Where Exactly is Spiritual Peace?

Yağız Gönüler
8 minutes

Huzur-u mânevî is a beautiful phrase in Turkish. Where you find peace in being there. A place where you sink into thought or silence and experience tranquility. The otherworldly point where the past and the future recede from the mind for a while and only the present moment is experienced. In this last sentence, when we say “otherworldly”, it also reveals where the so-called places of peace and spirituality are usually located: places other than the world, places that are in the world but not of the world; resting places, graveyards, graves, tombs, mausoleums. Because the opposite of ethereal is worldly; related to the world, belonging to the world, busy with the world.

Running away is one thing, turning away is another. In running away, one carries the act of leaving with one. He goes somewhere because he is running away from something. But orientation is not like that. The one who turns is also the one who ascends. So let us know the meaning of asylum: to seek refuge, to seek protection. There is also ilticâgâh, a place of refuge. Let’s wrap up if we have wandered around the words long enough. One needs to turn to a peaceful place in order to get away from both the coquetry and the whirlpool of this world. For this, he turns to his inner world, his spirituality. He dreams of a direction by listening to its voice. Then he creates an asylum in his body and soul to turn the dream into reality. The feet, which are cut with iron at every asylum, now surrender to the soul and become subservient. Finally, the order cuts the iron.

Being alone with oneself is a luxury for modern man. This seemingly elegant sentence actually expresses a great helplessness. The world has conquered us all, let’s face it. More and more we like the world, more and more we are renewed. There comes a time when we have small explosions, we shed a few tears, and then we pick up where we left off. “Oh,” we say, “this is how it is”. But it’s not like that. We know this very well, actually. How well we run away from ourselves, just to avoid asking ourselves a few vital questions, just so that we don’t lose our taste, just so that we don’t feed our spiritual side. Where are we running away from ourselves? To the world With others like ourselves. Those who carry yesterday’s troubles to today. And then to those who are never busy with the same problem, but become porters and carry that problem to tomorrow. Isn’t this “plastic grief” too much? When people think that the packaging they are in is their only reality, their grief becomes plastic. Having a package is one thing, wearing it is quite another. Now I’m taking you to a TV series, Ekmek Teknesi. Gamsız Celal comes to Nusret Baba’s bakery. He has both hands in front of him, he is very decent, but on the other hand he is very sad. “Daddy, love is fire. It burns both the owner and the addressee.” Nusret Baba asks, “You mean it burns?” “Ooo… It is both nâr and hard,” Celal says. This time Baba asks again, “You are in love, aren’t you, Celalim?” Notice, Baba’s questions are becoming more and more like a test. Celal says, “I am, father, you have blessed me.” Nusret Baba prepares to start the test, saying, “So you are fire?” “I’m on fire, daddy, why are you ignoring me?” Celal replies, unaware of what kind of test he is about to face. “Give me a cigar,” says Nusret Baba. Celal immediately pulls a package out of his pocket and holds out a twig. When the father says, “Come closer, fire master!”, he immediately lights his lighter and hands it to the father. Baba extinguishes the fire in the lighter with his breath. “I said come closer!” he says and puts the cigarette in his mouth to Celal’s forehead to light it. It smokes, it smokes, the cigarette doesn’t burn. Baba looks into Celal’s eyes as he takes a drag on his cigarette and says, “Either this is not love, or you are not in love. It doesn’t burn, my Celal.” He breaks the cigarette in half and puts it in Celal’s pocket. Then he asks a question, “Tell me about love.” Celal, he huffs and puffs. “Go and work,” says Nusret Baba. Gamsız Celal immediately heads towards the door and says, “Daddy, let’s keep in touch” and leaves. This marvelous scene can only be explained with the following sentences of Sâmiha Ayverdi in The Innkeeper: “You say you have melted, but you are not cut off. You say you are burned, but there is no sign of fire or ash. You say you are wounded, but where are the drops of blood? You say you are sick, but there is no sign of moaning. You say you are dead, where is that obedience, that eternal consent?”

That is to say, it is a completely different wisdom for a person to turn to a place, to seek refuge, to truly feel that they are the called rather than the seeker. It is not possible to express this wisdom, to write it down. “When you say love, the pen falls out of your hand,” said the poet. The pen falls but not the heart. The heart goes where it is drawn, it has to go. Because he knows that every moment he doesn’t leave, he will face a new chaos. He will again be tossed to and fro by the troubles and struggles of the world, by the endless demands of people, by the needs of his own nafs (fire). Because man is always a neighbor of disappointment. Because the nafs always commands evil. But love must come and the sentence must end. Love is what makes everything complete. As our Yunus said: “Hear, O friends, love is like the sun / a heart without love is like a stone.”

Now, friends who have read it are saying that we thought that in this article we would read about the places of peace and spirituality. Don’t we talk about various places, don’t we tell a little bit about their history, a little bit about their present? No. My intention was not to tell you about the places of peace and spirituality in Istanbul. I just wanted you to think a little about the reasons that took you there (i.e. called you). Why is it that when you go there, something inside you trembles, and then that trembling lasts for a while, and then suddenly it goes out? What is man looking for? What is man called to? We need to ask these questions to ourselves as much as possible, without concern for anything else and without concern for anyone else.

We step on ourselves the most and pass on the journey of life. This bitter truth came up again recently while chatting with a friend. Sometimes I catch him wandering in places of “peace and spirituality” and I am surprised. From time to time he sends a message to my phone. “Doctor, you’re needed in the operating room, it’s urgent.” We talk, we shut up. On one such day, the “bitter truth” came to the center of the conversation. I got permission from him, and I would like to quote some of it:

“I was forty-five years old when I came to terms with the fact that the life I had built – with my job, my family, my car, my office and my environment – was a lie. It turns out that I had never once asked my heart, ‘Is this something you really want? I was dragged. What have I done to me? I still can’t handle this confrontation. I thought I was living a life of peace. What peace, I admit. Peace is just a word in a life that has been tossed about. I thought a little love, attention, success was peace. Woe is me now, woe. I know I’ll explode one day, Yagiz. Then I will send you a message again. This time I’ll say: “Doctor, don’t pull me out of the well one more time, let me drown. I deserve it.”

I can imagine that you are wondering how the conversation went, maybe what my answer was. But that place is a secret for the office of friendship, it has to go to the grave. The only thing I can do for this article is to answer the question in the title. Peace is in the heart of man. Look, these three words are very easy to read, but they are not easy to fill in. Which peace, which human, which heart? Truth perhaps reveals itself by filling these three words. Vesselam.

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