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?

Friday, 3 December 2010

Seeking Lali in a tourist trap

Thou findest him chill in the fire and dry in the sea, abiding in every land and treading every path. 

The path we are going to tread on Saturday 11th December is the River Walk at Hollybank Forest "down to the junction of Butchers Creek and Pipers River" .

It is different to our normal outings as Hollybank is not a native forest being primarily European trees but, Layli was not born here either.  Perhaps she retains a liking for the deciduous woods of the Northern  Hemisphere.

Hollybank Forest also houses "Treetops Adventure" a series of flying fox like rides through the treetops,  Reportedly, it fabulous but it costs $100 so it is not on our agenda.  If anyone would like to combine it with our devotions get in touch and we'll arrange a meeting place and time.
The place has several picnic sites and the River Walk has its own car park but let's meet at the main car park (where the "Treetops Adventure" is) as its easy to find and has toilets etc.  We can then find the best picnic spot at our leisure and proceed to the walk afterwards.  So its 12 noon at the main car park.
Hollybank is about 20kms out of Launceston on the Lilydale roads and very clearly signposted on the right if heading towards Lilydale.

Hope to see you there - bring some food for the picnic and a willingness to share in or at least tolerate some devotional singing, praying, chanting or however you express your devotion to the Highest.

Braving every danger

The everlasting Candle shineth in its naked glory. Behold how it hath consumed every mortal veil. O ye moth-like lovers of His light! Brave every danger, and consecrate your souls to its consuming flame. O ye that thirst after Him! Strip yourselves of every earthly affection, and hasten to embrace your Beloved.  (Baha'u'llah)

Danger might be an exaggeration - the walk to Lobster Falls is, after all, rated easy on most web sites.  Still, for those seekers who are old, fat, and arthritic (that's me), it was a significant challenge.  And the path, if you can call it a path, was narrow enough and, at one point, beside a steep enough drop to ensure that in addition to our usual devotions one of us who suffers from vertigo uttered perhaps the most heartfelt prayers to the Help in Peril that have ever been said on our trips.

But it was worth it. Lobster falls is no pristine wilderness but perhaps for that very reason it feels truly wild. 

Very little effort is made to accommodate visitors or manage the flora and fauna.  Fungi, of course, flourish with no special care.
 And the usual beautiful chaos of the forest floor.
 We did, most of us, finally reach the Falls.

On the way we encountered birds, flowers, and thanks to a sharp-eyed member an echidna virtually buried beneath the forest litter.  But we didn't find Layli.  Or maybe we did.  When four of  us settled down to say and sing some devotions, in unplanned and unspoken agreement, we said and sang them in whispers as though in that place we sensed a presence and didn't wish to disturb it with our bungling, human efforts to express the Divine.  Maybe it was Layli or maybe just a local farmer.  Or maybe there's no difference.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

A comfortable day at George Town

"and the earth to be beautified with its rivers, "     (Baha'u'llah)

A rather belated and rushed report on our day at George Town looking out on the Tamer River as it meets the sea..  It encompassed checking the view and the dry sclerophyll from Mount George, afternoon tea and hospitality from our George Town friends, and a walk on the beach at Low Head.  We were all a bit confused and we failed to find everybody at the meeting point so two separate groups searched for Layli.  Without more ado some photos:

Seeking Layli with a bit of an effort

"make thou an effort, that haply in this dust heap of the mortal world thou mayest catch a fragrance from the everlasting garden"    (Baha'u'llah)

Our next Layli, on November 20th at Lobster Falls, may require a bit more of an effort than usual.  It is definitely a bush walk rather than a picnic - however a relatively easy bush walk.There are no toilets, picnic tables or any other facilities and parking is just on the roadside.  Assuming we don't want to eat and pray in the noise of the traffic we need to walk for at least  quarter of an hour to get away from the traffic noise so bring only a modest amount of food that can be carried at least  that far.
The walk to the Falls takes about an hour each way and is a rough track at best so you need good shoes and remember if it starts raining there is no shelter.  I've checked out the first part and it was easy going but some websites warn of steep drops beside the track near the end.  Nevertheless here is a family's story of a walk there including a three year old who walked the whole way so it can't be too bad.
Some good photos here

We'll meet at 12 noon as usual.  The start of the track is signposted off the Deloraine to Chudleigh Road about 15km from Deloraine.  Its easy to miss - a small sign on the right hand side if going towards Chudleigh on a down hill section that curves left.  If you reach Chudleigh you've missed it - you need to go about 4kms back.  Console yourself with a honey ice-cream from the honey farm is my suggestion.

It certainly isn't a pristine forest we will walk through - there's a fair bit of gorse but there are great eucalypts and banksias.  When I was there a couple of weeks ago there were flowers in abundance, incessant bird song, and the occasional wallaby. Its the same kind of country as will be familiar to some Layliseekers from our efforts to find her at Alum Cliffs both being part of the Gog ranges.

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, 2 October 2010

promote the comfort

"The purpose is to promote the comfort of all, and to bring about concord and union among the people."   (Baha'u'llah)
We've had some tough trips over the winter with wild weather in wild places so we are going on 9th October on what should be an easier day.  We're going to Mount George - don't panic the "Mount" is stretching a point - its more of a hill. 
Please note an unusual time - we'll be meeting at the lookout on the Mount at 2:30 pm.  The idea is that, after our customary devotional picnic, some might like to go a few kilometres  further to Low Head to see the beach, lighthouse and museum. One of the attractions of Low Head is seeing the penguins coming ashore to their burrows which only happens after dusk.  
Our agents in Georgetown assure us that at Mount George "There's a really good view of the whole area from a tower on top and a nice little walk on a track through the bush (dry schlerophyl). There are some historical aspects as well, including the signal mast."  They also promise tea, coffee, or maybe soup at their house after the devotionals.  All in all it should be an easy and pleasant day.
To get to the lookout, assume you're coming into Georgetown on the highway from Launceston.  About a kilometre before the town turn right on to Mount George Road (there should be a sign for the tip there) and after that just look for the signpost.
Hope to see you there.  Remember to bring some food to eat or share and at least a tolerance for or preferably a willingness to join in some devotional praise of God.

veiled by a cloud

"Should they hide Me away in the depths of the earth, yet would they find Me riding aloft on the clouds, and calling out unto God, the Lord of strength and of might."   (Baha'u'llah)

Our second attempt to seek Layli on Mount Barrow was only slightly more successful than the first.  The forecast was reasonably promising.  Showers in the morning but clearing in the early afternoon.  And so it proved.  Blue skies over Launceston and the surrounding countryside except - the forecast forgot to mention that a cloud would settle over  Mount Barrow  and remain there all day. Visibility of about 20 metres cuts down the chances of spying a target already elusive.  So Layli remains unfound.
Fortunately there are strongly built stone huts at the car park and the summit so we were able to eat and pray in relative comfort and there is an eerie beauty in being inside a cloud.  The swirling mist, and ubiquitous white background has its own charm.  Truly there is no bad weather - just different kinds of good weather.
Still most of the day was spent looking out through glassless windows.

Build ye for yourselves such houses as the rain and floods can never destroy, which shall protect you from the changes and chances of this life.    (Baha'u'llah)

It was fun in a strange way.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Rain stops Layli

We regret to say that the forecasters are agreed that Saturday is going to be "Rain in the north, extending statewide during the morning, with heavy falls possible."  The top of Mount Barrow does not seem a great place to be in rain so we are postponing this Saturday's Layli seeking until Saturday the 25th of September.
It does not make us happy to cancel but we must remember that many of the group of seekers do not have suitable wet weather clothes, that visibility could be such that we might be within a few metres of Layli without noticing her (is that not the story of life?), and the access road might be a tricky proposition in 'heavy falls'.

Hope to see you on the 25th.

"But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley,"

Robert Burns

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

as firm as the highest mountains

"He shall so persevere in the Cause of God, and evince such firmness in the path of His might, that even if all the powers of earth and heaven were to deny Him, He would not waver in the proclamation of His Cause, nor flee from His command in the promulgation of His Laws. Nay rather, He will stand as firm as the highest mountains and the loftiest peaks."    (Baha'u'llah)

We are going once again to find out just how firm the highest mountain is. The highest one around Launceston is Mount Barrow - a perfect vantage point for seeking Layli.  It is said that on a clear day you can see a third of Tasmania from the top.  We have been there before of course but it is a vast place and I don't believe we have yet searched the south side of the plateau.

Meet at 12 noon on Saturday 4th September at the car park.  It is just before the sign that says 4WDs only.  In normal weather the road is actually perfectly all right for normal cars but if necessary we can ferry people up from there.

The arrangements are the same as last time.  We will meet at the picnic spot at noon for picnic and prayers.
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) and the plateau (approximately 15 km). The trip takes about 3/4 hour.
The last 2 km of road to the plateau is narrow, steep and winding. 

"In this journey the seeker becometh witness to a myriad changes and transformations, confluences and divergences. He beholdeth the wonders of Divinity in the mysteries of creation and discovereth the paths of guidance and the ways of his Lord. Such is the station reached by them that search after God, and such are the heights attained by those who hasten unto Him"    (Baha'u'llah)

Praying in the moonlight

Each moon, O my beloved, for three days I go mad;
Today's the first of these -- 'Tis why thou seest me glad.
    (Baha'u'llah quoting Rumi)

Well, we didn't really go mad (some of may already have been mad of course) but an onlooker might have thought so as we huddled round a table saying prayers by the light of a tiny torch.  We had a guest too:
The idea had been to extol the Lord at eve but it was more the dead of night by the time we got round to it.  There had been much to see and do beforehand:
There were wombats:
and wallabies:
 The beach to be walked on:
It is never too early to start seeking Layli.  Here a youngster is encouraged to check every grain of sand
Are these the Shoes of the Fisherman?
No not the fisherman.  Just someone going for a paddle.  After all Layli could as easily be in the water as on the land.
As always we found much wonder in nature:
"....the favoured ones of God and the pure in heart are overcome with wonder and awe."     (Baha'u'llah)

And, of course before we could pray we had our picnic in the dark.
Eat of that which Allah hath bestowed on you as food lawful and good, and keep your duty to Allah in Whom ye are believers.    (The Qur'an)
But perhaps the abiding memory is the wombats

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

extol thy Lord morn and eve

"Be thou steadfast in the Cause of God and extol thy Lord morn and eve".    (Baha'u'llah)

We have been in the habit of extolling our Lord at around noon on our Layli excursions.  On August 14th we are going to break this tradition and hold our devotions in the evening.  We are going to Narawntapu where one of the attractions is the large number of wallabies, wombats and similar animals who come out at twilight.

So we are going to meet at 3.30pm at the main car park beside the visitors' centre. This gives us an hour or so to walk on the beach, or in the forest, if you think that is a likelier place to spot Layli and return to the picnic area in time to admire the animals, pray, and eat around 5pm.  Sunset is actually at 5.28 on that day.
A good description of Narawntapu can be found at 
including a map of the access.  While there is a road from Yorktown which may be the shortest for Launceston people it is dirt, narrow, steep, and winding.  You will probably find going from Exeter to Frankford and continue on by Frankford road until you see the clear signposts easier.
There are also some photos here

Most importantly, Narawntapu is a National Park which means there is an entrance fee - $20.00 for a car and as many occupants as it can easily hold.  Some of us already have annual passes to parks - might this be a time for others to consider buying one?  Anyway its a time for making sure your car is full .  You might want to meet others outside the park and squeeze into one car for the last kilometre.

Otherwise, its a normal Layli - bring food to eat or to share and a tolerance for or preferably a willingness to join in informal devotions.

Narawntapu is a wonderful place - if you have time you could easily spend the whole day there.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

showers of His loving-kindness

"Not for a moment hath His grace been withheld, nor have the showers of His loving-kindness ceased to rain upon mankind."    (Baha'u'llah)

We  went to Liffey Falls and it rained.  Though the showers of His loving-kindness were presumably uninterrupted, fortunately the more material and wetter showers were more sporadic and we did get the chance to check out the waterfall and the big tree.  Also there are good picnic shelters so our eating and praying was done under cover.   It seems to be true that everyone is cheerful in the rain and our devotions in particular were held in a beautiful atmosphere of reverence and joy.
Poor visibility reduced the chances of seeing Layli if she was there and also the general dampness was not conducive to taking photos.  Still from various cameras here are some shots of the falls and seekers.
"With faces beaming with joy"    (Baha'u'llah)
"the wetness of water"  (Baha'u'llah)
"My table Thou hast furnished" (Psalms)
"After this heavenly journey"   (Baha'u'llah)

"the clouds of divine bounty did rain upon mankind"   (Baha'u'llah)

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 didn't find Layli but we did, I think, find fellowship in each other's company.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

from mountain to valley

I know not in what wilderness they roam! Do they not see that they are embarked upon a journey from which there is no return? How long will they wander from mountain to valley, from hollow to hill?      (Baha'u'llah)

Probably the search for Layli is a journey which lasts a lifetime and once set on the search one should not anticipate a return.
However, on Saturday 10th July we are going to take the wandering a bit further than usual as we will head off without knowing where we are going.  We know where we will meet - at the upper car park for Liffey Falls at 12 noon.  But then comes the decision. If it has snowed on the plateau we will continue upwards to the lakes because many are convinced Layli could not resist a snowball fight (and some of us have never seen snow).   But if it, disappointingly, is a clear warm day we will satisfy ourselves with the mighty Liffey Falls.
Liffey Falls and the different access access routes are described here
and here

Please bring some picnic food, warm clothing (it is the middle of winter), and a toleration for, or preferably a willingness to join in some devotions.

If you need a lift, can offer a lift, or are doubtful of the directions and would like to follow someone please contact me,

the stillness of the mighty woods (report)

"In the stillness of the mighty woods, man is made aware of the divine," St. Barbe Baker

Well we headed off to a mighty wood to test St Barbe Baker's words. And are they true?  Well yes and no.
In the camaraderie and rather formal beauty of our meeting place at Lake Huntsman there was certainly a good feeling.
 That intensified as we reached Scott's Lookout

and perhaps as we said and sang prayers at there on the edge of the mighty forest looking out over the Meander Valley we felt something special.  Who knows, perhaps we were aware of the divine.

But when we crossed the bridge to the start of Split Rock Track
and entered as a group into the mighty forest.

it was perhaps the wonders of creation that grabbed our attention.
We were diligent in our search. Here one of our number checks every frond for a sign of Layli.

And we marveled at roots, rocks, ferns, and, of course, fungi

Is there a difference between the divine and the wonder of the divine creation?  Perhaps:
"He is really a believer in the Unity of God who recognizeth in each and every created thing the sign of the revelation of Him Who is the Eternal Truth, and not he who maintaineth that the creature is indistinguishable from the Creator."

So we should not maintain that the beauty of Meander Forest was indistinguishable from the Divine, but again:
"So pervasive and general is this revelation that nothing whatsoever in the whole universe can be discovered that doth not reflect His splendor."    (Baha'u'llah)
Perhaps it would be true to say that in the stillness of the mighty forest we were made aware of the reflections of His splendour.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

the stillness of the mighty woods

"In the stillness of the mighty woods, man is made aware of the divine," St. Barbe Baker

This quote from Richard St Barbe Baker, founder of "Men of the Trees" was recently used in the "Soul Food" devotional at the Baha'i Centre in Hobart and therefore at several other devotionals which use the same program in other localities.
We however have decided to test it not just read it.  One of the mightiest woods around Northern Tasmania is the Meander Forest Reserve so we will be heading there on Saturday the 12th of June meeting at 12 noon at the picnic ground beside Huntsman lake.
Even if the day is windy, there should be stillness in the gullies and valleys that cut the tiers.  Will we be aware of the divine?  Will we find Layli.  the answer will, of course, be revealed in due time on this blog but why wait?  Why not join us?  
The directions are fairly simple if you can get to Deloraine.  Take the road to Meander (turn South beside the river on the Launceston side) and go all the way to and through Meander. Continue on til the tarmac stops and a hundred metres or so beyond that the picnic spot is on the left looking like this:
 It is more a meeting place than a destination.  For a description of the various possible walks available try

Last time we ate at the picnic spot, prayed at Scott's Lookout and walked on Split Rock track.  We could do the same or try something else.
A very serious word of warning.  It will be much colder than the cities - assume it will snow and dress appropriately.  Also, these are serious bush walks if you go all the way - most of us will be content to potter about the start of the tracks.  We would not recommend trying to complete any of the walks unless you are well equipped and in a party with at least one experienced walker. 

Our previous trip to the forest was reported here

Repeating the gaze at Notley Gorge

"...abide under the shadow of the green and goodly Tree"    (Baha'u'llah)

Again, incorporating our expedition into a Baha'i camp proved less than successful.  After the exertions of the camp it was a small group who made rather a short trip to Notley Fern Gorge.  Still Notley  as always is under the shadow of many green and goodly trees and, if your eyes are as Baha'u'llah recommends 
"...ever expectant to witness the wonders of God's mercy and eager to behold the splendours of His beauty."   there is always something there to remind us of the beauty of God's creation.  Last time it was fungi that caught our attention - this time it was more the mosses and lichens,  Without more ado here are some photos.