Archive for mystical

Tao Te Ching

Posted in Global Travel, Mystical Experience, World Myths with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 18, 2012 by javedbabar

“This is ridiculous,” said Danny. “Can you please make up your mind which comes first, Tao Ching or Te Ching?”

“Well, that is what we are discussing,” said Sophie. “It could be either.”

“Isn’t the name of the work Tao Te Ching? It has eighty-one chapters in a particular order, so why don’t we stick with that?”

The rest of the production crew looked at each other in general agreement, but also at Danny, annoyed. He didn’t know how to endear himself to people. Sophie was much better at that.

She said, “Because there is a school of thought that the first thirty seven chapters, Tao Ching, and the next forty four chapters, Te Ching, were reversed in the original text. The original may work better for dramatic purposes. I want to hear everyone’s thoughts on this before scheduling the show.”

Tao Te Ching had been an unpopular choice from the beginning. It lacked the narrative structure of previous productions such as Osiris, Beowulf or Gilgamesh. It was a mystical work full of contradictions.

Sophie envisioned the show as an experiential rather than narrative production, and had in truth, forced it upon them. The QARY project was her baby. It was she who had initiated the conversion of the old quarry into a venue for multimedia productions. She would call the shots.

Danny persisted in being difficult. He said, “Look, it’s easy to do. I know how to do it. We are trying to create the essential, unfathomable process of the universe. Something dreamy and mysterious, strange and illuminating. It’s the feeling you get when you’re stoned. All we have to do is re-create that.”

The production crew sniggered and ribbed each other. Sophie wanted to smile but kept a straight face. “Thank you for that, Danny. Why don’t you bring a joint for everyone to the next meeting? One, two, three…ten, eleven, twelve. That’s twelve joints, okay?”

Danny said, “Okay,” weakly, and Sophie forgot all about it.

At the next meeting, Danny looked pleased with himself. He opened a golden silk pouch embroidered with a dragon, and produced twelve joints. Everyone cheered.

Sophie had given up smoking four years ago but still indulged in herbs. Once everyone had a joint in hand, she said, “First I will recap, and then let’s brainstorm.”

She reminded them that Tao Te Ching is filled with short deliberate statements and intentional contradictions. Memorable phrases are delivered, and readers forced to create their own reconciliations of the supposed contradictions.

Poets, painters, warriors and gardeners had used it as a source of inspiration for millennia. It had political advice for kings, and practical wisdom for regular people. It had a long textual history and a limitless variety of interpretations. What could the production team glean from the work? They examined a few phrases together.

“The Tao that can be told, is not the Eternal Tao.”

“Darkness within darkness, the gateway to all understanding.”

“If you want to become whole, let yourself be partial.”

“The Tao never does anything, yet through it all things are done.”

“That doesn’t make any sense,” said Danny. “I am not doing this production.”

Sophie smiled and said, “You have a choice to make Danny. There is doing by doing, which is effective work; there is doing by not doing, which means avoiding mistakes; there is not doing by doing, which means correcting errors. There is also not doing by not doing, which is unemployment. Which do you prefer?”


Little People

Posted in Mystical Experience, Unknown with tags , , , , , on March 15, 2012 by javedbabar

Quinn walked in and laid down his work bag. He said, “Darling I’m home! Where have the fish gone love? Are you cleaning the tank?” There was no reply. Erin’s car was there – maybe she was in the garden. He went outside beyond the roses, but didn’t see her. Then he saw her inside the house, peering at him from the sunroom. Had she been there all along? He went inside and said, “Didn’t you hear me, love?” She didn’t say anything. “What’s happened, darling? Is everything alright?” She rushed towards him and hugged him, and burst out crying. “Love, love, what’s the matter?”

“I wanted to tell you, but I couldn’t. I thought that you’d get angry again. They arrived this morning and I had to put them somewhere.” She stopped talking and continued sobbing. “The only thing I could think of was the fish tank.”

“So what have you done with the fish?” She better not have flushed them down the toilet, thought Quinn. I know they didn’t cost me anything, but those fighting fish are worth $100 each.

Erin pulled away from his shoulder and said, “They’re in the bath. Do you think they will be ok there? It’s only for a day or two. I promise I’ll get my own terrarium. Can you make me one? I’ll get the glass tomorrow.”

“Hang on, hang on. So you don’t need the tank for other fish? What’s it for then?”

Erin took a deep breath and said, “Little people.”

“Did you say little people?” Erin nodded. “Little people?” She looked scared now. He better calm down. The hottest girls are always the craziest. They live on the edge of imperfection. There’s no point in complaining about it now. It’s part of the package you sign up for. “Darling, where are they now? I mean, why didn’t you put them into the tank, their nice new home?” She welled up again. “What have I said now? Really, I’m not trying to be mean to you. I’m just trying to make sense of this situation.”

“You can’t see them,” she said.

You can’t see them?” He looked into the fish tank closely. Gravel and greens remained, but no signs of life. “You mean that they’re in there now, but they’re invisible?” Erin nodded. “And how do you know that they are in there rather than sitting on the toilet, or chilling in the fridge?” Erin looked scared again. “Darling, I’m going to take a shower. Let’s chat about this later. I’m not sure how to deal with it right now.”

Quinn took a long shower, shaved, and trimmed his nose and ear hair. People seemed to think it was ok to have strings poking out sideways. It wasn’t. It made you look creepy. When he returned to the lounge Erin was composed. She’d touched up her makeup. Hot and crazy. She said, “You know my friend Shaka?” Quinn nodded. He’d heard the name, but had no idea who this was. “She invited little people into her home in spring, and she says that they’ve changed everything. Just because you can’t see them, doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. They have special energy – it’s like reiki, but they use their whole bodies not just their hands.”

Quinn couldn’t resist saying, “Their invisible bodies?”

Erin didn’t flinch. “Yes their invisible bodies. I know you think I’m wacky. But think about it. What is the most wonderful thing in the world?”

“Em… love?”

“Yes, love. Can you see that? Right! You can’t. And something else?”

“Er… beauty?”

“Yes, beauty. Of course we can see beautiful things, or we have beautiful feelings, or beautiful thoughts. But can we actually see beauty? I mean, as a thing itself? You’re shaking your head. You know that we can’t. And the same for truth, and wonder, and faith, and joy. We can’t see any of them directly – only their manifestations.”

Quinn was feeling bamboozled. He’d just come home from a hard day’s work. It wasn’t fair to hit him with this. He liked her style though. Her passion. He always had. Her belief in what she was saying. Was it different from people believing in God, and angels, and the devil, and ghosts? The resurrection of Christ, the world emerging from Brahma’s navel, a winged horse flying Muhammad to heaven, or Moses talking to a burning bush? These worldwide myths required belief in the invisible and the impossible. Billions of people swore that they were true. People that he didn’t know or much care for. And this one crazy lady believed in little people. The woman he loved, who loved him too, and meant more to him than any other little or big person in the world. Her belief in him and her love for him were invisible too. But he knew that they were real. These things acquired Presence.

He would take good care of these little people, he decided. After dinner he said, “Darling, do they like it there in the tank?”

“I think they’re happy,” she said.

“How about the lighting? The temperature? Humidity? Ventilation? All good?”

She looked at him bright eyed and said, “All good my love.”

White Rock

Posted in Mystical Experience, World Myths with tags , , on January 1, 2012 by javedbabar

Zanu fell into the forest clearing. At its centre was a giant white rock, which glowed in the sunshine, like a turnip at night. It didn’t seem real for a moment – more a ghost stone, or a movie prop, but as he drew closer, he saw crags and shadows. When he touched the rock, his hand went straight through the surface, and he was unable to pull it back. His groping fingers felt nothing. He tried for an hour to extract himself, and screamed and shouted, but no one came. Eventually he fell forward in exhaustion, and was enclosed by the rock.

Everything was white within. There was no ground or sky, or trees around him, just blankness. His body adjusted to the cool, but his legs began trembling, unsure what they were standing on. It wasn’t a surface. It was like a thickness, somehow heavy enough to support him. But where did it stop?

There was a flash of golden. Where had it come from? Maybe he wasn’t inside a rock after all. It could be a thick mist, with yellow leaves falling around him. There were balls and fragments of lustrous light. Brightness in this blankness made him cheerful.

But immediately he felt a sharp blow to his ribs, and was shoved from the back. He fell forward, but onto what? Zanu’s smile became a grimace. People kicked him, and he heard their muffled voices, but couldn’t make out any words. He rolled into a ball, and stayed there, floating in nothing. More than anything he needed to be brave right now. But there was nothing he could do. His bawling filled the blankness and hurt his own ears. Maybe he passed out.

Then a person appeared – literally appeared – as if the mist changed form into a golden being. And this was no ordinary person. Zanu knew an angel when he saw one. She was twelve feet tall with golden skin and hair, and transparent wings. She said something unintelligible, then lifted him, held him close for a moment, kissed his forehead, and placed him back in the blankness, except this time on his feet.

His eyes adjusted. There was a mango tree with one ripe mango dangling high up. This was the source of the golden light, as if that mango were reflected in misty mirrors all around. And then he saw translucent forms of people crowding around the tree, grasping for its fruit. Some people fell and got trampled, like Zanu had earlier.

“What are they doing?” he said to himself, but his voice was transformed and boomed out everywhere. People stopped and stared at him. Uh-oh.

A fat boy said, “We’re trying to get the mango. Can’t you see?”

“Well why are you all jostling each other?” said Zanu. “Why don’t you try together?”

“You must be joking! With them? I don’t trust them.”

“How do you know they won’t help you?”

The fat boy stopped to consider this, as if he had never thought of it before. He said, “They won’t. We all want the same thing. There’s only one mango. And I’m called Adam, I was the first one here. I deserve it.” He looked smug, but then worried. “Look, if you help me get it, I’ll give you half. How about that?”

Zanu agreed, but said that they would need to include the other people too. The more players on their team, the better. And that’s how Adam, Brent, Christi, Deva, Ethella, Fong, Giovanni, Harriet, Indi, Javek, Klim, Luqman, Moldy, Nilesh, Ooty, Patsy, Quru, Rachel, Selim, Tanya, Uriko, Victor, Wilhelmina, Xipe, Yosy and Zanu each got a slice of golden mango. They swore that it was the sweetest thing they had ever eaten. Each slice was a smile. And the next thing they knew, they were all lying in the forest clearing beside the giant white rock.

For thirty years, Zanu dreamed constantly of his experience in the White Rock. He had turned it round and around in his head, but it was still mindboggling. How had it happened to him? And why?

One day, he woke a little later than usual, brushed his teeth, had a glass of water, and opened the door to get some air. As he stepped outside, everything disappeared. He turned back but the door, and the whole house, was gone. He was floating in blankness. He had the feeling of being in the White Rock once again, but this time there was total darkness. The words of the angel came back to him now, intelligibly: “Next time, you’re on your own.”