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Tag: Ikbal Ali Shah

2
March 23, 2009 Posted by tahir in Travel

Hidden Meaning

The Sufis have always used language to encode ideas and themes precious to them. These hidden meanings are invisible to the eye or the ear of the uninitiated. They can be released and activated however through teaching. The sense of specific Sufi code words or stories is lost on those without the knowledge to perceive the concealed message. An example, is the Arabic root, NSHR, to saw. The word has numerous meanings (see below), and is used as a kind of key into another way of thinking. Sawing wood for Sufis signifies creating something new — sawdust — and from a material — wood — that is being worked on to create something new. The process is a metaphor for transmutation also, as in alchemy. The root and its multiple uses in language makes it a valuable code word:

NaSHaR = to expand, spread, display
NaSHaR = to saw wood, scatter, propagate
NaSHaR = to become green after rain, to spread (as in foliage)
NaSHaR = to recall to life, revivify (the dead)
NaSHiR = to disperse by night in a pasture
NaSHr – life, sweet smell, reviving herbage after rain
YaUM EL-NNuSHUR = day of resurrection
NuSHARa = sawdust
MiNSHAR = saw.

18
July 8, 2008 Posted by tahir in Travel

Guilt

Guilt is a big thing for me, a kind of grease that lubricates my life. Without it, I’d be sitting on the couch with my feet up, daydreaming. Or asleep, or gorging myself on ravioli with extra cheese. I don’t know why I feel it, deep in my bones, but the guilt’s always there. It grinds away, tormenting me day and night.

I never feel as if I’ve done enough work, or good enough work, or that I’ve exercised enough (which I never have), or that I’ve got enough going on. I’m the rat in the wheel spinning faster and faster. And however fast I go, it’s not enough. Because the guilt’s chasing me, reminding me that I could go even faster still.

 I look at other people and they don’t seem to have the same angst. Or if they do, they hide it very well. Rachana certainly doesn’t have it. Most of the time she thinks I’m mad. You see, she’s much calmer than me, and she gets stuff done, but without the anguish. While I hurtle to and fro in a frenzy… the guilt devil jabbing me with his trident, she drifts serenely through the day getting plenty done .

I sometimes wonder why I am like I am, why Rachana is how she is, and why everyone else is how they are. Is it natural programming, or something learnt? Nature or nurture?

It must be a little of both.

But then how ever did the guilt get into my genes?  Did I have guilt-ridden ancestors, hounded like me through history? And if so, how did they fare? And the portion that’s learnt… by what lessons and encounters could all that guilt have eased into my head?

So here I am, intoxicated with guilt, so greatly so that I’ve resorted to writing a blog about my preoccupation. If there’s an upside it’s that I’m often coaxed on to do things that I don’t want to do, but that I know the guilt devil will be thrilled with.

Once in a while I get so overladen with guilt that I can’t do anything at all. I just sit there on the couch fretting. I pretend that I’m thinking, or working on an idea, but I’m not. The other day, our maid Zohra found me in the sitting room staring into space. I tapped a finger across my lips pensively as if I was coming up with a big thought. She looked at me hard, narrowed her eyes.

‘You are not thinking of anything at all,’ she said.

‘But I am, really I am.’

‘No,’ replied Zohra. ‘I can tell.’

‘How?’

‘Because your eyes are bloodshot,’ she said.



TS