Happy New Year All!
I hope the new year has brought you hope, love, peace, and all the positive aspects of life. Though most of us know better that these cliché wishes are simply empty words. The truth is life without adversities is a bore which leads to a stagnate life with no growth opportunities. So, a better wish for the new year would be, I hope you have the vision and strength to deal with life’s ups and downs swiftly and smoothly.
I have been MIA (Missing in Action) for a month. I took a well-deserved break from sharing my thoughts. This one month off from writing, offered me the chance to think. When one aims at impressing her readers, sometimes, her truth becomes timid. Her truth might hide away, worried that it may be more than her readers can handle. It (my truth) may, at times, peak its innocent head through subtle words or phrases. All this hide and seek, is because truth knows that it could be hurtful to show up. Truth knows that many don’t want to face it or deal with it now. So, it remains veiled…This month’s break, however, brought me a little closer to my truth.
During this month-long break, I also took a short trip to hide from it all, i.e., Holidays, covid in the house, 200 papers to grade, and people in general. I travelled to a secluded place and stayed in a cabin by myself in a gorgeous forest by the Atlantic Ocean, southeast of the US. This 500-acre virgin land was donated to the M.S. Irani’s trust, to be used as spiritual retreat for folks like me, who needed some solitude. Because of covid, the place was almost empty. Though I met few people. Folks like my special friend who’s name in Farsi translates to Eternal Sun. I’ve known her for 30 years and she lives in that part of the world. She visited me twice during my stay. I consider her one of the strongest women I know, as life’s adversities has made her who she is, knowing well that all her strength comes from her faith. Besides Eternal Sun, I met some wonderful volunteers that I had never met in person before. Other than that, I spent most of my time reading, walking, and reconnecting with me and my truth.
One of the main benefits of this type of trip was clearing my head funnel. When the funnel overflows, we lose important insight, queues from universe, and messages from beyond. Forget about mistakes you may make at work or home. When one reaches that level, no amount of meditation unblocks the funnel. I am happy to report that this trip opened a space for me to receive new insight. It uncovered topics I had read before, but gallingly did not grasp.
Look folks, I am not sharing any new information on the importance of taking time off. We all know how vacations and travel gives us the tools to expand our hearts and minds. (at times our body size lol). But alone vacations are something else...and highly recommended…specially to places where there are not many people or touristy activities…Try it…
Another gift from this trip, was meeting and having an audience with an unassuming, approachable, and wonderful sage. He was one of the volunteers at the Center, who is also a Servant Leader in the community. Since his name means Peace in Hebrew, I will refer to him as Mr. Peace. His kind gestures of checking in on me in the communal kitchen occasionally, was a treat that I shall never forget.
During these short and cherished visits, we discussed various spiritual topics. Mr. Peace came across as the go-to person of the community. He has a weekly program on Zoom to address any questions truth seekers may have. Besides being well-read, he has served the community for over 50 years; and he knew and was mentored by folks who were in M.S. Irani’s close circle. Darwin Shaw was one of these people, that you’ve seen quotes from in my notes. I felt honored to have this private audience and to hear him talk and address any of my specific questions. Yet, I did not have any specific questions for him. Not because I have all the answers, but mostly because, I did not know where to begin.
Mr. Peace shared few quotes with me, which I sadly forgot to write their sources down as he spoke. Nonetheless, I will share here, as the essence of these quotes will not be diminished not knowing who said it. And knowing this community, I am certain, that they do not care for the credits, but simply want the message to be disbursing. I know with my academic background, I will be disowned for saying this, but the truth is a tree does not want credit for the shade it provides, or the sun never asks for citations, it simply shines…(Hafiz, the famous Persian Mystique poet has a poem about this)
Mr. Peace shared two quotes that stood out: “Whatever you do with love, has perfect results”. This was exactly what I needed to hear on this trip. In other words, if you are looking for perfect results, do it with love. The other profound quote he shared was: “Be a chalice but do not take a sip”. That meant, be a container full of love for others, wrap everyone in kindness, but not to benefit yourself, but just to serve.
Lastly, my main take away from Mr. Peace was a new terminology: The neutral plateau. This is the space where you go between an action and its reaction. whether the action is initiated by yourself, someone else or the environment. This neutral plateau is where you decide how to react or to react at all. That is the space where you decide to create more impressions, that you may have to undo later. The neutral plateau is the space between two phenomenon and gives us the time and space to choose between equanimity or volatility. I assume, the more we expand our neutral plateau, the more likely we reduce the unintended consequences of our reactions.
Returning from this month-long writing break delivered few insights, yet my truth tells me to wait in my neutral plateau before sharing these insights. Perhaps they will be revealed at the right time in my future writings. As always, I am grateful for you and your interest in what I have to say. (Photo below is from the lake-house that was in that enchanted forest)