April Monthly Village View
As I write this we are in the midst of the Christian Holy Week and last night began the Jewish celebration of Passover. And, of course, as none of us can escape, we are held in the grip of a global pandemic. For those of us alive today it is a totally unprecedented experience. It seems to me that those very stories of Passover and the Passion and Resurrection of Christ can speak directly to our present experience. One of the ways we have celebrated Passover at the Abode has been to liken the Israelites leaving Egypt (Mizraim, the “narrow place”) to our own journeys to move beyond those “narrow places” in our own thinking. And we remember that before they could experience the “Promised Land” they had to wander for 40 years in the desert. We are all in a narrow place right now, whether it is the physical restrictions placed on us by necessity or our fear and anxiety. And it can definitely feel like we are wandering lost in the desert. Christ’s story tells us that his suffering and crucifixion were necessary precursors to the glory of rebirth. As Sufis we say, “Die before death and resurrect now!” Every moment of our life we can choose to die to the false, to fear, to limitation, and be reborn in truth and light.
It’s not easy. Hard times are everywhere, including here at the Abode. But what better time to put our spiritual teachings into practice than when we are challenged, up against that metaphorical wall? These are the times to put our practices into practice! Charles Eisenstein put it this way, “Covid-19 is like a rehab intervention that breaks the addictive hold of normality… Covid has gifted us a reset…” This time can help us to focus on what is most important and meaningful in our lives. When the usual routines and activities of our lives are disrupted it can allow us to reflect on a sense of our eternal nature. I have an Eckhart Tolle engagement calendar; this week the quote is, “Anything ‘bad’ that happens in your life, use it for enlightenment. Do not give it any past or future. Let it force you into intense present-moment awareness and see what happens.” More timely reminders to remain present to our experience, to move through our life with awareness, looking for what it can teach us, and using its lessons to awaken!
Pir Zia in his talk about the novel coronavirus spoke of how such a situation calls into question all of our ordinary assumptions and of how such times can easily give rise to anxiousness, worry, and even panic, but that giving in to fear only disables us and keeps us from responding in meaningful ways. He urged us to “look anew.” He advises we can either let it break our spirit or force us to open our wings! (I found this a very inspiring talk, followed by brief discussion and ending with a healing service by Devi Tide. If you didn’t see it, I highly recommend it. https://vimeo.com/397876660).
We will get through this. We’re not sure how or when, but one thing is clear as we make our way through the unknown—we must keep faith and put our spiritual practice into everyday practice. And we won’t get through this by ourselves—we must be there for each other. For those of us on the Board of the Abode, our primary goal is the survival of the Abode. It’s going to mean some difficult decisions and sacrifices. I hope our shared love for this Abode will bring us together during these difficult times. I’m reminded of one of my favorite songs, which I will end with:
Rebbe Nachman of Breslov used to say:
Friends do not despair, for a difficult time has come upon us, joy must fill the air!
We must not lose our faith in living, we must not despair.
Though a difficult time is upon us, joy must fill the air!
Aimée Brodeur Johnson on behalf of the Abode Board
Image by Milan Kecman (unknown year)
In honor of National Poetry Month, the Abode will be sharing poems from poets of varying faith backgrounds.
This week we share a poem, The Guest House, from beloved Sufi mystic and poet, Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī. Born in Balkh (now known as Afghanistan) in 1207 Rumi is one of the most widely known and influential poets.
Rumi has influenced countless poets, authors, and mystics all over the globe. After his death, his disciples were organized as the Mawlawiyyah order.
Healing Service for the World with Gayatri Hull | Tuesdays | 3:00 PM EDT
April 14, 21, 28
All are welcome! Be sure to follow us on Facebook for links to classes!
Sufi Message Class | Thursdays | 7:00 PM EDT
April 16, 23, 30
We pray you are well, healthy, and happy! The Inayati Center at the Abode will be Zooming it’s Thursday classes for the foreseeable future. Please join us on line for inspiration, meditation and social sharing! All are welcome.
Be sure to follow us on Facebook for links to our Sufi Classes!