Tuesday, December 20, 2005

What Meikl said.

Bismi'llah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim...for the sake of Prophet Muhammad saws and Sheikh Nazim may Allah protect his secret.

Hi Grego,thought I`d lost you for ever! It`s nice to know you`re here as well. Shame about BL. I don`t understand why you got kicked. Maybe it`ll happen to me.

A reply from Anna ...

Bismi'llah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim...for the sake of Prophet Muhammad saws and Sheikh Nazim may Allah protect his secret.

A reply from Annabanana of Blog Ladder.

jenny just told be that you have been blocked from BL, and i'm just appalled. ramandu's right, it's just stupid that political ranting or personal whining are somehow supposed to be more interesting or valid than a soul's quest. i said as much on the ladder, but now i notice that the announcement that religious content will be filtered is gone completely. at first i thought that this meant GB had had a change of heart, finally, but, when i asked jenny if she knew anything about it, she said you had been given the boot, which, i guess, doesn't bode well as far as GB's enlightenment is concerned.how very sad.i think he is making a terrible error in judgement.

Reply to Anna.

Bismi'llah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim...for the sake of Prophet Muhammad saws and Sheikh Nazim may Allah protect his secret.

Anna from B.L. wrote to me .. so I put my reply to her here for her and others to read. I hope it doesn't work out wrong (being Tuesday today!)

Hi Anna,
How nice to hear from you! You were especially one person I didn't want to lose contact with. Somehow perhaps you were the one who came closest to understanding me on B.L. and, as I think I said before I liked your sense of humour and light touch. I've really been going through it as you know .. but something got up G.B.'s nose and, well, we'll leave it at that.
For the moment I am in Granada putting my silver stall up .. but, without transport! as my head gasket went on the car .. I am managing to keep it together so far and Bilquis seems to be maintaining her position if not actually moving forward a little bit.
I am bit like a little kid or a teenager facing his first real job or something .. I've always had my psychological and emotional problems and she has been my complete support and protection until this year ... Now I have to do it alone or go under (economically at least, if not in other ways too and my only possibility would be state help in England .. where Bilquis couldn't possibly be moved to right now ..)
I'm writing from an internet place beneath the flat where I am staying (very convenient). It's good to be back in Andalucia I am much more at home here.. the Pais Basco is so, well .. German(?) .. you know, efficient but a bit soulless.
So-o-o that'll do for now. My head's reeling from trying to deal with it all and I have been so frightened that I haven't been sleeping properly at all. Maybe I shouldn't have taken the Lycopodium (which I am nearly certain is my constitutional remedy) as I have probably been in crisis. ..
I am going to try to put some time in on LiveJournal (as Sufibridge) but that won't be while I'm working here .. maybe when I get back to the north.
Came down by night sleeper and Talgo .. a good experience and very cheap (73 € return!)
It might be interesting to mention me on B.L. .. (Anthropophobe has contacted me very kindly too) .. and see what G.B.'s reaction is. Up to you how you handle that one!
Hope to be in contact through LiveJournal/Sufistuff/Flickr/.. maybe 43 Things ..

Thanks again Anna .. Maybe not strictly correct Islamically speaking, but your friendship has been a great support to me... and I hope you are going to hear more positive reports about my little struggle from now on. (Meine kleine kampf ?)
Actually I met a lot of German's through Sheikh Nazim's group and was always pleasantly surprised to find what very deep and lovely people they are after one has got through the first cool aloofness. I am very very fond of some of them.. the above remarks are just a "tipico topico" view of them .. and really .. I suppose the same goes for the Vascos too ...
Good and bad in everything no ? ... There's only One Who is beyond all that duality ..I liked your stuff about the candy store .. perhaps I am more inside it now (or aware that I am .. or allowing myself to be .. whatever)
Love and peace, salaams,
Grego, aka Sufibridge aka Uthman.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Another good friend's reply from B.L.

Bismi'llah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim...for the sake of Prophet Muhammad saws and Sheikh Nazim may Allah protect his secret.

Just for interest (for some of you perhaps) there is a kind and supportive reply from Jenny on "Personal Stuff". (See list of blogs in my profile.)

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Ramandu's Reply.

Bismi'llah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim...for the sake of Prophet Muhammad saws and Sheikh Nazim may Allah protect his secret.

Here's the kind and thoughtful e.mail which I recieved from Rmandu today.

Hello Grego. How nice to hear from you. I am very sorry to hear what GB has done to you on blog ladder. It makes me want to leave the ladder, after all, I am free to go where I want. But like you, I enjoy the people at blog ladder and would miss you guys' writings and feedback. I have always enjoyed your post because they are honest and illustrate what it is that we all, as human beings, (human beings are more spectacular creatures than anyone give us credit for) should be doing, seeking truth and journeying spiritually. It frustrates me to no end that political ranting is perfectly acceptable while sharing one's religious beliefs, the cornerstone of one's being, is censored and ridiculed. I am a strong believer in freedom. I as an American, continually question whether our freedoms are truly real or mere illusionary in this country. It has taken me a while to swing away from my pessimism and back towards the light. I think we live in a time in which the individual has a lot of power. Blogging is a source of that power. You would be surprised maybe, at how many people you touch with your blog. If GB is going to be a nazi in this age of information exchange and freedom then to hell with him. Your better off elsewhere. It is strange, in a delightful way, how the people in blog world influence me. I have about 7 people scattered all over the world on four continents, who I have never met face to face and yet their words guide me and challenge me. You are one of them. How great it would be to all get together in a Spanish café and spend an afternoon chatting. So anyway Grego, I will miss you on blog ladder, but your probably better off with out GB, start a new forum, take the power back. I would be honored if you read my blogger blog. I will look for you there, and I will read yours as well. I wish you all the best with your wife and your walk in the lord. Sincerely, Matt aka Ramandu

Sunday, December 11, 2005

My Demise on www.blogladder.com

Bismi'llah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim...for the sake of Prophet Muhammad saws and Sheikh Nazim may Allah protect his secret.

I was thinking ...of writing something in here about my demise on Blog Ladder .. it is not so much what happened as the way it was done that has upset me .. and the loss of contact with several good friends.
However I found the e.mail of one member on one of my posts on one of my other blogs. Ramandu as he is known on B.L. Matt as he is known on his Blog. Adventscribing is the name of his blogs.

He's a very good writer and sensitive and a believer so I wrote him an e.mail. Perhaps it is just easiest to post that e.mail where I more or less expressed what I feel about all this.

I also thought it would be amusing and interesting if anyone who feels anything about this should sign up to B.L. and (perhaps after a post or two) start asking what happened to Grego .. saying how much they miss him and his stimulating interesting posts etc .. www.blogladder.com
Can anyone be bothered? .. If you can I would appreciate it .. a small campaign for justice and clarity and transparency over a cyber issue .. stuff like this .. trust between human beings on the web is pretty important to me .. maybe I'm just a naive fool ?
The administrator "Greedy Bull" can also be e.mailed here ..contact@blogladder.com so any hassling or agitation can go straight to him if you like .. or if he just starts wiping everyone's stuff of in his megalomaniac way.

Anyway , here's the text of that e.mail;

Hi, It is Ramandu isn't it ? Browsing around my old blogs for some new outlet for my stuff ..and saw a comment from you.
I've written an e.mail to Debbie .. I don't know wether she will say anything on my behalf. The latest is G.B. has blocked me from even entering B.L. now .. (I just get a blankpage html thing in the address bar)
I'm not so bothered about coming back .. in that G.B. can do what he likes in the end .. but I think his behaviour was shockingly unreasonable.
No explanations .. no willingness to draw some guidelines for members and users of the site .. like some mad fascist dictatorship. I think members should know of his tactics ..every time I wrote a comment or a suggestion, he just wiped them off .. crazy stuff! Do people really want to be on a forum like that?
Funny that his entry in Yahoo says "a clean member controlled style" .. it would be good to point that out.
What do you think of his autocratic style ?
Was I really spamming anyway ? Others don't seem to think so. You and Anna and Anthopophobe all seemed to think I had something to contribute .. as did Nisanthrope ..that I was not like the bible bashing fundamentalist Christians etc etc ..
I would like to be so independent and strong as to just walk away from it .. but I must say I am hurt.
It seems to me to be just youth .. but another voice says it is to do with belief directly .. I have been quite surprised to see how many people don't really believe in anything beyond what their five senses tell them .. and will not rise above that more than to the realms of the intellect at best.
There was almost a general consensus of opinion that anything spiritual or religious should be kept quiet as if even talking about it was socially unacceptable .. There was a time when belief in God came before all else and informed everything, including politics and political debate.
Nowadays everyone wants to seperate everything into spiritual and secular .. as if there is a world where God has no place .. "God is dead" is indeed the general tenor of our society these days and I think that is directly related to the way the world is going .. i.e. rushing to the edge of the abyss which may well end in a horrible nuclear war (Armageddon).
I for one think it is very important to think about and do something about these things and draw people's attention to them.Burying one's head in the sand or looking the other way won't help much to solve the problems of human life on earth will it ?
Can we really stand by and watch while everyone just talks about holidays and books and music and food and filling in quizzes?
My point is that in a balanced blog community there must be room for every type of voice ..If G.B. wants a totally secular site .. where no spiritual view or discussion is allowed , he should say so from the outset.
I am not so upset at leaving (or rather being pushed out of ) B.L per se .. but I am upset by having my interaction with kind and sensitive and thoughtful people like yourself and Anna and Debbe and Anthropophobe and Nis .. cut off.
You already know about my blog .. at http://www.sufistuff.blogspot.com/ maybe you can get Anna's e.mail for me discreetly? .. I should like to say farewell to her after all her kindness and attention ..
If I can find another forum where we can meet I'll let you know .. what a drag that G.B.makes such a damn good little site and then behaves like a ten year old jerk in the playground!
Say something on my behalf if you like. You're much more clever and subtle verbally than I am.
Maybe just ask what happened to me ?

Hoping you care a bit about this piece of apparent injustice and that you are writing and contributing to (not only in a literary way .. but in revenue for G.B via his advertising which needs traffic) a site whose administrator behaves in this autocratic dictatorial fashion, something which is seen by the outside world as becoming the hallmark of American life since the rise of that other G.B.

Forgive me banging on but I have been well hurt by this .. my only consolation being that God loves me enough to cut me off from time wasting and too much connection with unbelievers, so that I actually and sincerely turn back to Him and make Him my only real goal and Friend.

Your brother in belief,
Uthman Gregory Collins, (aka Grego).

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The last little party's over.

Bismi'llah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim...for the sake of Prophet Muhammad saws and Sheikh Nazim may Allah protect his secret.

For lack of any clear criteria about what the administrator considers allowable or not on his site. I've had to leave Blog Ladder. I now know what it feels like to live under a dictatorship.
What a horrible experience.

However, I'm sure that the original author of the act was only One, and that there must be a wisdom and a justice in it.

Perhaps He loves me enough to stop me spending too much time with unbelievers .. something not exactly recommended by the Prophet saws !

It seems that too much talk about Reality or God upsets sleeping people
who want to stay in their dream world. For them this world is a kind of paradise, but, as the Prophet pbuh said, This world is a prison for believers.

There are endless permutations of worldy fruits and delights from the lowest to the highest. The highest and the more natural indicating and more easily reminding of something greater and something beyond.

How anyone can live in a world completely devoid of meaning or context other than the indulgence of the five senses and the intellect I don't know.

The so-called democratic and scientific world view that has been foisted upon people convincing them of the reality of a two dimensional world in which they are all nothing more than cardboard cut outs, is very frightening indeed.

The fact that there is no link made between the terrible state of the modern world and lack of belief in a Creator or any Divinely inspired morality or meaning is a terrible and frightening prospect for the health of the world population in this and future generations, if indeed there are many more with what seems to be cooking at a global level.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Absence from oneself.

Bismi'llah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim...for the sake of Prophet Muhammad saws and Sheikh Nazim may Allah protect his secret.

Sometimes, when I am in squeezy moments, like the present one ..I'll take one of Sheikh's books and open it at random for some appropriate advice.
For lack of any 3D books of Sheikh's on this journey, I just went to the lap top for a PDF version of On the Bridge to Eternity. which I had donloaded from Warriorette's site.

This is what I came up with .. it goes straight to the core of why I'm being pushed off B.L. I think .. (best thing spiritually, tough on the ego ..oh well) ...That's the place where I am absent from my real self and just play endlessly in my false self .. when it should be the other way around.

Grandsheikh once spoke to me about Jafar as -Sadiq r.a. from the Golden Chain of the Naqshibandi
Silsilla. He was a descendant of the Prophet. When he was worhipping, he was absent from himself, going
into the Divine Presence. The value of worship is in that Presence. As much as you are with yourself, you
are far away from real worship; you are a servant to youself. Being absent from yourself means coming to
Unity, ‘Tawhid’. When you are present in the Divine Presence, all powers are present with you. There is
no heedlessness, you don’t forget anything. When you are with your ego, you may forget something in
the prayer. The purpose of all worship is only to make you absent from yourself and present in the Divine
Presence. As much as you are with yourself, there is no real unity.

Censorship problems over at B.L. once again.

Bismi'llah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim...for the sake of Prophet Muhammad saws and Sheikh Nazim may Allah protect his secret.

O.K. .. so th Sheikh is really clipping my wings now .. I'm sure it must be for my own good .. but I must say .. it hurts ...

I know I should have followed my own advice from Islamic wisdom about not being bitten at the same hole twice.

G.B. has started his imperious censorship thing over at B.L.again .. he just can't seem to stand it when I put stuff on from Sheikh Nazim ..or maybe it's my personal outpourings at a very difficult and sensitive time in my life ..

I suppose he wants to keep it light and look the other way .. it's not such an appropriate place for me .. just a shame that I had made some friends there .. and that all my posts are on his site and I don't suppose there is much of a way to retrieve them ..

There's deep wisdom in this for sure .. and a lot of self confronting as well as discipline and changes to be made ..

Seems I'm having all exits blocked now .. but One !

That's cool, I'll try ..

Maybe my desire to write can be harnessed more specifically in the cause of Sufi Islam ? (Along with some photos, as the Sheikh suggested) but the travel will have to wait until Bilquis is better .. insha'llah.

What I miss is the creative friction caused by being up against non Muslims and even non-believers, let alone non-sufis ..

I'm not very inspired by clubs where everyone agrees and pats each other on the back. There doesn't seem to be much growth in that.

But perhaps the next steps are in a different dimension .. without so many words ! Aaaargh!

Monday, December 05, 2005

This living world.

Bismi'llah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim...for the sake of Prophet Muhammad saws and Sheikh Nazim may Allah protect his secret.

I know I haven't written in here for ages. The thing with Bilquis's cancer has kept me so busy and stressed up I haven't even been able to think straight.
Somehow things are settling down now and I have more of a handle on this strange new reality which at first seemed so unreal.(It's something that always happens to someone else isn't it?)

Anyway, I'm not going headfirst into any comments or conclusions or sufi points of view about the whole thing at this stage. In fact I'm just letting it lie for a while until the storm has really died down and I am able to be more objective.

However I did like this little interchange from B.L. where Anna has been encouraging me to try to write a book about sufism that would help bring understanding to the non-sufi world... (I wish!) she got the idea from a similar one about Zen done by a cook ... ;

feeling judged or patronised by your toys? by annabanana / The Misadventures of Bug Girl
4 Dec 2005, 10:31am
maybe this is the answer.check out the even freakier advertisement for it.
Post Comment

4 Dec 2005, 3:07pm
I rather like the idea, even though perhaps the commercialisation and advertising is a bit more cynical than what I'm thinking of. A couple of things. The sufis say that all things are in fact living. They say that everything has its "dhikr" (remembrance, worship) of Allah .. but has no choice in the matter (unlike humans). To this effect the Prophet once held up a handfull of stones to the companions and they actually heard their dhikr (or glorification).Sometimes when I have had the chance to live a quiet contemplative life somewhere I have had a kind of relationship with my simple belongings, like the pots and pans in the kitchen. They become old and trusty friends.When I was little my teddy bear Bruno was very real and very alive to me. (Think of Winnie the Pooh.)I don't think it is such a bad thing to encourage kids to become aware of this dimension of life. (Though I suppose one has to be careful that they don't get thought of as wierd by their mates in school.)Our Sheikh tells us that once he was walking with his Sheikh in Damascus when he kicked a stone from the middle of the path to the edge (it being said to be the first or lowest level of good actions to remove obstacles from the path). His Sheikh asked him sharply what he was doing. When he explained he told him "With your hand, not your foot!".Respect, love, interaction. I was reminded of these things by the apparently wierd child's gift.
by Grego
4 Dec 2005, 7:06pm
grego, if my post reminded you of respect, love and interaction, your comment to it reminded me of a story in Tomato Teachings and Radish Blessings (that book i keep yammering on to you about).i think i'll type it out for you.but before i do, let me just say that i think i know what you mean. as a child i had a special blanket (creatively named "blankie") that was definitely male, and definitely magically protective. i took whatever happened to it (like laundering) very personally. i still have it in fact, and use it as a shawl in bed on chilly nights (i have a near pathological distaste for cold shoulders). anyway, i have long suspected that i'm really some sort of animist at heart, and that things are constantly singing to us, or, not to us, but just singing, their natures eternally.and here's the story from the book. are you ready? it's a nice one, i think.The Sincerity of Battered Teapots.by Edward Espe Brown (head cook at a Zen centre, just so you know)In the late 60's, when I was working so very hard and struggling to learn how to cook and how to direct the operations of a kitchen, the battered teapots were one of the things that kept me going. Dented and tarnished they sat on a shelf in the kitchen, ready to be used when called upon. My tired, despairing eyes would wander around the kitchen at all the jars and bowls, pots and utensils which were so much a part of my busy life and finally come to rest on those teapots. How did they do it?Once they had been new, bright, perfect, a softly lustrous golden tone. Made of polished metal, probably aluminum, they were pleasingly round and plump, with a long perky spout and a graceful curving metal handle wrapped with bamboo stripping.The teapots were used several times a day to serve hot water and tea. To see them filled and waiting was a cheery sight, not just because of the hot refreshing liquid stored inside, but because their shape greeted the eye with an easy-going ampleness. Nothing pretentious, sleek, or stylish distinguished these teapots, which were always ready and always willing.Zen offers a simple dictum for how to care for things, how to respect them: Carry one thing with two hands, rather than two things with one hand. The teapots rarely received this respect. Especially once they were empty, people would grab two handles in one hand and two handles in the other, and the teapots would clang their way back to the kitchen.To practice respect or to care for something or someone intimately takes time, and even spiritually minded zen students are as much in a hurry as the next person. Instead of dashing to work or school, the zen student races for time off, a nap, or a hot bath. Teapots become an obstacle between here and rest, so grabbing two pots in each hand seems like a great time-saver.After a while the teapots reflected the way they had been treaded. Gazing at the teapots on the shelf, I would feel a certain comraderie: I too am like that -- dented, discoloured, drained. Yet, as I looked I would sense something else: quiet dignity... tremendous forgiveness... the willingness to go on. "Sweethearts," I would think, "if you can do it, I can too." Inspiration comes from the strangest places.Please do not suppose that I am condoning abuse. It is just that we all get beaten down by life -- with disappointments and frustrations, annoyances and fatigue. And somehow we find the strength to continue. And sometimes the courage to change.Recently my sweetheart Patti asked me if I knew what sincere meant. She had been working endless hours on a figure sculpture, which was the be cast in bronze eventually."No," I replied, "tell me about the meaning of sincere." Her explanation was that the s-i-n was like sans in French, meaning "without," and that the c-e-r-e meant "wax." To be sincere is to be without wax, the wax which can be used to cover up all the dents and blemishes, the chips and cracks, all those places we think we need to hide.To be sincere is to be of a piece -- with the imperfections showing. The lines and grooves are part of the beauty. The faults and shortcomings are part of the sincerity. When it comes to cooking, I put my faith in sincere, honest effort. I am less interested in showy, dramatic results intended to impress and astound than in day in and say out cooking. According to an old Chinese saying, "The uses of cleverness are soon exhausted, while the apparently simple is infinitely interesting."To be committed to covering up faults is to be continuously anxious that we could be unmasked or seen through. When the imperfections are pointed out, we can become angry or quite discouraged. Yet although we are "up-set," this removal of wax can also be a relief. Then we don't have to put all that effort into covering up anymore. The secret is out.In one zen story the student asks the teacher, "How can I attain liberation?" and the teacher responds, "Who is binding you?" The student is said to have had an awakening.I find that story revealing. I notice how I bind myself at times with demands for perfection and mastery. I tell myself endlessly, "Watch what you say. Watch what you do," until a kind of paralysis sets in. I withhold love and respect from someone who is dented and tarnished, and even find fault with his efforts to wax things over.Then I look at the teapots. And I am released.
by annabanana