Dream Garden

Follow the dirt path bordered by translucent stones.
It will lead you to the garden of the heavenly Unknown.
To enter, move aside the large, rustling palm leaves,
then adjust your sight to a scene you won’t believe.
Meandering pathways crisscrossing in every direction,
trees of all shapes and sizes, shading lovers and their affections,
creating the perfect nooks for all seekers to rest,
to feel peaceful and content, abundantly blessed.
Some gather in groups, others in pairs,
some grasp books that appear out of thin air.
The sycamores, weeping willows and magnolia trees
provide respite for reading, for finding life’s keys –
be it the story of the very first woman and man,
epic tales of adventure, redemption, failed plans,
sprawling sagas of families, united, divided,
journeys to unknown lands, however misguided,
or fables of greed, revenge and downfall.
Here, you will find just the right book to heal all.
When you do, be sure to sit by the old banyan tree,
dip your feet in the cool waters of a stream running free.
As you lift the weighty cover of your truth-telling tome,
be sure to read the inscription before the rest of the poem:

“This is the story of an awakened lover,
whose pain led her far away from her mother,
led her astray and yet ever nearer
to the One who reflected her soul like a mirror.
Her heart was unveiled to the One and Only Task.
Her eyes glimpsed this garden in which you bask.”

Sit back, my friend, and enjoy the tale,
as a light breeze tickles your toes without fail,
and the fragrance of lavender lulls you to sleep,
dreaming of travellers who will urge you to creep,
who will lead you down rugged pathways, oh so steep,
bring you to your knees, and force you to weep.
They will tell you it’s time and that you must reap
whatever you’ve sown, like a powerless sheep.
But ignore their words, you must, so cheap!
Open your mind, let the Divine light seep,
into your soul, into your heart, so deep.
Know there’s only one way back to this garden keep,
and that is once you have learned how to make the leap,
yes,
once you have learned to how make the leap.

All Stories Can Be Summed Up Into This One Line

We are one.

Whether it’s a Regency-era novel or reality TV, self-help books or Sufi poetry, indie movies or Insta highlights – every story we read/hear gives us a peak into someone else’s life.

The story might be set in a past or future landscape, and take place halfway across the world from you. It might be an encapsulation of one person’s emotions or her description of a moment in time. Whatever the story, each one shows us another perspective, another life into which we could have been born. But just because we weren’t, doesn’t mean we can’t try to understand what it’s like to be “other”.

Stories create empathy. They allow us to see ourselves in others. And if we can truly see our reflection in another person, or in several other people, or, indeed, the whole of mankind, we would realize that we’re all the same. We each have a human body with a soul or consciousness. We all go through the same cycles of life and experience the same laws of nature.

If you walked down the street today, and passed by someone who looked exactly like you, perhaps you’d be more likely to smile and say “Hi!” If your enemy suddenly transformed into your mirror image, you’d probably be more likely to resolve your conflicts and forgive him. What if you saw yourself on the news, being attacked or oppressed in some way; wouldn’t you be more likely to help yourself? To speak up, to tell your story, to call out injustice. To create an uproar.

We are one. And like some idiot who hammers nails into his feet and sets his hair on fire, we’re only hurting ourselves by not taking care of each other. It’s only natural for our world to be in pain right now. It’s a symptom of all the damage we’ve inflicted on each other. What’s unnatural is for us – all of us – to not be screaming out in anguish.

Dayton. El Paso. Chicago.

Kashmir. Palestine. Syria.

The Amazon Forest. Our polluted oceans. The toxic atmosphere.

There is no lack of stories to be told, people and places to be cared for. And the great thing is, there is no lack of love in this world, or positive energy with which to spread that love.

So next time you’re walking down the street, see if you can spot yourself – your thoughts, your emotions, your experiences – in the person that passes you by. Then take a moment to wonder what that person’s story might be. The tingle that you feel in your heart? It’s called Empathy, and it’s just another word for Love.