The enlightened heart_Dina Makkouk, Tripoli(Libano)

_Winner Energheia Liban Award 2011.

 

“The tower, The devil, and, The wheel of fortune, Tatiana read carefully the facial expression of Nour and said: “The cards say that you had a loss, a collapse of some relationship; currently you are in misdirected passion,yet later there will be a twist of fate and things will unexpectedly move to the better”.

Her words left Nour speechless for a while. She didn’t come to hear those words. She could not protest; she knew the tarot rules.

“You know Nour, the answers to all our questions lie within us. Tarot only brings them to the surface”.

Nour perplexed said: “But I can’t link the devil card to anything going in my life. I m a good person I do not harm anyone…and I’m surrounded by good people”.

“Nour, Devil cannot present itself; we can see clearly its darkness and run away. And for that only enlightened hearts can distinguish devils wearing garments decorated with light from real heavenly creatures”.

Nour said: “How do I know whether my heart is enlightened or not?”

“With such a heart, you can distinguish even the slightest negative vibration, be it a thought a feeling or intention.And when you do, you act bravely to tune it”.

Nour was listening with all her heart, which encouraged Tatiana to proceed.

“An enlightened heart knows itself as a reflection from the original source. And for that it’s in constant battle with devils to keep its illumination. Devils attack when you are least expecting. When they defeat you, they immerse your heart into blinding darkness and you will end up being the devil’s soldier”.

Then with a big smile Tatiana continued, “Most ironically, with an enlightened heart you don’t need me to tell you anything about the future”.

Nour smiled back” My guru often invites me to stop oscillating between the past and the future and concentrate on the present moment, yet I find that difficult.

Tatiana nodded approving of what was said without uttering one word.

Nour realized that time was over, so she thanked her and left.

A thirty – year – old, bright beguiling Nour, who just emerged from a devastating marriage, was looking everywhere for an omen of a new beginning along her life path. Not finding a love promise among the cards , greatly disappointed her.

She spent the rest of her day, overwhelmed with a cloud of thoughts about the unexpected devil.

The next day, she woke up early in the morning to join the rising sun meditation class, next to the sea shore. After group dismissal, she approached the guru and conveyed him her wish for a talk. He welcomed her with a big smile.

They walked side by side. Sea gulls were their only company; the sky was blue; the sea was calm.

“Sir, I know the spiritual path is a long one, yet I’m young and I need to have an enlightened heart very soon”.

His eyes grew wider with surprise as he asked”, what are you looking for?”

She said: “Salvation, salvation from life deceptions and heart breaks”.

He smiled and asked her: “Do you think you can escape from lessons you need to learn in your life path?”

Then he continued: “The spiritual path is a very demanding one; only very special people can endure its toughness; their persistence does not stem from a selfish interest. Accordingly they want the enlightened heart for the salvation of humanity”.

He raised his eyebrows and asked: “Do you still want to have the enlightened heart?”

Nour with a very firm tone replied, “Yes, ever since my childhood, I have always believed that I was born to play an important role in this life”.

“Why don’t you more often attend our meditation sessions?”

“My work is very demanding. I can only come on my vacation”.

With a firm but merciful tone he said: “It all starts here”, and he pointed to her forehead and “then it goes to your heart. Enlightenment is a full state of brain, heart and soul.You can’t have an enlightened heart with negative thoughts spinning in your mind. That’s why you need to practice emptying completely your mind and learn to accept pieces of wisdom mentioned in the class. With time your awareness will increase and you will move faster along your path”.

Nour was completely absorbed. Walking by the guru’s side, made her feel protected. Then all of a sudden, he turned and put his hands on her shoulders, looked deeply into her eyes, and said: “It may be too early to tell you this, but the moment you walked into my class I knew you are different. I read your aura, and saw your uncovered potentials. You were born to be among us. Can you join us tomorrow?”

“I can take tomorrow off as well, but why?”

“Tomorrow, we will celebrate the graduation of Yusuf who successfully passed the three spiritual levels in one year. You will have the chance to meet him and other special young people who fully devoted themselves to the program”.

With outpouring joy, Nour said: “I am sincerely grateful for being given such an opportunity”.

The guru said: “No need to thank me; it is my pleasure. Tomorrow, 6 A.M. I will send you my personal driver, as you may get lost in the mountains before reaching our main branch. And I would like to inform you that in such celebrations, we are all dressed in white”.

She said: “Thank you master”, then bowed saying: “Love and light”.

He in return bowed and said: “Love and light”.

Before going home, she passed by her work and asked for another day off. Everyone there noticed her high self –esteem; she just needed a couple of wings to fly.

The next morning, the driver came on time to take her to the mountains. After one hour driving they reached a pine forest. He told her that they needed to walk for few minutes before they reached the center. She was happy; the weather was good, though a little bit chilly.It was spring time and carpets of colorful flowers were scattered here and there. Two white butterflies were accompanying her along the way, which she considered as an omen of a new beginning.

The center was much more luxurious than she ever thought, around thousand meter squares and surrounded with a large green area.A beautiful lady in white warmly welcomed Nour. Then she gave her a multicolored flower necklace; everyone was in white and wearing a similar necklace.

Nour asked: “When will the celebration start?”

The lady answered: “It will be an hour from now. Until then, my mission is to show you the place”.

The lady was kind and peaceful, yet this didn’t encourage Nour to ask her anything. The theater, the library and the meeting room were equipped with the latest technology.

Cameras were embedded in the ceiling at almost every angle.

What really surprised her was that there were spaces indoors and outdoors dedicated to martial arts.

When time was due, they came down to the basement. It was dark, and candles in the middle were placed in a circular form on the floor. The guru and another young man were sitting on high chairs. The members, who were almost ten, remained standing. A lady served the spiritual path master a wine glass; he drank a little bit and then gave it back to her; she passed then by the young man and then by every member inviting them to drink from the same glass. After she finished the guru and the young man came down and they held hands with all the members.

They said in one voice: “Now the circle of light is complete”.

Then started saying in one voice verses of an unknown language. As they finished they clapped and congratulated the young man who turned to be Yusuf.

Everyone gave Yusuf a hug and said: “Don’t worry we will follow you”.

The guru approached him and said: “With you the world will witness our powerful presence. The light within you will never perish”.

Then he gave him a hug. The exchange of feelings among the group was very touching. Then everyone moved upstairs to have breakfast.

Nour couldn’t tell why she had uncomfortable feelings, but she managed to control them. She thanked the spiritual path master for the invitation and greeted everyone with a warm smile. Then declared her wish to leave.The driver was waiting for her and he brought her back home.

Longing for her bed, her room and her routine life, she spent the whole day home contemplating about the spiritual path. She asked herself many times whether she is really ready for joining the program.

Next morning, she woke up frightened from a nightmare. She did not feel like going to work, but had no choice.After parking her car near the newspaper where she works, Earth started roaring; Fire and smoke colored the sky; the smell of death filled the place. A big explosion about one km away from her happened. She realized that it was the same nightmare she had seen the night before.

The newspaper assigned that day off as one of its reporters got killed on his way to work. Anger, fear and terror filled the hearts. Everyone was protesting, why such terroristic act would take place. About twenty innocent people were killed and around fifteen were injured. Later that day on breaking news, they put the photo of the young man who was driving the car filled with five kilograms TNT. They said his name was Adam.

Nour was devastated! She could have been killed that day.

And above all, the guy in the photo was Yusuf. She realized that Yusuf was only a nickname, and that yesterday celebration was a funeral. She remembered the path master words, “With you the world will witness our powerful presence”.

The worst part was that there are other ten Yusuf s waiting for their fate and she could have been one of them, had she entered the program.

Now she knows the Devil card link to her life. She made up her mind.She will write about her experience to the newspaper, even if that will threaten her life.

She spent the whole night writing. She described how innocent men and women driven by good intentions of enlightenment and world peace are committing suicide and killing other humans; how ignorance, poverty and depression contribute to terrorism. She concluded with her opinion about the enlightened heart. She said;”You allow the light within you to grow by daily practice of compassion, mercy and love to your own self and to everyone around you. Forgive yourself and others, as the devil grows in unhealed scars. World peace starts with a good heart and a sound brain”.

The next day, before going to the newspaper she passed by Tatiana. Though she had already sent the article to the chief editor, and had decided to fight for her cause, she still had curiosity to have a Tarot spread.

Tatiana asked her to choose her cards as usual.

Then said: “The devil, The hanged man and Death”.

Tatiana’s features reflecting awe continued: “As you know the Devil card means misdirected passion. The hanged man means a situation you have no control over. The Death card reveals either the literary meaning of death or the death of an opportunity”.

Nour went into a trance of confusion whether she would save man kind or would face death.

She thanked her and left.

Going downstairs, she heard familiar footsteps. Her heart started pounding hard in synchrony with the steps. She wanted to return back to Tatiana, but couldn’t. She lost control over her body. She laid her hand on the nearest doorbell. The sound of her beats grew louder than the steps. All of a sudden the guru popped up with piercing looks.

He asked her: “Why didn’t you abide by my advice”.

Terrified Nour was speechless.

He continued: “Didn’t I ask you to stop oscillating between the past and the future?”

Light reflecting off a knife blade dazzled her.

At that moment , the door opened and the cloud of confusion faded and faded and faded.

Reality and righteousness prevailed.

And the light within Nour, never perished.