The Three Cats

three-cats

I was born a Fakir, or perhaps, I might have originated from a race of Tree people, at least that’s what my twelve senses tell me.

Never in my entire life have I ever doubted the mysterious, the unexplained or the invisible. This fascination remains orbiting my soul and I have never lost faith in the ‘mystical’ aspects of life. I was the opposite of a skeptic- I was a believer ever since the day I stepped into the world.

Later, it dawned upon me, that there was something more, something far deeper than my conscience that kept me believing in the unbelievable. I delved into science and philosophy and later religion, desperately trying to connect the dots of this belief system that was not a part of my genome. The more I read the more engrossing the journey became, because in essence, science was also trying to explain the very same forces that bewitched me ever since my childhood. Of course, academia illuminated the curious young mind, but there was little it could offer in way of explaining the complexities of the soul. It also failed to provide satisfying answers to the existence of realms beyond the boundaries of the visible.

There are in life many incidents that cannot be explained. Some dismiss it as coincidence and others simply do not ‘believe’, either because they cannot fathom the reasons behind the shadows or they require some kind of proof. What if something happens in your life, a strange and mysterious incident for which there is no reasonable explanation? What does one do then? Live this life wondering? That incident will never leave you however much you try. It will haunt the mind, and if you happen to be a skeptic, the haunting will become even more persistent. Believing won’t hurt you, it will just open up certain dormant neuronal pathways which will allow you to think ‘differently’. Your perceptions are theresult of the cumulative programming of your grey matter to believe in what you think (or are taught to believe) is possible. What if you deprogram your brain and press the reset button? What will happen? A small example of this is ‘dreaming’. You are relatively ‘free’ when you dream. You are uninhibited. All your senses are truly awakened when you dream- you can literally traverse unimaginable distances in this ‘dream realm’. You can be anyone, be anyplace, and do anything in your dreams. You attain a ‘magical’ status in this dream realm. We all dream. So why can’t we all allow ourselves to believe.

So what happens when you ‘believe’ in the unbelievable?

Uncluttering. Freedom. Spiritual progression. New forms of thinking.

It is our involuntary self.

Quite simple.

I will relate one such incident. It connects me irrevocably to the ‘primitive purer’ part of my existence. One, whichperhaps, willcarry me on to the next dimension.

Three months out of the year were spent with my grandmother in my motherland. It was a time when I was completely free. No school, no homework, no assignments, no peer pressure. I was young but my soul was not. I yearned for days when I could truly educate myself without the crutch of ‘traditional schooling’. I needed to find out answers for myself. Here, at my grandparents place, I could pursue my road to enlightenment. The vast gardens, the beautiful Oak trees, the wildlife and the open skies. I was in heaven.

Every day I would take long walks through the cornfields, sit by the riverside, marvel at the ladybugs and take in the fresh air of nature. This was the kind of school that the world needed, I used to think to myself. An outdoor school would mean freedom from tradition. An indoor school meant boxing up your thoughts and compartmentalizing your dreams.

Every evening, when my grandfather returned from court, we would all sit in the veranda and eat corn that had been roasting on an open fire. The fireflies danced and the stars twinkled- they all become my teachers. My grandparents were interesting people and formed an intricate part of the mystical equation. My grandmother was an artist and poet and my grandfather understood the power of numerology. Hence, my outdoor school was certainly a unique one.

It was designed for me. We all have the choice to design our own schools.

Every evening, three beautiful cats, one black, one white and one beige-brown kitten, would come and sit by my feet. Soon they became my wild friends. They emerged from the darkest spot from behind the grand Oak at the edge of the garden and disappeared into the mist when nighttime approached. Soon my new found feline friends started paying me daytime visits. I would keep a nice bowl of warm milk ready for them. They always appeared on time- they were never late and they did not forsake my friendship.

Often as I penned a poem, they sat beside me, purring softly, telling me to never stop writing poetry, because poetry fed the soul. They soon became my mystic teachers- I knew this fact by the way they appeared every time I was engrossed in thought. The three cats stayed with me until the end of summer. My heart was heavy because they had become my spiritual companions.They were always there for me and we had established our very own forms of communication-cross species telepathy. I was sad to leave them but I knew they belonged to the garden, I could never deprive them of this freedom.

And so, I returned to my adopted land, far away from my outdoor school and back to the indoor one. I wonder if one learns anything at all in this indoor school? We are taught to unlearn rather than learn. We are taught to compete, to be ambitious, to prove ourselves and our worth in these indoor schools. I wonder, if what we call a ‘school’ is really that? Or is it a place where our minds are cloned to behave inacertain way, desirable to society and the norm?

One day my mother received a call from my grandmother. I instantly ran towards the phone, I had to ask my grandmother if my three cats were ok.

She informed me that even though she still keeps a bowl of fresh milk out on the porch for them- they have vanished. She specifically told me that they all left the very sameday I did.

At the time, I was rather confused and mystified. This made no sense to me. Why did they stop visiting my grandparent’s house when they could still get fresh milk?

Now, years later, I often wonder that perhaps the nice warm bowl of milk was just an excuse. The real reasons were far more mysterious than our simple human understanding. They were my spiritual teachers and they were part of my outdoor school experience. They taught metaphysics, esoteric studies, meditation, compassion, love, and tolerance. No human teacher ever taught me that. Yes, they were my teachers and when their student left and the school was shut down, they left too.

This tale might seem amusing to many, some of you might be smiling inwardly, but the tale of the three cats remains etched upon my conscience forever more.

Do you believe?

‘The Three Cats’
-Copyrights, Ansul Noor 2015-

The Tiny Hand

tiny-hand

The playground that once echoed with sounds of mirth,
Isnow a smoldering pyre.
A memory lost,
andno children play,
as innocence feeds this fire.

A gentle sobbing could be heard in the far corner of the hut. Her heart was veiled by the infinite shadows of sorrow- an abyss where everything disappeared except the silence. She renounced the title of ‘Mother’. What do you call a woman who has lost her child? Widows, orphans, – they all have names. But what about a mother who has no one to call her….Ma? No one noticed this invisible rain of infinite sorrow- no one cared, no one understood, no one listened.

The small desert village was once a peaceful and simple place before the wars had begun. Children blissfully played with their glass marbles on the dusty pavements until their mothers summoned them inside for supper. The cherubic laughter, the faces beaming with hope and excitement, the innocent pranks, the twinkling eyes. Childhood is a birthright. No one has the right to take it away. The child is a precious flower that spreads the scent of joy selflessly. A child is the essence of life.

When you look into the eyes of the child- you can easily drown into the depths of humanity. We can learn much from a child- they are the wise folk wearing little cloaks of humility. These precious ones are the peacemakers of our future.

The mother looked on at her happy brood. She knew in her heart, that even though she could never learn to read or write, her little ones would teach her. She had always wanted to spell her name; she had such a beautiful name, if only she could spell it.

‘My little girl will teach me, yes, I know she will.’

The mother made a living by scrubbing pots and pans for the tribal leaders. She would wake up every morning, make bread for her family, get water from the village well, and return with a smile on her face. She was content and happy in these daily chores, because she knew the faces of her children will erase all mortal pain and suffering in an instant.

They were also healers- they could heal her with one smile.

She would dress her children for school. Every little uniform perfectly ironed and washed. The ponytails were tied with matching ribbons, and the shoes shone brilliantly, thanks to the English Boot Polish she purchased from the Bazaar. Faces nice and clean, teeth, ivory white and every hair in place. People talk of religion, of duty, of ritual, but to her, this was her religion. Getting her little ones ready for school was an essential rite of passage, one she never missed. Her heart beat fast, she was so proud of these wise little folk, all standing in line and marching towards a bright future. Nothing gave her more joy than seeing them go to school.

Her hands were rough,wrinkled and swollen in places. The constant scrubbing had aged her hands beyond recognition. She did not care. She lulled an ancient tune as her hands scrubbed away. Actually the work gave her immense satisfaction and nothing could stop her from going to work. So she never complained, she never wept, she only thanked God for giving her hands so she could scrub. She worshipped the pots. For every dirty pot she scrubbed, meant one more book for her child. Smiling inwardly, she resumed her tasks, humming her folk song of peace and love. Time went by fast. With a hunched back and sweat lining her forehead, she looked earnestly at the sky- it was time to go home.Her children will be coming back from school. She placed the last squeaky clean pot on the floor. It was time to prepare a hearty meal for her children.She’d better hurry home quick.

“Ma….look at this. Look what I made for you!”

She looked at her little fairy, her angel, her life. There, in her tiny hands was a paper with a crayon drawing on it. The mother peered closely, and was awed at what she saw. It was a drawing of planet earth. Around the planet were purple rings and hearts. There were children of different kinds and colors, all holding hands, all so peaceful. Something was scribed in the center of the drawing. The mother could not read it- she did not know how.

“My sweet, what is that letter in the center?”

“Will you teach me?”

“Oh Ma…of course I will,” giggled the child.

“Ok precious one, I will learn from you.”

The little girl sensed her mother’s joy, yet detected the anguish she felt for not being able to read.

“I will make a drawing for you every day. Soon you will read better than my teacher!” The little girl gushed as she jubilantly twirled around her mother like a dainty butterfly.

“Alright my love, I have complete faith in you and your drawings.”

An earthen fireplace roared with friendly warmth in the main room of the hut, a straw mat was laid out on the floor and the children and their mother sat down to supper.

Their father had died in the war; a drone attack. He was one of many who had perished without a trace. These mechanical soldiers spared no one- they had a metal heart, were soulless, and merciless.

It was only them now. Yet they smiled, ate their humble meal, thanked God for all the bounty and hugged their Ma every chance they got.

After tucking them in andsending them into the land of dreams by singing alullaby, she got up and went to the main room and picked up the drawing.She looked at it intently; she could swear it almost glistened. There was an aura about it that defied explanation. It was a representation of the world through the eyes of a child. It was pure magic.

Proud of her girl’s achievement, she hung the masterpiece on the main wall of her hut. It was miracle, her daughter was an artist. A miracle indeed. Never in her life had she seen something that beautiful or inspiring. Only if she knew what the letters meant- it would make the experience even more magical.

‘My daughter will teach me.’

It was a wet afternoon. For some inexplicable reason the crows keep crowing until her eardrums almost burst. It was first time in all these years that she did not feel like scrubbing- in fact, it was the only time.

“If only these crows would stop!”

Evening swept across the skies like an angry bull. She felt weak and wanted to run home. For the first time in her life, she left the pots. It was strange. She felt very cold. All she knew was that she wanted to run home to her children- fast.

She patiently waited for her children. She looked at the sky, the sun was orange red, and the horizon was melting into the stars- giving off a bloodied hue.

Nothing but pale silence awaited her. No laughter. No chattering. No smiling faces. Just those crows- and their deafening foreboding cawing emanating from the darkening silhouette of the trees.

She took her stick and hurriedly made her way towards the village center.

They loved to skip after school. She will go fetch them.

‘Naughty angels, worrying your Ma like that.’

Far in the distance she saw a thick plume of smoke rising. She felt that nauseating weakness again. Her limbs felt soft, like she had no bones left in her body.

She started running towards the smoke, nothing else mattered now.

Something was very wrong.

She ran blindly, she ran wildly, only instincts guided her.

There was loud thud and she tumbled down onto the wet muddy ground.

As she struggled to get up, she felt something underneath her body.

It was a tiny hand.

In the charred hand was a crumpled burnt piece of paper with a drawing on it.

The woman recognized it instantly.

It was then that the abyss opened up. It was then that the infinite shadows of sorrow veiled her countenance.

What do you call a mother who has lost her child?

‘The Tiny Hand’- Book of Short Stories
Dedicated to the children who have lost their lives to senseless wars and acts of terror.
-Copyrights Ansul Noor-
Author of Soul Fire- A Mystical Journey through Poetry
2015

Last Flowering

last-flowering

When my husband and I moved into our house in central Arizona, a regal saguaro cactus grew in the front yard. From the beginning, we were proud of the elegance it lent to our landscape. Hardly a day went by that we didn’t admire the plant’s nicely swollen belly, its graceful spire, and tough as nails spines, highly effective armor against its predators. It was a robust, healthy looking specimen, over eight feet tall.

My husband and I were new to Arizona, knew next to nothing about the area’s indigenous plants, let alone the saguaro cactus. But over the next few years, I acquired some knowledge about Arizona cacti, and the saguaro in particular. For one thing, I learned that saguaros are protected by the Arizona Native Plant Law, which prohibits the damage or removal of any part of the plant from the environment without a permit.

The Saguaro is native to the Sonoran Desert of southeastern California, southern Arizona and adjoining northwestern Mexico. It is the largest cactus in the world. Its skin is smooth and waxy, but the trunk and stems have sharp, tough 2-inch spines protruding from their ribs. The average growth rate for a saguaro is only one inch per year, but it may attain great height, anywhere from 15 to 50 feet. When watered, the plant’s outer pulp expands, thus increasing the diameter of the stem and allowing for water storage. Because of this efficient hydration system, these cacti may weigh up to a ton.

Their capacity to store great amounts of water enables saguaros to flower every year, regardless of rainfall. In full bloom, their flowers display white petals about 3 inches in diameter, clustered around a tube about 4 inches in height. In the center of the petals, yellow stamens form a protective circle around the entrance to the tube, which contains sweet nectar at the bottom. This enticing nectar, combined with the color of the flower, invites birds, bats and insects to sip the syrup and pollinate the flower simultaneously. The saguaro can only be fertilized by cross-pollination (pollen from a different cactus).

The more I learned about saguaros, the more impressed I became with their attributes. I began to feel blessed having such a fine specimen guarding my house. It never failed to evoke my admiration as I drove up the driveway. I often forgot that it was merely a tall, decorative plant, for it seemed to be a creature in its own right. I thought this strange until I learned that the Tohono O’odham Native American Southwest Desert People consider the saguaro a sacred plant. To them, it is not just a plant, but also another form of humanity. It figures in their creation stories and even today, the Tohono O’odham people continue to harvest its fruits. My only disappointment with my resident saguaro was that it had not yet flowered.

One early Saturday morning, I opened the front room blinds and saw my beautiful saguaro lying flat on the ground. For a moment, shock overwhelmed me. I could only stare at the spectacle in disbelief. The plant’s roots had torn loose from the soil. Its top was jammed up against one wall of the garage. What had happened?

I ran outside, and examined it closely. It had not toppled on its own. Deep vertical gashes ran down the middle of its body. Midway between the top and bottom of its stem, there were two yawning gouges. These puncture wounds indicated that someone had used a metal rod or something similar to push it over. I was furious. What savage soul would do such a thing? Then I noticed that the large, red rock next to it had also been knocked over. I glanced toward the street and saw what was left of our mailbox, now smashed to smithereens. A shiver of fear ran through me. It was clear that this was an act of vandalism, maybe even a personal attack. When my husband saw the damage, he called the police. But as the officer dutifully filled out a report, he informed us that it wasn’t likely the perpetrators would be caught. “Probably the work of some drunken kids,” he said.

His words did not reassure us. Next, my husband called our home insurance company to see if they would cover the cost of replacing our saguaro. The insurance agent told him they would pay up to $500.00 for landscape damage. After filing our claim, my husband called several local nurseries for an estimate on a replacement. A saguaro of the same age and height as ours would cost about $1,300.00. We could not afford that. Then I contacted a friend who I knew was very knowledgeable about desert flora and fauna. While I hadn’t expected much more than her sympathetic ear, she did offer more hopeful information than anyone else I’d talked to so far.

To my surprise, my friend informed me that my cactus might be saved. Until speaking with her, I’d thought it was finished. But my friend knew the owner of a local cactus nursery who had years of experience working with desert plants. He might be able to help.

Of course, I contacted this man. That very afternoon, he came to our house and assessed the damage. He assured my husband and me that our saguaro might be saved if it were replanted. Of course, he couldn’t guarantee its survival, but he thought it was worth a try. He explained the transplantation process. First, the cactus needed to be out of the ground for a few days, preferably a week. Exposure to the air would allow the freshly cut roots to form a protective dry skin. After that, he would hire a small crew to replant it. The cost seemed minimal, especially as compared to purchasing another saguaro.

My husband and I agreed to his proposal. An hour later, one of the nursery’s employees came over to prepare the plant. He informed us that while the roots were healing over, the body must not be allowed to dehydrate. To prevent this, he sprayed the cactus barrel with water and then covered the whole trunk with a huge tarpaulin. Promising to be back in a week, he left us to contemplate our saguaro’s misfortune.

A week later, three men showed up to relocate the cactus. I’d chosen a lovely, sunny spot in the backyard where the soil was less rocky than other parts of the yard. First, the men dug a hole, which didn’t seem deep enough to me. However, I was told that its depth was sufficient, as the saguaro’s root system is very shallow, especially for such a tall, heavy plant.

Now it was time to move the victim. Before attempting this, each of the men donned thick, leathery gloves. Working together, they managed to lift the saguaro’s heavy body just high enough to get a leather hoist under it. Slowly and carefully, they slipped the hoist around the trunk, and then raised the cactus into a large wheelbarrow. According to one of these men, my saguaro weighed at least three hundred pounds.

After the planting, the workers applied sulfur powder to the saguaro’s wounds. They advised me to do the same every day until healing had completed. They watered the root area and splashed water on the tall stem. Then they left, wishing me luck.

A few months later, the transplant seemed a success. The saguaro retained its roundness and color. I’d feared it might sag and slowly implode, rotting from the inside out. Every few days, I applied sulfur into and around its wounds. The plant held on, and I was proud of it. It looked handsome in its new location, and while no longer providing the wonderful curb appeal it had in the front yard, it was a definite addition to our backyard garden.

Unexpectedly, my husband and I had to go out of town for several months. The morning after we got home, I looked out the kitchen window as usual, glancing first at the saguaro. It was still standing tall, but suddenly I realized it looked very thin. It was also listing slightly to the left. “Oh, no,” I muttered. Feeling heartsick, I went outside to view my patient. Indeed, it was in trouble. On the stem, there were insects crawling in and out of the puncture wounds, which had never completely grown over. At its base, there were several exposed roots where burrowing insects, perhaps even rodents, had dug underneath. A close examination revealed the shrinkage the cactus had endured. I now believed it was dying. Nevertheless, I wasn’t going to give up. Another application of sulfur was in order, plant food around its base, and a shoring up of its roots with rich potting soil. I called the nursery and asked what else I could do to preserve the creature. At that, the nursery’s owner actually came to our house and inspected the saguaro, then looked at me solemnly. “It’s dying slowly,” he said. “But I can plant you another one in front if you like. I’ll give you a good price. Two hundred fifty for a four-footer.” I told him I would think about it.

Months passed; the creature hadn’t changed much, except for its color, which seemed paler. Its spines weren’t as sharp as before. They had lost their sting. “You’re on your own now,” I told the saguaro. “It’s up to you and nature.”

In June of 2009, seven months after its ordeal, my saguaro flowered. The plant had never so much as offered a bloom in the eighty years it had lived prior to its near butchery. Under cover of darkness, insane vandals had taken out their rage on an ancient being and left it for dead. What could possibly have brought about this miraculous flowering in a body so broken, so hurt?

saguaro-cactus

Another year later, it was still alive. It looked about the same as the previous year, but even thinner. Yet, once again, in June it generated flowers. Again, I wondered why. Could it be that when it received that terrible injury, all the universal life forces within it, perhaps sensing the mortal blow, summoned the strength to flower, to offer pollen to the birds, the bees and the winds? My noble saguaro would not relinquish life easily.

I’ve heard it said that when a person is dying, sometimes in the last few days before death, he or she rallies, gains strength, seems to be getting well. The recovery may last for a week, even longer, but soon the body fails and death occurs. I thought it was like that with my proud saguaro. In a final burst of energy, it reached for its last chance to reproduce, to attain its own immortality.

Included herein is one of the photos I took of the saguaro’s flowers. I wanted to preserve the beauty of their delicate white petals to remind me of my courageous cactus. During its two brief seasons of flowering, I witnessed birds hovering above the blooms, long-beaked humming birds drinking the nectar, bees landing on the petals, nestling in the yellow tunnels. I had no doubt my saguaro was rallying.

In December 2010, my husband and I took a trip to Nevada to visit family at Christmas. We left for home a few days later, but didn’t get back until after dark. The next morning, I opened the kitchen blinds and gazed out the window. The first thing I saw was the saguaro lying on the ground, entirely uprooted. Its wounds had reopened; its flesh was gutted and gnarled. Nothing could be done, except mourn.

Copyrights
Suzanne Cisneros
2015

Do read her powerful book CHIAPAS RISING

http://www.amazon.com/Chiapas-Rising-Suzanne-Cisneros-ebook/dp/B00B13BAKO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1423689784&sr=8-1&keywords=suzanne+cisneros

He Looked so Peaceful and then he Rose

Night had come slowly. Neighbors, friends and relatives were arriving bringing pan dulce and café (Mexican sweet bread and coffee), tamales and frijoles boludos (whole not refried beans) with tortillas de maiz o harina (corn and flour). This was the custom in the small barrio enclave of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans when we mourn a loved one who has passed on. This time it was my uncle, my mother’s little brother, who had died and so the wake began.

Eight year-old Alfredito had been dead for two days. He had been placed on two crates draped with a white sheet. A separate white sheet covered Alfredo’s body but not his face. Two candles on tall candleholders were lit on either side and two small kerosene lamps flickered, casting elongated dancing shadows on the walls of the somber room.

In those early days of the twelfth year of the new century, 1900, the quiet unassuming, mainly Mexican, neighborhood was very self-sustaining. Of course, they had to be, they were poor people who mostly worked the cotton fields of south Texas.

A small alter sat on a tiered shelf; it was stacked with saint icons and penny candles. Hanging over Alfredito’s head on the wall, was a picture of Jesus sitting on a rock in Gethsemane Garden, his hands clasped in prayer, looking heavenward. Around the sparsely furnished room, two oval shaped picture frames hung on the opposite wall with pictures of other family members who also had passed on. Leaning against a small table were some wooden folding chairs. Near the entrance to the kitchen, three women dressed in long black dresses sat on the velvet sofa. Behind them, a knitted, Mexican flag cover was draped over the sofa’s back support.

The men entered the room and paid their respects, then, quickly went outside to converse and imbibe from their hidden, brown bagged, favorite alcoholic beverage. Some sat on wooden chairs, others preferred to stand to talk and drink.

Alfredito had had pneumonia for a week. The doctor pronounced him dead on Wednesday at ten in the morning. Tonight was Friday night,eight o’clock.

My Grandmother had spent the last two days at her sister’s home being consoled by family over the death of her son. But when she came home and saw Alfredito’s lifeless little body lying on those wooden crates, the shock was too much. She screamed.

“He is not dead! No esta muerto! My son is still here! I will not mourn for my child until HE gives him back to me! I will not cry for my child until I hold him alive in my arms! I will not look at my child until he looks back at me! Do you hear me! God? Me oyes?”

She pointed at the ceiling, but she meant heaven where God resides. She looked at the makeshift cadaver stage and continued to shout,

“If HE wants him, HE can have him, but I do not give him up willingly. Llevatelo o dejamelo! (Take him or leave him to me!)”

Her eyes glared fiercely at the picture of Jesus. Darting to her bedroom, in defiance, she tore off the sheet that covered the mirror. In those days of 1920, women covered all mirrors in the house when there was a death in the family. She did not cry. Her face was flushed but resolute, her fists tightly clenched, her dark, rebellious eyes just stared at her reflection in the oval mirror.

“He is not dead! No esta muerto!” She convinced herself, repeating the words again and again and again, but in between admonishing her God, she prayed. Countless minutes came and went, disappearing into a cacophony of wails and screams of the mourning neighborhood women and friends who shook their heads sympathetically and tried to alleviate my grandmother’s grief by embracing her, trying to sooth her unforgiving pain.

The men outside heard it all and looked at each other sadly. They shook their heads, but all they could say in sympathy was, “Pobre senora. Pobrecita, pobrecita.” (Poor woman, poor dear woman, poor dear woman.)

Outside, the men continued eating thepan dulce and drinking their whiskey enhanced café. Although they commiserated with Grandmother’s grief, they paid no mind to the women howling without end, as was the tradition in Mexican wakes in that era of the 1920’s.

More minutes went by, during which my Grandmother could be heard for blocks above all the other voices, screaming obscenities at a God that seemed unfazed. In her bedroom, in between her tirades she prayed and was inconsolable, torn by the loss of the son she would not relinquish.

When my mother told me this story, I asked her, “How could Grandma cuss at God, isn’t that a sin?” My mother answered, “Not when a mother has lost a child.” It seemed an eternity since my grandmother began her tirades, interspersed with prayers as my Mother recalled, but actually it was not that long. Of course, nobody noticed immediately, but unbeknownst to the gathering. Silently and suddenly, my uncle Alfredo bolted straight up and sat. He turned his head and looked around the room. My aunt screamed being the first to see him, “Ay, Santo Dios!” Everybody in the room with mouths agape dropped their saucers of coffee and sweet bread onto the floor. A friend of my grandmother’s fainted. The men outside rushed in. The wailing stopped. Everyone was petrified and the room became quiet. It was so quiet; they could hear each other’s breathing and their hearts pounding. This had never happened before. Nobody had ever witnessed a resurrection before. One of the ladies shouted, “It’s a miracle!” and dropped to her knees, others followed, pulling out their rosaries and began praying the Lord’s Prayer in unison, “Padre Nuestro, que ‘stas en el cielo… (Our Father which art in heaven…)

My Grandmother was the only one who did not seem surprised or shocked; she knew what she had to done. When she heard the commotion, she came out of her bedroom and ran to Alfredito, picked him up and wrapped him in the sheet that covered him, making the sign of the cross on his forehead. She then carried him to her bedroom, making the sign of the cross on her own forehead as Catholics do, and began saying the Rosary while cradling him.

She asked the women to heat the tea on the stove, so she could give to her son. While the women were heating the tea, she got a small bottle of oil from the bathroom cabinet and soaked a towel with it. Then she rubbed Alfredito’s head, his neck, and shoulders with it. After that, she oiled a small palm leaf and brushed it over the rest of his body, while saying a special prayer. This was part of a ritual to rid him of any lingering bad effects or spirits, my mother explained.My uncle, recently awakened from the dead, laughed out loud when my grandmother rubbed his armpits, tickling him. My Mother said, in telling his story that the first words he uttered were, “’Ama (Mom), que paso (what happened), am I ok?” With the countenance of La Virgin Maria my grandmother said, “Si mijito, (yes, my son), nothing happened, you are ok now,” and she began to cry.

EPILOGUE

Every time my Mother told Uncle Alfredo’s story, I imagined that somewhere in the outer reaches of space great storms brewed, thunder roared and lightning sheared the darkness of black matter. I believed that on that night a tense, fitful unrest reigned in heaven.

There had been an enormous battle between my Grandmother’s will and her God’s reluctance to release what HE felt was HIS, and after an exhaustive and strenuous struggle, my Grandmother had won. It seems that not even a God can stand between a Mother and her love for her children.

My Grandmother, in all humility, for the rest of her life prayed a Rosary every day and gave thanks to the God she had battled. She praised HIM for HIS compassion and understanding, and in the end, HIS great gift to her.

My Grandmother died several years later, a legend in the neighborhood.

This story was purported to be true by my mother, aunts and uncles who witnessed it and swore that it happened on Marguerite Street in the little barrio of Eckerd Addition in Corpus Christi, Texas where my mother grew up and years later, so did I.

My uncle’s first death took place on September 22nd, 10 A.M., in 1920, a Wednesday. The resurrection occurred on Friday at 10 P.M.,September 24th.

My uncle died at age 70, right to the day and hour of his first death.

Unlike his first death, this time, he stayed dead.

Norberto Franco Cisneros
Author/ Poet
Southwest USA

A Wish- TheOnly Religion is Love (based on true incidents)

A-Wish

The Arabian Peninsula. It was in the cold month of December, 1998, in my adopted desert city that the life altering event took birth.

My son was studying Dentistry in a local college in theneighboring town of Ajman, U.A.E. The town was about 30 miles from where we lived.

Every day I would drive to the college town to pick up my son. There were days when he had to stay longer than usual and on such days I would spend time enjoying Arabic coffee in a sea side hotel as I took inthe breathtaking views of this quaint Arabian town as the sea mist rolled in and eased my thoughts.

December in the desert is rather cool, chilly and one can almost feel the icy arms of winter tugging at the warm ocean waves, making them shiver.

My mother had been very ill for almost three years. During these years, every now then, several times a year, I would receive news that mother is unwell, in the hospital and I would rush to see her. She was in my motherland. It would take about two hours by air and there were several flights out of my cityseveral times a day. Therefore, whenever she was hospitalized, I was able to reach my country within a few hours of receiving the information. It was a routine. I would go there, she would slowly recover and I would return to my daily life in my adopted land. However old your parents become, they remain immortal to you. My mother had an enlarged heart and her health had been steadily declining over these past three years.

Even if it was a minor pneumonia or infection, I never waited. I rushed to her side without hesitation.

Three years had passed…. in no time.

One evening, as I was waiting to pick up my son from his college, having coffee at the Beach Hotel, I received the dreaded telephone call from my sister, she could hardly speak as she was crying inconsolably and in between her sobs, she said……… “Bhai (brother), Amma (mother) is going …… comeif you can, her voice trailing off, she hung up.

This time, it felt different. My heart stopped. My mother was dying.

I do not remember what happened next. I was so overcome by grief that I lost track of time and all else. I must tell you that I was too attached to my mother and she was too attached to me. All mothers love their children but this was different. It was as if she lived for me. As I said, I lost track of time, I lost sense of direction, and I was beyond grief. I now lived in the twilight of sorrow where eyes forget to weep and the mind forgets to think.

How much time passed after I received my sister’s call, I still do not know but when I came to my senses, it was dusk, the sun had just set, I was on the beach, which was completely deserted, except for the sea gulls. The sea was unusually turbulent and it was cold. Only the sea gulls glided low-reflecting my sinking heart.

I remember prostrating in worship, below a palm tree, in the soft warm forgiving sand … for how long I was in that position, I know not. However I do remember, distinctly, praying and crying aloud… to God, begging Him to grant her just enough much time that she could hold me in her loving arms just once more ” ……….. God, you have to listen, You cannot take her away, You are not cruel, You know love so well ….” I was mostly incoherent, disoriented, almost maniacal and I do not remember what else I said. Yet the faithful foe called sorrow emerged from the dark cave and gipped me. I was sinking into the chasms of grief, but I still envisioned light, filtering like little stars through the darkness, twinkling gently. I held on to my faith. Faith was the torch that allowed me to ‘see’.

I must have remained in that prostrated position for God knows how long when I felt someone was shaking me violently, physically and it was as if I was waking up from a deep trance like slumber.

This was when I heard the rumbling, the thunder and the haunting words:

“Go now……….. she will embrace you once more.”

Utter disbelief! Coldest shivers! Was I delirious or dreaming? I looked around.No oneor nothing but the turbulent sea, the sea gulls, the cold sea breeze greeted me solemnly.

I gathered my senses, sat there for about ten minutes and regained my composure. I remembered that my son must be worried as I was always there when he came out of his college and this day I was not there to greet him. So I rushed, still in a ‘ twilight zone’ state of mind and told him that his grandmother was in the ICU and that the doctors have given her only a few hours as her vitals are failing fast and that I had to leave for my homeland immediately. My son satthere in the front seat of my car, very quietly and I could sense his sadness.

On my drive back home, I called my wife and told her that I must leave for the airport to catch any flight I can find because mother was in the ICU. I did not tell her one word of what had transpired that evening but deep in my heart I knew some Divine force had spoken to me, that His angels had embraced me and that I had felt His powerfulpresence.

“Go now……….. she will embrace you once more.”

This was the only voice echoing across the devastated plains of my mind.

The four hour flight was the longest few hours of my life. They were torture.

I reached my homeland just after midnight. I was met by my brother-in-law who was a respected and well known doctor and surgeon. He embraced me and I asked “Please tell me that Amma is alive.” He was quiet. After a painfully long minute, he informed me she was in a coma. After that terrible revelation, we drove straight to the hospital.

We reached the hospital in about 45 heart wrenching minutes. Most of the family members were there as the doctors had said she has few more hours of life left. Without meeting anyone I rushed to the ICU only to be told by the staff nurse that no one is allowed in but my brother-in-law managed to take me into her ICU room. The sight in the Intensive Care Unit is not one which one wants to see yet I was there and there was my mother hooked to so many tubes and machines, lifeless and pale! The cold ocean breeze touched my face once again- this time distantly, as if jolting me back to reality.

“Go now……….. she will embrace you once more .”

I sat down at her feet and started kissing them and was silently reminding God of His promise, of the mystical words that had been revealed to me only hours ago as I sat alone by sea . Deep down I was convinced that the Divine One will not let me down; He will not, He cannot go back on His words. My brother-in-law touched me on my shoulder and softly said that I must leave now and let her go in peace but I stayed there, at her feet. I was left alone with her as everyone felt it was best to do so, so I may cry as much as possibleas human nature is, be at peace and reconcile with the inevitable.

It was while I was crying at my mother’s cold and lifeless feet that I felt her foot move, with slight jerk. I called the doctor on duty. He and my brother-in-law rushed in. The looked at my mother and examined her vital signs and concluded that it was a simply a nerve reaction and nothing more. They were not aware that I was not about to believe them. In my heart I was hearing His Divine Voice …………. “Go now, she will embrace you ….” and I was waiting for that because I knew that it was true. Few minutes passed and another jerk and then another ……….. both the doctors were there, observing and seemed a bewildered. Then the seemingly impossible happened. My dear mother opened her eyes, looked me and …………. and smiled!!!!!

I saw the utter disbelief in the doctors’ eyes. As the minutes passed, she was getting better, stronger, breathing on her own. It took about one hour and few minutes when she asked me to come close to her. She asked me to tell the nurse to remove her life support system. They did. They complied reluctantly, in complete denial and disbelief. Next morning she was moved to the general medical ward and was settled in her room in the hospital, out of the ICU.

She had to come back to see me, just like the mystical voice had predicted.

The entire teamof doctors and hospital staff were talking about this miraculous recovery. They were at least honest and the Consultant attending to her case admitted that this was most unusual case he has ever managed and indeed, there was no rational or medically sound explanation for this most dramatic recovery

…………………. My darling mother lived for ten more years.

I had begged for just one last embrace, in return, I was given several years to love and cherish the most revered woman in my life- my mother.

The Divine One kept His Promise. To this day, I thank Him several times each day.

He is so close to us. Why do we do not see Him?

Why do we doubt?

Why does our ego blind us to the invisible truths?

Miracles do happen.

They happened to me on one cold desert night as the sea gulls danced ecstatically and the moon shimmered benevolently.

‘A Wish’

A True Story

By Sarwar A Khan
2015 Copyrights

Jesus or Buddha?

Jesus-or-Buddha

Almost 42 years ago, after traveling from Karachi to Switzerland by road, with a friend in 1971, I ended up in Europe. The journey through many of the countries and roads, travelled much before, by the likes of Ibn Battuta, Marco Polo, Alexander the Great and many other discoverers, led us though the deserts, valleys and mountains of Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Italy and finally Switzerland, culminated with our trusted camel/VW van, taking its last breath, as we ascended the ramp to Switzerland through Italy, through the famous San Bernardino Tunnel.

Once our VW van died and our survival instinct started kicking in, making us take out what was absolutely necessary, like our passports and some clothing; we started walking towards the tunnel to Switzerland. The sun was setting, as did our hopes to continue our journey in our trusted friend, the VW van. Now we were catching a bus, then a train, which took us all the way through Switzerland, France, and Belgium to the Lilliputian country, Luxembourg. This compared to the United States where I have lived since 1972, was truly a fairy tale, Camelot kind of country, most of which one could travel through, in less than a day. Here my friend, Richard who owned the van, departed for his home in Virginia, USA, while I carried on to Amsterdam Holland.

I arrived at Amsterdam late in the evening. Upon descending from the train, I was followed by several suspicious looking characters, who thought that since I was coming from the Near East, I must have been carrying hashish. Much to their dismay, I told them that I had nothing. I knew of a friend who lived and worked close to Schiphol Airport, and so I took a bus to go and seek him. I found his place, only to learn that he had been in a horrible automobile accident a few weeks earlier, and was lying in a hospital in Amsterdam in a coma. I went to see my friend, but was only able to view his lifeless body, hooked up to numerous pieces of life support equipment. That is how I bid farewell to my namesake who had been my friend for many years in my homeland. He never woke up from his coma and passed, soon after, but now I wonder that perhaps he stayed on in a spiritual form, helping me in my hours of desolation?

Now, with only four dollars in my pocket, I found a cheap hotel room to spend the night. The room cost $2.50 leaving me with a dollar and fifty cents, the next morning. I could not sleep, so I spent most of the night on my knees, praying to God for mercy.

The next day, I left the hotel and started walking on the road, not knowing where I was going or how I would survive with a Dollar fifty in my pocket. As I was walking on a crowded sidewalk, I came upon a tall man, possibly my age, with a black beard, kind soft face, who just smiled at me, stopped, and asked me if I was OK. I replied, not really, since I had nowhere to go, I knew no one in Amsterdam, and had only a dollar and a half in my pocket.

This man, who called himself Robert, smiled and offered to pay for my food and lodging for the time, I had to wait to get some funds from somewhere. He looked like the pictures I had seen of Jesus, and when I became really ill because I had no warm clothes, he sat all night on the stairs where I lay, because I did not wish to wake the other hostel guests from my constant coughing. Robert read, from the Old Testament, in Hebrew. I recovered and after almost three weeks, I left Amsterdam after getting funds from Richard in Virginia. I repaid Robert, who volunteered to fly to New York with me, since I had never travelled in an airplane before, in my life. Upon reaching JFK airport in New York, Robert, my savior, simply walked away while waving to me in the terminal.

For the past forty two years, I have searched for Robert, but never found him.

Did he really exist or was he just a celestial entity, who came to save my life? Interestingly my friend Richard, from Virginia, later became a Buddhist monk and runs a monastery/teaching academy, in Lexington, Virginia.

So in my life, I met two saviors, one who said he was a Jewish man, (as was Jesus), and one who was a Christian when I met him, but now has been a Buddhist monk for over thirty years.

Were these simply co-incidences or miracles of life?

Or was this a Jesus-Buddha connection that I was never aware of until years later, after it happened?

Who knows…..life is full of miracles and miraculous incidents.

Copyrights J.Khan- ‘The Green Van – My Memoir’
2015
USA

The Car

Animate, inanimate, when does non-living matter attain a soul-fire or an energetic form?

Can energy released from biomoleculeslatch themselves onto inanimate objects?

I often wonder.

Many times in our life we become fond of particular objects. They hold sentimental value. They represent an important phase or chapter in our life. They are a part of a very special memory. The object of affection can be anything from a small toy, to a sweater your mother knit, a trinket, or even a house or a car. A token that reminds us of someone or something special.

Is it then possible that the object in question can somehow absorb our affection and attain a ‘life’ of itsown?Is this just magical or wishful thinking or can our emotions be transferred to inanimate objects? Can our fondness of something cross the zones of physical laws?

Psychokinesis and telekinesis is an area of much debate and controversy. The ability of a human being to influence an object distantly is looked upon by many skeptics with disdain and frank disregard. There are many well-known historical accounts relating to this type of phenomenon, but science has not been successful in justifying the existence of it. These kinds of phenomenon actually defy the laws of physics and this is when the seeds of doubtare planted. Parapsychology and related subjects remain under heavy debate and there are roughly three schools of thought.

  • 1. The believers
  • 2. The non-believers
  • 3. Undecided

Transference of living energy to inanimate objects, I believe, comes under the umbrella of parapsychology.

As I have mentioned before in my previous articles, there may be times in our life when something inexplicable happens. We are left bewildered and confused and neither science nor the occult can provide rational explanations. Some of us might have experienced an unusual event at some point in our life and are still looking for answers. Most of us tend to dismiss it because it takes us away from our perceptions of ‘normal’ occurrences. Cultural and religious beliefs often restrict our thinking and therefore we stay away from such ‘taboo’ subjects and label an unusual event as an aberration of Nature itself. We all have a right to our own belief systems; therefore whatever you decide is your choice entirely.

But.

What if a certain event or incident happens in your life that defies all the laws of normality?

The human mind is an unexplored universe as is the soul and the invisible world it inhabits. Both are capable of unimaginable feats. There is no limit when we start exploring these primal forces that are contained within the mantle of our bodies. If we can tap even 1% of this inexhaustible source of power, who knows what we can achieve as a human race. Yet, we doubt, we want proof, we want to conduct experiments to explain things that can never be explained. It is this doubt or perhaps the sense of ingrained indoctrinated fear that limits our expansion and hinders our spiritual awareness. We become so involved with facts and figures that we fail to grasp the delicate web of infinite possibilities that encircle our being.

What if we were to let go, just for one moment and peek through this door of infinite possibilities.

The revelations will astound you. And it’s interesting how the cosmic forces will merge with your inner cosmos and vibe together, creating powerful ripples of awareness that you had not experienced before.

Now back to my topic.

Animate, inanimate, when does non-living matter attain a soul-fire, or an energetic form?

A dear friend of mine was going some personal tough times. My friend had lost everything. His home, his family, his job, his health.

With the little money he had left he bought a small car that would help him get around the city in hopes of finding work and eventually getting back on track. This car was the only friend he had left through the darkest period of his life.

Years passed, the car remained a steady mate. It saved this man multiple times from potentially horrific life threatening accidents. It provided this man with a roof when he was homeless. It saved this man from financial ruin, not once, but three times by allowing the bank to lend him money against it. It took him across countries and states, thousands upon thousands of miles when the man needed to find a new place to call home. When the man broke down and wept in a lonely hour, the car started to make strange sounds, almost sympathizing with the man and consoling him.The car showed more humanity than any human he had known. When everyone, including his family abandoned this man, only this humble little automobile remained by his side, comforting him, telling him that all will be ok, only if he hangs on and has faith in himself. This inanimate object seemed to take on a life of its own. It saved this dying man from ultimate destruction.

Years later, the very same car, now old with thousands of miles on it, took this man to a sunny place by the ocean, where finally he would find peace.

It was as if the car ‘knew’ that its time was near and staying with this man would mean draining his wallet. The old car needed repairs and repairs cost money. The car possessed unnatural sensitivities. The man’s brother was taken ill so he wanted to move closer to his ailing brother. He had no money to move. He was broke, again.

One sunny day as hope was emerging from the sky, a young lady appeared in the parking lot where the old car stood. She inquired around the block and knocked on the man’s door. To his surprise, she wanted to buy his car in cash no questions asked.

This was the final good deed the car could do for its friend. The man had a tear in his eye and inhis heart he knew that the ‘car’ was trying to gracefully bid farewell.

And so, it was on a sunny yet fateful day that the car and the man parted ways.

It was a parting token of friendship from one inanimate being to a living one.

Often in life, objects display more compassion and steadfastness than the living. People act cruelly, abandon you in a time of need, take away your pride, may judge and label you. People, in effect, act like robots, like machines, behave insensitively and lack empathy.

Even though we live in a highly connected world, we remain disconnected. The social media has actually alienated us from our emotional ‘selves’ and we swim in this sea of connectedness like a phantom looking for recognition in a room full of partygoers.

Perhaps the world has become so indifferent that we are forced to find companionship and friendship in inanimate objects. Perhaps the memories linked to that object sustain us when we are alone or need comforting. Memories can be a powerful element in the process of healing.

I don’t know what to make of this car story. Did it attain a soul, drawing lively energy from the occupant so it could become a friend when the man had no one left? Or was it the human condition trying to grasp the ropes of sanity in this detached and indifferent world?

One can draw a deep and profound lessen from the story of the car. Believers might like to think that the car did have a soul. Non-believers will say that the lonely man was projecting his grief onto an object and finding relief. His psychological instability stemming from trauma bonded him to his car like a Bedouin becomes bonded to his Camel.

I wonder.

Just one thing though. Just when the man started weeping as he sat in his car, a little prayer book that sat on the dashboard of the car suddenly fell onto his lap. Page number eleven of the book lay open. The message behind the passage on page number eleven was this:

In your darkest hour, the stars will shine, showing you the way to peace. Your friends will come in all shapes and sizes. Respect EVERYTHING.

Coincidence I suppose. What do you think?

‘The Car’
-Ansul Noor-
Copyrights
2015

The Plastic Bottle (Based on a dream)

It was amazing.

The adrenalin rush, the hypnotic lull, the mesmerizing splendor, all at once I was thrown into the vortex of Nature!

I was riding the passionate rivers, meandering through cities, small villages and virgin forests. It was the race of a lifetime. While I was swimming against time, others were on hover boats, rafts…anything that could let them brave the unknown surprise of these dangerous yet beckoning waters. We all had one thing in common;we wanted to experience the primal force-the ever evolving, the ever giving,and theever inspiring source of unbridled joy- the‘River’.

Once in every one hundred years the City let humanity experience this marvel of Nature. So yes, for me it was a chance of a lifetime when I could feel the touch of this ancient force. It was the only chance I had. I did not waste any time and swam as if the spirit of the Salmon had possessed me.

The world was drying out. The soul of the Earth was parched and the mantle crackled and moaned. The cities had to conserve every drop of water they could.The Earth was dotted with metallic reservoir tanks holding billions of gallons of waterthat had been sourced from the last remaining rivers, lakes and oceans. It was survival. It was our last breath. The metallic tanks were also our meditation spots. When we pined for the cool hues of the water, we would gather around these tanks and meditate for hours, imagining the ocean waves caressing and easing our weary thoughts.

My eyes were lost in a dizzy of emotionsas I swam the river, because I knew that this would be my last swim. Reveling in the sensations of Nature, of wilderness, of purity, for one delirious split second, I lost myself. I could have died at that very moment and not have regretted it.

In the midst of this stormy burst of sensations, I heard a loud banging sound and in one heart stopping moment we were all sitting on a bed of pebbles. The river had vanished. The race was over. All traces of magic were gone. Our bodies became motionless as did our thoughts.

This was all the City could afford. I soaked in every millisecond, locking the memory in a subconscious bubble of joy, where only seconds ago the memory was a reality, alive and throbbing. I could see the young faces of the children who were observing us intently from their assigned look out posts- confused and disappointed that their short lived adventure was over. In another hundred years, they will hopefully get their chance to take this journey. I sincerely pray they get to experience the purity and wild caress of the river. I will not be around to see their bewilderment, their enchantment and the bliss on their faces.

I had my chance today and this was enough to carry me into the next world. I was at peace now, or was I?

Hurriedly we gathered our gear and started heading towards the transport capsules located on the riverbanks that would take us back to the City. Life returns to normal but not our souls. They have been altered irrevocably by a single humbling and overpowering touch of Mother Nature. In hindsight, this transformational emotion could have saved us from destruction.

Alas, how soon does mankind forget!

Alas, how much we take for granted.

As I headed towards the tunnel leading to the landing of the transport capsules, I heard an imperceptible whisper. A pencil outline of a door appeared on the side wall of the tunnel. Burning with curiosity, I moved towards the papery thin door. Within the misty realms on the other side of the door, I saw a shadowy translucent figure that beckoned me to follow. Paralyzed with horror, I knew that this was insanity, anyone else would have run for their life, but curiosity is a brave thing, so I followed this watery shape-shifting figure, completely entranced.I was startled and frightened, but the watery figureemanated a sense of familiarity and nobleness.

How quickly does the human mind pass judgment out of ignorance and fear. If one were to give tangible features to nobleness, it would be in the form of this watery figure.

I think that I have died and this is my Angel of Death which is carrying me into the next world. I followed this glistening noblephantom through endless, cold, dark and damp tunnels on the other side of the papery door.

It seemed a lifetime until we reached our final destination, if one can call it that. Bright glowing vividness within a web of misty shades, colors never imagined or seen by any living creature, waterfalls suspended from the clouds, vines climbing into nowhere and sparkling gems floating in mid-air. The landscape was surreal, magnificent, a painting that knows no canvas and that has never been touched by a brush- it felt like the womb of a mother. It was silent and the space was filled with circles of liquid comfort. An alien though relaxing feeling overcame my senses. A feeling you have always known existed, yet never believed it to be true.

Alien yet relaxing. That’s how it felt.

Lost in this orbit of phantasmagoria time had no meaning anymore. There was only the perception of multiple dimensions and a feeling of final calm. Strange as it may sound I was not the visitant anymore, rather an inhabitant that had left this place eons ago, only to return to a place that was always mine.

The watery figure dressed in moss like robes asked me to follow once again. I did. After walking for a long time along what seemed like ancient rivers, the figure halted and pointed down towards the ethereal waters. The water was teeming with snowflake-like beings. Planktonic, amorphic, globular cells that shimmered and shone with polychromatic light that defied all lawsof physics. Suspended in complete thoughtful animation, they exuded a feeling of ultimate compassion.

Alien yet relaxing.

The watery figure and these snowflake creatures began to communicate. I could understand every word. It was like being in the middle of a telepathic marathon. Their mutual tone was that of concern and pity. The creatures then spoke to me in the same telepathic tongue. They told me that I must now observe everything that is to come and not lose sight of my watery companion as we embark on a winding journey along the rivers and streams. They added that once my journey was complete, they will resume their conversation.

I heeded their advice and followed my watery companion. Winding our way through this luminescent landscape, I noticed an array of mystical wildlife in complete harmony with the surroundings. Candy colored dragonflies flitted about me as if giving me company. The waters became bluer and bluer and the snowflake creatures multiplied in numbers. The river was now a flowing stream of snowflakes. The air was humming some unknown tune. Somehow it was known to me, an ancient lullaby. I continued my walk and soon realized that I became one with the ‘spirit’ of nature- it was pre-conception, the ultimate of joy born of purity.

If only joy could last forever.

The water slowly became darker, murkier, slimier and sluggish. My watery friend, now a dried shell of a thing, motioned me to stop. The snowflake creatures told us that this was where my journey ended. The waters were dying. They told me that there had been a race of beings that was responsible for this heinous act. Their cruelty, recklessness and utter lack of responsibility had killed the river and all things belonging to it. A wave of mourning struck me. The air hummed no more. Instead of the magical mist, plumes of smog floated down and lingered above the sad murky remnants of the river. The smog morphed into human faces. Mortified, I knew that my end was near.

The gentle snowflake creatures warned me that if this was to continue my present world will perish. They revealed to me that for billions of years they had been the guardians of the ‘Water’. Tirelessly devoting their life to maintaining the rivers of the world. Unyielding was their love for regeneration, purification and ecological stability. Feelings of gloom overtook me and my soul was weeping uncontrollably.

I knew about this cruel and reckless race they spoke of. They were called humans.

This intelligent race was originally created to be the true caretakers of the planet, the lovers of life, the keepers of Mother Nature and all creatures great and small. This was their ONLY duty. They failed. They turned against the very same planet that sustained them, fed them and gave them life.

The snowflake creatures glowed with a red hue…and vanished.

I was standing once again in a glassy man-made tunnel surrounded by my fellow thrill seekers, all waiting in line to board the transport capsules.

I wonder if they understood what had happened to our Mother Earth? Did they understand that every drop of water they thoughtlesslydrank from their plastic bottles is more precious than life itself? Do they know that without water life will be extinct? How did we accomplish this task? Every single human being is responsible for committing this final crime. Final, because after this, our race will only be a memory in the annals of cosmic history. We will leave behind a legacy of dishonor. We are the traitors of ‘life’.

My heart was drying, just like rivers. The room of my conscience was filled with doom.

I too, was a perpetrator and therefore in my simple head, I had to pen down this vision or premonition and leave it in a plastic bottle for future races (if any) to read and be warned. Perhaps this note might become my redemption.

At least I tried.

‘The Plastic Bottle’
-Ansul Noor-
2015

The Five Different Kinds Of Spiritual Souls

THOSE who live the inner life have to adopt a certain outer form of living in the world amidst people of all kinds. There are five principle ways known which the spiritual souls adopt to live life in the world, although there are many more ways. Very often these souls are found in such forms of life that one could never imagine for one moment that they were living the inner life. It is for this reason that the wise of all ages have taught respect for every human being, whatever his/her outward character, and have advised man to think who is beneath that garb, and what it is.

Among the five principle characteristics of the spiritual being the first is the religious character. This is he who lives the religious life, the life of an orthodox person, like everybody else, showing no outward trace of a deeper knowledge or wider view, though he realizes it within himself. Outwardly he goes to his temple or his church, like everybody else. He offers his prayers to the Deity in the same form as everybody, reads the scriptures in the same way that everybody else does, receives the sacraments and asks for the benediction of the church in the same way that everybody does. He shows no difference, no special characteristics outwardly showing him to be spiritually advanced; but at the same time, while others are doing all their religious actions outwardly, he realizes them in his life in reality. Every religious action to him is a symbolical revelation; prayer to him is a meditation; the scripture to him is his reminder, for the holy Book refers him to that which he reads in life and in nature. And therefore, while outwardly he is only a religious man like everybody in the world, inwardly he is a spiritual man.

Another aspect of a spiritual man is to be found in the philosophical mind. He may show no trace at all of orthodoxy or piety; he may seem to be quite a man of the world in business, or in the affairs of the worldly life. He takes all things smoothly, he tolerates all things, endures all things. He takes life easily with his understanding. He understands all things inwardly; outwardly he acts according to life’s demand. No one may ever think that he is living the inner life. He may be settling a business affair, and yet he may have the realization of God and truth at the same time. He may not appear at all meditative or contemplative, and yet every moment of his life may be devoted to contemplation. He may take his occupation in everyday life as a means of spiritual realizations. No one outwardly may consider for one moment that he is spiritually so highly evolved, except that those who come in contact with him may in time be convinced that he is an honest person; that he is fair and just in his principles and life; that he is sincere. That is all the religion he needs. In this way his outward life becomes his inner realization his spirituality.

The third form of a spiritual being is that of a server, one who does well to others. In this form there maybe saints hidden. They never speak about spirituality, nor much about the philosophy of life. Their philosophy and religion are in their action. There is love gushing forth from their heart every moment of their life, and they are occupied in doing good to others. They consider everyone who comes near them as their brother or their sister, as their child; they take an interest in the joy and the sorrow of all people, and do all they can to guide them, to instruct them, to advise them through their lives. In this form the spiritual person maybe teacher, a preacher, or a philanthropist. But in whatever form he may appear, the chief thing in his life is the service of mankind: doing good to another, bringing happiness to someone in some form. The joy that rises from this is high spiritual ecstasy, for every act of goodness and kindness has a particular joy, which brings the air of Heaven. When a person is all the time occupied doing good to others, there is a constant joy arising; and that joy creates a heavenly atmosphere, creating within him that heaven which is his inner life. This world is so full of thorns, so full of troubles, pain and sorrows. In this same world he lives; but by the very fact of his trying to remove the thorns from the path of another, although they prick his own hands, he rises and this gives him that inner joy which is his spiritual realization.

There is the fourth form of a spiritual person, which is the mystic form; and that form is difficult to understand, because the mystic is born. Mysticism is not a thing, which is learned; it is a temperament. A mystic may have his face turned towards the north while he is looking towards the south. A mystic may have his head bent low and yet he may be looking up. His eyes may be open outwardly while he may be looking inwardly; his eyes may be closed and yet he may be looking outwardly. The average man cannot understand the mystic; and therefore people are always at a loss when dealing with him. His ‘yes’ is not the same ‘yes’that everybody says; his ‘no’ has not the same meaning as that which everybody understands. In almost every phrase he says there is some symbolical meaning. His every outward action has an inner significance. A man who does not understand his symbolical meaning may be bewildered by hearing a phrase, which is nothing but confusion to him.

A mystic may take one step outwardly, inwardly he has taken a thousand; he may be in one city, and may be working in another place at the same time. A mystic is a phenomenon in himself and confusion to those around him. He himself cannot tell them what he is doing, nor will they understand the real secret of the mystic. For it is someone who is living the inner life, and at the same time covering that inner life by outer action; his word or movement is nothing but the cover of some inner action. Therefore, those who understand the mystic never dispute with him. When he says ‘Go’, they go. When he says ‘Come’, they come. When he comes to them they do not say, ‘Do not come'; they understand that it is the time when he must come; and when he goes from them they do not ask him to stay, for they know it is the time when he must go.

Neither the laughter of a mystic nor his tears are to be taken as any outward expression, which means something. His tears may perhaps be a cover for very great joy, his smile; his laughter may be a cover for a very deep sentiment. His open eyes, his closed eyes, the turning of his face, his glance, his silence, his conversation, none of these has the meaning one is accustomed to attribute to them. Yet it does not mean that the mystic does this purposely; he is made thus; no one could purposely do it even if he wished, no one has the power to do it. The truth is that the soul of the mystic is a dancing soul. It has realized that inner law. It has fathomed that mystery for which souls long and in the joy of that mystery the whole life of the mystic becomes a mystery. You may see the mystic twenty times a day, and twenty times he will have a different expression. Every time his mood is different; and yet his outward mood may not at all be his inner mood. The mystic is an example of God’s mystery in the form of man.

The fifth form in which a person who lives the inner life appears is a strange form, a form which very few people can understand. He puts on the mask of innocence outwardly to such an extent that those who do not understand may easily consider him unbalanced, peculiar, or strange. He does not mind about it, for the reason that it is only his shield. If he were to admit before humanity the power that he has, thousands of people would go after him, and he would not have one moment to live his inner life. The enormous power that he possesses governs inwardly lands and countries, controlling them and keeping them safe from disasters such as floods and plagues, and also wars; keeping harmony in the country or in the place in which he lives. All this is done by his silence, by his constant realization of the inner life. To a person who lacks deep insight he will seem a strange being. In the language of the East he is called Madzub. That same idea was known to the ancient Greeks and traces of it are still in existence in some places, but mostly in the East. There are souls to be found today in the East, living in this garb of a self-realized man who shows no trace outwardly of philosophy or mysticism or religion, or any particular morals. And yet, his presence is a battery of power, his glance most inspiring, there is a commanding expression in his God. What he says is truth; but he rarely speaks a word, it is difficult to get a word out of him; but once he has spoken, what he says is done.
There is no end to the variety of the outward appearance of spiritual souls in life; but at the same time there is no better way of living in this world and yet living the inner life than being oneself, outwardly and inwardly. Whatever be one’s profession, work,or part in the outer life, to perform it sincerely and truthfully, to fulfill one’s mission in the outer life thoroughly; at the same time keeping the inner realization that the outer life, whatever be one’s occupation, should reflect the inner realization of truth.

HazratInayat Khan

A Spiritual Conspiracy

Be the change you want to see in the world. …. It comes from the intelligence of the heart.

On the surface of the world right now there is
War and violence and things seem dark.
But calmly and quietly, at the same time,
Something else is happening underground.
An inner revolution is taking place
And certain individuals are being called to a higher light.
It is a silent revolution.
From the inside out. From the ground up.
This is a Global operation.
A Spiritual Conspiracy.
There are sleeper cells in every nation on the planet.
You won’t see us on the TV.
You won’t read about us in the newspaper.
You won’t hear about us on the radio.
We don’t seek any glory.
We don’t wear any uniform.
We come in all shapes and sizes, colors and styles.
Most of us work anonymously.
We are quietly working behind the scenes
In every country and culture of the world
Cities big and small, mountains and valleys,
In farms and villages, tribes and remote islands.
You could pass by one of us on the street
And not even notice.
We go undercover.
We remain behind the scenes.
It is of no concern to us who takes the final credit
But simply that the work gets done.
Occasionally we spot each other in the street.
We give a quiet nod and continue on our way.
During the day many of us pretend we have normal jobs
But behind the false storefront at night
Is where the real work takes place.
Some call us the Conscious Army.
We are slowly creating a new world
With the power of our minds and hearts.
We follow, with passion and joy
Our orders come from the Central Spiritual Intelligence.
We are dropping soft, secret love bombs when no one is looking
Poems ~ Hugs ~ Music ~ Photography ~ Movies ~ Kind words ~
Smiles ~ Meditation and prayer ~ Dance ~ Social activism ~ Websites
Blogs ~ Random acts of kindness…
We each express ourselves in our own unique ways
With our own unique gifts and talents.
Be the change you want to see in the world.
That is the motto that fills our hearts.
We know it is the only way real transformation takes place.
We know that quietly and humbly we have the
Power of all the oceans combined.
Our work is slow and meticulous
Like the formation of mountains.
It is not even visible at first glance.
And yet with it entire tectonic plates
Shall be moved in the centuries to come.
Love is the new religion of the 21st century.
You don’t have to be a highly educated person
Or have any exceptional knowledge to understand it.
It comes from the intelligence of the heart
Embedded in the timeless evolutionary pulse of all human beings.
Be the change you want to see in the world.
Nobody else can do it for you.
We are now recruiting.
Perhaps you will join us
Or already have.
All are welcome.
The door is open.

Author unknown