Bismillah hir Rahman nir Raheem
This was written as a reflection at the retreat on Tazkiya tun Nafs in the Adirondack mountains:
They come every year, the women draped in their flowing scarfs and the men in their long pristine garbs. Some gentle of face and demeanor, some hiding the pain of tribulations behind a blank expression. Every day they come out of the lake lodge for seven minutes and sit on me. I know by the time they spend on me that it is their break from something intense they are absorbing inside the lodge, and it is affecting their heart.
As the days pass, sometimes they come alone, at different times from the seven minutes in the morning. They seek me out, sit on me and secretly weep. At other times they stare at the lake and weep copiously. I can offer them no comfort or solace.
I myself am looking for that. For years I have been stuck on the bank of this Lake. Though it is truly beautiful to look at, I feel immobile, my heart within me has not moved except for the seven minutes of their break.
I feel the mountain air, receive the snow in the winter, and feel the wriggling’s of spring with the budding of the indomitable and undefeatable dandelion defying even the most aggressive of lawn mowers.
I feel I am not going anywhere; I am stuck on the bank of this lake, immobile as the world passes me by.
Yet I am intrigued with this group of folks, and wait for those ten days in summer when they arrive. What do they learn inside the log house, which makes their hearts move? What makes them weep? These are not hysterical unrestrained spoilt camp brats. These tears come from a gentle opening of the tight petals of a bud to let out the dew, which is burgeoning to be free from its confines.
I am no rock in the Sinai. I am told that there was once a rock in the Sinai that ran. The story goes as such: Once when Musa the Prophet of Allah went to bathe, he removed his clothes and put it onto the rock before he dived into the mysterious waters of the red sea. When he came out he could not find his clothes. To his consternation the rock was running away from the shore complete with Musa (AS) clothes atop of him………… that rock is my hero, I cannot even move an inch, leave alone run with a load of clothes on me.
Year after year they sit on me, silent, in meditation, in tears, sometimes I can feel their dreams slip out and merge into the gentle ripples of the lake, sometimes they are inconsolable. At other times they gaze at the kayakers paddling by with the eyes of the wise…….
I too want to wash myself in the lake to purify myself, I want to move! I have sensed that movement brings purity.
I am a rock always present to provide a seat to the seekers, never seeking myself, always watching them cry and wondering what is being taught in the log house but never being able to find out.
I am left wondering on this beautiful Lake if there is life outside the shores of this lake for a rock like me. Could I ever have a movement within me and outside me that would forever change me, even though I am a rock?
One of the guests quotes a verse, which seems to be words of the Divine for who else could know the heart of a rock.
2:74 Then your hearts hardened after that, so that they were like rocks, rather worse in hardness, and surely there are some rocks from which streams burst forth and surely there are some of them which split asunder so water issues out of them and surely there are some of them which fall down for fear of Allah and Allah is not all heedless of what you do.
I am stunned at the ramifications of this verse of the Divine, and I think as I look across the serene lake…………even though I am a rock there is hope for me!