I must confess that it can be confusing. Sometimes the beginning can look like the end. And sometimes the end can look like the beginning. Indeed, there are some people who mistake the beginning for the end. When they get to the beginning, they think that they are at the end.
No doubt you are wondering what I am talking about. So let me explain. When you return to the place that you never left, that’s only the beginning you see. It’s not the end. When you return to the place that you never left, then you can begin. You can begin to make yourself useful. You can plant trees. You can grow flowers. You can redecorate the world in beautiful colours.
One day Sisman Tuccar was wandering about in the neighbourhood when he completely lost his way in the labyrinth of small streets. Finding himself in the middle of a hidden courtyard and not knowing where he was, he called out, “Is anybody there?”
Woken from her afternoon nap the Beloved looked down from her balcony and saw a man with a moustache. Thinking he was a robber she called back, “Who are you, you scoundrel? How did you get in here?”
Replied Sisman, “I am Sisman Tuccar, the trader in antiquities. I think you might have left the back gate open by mistake.”
Who fits into what? Does this fit into that? Or does that fit into this? Who makes way? Does this make way for that or does that make way for this? Is this because of that? Or is that because of this? Is there a shape to things? Or isn’t there? If there is no shape to things then things wouldn’t have a shape. And if there is a shape to things then why don’t you see it?
There is an unseen path that takes one to the door of the beloved. One cannot determine in advance which way it will go or where it will lead. Whether it will pass along grand boulevards, winding backstreets or small crooked lanes, one has no way of knowing. To begin with one does not even know that it leads to the beloved’s door. Indeed, it is only when one receives the invitation from the beloved that one realizes that there is such a thing at all.
What in the human dimension is called life is the opportunity for the soul to move from darkness into light. What is meant by this? It is the movement from less comprehension to more. It is one’s experiences seen through the lens of reflection that constitute the vehicle of this movement of unfoldment from opaqueness to lucidity. The substance of experience is the field of nourishment that the soul needs in order to make this pilgrimage. From the infinite variety of potentiality each soul seeks out certain types of experiences that appeal to it, but from the higher perspective, it is not properly comprehended why that which was sought out was sought out. As with all works of art, the full composition is only seen when the last brush stroke is applied.
One day Gnosis was sitting at his desk when he looked up from his books and said to his wife Energeia, “All this running around all day uselessly shopping for shoes and gossiping with your friends. Why is it that after all this time you have still learnt nothing at all?”
Replied Energeia, “All this useless pile of knowledge that you have amassed. Why is it that you still can’t even cook your own lunch? And worse than that, after all these years you still haven’t learnt any manners.”
There are certain things that should not be spoken of lightly, that if you go looking for, you won’t ever find. In fact, the very fact that you are looking for them will keep them far away.
It’s a bit like love. Love is not something that you go out looking for. It’s something that may or may not pass your way when the time has come.
Poets understand this. Others don’t.
One day Sisman Tuccar was conversing with somebody at the teahouse when the man said, “You won’t believe it! I found this amazing sweet shop on the other side of town. The borma and the bulbul baklava are like nothing you’ve ever tasted before.”
Immediately interested Sisman Tuccar asked, “How did you find it?”
Replied the man, “Well, after wandering around for a while and taking a number of right turns and wrong turns, suddenly there it was!”
Said Sisman, “Tell me the wrong turns you took so that I can find it too.”
The word “banquet” comes from the old French word banc which was in turn derived from the old Italian banchetto and means “bench”. And so, it indicated a meal or repast that could be taken or shared together whilst sitting on a bench. Indeed, there is little in the world more delightful than the sharing of food and wine beautifully and delicately prepared. However, one of the many things that has rather gone out of fashion in this modern age is that small and inconsequential ritual of giving thanks before the meal. Today with such apparent abundance it seems rather redundant.
The ancient Greeks as well as other ancient cultures were well aware of the direct connection between food and life. But more than that they intuitively understood that it was the Earth that gave of itself to sustain all life forms upon it. And so, in the Hellenic world the Greeks gave thanks to Cybele known as the Mountain Mother, and to Gaia the Earth goddess as well as to Demeter the goddess of harvests.
Nowadays it is common to hear talk about wholeness. But what is wholeness? Have you ever considered what it means? Etymologically the word “whole” comes from the Norse word halla which means undamaged or unfractured. From this is derived the old English word hal which means whole or entire. And so whole-ness means having the characteristic of the whole or the entirety. We might say then that it is that which carries the attribute of the entirety. And the attribute of the entirety is that it is all of the thing. In other words it is complete. There is nothing lacking. It is without any absence.
In the Far East the characteristic of the entirety as completeness was indicated conceptually by the symbol of the circle. In the Near East it was symbolized by the ouroboros – the image of the snake eating its own tail.
Now if we consider the symbology of the circle we might notice that the space within the circle indicates an absence. At the same time the circumference of the circle indicates a continuity in relation to which no beginning or end can be discerned. Because no beginning or end can be found it represents an order of completeness which is incapable of further completion. And so you might say that in the symbol of the circle what you have is an empty completeness which is full because of the absence of any absence.