Shahriar Shahriari

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Message of the Month

November, 2002

Wake Up Call

Once again I had fallen asleep. I had become used to the ordinary and I had got accustomed to the usual and the routine. I had become numb to sense of purpose and direction in my life.

Once again I had the good fortune of getting a wake up call. But this time it was a lot gentler and more subtle. Unlike the last wake up call that came in the form of a near-fatal accident, this one came as an e-mail from a newly found friend, who was sharing parts of his life story with me.

The similarities and the parallels took me into a reflective mode. I realized that after many years of living a "strange" and somewhat "senseless" life – at least by the usual standards – I was getting accustomed to what is considered to be "normal" and "responsible".

Don’t get me wrong. I was not particularly longing for the surprises and the hardships. But there was a magic that I had lost touch with.

I was reading my friend’s e-mail in the car. When I finished and was about to leave, I realized that the car would not start. The battery was drained. Immediately I realized that I was meant to stay there and reflect some more, while the battery was recharging. So without a second thought, I left the car, found a nearby bench, and started thinking… and writing.

Yes. The divine is always present, and the magic is always there – but more often than not, our perception is fogged up and our eyes refuse to see.

I was reflecting upon my own life of the last little while. I could see the magic and the miracles. I could see that the things I had focused on, were either manifested or in the process of coming into being.

As thoughts jump from subject to subject, my reflections took me back to a recent conversation with another friend.

We were discussing the difference between meditating on something versus meditating on nothing. The discussion took us to the distinction between meditation and contemplation:

That in contemplation, we focus the mind and heart and soul on something – to the exclusion of all else. Perhaps we focus and pray to bring about something into our lives – health, wealth, a job, a family, a new home, a mathematical problem, a sense of peace, etc.

Where as in meditation we empty the mind and heart and soul of everything. The object of meditation is to reach and attain "nothing" – and ultimately nothingness will disappear too – for so long as "nothingness" is a goal, it is a "something".

We realized that these are two aspects of the spirit, and two levels of commitment and faith. To use a Christian term, one is "Ask and you shall receive" while the other is "Thy will, not mine, be done."

Trying to bring some resolution to my thoughts, I got the sense that life is a play between the drama of sleep, and the presence of wakefulness. And wakefulness is a play between selective fullness and complete emptiness.

Paradoxically, selective fullness is limited to the realm of magic and can never lead to complete wholeness, whereas emptiness becomes the opening for miracles and the invitation to Union.

In my reflections I realized that the question is once again – do I have the faith and courage, and am I willing to commit to Thy will, not mine?

Thank you for the gentle wake up call my friend.

© Shahriar Shahriari
Los Angeles, CA
November 2002

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