Not-So-Modern Ideas For Today…

Mevlana

 

One of the most basic human needs is to feel accepted. In London, where diversity is abundant and individualism embraced, we are blessed to be able to express ourselves.

So why, even in this liberal society do we continually strive to adhere to perceptions of normality and shy away from revealing our own differences for fear of being judged? Society’s expectations of how we ‘should’ be, or what we ‘should’ be doing, or what we ‘should’ have achieved by a certain age plays on our subconscious. Perhaps we are not as modern or free as we like to think.

We’re bombarded by media reports of horrific hate crimes from every corner of the globe. Their motivations may be as menial as a difference in creed or faith, sexual orientation or political view, the ‘daring’ act of dressing as one pleases, for refusing to conform. Genocide, honour killings, random attacks; all point to the refusal to accept or embrace difference. There are alarming levels of intolerance in this ‘modern’ era.

I was in Istanbul when I discovered an idealistic concept of acceptance and tolerance in the most ancient of thoughts, mounted on my sister in law’s wall.

Dilek, the eldest of Murat’s five sisters, lives in an apartment block amongst the extended family of her husband. I immediately identified her as she waited for us outside her doorway on our first meeting; she has the same wiry raven-coloured hair and deep brown eyes as her brother.

“Welcome! Hoşgeldiniz!” She led us inside, past a huge evil eye charm, up a crumbling staircase and into her modest home.

“Please.” She motioned to sit down and disappeared momentarily to prepare Turkish coffee.

“What is that?” I asked, pointing to a stone plaque on the muted pink wall.

“Ah…That’s a Mevlana quote. You may know him as Rumi.”

Amid delicate strokes of calligraphy twirled a Dervish, turning blissfully with his eyes closed. He seemed utterly content.

“I’m not sure how to translate what is written…Look,” Murat searched on his iPhone and showed me a translation.

‘Come, come, whoever you are.

Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving.

It doesn’t matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times.

Come, yet again , come , come.’

I looked at Murat. “Acceptance?”

“Exactly.” We both smiled.

Jelal ad-Din Rumi was a Persian philosopher, born in the 13th Century. After his death, his followers founded the Mevlevi Sufi order which uses his poetic prose as inspiration for its teachings.

It seems we can look to the not-so-modern wisdom from the heart of the Middle East for ideas of acceptance, tolerance and contentment.

In the final weeks of my pregnancy, I couldn’t help but notice another of Rumi’s poems in which he addresses the unborn, whether it be the physically unborn or spiritually is a matter of interpretation.

‘The world outside is vast and intricate.

There are wheat fields and mountain passes,

and orchards in bloom

At night there are millions of galaxies, and in sunlight

the beauty of friends dancing at a wedding.’

*  *  *

This entry was posted in Quotes, Thoughts, Travel, Turkey and tagged , , , , , , , , by NazarBlue. Bookmark the permalink.

About NazarBlue

Growing up with Southern Italian roots, Turkish best friends and Arabic and Greek speaking neighbours, life was lived around abundant tables in warm kitchens. A love for food and feeding was inevitable. It showed me how all people are the same regardless of language and borders – Una Faccia Una Razza! When I became engaged to a Saracen from Istanbul, his relatives not only welcomed me into their family but welcomed me into their kitchen. For me, food is love. Food personifies the people who you hold dearest and speaks of origins and affections. To cook is to create edible offerings of love. NazarBlue embraces food, culture & photography. But by no means the regular stuff you'll find littering the Mediterranean tourist trail. No, no! I cook food with stories behind each dish. I photograph simple things, but try to emphasis natural beauty in a moment or in a scene. And when I travel I live with the locals for an authentic experience. I adore the pockets of culture from the Mediterranean and beyond in this great city, London, and write about the authentic eateries and events I stumble upon, often by chance. I have also uploaded some flash fiction, for no particular reason other than I love a good story.

2 thoughts on “Not-So-Modern Ideas For Today…

  1. I really appreciated receiving the photograph of the Arabic calligraphy of a quote from Mevlana and plan to have a copy made to put up in my flat. I have always been drawn to all things Arabic and many, many years ago I went to a stunning exhibition of Arabic calligraphy (probably in the British Museum but not sure). One day I hope to go to Konya. To all intents and purposes, I am died-in- the-wool white British but it would be interesting to see my genetic code to see if there is an explanation there of why I am so drawn to the Arabic world.

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