It is related that one day they came upon Majnun sifting the dust, and his tears flowing down. They said, "What doest thou?" He said, "I seek for Layli." They cried, "Alas for thee! Layli is of pure spirit, and thou seekest her in the dust!" He said, "I seek her everywhere; haply somewhere I shall find her."
(Baha'u'llah, The Seven Valleys, p. 6)

Who is Layli and why do we seek her?

What is a Seeking Layli Event?

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Seeking in the high places

"Through Him the mysteries have been unravelled, the veils rent asunder and the signs and evidences disclosed. Lo! He hath now been made manifest. He bringeth to light whatsoever He willeth, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, invested with transcendent majesty and power." (Baha'u'llah)

Scott's Lookout in the Meander Forest Reserve is a fairly high place in its own right and feels higher because of the stunning views. So we will be there on Sunday November 3rd.  We have been there before of course - more than once.

As usual when we go to Meander Forest reserve we will meet at the picnic place by Huntsman Lake.

To get there you head to Meander township, probably by following the A5 then the C167 from Deloraine.  Go straight through Meander and continue until the tarmac runs out.  the picnic place is about 100 metres beyond there on the left.  Meet there at 12 noon and we can make our plans in more detail over a cup of something hot.

Hope to see you there!

Is it our food and drink?

"If ye stay not the hand of the oppressor, if ye fail to safeguard the rights of the down-trodden, what right have ye then to vaunt yourselves among men? What is it of which ye can rightly boast? Is it on your food and your drink that ye pride yourselves,....?"  (Baha'u'llah)

Regular readers will know, we hope, that we don't overemphasise the food aspect of our trips to the bush but perhaps the picnic at Mathinna falls was worth mentioning.

From only ones person's memory there were at least:

  • gluten free, vegan cup cakes,
  • smoked salmon,
  • four different kinds of cheese,
  • Russian salad,
  • green salad from one participants own garden,
  • at least two different loaves of bread,
  • butter,
  • smoked oysters,
  • boiled eggs,
  • tea,
  • coffee,
  • home made quiche,

and no doubt lots more I've forgotten.
The cupcakes were pressed into service as birthday cakes as one of our number was born on that day.  Of course, the traditional devotional hymn 'Happy Birthday' was sung.
After stuffing ourselves we set off for the falls through some lovely forest by the stream.
 And we found the Falls - this is the lowest drop.  Most of us stopped here because to reach the higher ones is a difficult scramble.  Some of our heroines made it though.
 Its a lovely spot though the roar of the waterfall did tend to drown out our prayers and chanting. It is though an interesting experience to shout out a prayer but realise that those even a few metres away don't notice you are praying.
 There were opportunities for adventure but note it was not necessary to use this bridge.

Now is he struck dumb with the beauty of the All-Glorious; again is he wearied out with his own life. How many a mystic tree hath this whirlwind of wonderment snatched by the roots, how many a soul hath it exhausted. For in this Valley the traveler is flung into confusion, albeit, in the eye of him who hath attained, such marvels are esteemed and well beloved. At every moment he beholdeth a wondrous world, a new creation, and goeth from astonishment to astonishment, and is lost in awe at the works of the Lord of Oneness. (Baha'u'llah)

Monday, 16 September 2013

Seeking Layli in the obvious place

"....and let the tidings of the revelation of Thine incorruptible Essence bring me joy, O Thou Who art the most manifest of the manifest and the most hidden of the hidden!"   (Baha'u'llah)

Could it be that Layli isn't really hidden at all?  That we only find her hard to find because, thinking  she is wrapped in veils of mystery, we look only in the most obscure places while she is really manifest  in the most obvious and open place? Lets try it.  We sense that Layli is in the Fingal Valley.  We have long mused on her affinity with waterfalls.  We have searched for her at Grey Mares Tail, Hardings Falls, Meadstone Falls (which are all waterfalls) and Evercreech (which has a small waterfall). But which is the best known waterfall in the Fingal valley area?  Probably Mathinna Falls and have we ever searched there?  No we haven't but we will!
We meet in the car park  at Mathinna Falls Reserve at 12 noon on October 6th with food, joy, friendship and a very real expectation of seeing Layli camped there.
There are several ways to get to Mathinna Falls.  Essentially you wish to reach the cross roads where Mathinna Road coming from the East meets Upper Esk Road coming from the West.  To the South is the High St of Mathinna itself and to the North is Mathinna Plains Road.  There should be a signpost for the falls pointing up Mathinna Plains Road so take that road for about 10 kilometres and keep your eyes open for further signs.  To get to that crossroad anyone from the South or the East will probably head to Fingal and follow the clearly signposted roads to Mathinna.
People coming from the North have more options.  If you like easy driving on tarmac you can take the the Midland Highway, turn left at the signpost for Fingal etc and get to Mathinna that way.  Or if coming from Launceston you can take the much shorter though not necessarily quicker route through Upper Blessington. Theres quite a bit of dirt road that way and rather a shortage of signposts but its pretty straightforward. and certainly much more interesting.
People coming from the North East have another and even shorter dirt road option.  Mathinna Plains Road actually runs up to Ringarooma which is only about 25 km away from the Falls.
We should note that there is no way to avoid the last 10 km or so on dirt roads.  If that is a problem for you or your vehicle get in touch and we'll try and arrange a lift for you.

There are some good photos of the Falls at

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Seeking Layli with joy and singing

"The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing"  (Isaiah quoted by Baha'u'llah)

For a Layli event to end up in a hall in a tiny village listening to nine ladies performing  a cappella music in Latin, Gaelic, and English is somewhat unusual.  In fact I believe its the first time we have done that. still, obviously when Canceol are performing just a hundred metres from the site of our picnic and devotions one has to make some adjustments.

Aside from the music we had our walk; our picnic; our devotions, and some baby sitting.

The Grey Mare's Tail waterfall is not spectacular but there are good views down the side of the mountain.

"Prefer ye to be silent, whilst every stone and every tree shouteth aloud: 'The Lord is come in His great glory!"  (Baha'u'llah)
We listened carefully but did not hear this stone or this tree shout.  No doubt they do at other times or perhaps we were lacking hearing ears.  "Unto many things did He [Jesus]  refer, but as He found none possessed of a hearing ear or a seeing eye He chose to conceal most of these things." (Baha'u'llah)

Customarily we  adorn our Lali blogs with pictures of wild flowers but we can appreciate the beuty of invasive foreigners too.  Heae's a daisy.

And then in the late afternoon Canceol rocked the joint.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Seeking Layli with freedom of spirit

"And yet, in the sight of God, these common people are  infinitely superior and exalted above their religious leaders who have turned away from the one true God. The understanding of His words and the comprehension of the utterances of the Birds of Heaven are in no wise dependent upon human learning. They depend solely upon purity of heart, chastity of soul, and freedom of spirit." (Baha'u'llah)

In the past many of us were convinced that we were closest to Layli when we ventured around and between Liffey Falls and Pine Lake.  But lately sentiment has changed and we mostly sense Fingal valley is the place. She must have moved.
So we are going back to St. Mary's with only vague plans.  We will meet as we have done before at  the St Mary's Pass State Reserve at 12 noon on Sunday 8th September..

The reserve is signposted but keep your eyes open as the sign can be veiled by greenery.  The reserve is about 5 kms east of St Mary's on the Northern fork (i.e. following the signs for A4 to St Helens) and can be found just a few metres after the sign indicating the start of St Mary's Pass.  If you find yourself plunging down the twisting and beautiful pass you have gone too far. The reserve has a car park, picnic table, and a very easy walk to the Grey Mare's Tail waterfall.  

Depending on the weather and who turns up there are various things we could do.  I guess we will almost certainly take the gentle and fairly short walk to see the waterfall and may well visit, as we did on our last trip to St Mary's  the Chocolate cafe ( ). We will certainly have a picnic and devotions perhaps in a garden. Let us go there with free spirits and let inspiration be our guide.  There are of course mountains to climb and oceans not far away if you fell adventurous.
So lets meet at the reserve at noon. bring food, joy, and devotion.

Seeking Layli in different companies

"He joineth every company, and seeketh fellowship with every soul, that haply in some mind he may uncover the secret of the Friend, or in some face he may behold the beauty of the Loved One."  (Baha'u'llah)

We came to Lilydale waterfalls in different companies.  Some had come to walk, eat, and pray. One to hobble along on crutches, eat, and pray.  One skipped the walk and came just to eat and pray, and four came just to eat and be sociable.  No matter, we sought fellowship with every soul such as these ones:

"Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch."   (Baha'u'llah)
Lilydale has some magnificent trees - I guess we often think of the above quote as asserting the unity of the human race but those of us who love trees will feel that ir is not just the unity but the magnificence of the human race that is being asserted.

It had been raining a lot around Launceston and the waterfalls, which can be little more than a trickle were running full.  (The rain also made the path very muddy - not so good for those on crutches)

We didn't see Layli who quite possibly doesn't like muddy paths and remained home in bed.

The above photo actually highlights spray rather than mist but it serves as an introduction to a quote which reminds us all how to find Layli.

Only when the lamp of search, of earnest striving, of longing desire, of passionate devotion, of fervid love, of rapture, and ecstasy, is kindled within the seeker's heart, and the breeze of His loving-kindness is wafted upon his soul, will the darkness of error be dispelled, the mists of doubts and misgivings be dissipated, and the lights of knowledge and certitude envelop his being.


Sunday, 28 July 2013

Seeking Layli close to us

"O Son of Adam! Seek fellowship with none until thou hast found Me, and whenever thou shalt long for Me, thou shalt find Me close to thee." (Baha'u'llah)
The quotation marks are in the original so presumably Baha'u'llah was quoting someone or some revealed verse but I can't find who or what.  If anyone knows please post a comment here.

For some of us this is a winter of physical weakness so we are keeping it local at least for those of us who live in Launceston.  On Sunday 4th August we are meeting at noon at Lilydale Falls Reserve for our picnic and a short walk to the two waterfalls.  An even shorter walk, of course, if you only go to the first one.
This is very straightforward, there are picnic tables, toilets, an easy path, and tarmac all the way there.

In theory Lilydale is part of Launceston but in reality its about half an hour away by car. If coming from Launceston you go straight through the township firmly resisting the temptation to visit friends or otherwise be distracted.  Remember what Baha'u'llah said
" Among the faithless is he who rubbeth his eyes, and looketh to the right and to the left. Say: 'Blinded art thou. No refuge hast thou to flee to.'"  (Baha'u'llah)
Though we cannot be certain that this was in the context of going through Lilydale. Anyway, having proceeded through Lilydale without even looking to the right or left, once you are outside the town keep an eye open on the right, The reserve is about 3k  from town but its not clear where the 3k start so best just to look for it  - you can't miss it.

Remember 12 noon on the 4th August - bring food, joy, and reverence for something.  Hope to see you there.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

It snows, rains, hails, storms, thunders

"Following this comes the season of winter, with cold and tempests. It snows, rains, hails, storms, thunders and lightens, freezes and congeals; all plants die, and animals languish and are wretched." (Abdu'l-Baha)

Perhaps Abdu'l-Baha was describing a somewhat fiercer climate than Northern Tasmania but it was cold - and there was snow on the mountain though not at the picnic spot.  The cold did keep our group down in numbers but brought out many families keen presumably to show their children snow and, of course, justify their nice big 4WDs.
No matter that they weren't seeking Layli.  As Baha'u'llah puts it:
"On this journey the traveler abideth in every land and dwelleth in every region. In every face, he seeketh the beauty of the Friend; in every country he looketh for the Beloved. He joineth every company, and seeketh fellowship with every soul, that haply in some mind he may uncover the secret of the Friend, or in some face he may behold the beauty of the Loved One." (Baha'u'llah)
So we joined the company. We had a good picnic and got warm beside a wood fire that had been lit in the shelter.
We  took on the nature walk.  A five minute trip on good legs but we got round in half an hour or so with our crutches.

It being this time of year on a Layli you would normally expect lots of fungus photos but on this occasion it was the mosses and lichens that caught the eye.

You are correct, this next one is a tree not a moss or a lichen

 But this is moss

Prayers were said at appropriate places though we huddled away from the cold in our car to say some longer ones.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Seeking Layli simply and easily

"How often have things been simple and easy of accomplishment, and yet most men have been heedless, and busied themselves with that which wasteth their time! " (Baha'u'llah)

Some bodies not yet being in fully functional mode we have decided on another fairly easy little outing rather than something more challenging.  In other words, after careful deliberations we have decided against entering a team to seek Layli in the Tour de France and have instead settled on a picnic in the Mount Barrow State Reserve car park.
Avoid confusion here.  Last month we headed  to the Mount Barrow Discovery Trail - this month we are heading to Mount Barrow itself.  While the Discovery trail leaves the main road at Nunamara the turnoff for the Mountain is further to the East but also clearly signposted. The directions are

Mount Barrow is about 46 km north-east of Launceston. Follow the sealed Tasman Highway (A3) for 31 km north-east from Launceston, then turn right onto the gravel Mount Barrow Road (route C404) which leads to the Mount Barrow State Reserve (approximately 9 km).
Meet at 12 noon on Sunday 7th July at the car park.  It is just before the sign that says 4WDs only.

In the past, when visiting Mount Barrow we have always proceeded up to the plateau at the top.  While this option is of course open to those with working body parts and a decent car this week all official parts of the event - the short walk, the picnic, and the devotions, will take place in and around the car park and will be suitable for those still using a crutch.

Just to remind you, here are some photos from previous visits to Mount Barrow featuring the picnic spot.

Hip and thigh

"15:8 And he smote them hip and thigh with a great slaughter: and he went down and dwelt in the top of the rock Etam."   (King James Bible, Judges)

The above is one of the very few references to a hip in anything generally regarded as scripture. There are a couple of mentions in the Vedas and in the Zend-Avesta but we selected this one to remind ourselves that religion isn't just sweetness and light.  This is part of the story in which Samson slaughters one thousand Philistines with the jawbone of an ass which can't have been pleasant especially for the Philistines.

Hopefully the world will take Baha'u'llah's advice:
"Gird up the loins of your endeavor, O people of Baha, that haply the tumult of religious dissension and strife that agitateth the peoples of the earth may be stilled, that every trace of it may be completely obliterated. For the love of God, and them that serve Him, arise to aid this most sublime and momentous Revelation. Religious fanaticism and hatred are a world-devouring fire, whose violence none can quench. The Hand of Divine power can, alone, deliver mankind from this desolating affliction...."

We arrived at the visitors centre, 12 hips strong We ate , walked, prayed, and talked.  We forgot our cameras so had to make do with iphone snaps which should at least convince any doubters that there are trees on the discovery trail.
We must report that the hips issued at birth seemed to perform better than the newer titanium hips at least as far as walking is concerned though there was no measurable difference in regard to eating or praying.  Still supporters of the the titanium solution point out that the instructions call for the hip to be run  in for longer before it is benchmarked.
No hips reported any direct contact with Layli.




Sunday, 19 May 2013

Seeking Layli on a brand new hip.

Resort ye, in times of sickness, to competent physicians; We have not set aside the use of material means, rather have We confirmed it through this Pen, which God hath made to be the Dawning-place of His shining and glorious Cause. (Baha'u'llah)

In the case of one of our stalwart members, the competent physicians recommended a hip replacement so our Layli event this month is unapologetically designed for those recovering from hip surgery.
We'll go back to the Mount Barrow Discovery Trail on Sunday 2nd June meeting at the Visitors Centre at 12 noon.

A very short walk from a car gets you to a sheltered room with great views, a fire,water, toilet, table, and seats.

All in all an excellent place for a recuperating hip and for those with fully functional hips there are several prepared walks and many kilometres of rough forestry tracks to wander on.

To get there:

Take the Tasman Highway (A3) out of Launceston.  After 20km you will come to Nunamara.  The Mount Barrow Discovery Trail is clearly signposted on the right in Nunamara.  Take that road (its dirt but a good dirt road) and follow it avoiding turn offs.  You will pass an information booth which is singularly lacking in information, then Max's Lookout (worth stopping for if its not raining), then you come to a junction.  On the right is Weaver's Creek Road while straight ahead is signposted the Discovery Trail.  Either will get you there but the trail is longer, a pretty bad road, and not very interesting for my money. If you are early and don't mind bashing your car over rough surfaces, it might be worth it but I suspect most people would prefer Weaver's Creek Road which is pretty good and from which the visitors centre is clearly marked on the right.
You'll notice on the map in the link above that Weaver's Creek is shown as one way but this does not appear to be true in reality.
Meet as usual at the Visitor's Centre at noon bringing joy, camera, food, and  a willingness to express your devotion to the Unknowable in your own way.  

A word of warning - its quite high.  One time going there we were blocked by snow on Foons Hill. Bring warm and preferably waterproof clothing.

Seeking Layli midst trees and ferns and fungi.

"Ye are the dawning-places of the love of God and the daysprings of His loving-kindness. Defile not your tongues with the cursing and reviling of any soul, and guard your eyes against that which is not seemly. Set forth that which ye possess. If it be favourably received, your end is attained; if not, to protest is vain. Leave that soul to himself and turn unto the Lord, the Protector, the Self-Subsisting. Be not the cause of grief, much less of discord and strife. The hope is cherished that ye may obtain true education in the shelter of the tree of His tender mercies and act in accordance with that which God desireth. Ye are all the leaves of one tree and the drops of one ocean." (Baha'u'llah)

It is remarkable how often trees stand as metaphors for all that is good, sacred, and lasting.  In a place like Evercreech it becomes easier to understand.  The big trees and the small trees do have a mystical sense of worth about them.

The ferns and fungi are also quite spectacular

We had an excellent picnic, good conversation, and said, sang, and chanted various prayers and mantras.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Seeking Layli in a Green Island

"One day of days We repaired unto Our Green Island. Upon Our arrival, We beheld its streams flowing, and its trees luxuriant, and the sunlight playing in their midst." (Baha'u'llah)

Baha'u'llah's Green Island is generally believed to be the Garden of Ridvan in northern Israel which is unfortunately not in Northern Tasmania. As a substitute and in keeping with our recent theme of sticking with the Fingal valley and surrounds we're going to Evercreech Forest Reserve on Sunday 14th April,
and there's some photos  at

Evercreech certainly has streams flowing, luxuriant trees including the tallest white Gums in the world, and hopefully sunlight through the canopy.  It also has shelter if it rains, barbecues, picnic tables and rough but usable toilets. The walk to the waterfall is through one of the best fern groves in Tasmania.

We've been there before even quite recently but some of us would happily go to Evercreech every day.  It is a beautiful spot.

Evercreech is easiest to find by heading to Fingal  and, about the middle of the town, there is a road heading North clearly signposted to Evercreech and Mathinna.  About two thirds of the way to Mathinna there is an equally well signposted road heading right for Evercreech.   The last few kilometres are dirt but not bad.
If you're coming from the North there is a shorter, possibly quicker,but rougher and certainly less well signposted road through Upper Blessington to Mathinna.

We'll be meeting there at noon on Sunday 14th April.  Bring food and joy.