Monthly Archives: March 2008

Me and books

[Bahasa Indonesia]
Me and books go a long way back. They are among my best friends in the world. They have taken me further than I can even imagine. I thank them for it. I thank my mom and dad for it.

I was at a friend’s place. She has opened a small library for children in her neighborhood. I shared with her my love for books. I told her when it all began.

When I was little, mom used to take to the market several times a week. She almost always left me in a nearby local bookstore.

The owner kindly allowed me to roam around the store and read whatever my heart pleased. Comics, atlas, history, geography, general knowledge, anything. My love for books grew.

Dad too nurtured my love for reading. Even when I was still in elementary school, he almost obliged me to read newspapers before I left for school.

He discussed several issues from the papers with me. My love for reading grew. And so was my ability (and keenness) to analyze things.

Me and books go a long way back. We have a long way to go, still. I just hope that every kid has the same opportunity. If only they realize how far they can travel, intellectually and imaginatively speaking.

I thank the books for many things. I thank my mom and dad, too.

A refresher course

[Bahasa Indonesia]
I had a long hour chat with a friend last Saturday. One story I told her was about another friend. A friend that was a super busy person with quite a complicated life, to say the least.

I referred to her as one of my greatest teachers. And a dearest friend.

Whenever we wanted to meet, there was always something. Her meeting was extended. The restaurant in which we were supposed to meet was closed and her mobile was not functioning so she could not contact me. She had sudden assignments from her boss(es). She had to run some errands for her family. Etc etc.

So one or two hours delay to her arrival was “normal”. It was actually good, compared to the three or four hours delay. Or a no show. Or a no show with no notice.

Needless to say, I–who practically uphold the sacredness of promise and punctuality–was almost always upset when she was late. Yet, somehow, I kept (or keep, present tense) making appointments with her, and she with me.

I did not realize the lesson that I was undertaking until one day, we made another appointment. I visited her town and we were supposed to meet after work. When I SMS-ed her once I had arrived at our meeting point, she responded by saying, “Sorry, got to buy something for my daughter.”

Amazingly, all I said (and felt) was “ok”. Then I picked up the phone, called another friend, and said “looks like we can meet after all tonight.” Life went on. With little resentment, if at all.

As I was praying and contemplating after that incident, I realized that I have passed an important lesson. That lesson of being (un)emotional when somebody changes her/his mind, when somebody suddenly has other plan, and when somebody does not keep their promises.

I started to view this from her/his perspective. She has complicated life. And so has everybody else to different extent. It might be selfish for me to be upset. Perhaps it was just not meant to be.

Last Saturday night, I was supposed to meet another friend. Funnily enough, that friend too did a no show. No phone calls. No nothing. And I felt fine. “Ok, I can take some rest and finish my book then,” I thought. Turned out that the friend was sick as a dog, or so the sms in the morning said.

The story I told my friend that very afternoon now seems to be a refresher course of what to come the evening that followed.

I was reminded of my past lesson and the milestone that I have successfully passed, just before a similar incident came along. A kind reminder to not fall into the same trap twice. Thank you.

What the river has shown me

[Bahasa Indonesia]
My friends and I were discussing the poem It’s a pleasure to be a student. One asked about the line “Rivers show me the nature of myself.” What can rivers show us? She asked.

It brought me back to when I was in Anahata, Ubud, Bali.

Towards the end of my stay there, we went down to the river just below our resort.

I dipped my feet in the river. I moved my feet around and played with the water. The feet, naturally, moved and it was a nice sensation.

Then I suddenly stopped moving my feet, while still leaving them in the water. And what I saw, moved me, inside.

I saw my feet kept moving. It was moved by the river water, rather playfully. It was a grandeur sensation.

Perhaps that’s how we should live our life as well. If we surrender to nature, then the nature will gracefully and lovingly (and sometimes playfully) move us.

We do not have to try to fight or move against it to get that grand sensation. Perhaps there is such thing as trying too hard.

Instead, we just appreciate, surrender, and flow with it. Experiencing, enjoying, an even grandeur sensation.

And that, I told my friend, was what the river has shown me.

Pic: From Anahata Spa & Villas Resort

Oh Ahmad

By Narda Dalgleish.

O Ahmad
There is nothing I can do or say to prevent your intention
To blow yourself up
with those you hate.

But I would like you to know anyway
That at the end of your last prayer
when you turn your head to the right
and say
assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuhu
you have greeted me too
as I am there, right beside you
with the whole of Mankind
because your Lord is my breath.

Then when you turn
your head to the left
and repeat for the last time
assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuhu
I am there too, with the whole universe
because everywhere you turn
there is His face
And your Lord is my breath.

Even when
your hands and forehead touch the ground
and you say to your Lord with a deep sense of fulfillment
We are all there
right beneath you
with our forehead and hands and knees and toes
touching yours from the ground.
So just before you press the button
with your call Akbar
know that we are always between you and your Lord
He is our breath.

Now. What if I tell you that the poem is written by a mother who has lost her son to a suicide bomber?

One, one, one

From Rumi. It’s been a long time.

One, One, One

The lamps are different,
But the Light is the same.

So many garish lamps in the dying brain’s lamp-shop,
Forget about them.

Concentrate on the essence, concentrate on Light.

In lucid bliss, calmly smoking off its own holy fire,
The Light streams towards you from all things,
All people, all possible permutation of good, evil, thought, passion.

The lamps are different,
But the Light is the same.

One matter, one energy, one Light, one Light-mind,
Endlessly emanating all things.

One turning and burning diamond,
One, one, one.

Ground yourself, strip yourself down,
To blind loving silence.

Stay there, until you see
You are gazing at the Light
With its own ageless eyes.

.I’ll stay. snif.