blessed words by John O’Donohue
blessed words by John O’Donohue
You know what love is?
It is all kindness, generosity.
Rumi “Whispers of the Beloved”
Translated by Maryam Mafi and Azima Melita Koln
the moment of impact
This deserves to be shared because it’s unlikely you’ll hear what the Kiwi students have been up to in quake-shattered Christchurch: an extract from a heart-warming personal email from a dear friend writing to me in Australia (where this moment finds me) from New Zealand …
Incredible that there are now 700 rescue workers from various countries helping out in Christchurch. I think on top of that another contingent of police from Oz arrived. They got a rousing reception at the airport and the generosity is truly amazing.
My mind boggles at the organisation that is coping with where they’re all housed, fed, and rostered. It’s a real United Nations and thank goodness the powers that be accepted so many offers.
You might have heard that 18,000 uni students have formed an ‘army’ and are out with shovels and spades clearing silt, helping out where they can.
Then the Dunedin students got together and have gotten up to 10,000 lunches organised to keep the students going.
Wonderful heart-warming deeds and it brings the emotion high just watching.
The Mayor… [Bob Parker] what a guy huh? He’s never short of the right words, nor praise, nor down to earthness, just an absolute gem. Some of the people interviewed (the professionals from various teams) speak so articulately and calmly despite being interviewed time and time again. They’re all so patient and accommodating.
This is what love is: kindness, generosity, patience, calmness, and Presence – that wondrous capacity we all possess to remain wholly at-one with the actuality of the present moment.
Dust and death and disaster. The Beloved assumes all guises and invites every possible response, while remaining unshaken, unshattered and unchanged. This unknowable changelessness is our only safe haven.
Mark Hathaway has generously given me permission to post versions of the Aramaic Lord’s Prayer, or Jesus Prayer, published on his website: www.visioncraft.org These renditions are based on his studies with Saadi Neil Douglas-Klotz, whose website is www.abwoon.com.
Mark is an author, web designer, and freelance “ecologian” studying the inter-relationships between ecology, economics, spirituality, and cosmology. His latest book, co-authored with Leonardo Boff, is called The Tao of Liberation – Exploring the Ecology of Transformation; please go to www.taoofliberation.com/Home.aspx for more information.
For those interested in learning more about the Aramaic version of Jesus’ sayings, Prayers of the Cosmos by Neil Douglas-Klotz (Harper and Row, 1990) is highly recommended.
O Divine Womb,
birthing forth the river of blessing which runs through all,
Soften the ground of our being,
and hallow in us a space for the planting of thy presence.
In our depths,
sow thy seed with its greening-power
that we might be midwives to thy Reign.
Then, let each of our actions
bear fruit in accordance with Thy desire.
Impart to us the wisdom to bring forth the gifts of the earth
and share them daily according to the needs of each being,
And restore that which has been usurped
by injustice to its rightful owners,
as we restore to others that which is not our own.
Do not let us be seduced
by that which would divert us from our purpose,
but make us sensitive to the moment at hand.
For from Thy fertile soil is born the creativity,
the life-energy, and the dance,
from birthing to birthing. Ameyn
Isabel Lilian Turner
26 October 1914 – 12 January 2011
The last of the ancient aunties has been fittingly farewelled. It was a small, simple, and serene funeral. Dying at 96 of plain weariness after a healthy creative life was cause for celebration and joy, yet we felt the quiet ache of her absence as well.
Included in the service was the recitation of The Lord’s Prayer, a mainstay and inspiration for so many souls. As I recited the lines I couldn’t help but inwardly offer up a different version, one that I learned many years ago. It’s a rendition from the Aramaic language, the tongue spoken by Jesus himself.
The version that we know as The Lord’s Prayer has been through the grist of Greek and the labyrinths of Latin before being translated into English, with all the modifications inherent in such a winding pathway. The shift, from a song of praise and supplication addressed to a matriarchal source of Life, to a patriarchal prayer, happened somewhere along the way.
Because Aramaic is a language that – like most indigenous languages – allows for many different possibilities to be present simultaneously, there are many different renditions. They are like subtly different perfumes given off by a single glorious flower.
I came away from the funeral with a little project – to post as many versions from the Aramaic as I can find, or gain permission to publish.
Perhaps you have a favorite version you’d like to contribute?
O cosmic Birther of all radiance and matter!
Soften the ground of our being and carve out a space within us where Your Presence can abide.
Fill us with your creativity so that we may be empowered to bear the fruit of Your mission.
Let each of our actions bear fruit in accordance with our desire.
Endow us with the wisdom to produce and share what each being needs to grow and flourish.
Untie the tangled threads of destiny that bind us, as we release others from the entanglement of past mistakes.
Do not let us be seduced by that which would divert us from our true purpose, but illuminate the opportunities of the present moment.
For You are the ground and the fruitful vision, the birth-power and fulfillment, as all is gathered and made whole once again.
Listen to me.
Love is all there is.
Nothing more is needed to be known.
So open your heart and, in the name of that love,
welcome every bit of life that awaits you.
Your purpose is to be present, minute by minute,
breath by breath, tomorrow after tomorrow,
to the end of time itself.
Breath by breath I am present as another beloved wise woman,
my mother’s little sister, breathes her last.
Ninety six orbits of the sun – she finally caught up, in earth-time,
with the big sister she was always chasing.
The last of the aunties of the Harrex line has left.
The cousins assemble. There will be celebrations.
She’d like that.
Ahhh, beloved Life. We give thanks for ancient aunties.
We remember their busty lavender loveliness as they hugged us close.
We give thanks.
I thank you for this day called Christ-mass
that brings me a yearly reminder of
what it means to be innocently human,
to be the world without a center
to be born anew in humility and childlike wonder,
to be unafraid of things that go moo in the dark,
to trust utterly that Mother who is my source
my sustenance and Light
to rise from my habitude, however apparently binding
and follow the bright star of my heart’s longing
until the uncomplicated and obvious is revealed
in the unborn child within
to set my clever ideas atop a camel in the desert
and with beginner’s mind track that same star,
intent on finding an oasis of Truth that knowledge
and learning cannot reveal
to offer unwrapped gifts that hands have made –
little tokens too humble for a mega store
on the high street but that bring a sweet smile
to eyes that recognize sanctity
I thank you for all the prophets and sages
the awakened ones, the risen ones
the healers and teachers, alive and long gone
who have rebelled and suffered for the cause of Truth
leaving traces of their toil to guide my way
I give thanks for the sweetness
the relief, the body-blessing benediction
that resting in the cradle of Your Presence brings
and most of all I thank You, Beloved
for loving me in spite of
~ miriam louisa
tree ferns, open armed
shrouded in thick mistiness rolling in
from the South Pacific
bejeweled spider-web mandala
(bemused spider sheltering under
breadcrumbs scattered on glistening deck;
shy thrushes dropping in for breakfast
gleaming flax proudly pointing their ebony flower-laden bracts
skyward; fat Tuis feasting
explosions of agapanthus blue, and white,
on long strong stalks
panels of pieces-in-progress strewn
around the polished Rimu floor
tongues of fire dancing in the little wood stove
keeping the air moisture-free
so paintings can dry
crackle and creak of chimney stack
slow staccato on roof-tile
melting diamonds on window-pane
oboe breathing forth from
magic music box …
what else can I say?
there is nothing that I is not
yet I is nothing and nowhere to be found
– miriam louisa