When I opened my eyes, God was smiling at me. He was sat on a stone at the bank of the river, where I had fallen asleep on his lap.
– Welcome, Hasan.
– I guess I drifted off a little.
– Life is sometimes tiring for you isn’t it, my dear little one? You should rest and breathe from time to time. Come now, let’s walk a little.
He stood up from the stone slowly, grumbling as he rose.
-Ah, I am getting old.
-Getting old? You are God! How can you get old?
-Just because I am God, it doesn’t mean I lose the right to grumble about getting old, Hasan. Is it only you that can enjoy doing this? After all, tell me who created rheumatism, eh? Tell me.
-Ok, ok. I’ll shut up. Besides, I’m still dizzy, puzzled and confused.
-I know what you dreamed about. “You were worthless,” right? “You were not loved, and you were ugly.” You “were not wanted,” were you?
-It was a very lively dream. I cried a lot because it hurt so much.
-The tears shed in your dreams are more precious to me than diamonds, Hasan. In your dizziness, you are not aware of how much you are liked, but be sure that thousands of angels would line up to touch your tears. This is not only for you; it applies to everyone.
-I don’t feel clean, my Lord. The dream was so powerful and so real. It feels like I am covered in dirt. I want to relax and feel relieved.
-So come, let’s dive in the river together, my little one. You can caress the fish in the river, and I will wash you with my own hands. I like doing this. I miss it a lot, but so few of you stop by these days.
-I guess that once everyone reads these lines, you will be busy rushing from one person to another, my Lord, so great will be the demand.
-As you can see, there is room for everyone here.
And then God bade me to enter his river. The river was neither too warm nor too cold; you wouldn’t want to come out at all. The fish swam past and let me stroke them. Then God caressed my head with affection and started washing me with his palms.
-They don’t believe I have lived all these events when I write about them. They think I create superficial worlds or that my imagination is too great. Some of them even try to convince me.
-Hush, don’t think or talk right now please. You already think and judge all the time. Please, just enjoy the river.
-Why can’t I just give myself to the river completely, my Lord? I’m tense and uncomfortable. If I feel this way even in the hands of God, what can anyone on Earth do?
-Hush! You are still thinking; you are still judging, Hasan. Just relax. Yes, I can see you feel that way, but be patient. You didn’t expect me to rub off years of dirt in mere seconds, did you?
-But you are God, things happen when you say they will.
-What good would it be if I made it that fast? Do you think we are rushing packages for the evening post? You should enjoy it, taste it. This is called “patience,” which you ask for from time to time.
-Does patience mean enjoying everything? No way!
-When you enjoy things, you live the fact that everything happens to be the way it is meant to be, my dear one. Patience is already there: You accept what you’re offered, you enjoy it, and you live it. I say again, Patience is enjoying the moment, rather than “suffering” while waiting for things to happen.
-So how do I enjoy this moment?
-By removing the words, “So how do…?” from the sentence to leave you with, “I enjoy this moment.” You just want to enjoy it, and that should be enough. There is no “how.” You already know to leave the “how” to me.
God caressed my head with affection while cleaning me in the waters of the river. We continued talking.
-I feel very tired and worn out. My whole body is aching.
-The water will do you good, don’t worry. Now go and sleep for a while if you wish. We will feel rested tomorrow. I love you.
-And I you, my Lord.
-Welcome once again.
-I had this joy and rhapsody inside me all day long, my Lord. I guess it is the effect of the river’s water… My God, what are you doing?
Imagine a scene where an old man sits in the middle of the river. He’s holding a stick with a sponge on the end, rubbing his back with it.
-Isn’t it obvious? I’m rubbing my back. You don’t think it becomes me?
-Well, I’d be lying if I said I did. I never thought of you like this.
-Well, I am a sweet old man, of course, who sits in the sky or next to you and smiles happily, am I not? Do I not have the right to enjoy rubbing my body? Why? Because I am God? Shall I tell you what is limiting you, Hasan? You strain yourself too much, and you take life far too seriously. It is as if you lack the ability to enjoy things and the talent for humor, especially in your relationship with me. I’ll bite. I could deform you! Have you ever witnessed a case where I deformed someone?
-Well, I’ve never seen people become crooked, but they say several disasters were due to us annoying you.
-Hah! You will reach the stars soon, but you still hold the beliefs from ancient times. Since the day you came into existence, you always blamed me for everything you were afraid of. You have created numerous rituals to control me. It happens that my anger was going to subside, and what you wished for was going to happen for real. It was the same 100,000 years before, and it is still the same now. Frankly, it is fun to watch all your efforts. What’s more interesting is how we sometimes interfere and say, “Look, brother; the water isn’t deep, so you won’t be drowned.” But they insist on jumping in and struggling, and we enjoy watching.
-So, while we are struggling, you are up there laughing at us?
-What would you do in my place? We make you stand up, and you dive again. You shout for help, and we save you. You dive again. One day, when you really stand on your own two feet, you will see you struggled for nothing. You’ll realize how funny you were, and you will start laughing too. You big fools…
Frankly, I wasn’t offended, as there was affection in these words. He wasn’t humiliating us. On the contrary, he was explaining our situation very clearly and enjoying the moment. Meanwhile, he continued rubbing his back.
-I know the question you are going to ask, Hasan.
-I would be surprised if you didn’t, my Lord.
-You already know the answer. You felt it inside you today. There is no purified existence. This is just your effort to ignore your feelings, creating some “hostile feelings” that have to be purged. But, make this the subject for another time. It may be an important matter for some, but it wouldn’t mean anything at all for others. They shouldn’t worry.
-So why are you rubbing your back if not to purge yourself?
-You have such a practical way of thinking. Just enjoy it, bro! This is not the purgation river. This is the river of joy.
-So why did you cleanse me here last night?
-I didn’t wash you. I blessed you. Why do you want to be cleansed, my son?
-I have so much disappointment, limitations, and pain inside me.
-Are you going to keep this up all your life? Are you going to spend all your time cleaning and purifying yourself? When are you going to find time to enjoy life in your clean, fragrant ways? What good is it to be clean if you spend your entire life in the bath?
-But wasn’t I supposed to clean them, get over them, and make peace with them?
-Who said that? I never said such a thing.
-But all the books write about it: purgation, cleaning, karma, making peace with yourself, etc.
-Yes, they do, but you have become far too wrapped up in those “handbooks for bath attendants.” You think of life only as a Turkish bath. Let’s say it takes only an hour to clean yourself in the bath. So, what are you going to do with the rest of your time? You are so obsessed with it that you don’t even think about going out. You keep on creating a world within that bath. I call you from it from time to time, but who cares? You ripped off your skins from rubbing so much. Consider this, if your skin hurts from staying in the bath for so long, maybe that is the source of all your pain? If you rub your skin so much, of course it will become worn and galled. It is time you realized your situation and come out. You will be amazed when you see how limited the things you consider as “reality” are.
He kept on rubbing his back. He really enjoyed it, and he was singing. He had left me alone while enjoying himself. I considered what he said, and as I thought, I came up with something. I guess in all those books we read to “know ourselves,” especially those we regard as important, we’re limited to what we do in the “bath.”
What we have read and live is only “one hour a week,” compared to what we could live outside the bath. What’s worse is that some of us are afraid to get out of it. For some, nothing other than the bath exists. They have settled in it and accepted it as the only absolute reality. What’s also interesting is that there were many people queuing to enter the bath, and because we were so settled, we prevented others from coming inside. Even though the “bath” is infinite and large enough to include everyone, those queuing didn’t dare enter while we were still there. So, they waited, and some were so afraid they left the queue. And from time to time, when some of us tried to encourage those in the line to come in, there was chaos. However, the “bath” was just a stop on the way, but we exaggerated it and settled there, making it a sort of womb. This new womb protected us from the outside world, even though the world outside the “bath” is full of joy, like the river I was now standing in, but we were afraid.
-I guess there’s no need for me to write anymore. We covered all the material.
-On the contrary, I don’t agree at all. I believe they will give more importance to this in time. Your story about getting out of the “bath” will accelerate the flow of the universe, and you will have joy you never dreamed of. You will see the “bath” as something tiny in a vast universe. Admittedly, a great place, but a very tiny one nonetheless. And why do you think that this life of yours, on this planet and in this universe, is the only one you have? You assume you have said something great, don’t you? This is because you don’t know what is beyond the “bath.” There is a great universe you can live in, but you can think only of death. With some people, the “bath” causes them to think they will die of something if they leave. Tell them they have stayed long enough and must now get out, and they soon will. They feel like they are going to die because of the heat and vapor of the “bath.”
-And how do you help those who are inside?
-We struggle to get them out. We call them using affection and tenderness. If they don’t believe, we call them by shaking their shoulders. You are afraid, and you stick to where you are confined. What I want to say is that we do our best for you. We have even sent men among you. And so, you start listening and thinking, “some things are changing; this period of change will pass too.” The more we try to take you out, the more you want to stay, thinking it’s a test. It is time you understood there are no tests, only experiences and joy.
-I think there may be some who cannot handle this.
-Well, let the ones who understand do so. You can see with your own eyes that this river is open to everyone, and I am keen to bless them and talk to them, as I have with you. I am enjoying myself here. I fish, and I enjoy it. Whoever wants to come is welcome. You found yourself here because you really wanted this. There isn’t a single person in the universe I would not respond to if they asked to get out! Let the whole world know this through your writings. There isn’t even a single person to which I would not reply. You are all welcome in the river. All you have to do is to call me. Believe me, you will open your eyes while on my lap, and the first thing you will feel is my kisses. This will be your “welcome” kiss for arriving here, your “real” home.
-I can’t say anything to that, my Lord. You go on enjoying yourself, and I will let myself flow on the river a little.
-There should be another back sponge near the stone. Why not try it? I recommend it; it’s fun.
-I love you too, Hasan.
-Thanks, you have quieted me.
-Rub your baaack…..
“I know what you want to talk about,” God said, moving his fishhook back and forward. He looked at me with mischievous eyes.
-Well, I have a right to have fun, don’t I? You thought I would jump onto every question of yours each time you ask one? You should learn patience too, you impetuous thing…
He managed to surprise me each time. When I came with the exciting news that all my questions were answered at once, he indifferently continued fishing.
-Woah! Come and see what your God has just caught. This is called a fragrant tuna fish. Look at the beauty; the creator did a great job…
While the fish on the hook struggled, God enjoyed watching the poor thing. Then he unhooked it gently and threw it in the air. The fish turned into a bird and started flying. I looked at the bird with astonished eyes…
-Well, his time for evolution has come too. Come, sit next to me now.
I sat on the stone next to him. He had a paper boat in his hand, which he placed in the river with a smile on his face. The paper boat started moving slowly at first, but then it caught the flow.
-Look at the boat carefully. It entered the river and has already attuned itself to it. We watch it adapting to the river with pleasure, just as we do with your lives. The boat may symbolize many things, with its greatest meaning being that the boat is you on the banks of the river of life. However, I’m using it to explain something else here. Remember asking me the other day, “What is the difference between waiting and expectation?” The answer lies in that boat.
-I know, we have to let everything flow…
-You know too much, but you only “know.” There is a difference between one who knows and one who lives. They are both given the same paper. The one who knows writes on the paper about how to make a paper boat. The one who lives makes a boat out of the paper and floats it on the water. Because I love both of them eternally, I don’t care about the choice they make. But these papers are magical, and their magic is because they represent your energy of life. You can use the paper to draw things on, or you can leave it on the water and watch it float away… This is your choice. I just want to remind you that I give you those papers to make boats with.
-What about “waiting and expectation”?
-Now, now. Expectation comes from deficiency, while waiting comes from patience… I may say this, and you will say, “Oh?” So, if you please let me, I will explain it to you, and tell you what to do next.
-Sure, God. Be my guest…
-Well, thank you! Now, think of the situations where you created expectations. Let’s say you like someone, and you assume that person feels the same. You start getting closer, and then you start having expectations of her, don’t you? You feel happy when she exhibits certain attitudes. Then, when she doesn’t have those attitudes, you wonder what happened, don’t you? Your motivation here isn’t your interest in her, it’s whether you are going to be loved and accepted. You expect this because of the deficiencies you feel in yourself, because you don’t see yourself worth being loved or accepted. You even compensate by trying to take control of everything, so you can make your expectations happen, but how can you control the boat you put in the river? You can maybe use a branch to push it or maybe even throw stones in the river to create ripples and change its direction. In the end, however, all your efforts will do nothing other than confuse the boat, which already has it’s flow. You know this very well, because you love that game, don’t you?
-Oh, you can’t imagine… I can’t even guess at all I have missed because of my expectations…
-Actually, there is nothing you have missed. You just need to understand you shouldn’t touch the boat on the river. Well, this is a big lesson to learn, because it needs you to believe the river will push the boat as far as it needs to go. These are definitely your most important steps…
-What about waiting then?
-That is the attitude of those who have learned not to touch the boat, but there is a trick. Patience is not keeping yourself busy or sitting and waiting on the banks of the river while the boat flows toward its final destination. It is to have faith in it. What I suggest to make things better is this, which I believe will be enjoyable for you. First, use the paper in your hands to make boats rather than write on them. Then, let them flow on the river. Don’t interfere with their flow, and don’t keep looking after them from the bank, because you will miss all the opportunities in your hands. Like what? The hundreds, thousands, and millions of papers inside the basket near the stone you’re sitting on. There are enough papers to make endless boats, instead of looking after the one floating. Well, to be frank, waiting would also make you lose time. You should just constantly make the boats and let them flow in the river, letting each boat be one of your intentions and choices. These boats will reach their targets at the right time, and while you are enjoying the happiness of it, other boats will arrive at their targets, and you really will start getting high. But even at that moment, do not stop. Keep on making boats until the last one…
-Ha? What is it?
-The moment you feel like making the last boat, you will be freed from all of your wishes and intentions. You will be ready for your biggest experience. The moment you feel it is time to do it, the whole universe and your life will change.
-What is that last boat?
-You make the last boat and put it in the river. But this time you are not on the banks of the river, Hasan. You put yourself on the boat and let yourself float on the river. You have no control. You have surrendered with all your existence, and you have infinite trust. You are sure it is not going to capsize or fall down a waterfall, because even in situations like that, you know you will transform into new forms. If the boat capsizes, you will realize you are a fish and pass that part of the river as one. If you crash into a rock, you will find yourself directly on land feeling the banks of the river. If you go over a waterfall, you will have wings… The river is never going to destroy you or drown you. It will just change its form to show your other forms. This is to trust in the river.
-An excellent example, but what exactly is your role in this river, my Lord? When do we see you next to us in this flow?
-What is the title of your story, Hasan? “In The River of God,” isn’t it? Isn’t this title clear enough? What do you think the source of this river is?
Suddenly, his hands and feet transformed into drops of water and mixed with the waters of the river. He was joining with the water of the river, and I heard him calling to me, “Don’t be afraid. Join me.” Hesitantly, I stepped into the water, and the moment I touched it, I started melting. My body was cold as ice. Suddenly, I felt like I was flowing. I felt His existence, but we didn’t have physical bodies anymore. And we started floating together…
-My God, where are we going? I haven’t finished all my questions yet…
-Enjoy it, my little one. We’ll talk about love and relations the next time. A ha! You were going to ask about that, right? As you can see, everything has it’s time, and now it is time to flow, yeah!!!!
Then suddenly, he gave himself to the flow and disappeared. Well, there was nothing left to do. I let myself flow too… I didn’t know where we were going either…
The old man looked at me with naughty, affectionate eyes. I could feel in every cell of my body the love, trust, and peace I saw in his eyes. He pointed at me as if to say, “Come sit,” and I sat myself on the stone next to him. I couldn’t express my feelings with words. A voice echoed in every corner of my soul, and I could feel it deep inside…
-Where are we, I know you, but you, you…
-Yes, this is me: The heart of the Universe…
-But, but, I don’t understand. Where am I, and who are you?
-I am LOVE, Hasan, the one you always wanted to experience…
-I never thought LOVE was an old man. I expected Eros or Aphrodite instead.
He smiled meaningfully.
-In which part of your life did you live with the symbols and judgments of other people? You always looked for the different one, the unpronounced one. Now, you have come face to face with LOVE this way. There are questions on your mind, and I will show you the real ME. Please, look into my eyes and see my soul…
I was already looking constantly into his eyes, but when he said that, something completely different appeared that could not be expressed by words. As I looked deeper into his eyes, I could feel I was entering him. I was swimming in his soul, but what I was really meant to see came a bit later. I saw myself there, sitting on the stone. Me, who wondered about LOVE, who thought he had lived something, and who was sitting tensely on the stone. And when I was completely unified with LOVE, I split from myself and started seeing myself from outside. ME, who wanted to be accepted, who felt deficiencies inside, who struggled between living through painful experiences and running from them, and who waited without knowing what would happen. ME, who ran after LOVE all his life, who captured it from time to time, and who realized everything in that course. It was ME, who defined himself as “unlovable and ugly,” and ME who ignored physical beauty and the people who loved him. ME, who was obsessed only with rejection and the opinions of others. And that ME was sitting on a stone opposite LOVE and waiting for answers…
After a short while, the scene started changing and a girl came close to the ME who was sitting on the stone. The girl was my first love. She took me by my hand and made me stand up. The ME in front of me started walking, and while he was walking, I understood the script I was writing in my life. She never knew I was in love with her, and she was never going to. This was a platonic love, and it was a disappointment I kept to myself. She was the beginning of something. I didn’t know anything about LOVE back then. Then I saw her waving her hands, and after a while, someone else showed up. This was a really interesting scene indeed. I could see that souls, which I thought had never loved or hated me, were aware of me and loved me. They were people whom I loved, and they acted like it, because it suited the new script. I could see these souls would have never seen me if the script was different. I was walking, and I could see their attitudes, which would lead me to my original course.
What guided me on “my real course” has always been “I cannot be loved” and “I am insufficient.” Suddenly, I understood that for anything to exist in the universe, the opposite must also exist. The system doesn’t work if one is missing, and I had created patterns that would make me feel it’s “lack” deeper and bind me to my “real course.” Joining my real course was going to be so great that I had to live the “lack” as strongly. The ME walking on the road was hand in hand with others, and they left when it was time. While our souls thanked each other, the ME on Earth was both suffering and strengthened by these images.
After a while, the souls who were with the ME on Earth began appearing, and the experiences started changing. Rejections were over, and now, there was only acceptance. The soul had started maturing and learning the LOVE on Earth. It started learning about the energy of LOVE on Earth and the experience of relationships. I could see it was developing, but the doors of insignificance still lay inside, and they were necessary. Then my first serious love showed up, and we started walking hand in hand. She was my first “special,” “inspiring,” and “really wanted” love. The others started appearing in the scene, and I watched the kinds of gifts we gave each other. I understood this: Souls in love were thousand-year-old friends who gave each other tremendous gifts, but whose real gifts were the happiness they experienced together.
All the souls were friends, they were just taking on different roles on Earth, and we shared these roles. Meanwhile, understanding “friendship” of the soul was very different from “friendship” on Earth. While we define “friendship” as friends who are always beside us but who are not in love, the friendship of souls includes everything. Soul friends could be lovers, brothers, parents, close friends, or even enemies. Actually, I think it would sound better to call it “existence” rather than “a friend.” They were the ones “who existed,” and they kept on existing in thousands of forms to experience all the faces of being.
Then an incredible scene appeared in front of my eyes, and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. All the loves of my life were in front of me, and they were looking at me with affection. Behind them was someone sitting in a huge lotus leaf. The moment I saw her, my eyes became fixed. It was my SOULMATE, the other half of ME, who was the FEMALE in me… Above all, this was the one I had been seeking for so many years. She was ME and that ME was inside me…
At this point, I will give HER account of the meeting:
An infinitely beautiful and long time was spent with love and patience waiting for him in a leaf. I felt a sense of unity waiting for him. I felt joy waiting for him to come. I felt the existence of GOD, but another part of me was keen to embrace the endless energy of patience, trust, and joy entrusted to me by he who said, “I will never help myself by taking it from you.” I know he is going to come back mature and greatly experienced. I look forward to his affection at the moment when I will embrace him and we shall become ONE. I gave him love each time he suffered pain on earth, and he filled me with affection on the moments he thought of me and remembered our words, “When the time comes…”
Now I sensed the time had come when I looked up and saw around me all the souls who had accompanied him for those thousands of years. I knew he was coming, and I stood up, all naked, with infinite hunger. Then suddenly he entered. The endless wait had ended, and HE, the “Infinite,” was in front of me. The flower who had showered me with affection was half open, and I was moving slowly toward him. Our eyes were fixed, as if they were captivated, and those thousands of souls gave way to us in silence. They had the joy of witnessing this great MOMENT… Then we came face to face and stood there silently. We embraced each other and our lips came together in hunger and love. We were ONE, and we were going to keep following our course as ONE eternally…
When I opened my eyes, I found myself sitting on a stone. The old man was staring at me with the same naughty and affectionate expression. I felt different compared to two hours before. Now there was a second voice talking inside me, and I knew I had missed it for years. Her existence had filled every gap in my soul, and I knew I wasn’t “deprived” anymore. She had been with me all my life, and the energy we shared could not be explained with words. We were UNITED in one body, just as we have always been. And for the first time in my life, I didn’t wonder about the consequences… SHE was with ME…
Hasan Sonsuz Çeliktaş
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