July 17th, 2014

Unity and Separation

Collapse )Collapse )Mysterious plane crashes and civil wars are much on my mind this afternoon as i ponder the greater unity(ies) of which i am a part and my separation from that Whole and those wholes.  Bedil, a Sufi poet suggested that a drop of water must exist in order for the sea to appreciate its oceanic quality and that my (or somebody's) consciousness must exist so that the All may understand its Allness.  All this is quite above my skill level, but i do begin to comprehend some of the issues involved in my participation in some "lesser unities" such as ethnicity. nationality, religious affiliation, family, and various organizations.

Because i have autism, face blindness, and a tin ear, my relationships with other may be especially problematic, i simply do not recognize people i should know well when i see them "out of context."  I stood in a checkout line earlier this year and the woman in front of me turned and said: "Hi, Uncle Bob."  I had no idea who she was.  A similar thing happened with my elder DAUGHTER not long before that!  I grew up in my own little world and was quite content to stay until the necessities of survival drew me into a larger world that included school, work, and family.  In spite of my recognition that "its just autism" (which helps a lot) i often find the simple facts of family often overwhelm me.  Family means a lot to me, but most people's definitions of family, societies' definitions, religions' definitions mean almost nothing to me.  I deal well with family members one at a time (now that i am aware of and dealing with my depression and autism), the idea that the collectivity "family" is a natural unit that i can approach "naturally" continues to elude me.  In this case there seems to be way too much "separation" to appreciate the "unity."

Ethnicity also escapes me because i have absolutely no awareness of being Dutch, or Dutch/English, or Dutch American.  Some Americans of Dutch ancestry do maintain such awareness, but most don't.  I was not aware of a Dutch heritage until  very late in life and have no more knowledge of or interest in Dutch history and culture than the average non-Dutch person.  In the 16th century the Dutch became Netherlanders, at the end of the eighteenth century they became "Europeans" and the 19th century, at least in the U.S. the became White.  So i am "White" but most of my identifications with "White" are negative.
Some human beings became "Slavs:" then the Slavs became "Russians" and "Ukrainians" who are now suspected of shooting down a Malaysian airplane with Dutch passengers on board, but they are human beings.  It is hard for me to get past "Malaysian," "Ukrainian," "Dutch." and "Russian" and think about the fact that they are all "human beings" who are a small part of the All.  My "degree of separation" is still not strong enough to allow me to comprehend the unity (or the unity to comprehend itself.).

Nationalism is supposed to be a solution to the problems of ethnicity and tribalism, but personally i find the "nation state" and the patriotism it attempts to induce in its subjects and citizens to be much more problematic than the tribe.  I am a USAian by birth and (by now probably) by choice; but my identification as an American is almost totally negative and embarrassing.  Nations may, though this is questionable, fight fewer wars than tribes, but they are far more deadly.  Most people would say that my attitudinal separation from my country is far too great; i think it is far too small.

I'm sorry, this post is supposed to be going  somewhere, but if so, i will have to pick up my train of thought later.

Kabir (1440-1518) Or Maybe (1398-1518) Worship In Your Heart

Many legends abound about the birth, life and death of Kabir, one of India’s most quoted poets and mystics. His birth itself is shrouded in mystery, some say he was the son of a Brahman widow, others that he was of virgin birth, what is known though is that he was brought up in a family of Muslim weavers. He was never formally educated and was almost completely illiterate. According to legend, the only word that he ever learned how to write was “Rama”.

‘Listen to me brother! bring the
vision of the Beloved in your heart’

- Kabir

Legend says that he relinquished his body when he was about 120 years old. There is a famous legend about his death; When he died, his Hindu and Muslim followers started fighting about the last rites. When they lifted the cloth covering his body, they found flowers instead. The Muslim followers buried their half and the Hindu cremated their half. In Maghar, his tomb and samadhi still stand side by side.

Kabir Das (kabir, Arabic for “great”, dasa, Sanskrit for “slave” or “servant”) was born in the year 1398 AD, 71 years before Guru Nanak. He is one of the medieval Indian saints of the Bhakti and Sufi movement whose compositions figure in Sikh Scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib.

From among all of them, Kabir’s contribution is the largest. Kabir lived in a time of great political upheaval in India. Kabir’s life was centred around Kashi, also called Banaras (Varanasi).......

Kabir through his couplets not only reformed the mindset of common villagers and low caste people but gave them self-confidence to question Brahmins. Kabir believes in self-surrender and God’s bhakti. He suggests inward worship and remembrance of God. For him, true worship is only inwards.

Kabir composed no systematic treatise, rather his work consists of many short didactic poems, often expressed in terse vigorous language in the form of Padas, Dohas, and Ramainis (forms of poetry in Indian languages).

Poet Seers » Kabir