A Message from Our Mother “We are of One Heart”

Saffron Restaurant, Muharraq Bahrain

Saffron Restaurant, Muharraq Bahrain

Superman’s appearance in Tahrir Square was not the only sign of hope I saw yesterday.  After applying make-up over my teary face, I drove to Muharraq to meet my Bahraini friend for breakfast.  We agreed to meet “in the big parking lot” before walking over to Saffron together.

A busload of school girls and their mothers crowded the alley’s entrance.

Um Hassan and school girls in Muharraq Bahrain

“Hello, hello,” the girls said to me, practicing their English.

My friend recognized the elderly woman the girls were gathered around.

“Salam alay-kum Um Hassan,” she called out to her, waving.

The woman returned the greeting and waved to us.

“Who is that?” I asked.

“Um Hassan.  The mother of Bahrain,” my friend told me.  “I recognize her from the television.”

“When the teachers started protesting at the Pearl Roundabout, she was the first woman who volunteered to go help in the schools.  She is not educated, but she did not want the schools to be shut down.  They interviewed her and she talked about how Bahrain and all Bahrainis were her children.  Her speech moved many people.  It was repeated over and over again.”

“My Children you are the crown on my head. You are my children and the children of Bahrain … All of us are One and are of one heart. Our flag is red like our hearts. My Child, Bahrain, deserves the best.  It raised us.  Since we were born, all we saw was Bahrain. We are on one track.  We want One heart. Our heart is red like our flag but it’s pure and white and we love everyone and our people are one.”

“Let’s meet her,” I said.

“You want to?” my friend asked.

“Of course.” I said, diving into the girls.

As the Mother of Bahrain held out her arms to embrace me, the abaya-clad women took photos.

Um Hassan The Mother of Bahrain in Muharraq Bahrain

“Our King is the bird and we are the two wings.  A bird can’t fly with one wing and I say, May God guide everyone, all of us, Sunna and Shia.  This land – we will not fail it.”

These revolutions are not just about the youth.  Superman and Um Hassan are carrying messages and lessons learned from all those who have gone, and suffered, before us.

“And please forgive me. I love you and love the land that you walk on. I love you my children. Maybe good will come out of this harm.

The spirit has awoken and you have all awoken and gathered around. May God bless you.”

– Quotes from Um Hassan’s speech to the Second Gathering of National Unity.

Um Hassan Bahraini Emblem given to me by Um Hassan

Bahrain pin given to me by Um Hassan

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Perhaps You Will Feast on This Banquet of Love

We are not forced to do anything. We are only chosen. To be chosen does not mean anything by itself, but the meaning of what you are chosen to do does. Once we make that choice, the Divine comes to meet us and gives us assistance that is beyond our capabilities.

Fariba Enteshari,

Jalal al Din Rumi student/scholar

I have never been a big reader of poetry but lately I seem to keep coming across small bits of Rumi’s work.  And although no one is forcing me to read it – I am not “in school” – I find that for some reason I am drawn to his work and find a relevant truth in nearly every passage.  Perhaps this is an example of the Divine meeting me and helping me glimpse Rumi’s magnificence.

My friend Fariba Enteshari has been a Rumi student since I met her nearly twenty years ago at the Immaculate Heart College Center in Los Angeles.    While I waded through Theresa of Avila, Fariba was immersed in Rumi’s six volume book of poetry, the Mathnawi.

The Mathnawi  is 25,000 lines of lyrical verse.  It is referred to as the Persian Koran.  The verse is spoken in the voice of Rumi’s beloved muse, friend, teacher, Shams al Din.  Our bookclub recently read a novel about their relationship called The Forty Rules of Love.  

Rumi, a Koranic scholar, was a popular Imam in Koya, Turkey.   Shams was “delivered” to his doorstep and began a conversation with Rumi that, according to the stories, lasted forty-days and nights.  During that intense period of interaction, Rumi’s heart was opened.  And after Sham’s death, for the first time in his life, he began writing the poetry which has guided people for 700 years.

Indries Shah the great thinker and writer on Sufism said a great part of Sufism “must be personally communicated by means of interaction between the teacher and the learner. Too much attention to the written page can be harmful.”

This Sufism truth was probably revealed by Rumi’s and Sham’s relationship.

If you are interested in entering a conversation with a Rumi scholar, this Wednesday, March 14th, Fariba Enteshari is putting aside her writing for the day to have a Banquet of Love.  She invites anyone interested in Rumi’s poetry to come to this spiritual feast.

If you are uncertain whether you are interested in poetry or are capable of understanding Rumi’s deeper meaning, you can take heart from Indries Shah who said

“Rumi, like other Sufi authors, plants his teachings within a framework which as effectively screens its inner meaning as displays it.  This technique fulfills the functions of preventing those who are incapable of using the material on a higher level from experimenting effectively with it; allowing those who want poetry to select poetry; giving entertainment to people who want stories; stimulating the intellect in those who prized such experiences.”

Indries Shah, The Way of the Sufi, 1970.

If you are near beautiful Santa Barbara, California this Wednesday, go spend the day at La Casa Maria with Fariba and other Rumi devotees and see what message Rumi’s poetry has for you.

Banquet of Love is Wednesday March 14th 9:30-3:30 at the La Casa de Maria, in Santa Barbara, California.  Donations will be taken at the door.  To make a reservation for the $14 lunch go to www.lcdm.org or call (805) 969 – 5031.

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