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, 18 May 2008

Seeking Layli in a wildflower reserve.

In the Rose Garden of changeless splendor a Flower hath begun to bloom, compared to which every other flower is but a thorn, and before the brightness of Whose glory the very essence of beauty must pale and wither. Arise, therefore, and, with the whole enthusiasm of your hearts, with all the eagerness of your souls, the full fervor of your will, and the concentrated efforts of your entire being, strive to attain the paradise of His presence, and endeavor to inhale the fragrance of the incorruptible Flower, to breathe the sweet savors of holiness, and to obtain a portion of this perfume of celestial glory. Whoso followeth this counsel will break his chains asunder, will taste the abandonment of enraptured love, will attain unto his heart's desire, and will surrender his soul into the hands of his Beloved. Bursting through his cage, he will, even as the bird of the spirit, wing his flight to his holy and everlasting nest.
(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah)

Where to find the incorruptible flower? We are hoping a wildflower reserve might be the place and are heading to Bridport on Sunday May 25th to check out if the Flower or Layli or both can be found in the Wildflower Reserve there. We will be meeting at the turning circle at the North-West end of Bentley St. See,147.387085&spn=0.024199,0.039997&t=h&z=15 at 12 noon. Bring some food for yourselves or to share and be ready to offer devotions to the Divine in your own inimitable way.

We assume Bridport is well known and easy to find. According to google it should take a little over an hour from Launceston,147.387042&sspn=0.024199,0.039997&ie=UTF8&t=h&z=10 .

This route is by Lilydale but the trip by Scottsdale is pretty much the same in time.

And please remember - Bridport is coastal but it is winter (or near enough) and could be cold especially for those who choose to take a walk on the beach if there happens to be a wind off the sea. Be not numbered amongst the heedless.

By Thy glory, O Lord of all being, and the Desire of all creation! I would love to lay My face upon every single spot of Thine earth, that perchance it might be honored by touching a spot ennobled by the footsteps of Thy loved ones!"
(Baha'u'llah, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf)

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Return to the Heights of Detachment

Thou findest him chill in the fire and dry in the sea, abiding in every land and treading every path. Whosoever toucheth him in this state will perceive the heat of his love. He walketh the heights of detachment and traverseth the vale of renunciation. His eyes are ever expectant to witness the wonders of God's mercy and eager to behold the splendours of His beauty. Blessed indeed are they that have attained unto such a station, for this is the station of the ardent lovers and the enraptured souls.
(Baha'u'llah, Gems of Divine Mysteries)

Mount Barrow, masquerading as the Heights of Detachment, is the first spot we have revisited. Our last visit was cut short by heavy rain and Layli could easily have evaded us in the misty conditions. On this trip the plateau was bitterly cold in the wind and its rocky landscape and prostrate montane vegetation seemed exactly the kind of place where a being of pure spirit who presumably has no attachment to material comfort might choose to dwell.

Be unrestrained as the wind, while carrying the Message of Him Who hath caused the Dawn of Divine Guidance to break. Consider, how the wind, faithful to that which God hath ordained, bloweth upon all the regions of the earth, be they inhabited or desolate. Neither the sight of desolation, nor the evidences of prosperity, can either pain or please it.
(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah)

Though the invitation had stressed the low temperatures on the top there were those in the party who were numbered amongst the heedless. This gentleman came well prepared. Of immediate concern, of course was the idea that our presence might drive Layli away. Perhaps Layli is always a moving target and if we repeated our search in those places or by those methods which have been fruitless in the past we might at some future time catch a glimpse of the unseen friend?

We naturally posted eagle-eyed watchmen to ensure that Layli could not escape unseen - at least by road though we cannot be certain that she travels by road.It is said that on a clear day our watchman could have seen a third of Tasmania from the top but it was not a totally clear day and anyway would he have recognised Layli from such a distance? And, of course, as unlikely as it may seem, it is possible that she does not even live in Tasmania.
One thing is sure though there was no glimpse of Layli departing by road.

Actually, we don't think Layli would have used the road. For anyone with even a sensible fear of falling let alone vertigo its a scary trip.

The plateau is a rocky place. This pile of boulders is only a small fraction of the rocks which litter the area. Baha'u'llah wrote Let thine abode be under the stone,but seek not the shelter of the cleric.
If Layli has decided to take Him literally and live under one of these stones there is clearly a massive task needed to find her and heavy equipment will be required.

And so, once again, a pleasant day ended with prayers said, a spot blessed, food shared and enjoyed but still no sign of the sought Beauty.

But wait. Look carefully at these photos. Do you see on some of them an almost circular patch of hazy light? Is it possible that an ethereal being was shadowing our every move? Cynics may say it was just a drop of rain or mist on the lens but do they not remember: God it is who sends forth the winds to stir up clouds; then He spreads them forth over the sky as he pleases; and He breaks them up and ye see the rain come forth from amongst them; and when He causes it to fall upon whom He pleases of His servants, ......... (The Qur'an (E.H. Palmer tr), Sura 30 - The Greeks)?

Besides, it wasn't a rain drop. It was a smudge of grease. Every true miracle has a sufficient and natural cause in the contingent world.

Blessed is the Spot

Blessed is the spot, and the house, and the place, and the city, and the heart, and the mountain, and the refuge, and the cave, and the valley, and the land, and the sea, and the island, and the meadow where mention of God hath been made, and His praise glorified.

We have, as yet, no confirmed sightings of Layli (or, for that matter, the Tasmanian tiger) but we have made mention of God and glorified His praise in the following spots.

Plus a few mountains, scenic points, fields and other spots prayed at on the journeys to and from our picnics.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

The Unblogged Year

The series of 'Seeking Layli in the Bush' events actually started in January 2007 and has continued to the present (apart from a couple of periods when the organising Layliseeker was not available) . For those not familiar with the Australian language the 'bush' is, depending on context, anything from wilderness to a general agricultural area, but in this context tends towards the wilderness.

The meetings are an individual's response to the Baha'i Faith's emphasis on devotional meetings but are not organised or sponsored by any religious body. They are open to people of any or no religion and the participants are welcome to contribute to the devotions in whatever way they wish within the limits of Australian and Tasmanian law (we wouldn't, for example, tolerate human sacrifice - not that anyone has proposed that as yet).
The Henty Dunes pictured here were one location for our devotional picnics.
"....that the very sands on the desolate hills will moan, and the trees on the mountain will weep, and blood will flow out of all things. "

The basic format for the events is that a place is chosen which is accessible by a standard car (not necessarily on tarmac roads). It should in itself be a relatively remote and wild place and suitable for a picnic and some devotions. It should also offer opportunities for walks, swimming or anything similar for those who are fit and keen. As a rule we meet there at noon on the advertised day, and make a decision then and there as to whether we should picnic at the roadside or venture further afield.

Until now, the events have been publicised only by word of mouth and e-mails to friends and acquaintances. They are not intended to be nor have turned out to be widely popular but reflect the taste of the organiser and a few who share that taste. Turn-out of half a dozen is considered good depending on the weather. So far there has always been at least two present (not always the same two).

Every created being however revealeth His signs which are but emanations from Him and not His Own Self. All these signs are reflected and can be seen in the book of existence, and the scrolls that depict the shape and pattern of the universe are indeed a most great book.
(Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah)

The fruiting body of a coral fungus pictured during our excursion to Ralph Falls. We believe it was a coral fungus but we are not experts. Could Layli take the shape of a fungus?

When, however, thou dost contemplate the innermost essence of all things, and the individuality of each, thou wilt behold the signs of thy Lord's mercy in every created thing, and see the spreading rays of His Names and Attributes throughout all the realm of being, with evidences which none will deny save the froward and the unaware. Then wilt thou observe that the universe is a scroll that discloseth His hidden secrets, which are preserved in the well-guarded Tablet. And not an atom of all the atoms in existence, not a creature from amongst the creatures but speaketh His praise and telleth of His attributes and names, revealeth the glory of His might and guideth to His oneness and His mercy: and none will gainsay this who hath ears to hear, eyes to see, and a mind that is sound.
(Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha)