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?

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Behold, then, O my God, my loneliness among Thy servants

For in Our solitude We were unaware of the harm or benefit, the health or ailment, of any soul. Alone, We communed with Our spirit, oblivious of the world and all that is therein

Sometimes we just get the organisation totally wrong. It is always a puzzler to set the date for a 'Seeking Layli' event. One normally knows who would like to come but they are usually busy folk and one tries to pick a day which offers a real opportunity for as many as possible to take part. In September I juggled the dates and came up with the completely wrong answer. All the usual attendees were away or busy that day so I went on my own. Even worse, the camera was both away and busy that day so these pictures are low quality mobile telephone shots.

The giant white gums were good companions though. Strangely what felt most peculiar to do alone was picnic. Evercreech is rather well set up as a picnic spot but to sit in solitary splendour, pouring myself coffee and serving myself the meal seemed slightly bizarre.
Conversely, the walking and even more so the devotional, seemed quite appropriate to do alone. Baha'u'llah said that with God you have not just a companion but an army and a people too! My army is My reliance on God; My people, the force of My confidence in Him. My love is My standard, and My companion the remembrance of God, the Sovereign Lord of all, the Most Powerful, the All-Glorious, the Unconditioned. (Baha'u'llah)
Evercreech is basically a lovely reserve but not essentially different from many other spots in the forests of Tasmania. What makes it famous is the very small number of very tall white gums. Really probably only four exceptional trees and a handful of other big ones. It was tempting to compare and contrast these magnificent giants with the rugged little (though older) pines we saw on our last "Layli". It seemed at first like a straightforward contrast between luxuriant growth in ideal conditions and the struggle on the cold windswept plateaux. But more observation and thought brought a new viewpoint. In an entirely inexpert opinion, the extraordinary height is the result of an heroic struggle for light. The trees grow at the bottom of a narrow valley. Certainly, there would be nutrients washed down there but to gain sunlight the trees had to reach the canopy which is formed primarily by trees growing much further up the steep slopes. It seems one reaches the heights only through striving to get there. In English translation, one of Baha'u'llah's commonest injunctions to us is to strive:
O YE DWELLERS IN THE HIGHEST PARADISE!...... Strive, then, that ye may attain that station, that ye may unravel the mysteries of love from its wind-flowers and learn the secret of divine and consummate wisdom from its eternal fruits. (Baha'u'llah)

Strive, O people of God, that haply the hearts of the divers kindreds of the earth may, through the waters of your forbearance and loving-kindness, be cleansed and sanctified from animosity and hatred,

Strive then, O My brother, to apprehend this matter, that the veils may be lifted from the face of thy heart and that thou mayest be reckoned among them whom God hath graced with such penetrating vision as to behold the most subtle realities of His dominion, to fathom the mysteries of His kingdom, to perceive the signs of His transcendent Essence in this mortal world, and to attain a station wherein one seeth no distinction amongst His creatures and findeth no flaw in the creation of the heavens and the earth. (Baha'u'llah)

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