The Hike

hike

How easily we communicate our thoughts through writing or art. We just pick up a pen or a brush and we are on our way.

What about the days when the human race could not write or paint?

***

Clouds billowed above me and the skies were tinted a purplish blue as winds picked up from the North – it seemed like a brittle wintery wind from New Mexico was sweeping over the Northern Arizona landscape. The mountains and rivers beckoned and enticed me. The air wore the scent of an approaching storm. The landscape blossomed and gleamed. Despite the warnings, I headed out to seek magic, because one never knows what marvels lay in wait for those who seek.

I put on my hiking shoes and loaded my knapsack with goodies and water. I was ready to brave the unknown. It was a good one hour drive from my place to the Petroglyph Heritage site in Sedona, Arizona. I had heard of this mysterious place from friends who were members of the local archaeological society.

Sedona is a rugged ancient city that is circled by giant Red Rocks (sandstone and limestone) that are rich in iron deposits. You can always expect the unexpected in this sleepy little Western city that is tucked away in the far corner of Northern Arizona. Hundreds of secret canyons, unexplored trails, desert forests and caves form the heart of this strange and mystical city which is also a haven for New Agers, Peace Seekers and Mystics. It’s interesting how the Cedar and Mesquite trees gravitate towards the Vortex hot spots of the Red Rocks; the trunks are twisted and gnarled as if struck by some unseen force. Locals say that the powerful Vortexes are the reason why the tree trunks are twisted in such a bizarre fashion. There is much speculation about the so called Vortexes of Sedona. It is indeed one of the most beautiful places in the world mainly because of its untouched, unique and diverse landscape. They say that a Vortex can be felt and never seen. Many theories and legends surround the mystery of the Vortexes. The most accepted theory is that a Vortex is a circling of spiritual energy that radiates from the core of the earth itself. There is a masculine and feminine component to the energy that reflects the masculine and feminine sides of human existence. The energy is said to have different effects on different people. Every experience is unique, which is what lends this place an enchanting Camelot-like feel. There is vibrational stillness to this place. When you stand in a hot spot you will know it. There is ultimate tranquillity. The shape-changing vistas might startle you at first. The Red Rocks seem to change many times a day. They never look the same. They are alive. They all have faces. It is an incredibly humbling experience. As a friend of mine once said, “Here, I and the Raven become one.”

Here in the pristine solitude of Nature you will be reborn.

And so I arrived at the V-Bar-V, Petroglyph site in Sedona.

I was speechless. Tall ancient trees, dark clouds looming above and winding paths leading to nowhere. I started the hike by emptying my mind of all thoughts thus allowing the spirit guides to show me the way.

I was now walking with the spirit guides of the Hopi and Sinagua tribes that inhabited this area thousands of years ago. I felt unusually energized and joyful – like I was going home. Strange. There was a sense of wild abandon as you hiked this ancient trail. I felt rejuvenated. As me and a few other fellow hikers climbed towards a steadily narrowing path the trees canopied above us and a gentle stream gave us company.

hike_1

After about an hour of moderate level hiking we arrived at a dead end – abruptly.

There in full view were layers of red rock, angularly cut, hidden deep within the canopy of trees. For a few moments we just stood there – mesmerized. The rich golden-red-ochre colors against the canvas of green was like we were all standing in a living breathing painting. The surreal landscape was painted by an invisible hand. But, the real journey had just begun.

At first I thought it was an extension of Red Rock country, until you peered closely. In a few moments the initial surprise was tamed by curiosity. Slowly but surely I saw it. An ancient canvas of rock. Shapes, figures and symbols started dancing around me and after a while I was encircled by a symphony of symbols. I was here. This was it. This was the site where the ancients painted their dreams onto the natural canvas. I took out my camera and started clicking away, trying my best to capture every bit of this natural wonder. After the first few clicks, I realized that I should stop and pay homage to these ancient artists who had taken great pains to record their lives for us to see. It is then that the symbols started to talk. Every inch of this rock canvas had a story to tell and every story was nothing like the other. They were almost one thousand petroglyphs divided onto thirteen rock panels (almost like chapters of a book).

hike_2

It became clear that the ancient tribes that dwelled here were ‘dry farmers’ and ‘gatherers’. Geometric symbols were a dominant part of the pictographs and petroglyphs. One could almost envision an ancient irrigation system of some sort that connected a river source to the rest of the farmland. Ploughs, fork like objects were another prominent feature, indicating the existence of farming practices. hike_3
hike_4

I then noticed a whorl-like symbol that either could be indicative of a Vortex or as many experts say, it is the representation of the Winter Solstice, an important event in the lives of these peoples who depended on the crops for sustenance.

Another interesting feature of these petroglyphs was the abundance of animal symbols. In every rock chapter I noticed figures of coyotes, deer, antelope, rabbits, lizards, snakes, mountain lions and other wildlife scattered in or around the geometric motifs. Yellow-ochre, sky-blue and deep brown pigments had been used to accentuate certain features, whilst other drawings were simply chiselled into the rock using specific implements.

Rock drawings can be found in various sites all over the globe – perhaps your region has one?

This was their life story that they painstakingly wrote for us to see. This was the book of their life and these symbols were their letters through which they could mark important events and record history as they knew it. This was a story ‘before’ writing and every word was a powerful reminder that the human race is a creative one that itches to tell their tale.

hike_5

Every story is worthy of respect and every story is worthy of being told. One does not have to be an expert, or a bestselling author or a celebrated painter, all one needs is a burning passion and the deep desire to tell a story.

Pictographs and petroglyphs are considered primitive forms of art, but to me they hold profound messages from a race of people who lived purely, bravely and truly. They respected Mother Earth, ate from the bounty provided, were not greedy and listened to their inner voices. They were the original storytellers who pined to tell their tales even if it be in the form of rock drawings. They saw magic in everyday life. To me, this ‘rock’ book was a bestseller.

I learned so much in just those few hours. The ancient ones unknowingly inspired me forever.

What story will this generation of humans leave behind?

Ansul Noor

Copyrights – 2015

The Animal Within

animal

‘Man was born free, and everywhere he is in chains’- Jean-Jacques Rousseau (The Social Contract)

I am sure many of you have experienced this feeling-one of being drawn to certain types of animals, certain wild and ancient places and the yearning to return to a simpler way of life.

I have experienced this ever since I was a very young child. Growing up in big bustling cities where one is surrounded by throngs of nameless and faceless city dwellers, one yearns for simplicity, sincerity, and most of all peace.

In this connected world- we remain disconnected. In a city of millions- the heart is forlorn. We remain clueless and lack inner joy, even though we have it all, we remain ‘poor’. We have reached the pinnacle of success, yet we feel ‘empty’. Something is missing- yet we cannot identify it.

The yearning begins- an ancient calling to connect to the wilderness within and the one that lies beyond.

If you let yourself become calmer, listen to the tiny voice within, you will soon realize that the REAL you has never really emerged. It is dormant, like a seed waiting to germinate. It takes a lot to know your ‘self’. Often a lifetime of searching is required until your reach that sincere spot of self-realization where the REAL you resides.

However, the moment of realization can either be spontaneous, like a flash flood, or one that slowly advances, like a patient glacier. Time is of no relevance, since the soul does not know time. Curiosity is the fuel that keeps the mind wondering and the heart alight. Slowly the soul emerges and starts to walk beside you, like an honest friend, guiding you to connect to your true self.

Native peoples and tribes around the world have never doubted this power- The Power of Nature & Animals. It is the only truthful source of life and learning. It is a pre-historic guide, predating religion, culture and civilization itself. It is one that we fail to accept or recognize either because we cannot understand it, or, we are too immersed in the drudgery of daily life. Often, to learn something, we must first unlearn, only then can true knowledge be attainted.

Perhaps some of you have noticed that when you sit alone by yourself, mind uncluttered and senses released, you start ‘seeing’, ‘feeling’, and ‘absorbing’ more acutely. The same backyard becomes a magical place where anything can happen. When you free your mind of useless clutter, you will attune yourself to the sounds that really matter.

I’m sure many of you will relate to this incident, one of many that I have experienced. An experience no book can ever teach me-one that is pristine, inspiring and mysteriously revealing.

I remember that day vividly. It was a cool September afternoon, as I was sipping herbal tea on my porch, that I heard a swooshing sound behind me.

I did not move, yet my thoughts raced. I could not decipher the nature or source of this sudden shuffling swooshing sound.

Few minutes lapsed.

There in front of me, proudly perched on the branch of a Pine tree, was a majestic Hawk. It eyed me carefully. It wanted to show me something, I did not know what, but it just sat there, looking at me intently. An hour passed and the glorious Hawk just sat there, watching over me and my mountain side house.

A spirit guardian?

The watchful one?

A protector?

It was an inspiring moment. I felt an instant connection to my wild and beautiful feathered friend. It was as if it had come to spend the afternoon with me- comforting me in my quietest hour. A sign to the weary mind that ‘you are not alone’.

Animal totems are an important aspect of our spiritual life and this is where we really start connecting to our REAL selves. ‘Anima’, from which the word Animal is derived, literally means ‘The Breath of Life’ or ‘The Soul’. Therefore connecting to our animal side is pertinent to spiritual progression.

These days one can goggle anything, but I speak from a highly personal perspective. It is these personal experiences that create real time awareness. Every experience is worthy of respect and recognition since every experience is unique.

There are many known types of Animal Totems. Some help you balance your daily life and provide practical answers to more mundane dilemmas. Other Totems are spiritual and mental guides- adding richness and wisdom to your spiritual self.

the animal with pic

There are numerous books on Animal Totems- find one which you feel is right for you.

I have complied these questions, see if you are connected to your animal side:

  • Do you feel drawn to a certain animal?
  • Are there times that you feel you are living an empty and disconnected life and as soon as your pet comes and lays in your lap- these feelings vanish and you feel calm and relaxed?
  • You have vivid dreams of jungles, green pastures, and see creatures and animals congregating around you and providing counsel.
  • You have felt that animals are your friends, or even your mystic teachers.
  • You respect, honor and love wildlife.
  • You feel sad when you see harm come to an animal.
  • There is always a part of you that connects to various animal traits; you can identify yourself with certain animals.
  • You abhor animal cruelty and feel that harming an animal is the greatest sin of all.
  • You revere animals and all life is sacred to you.
  • Wildlife inspires you more than anything else and the allure does not fade.

Have you discovered your animal totem yet?

Ansul Noor
2015
Copyrights

Jail

Nameless Faceless - Painting by Ishrath Humairah

I was put in Jail for a crime I did not commit. For no fault of my own, I was imprisoned, tortured and ridiculed ever since I can remember. My only joy rested upon a tiny ray of hope that filtered through the window of my dismal cell. It caressed my cheeks as I lay listlessly in the bare two dimensional room, showing me more tenderness than anything or anyone I had ever known.

It is that very ray of singular hope that sustains me. It is the only meal I need to survive.

As a child, I remember only one emotion animating my existence; it was selfless love. I innately adored, befriended and loved anyone I met. My earliest memory is one of wanting to give gifts to other kids. I was acutely sensitive to my surroundings and sensed things others did not. Would I be considered egotistical or vain if I were to say that I was an intuitive child? Or is that also a part of my condition? After so many years of confinement, reality seems unreal. But, yes, I was a sensitive soul.

I was also a trusting child, never suspecting anyone, only believing in the goodness of humanity. Was I naïve to think so? I wonder.

You are born pure and sincere but this judging world starts to creep upon you, soon enveloping you with poisonous vines. You try and escape from this deadly grasp, but soon, you are helpless, trapped and suffocated by the tight unforgiving grip.

You try to escape- it’s not easy.

Early on in my childhood I realized that I was different. Whilst all the other kids were fooling around, I was memorizing numbers, learning the capitols of the world, solving mathematical puzzles and humming complicated tunes. I felt alienated because whenever I tried to convey these interesting and exciting facts to those around me, they would all make fun of me or call me weird. I was deeply hurt and confused, since to me, these amazing facts and figures engrossed me completely, so I could not understand the premise of this untoward backlash.

Slowly, over time, I became somewhat of a loner. Yet, I still tried to win friends over by giving them my toys, hoping against hope that perhaps they will not make fun of me if I appease them.

This plan of mine worked, but was short lived. Soon they became bored with the toys and the friendships became a facade, where I was the gullible clown who had nothing to offer but my toys. No one really bothered to know the ‘real’ me.

At a time and in a country where there were no schools or institutions for ‘gifted’ or ‘special’ children, I was enrolled into a school that all the other so called ‘normal’ kids attended. Come to think of it, these so called ‘normal’ kids were the ones who displayed an abnormal fascination for putting someone down.

I excelled in academics, got straight A’s in Science and Arts. It was never proud and I never wanted to be a Mensa kid, but I was intensely curious about life, about the natural world, about the cosmos, about everything. It was simple as that. But they found yet another excuse to poke fun at me. “Oh there goes that weirdo.” The whispers pierced my eardrums.

Wildlife, geography, history, science, there were so many facts I yearned to share with others. But no one cared; they only stared.

My intelligent mind learned to cope with the cruel glances and thoughtless comments. I simply used to smile, shy away and tried hard to completely forget the incident- but how can one forget a cruel remark? It was interesting how I started developing self-coping techniques to block out negativity by constantly repeating the lyrics of my favorite song silently in my head. This was a useful trick that prevented me from being inwardly hurt on a daily basis. It was a part of my survival kit. It worked, for a while at least.

I noticed something odd. I could hear sounds and voices from long distances. At first this startled me, then, I gradually became used to this extra-sensory perception, if one can call it that. I also perceived colors and objects differently. Often, I saw a spectrum of hues in an otherwise apparently barren landscape. I floated upon a grand sea of curiosity and life seemed so beautiful when I was immersed in books. I could enter in and out of this imaginary world where people were kind and the sun shone bright. Actually, until today, I still do not understand why people judged or ridiculed me. I had not hurt a fly in my entire life.

I gave them the benefit of the doubt, thinking to myself that perhaps they perceived life a bit differently than I did. What appeared normal or interesting to me, was inconsequential to them. We are all unique individuals and so we all perceive life differently. I still think that the world is a beautiful place, where every single person is gifted in some way or the other. Labeling or judging someone is simply an act of ignorance and supreme cruelty. One can never fathom the complexities of another mind, therefore it is wrong to judge another indiscriminately.

But then, I’m branded a weirdo, a loner, a derelict of normal society, so who really cares about what I think.

As the years progressed, my boisterous enthusiasm became jaded by intermittent and inexplicable bouts of melancholia and fatigue. At first I thought I was unwell and that there was something wrong with me. I went for a full check-up and was given a clean bill of health.

This was mystifying and highly disturbing. Because now, I had started doubting myself.

Rather insidiously, I noticed that I was unable to concentrate in class. I felt that everyone was staring at me. One day it became so bad, that I ran out of class and sat in the hallway with my head bent down. I tried to figure out what was happening to me, I was dumbfounded and lost at sea.

The new semester ushered in a new me. An introverted and wounded person with no lust for life. Ignorance is a monstrous thing only because it makes an angel look like a demon where there is none. I started to sit at the far back end bench of the classroom, away from crowd, away from the steely eyed looks, away from it all.

Years passed and my energy waned, gradually the spark within me faded, and the ability to hold a normal conversation died.

I was born inexhaustibly happy, but now I am inexhaustibly sad. An unending cloud of darkness hovers above my head, erasing the last speck of hope in me.

Family, friends, acquaintances…..have all become nameless, faceless, hollow masks that I cannot and perhaps do not want to recognize. I’m afraid of what I might find behind the mask. They failed to ‘see’ the real me, so now, I do not care to ‘see’ them. I have become an anonymous shadow – the shadow that is me.

Very soon, I was forgotten by the world.

Mental illness is a jail sentence for the one who suffers.

There is a small window that occasionally allows in brilliant dots of light.

And when those brilliant dots illuminate the dark shadows, they reveal profound depths that are so very beautiful. It’s like walking into a dark dull cave by candle-light. Look up and you will be dazzled by undiscovered uncut diamonds that are waiting to be found.

But how many of us really care or dare to care?

Unfortunately, even now, in our enlightened age, people stigmatize those with mental or other poorly understood illnesses. They fail to understand that this condition can be treated and like any other affliction can be managed by proper intervention.

The most important aspect of this malady is lack of awareness leading to lack of compassion.

Very often, people are misdiagnosed and treated unfairly by the medical community itself leading to mismanagement or to a complete lack of management.

Mental facilities are notorious for treating their patients like inmates.

The result is the wasting of a precious human life.

So folks, my story was not penned to gain sympathy or win approval and certainly not written to gain popularity. I am already serving a life sentence for a crime I did not commit.

But, I penned this story because I wanted other’s to know that they should not judge someone because they look or behave ‘differently’. They should never let go of their humanity and keep the candle of compassion burning. If you notice that someone is sad, alone or perhaps just needing a moment of your time, try to reach out and comfort them, instead of shrugging your shoulders and walking away. It’s so easy to walk away.

We are all beautiful unique individuals. We each have so much to offer.

Keep someone from serving a lifetime of solitary confinement.

Help someone escape from the prison of mental illness.

Most importantly, hold on to your compassion, it’s the only emotion worth anything.

Are you ready to walk into the cave and save a lost diamond?


JAIL
-The Shadow that is Me-
Dedicated to a childhood friend.
By Dr.Ansul Noor
2015 – Copyrights

Image Credit: Nameless Faceless – An abstract painting by Ishrath Humairah

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