A Bunny Day

When I took high school French, I remember our class chuckling when we translated the phrase “cette une bonne idée,” which means “that’s a good idea.”  The translation sounds like the title of this blog post, “a bunny day.”  Cute.  And apropos of this morning.

Our little Westie pup is, as some might know, bred to be a “ratter.”  In other words, he kept those cold, Scottish castles, from which he originated, free of vermin of all kinds.  Our little guy, nicknamed Spud, is simply thrilled with his first mature Springtime (he was a newborn last Spring), and the proliferation of bunnies on our property.  If he gets half a chance, we are well aware that he will sieze one by the throat and make bunny mincemeat out of it, but we have a large portion of our yard securely fenced for our dogs, and hopefully he will never get to act out that particular fantasy.  But he is definitely enthralled by the idea, and the bunnies seem to realize he cannot get to them, because they hop near the fence while he stands there, tail wagging, and barks his head off (fortunately we live in the country, and there are no neighbors nearby to complain about this).  He tells that bunny in no uncertain terms what his plans are for it if he gets half a chance, and the bunny laughs in his face, saying “Come on!  Show me what you got!  Make my bunny day!”  A bunne idée.  By the way, he gets a good bit of practice with our cat, Sita, who loves nothing more than to taunt him at a much closer range, knowing that even if they are approximately the same size, she is one who is faster than he.  Spud simply loves this, but he knows that if he goes too far, she has twenty sharp ways to defend herself.

respect-the-claw

Meantime, by the time I got out to the porch for my second round of porch-rocking of the morning, the dogs were frolicking together, and in-between Spud bringing the ball to me to throw (and then snatching it out of my grasp… he just doesn’t get it!), I looked out over my “view,” which includes a fenced pasture with too few trees (we’re working on that, but may not be around long enough to appreciate the resulting shade), the shed that needs work and the distant trees and pond that edge our property.  I have to admit it:  sometimes I do not appreciate this view.  I am distracted by all the work the shed needs (and the house), I think that it is time to pick up dog poop, and that the grass needs mowing (all husbandly chores, I am grateful to say).  But this morning, the light of the sun took my attention, as it always will if my ego is not out of proportion, and there were enough luminous clouds to filter the light between my lashes as I was taught to do on my retreat with Pir Vilayat many years ago, in the French Alps, so as not to burn my retina.  Now THERE was a view.  But this is about my own homely view, and this morning I saw that the same sky that is over my head is the same sky that was in those mountains, or by the ocean which is my all-time favorite view.  I breathe the same air, however polluted, as the rishis in the Himalayas breathe, or the whales spouting in whatever sea we care to consider.  If I look deeply enough into the core elements of any phenomena, there is the same perfection of Being, right there gift-wrapped and ready to be opened, ready to be assimilated.

Today, I have the good sense to be grateful.

P.S.

The following is not my Westie, but I was prompted to do a search in Google Images, where I often steal photos, of Westies chasing bunnies.  Hopefully the proud owner of this Westie and her or his bunny will not mind my sharing it.  I’m not sure I’d have the nerve to let Spud get this close to a bunny, but obviously this Westie has a special relationship with this rabbit.

Letters: Shamcher Beorse and Carol Sill, 1974 – 1977

History is one way of making a gestalt: historical references, figures from the past release the foreground event from being stuck in only what it says it is.  –James Hillman

My dear friend Carol Sill has just published a very wonderful book, a collection of the letters written between her and Murshid Shamcher (Bryn) Beorse, one of Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan’s chief students, named by him as “the esoteric inner head of the Sufi Order” during and after his life, for the diplomatic work and amazing teaching he gave during his lifetime, a very special containment for the nascent Sufi Message of that time.  At Inayat Khan’s direction, Shamcher was referred to on many occasions by his son, Pir Vilayat, as “the esoteric inner head of the Sufi Order,” a vital role at the time, and one he was perfectly suited for, for he loved everyone with a complete lack of judgment.  He was many things to many people in his long life:  Shamcher has been described by another of his students, Carol Sokoloff, as “the ideal of what a contemporary western mystic can be — an activist, an artist, a spiritual guide — working in all realms, the scientific, the literary, the political and the spiritual.”  We knew him as all these things, but he refused to take the titles or roles people wanted to give him, and he was a law unto himself in the Sufi Order, working tirelessly to be the glue that held us together during troubled times.  He was at the same time a diplomat and an outlaw, but most of all, to some of us, he was a friend beyond compare.

Shamcher lived a spotless life, yet as he himself said, he “loved women,” and while he had many friends of both genders, these letters are not for the faint of heart, for he understood and revered women in a way few men can, and he was entirely capable of pouring out his devotion in words if not acts, reaching inside the emotion of divine love in a way that could be daunting to the timid, yet always transformative.  Carol was one of the few who was able to answer him in kind, and this collection of letters is particularly searing, because Shamcher came into Carol’s life at the time of the tragic drowning death of her seven-year-old son, and supported her while she lived through that very special agony.  As a result of their relationship, Carol became a teacher and Siraj in the Universal Worship of the Sufi Movement in Canada, and worked hard for the Message for many years.  Shamcher particularly wanted these letters to be published, yet I know that she has hesitated, as many of us who knew him well have, because not everyone might understand the depth of his devotion and the strength of his love for his friends and students and his special way of expressing these.  Now that she has finally published them, they can be ordered through links on the site http://www.letters.shamcher.com/.  Additionally, for those who haven’t visited the archives for his writings and teachings, visit http://www.shamcher.org/and http://shamcher.wordpress.com/

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Among Shamcher’s last words were “there are NO teachers!  YOU are the teacher!” and he seldom took students or gave initiations.  He was a devoted correspondent, however, typing his letters on the backs of torn-off holiday cards quite often, on a manual typewriter, with little attention to mechanical details.  He protected the confidentiality of those who wrote TO him, but he left all his own written correspondence to Carol, and she has worked for years to put his letters into readable form.  I was one of Shamcher’s students, and I have my own stack of his letters, so I personally know what kind of work that must have been, yet what a tremendous gift to those of us who received those letters and those of us who can now read them.

For those who are members of or interested in the Sufi Order International, reading the stories of our early teachers and the early days of this organization is important, for it is in understanding our past that we can create the future.

Buy the book!!!