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?

Monday, 7 November 2011

Of mice and men

The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men 
Gang aft agley,  (Robert Burns)


Some of you will be aware that we had a trip to Westmorland Falls planned for November 26th. Unfortunately it seems, on this occasion, God is not willing.  The Westmorland falls track is still closed after the floods in January this year.  Some reports talk of piles of debris fifty feet high and the awesome power that uprooted and hurled about great numbers of trees.

On the appearance of fearful natural events call ye to mind the might and majesty of your Lord, He Who heareth and seeth all, and say "Dominion is God's, the Lord of the seen and the unseen, the Lord of creation". (Baha'u'llah).
We are still going to the same area, to the Wet Cave Reserve which is only a few kilometres from the Westmorland Track.  So those of us who are interested in what a flood can do can pop along and see the impact.
Wet Cave reserve itself is most famous for its caves though serious exploration of them is only for experienced cavers, we will be able to peer in the entrances and wonder what lies beyond. A clue (well actually some photos) can be found at:
http://www.touringtasmania.info/honeycombe_caves.htm

It will be gentle with no hard walking and should be a nice picnic.

To get there first get to Mole Creek. Then take Caveside Road (it is to the left off the main St if you have come in from Deloraine).  After about six kilometres you come to a T junction. Turn right and after roughly a kilometre you will find the reserve.  Note the road turns very sharply left just at the reserve so its hard to miss.

We meet there at 12 noon, Saturday the 26th November.  Bring food, joy, and perhaps a torch so we can peer into the caves.








a palace on the Bosphorus

And when he turned towards the angel of wrath, he well-nigh expired from fear. "I have a house full of riches," he pleaded. "I have a palace on the Bosphorus, beneath which the rivers flow."    (Baha'u'llah)

Baha'u'llah  was actually talking about a rich and powerful man who behaved badly and was judged accordingly but who needs a palace on the Bosphurus.
A short walk into Alum Cliffs and we were at wonderful lookout looking down on the river far below. Its hard to imagine any palace ever had a finer view.

It's actually the Mersey river and doesn't seem to be mentioned directly by Baha'u'llah unless there was some confusion over the spelling.
"I swear by God! The River of Mercy floweth, and the Ocean of Utterance surgeth, and the Sun of Revelation shineth forth resplendent."    (Baha'u'llah)

Mercy? Mersey? Hmmm probably shouldn't read too much into that.


But it was a lovely walk, some lovely people met, some prayers said, some meditation, and a pleasant day all round.
There were flowers and cliffs and the beauty of God's creation.
This sign is the mirror of His beauty in the world of creation.    (Baha'u'llah)




And not all our moments were entirely dignified!


Sunday, 16 October 2011

Another Day; Another Canyon

Well, having got ourselves in the habit of peering down at rivers far below from lookouts perched on the edge of cliffs we might as well stick with it.
So on Saturday 22nd October we're going to Alum Cliffs to look down on another river from on high.
We've been to Alum Cliffs before - as long ago as 2008.  See
http://seekinglayliinthebush.blogspot.com/2008/07/cleaving-of-earth.html

We'll meet at 12 noon at the car park.
The directions are quite simple assuming you can find Deloraine.
 From Deloraine take the B12 towards Chudleigh and Mole Creek.
At Chudleigh stick with the B12 towards Mole Creek (this involves a sharp right in the centre of town but its clearly marked)
About 1.4 kilometres after the right turn take the signposted Mersey Hill Road which brings you to the car park after about 2 kilometres.

Hope to see you there.

Walking the edge


"They walk the edge of a treacherous bank and tread the brink of a fiery abyss." (Baha'u'llah)


Baha'u'llah was actually referring to those who turn away from God and reminding us of the danger they face as described in the Quran but looking down into Leven Canyon it does feel like the edge though the excellent paths and well constructed look-outs make it perfectly safe.
A nice day, a pleasant walk, some spectacular views, and a jovial picnic with joyous prayers. Perfect!









So perfect and comprehensive is His creation that no mind nor heart, however keen or pure, can ever grasp the nature of the most insignificant of His creatures; much less fathom the mystery of Him Who is the Day Star of Truth, Who is the invisible and unknowable Essence. (Baha'u'llah)



Saturday, 3 September 2011

Views from the Heights


"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)

The Heights we are seeking to attain on Saturday 17th September are the two magnificent view points at Leven Canyon.

The canyon is one of the more spectacular easily accessed sights in Tasmania as you can see at:
http://www.touringtasmania.info/leven_canyon.htm
and there is more information at
http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/index.aspx?base=1515
or
http://www.centralcoast.tas.gov.au/webdata/resources/files/leven_brochure_web_spread.pdf

We will be meeting as usual at 12 noon in the car park.  It is a longish run from Launceston. Google has it at just under two hours but much shorter from Devonport. For most people the easiest route will be to follow the Bass Highway to near Ulverstone and then:

  • Take the B15 exit to Ulverstone/Sprent/Leven Canyon
  • After 400m turn right onto Castro Rd/B15
  • After 29km turn right onto Cullens Rd
  • Another 2 kms bring you to the reserve.
There are shorter, possibly more interesting, but generally longer in time, routes from most places.

There are toilets, picnic tables, car parking, barbecues and a splendid two km walk through the forest to the view points. The walk is easy though there are 697 steps (fortunately you go down them not up).
For the fitter there is a more challenging but still not too difficult walk nearby which takes you down to the floor of the canyon.

Please come, bring your friends, some picnic to eat or share, and a willingness to participate in or at least the patience to tolerate some devotions.

Saturday, 17th September 12 noon 






Winter months


"It is the inherent nature of things on this earth to change, thus we see around us the change of the seasons. Every spring is followed by a summer and every autumn brings a winter -- every day a night and every evening a morning. There is a sequence in all things."  (Abdu'l-Baha)


And it appears to be inherent in  the nature of winter that fewer people come seeking Layli. Compounding this problem was our own competence.  In July the two rather small parties who went on the search to Liffey from different cities failed to meet each other.  If we had Layli between us she managed to slip through our uncoordinated net with ease.  Then, in August, the three rank amateurs who headed to Lilydale Falls forgot to take even a basic prayer book with them.  How can we expect to lure the mystic bird by stumbling through half remembered verses? But, perhaps, it is the sincerity of the prayer or meditation not the elegance that attracts the blessings.

One of the early followers of Muhammad, being Ethiopian, pronounced Arabic in a way that was considered non-standard.  Nevertheless, Muhammad honoured him by making him the first muezzin calling the Muslims to prayer.  Baha'u'llah says of this:


"The acts of his honor, Balal, the Ethiopian, were so acceptable in the sight of God that the "sin" of his stuttering tongue excelled the "shin" pronounced by all the world." (Baha'u'llah)


Anyway, here, in a first for this blog, is a video and  some photos of our clumsy winter searches for Layli.


video





More photos can be seen at:
https://picasaweb.google.com/Layliseeker/LiffeyJuly2011
and
https://picasaweb.google.com/Layliseeker/LilydaleFallsAugust2011

Monday, 11 July 2011

Seeking Layli by a Different Route (Sat 16th July)

Bearing in mind the difficulties the wintry weather caused to our last expedition and that it is now even more wintry we have chosen an old and easily reached favourite spot this time.  It's back to Liffey Falls. I can hear you objecting.  We've tried Liffey Falls several times and never found Layli- why should it be different this time?  Well firstly some of us think the Liffey Falls actually are Layli.  What did you expect a 1500 year old spiritual being to look like?  And secondly we have a cunning plan.  Surely Layli will be on the lookout for our approach from our favoured spot in the upper car park.  Well we're going to sneak up on her from the lower car park! That should fox her, eh?
Just like the upper car park, the lower can be reached from either the Lake Highway or through Bracknell but is probably easiest from Bracknell.  Bracknell is well signposted from the highway about twenty kilometres from Launceston towards Deloraine.  When you reach the T junction just past the shop in Bracknell turn right following the signs for Liffey.  There is no obvious township called Liffey any longer - its just a district but shortly after the end of the tarmac you will come to a "Y" junction.  The right hand fork goes up the hill and has a sign saying no buses or something similar.  It leads to the upper car park.  The left fork leads into the lower car park where we shall meet at 12 noon on Sat 16th July.

Bring warm  clothing, food for a picnic, a willingness to take part in or at least be patient with devotions and a camera.  We regret there is no piano at Liffey Falls but there are tables, toilets and an easy walk up to the Falls.

A missed rendevous

We had planned to find Layli at the visitors centre in Mount Barrow forests, but the weather being wintry, only one car set out on the journey.  The forest road did have a sign saying 'Road closed' but it didn't look bad and we could see others ignoring it so we pressed ahead.  But at Foons Hills the snow lay all about - deep and crisp and even.  While other cars had clearly managed to get through ours wasn't really designed for that kind of work and it slithered and slid to a halt.  Couldn't persuade it to get up so we enjoyed playing in the snow, ate our picnic, prayed and headed home.  Sad, because we have good reason to believe that Layli did indeed wait for us at the visitors centre.

Our wheel tracks look OK at the point but further up it wasn't so good.


"This is the Vale of God's unsearchable decree, the snow-white Spot, the Land of unfading splendor."
(Baha'u'llah)


Snow-white spot?  Perhaps He was thinking of Foon's Hill?

Sunday, 29 May 2011

worship God in the forests, valleys, and mountains

Were anyone to wash the feet of all mankind, and were he to worship God in the forests, valleys, and mountains, upon high hills and lofty peaks, to leave no rock or tree, no clod of earth, but was a witness to his worship -- yet, should the fragrance of My good pleasure not be inhaled from him, his works would never be acceptable unto God.  (Baha'u'llah)


Well, it doesn't say don't worship God in the forests, valleys, and mountains so on June 11th at 12 noon we are going to the forest surrounding the Mount Barrow Visitor Centre as pictured here:
First, let me clarify that while it is part of the Mount Barrow complex it is a quite different place from our usual haunt in Mount Barrow Reserve.
Secondly. it is quite a change for us.  It is by known means pristine wilderness - in fact its a working forest parts of which have already been 'harvested' three times in the last 100 years.
On the other hand it is far from the madding crowd while still being close to Launceston, offers us an indoor picnic and prayer spot which will be appreciated in winter, a BBQ, toilet, wood fire if we want to light it and, of course, a piano.  It includes various short walks mostly to view sites related to the history of forestry in the area and many kilometres of wandering roads through the regrowth forest.

It is described here
http://www.forestrytas.com.au/visiting/visitor-sites/north-east/mt-barrow-discovery-trail
and this time with a map here:
http://www.forestrytas.com.au/uploads/File/pdf/tourism/mt_barrow_brochure.pdf

The map and signposting I found confusing so here's my instructions.
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, a willingness to express your devotion to the Unknowable in your own way, and, of course, your piano playing skills.

Hope to see you there.

in every Valley reach a spring




"Thus it hath been made clear that these stages depend on the vision of the wayfarer. In every city he will behold a world, in every Valley  reach a spring, in every meadow hear a song. But the falcon of the mystic heaven hath many a wondrous carol of the spirit in His breast, and the Persian bird keepeth in His soul many a sweet Arab melody; yet these are hidden, and hidden shall remain." (Baha'u'llah)


Holwell Gorge is, of course, a gorge but that is a kind of valley and this photo is, of course of a waterfall or cascade rather than a spring we certainly reached it despite the going in some places having been
 damaged by this years floods. And we has a very pleasant picnic when we got there.
The waterfall was a little noisy for prayers so we, for the first time ever we think, 'blessed' a bridge with our prayers.

This is the bridge but it was on the way back we said our prayers there.
It is a lovely spot and it was a lovely day and here, from a variety of cameras, are a few photos.







Each and every thing, however small, would be to him a revelation, leading him to his Beloved, the Object of his quest. (Baha'u'llah)

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

From the green garden

"By My life, O friend, wert thou to taste of these fruits, from the green garden of these blossoms which grow in the lands of knowledge, beside the orient lights of the Essence in the mirrors of names and attributes -- yearning would seize the reins of patience and reserve from out thy hand, and make thy soul to shake with the flashing light, and draw thee from the earthly homeland to the first, heavenly abode in the Center of Realities, and lift thee to a plane wherein thou wouldst soar in the air even as thou walkest upon the earth, and move over the water as thou runnest on the land."    (Baha'u'llah)








Sometimes, Baha'u'llah describes experiences which seem absolutely beyond our imaginings let alone our capabilities. Our souls "shake with the flashing light"? To "soar in the air even as thou walkest upon the earth"? What would it feel like? Well maybe at 12 noon on Saturday May 7th we will find out in the "green garden" of Holwell Gorge.  Meet at the Northern or perhaps North Eastern car park.


The directions are pretty straightforward.  Make your way to Beaconsfield (if coming from Launceston its via the West Tamar Highway).  Just on the Northern outskirts of Beaconsfield, take a left turn onto Kelly's Lookout Road which quickly becomes Holwell Road (C715) and follow it until you see the signpost.  People coming from George Town would cross the bridge and then on to Beaconfield.  From Devonport or other Western places there are various routes but perhaps a left turn onto Holwell Road at Frankfurt is the most direct (well thats what Google Maps recommends).  Don't forget there are two entrances to the reserve.  Its the one nearest Beaconfield you are looking for.




The Gorge is described with photographs at

http://www.touringtasmania.info/holwell_gorge1.htm
 and we have been there before
http://seekinglayliinthebush.blogspot.com/2008/12/bread-on-waters.html

As usual, bring some food to eat or share and a willingness to participate or at least tolerate some devotional activity and hopefully be ready to be transported by the beauty of nature.
"So perfect and comprehensive is His creation that no mind nor heart, however keen or pure, can ever grasp the nature of the most insignificant of His creatures; much less fathom the mystery of Him Who is the Day Star of Truth, Who is the invisible and unknowable Essence."    (Baha'u'llah)

Streams gushing from the Rocks

"...streams of fresh and soft-flowing waters have gushed from the rocks, through the sweetness of the words uttered by your Lord, the Unconstrained; and still ye slumber."    (Baha'u'llah)

Baha'u'llah was, of course, speaking metaphorically but the metaphor takes new life when you stand in the rockscape and gaze up at Hardings Falls.
It was a long drive - the last part over a very rough road.  It was a lovely walk through a forest.

And finally it was a very steep descent down a very rough path indeed.
And then it was very peaceful and quite beautiful.
"Numerous confessions and divers creeds abide peacefully beneath the shadow of thy sovereignty. Let this people be also numbered with them."   (Baha'u'llah)
We were a small group but religiously diverse and we found some peace at Hardings Falls.


"Prefer ye to be silent, whilst every stone and every tree shouteth aloud: 'The Lord is come in His great glory!'? "   (Baha'u'llah)The stones and rocks that make the canyon perhaps did not audibly shout but they certainly grabbed the attention.

And so we made our way back to the car park where picnic and prayers rounded off the day.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Strange behaviour of the full moon

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


The First Council of Nicaea (325) established the date of Easter as the first Sunday after the full moon (the Paschal Full Moon) following the northern hemisphere's vernal equinox. (Wikipedia)

The Baha'is celebrate the Twelve Days of Ridvan  starting on April 20th at Sunset.  So. unusually,  this year, due to the lateness of the Paschal Full Moon, Easter falls with the Festival of Ridvan.

In addition this year, Easter Monday coincides with the great Australian commemoration of ANZAC day when many people remember those who fought and died in the wars of the past.

"these fruitless strifes, these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the 'Most great Peace' shall come..."
    (Baha'u'llah,
speaking to Edward Granville Brown)




So on Monday 25th April there is a rare opportunity for a triple hit - to celebrate three festivals simultaneously and what better way to do it than seeking Layli at a remote and mighty waterfall?

The one we have chosen is Hardings Falls. see

http://www.touringtasmania.info/hardings_falls.htm

or
http://www.forestrytas.com.au/assets/0000/0087/Hardings_Falls_Forest_reserve.pdf

 For those who came to Mount Puzzler the country is similar and the journey about the same length though by way of Royal George rather than Fingal.  The walk to the falls is much shorter than at Mount Puzzler though still steep.

We will meet at the car park at 12noon.  To get there from Launceston follow the main Highway south towards Hobart, just before Cambelltown turn left following the signs for Avoca and the East Coast.  At Avoca turn right following the sign to Royal George.  Go straight through Royal George. After a few kilometres the road turns to dirt and a bit further on there is a cross roads.  To the right there is a steep hill clearly signposted to Meetus Falls.  Ignore it - take the left less clearly signposted road.  Hardings falls is signposted off this road to the right.  These are forestry roads and are not shown on Google maps or Where-is.com.  It should take about two hours from Launceston.  There are about 20 kilometres of, in places, quite rough, dirt road to cover.

As always bring some food to eat/share, good shoes or boots, and, we hope, a willingness to join in some devotions in whatever way suits you.  Perhaps some of us will say a prayer for those who suffered and died in all those ruinous wars. 























Saturday, 16 April 2011

The mists dispelled - the veils torn away

Assist them to dispel the mists of idle fancy, and to tear away the veils of vain imaginings and hopes. Thou art, verily, the All-Possessing, the Most High. No God is there but Thee, the Almighty, the Gracious.
    (Baha'u'llah)


Hopefully some of us did manage to make some progress in getting rid of idle fancies and vain imagining - or is that hope itself an idle fancy? 
But certainly after several recent attempts on Mount Barrow which were thwarted or blinded by rain and mist it was a relief to reach the tops and actually see a view.




Though the distance did seem a little hazy on the mountain itself the sun shone:
 As you can see from the above we wandered individually or in groups as we felt like: and found and photographed what interested us.  There were still a few flowers around and more than a few berries.





But we did all come together at the car park for, at the start of the day, a picnic and, at the end, some prayers.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Piercing the Veils (we hope)

"... the wayfarer cometh to THE VALLEY OF UNITY and drinketh from the cup of the Absolute, and gazeth on the Manifestations of Oneness. In this station he pierceth the veils of plurality, fleeth from the worlds of the flesh, and ascendeth into the heaven of singleness. With the ear of God he heareth, with the eye of God he beholdeth the mysteries of divine creation. He steppeth into the sanctuary of the Friend, and shareth as an intimate the pavilion of the Loved One. He stretcheth out the hand of truth from the sleeve of the Absolute; he revealeth the secrets of power. He seeth in himself neither name nor fame nor rank, but findeth his own praise in praising God."    (Baha'u'llah)
Actually we are not going to any physical valley but back to the mountain.  Mount Barrow.
You may remember that on our last trip there everything was veiled by a cloud
http://seekinglayliinthebush.blogspot.com/2010/10/veiled-by-cloud.html
but hopefully this time the early autumn sun will pierce those veils.

We're going on  Saturday 26th March meeting at the car park  at 12:00 noon.
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.
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. 

Please remember that it is likely to be several degrees  colder on the top than in Launceston and bring lots of clothes and good footwear  as well as a picnic to share.  We hope you will be tolerant of or preferably join in some devotions in whatever form suits you.

Searching with companions

"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)
An unusually large group chose to look for Layli at the Lakes so it was pleasant indeed to have so many companions searching together.  It was not thebest organised event with one group arriving a little early and completing the walk to Pine Lake before others arrived They cheerfully repeated their walk no doubt contemplating the words of Baha'u'llah:
"The preamble of this Epistle is being revealed twice, even as was the Mathani."
Furthermore the spot preselected for a picnic turned out not to exist and we could not make it
"....emerge from its state of non-existence into the realm of being"    (Baha'u'llah)

but such trifling problems were solved with goodwill.  We walked, ate, talked and found many opportunities to "marvel at the signs of the power of God and the wondrous evidences of His handiwork."  (Baha'u'llah)

It was a good trip.  Here are the photos:











He, verily, rewardeth beyond measure them that endure with patience.   (Baha'u'llah)
This group were patiently waiting while we got the devotions organised if organised is a word that can ever be applied to a Layli event.