Die Bärliner - The Bard College Berlin Student Blog
Archive
Tag "God"
on the Bard College Berlin Student Blog

“Thoughts” — a painting I made during my gap year in 2016. (Credit: Lucia Pradel)

I stared through the open window. My lungs filled with the cold winter air, and an odd sense of hope invaded my soul. A small ray of light peaked out from behind the clouds and rested next to me. God then whispered through my right ear: “This year will be good, Ana. Not that the rest have not been good, but this one will be especially so.”

I smiled and said: “Thank you for the blessing,” and the thin ray of sun hid once more.

After hearing those brief words, I lay flat on my bed and thought about life. These days my ceiling had become my favorite canvas because my imagination and memories could stain it without leaving a visible trace. I stared at it for a few seconds, and my eyelids began to feel heavy. Then, quickly enough, a hollowness invaded the depths of my chest. This feeling of emptiness was not new: It had been tingling all through my being for a few months. Oddly enough, though, as soon as this new year rang in, it became louder — acute.

As the days passed, I continued to experience the same sensation. I spoke to my friends about it and tried to explain this “emptiness,” but no words could capture the feeling. Even when I was able to explain, it never felt like I had said enough, which is why I could not blame them for their lack of useful advice. Some replies ran along the lines of “Why are you thinking so much?” and “Do not think about things so much, Ana.” A small number of them sympathized, saying they “got it,” but then stayed silent. Others would just shake my words off by telling me to “just leave it; it will solve itself, Ana.”

But I couldn’t just leave the nothingness, this emptiness, alone.

Read more

Political idolatry in action (Credit: Ido Nahari)

I love Jerusalem. I was born to the city and, as far I know, I am an eleventh generation to the city.  My spirituality and lyricism begin and end with feeling the pulse of Jerusalem in ways that defy secular logic, in ways that I believe would make people who read this piece puzzled for they themselves are secular and see that the new God is either money or the state. Pre-Israel, a Jewish majority in Jerusalem — which has been the case since the 1860s — was never achieved through national hostility towards the Palestinian residents, but through a religious persistence of the Jews that lived in Jerusalem and viewed it as a holy place. Of course, this does not suggest that “Jerusalem is Jewish”. This phrase is not only problematic to the ears of the non-Jewish residents of Jerusalem, but also to the rest of the Christian and Muslim world. Jerusalem is holy to all three Abrahamic religions. At many times I enjoyed living in the city, feeling and perceiving that said holiness in ways that I could not  explain to others. And because I hold Jerusalem to be a holy city, any conversation about its “ownership”, its “sovereignty”, or who it “belongs to” is absurd to me.

Read more

Cover photo

In your light I learn how to love. In your beauty, how to make poems. You dance inside my chest where no-one sees you, but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art. (Rumi)

Peaceful silence fills the largest hall of the Werkstatt der Kulturen. Around three hundred people inhabit its rows waiting for the attention-catching moments they can eternalize with their prepared cameras. Their curious expressions and high expectations come into being without uttering a single sound. Their eyes are fixed on the stage; their gaze awaits the dancing energies of the divine to materialize. Three minutes later, they finally do.

Everyone finds themselves in a paralyzing trance of the whirling dervishes and the accompanying, divinely-inspired psychedelic music. Ever since 13th century Persia, the Islamic branch of the Mevlevi Sufi Order has mesmerized, awed and enchanted the spectators of their dance and music. Seven centuries later, on a chilly & gray Berlin afternoon, the Sufi Ensemble Rabbaniyya gathered Berliners of all ages and boroughs to Neukölln and its cultural hub (Werkstatt der Kulturen) for one of the most memorable performances at the intercultural Sacred Music&Dance Festival.

Read more and visit the photo gallery...