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, 31 December 2012

With wallabies and wombats

"In this station the seeker is so overcome by the ecstasies of yearning and the fragrances of longing that he discerneth not his left from his right, nor doth he distinguish land from sea or desert from mountain." Baha'u'llah

Strangely, Baha'u'llah does not seem to have mentioned wallabies and wombats in His copious writings so we have settled for the well known seeker who gets confused between land and sea.  Nawrantapu, or more specifically Bakers Beach, is a good place to resolve this confusion  as the land and see there are clearly separated.  A good tip is that if you stand on the beach and look east the see will be on your left hand side and the land on the right.

But Nawrantapu is not known as "the Serengeti of Tasmania" for nothing (though until I looked up ) I had no idea it was known as the Tassie Serengeti) One can pretty well count on seeing numerous wallabies and wombats there especially if you stay until twilight.

We have been there  before
though that occasion was a special evening Layli search.  This time we are going for our customary 12 noon meeting on Sunday 6th January 2013.  We will meet at the car park at the visitors centre (or inside the visitors centre).  Note that this means the main entrance on the Western end of the park.  It is also possible to reach Nawrantapu from the Beaconsfield area which we do when we go to Badger Head. You will face a very long walk to join us if you come from that side!

Remember, it is a National Park so:
      1. All the information is available on the web site quoted above ) .
      2.  If you haven't got an appropriate sticker on your car you have to pay to get in.  I suggest if you haven't leave a comment here and we will see if we can find you a lift in a stickered car.

Bring food, devotion, and perhaps you swimming gear.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Viewing the Earth as One Country

"By God! This people have never been, nor are they now, inclined to mischief. Their hearts are illumined with the light of the fear of God, and adorned with the adornment of His love. Their concern hath ever been and now is for the betterment of the world. Their purpose is to obliterate differences, and quench the flame of hatred and enmity, so that the whole earth may come to be viewed as one country."  Baha'u'llah

One can view the earth as one country in a dark room with one's eyes closed but there's something about being in a high place and looking down at the world below and seeing the town, villages, and houses just as near identical dots below that tends to make pride in ones locality seem rather ridiculous. So it was during our trip to Pine Lake where both at the scenic viewpoint on the Lake Highway near the top of the tiers and later at the Poatina Adit (or headrace) we took the opportunity of gazing over the plains of the Northern Midlands. One of us was moved to remember dreams they had had of such views long before.

"Consider thy state when asleep. Verily, I say, this phenomenon is the most mysterious of the signs of God amongst men, were they to ponder it in their hearts. Behold how the thing which thou hast seen in thy dream is, after a considerable lapse of time, fully realized."  Baha'u'llah

It was a small but cheerful group that set out for Pine Lake.  As one of us had never been up to the plateaux before we made a day of it taking in not only Pine Lake but going on round the Great Lake, stopping for coffee in Miena, coming back via the camp site on Arthur's Lake, checking out the damage done by the still smouldering bush fire that closed the road the previous week, taking in the aforementioned Poatina Adit, and stopping in Poatina itself to walk their labyrinth.
A lot of talking naturally keeping up our spirits with light chat about death,  decrepitude, and the art of surviving dysfunctional families.  But mostly it was admiring the brief flowering of the wilderness.

".... not a single atom in the entire universe can be found which doth not declare the evidences of His might, which doth not glorify His holy Name, or is not expressive of the effulgent light of His unity. 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

Here's the pictures:
First the magnificent Pencil Pines from which the Lake gets its name. Small, often twisted and half dead trees growing well above the tree line for any other species, their leaves wrapped tightly round each other to protect themselves from frost, slow growing and up to a thousand years old these are the true survivors, making surviving a dysfunctional family look trivial.

 While relaxing at the "The Pines" it is worth checking to see if Layli can be seen in the cloud formations.
 There was a notice explaining how these rock flows were formed by the last ice age but unfortunately I didn't understand it.

 The rocky barrenness  of the Pine Lake surrounds is still there in summer:

Sunday, 2 December 2012

The wilderness blossoms

"The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose." ( Isaiah)

The central plateaux is often seen as bleak wilderness and indeed there is some truth in this and for many of us it is the wildness and bleakness that is so attractive. But briefly in summer there are beautiful flowers to be found.

We are going to Pine Lake again on Sunday 9th December meeting at the car park at 12 noon.

One of our number has been there before at this time of year and testifies to the blossoms at

but if you prefer to remember Pine Lake in its winter bleakness remember our visit there in 2008:

and there is a very brief official description here

Pine Lake is a environmentally protected area and there is no walking except on the well constricted slightly raised, and dead flat walkway. As far as I know you can swim in the lake though.

Its very easy to get to and you might try an adventurous route but the easiest and probably quickest is to get to Deloraine and take the A5 (initially called East Parade but quickly becoming Highland Lakes Road).  If you are coming from Launceston its a left turn just before the bridge.  From there on its straightforward, all tarmac, and follow the A5 signposted to Miena.  After a while the road will climb up the tiers and once you reach the plateaux above the tree line it will flatten out and the Pine Lake car park will soon be visible on the right.

Bring food and devotion!

Every created Thing

"...each and every created thing hath, through the act of the Divine Will, been made a sign of His glory. 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)

The trick of course is to see the Glory and the Splendour.  No doubt some see it in the hustle of the city, or the domestic peace of their living rooms but for some of us it was more manifestly visible, and often is so visible, at Evercreech. It sometimes hard to do justice to Evercreech as there is no single feature that stands out.  It really is a place where one feels drawn to ".. a station wherein thou shalt see nothing in creation save the Face of thy Beloved One, the Honored, and behold all created things only as in the day wherein none hath a mention." (Baha'u'llah)
Some photos:

One of our number who has wide and long knowledge of Tasmania remarked that Evercreech is perhaps the best, large, easily accessed fern glade in Tasmania
and certainly it a very comfortable spot for a picnic.

As you can see the waterfall is only about five Noels high but it is charming and comes at the end of a walk through the aforementioned fern glade (its a slightly challenging walk for the less fit in that there no real  path but that adds to its beauty).

Everyone agreed, it was a very special day.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

The trees and the leaves thereof

"We have forbidden you dissension and conflict in My Books, and My Scriptures, and My Scrolls, and My Tablets, and have wished thereby naught else save your exaltation and advancement. Unto this testify the heavens and the stars thereof, and the sun and the radiance thereof, and the trees and the leaves thereof, and the seas and the waves thereof, and the earth and the treasures thereof."  (Baha'u'llah)

The particular trees and their leaves we are checking out Saturday 3rd November are the famous White Knights of Evercreech - the tallest White Gums in the world.
Evercreech Forest Reserve is an absolute gem - with two  lovely walks, good basic facilities, a tumbling brook, a waterfall and its a great place to camp for those who would like to spend more than a few hours there.  Some of us are planning to camp there Saturday night at least.
However, the formal picnic and prayers will be at 12 noon which means leaving Launceston at 10am or earlier - slightly earlier again for Hobart or Devonport.  Its easy to get to if you can find Fingal (just turn East about half way between Epping and Campbell Town - well signposted).  In Fingal you turn North onto the B43 (again well signposted) and just follow that Road (Mathinna Road) until you see Evercreech road forking off on the right.  Basically its just follow the signs.

There are many more adventurous ways to get lost going to Evercreech via forestry roads. None will be quicker.

A couple of websites

and a report on our previous visit in 2008

And for those of you who might like to camp here is the view I had from my tent last time I was there.

Bring a picnic, joy, and devotion to God.  Meet at the Reserve at 12 noon 3rd November.

Vernal showers and flowers

"The incomparable Creator hath created all men from one same substance, and hath exalted their reality above the rest of His creatures. Success or failure, gain or loss, must, therefore, depend upon man's own exertions. The more he striveth, the  greater will be his progress. We fain would hope that the vernal showers of the bounty of God may cause the flowers of true understanding to spring from the soil of men's hearts, and may wash them from all earthly defilements."  (Baha'u'llah)

Not too sure about the "flowers of true understanding" but the normal spring flowers were everywhere at Waterhouse.

and ferns and lichens too
"Wert thou to incline thine inner ear unto all created things, thou wouldst hear: 'The Ancient of Days is come in His great glory!' Everything celebrateth the praise of its Lord." (Baha'u'llah)

It was a lovely day at Waterhouse with soft grey skies, a stiff breeze of the sea, the occasional squally shower, and only a handful of fisherfolk in the whole vast reserve.
Picnics were consumed, prayers were intoned and beaches and rocks were duly walked upon.

No sign of Layli though , unless .......  OK the perhaps heretical thought did cross my mind that Layli might be a seagull?

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Seeking Layli in the large and small

"Were he that treadeth the path of guidance and seeketh to scale the heights of righteousness to attain unto this glorious and exalted station,  he would inhale, at a distance of a thousand leagues, the fragrance of God, and would perceive the resplendent morn of a Divine guidance rising above the Day Spring of all things. 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)

This coming Saturday, the 6th of October, we are going to Waterhouse Conservation Area.  Unless you are coming from overseas Waterhouse is not nearly a thousand leagues away - in fact its only about 100 km from Launceston. For most people the easiest, if not necessarily the shortest, route will be to get to Bridport probably via Lilydale and Scottsdale then take the B52 (Waterhouse Road) east from the town and keep going until you see Homestead Road on the left.  It should be signposted to Waterhouse lakes and/or the conservation area but take Homestead road for sure.
From there you can't really avoid a beautiful and diverse and very large area of great beauty and wildness.  However spotting your fellow seekers may be more difficult.  We are going to follow Homestead road for about 9 or 10 kilometres (it might be best to check google maps or something similar to follow this).  Homestead basically goes roughly straight to the coast - a lovely rocky coast opposite Waterhouse Island - then after following the coast for a few hundred metres it goes inland again cutting across the base of the point.  It then rejoins the coast on the west side of Ringarooma Bay where there are magnificent beaches. Where it rejoins the coast there are a couple of camping or bunk house style places (visible in google maps satellite view).   We are going to meet at the first of these at 12 noon.
Bring food to eat or share and. we hope, a willingness to join in some devotions.  If there's a wind from the sea it might be chilly on the other hand if the sun is shining and you feel tough you might try swimming.  There is plenty to do and if you believe "Each and every thing, however small, would be to him a revelation, leading him to his Beloved, the Object of his quest." you might want to bring a microscope and spend the day at the lakes where according to you can find the smallest flowering plant in the world (a type of duck weed).
Looking forward to seeing you there!
We have been to Waterhouse before. See

Seeking Layli under protection

"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)

"Immeasurably exalted art Thou, O Lord! Protect us from what lieth in front of us and behind us, above our heads, on our right, on our left, below our feet and every other side to which we are exposed. Verily Thy protection over all things is unfailing."  (The Bab)

For the second time this year we set off  facing a forecast of continuous rain and expecting to be merely ticking the box of 'we were there' but not really see or do much.  And it rained hard on the journey there but protection was provided by the All-Merciful. First He arranged for O'Neills Reserve to have a covered picnic area, and then while we were eating and praying He stopped the rain.  We had a lovely stroll along the brook looking up at the (still at times mist shrouded) mountain.

See for a similar experience at Badger's head where a raininy day cleared up just long enough for the walk.

Anyway here are the photos:

Monday, 27 August 2012

May it rejoice us

"..... 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. Wherefore, may it rejoice Me, and thee, and whosoever mounteth into the heaven of knowledge, and whose heart is refreshed by this, that the wind of certitude hath blown over the garden of his being, from the Sheba of the All-Merciful." (Baha'u'llah)

A rather awful pun this time.  I don't think Baha'u'llah's "mounteth into the heaven" was actually a direct reference to Mount Roland but that's where we are heading on Sunday (yes Sunday) the 23rd of September.
We have been there before and old hands will remember it as the first place where the yellow worm which played such an important role in the unfolding history of Layli seeking in Northern Tasmania was spotted.

We will meet at 12noon at O'Neill's  Picnic Reserve which is signposted on the left hand side of Claude Road as you come into Gowrie Park if you are coming from Sheffield on the C136.  If you are coming from Sheffield, Claude Road  leads on from Spring Street and should be signposted to Gowrie Park or if not to Cradle Mountain.  Depending on where you're coming from there are several other routes to Gowrie Park.  Its about 16 kilometres South of Sheffield.

Mount Roland really is a wonderful sight dominating the surrounding area.  There are some great photos of it here

O'Neill's Reserve is convenient rather than beautiful but there is a very pleasant walk beside a little brook which should be within most of our capabilities.  And of course there are heaps of other walks for all levels of fitness though anyone who tackles the 5-7 hour summit track will have to have their picnic and devotions alone at the summit at noon.  We'll think of you up there.

As always bring some food to eat and/or share at the picnic, some joy and laughter, and a willingness to at least tolerate but hopefully join in some devotions in whatever way suits your own communion with the Unknowable Essence. You still might need reasonably warm clothing in September.

Hope to see you at noon on the 23rd September at O'Neills Picnic reserve.

Some future dates
          Saturday 6th October  -  Waterhouse Coastal Reserve
          Saturday 3rd November - Evercreech (A longish run but worth it)

The individuality of each

"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." (Abdu'l-Baha)

Can you behold the signs of Thy Lord's mercy in this pink robin?

 A small group made it despite a breakdown in communications to Liffey Falls where we were joined by a number of birds.
The river was running high and we were conscious that, inspired by the recent Olympics, Layli might have taken up a sport, perhaps white water kayaking?  We kept our eyes fixed on the likely spots.

As always at Liffey the signs of God's mercy tended to be in the form of sunlight glittering through ferns

and as always, everywhere, the hidden secrets of the universe seem most clearly indicated by fungi and bark.

"Upon the inmost reality of each and every created thing He hath shed the light of one of His names, and made it a recipient of the glory of one of His attributes." (Baha'u'llah)

I don't think we can ever know for sure the light of which name and the glory of which attribute hath been shed over robins and wrens but I bet they were good ones.

Of course we took pictures of the iconic falls but you can many images of them, but have you noticed the boulder in the middle of them.  It too is a created thing.

OK, I see your point.  To save you Googling, here's a shot of the falls themselves

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

The Most Unsuccessful Layli Search Ever

It seems most people did not have a 'mind for winter' and only one car set out for Devil's Gullet. And the car most definitely did not fancy the trip and threw a hissy fit (or burnt out clutch so the mechanic tells me) between Deloraine and Chudleigh.  An ignominious return on the back of a truck courtesy of the RACT.  Enough said.

"It behoveth us, therefore, to make the utmost endeavor, that, by God's invisible assistance, these dark veils, these clouds of Heaven-sent trials, may not hinder us from beholding the beauty of His shining Countenance, and that we may recognize Him only by His own Self." (Baha'u'llah)

Monday, 16 July 2012

seeking Layli with a mind of winter

"This is the food that conferreth everlasting  life upon the pure in heart and the illumined in spirit. This is the bread of which it is said: "Lord, send down upon us Thy bread from heaven." This bread shall never be withheld from them that deserve it, nor can it ever be exhausted. It groweth everlastingly from the tree of grace; it descendeth at all seasons from the heavens of justice and mercy." (Baha'u'llah)

"One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is."

                     Wallace Stevens

We try to remember that the Divine Essence which is Layli is not confined to the warm days or the lush green spots. It is good too to spot glimpses of the Essence in the wintry barren lands. So on Saturday 21st July we are going to head up (and up and up) to Devils Gullet and Lake McKenzie and try, being nothing ourselves, to see the  "Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is."

You'll need your mind of winter and, even more importantly, a LOT of warm clothes and Thermoses of hot drinks and when you return you will probably feel you have been "cold a long time".
 It's a longish trip for most people.  Lets assume you can find Deloraine, and from there, at the top end of town take the road to Mole Creek.  On arriving at Mole Creek go straight through town (remembering that that is the last place you will see shops or toilets on the day) and follow the B12 (Mole Creek Main Road which becomes Liena Road). Keep going.  About 15 kms out of Mole Creek you will see Mersey Forest Road on the left.  A very short distance down Mersey Forest Road there is a turn off clearly signposted to Devils Gullet and Lake MacKenzie on the left.  From there it is gravel but good gravel for about 14kms.
If the weather is good its about 40 minutes from Mole Creek.
If the weather is snowy the road might be closed.  If so we meet at the turn-off  from Mersey Forest road and make alternative plans.
We meet at 12 noon hopefully at the Gullet car park.  

There are websites with some good photos and descriptions.'s_gullet.htm

by the sea of nothingness

"And should the servant ascend to even loftier heights, quit this mortal world of dust, and seek to ascend unto the celestial abode, he will then pass from this city into the City of Absolute Nothingness, that is, of dying to self and living in God. In this station, this most exalted habitation, this journey of utter self-effacement, the wayfarer forgetteth his soul, spirit, body, and very being, immerseth himself in the sea of nothingness, and liveth on earth as one unworthy of mention. Nor will one find any sign of his existence, for he hath vanished from the realm of the visible and attained unto the heights of self-abnegation." (Baha'u'llah)

Well, this passage was perhaps a self-abnegation too far for us. The Bass Strait is not really the sea of nothingness and we didn't immerse ourselves in it. In fact the 'us' and 'we' in that previous sentence are stretching the truth a bit.  It was a cold, blustery, rainy day and after some texts and phone calls we decided it was a bad idea to head off to an exposed headland and basically called it off. Still one person had to go just in case anyone unexpected turned up or, perhaps, Layli had intercepted our texts and thought she was safe at Badger's Head.
Bad idea it might have been but it turned out to be a good experience. The rain pelted the car on the trip but kept away long enough for a very pleasant walk and private picnic and prayers.The mood swung to joy.

"Whenever I ponder my grievous shortcomings and my great trespasses, despair assaileth me from every direction, and whenever I pause to meditate upon the ocean of Thy bounteousness and the heaven of Thy grace and the day-star of Thy tender compassion, I inhale the fragrance of hope diffused from right and left, from north and south, as if every created thing imparteth unto me the joyous tidings that the clouds of the heaven of Thy mercy will pour down their rain upon me." (Baha'u'llah)