Tag Archives: Clio Freya

Arequipa – Day Trek to Capua Waterfall

Let’s see.

I left Indonesia last month with the idea of trekking to Machu Picchu, but at the last moment chickened out because of the cold weather (yeah, it’s not a valid excuse, but it is the excuse that I’ve been using, successfully). On second thought, it is actually pretty valid–born in Jakarta, a city at sea level with average temperature above 30 degree centigrade and humidity above 90%, I was surely not made for such weather and altitude.

After the timid decision, however, I kept on meeting people who have done various treks to Machu Picchu: Inca Trail, Salkantay, Lares, you name it.

So, when I arrived in Arequipa, I felt my body was itching for a little bit of adventure….in the most convenient way. That’s when I searched for a day trek. In peruadventurestours.com I found an interesting description for a place called Capua waterfall, which is an original trek discovered by the tour company.

I signed up for the backpacker service, which meant I would be traveling with public bus instead of the private transfer car.

I was picked up in the morning by Jarly, my tour guide, a man in the thirties, then we proceeded by taxi to the so-called bus terminal. Turned out it was not a bus terminal, but a place where the bus waited for passengers. We waited inside the bus for almost half an hour, waiting for the passengers to fill the bus so that the bus driver could ‘feel’ okay to start the journey. It was probably half-full when the driver finally decided to leave. Our destination was a small city near a cement factory in the outskirt of Arequipa called Yura, between 30 minuts to one hour by bus. Traffic was a bit crazy in the morning, but I did enjoy the erratic view of the city, along with the many local people in the bus, signified the real Arequipan life that I wouldn’t see should I sign up for regular touristic tours instead.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA[The local bus to Yura]

After we got off from the bus, we started to climb a steep hill. This was of course the point when I started to curse myself for satisfying the looking-for-adventure side of me. I was sure Jarly could do it in no time, but he was very kind to stop and checked on me from time to time. I’d warned him that I walked like a snail and he just smiled in understanding. Gee, that must be one of my best days.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA[My first steep climb–this is Jarly seen from below]

When we reached the top of the hill, there in front of our eyes were these dry never-seem-to-end hills, up and down. The sun was fierce but the wind was blowing quite hard, balancing the heat. As far as we could see, there was NOT a single human being. That alone was a total bliss for my soul.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA[Not a single soul. Love it.]

There was no tall tree, just cactus, occasionally. Jarly showed me the fruit of the cactus that people used as juice in Colca Canyon (forgot the name). The taste is sour (right, Jarly?).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA[Juice, anyone?]

As a good guide, Jarly also told me about the Inca along the way. I think he was a big part in making this trip a pleasant journey. His passion for adventure and travel was clearly shown during our conversations and I personally think it did make a difference–during this short trip, he was not merely a guide who blabbered memorized stories and intended to arrive at the destination as fast as he could to finish the job quickly, but he was more like a travel companion who made sure I enjoyed the journey as much as the destination.

After walking for about 1.5 hours (I think), we suddenly arrived in a place that looked like an oasis. Right in the middle of these rocks, there was this green valley.

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We walked down the hill and in the valley, until we arrived in a small river. From here, we changed our shoes to sandals and walked IN the river. Ah, my favorite part, soaking my sore toes to the chilling water.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA[Really, really, loooove this spot! So beautiful and magnificent.]

We walked in the river and had to stop from time to time to climb the big rock that was blocking the way. I must say, the excitement just began for me.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA[In some cases, we literally had to crawled our way on or around the rock. What a productive day.]

There were two (or three) places where the water fell from above. Too bad I was too busy concentrating on (and enjoying) the walk to take out my camera. I finally took out my camera when we had arrived in the final destination, last waterfall. Here Jarly took out some bananas, drinks and snacks. It was enough for me, but I think it would be better if he brought sandwich to fill the demanding stomach.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After about half an hour, we had to leave. Jarly said the wind got colder in the afternoon and the water level rose. And he was right. I could feel my foot was dipping deeper in stronger current, and the wind was blowing harder and colder. We finally arrived in Arequipa at around 6 in the afternoon.

All in all, this 2.5 hour walk (5 hours return) was one of the most memorable moments that I’ve ever had, not just because of the variation in the path (dry landscape, oasis, river, rock), but also because of the serenity of the landscape. Listening to the winds while at the same time being greeted by the magnificence of the landscape were memories that I would carry and cherish for as long as I live.

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Culinary Adventure – Cuy

Hari ini, Genara (my Spanish teacher) mengajak saya ke ‘cuyeria’, rumah makan yang khusus menyajikan cuy atau guinea pig. Cuy adalah makanan khas yang bisa ditemui di beberapa negara Amerika Latin, termasuk Peru. Di Cusco, banyak restoran di tengah kota yang menyajikan cuy, namun harganya relatif mahal dan tidak terlalu orisinil karena sudah disesuaikan dengan lidah turis asing. Di restoran-restoran ini, cuy disajikan dalam bentuk potongan, dilengkapi dengan pasta dan sayuran, dan bisa diperoleh dengan harga sekitar 60 soles. Cuy terenak sebenarnya ada di daerah Tipon, sebuah kota kecil berjarak setengah jam dari Cusco, namun karena saya sudah penasaran luar biasa untuk mencobanya, ditambah dengan kemungkinan bahwa saya tidak sempat mengunjungi Tipon, maka saya tak keberatan untuk menjajal cuy di Cusco.

Restoran yang kami kunjungi berada di luar area turis, sekitar sepuluh menit naik taksi dengan biaya 5 soles (Genara yang menawar, tentunya). Sebuah cuy utuh di restoran ini dihargai tiga puluh soles, tapi karena kami minta supaya cuy disajikan setengah untuk masing-masing, harganya jadi tiga puluh lima soles karena ada side dish ekstra.

Saya pernah melihat guinea pig yang masih hidup, yang menurut saya imut sekali, gabungan antara hamster dan kelinci (sebenarnya sih nggak mirip sama sekali dengan kelinci, tapi entah kenapa saya merasa begitu). Tapi, ketika melihat separuh guinea pig terpampang di piring, harus saya bilang bahwa tak ada keimutan yang tersisa. It’s just like a dead rat.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ingatan akan tikus mati tentunya tak menggoyah keinginan saya untuk mencoba, walaupun sedikit mempengaruhi selera.

Dengan gagah berani saya mulai menarik kulitnya dengan tangan, lalu menggigitnya. Ternyata liat. Menurut Genara, cuy yang sangat enak harusnya mempunyai kulit yang crunchy, seperti kripik ketika digigit.

Setelah mengunyah kulit yang liat itu, saya merasa perlu istirahat dulu sebentar dan akhirnya mulai mengutak-atik side dish yang ada di piring. Ada dua jenis kentang yang rasanya biasa saja, dan ada sebuah gorengan yang ternyata sejenis paprika yang diisi dengan sayuran. Nyam nyam, di luar dugaan saya suka dengan rasa sedikit pedas yang dikombinasi dengan kriuk tepung di bagian luar dan sayuran di dalam.

Kembali ke cuy.

Saya menguliti cuy di piring saya dan menyisihkannya, karena setelah kunyahan pertama tadi sepertinya tak ada harapan lebih lanjut untuk memakan kulitnya. Daging cuy ternyata empuk dan rasanya…yah…tidak seperti daging lain yang pernah saya makan. Tekstur dan empuknya mungkin mirip daging ayam (kalau saya makan dengan mata tertutup dan berusaha memikirkan hal-hal indah), hanya rasanya agak melenceng sedikit ke arah yang tak dikenal. Saya membalik cuy di piring, dan ternyata ada olesan bumbu berwarna hijau yang sekilas mirip saus pesto tapi tentu rasanya berbeda. Saya sebenarnya suka dengan rasa sausnya, tapi entah kenapa kalau dimakan bersamaan dengan daging cuy menurut saya kok malah jadi ‘off’—di mulut saya terasa seperti tengik dan…yah…rasa itu memunculkan bayangan tikus mati tadi.

Saya mulai mengutak-atik side dish lagi. Kali ini saya bertanya ke Genara bulatan kehitaman yang ada di piring saya sebenarnya apa, apakah sejenis kentang?

“Bukan, itu campuran kentang, bumbu-bumbu, dan organ-organ di perut guinea pig.”

Ahem. Okelah. Saya toh pernah makan jeroan kambing dan masih selamat sampai sekarang, jadi tak ada salahnya mencoba. Saya mengambil sepotong, memasukkannya ke mulut, dan detik itu juga hampir memuntahkannya lagi. S**t!

IT TASTES like S**T!

That’s it. Tak diragukan lagi bahwa ini adalah pengalaman pertama sekaligus terakhir makan jeroan guinea pig.

Setelah menghabiskan cuy (hampir), saya memperhatikan restoran yang mulai ramai oleh pengunjung, yang semuanya orang lokal. Kebanyakan dari mereka ternyata memesan sejenis cuy (saya lupa namanya) yang digoreng tepung (cuy yang saya makan dipanggang). Di piring, tampilannya jauh lebih manusiawi. Bahkan menurut saya dari jauh tampak seperti ayam goreng tepung raksasa. Menurut Genara, itu adalah menu yang baru belakangan muncul dan semakin populer, dan merupakan spesialisasi di Arequipa.

Aha!

Saya akan meninggalkan Cusco di hari Minggu dan tiba di Arequipa hari Senin (delapan jam perjalanan dengan bis). I’ll definitely try one over there.

So, until the next cuy (or whatever the name) adventure.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

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Peru: Coca Leaves Reading by Shaman

Day 15 in Cusco, Peru. An interesting day.

I walked down the hill from my Spanish school with the sole intention of visiting a café in San Blas that uses its profit to build and empower local community, mostly women.

Not too far from the school, on the street that I have passed more than twenty times, my foot just stopped in front of a museum. It was the Museum of Sacred and Medicinal Plants. I entered to take a peek and finally was intrigued and paid the 15 soles of entrance.

The museum itself is amazing. It explains various plants that are considered sacred to the Peruvian (local), because these plants have been used for generations for religious and ceremonial purposes, until now. Ayahuasca and San Pedro, two most famous plants whose names are mentioned pretty often in South America, are just few of them; there are many that I’ve never heard of. Not only that, there are also so many plants for so many diseases. It is amazing to see how nature provides everything that we need.

At the main hall of the museum, there is even a life guinea pig on display (btw, it was so cute–I feel guilty looking at it, knowing that sometime next week I might want to eat it! There is a traditional meal called ‘cuy’, made of guinea pig…but that’s another story). The guide explained that a Shaman or a Healer used guinea pig to diagnose a patient. He will rub the body of the patients with a black guinea pig that is still alive, then later on he will cut the guinea pig and examined its body and internal organ for any disease–it is believed that the disease in the patient is being replicated to the guinea pig, thus the patient can be diagnosed through the (poor) animal.

When the walk inside the museum was over, something attracted my attention: a leaflet saying “Reading of Coca Leaves.”

What a coincidence 😉 on the day that I visit the museum, there was a visit by a Shaman from Quieros. Quieros is famous for the community of local people who still practice and keep shamanism alive. Reading coca leaves is one of their expertise (and so I was told). To visit this community (which apparently is not possible now ever since the government decided to protect this community from outside influence that can contaminate the culture), one must take a five hours ride in a car or bus, then continue walking for several days.

With an explanation like that, who wouldn’t be intrigued, right? Well, at least I did. I paid thirty soles to the museum and waited patiently.

I entered the room and saw a man whose age I guess was around fifty (ahem, I’m not good at guessing age—why did I even try!). He wore a red robe and red hat made from the traditional clothes. The translator for my reading was a guy who works at the museum, who can speak Quechua (the language used by the Shaman).

The Shaman had a piece of wrapped cloth in his hands, made from the same traditional cloth as his robe and hat. After asking my name and where I came from, he started to shake the cloth wildly with both of his hands while speaking (or chanting) in Quechua. My guess is, he was asking permission from the mother earth or the spirit to read me, because I could hear my name and the word ‘Indonesia’ were spoken in the middle of his long sentence.

Then, he put the piece of cloth in his hands on top of my head, while still speaking in Quechua. He then asked me to blow into the cloth three times. “With faith,” he said.

After that, he unwrapped the piece of cloth, and there they were—the coca leaves.

The translator asked me whether there was any specific question. I said no—I just wanted to hear what he said.

He asked again, “But what do you want to ask him, your work, your family, your health, your relationship? Do you want to know now, the past, or the future?”

I answered, “Whatever. Just ask him everything.”

With that, the translator made the decision for me. He asked the shaman about my health, my work, my relationship, past, present….well, everything 🙂

With each question, the shaman picked some leaves from the table (not all), shook it in his hands while chanting the mantra again, mentioning my name and country again, then threw the coca leaves in his hands to the table.

It was interesting to see how he interpreted the coca leaves afterwards. After several throws, I managed to get a slight idea about which reading was good and which was bad.

In general, coca leaves facing up mean a good sign, and leaves facing down are bad signs. The rests of the stories that the shaman told me seemed to depend on the pattern or position of the coca leaves that were laid on the table.

After about twenty minutes, the shaman yawned (right, yawn!) and ended the session.

I walked out a happy customer. Not because of what he (or the coca leaves) told me about my life, but because I think I was lucky enough to be a witness of a shaman at work. What a productive day 😉

 

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Time

For some people, life is a competition with time. Perhaps because time is considered an enemy, for time eventually will lead us to death.

Some of them think they can trick it by moving slowly. Stagnancy stretches the day, making it seem longer. Meaning might be lost on the way, but who cares, for it is less important than convenience. They hide in routines and let the time be veiled by comfort.

Others think moving fast will beat time. They believe that the meaning of life is scattered in the pieces of the so-called accomplishments, and by achieving them, they acquire the full meaning of life. They believe at the end of the day, satisfaction will override time,

Both, in fact, will arrive in the end feeling exhausted. Rushing is exhausting, stagnancy is exhausting—both drain the soul in different ways, but with the same result nonetheless.

Meaning lies in time. Each second bears a meaning of its own, if only one knew. Time is not something to compete with—it is something to embrace, even if it carries death with it. Living with the thought of avoiding death is a useless life.

Only those who understand death know the truth about living.

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Numbers

We live in the world where everything is measured by numbers. Intangibles have to be transformed into tangibles that can be represented by certain numbers.

In society today, if we do not measure, we do not comprehend. Those that cannot be translated into something measurable seem to loose their place in society, not because of their insignificance, but because of our lack of understanding on how and where to place them.

Universities measure the quality of their students by numbers that result from various test, believed to signify students academic capabilities. People’s stability are measured by numbers in their bank statement. Our health is measured by digits stated in our medical lab report. The food that savors our life, which involves the complicated concept of taste starting from delicacies touching our taste buds and ending in chemicals released by our brain, is measured in calories. A painting is measured by numbers in a price tag. Earthquake is measured in richter.

Representing everything with numbers is an act of human to simplify matters so that comprehension can be equal. However, problems arise when this way of communication is considered to represent the whole meaning. We sometimes forget that numbers are representation of something being measured, but not the essence of that being measured.

Integrity, personality, and attitude come next after GPA or other numbers representing academic achievement.

Happiness becomes a mere vague desire as compared to digits in bank statement or value of assets

Balance of body, mind and soul is less flashy than cholesterol indicator.

The sensation of taste is nulled and replaced by the so-called health pills that supply the needs for calories.

Vulgarity wins over complex beauty.

Appreciation of a painting comes from interpretation of numbers instead of from what is whispered behind each stroke. 

The words of a shaky mother earth are lost in messy graphs, and all numbers associated with the event (numbers of casualties, financial destruction, etc).

These obsessive behavior to measure have caused reductions of meaning and hide connections between all things. We crave for meaning and understanding of life, but no clue on where to search them and how to find them, because all we see are numbers. These numbers should have been enough, that’s what we have been told and believed, but apparently they are not. No matter how much we can brag about our accomplishment in terms of number, like the huge amount of our assets, the low cholesterol level that signifies our health, the number of high-rated paintings that are lining on walls in our house, there is a huge spot in our life that is still missing. In fact, the spot is getting wider and wider until it stains the sense of accomplishing all those numbers, and in the end we realize we have nothing but numbers, literally.

Afterwards, there comes the task of unveiling each layer of those numbers, until we see the connection between what we are looking for, which is what we think we lack of, and what has always been there, in ourselves and in all things.

After that, numbers do not seem to matter although they still exist. And there is only peace and a simple thanks to what lies beneath.

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‘Tak Ada Zoba’ (Refleksi dalam Cerita)

Aku adalah kematian. Di alam di mana wujudku nyata, mereka memanggilku Zoba.

Apa?? Menurut kalian aku mengada-ada karena namaku berbeda dengan sebutan yang kalian tahu selama ini??

Kalian, manusia, memang pelupa, bodoh, dan munafik! Adalah golongan kalian sendiri yang mengatakan ‘Apalah artinya sebuah nama…’

Tapi tunggu, ….. tuduhanku sepertinya tak berdasar. Perkataan indah itu bukan berasal dari mulut-tak-bijak golongan kalian. Maafkan aku. Sang Satu memilih ladang pikiran nan indah milik seorang manusia untuk tempat persemaian kalimat-kalimat indah milikNya seorang, dan mengirim sang pembawa pesan, Zula, untuk menyampaikannya. Bagi kalian, manusia penerima pesan yang melantunkan kalimat-kalimat indah semacam itu hanya pujangga. Bagi kami, dia adalah perpanjangan tangan sebuah pesan langit.

Sang pengantar pesan, Zula, selalu menjalankan tugasnya dengan bangga dan penuh suka cita. Siapapun akan melambung bila mengemban tugas sepenting itu dari Sang Satu. Semua pesan Sang Satu menyimpan makna. Di balik semua pesan itu ada akar bagi semua, Sang Satu.

Sebuah bisikan dari Sang Satu pasti bisa menahan gejolak sepanjang masa. Ia akan hidup melewati gelombang pasang surut peradaban manusia, yang menurutku sebenarnya tak pantas disebut peradaban. Demikianlah bisikan itu terus ada. Tapi manusia-manusia bodoh yang tidak mengerti hanya mengutip kalimat-kalimat milik Sang Satu di sana-sini dengan congkak tanpa ingin menyadari makna. Kesombongan memang tak pernah punya makna, apalagi harga. Ia hanyalah selaput ari-ari pembelit yang suatu hari nanti akan luruh tak bersisa. Terkutuklah kalian yang buta dan melihat kesombongan sebagai jubah tak terkalahkan. Lagi-lagi harus kukatakan, manusia adalah makhluk bodoh, pelupa, munafik, sombong, dan …..

Ah. Cukup. Aku harus berhenti. Duniaku berbeda dengan dunia kalian – di sini kami tidak memaki. Kami hanya menyebar kasih, ke semua alam yang membentang luas, di mana dunia kalian hanyalah salah satunya; sebuah keniscayaan yang tak terbantahkan bila berada sedemikian dekat dengan Sang Satu, sumber segala. Bahkan bila tangan-tangan terentang yang bersiap menerimanya adalah tangan-tangan rakus yang menurut kami tak layak menerimanya. Tapi itulah Sang Satu yang tidak pernah pilih kasih. Tidak seperti manusia-manusia tak tahu diri yang menerimanya.

Zula dan aku berkawan. Dekat. Kalian mungkin heran di mana irisan antara titik hitam pembawa kematian dengan cahaya pembawa inspirasi. Keduanya tampak bertolak belakang dan tak ada benang penyatu. Tapi itulah indahnya Sang Satu. Dengan campuran adonan cinta, kuasa, dan rasa humor yang tak bisa dimengerti oleh semua, Sang Satu mempertemukan dua kutub berbeda di pijakan yang sama. Istilah kalian adalah ‘dua sisi mata uang’. Di situlah letak humornya.

Masih belum mengerti?

Saat menjalankan tugas, aku akan mengembuskan awan kematian sehingga kalian yang sudah habis masa akan diliputi oleh kegelapan. Tidak ada yang bisa menembus kegelapan itu kecuali cahaya dari hati kalian. Itu bila kalian punya.

Di sinilah Zula masuk ke panggung pertunjukan. Dalam gelap pekat yang mencekik dan tak tertahankan, Zula akan meniupkan gelembung-gelembung bening nan rapuh berisi refleksi hidup kalian dan memasukkannya ke dalam sel-sel otak di kepala kalian. Saat gelembung itu pecah, sesaat kalian akan merasakan sebuah mukjizat tiada tara. Tak bisa dilukiskan dengan kata-kata di bahasa apapun yang ada di dunia kalian, karena yang ada hanya rasa dalam wujud termurni. Sebuah rasa dari alam kami. Sebuah pencerahan yang menyilaukan dengan ledakan dahsyat, memancarkan rupa-rupa kisah hidup singkat kalian dengan beragam rupa emosinya – penyesalan, hasrat, duka, lara, cita – namun pada saat yang sama akan menggumpalkan semua emosi itu, menyisakan hanya diri kalian yang sebenarnya, yang bukan apa-apa. Dalam penyatuan antara ketiadaan dengan kehampaan itulah, kalian merasakan sebuah kenikmatan sejati menjadi manusia. Sebuah rengkuhan orgasme atas kekosongan – sebuah rasa tak berawal dan tak berujung.

Berita baiknya adalah, kalian semua berkesempatan merasakan saat-saat kesempurnaan itu. Berita buruknya adalah, dalam takaran kalian yang baru saja akan mengenal wajah keabadian dalam wujud terbaik dan terburuknya, rasa kesempurnaan nan nikmat itu berlangsung hanya sesaat.

Dan ketika kesempurnaan itu tercerabut…….yang ada hanya surga atau neraka — ini pun menurut bahasa kalian.

Bagi kalian yang belum pernah mencapai orgasme ini sebelumnya dalam keadaan utuh sebagai manusia, sebelum dimakan umur, digelendoti penyakit, serta digerogoti kerapuhan, kalian akan merasa bagai dihempas ke dalam jurang tak berdasar, di mana kepekatan demi kepekatan dengan udara yang semakin lama semakin membelit akan menyambut kalian. Hingga kalian menyentuh dasar kehampaan. Di mana kalian akan lebur dan menjadi tiada.

Namun, bagi kalian yang pernah mencapainya dalam keadaan utuh sebagai manusia, sebelum dimakan umur, digelendoti penyakit, serta digerogoti kerapuhan, kalian akan mencoba kembali pada ingatan lampau. Mencoba mengingat rona asmara pada saat indah orgasme kosong. Biasanya itu berhasil. Kalian akan terjun menuruni jurang ketiadaan dengan senyum simpul perawan muda dan pipi berwarna kemerahan seperti sedang didekati perjaka tampan dan diberkati para tetua. Udara menjadi merah muda. Ketiadaan itu sendiri juga menjadi merah muda. Merona. Belia. Tersipu. Sumringah. Hingga kalian menyentuh dasar kehampaan. Di mana kalian akan lebur dan menjadi tiada.

Kalian lihat? Di sinilah Sang Satu kembali menunjukkan selera humornya:

dua sisi mata uang yang berbeda,
merasakan mukjizat orgasme yang sama,
bereaksi secara berbeda,
untuk akhirnya tiba di titik yang sama,
dan hancur bersama-sama. 

Tidak ada lagi koin dengan dua sisi yang berbeda. Karena ketika sisi-sisi bersatu dan bersekutu, sebuah koin tak mungkin ada.

Mulai mengerti leluconNya? Setelah penciptaan dan penghancuran, yang ada hanya kelucuan. Dan pada saat itu, semua makhluk, termasuk kalian dan aku, sudah tak bisa tertawa.

Sebagaimana pemenang sejati yang tertawa paling akhir, yang tersisa sekarang hanyalah tawa Sang Satu. Seperti tawaNya ketika dulu memulai segala selain diriNya. Yang gemanya berlangsung sepanjang keabadian. Hingga Dia pun menelan keabadian, berikut tawaNya, yang tak lain hanyalah makhluk seperti kalian dan aku.

Dia pun kembali menjadi Sang Satu, sebagaimana sebelumnya, sebagaimana setelahnya, dan sebagaimana keadaan tanpa sebelum dan setelah.

Hanya sebagai ada.

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Imperfection vs Compassion

God does not create different kinds of paths because He is imperfect, nor because those He created are incomplete, but because He is compassionate. He creates human in many different ways, not even two are identical, because He is infinite and His creative power is unlimited. He, the compassionate, ensures that we, human, will find our own path back to Him, hence, He creates many paths that we can follow – our souls respond to paths that are meant for our souls.

The path we choose is the truth for us, but it does not exclude the existence of other truths beyond ours – our minds are limited, His is unlimited. Respecting other paths is not a denial of the truth of our path, nor is it a betrayal of our path, but it reflects our humility in front of His Greatness, that He is beyond our perception.

Claiming the truth for ourselves and bordering it according to our belief and perception is an act of vanity, for we try to shape Him instead of letting Him shapes us – we pretend to be God without knowing His will upon us.

When our hearts have finally been subdued to His Absolute Will and Love, we will not question the existence of other paths than ours, because we have seen His presence everywhere and have realized that there is not a single path which is not His path, for He is all.

Later, we will realize that the path we thought we have chosen is not actually our choice – again, it was an act of vanity because we did not understand, an innocent ignorance. He has chosen it for us, for He knows us very well and understands our need.

(Praise Allah, the all-compassionate, the most merciful – Jan 2012)

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