Oh Iran, what a magical country. It is the home of many wonders, of great history and immense wisdom. Spectacular mountains, forests, deserts, coastlines shape its relatively big lands. Many ethnic groups living in different regions are still preserving their traditions and cultural heritage. Amazing architecture of mosques, palaces, bazaars, gardens are so unique. Colours, tastes, music, poetry and nature fascinate every sense here. What a unique experience it is to travel in Iran!
Above are the places I visited in 3 months during my first journey in Iran. (October-November-December 2019)
When choosing Iran as a destination, what appealed me at first was the wisdom it holds for generations in which I wanted to dive deep into. Putting this on one side, my best experience that will live in my memories is the sincerity of lovely Iranian people. To me it is the frendliest country I’ve ever visited. Warm hearted Iranian people have such a great hospitality that they always welcome you with open arms.
Traveling in Iran for 3 months gifted me many chances to experience this open hearted ground. I’ve never met this much of sincere people who –even without knowing you, just right away- open their hearts and doors and present such a hospitality and support. The more I experienced this, the more I realized how it is linked to one of the most fundamentals about Iranian culture and tradition which is Taarof.
Taarof is a highly valued behaviour and it is about how people should treat each other. Individuals seek to raise the other person’s status and lower their own. This reminds me of one of the core teachings of Buddhist tradition which gently orients the person to care of the needs of the other, rather than keeping on focusing on the needs and desires of the individual. Because by this way ego loses its dominant power which all the time tends to say; me, me, me! So the secret here is to always consider the other and put his or her needs first. This expands the so called limitations of the heart.
A guest in Iran is like a precious jewel. Hospitality is not like a task they do but you will see; they love it, they enjoy it. You will be invited countless times for a dinner or for an overnight stay even by the people you meet on the street. They put themselves out for you by sharing what they don’t have enough of. They willingly give their one bed and sleep on the floor. When you want to pay to a seller in the market or to a taxi driver, they always give this respond; returning the money back to you; “Be my guest.” When you want to enter through a door or sit on a dining table or start to eat, you hear: “Befarmaeed” which means “Please welcome” or “After you”. Lets say when you compliment on the beauty of a girl’s necklace, she right away offers it to you.
While this concept is generally positive, it can be manipulative when used improperly, when someone tries to benefit from the generosity of another. Such behaviour is seen as negative as it masks arrogance rather than expresses humility.
For Iranians, kind words are always important. Maybe it is because the Persian spirit carries a lot of poetry in it that has a language full of kindness. In a relatively short time I found myself in deep relationships, heart to heart connections with mature souls who dedicated their hearts to purity and kindness. I rested in their embrace. What a blessing! A response to my call from the universe.
Thank you all! I am honoring the virtues in you. You are great teachers!
Every country gifts me different insights. Amongst all, Iran is beyond comparison. It is glittering! Iran had been a home for me where I deeply experienced the meaning of how to love. A few years ago my deep spiritual seeking had started with this simple question: “How do I love?” Then life taught me how to free myself from my burdens and obstacles, my ego and pride and how to become naked. It was the opening of the years of maturity and is still an ongoing process. Then coming to Iran, my insights at the feet of saints and poets, my experiences with the people and culture, in the embrace of mountains, deserts, ocean guided me more and more into my realizations. The source is awakening, reminding me to trust, trust and trust. Iran had become the ground where the deep meaning of ‘Love’ revealed itself in the most meaningful way, in the purest, deepest form.
When I go to a place or a country for the first time, it was a tendency of me to wonder about what the new place will bring me, show me, gift me. But this time, travelling in this magical lands not only offered me immense range of experiences but also set the ground in which I offered back what is overflowing through me. It was like a mutual dance of giving and receiving which naturally enabled a deeper and more meaningful life. I was quite conscious whether I was assigning an illusory meaning or not. But the voice within and the beings that I interact with were all calling out that this was so true.
As I learn through being, know through being the limitless love -which is the ground of all existence- my ability and capability to love is expanding. Moments of subtle awakenings becomes visible in the form of love, joy and peace. Many people spoke of how they are drawn to the peace in my presence, how they find understanding, love and healing in my voice and talks. A dear friend told me; “I saw your dance with the day and the night, moon and the sun and the ocean. I saw how you love with admiration and devotion. You receive what you give. Many people spoke of you, think of you, wondered about you, followed you with a sincere interest and love. You awakened light onto some people’s darkness.”
You may naturally think I’m praising myself. But no. Actually I am on the path of letting the so called little ‘I’ disappear. Sincerely I am honouring the light within. So who is it that is seen, praised and loved? It is the real ‘I’, the real Self. Without the recognition of it, without merging with it, these wouldn’t really manifest this way. My dear teacher Adyashanti always evokes this question in me: “How can you embody your deep insights out in the world?” I have been wondering what this really means and investigating through it for some time. And the resolutions are gradually becoming visible. And this essence is there, already and always there in each being’s heart. This ends the yearning. What an exploration, what a contentment. Mashallah!
The details of my experiences that brought me these insights are in between the lines of Iran essays.