god is love, lover, and beloved
Eighty-eight years ago today Hazrat Inayat Khan died--inspired musician, messenger of the divine, and bringer of the Sufi message to the West. It's a day of celebration, called Urs, which is nothing to do with bears but literally means "wedding anniversary."
The death of a Sufi saint is understood as the transmutation of their physical existence into union with the Divine. (It's interesting that early Christianity had this metaphor also, although in that case Christ was the bridegroom and the Church, the collected body of worshippers, was beloved bride.)
What I appreciate about the metaphor of marriage between departed saint and God, aside from the gender-neutral conception of marriage contained therein, is its reciprocity. By means of the marriage--a union--not only is the saint taken closer to God, but God is brought closer to the world of the saint--whatever God means, whatever the world means to you. You are "this" close to the divine--and to death.
rock, paper, funnel
Every year from January 31 to February 15, Tucson plays host to an international gem show. I knew this before I moved here, but more as a fairytale, almost, than with any real sense of cognition around it. After five years in extremely white-and-homogeneous Homer I appreciate how international Tucson is in and of herself. And she's definitely rich in gems, metaphorical and literal--petrified wood, wonderful quartzites and schists.
But for this two-week period a whole separate reality plays out in the convention centers and hotels, the motels that line the Interstate 10 frontage.
I imagined I could easily miss the whole thing by simply sticking to my routine, such as it is. But over the weekend I had the opportunity to be a fly on the wall at one of the convention centers.
It was as if the Silk Road had been transported to the Southwest.
journeying in a single place
When I lived in Alaska, I observed the first year that living there was like traveling continuously while staying in the same place. Which is what we're all doing, all the time anyway, of course, traveling around the sun; but close to the poles, it's palpable. Parts of the year are almost punitively lush, the view foreshortened, all bower, arbor, marsh. And then the months of stark snowscape, and the gray-brown in betweens.
Moving to a place where day and night give and take more evenly around the year has clearly been kind to me and my mercurial moods. But this is the desert; this is also a place of extremes.
objects, focus, regeneration
There's a couple posts still to come on the changing face of the book, but it's time to talk about objects.
A big difference in today's bookscape from what went before lies in the material objectiveness of the book itself. Instead of a huge, ornate, unique work of art, a book now can exist solely in electronic form, immaterial in the sense that it's not composed of "matter."
I would suggest that when something is immaterial, non-physical object, it's less likely to be objectified. How appropriate, then, to go visit a touring exhibit of Buddhist relics, where the whole of devotion and spiritual consciousness is focused into pieces of body.