. It’s been up more than rm300 in just 2 weeks. Greed is what makes us lose our sleep. We are upset that we have sold rm20 lower. Now that we have sold at the high we are afraid that it could be another rm200 higher. Hhmm…..and we are already making a profit of rm1800 every tonne. What better job can I find myself in?

Joe, my Catholic buddy would be delighted to know that I am slowly returning to what he calls my ‘roots’ in my gradual Lutheran and Episcopalian leaning.

Why I am inclined to the Anglican Church’s expression of faith: 

To be, so to speak, an ordinary average Anglican, to be an ordinary average Anglican diocese, to be an ordinary average Anglican bishop, now involves you in thinking about, planning for, and involving yourself in, some quite extraordinary and, on the face of it, sometimes rather unanglican bits of new life. We’re rediscovering something about what the Church is, as well as what the Church of England is; rediscovering that the Church is something that happens before it’s something that is institutionally organised – Fresh Expressions, the ‘life blood’ of who we are.