Monthly Archives: April 2007

Note: Mi’raj–the first stage (A. Chodjim)

[Bahasa Indonesia]

Mi’raj has often been discussed as a journey that Muhammad has taken from Jerusalem to the seven layers of sky. In each layer of sky (do we call it heaven?), Muhammad met different prophet.

Rarely the mi’raj has been discussed in its more esoteric meaning, as implementation in human life, despite the fact that it is actually a journey to God. The seven heavens are the stages that we need to go through.

In the first heaven, there was Adam. In Arabic, Adam means soil, or earth. It represents the attachment we have with this physical world.

To pass this stage, we need to realize how this attachment has hampered our journey as human. This would is just a facility for us to grow. Happiness does not come from outside; it grows from within.

Hopefully we realize this without we come face to face with death. And we hope we can continue our journey to the next stage.

Complete note of this discussion (in Indonesian) can be downloaded from here.

Accept what can be accepted. Appreciate the difference among us. Each with her/his own’s needs and stage of growth.


[Bahasa Indonesia]

Do you believe in subtle signs we receive from nature? I do.

When I went home last night, I was listening to a radio talkshow. The topic was “Time to quit your job.” Nice topic for the state that I was in. So I thought, hm.

I kept listening to the show. At the very end, at the closing of the talkshow, the announcer said “but if you hold on and stay throughout the thicks and thins of your company, then it would be good for you(r portfolio).”

Hm. Things you learn when you stay (tune) until the end.

Thanks. Friends.

[Bahasa Indonesia]

Yesterday a friend (and a mentor) emailed me to respond to my previous thread. She said, “Have a nice cup of coffee, put on your ipod while watching people passing you by. Life is beautiful.” Thank you.

Another friend whom I often confide to asked, “When was the last time you sat down with a friend and poured your heart out?”. Good question. I cannot remember. That is just not how things work for me now.

She suggested, “Why don’t you have a cup of coffee with your close friend(s) and do that?” She did not realize, in my mind, that was what I was doing with her.

That evening I decided to do what I had not done for a long time. My 11pm nightly appointment with You. I prayed. I confided. For a short while. As I walked out of the room, my cat rushed in and laid down on my prayer mat. So I sat down again. And I meditated. This time for a longer while.

Today is weekend. I am off to yet another forgotten ritual of mine. Saturday’s breakfast at a nearby coffeeshop, with only myself, my books and some passer-bys (how do you spell this word btw) as companies.

Thank you. All of you.

And to You: I did not realize how much I have missed my conversation with You. I should have come to You sooner. A lot sooner. Every second of my life. I am so sorry. But I am here now. And I hope You let me, You help me, be here all the time from now on.


I wish I have something wise to say. I wish I have more contemplative words to convey. I wish I have something positive to tell. But I don’t. Not now. I am just simply plainly tired.

There are times when you start wondering what is around the corner. There are times when you start looking for that silver lining in every cloud, any cloud. There are times when you ask yourself which way to go. Or start questioning why, how. My time is now.

I know I am blessed. I know I am so so so lucky. I know things are just the way it should be, the way it needs to be. Life is one great big plan to improve oneself. But what I know and what I feel can be two different things.

And I feel this to my bones. I am just simply plainly tired. Help.

Happy Kartini Day

[Bahasa Indonesia]

The 21st of April is celebrated as Kartini Day in Indonesia. You cannot miss it if you are in Indonesia. You switch on the TV, read a newspapers or a mag, pass by a billboard, go to a shopping center, and you bound to hear “to commemorate Kartini’s legacy..”. To those who observe the day, happy Kartini day to you.

But with all due respect to you and to Ibu Kartini herself, I always wonder about two things (1) how many of us really know the history behind this Kartini Day, and (2) what makes Kartini so special. Why is there Kartini Day but not, for instance, Tjut Nyak Dien Day?

I suppose I should not be so hung up on this. What is more important is the spirit to empower women and to support gender mainstreaming (Speak the lingo, guys). And this is my impression of the day.

I went to a Femina’s seminar on franchising for women today. I was so amazed by the number of people (or rather, women) turned up at the event. So many. And they looked determined as well.

In the morning session, there were two speakers (all male btw). Amir Karamoy and Rhenald Khasali. Pak Amir, to me, spoke more straight to the point. He sticked to the theme of the day: franchising, while Pak Rhenald, absorbing as he was as a public speaker, was talking about more general things (and more relevant to his new book).

It was refreshing to me to learn that during the Q&A session, much more questions were directed to Pak Amir. Participants wanted to know about franchising. It showed determination. It showed single mindedness. I was so proud, somehow.

On another but related topic, this morning’s Kompas also featured a female becak driver Ibu Aminah. She has been doing this for five years to support her family of 10 children. Ten children. That’s another subject. But Ibu Aminah is a real hero to me.

All in all, the very fact that we are still celebrating Kartini Day, however, implies that there is something to fight for still. As with the very fact there is a minimum quota for women in the Indonesian parliament. Or a state minister for women empowerment. Or poligamy. Or domestic violence. Or husbands that do not want to have anything to do with domestic chores. Or people saying “must be the mother” when a child goes astray. etc. Long way to go.

Happy Kartini day to all. And happy Kartika to you, han & your fam 😉

A Year with Rumi, on the 15th of April

[Bahasa Indonesia]

I was curious about what he had written for today. Page 127.


There are many guises for intelligence.
One part of you is gliding in a high windstream,
while your more ordinary notions
take little steps and peck at the ground.

Conventional knowledge is death to our souls,
and it is not really ours. It is laid on.
Yet we keep saying we find “rest” in these “beliefs”.

We must become ignorant of what we have been taught
and be instead bewildered.

Run from what is profitable and comfortable.
Distrust anyone who praises you.
Give your investment money, and the interest
on the capital, to those who are actually destitute.

Forget safety. Live where you fear to live.
Destroy your reputation. Be notorious.
I have tried prudent planning long enough.
From now on. I’ll be mad.

Hmm. Wow. Happy birthday.


[Bahasa Indonesia]

“Hm, something is wrong here. I cannot pull my claws out of this sofa. Ok, breath, relax, I shall be fine”

“Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, umph, umph, rrrrrrrrrr”

“Arrrrghghghghtthhgghg, miauw, miauw. **&*^%^(!!”

“Hmph. Tired. Oh well. Perhaps I should just stay here. Hey, where’s that fish? Hungry.”

[Model: Miauw, The cat]

Book: Syech Siti Jenar – By Achmad Chodjim

Note: the book is in Indonesian language. Klik ini untuk Bahasa Indonesia.

I finally have finished reading Syech Siti Jenar by Achmad Chodjim. Thanks to the easter long weekend holiday. This posting is mostly taken from the last chapter of the book.

Syech Siti Jenar’s view is a blend of middle eastern sufi and Javanese mystics. The emphasis is not physical, rather it is based on Love, in the form of manunggaling kawula kawan Gusti, tauhid al wujud, the oneness of the Creator and the creation.

He argued that religion will be beautiful if it is in line with God’s law of nature, which is the existence of various forms and beings, as opposed to uniform existence.

Let religion grows in harmony with wherever it grows, in harmony with the local ecosystem. In his case, it was the land of Java. His teaching is an assimilation of the Arab-based Islam and the Javanese culture.

Alquran, he said, should be understood by its substance. Not an easy thing. Thus, the choice of teacher (guru) is crucial. The teacher should be a concrete manifestation of Alquran, able to provide guidance. Someone who understands the law, smart and with quality ibadah (not sure how to translate this).

Understanding the law means understanding the social rules of life in that particular environment or state. Understanding the life ethics. And the local social values.

Quality ibadah does not mean somebody who do all the rituals. Rather, it means his unconditional dedication to life without wanting anything in return. His sincerity in life which is reflected in his everyday life.

The teacher should be somebody who are able to hold himself together against all the temptations in life. Someone who has smart analitical thought and is proven to be able to face the challenges in life.

Siti Jenar also emphasized on the revival of self. A life with true rights, independence and destiny. An existence that does not dominate nor dominated by other being.

I myself think I need more time to contemplate upon the book, much more to implement it in my life. But I hope this is useful, for you and for me.