The Basics of Spirituality

One should not pass over these things, simply saying they are food. They are in reality a complete civilization. –Abdulhak Sinasi, Camlicadaki Enistemiz (1944)

I really like the philosophy and spirituality of the Mevlevi (a Sufi brotherhood which originated in the Seljuq period, under Mevlana Jalaluddin-i Rumi) because the kitchen is central to their philosophy and daily life. Their rituals value the importance of taking time to cook, something we are missing in the modern age. Many of our ancestral rituals, whatever culture we come from, focused around food and cooking. The alchemical mystery of fire, water, air and earth coming together to create something new that nourishes and pleasures our bodies and senses has inspired mystics and poets, around the world, for thousands of years. Food is an aspect of spirituality that we all easily resonate with.



Three Forms of Knowledge

I would like to offer you all this to ponder upon in apology for my long absence…

Ibn El-Arabi of Spain instructed his followers in this most ancient dictum:

There are three forms of knowledge. The first is intellectual knowledge, which is in fact only information and the collection of facts, and the use of these to arrive at further intellectual concepts. This is intellectualism.

Second comes the knowledge of states, which includes both emotional feeling and strange states of being in which man thinks that he has perceived something supreme but cannot avail himself of it. This is emotionalism.



Unexpected Incidents in Egypt

My life in here in Beba has been similar to the previous posts I have written. I am still living here at the church and teaching English in two different towns. I have a couple more stories about Egyptians that I find telling about the culture as a whole.

Both of them actually happened as I was travelling between one of the towns where I teach and the one where I live. As you may recall I have been taking microbuses between these two towns which they pack completely full of people and then go careening off down the road to try and make as many trips as possible in the day so they can make enough money to pay rent. They aren’t the wealthiest people, these microbus drivers, but they do seem to normally make enough to at least feed their families.


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