AN EXTRAORDINARY LIFE - 1 (THE YEARS OF CHILDHOOD)
Apart from those two different lifestyles that I tried to explain with examples, there are those who are in between, who could not decide which side they would be in or those forced to life such a life. The people in this category who prefer an extraordinary life and found repulsive by other people groups are maybe the most mysterious and incomprehensible ones. The people in this category who love to live in the extreme, to be the most rebellious and prioritize an extraordinary life before everything have always been found repulsive and excluded by the community they belong to.
Those people who prefer an extraordinary life and imprisoning themselves in deep loneliness also bear many secrets, mysteries and unknown things. For them, it became some sort of lifestyle, a type of pursuit, a way for grudge; a movement of reaction, rebellion, protesting, a silent scream, a process of purification, suffering and a type of prayer to be extraordinary, to live in the extremes and to continue a life that is full of ordeal.
Let us see how Aldous Huxley says and comments on those people who prefer to live an extraordinary life, on their own within that deep loneliness: “Maybe one is lonely not because he is not love, but he failed to find someone deserving his love.”
The feeling of loneliness, remaining on our own and failure to cope with the existing problems, which always scare us and somehow throw us into a tunnel of fear, is sometimes the only door of salvation out of that path full of mysteries, ordeal and tears that open to that endless freedom. Because for people, choosing such an extraordinary life and floating in that deep loneliness and setting sail to those eternities may be taken and accepted as the most appropriate option. For the individual finds himself at the end of that path that is full of ordeal, reaches himself, solves the secrets and mysteries of life, reaches his spirit, discovers the divine secret, reaches his nirvana and eternity and immortality. For the individual becomes self-sufficient after such a life full of tears, content with what he has; questions himself, makes self-criticism, conquers himself, reaches his own self, main identity and personality; sees the essential truth and reaches the essential; faces the essential truth, isolates himself from some personal benefits and relieves himself from some empty lifestyles.
Patience is one of the most fundamental means and grounds for these people, who initially prefers an extraordinary life and in a matter of speaking, imprisons themselves to that deep loneliness. For patience is the essential key and ground for salvation. For patience is poison first; becomes honey if you make it a habit. “The first and greatest victory is to conquer yourself,” says Plato, seeing that knowing yourself and taking note of the ability in yourself is the main gain of the road to the victory that is full of ordeal. And at this point, one should not allow any approaches with a tendency to choose the easy thing, simple choices or submissive thoughts. For such ordinary, simple and empty lives are the cheapest lives that bring a person to be defeated. Some materialist lifestyles without spirituality is the biggest betrayal and rebellion to the core, existence process of life and the divine power that created us. For the lifestyles that value the material and that always exclude the spirituality will take us to the point that we do not desire and open the doors of sinning for us. Worshipping the goods, losing to ego and being the prisoner of some evil thoughts always dragged the entire humanity to great disasters and this still continues. That darkness have always feared the light. The evil have always avoided good. Grudge and hatred have always avoided love. Lies have always avoided truth. Wars have always avoided peace. Hostility has always avoided friendship and fellowship. Lack of belief has always avoided a strong belief. A materialist life has always avoided that spiritual life. And hopelessness has always avoided hope. Mawlana Jalaluddin-i Rumi says:
“Do not lose hope in hard times, work; make an effort. You will see that one day, good times will embrace you.” The hard times are one with the ease; pull yourself together and never lose hope.”
“Do not go towards hopelessness, for there is hope; do not go towards the dark for there are suns.”
“My son, seek your freedom; until when will you be prisoner of gold and silver? If you try to empty the sea into a bucket, it can only take a day of your need.”
“Worldly goods are the product of mind, emotions and desires, retaining you from the path of Allah. Those lives chasing the crows will only end up in the grave even if they move forward.
“The worldly people are poor and coward; it is meaningless for them to fear the thieves, look! Although he comes naked and goes naked, he always cries out, just because of the fear of the thieves.”
“There are thousands of trap baits in the path of life. And we are like poor birds eager to eat them. Even if there are thousands of traps, we are not concerned since you are with us.”
“What are we? You are our breath. We are mountains, you are the sound reflected to it. Our existence and air is your gift. Our presence is among your inventions.”
“Do not cry for being apart when you see my funeral.
Why do you complain from the sun and moon going down?
Since you watched me taken down in the grave, see how I will rise.
Are there any seeds that did not bloom after planted?”
All these people like me who prefer to live an extraordinary life and try to live in their world of loneliness have always avoided those empty crowds that value the material and wealth and the people who inspire hopelessness. For I and those who preferred an extraordinary life like me have always kept away from the people without spirituality and their materialist lifestyles. “Beware those who seek constant crowds for they are nothing alone,” says good hearted and valuable Charles Bukowski, meaning that those constantly wanting to be among crowded places actually turn into an ordinary object when they are alone. Because those people cannot stay alone and they do not like it. Because they are incapable of self-sufficiency and they try simply try to eliminate this weakness by entering the useless crowds. Those people do not possess the ability or capability to create ideas, to be contend with what they have, to live peaceful in their inner worlds when they are on their own, to grasp the essence of life, to make their own interpretation of the existential philosophy, to create their own solutions to the existing problems and to build a world based on love, friendship, peace and fellowship for all the people. And within that, people constantly search for these crowded environments, become ordinary and simply cease to exist.
“You may look strong from outside but the wars are won with what you have inside,” says valuable thinker Diogenes, meaning that the actual wars and struggles are fought in the inner world of the people. And if a person is to someday win the harsh war that he fights inside and can solve the essence of life, then all the castles and idols that are deemed indestructible will be destroyed. This is a hard process, requiring patience. The entire world opens the way to that person who knows better to wait and show that required patience at this point and guides him. For a person who is determined towards a specific objective, there are no such thing as defeat. Because defeat is the victory and dominance of others. There are people wanting to set the entire world on fire by probing hopelessness and on the other side, people who want to keep the hope fresh and blossom it. There are people going into everything impatiently and trying to solve their problems in a hurry, on the other side, there are patient people trying to do everything slowly but steadily. There are people getting lost in empty crowds and trying to find an exit for themselves and on the other side, people trying to discover the core of life, on a spiritual path to reach the endless heaven of God. There are people wanting to bring disaster to the world since they worship goods and wealth and doing everything they can for this purpose and on the other side, the people excluding the goods and wealth and wanting to gift all the world while making love stand out. There are people wanting all the bad and evil things to govern this world and on the other side, there are people wanting to make all the beauty and good live forever in this world. There are people wanting to set the world on fire in a matter of speaking while being enchanted with the fake, sinful life of pleasure and enjoyment and on the other side, people capable of being content with what they have and trying to share all the pain of this world, purified from all those evil pleasures. And there are people just watching all these indifferently and losing their ability of soul-searching.
One day, Alexander the Great encounters an old man while marching with his giant army and goes to him to ask how he is doing. But the old man does not care at all and ignores Alexander the Great. Upon this behavior, the great commander gets mad and yells with fury:
“What is this negligence, why don't you respect me? Remember, I'm Alexander the Great before whom all the world bows with respect. I'm the shelter of humanity, having mighty armies that conquer countries.”
After the furious yelling of Alexander the Great, the old man responds:
“These do not have as much value as half a dough for me. You say that the world takes shelter at you. Perish the thought! You are just a seed grown in the farm of humankind. Each our, hundreds of thousands of you grow in the farm of humanity and leaves.
I am not unwary as you say. Maybe I'm smarter than you. Since I know nothing is eternal, I am waiting for the result in these sad ruins. You are the unwary one who is proud of that short life for richness and wealth.
Since the result is separation, there is no good in blending in with the public. You are the prisoner of that ambition and passion that is my slave. In this case, how can you say that you are equal to me? You are the slave of my slave!”
Alexander the Great makes a last will after such a spiritual, knowledgeable and meaningful answer:
“Leave my two hands outside the coffin to make people see that I got nothing from this world.”
All of us should learn a lesson from such meaningful, deep and significant event occurred centuries ago. If that end is waiting for us to made the last joke at the end of that road full of ordeal called life, then why are struggles, efforts, ambitions, wealth, equipment, earnings, gold, pearls, diamonds, emeralds, rubies, jaspers; palaces, mansions, villas, farms and those fabulous, enchanted, flamboyant lives; glory, reputation, those war cries; those massacres of nature, animals, humans; those environmental disasters, climate changes; gold digging, money wars, dirty plots; hunger, poverty, imprisoned lives, conflicts between civilizations, religions, sects and endless thefts, lies, pillages and doomsday scenarios necessary?
If that end called death is waiting for us at the end of this and it will do his best surprise to us, then why do we continue wanting and become the prisoners of those evil, sinful things called ambition, desires and passions? And why do we succumb to our damn ambitions and set the whole world on fire?
And as Veysel Baba, estranged at the house of suffering next to the Shoreditch Park that is full of secrets and mysteries, I try to write some things in my own way. And meanwhile, I try to give a humanitarian message for all those negativities and insensitivity occurring in today's world. And I am trying to solve the secrets and mysteries of the life in my spiritual called loneliness. It was a tough period for me to get to this point as a person who suffered and choose an extraordinary life called loneliness; it required many prices to pay.
The best periods of my life as Veysel Baba was the innocent life experiences in my childhood years. The feelings and thoughts of all the people living in the small mountain village I was born had not been contaminated yet. At those times, the small mountain village where I was born did not yet meet over-competition, cheating, games, ambition, greed, tripping your rival, lies, slanders and several evil desires or demands. Or I tried to see and interpret what was happening around me with childish eyes. What else would there be in a village where radio, telegram and electricity never set foot, which bad thoughts and habits might there be?
All of my childhood years, experiences and the things I saw were very beautiful and epic, beyond dreams. For instance, when there was a moon eclipse or a sun eclipse, or the villages would get to the roofs of their houses. The men of the village would shoot their rifles to the sky, while the women of the villages would shout loudly. And during this event, our duty was to hit the canisters. According to the beliefs of both the people in the village where I lived and the people living in the neighbor villages, this was a sacred duty and especially when the lunar eclipse ended, all the villagers believed that this had happened due to their own efforts. Although these beliefs or traditions coming from very old periods of time to today look or are perceived as very bizarre in today's world, these beliefs or traditions still somehow continue in today's world, especially in the places where technology has not completely reached yet.
For instance, from the memories of my childhood years, sleeping on the soil roof of our house at nights, especially at those warm summer nights and dreaming while looking at the stars in the sky. The brightness, liveliness and wink-like flashes of the millions of stars on the sky was so epic. The stars looked like they wanted to tell me something, give me a message, and befriend me.
And among my memories of childhood years, I remember how we kept watch to scare away the bears that come to eat the pears in our garden. And it felt very good to listen to the tales that my father used to tell me during that watch, to dream within those beautiful tales at those warm summer nights and to fall asleep. It was the first time that I was aware of those amazing tales called 'Arabian Nights' and 'The Thousand and One Nights' that pull the people, especially children, to itself in my childhood years. Hearing those beautiful The Thousand and One Nights, which is a product of the deep conversations of the caravan merchants residing in an oasis within the desert under terrific stars, from my father at a hot summer night while keeping watch for the bears was beyond a dream for me.
And is it ever possible for me to exclude the foxes, rabbits, lynxes, wildcats, wild boars, wolves, bears, deer and mountain goats prowling around our house from the memories on my childhood years? And when I think about confusing a grass snake with my belt and actually wrapping it around my waist, I now understand how naive I was that day. And I remember that I sometimes climbed the walnut trees and slept on their branches fearlessly. I cannot ever forget meeting a huge bear in a forestry area and making eye contact with it. Is it possible for me to forget that that beautiful bear passed near me as if it did not see me?
And there are some little menaces among my memories of childhood years. For instance, I remember coming together with a few kids at those summer nights and mooching fruits like cucumber, melon and watermelon and eating them, like yesterday. Is it possible for me forget the times when we grassed down the animals as we ascend to highlands in summer and when we collect those delicious mountain mushrooms? I still remember very well that we would go to the visiting places deemed sacred by us Alevis and collectively sacrificing animals for Allah there. The screams, yells, chants and sorrowful tears of the villagers during that sacrifice were so natural and how scared I felt when I heard them. Our love and respect for the deer, which roam freely on the inaccessible summits of the mighty mountains surrounding our mountain, which try to somehow survive on the mountain slopes and deemed sacred, was another beautiful thing. Nobody would shoot those beautiful deer deemed sacred by Alevis due to our respect for them and those shooting them would be excluded by the villagers. All those types of beliefs are one of the most basic rules in the societies living as one with the nature and they were lifestyles, type of belief and rule of a nature that they inherited from their ancestors.
And those winters have an important place among the epic days of my childhood years. Since it was a mountain village where I was born, the winter was rough. The people would prepare seriously before winter. Feed, grass and straw would be stored from summer both for them and for the animals in the barns. The winters were very rough in a mountain village without transportation or electricity. The snow would start as soon as the autumn ends and winter months come and the village would disconnect from the entire world. The people would lock themselves completely in their houses in the snow seasons that lasted 5-6 months and the literate people would start to tell stories, tales and lived memories either from those books that they have or from memory. I cannot ever forget those good days when we dug tunnels below the snow that was almost 2 meters long in winter and fed the animals in the barn. Those days when we got to the roof of the house and shovel the snow there are like a dream for me now. How epic and beyond dreams were those childhood years when we just played and rolled with other children from the village on those frozen, white snows.
One of the most valuable memories of my pure, clean childhood years that left a trace in me was an event that occurred when I was four or five years old. That day, my mother was washing clothes by the stream passing near our house, along with other women. There were big cauldrons on top of the fire, the water boiling in them, the smoke rising to the sky; women washing clothes, the young girls carrying water from the stream while singing; the natural environment, that cooperation of villager women, that example solidarity; the fires, the stream wildly flowing and on the other side, my mother stripping me naked and washing me on a flat flag stone there. And I remember remaining desperately on the flagstone by the stream that day, shivering among all those women, like yesterday. And while I was shivering with cold, saying ‘Mother, I am cold!’ my mother pouring a bowl of water from that cauldron full of hot water on me and heating me completely; I cannot forget that moment. My mother warming me up with a bowl of hot water like a helpful angel whenever I felt cold on that small flagstone left a mark in my small memory world that day.
And the inflammatory diseases I had especially after that incident, sudden faints, faints like epilepsy-fit, fear seizures like a trauma and some physical distresses caused a lot of permanent damage in my weak body and mental state. For instance, whenever I bath and feel cold, I remember that small mountain village and my desperate state by the stream. For instance, when I bath by myself, a state of fear and dismay engulfs all my body with trembling and at that moment, I black out. And during that blackout, the women washing clothes by that river come before my eyes and I remember how well my mother warmed me up with a bowl of hot water. That incident simply remaining somewhere in my mind always flash before my eyes at the moments of blackouts in the bathroom. Sometimes, even when I lie in that bathroom unconsciously, I remember things flashing before my eyes, barely. And in every moment of blackouts, fear seizures and whenever I feel alone, I remember that small mountain village and innocent real life moments; I remember my mother heating me like a saving angel.
And again, whenever I pass through that tunnel of fear and every moment of mental trauma; I remember my childhood years, the events experienced in these years, the moments that we stole fruits from the gardens, those winter months, that white snow, the days when we dug tunnels under the snow, those hours when we listened to the tales from our elders in our warm houses in winter months; the joy felt in spring months, how the snows melt, the nature coming to life, the migratory birds passing over us, the flowers blooming in color, everything waking up from a long hibernation, the streams and brooks wildly flowing, those hot summer months, the fabulous nights when we slept on the roof under those beautiful stars, the nights when we dreamed while looking at the stars in the sky; I remember the A Thousand and One Nights, the heroic stories of Ali Ibn Abu Talib, the heroic deeds of Abu Muslim Horasani told by my father; I remember the Kaf Mountain and the epic world beyond it; Şah Moran, the king of serpents, Zeloğlu Rüstem, Lokman Hekim, Hızır the Prophet and I remember the mountain goats, deers, bears, wolves, lynxes, wildcats, foxes, wild rabbits, weasels, hedgehogs, squirrels, cows, sheep, goats, horses and donkeys in the village. And whenever I feel cold, desperate and alone and whenever I say ‘Mother, I am cold!”, I remember the moment when my mother with her angelic face heated me with a bowl of hot water.
END OF CHAPTER
06/04/2016 Veysel Baba - Kinder House, London