The Books Michael Jackson Read
John F. Kennedy said that “the great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic”.
Well, in Michael Jackson’s case it is both the myths and lies that are the enemies of the truth. The mix is so big that there is a danger that people will never know the real Michael Jackson behind the wall of confusion created by Michael’s haters and so-called friends.
To be frank, this post was initially planned to be about Deepak Chopra, a ‘friend’ who created a myth of Michael dying of narcotics and who never corrected it. He wasn’t part of Michael’s circle in the later years of his life, but was the first to go on TV to voice his learned opinion about Michael’s death “from drugs” and never apologized for his mistake even when the autopsy report showed no trace of narcotics in Michael’s body. He actually knew nothing of Michael except what Grace Rwaramba occasionally told him and each time urged the Jackson family to “intervene” only to make them feel embarrassed when Michael was found clean.
Deepak Chopra was simply jumping to conclusions and I suspect that after Michael’s death he made rounds in the media thinking of his own interests first as he was clearing himself in advance of a possible police suspicion that he was one of Michael’s “enablers” he liked to talk so much about. Why, indeed, should his holistic-and-happiness business suffer because of a certain Michael Jackson?
Well, we understand that for many people ‘business comes first’ and this is probably why this post developed into a different subject – the problem of what is weird and what’s not, and the books that Michael Jackson really liked reading.
These books were introduced to Michael by Deepak Chopra and were read by him in the period described now by Robson/Safechuck in the most horrible terms of sex abuse (which is another of those myths), so I thought that the public should know of the real subjects that were on Michael Jackson’s mind at the very same time described by these rogues.
But first let’s look into the “weirdness” problem which is still one more myth about Michael Jackson.
Following the media preconceptions that everything Michael Jackson did was “weird” and “bizarre”, Michael’s talk about levitation with Jordan Chandler mentioned in the previous post could also look somewhat strange to you.
This prompts Michael’s supporters to explain that he was speaking about “spiritual” levitation only, and Michael’s haters to apply this spiritual levitation argument to their favorite sex abuse subject claiming that the alleged sex with a minor was “lifting his spirit” this way.
Both will be wrong because Michael regarded levitation as a physical phenomenon. According to Jordan Chandler he was talking about “rising from the ground” and “defying gravity” in the literal meaning of these words.
But is it weird that Michael talked about it at all?
Absolutely not. Michael did not only read about it but also had first-hand information about levitation from his then mentor Deepak Chopra, an American authority on meditation and happiness who after Michael’s death also turned into a favourite media expert on MJ. This celebrity happiness advisor is welcomed by every host on American TV including Oprah Winfrey. With Oprah he has even launched a joint program on happiness called ‘all-new meditation experience “Expanding Your Happiness”’
So if you want to know all about levitation ask this well-respected American wellness guru, and if you do he will tell you that levitation is a common phenomenon anyone can master (no joke):
“People can lift off the ground and there are three stages according to Patanjali – there’s first that’s called hopping, then there’s floating and then there’s flying. Now I have taught and learnt these techniques and you know it’s very easy to get to the first stage. The second and third stage is theoretical because nobody has ever observed it but Patanjali says that if you have a critical mass of collective consciousness that’s practicing these techniques then it will happen. We don’t know”. http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/full-transcript-your-call-with-dr-deepak-chopra-568362
In one of his many books this Michael Jackson’s spiritual mentor described his personal experience with lifting off.
The description comes in the context of “conditioning” which MJ haters so much like to fuss about and this again fuses conditioning and levitation into one experience and explains why it was mentioned by Michael in a combination with each other:
“As the meditator begins to practice, he lays down a pattern of repetition in which the body more and more begins to understand what the mind wants. In scientific parlance this is called behavioral conditioning.
In common language, he is simply acquiring a habit. Mundane as it sounds, flying is simply a habit. Over time, the body stops shaking and, unexpectedly, while doing nothing more than the same practice he has done in the past, the person accomplishes the result. His body lifts up and goes forward.
Needless to say, this is a remarkable moment for every meditator, and of the fifteen thousand TM meditators in America who practice the yogic flying technique, each one remembers his first liftoff with incredible vividness. My own experience is fairly typical. I was sitting on a foam rubber pad, using the technique as I had been taught, when suddenly my mind became blank for an instant, and when I opened my eyes, I was 4 feet ahead of where I had been before.”
Deapak Chopra’s son Gotham also succeeded in lifting in the air during the meditation class to which he was sent by his father. He speaks about levitation in a humorous and matter-of-fact way as if it were a mere trifle:
“The course culminated with our learning the “flying sutra,” which basically was a sound that triggered spontaneous hopping — branded levitation. You know, the whole “awakening the kundalini” etc. At the time, it seemed some sort of miracle and I was really proud of myself for achieving such a feat. Over time, it became questionable what the real benefit was in being able to hop around a foam covered room with dozens of others.”
So if you think that Michael Jackson was “weird” believing that levitation was possible, you are obliged to consider Deepak and Gotham Chopra even “weirder”, because Michael was introduced to these ideas by Chopra, and both father and son claim that they are able to lift in the air and that it isn’t a big deal.
What’s strange though is that I have never heard the word “weird” used in respect of Deepak Chopra. Quite on the contrary there is much respect, praise and even public adulation here.
THE POWER OF PRECONCEPTIONS
Indeed, the name of Deepak Chopra is a byword for success. No article written about him and Michael Jackson goes without a statement that he is a best-selling author who introduced Michael to meditation and spiritual authors like the Indian poet Tagore and Sufi poet Rumi.
Besides that Chopra helped Michael with his “Dancing the dream” poems and it was also Chopra who brought to Michael a Nigerian girl Grace Rwaramba, who became a nanny to Michael’s children and was like a daughter to Deepak Chopra (she even calls him “papa”).
In short Deepak Chopra was a totally indispensable person in Michael Jackson’s life.
Deepak Chopra recalls that when he met Michael in 1988 (the year when Michael also met Jimmy Safechuck), Michael lived a ‘holistic’ way of life – he was totally drug-free, didn’t touch a drop of alcohol and drank only water.
At the time the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ views were still very much part of Michael’s life and he was keeping to their teaching almost to the letter of it. As we know, breaking their rules by celebrating Christmas, for example, was nearly impossible for him and akin to a grave sin. It took Elizabeth Taylor five years to talk him into celebrating Christmas and the first time was in 1993 after which Michael felt so guilty that he cried in the bathroom out of his “guilt”.
In 1988 Michael was already thirty, but he was still a pure and innocent soul with a very sensitive heart and thin skin. He cried when he heard of starving children on the other side of the world – which alas, is taken by most of us as simple “news”.
In the Daily Beast piece of July 2, 2009 Chopra described his first meeting Michael in 1988:
“Deepak Chopra had met the singer in 1988, when he had been invited to Neverland as part of a daylong party: “And he was so shy, he barely said anything.” Then he started dancing and suddenly that shy boy transcended in front of me into someone completely different.” They played music all night, and Jackson was “unstoppable.”
The two became quick friends. Jackson would stay with Chopra and his wife when they lived in Massachusetts, and Chopra accompanied him occasionally on tour. The Jackson he met and grew to like was initially not only drug-free, “but he didn’t touch a drop of alcohol, not even aspirin. He would only drink water. He had been raised by his mother [as a Jehovah’s Witness] to use nothing at all, and it was still part of his life.”
Jackson lived a “holistic” life when Chopra met him, and the wellness guru taught him how to meditate. Over time, they spent long hours in overnight conversations, and Jackson opened up to Chopra as if he were a therapist. It was in those talks that Chopra learned about what a tortured soul Jackson was. Jackson shared with him intimate details about the violent household in which he grew up. “He was very damaged from his childhood,” Deepak told me.
A patchiness to his skin made him feel odd, and he refused ever to put on a bathing suit and go swimming, no matter how many times friends urged him to do so.
It was only on stage, when performing, that he became someone comfortable in his own skin.”
An interesting point about Michael never going swimming and showing his skin to anyone is repeated by Chopra in another source:
I met Michael more than 20 years ago; I went to teach him meditation at Neverland. He was very shy, very introverted, but very curious about consciousness and spirituality. You know, while the world called him weird, he wondered why the world was so weird.
He’d ask me, Why do people go to war? Why is there genocide? What’s happening in Sudan? Why have we killed the environment? Why is there racism and bigotry and hatred and prejudice? We talked about starving children in Mumbai, and he would start to cry. Or we’d start to talk about the trophy-hunting in Canada of the grizzly bear, and he would start to cry. In his mind, the world was psychotic.
Michael had a skin disease called leukoderma [vitiligo], which created huge patches of white. He had, as a result, a very, very poor image of his body. He was almost ashamed of it. That’s why he would cover it up.
Why do you think he wore a glove and all that stuff? He would not go into his swimming pool in his own house with his clothes off. He would just jump into the pool at the last moment, you know, take his robe off, but he was ashamed that people would look at all the blotches on his skin.
If the media and public had known that Michael went to his own pool with his clothes on there would have been no end to all those “bizarre” stories, but now that we know how disfiguring vitiligo can be, I hope they understand.
But the fact itself that in the late 80s Michael always covered his skin is extremely important – it means that at the time under no circumstances he would show himself to anyone even in his bathing trunks. This must have been true at least until the moment he more or less evened the color of his skin in early 90s.
Given all the craziness taking place in the world Michael was right to believe that it is the world which is weird and psychotic, and not him. However the world thought different and looked at him as a “freak”. Deeply hurt by this ugly contempt Michael asked Chopra why, apparently not realizing that he was scorned not only because of his changing looks but also because of his way of thinking or the very same things his mentor was teaching him and was applauded, admired and praised for.
Indeed, isn’t it strange that when Deepak Chopra speaks of levitation as a common experience anyone can master, it is taken by the public as a mark of his singularity and excellence they are even ready to pay money for, but if Michael had ever ventured to say it publicly, they would have trashed him as a “wacko” and taken away his children as if from a madman?
When a happiness guru says that “nature is the extension of ourselves” the public is hushed up in awe to hear this wonderful revelation, but when Michael Jackson speaks of the same they laugh and mock him as a freak expressing some weird thoughts.
And what’s interesting is that so different an attitude to one and the same thing is displayed by the same people!
Actually this is what conditioning and preconceptions are all about – the public has been conditioned, trained, guided and taught by the media to mock at Michael irrespective of all the positive, good and wise things he ever did and said.
‘If the media calls me weird, what word would the media have for so many things going on around us,’ Michael Jackson once asked his friend, the holistic guru and best-selling author Deepak Chopra. ‘People think my behavior is weird. Isn’t the world more weird?’
Chopra had introduced the poetry of sufi poet Rumi and Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore to Michael Jackson, not to forget meditation.
He had also helped the pop star produce Dancing the Dream in 1992. It was a collection of poems and essays that discussed issues like world hunger, homeless children and world peace. He introduced Grace Rwamba to Jackson, who would become his children’s nanny and surrogate mother.
Chopra says he cannot forget the anguish in his friend’s voice as Jackson discussed the word ‘weird.’
“He talked about what was happening in Sudan,” Chopra continued. “He talked about global warming. He felt the cruelty in Sudan, the degradation of the environment, and he was convinced that those things were far more weird than his own alleged weirdness.
“He was a very delicate person, a very innocent soul,” added Chopra whose advice is sought by some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including Nicolas Cage. “I have never seen him get angry and say a bad thing about anyone.”
“He had many great qualities as an individual and I have always felt he was greatly misunderstood, and many people were not fully aware of a Jackson who really cared for his fellow beings.”
Since Jackson’s death, Chopra has been besieged by the media. “He was very concerned about nature and ecology and thought deeply about man’s relationship with nature,” Chopra said, adding that he had given Jackson a copy of Tagore’s Gitanjali.
Chopra remembers how, many years ago, after an exhausting performance in Bucharest, Jackson sat backstage with Chopra chatting about Sufi poetry. Tagore soon joined the list of writers Jackson admired. “He was reading a poem by Tagore when we talked the last time, just about two weeks ago,” Chopra said.
Recently when Jackson and Chopra chatted at the former’s request to discuss the lyrics for a new composition, the singer and performer talked about creating a spiritual relationship with the nature. “It was like, we ought to look at the world as the extension of ourselves,” Chopra mused.
“We ought to look at the world as the extension of ourselves” – what a great thought Michael wanted to share with us but didn’t have time to. But will all these conditioned people be able to understand?
THE MATTERS ON MICHAEL’S MIND
The above piece from Deepak Chopra contains some very important facts no one really pays attention to.
First of all, for some reason Sudan was mentioned by Michael again and again, and my co-admin Susanne explained why – in the 80s and early 90s thousands of very young children (aged between 6 and 12) fled in groups from Sudan to Ethiopia and Kenya during a civil war in their country. They traveled by foot for years in search of safe refuge and covered over a thousand miles across three countries. More than a half died along their epic journey, due to starvation, dehydration, sickness, attacks by wild animals and enemy soldiers. The remaining several thousand eventually ended up in the Kakuma refugee camp in the desert of Northern Kenya. Most of them were orphans and were called “the lost boys from Sudan”. They lived in Kakuma for about 10 years and finally were offered to migrate to USA to start a new life because it was impossible to go back to Sudan.
We can imagine how worried Michael was about the plight of these small children who were all alone and saw nothing in their life except war, death, starvation and a refugee camp.
In this situation Michael must have been mostly concerned about the small ones – they are not responsible for what adults do, but suffer the worst.
By the way, the refugee camp in Kenya still exists and holds more than 170,000 people as the conflict in Sudan is a never-ending one.
The second fact never paid attention to in the above Deepak Chopra’s piece is that he gave to Michael a book by an Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore called Gitanjali (the book became one of Michael’s favourite readings).
The Gitanjali title says nothing to most of us and few take the trouble to look. I was curious and did look up and it was worth every minute of it – the book told me about Michael’s frame of mind and the real subject of Michael’s interests at that time.
Gitanjali is a book of poems reflecting Tagore’s views on seeking God, true worship and living the faith, which is not the same as a simple observation of religious rituals and rites.
Tagore saw true worship in establishing an emotional link with the Creator, keeping one’s heart pure and free from any evil and doing what God expects of a human being – be humble, simple and help those who were less fortunate than you.
Tagore called it a “poet’s” religion. Here is a concise summary of Gitanjali – Tagore was Michael’s favourite poet and it is important for us to know the ideas he admired:
The Religion of Gitanjali. The central theme of Gitanjali is devotional: it expresses the yearning of the devotee for the reunion with the divine. It is an acknowledgement that the human soul has no significance unless it is filled by the Supreme.
The human body is the temple of God; so it needs to be kept pure. Since God dwells in the inmost shrine of the heart, one has to keep away all evils from one’s heart. Our effort should be to reveal God in our actions because it is God who gives us the power to act.
In our relationship with the divine what is important is the total self-surrender so that we may accept God as everything.
Tagore is very critical with regard to the existential ritualism. The religion that does not have any concern for one’s fellow beings, and the offerings that bar others their basic need, is useless. True worship of God consists not in the performance of rites and ceremonies, but extending a helping hand to the suffering and the needy.
God is present in every other, in the simplest and the meekest.
God is Love. God is the ultimate hope and source of strength to human being. God becomes a being with whom an emotional relationship can be established and through whom life can derive sustenance and solace.
It is on account of this emphasis that the world itself is seen as “creation out of joy.” If God is love, participation is His creation is participation in His loving act. That is how, creation itself becomes an act of joy and the feeling of the “burden of existence” is redeemed to a very great extent.
Guided by the media and malicious prosecutor Tom Sneddon some people wondered what kind of books were on Michael’s reading list and now we can give a definitive answer to these inquisitive people – right at the time when some claim that Michael was engaged in most reprehensible things, he was busy reading a book about seeking God and surrendering one’s will to the Supreme.
Judging by Michael’s reading Gitanjali, he was also reflecting on the body and heart being the temple of God and the need to keep it pure and free from all evil. And also on God being love and a source of all creation and joy, and this is why Michael was so much into spreading joy and happiness among people:
- “I’m just a person who wants to be honest and do good, make people happy and give them the greatest sense of escapism through the talent God has given me. That’s where my heart is, that’s all I want to do. Just let me share and give, put a smile on people’s faces and make their hearts feel happy.” Michael Jackson, The Daily Mirror Magazine, 1999
Tagore’s thoughts are easily recognizable in Michael’s songs, interviews and way of life. As an example it would probably be enough to remember his call to people to be God’s glow (in Heal the World) and the thought he shared with Tagore that God outdid himself when he created children: “When I see children, I see that God has not yet given up on man.”
And sharing Tagore’s ideals was not just a fleeting moment in Michael’s life – the poet’s religion remained Michael’s companion for almost twenty years. He got familiar with Tagore’s writings in early 90s and twenty years later he still spoke about him in his last conversation with Deepak Chopra, just two weeks before his death.
So we can safely say that Tagore’s religion of love, purity, compassion and excellence in the eyes of God dominated Michael’s way of thinking for at least two decades.
The third important fact we learn from the above Deepak Chopra’s piece is that after his concert during the Dangerous tour (1992) Michael would not be drinking alcohol or taking drugs, or at the very least leaf through a Playboy – no, he would be quietly sitting backstage all alone drinking bottled water and reading poetry. Sufi poetry this time.
Do you remember that smashing three-hour concert in Bucharest Deepak Chopra is speaking about? It was on October 1, 1992 and it was there that the fans fainted and were taken away by a dozen.
The concert was shown on TV and many of us have seen it, but none of us expected that after the concert and so triumphant a success Michael was sitting all alone reading Islamic poetry.
If you recollect that Michael of that period is now described by his haters as a carefree cynic capable of molesting small children, one can only wonder who is mad here and how come a person who was so keen on spiritual matters, was genuinely seeking God and was shunning from all evil could be described as a criminal worse than a murderer?
Before you even look into these rogues’ fiction stories I suggest you see Michael the way he really was in early 90s – he was over thirty and the Jehovah Witness views were still a big part of his life, he was very “holistic”, didn’t take drugs or a drop of alcohol (despite his burn and two operations on his scalp). He was also so terribly shy and ashamed of his body that he never showed it to anyone. This young man was totally engrossed in humanitarian problems and cried when he heard of starving children in India and thousands of orphans in Sudan, and was a type of a believer in God who thought that he was personally answerable to God for everything he did and said. And this was a man who relaxed after his concerts on the Dangerous tour by reading the Islamic poet Rumi.
If all these facts still don’t convince you that all these liars’ stories are describing someone fictional, we will then have to look into the writings of the Sufi poet Rumi and the ideas Michael was sharing with this Persian poet.
SUFI POET RUMI
The Sufi poet Rumi lived in Persia in the 13th century, so when I was looking him up I was simply curious why so ancient and distant an author was so special to Michael, and just intended to limit myself to a couple of quotes.
However these plans were not to be realized – same like Michael, I simply lost myself in Rumi. Choosing a couple of quotes was out of the question as all his sayings were worth citing, and the research took me even as far as digging a bit into what Sufism is.
- “Sufism is mystical-ascetic aspect of Islam that deals with the purification of inner self. Sufis strive to obtain direct experience of God by making use of “intuitive and emotional faculties” and focus on the purification of traits deemed reprehensible while adding praiseworthy traits. The inner law of Sufism consists of rules about repentance from sin, the purging of contemptible qualities and evil traits of character, and adornment with virtues and good character. One of the most important doctrines of Sufism is the concept of the ‘perfect man’.”
Wow, so not only Michael was still following the path of a Jehovah Witness and admiring Tagore’s religion of love, compassion and purity, but he also appreciated the same in the poetry of a Sufi poet Rumi?
And this book about God and purification of oneself was another favourite book on Michael Jackson’s reading list?
Michael Jackson’s haters like talking about “patterns” in his behavior, so I wonder how they will explain this obvious pattern in the choice of books Michael selected for reading?
See what the 13th century poet says about purification as the only way to properly live one’s life:
- “Whatever purifies you is the right path, I will not try to define it.”
- “Be like the sun for grace and mercy. Be like the night to cover others’ faults. Be like running water for generosity. Be like death for rage and anger. Be like the Earth for modesty. Appear as you are. Be as you appear.”
- “Listen with ears of tolerance! See through the eyes of compassion! Speak with the language of love”
- “When you have indulged a lust, your wing drops off;
you become lame, abandoned by a fantasy.
…People fancy they are enjoying themselves,
but they are really tearing out their wings for the sake of an illusion.”
When you read Rumi you realize how close to his way of thinking are Michael’s songs and his “Dancing the dream” poems. Rumi, for example, spoke of the heart as a mirror that needs to be rubbed and polished to give a human being clarity to “see the unseen”. Only those who have polished their heart are able to see what is unseen by the eye.
Actually this thought applies best to Michael’s detractors. They see in him only dirt but what it mirrors most is their own inner self – there isn’t clarity in their hearts to see the truth and notice the essential purity and innocence of Michael Jackson.
Rumi is relentless to these people:
- “Study me as much as you like, you will not know me, for I differ in a hundred ways from what you see me to be. Put yourself behind my eyes and see me as I see myself, for I have chosen to dwell in a place you cannot see.”
- “Everyone sees the unseen in proportion to the clarity of his heart, and that depends upon how much he has polished it. Whoever has polished it more sees more – more unseen forms become manifest to him.”
- “As you live deeper in the Heart, the Mirror gets clearer and cleaner.”
- “If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished??”
- “What else can I say?
You will only hear
what you are ready to hear.
Don’t nod your head,
Don’t try to fool me—
the truth of what you see
is written all over your face!”
- “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
The last quote has a direct bearing on Michael’s “Man in the Mirror”, and though technically the song was not written by MJ it was clearly inspired by his ideas.
The message is absolutely the same as that of Rumi – if everyone starts with himself it will ultimately change the world.
And at this point I thought of something different. I suddenly thought of how much courage it must have taken Michael to turn his songs into public prayers like “Man in the Mirror”, and defy the expectations of the public that was still marvelling at his Thriller and Billie Jean.
In the 90s he changed the subject of his songs and called for people to look at themselves, keep away from wrong and hate, and heal the world by purifying their hearts first.
No pop star before Michael had ever done it. It seems that there is an unspoken rule for the lyrics of pop songs to be easy, simple and not giving food for thought. Certainly nothing like this which is breaking all rules:
- “I’m starting with the man in the mirror/I’m asking him to change his ways/And no message could have been any clearer/If you wanna make the world a better place/Take a look at yourself and then make a change.” Michael Jackson
Everyone says that Michael wanted his later albums to surpass the success of “Thriller”, but who could guarantee him the success of his new songs when he started talking about everyone’s personal responsibility for the world and referring to God at that? People on the dance floor don’t like to be reminded of serious subjects, and this change was actually a big risk, however Michael did take it – evidently because he could no longer help himself.
These ideas must have been so important to Michael that he simply had to reach out to others. And it did require much courage of him. So when some say that Michael always placed his career first I will disagree – there were far more important things for him than that, as he risked a lot for the chance to talk to people seriously.
The ancient poet Rumi also encouraged Michael to step on the new road, speak a new language and be himself no matter what:
- “Speak a new language so that the world will be a new world.”
- “I want to sing like the birds sing, not worrying about who hears or what they think.”
- “Doing as others told me, I was Blind.
Coming when others called me, I was Lost.
Then I left everyone, myself as well.
Then I found Everyone, Myself as well.”
- “Conventional opinion is the ruin of our souls.”
Remember the media condemning Michael for defying conventional opinion by some of his statements? They didn’t know that Michael Jackson was simply following the advice taught to him by the ancient wisdom.
The other common passion Michael shared with Rumi was dance. For both of them dance had to do with a divine energy. Michael said about it:
- “It is divine, it is pure, it is revelation, without making it sound spiritual or religious, but it is a divine energy. Some people call it the spirit, like when the spirit comes into the room. Some people look down on it. Religions sometimes look down on it because they try to say it’s demonic, it’s the cult, it’s the devil. It isn’t; it is God-like. It is pure God-like energy. You feel God’s light. Excerpted from “The Michael Jackson Tapes”
And Wiki says that Rumi also “believed passionately in the use of music, poetry, and dance as a path for reaching God”. Indeed, when you read Rumi’s verses it looks like dance was almost a way of life for him:
- “Dance, when you’re broken open. Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you’re perfectly free.”
- “Dancing is not just getting up painlessly, like a leaf blown on the wind; dancing is when you tear your heart out and rise out of your body to hang suspended between the worlds.”
This is where the Turkish “whirling dervishes” actually come from. The dervishes are Sufis and by their dance they are commemorating the death of their famous poet Rumi.
And if you think that their whirling is “just” a dance you will be wrong – their dance is a way to reach union with God.
To elaborate on it more it represents “a mystical journey of spiritual ascent through mind and love to the Perfect One. In this journey, the seeker symbolically turns towards the truth, grows through love, abandons the ego, finds the truth, and arrives at the Perfect. The seeker then returns from this spiritual journey, with greater maturity, to love and to be of service to the whole of creation without discrimination with regard to beliefs, races, classes, and nations.”
When I read it I have the impression that the described formula of spirit ascent, starting with a search for the truth, growing through love and abandoning one’s ego, and arriving at the Perfect where the truth is finally found, and then returning back to be of service to the whole creation without any discrimination, is a concise summary of everything Michael was trying to tell us. At least this is what I feel Michael’s songs to be all about.
Same as Tagore, Rumi also spoke of God as Love and even called his poetry Love religion, and at this point I realized that the ideas of these two poets were the origin of Michael’s famous “I love you” said to almost everyone.
His mother Katherine does not say it that often (though she probably means it), so it was surely Rumi who inspired Michael to be so open in his manifestation of love towards people and speak to them in the new language of love. Rumi said about it:
- “I belong to no religion.
My religion is Love.
Every heart is my temple.”
And Michael Jackson also believed in “being humble and believing in yourself and having true love in your heart for the world, and really trying to help people through lyrics and the love of music and dance, because I truly do love people very much.” (1996 TV Interview with Ian “Molly” Meldrum)
Knowing the fuss made by Michael’s haters about Michael saying “I love you” to his younger and older friends and the haters’ insistence that it must be something “sexual” I decided to try and look into what Rumi’s love religion is all about.
The short answer for it is that God is the source of all love and that this love permeates the entire universe.
For the longer answer see what Rumi is saying:
- Love is an infinite ocean whose skies are a bubble of foam.
Know that it is the waves of Love which make the wheel of the
Heavens turn; without Love the world would be inanimate.
How is an inorganic thing transformed into a plant?
How are the plants sacrificed to become gifted with spirit?
How is the spirit sacrificed for the Breath, of which only a
Whiff was enough to impregnate Mary?
Each atom is intoxicated with this Perfection and hastens
Toward it… Their haste says implicitly: “Glory be to God.”
Rumi calls God the Perfect, Friend and the Beloved (so make no mistake to take this word literally) and lovers are actually not only those who love each other, but in the first place those who “both share love towards the Being that transcends their beings” as the Aljazeera cite explains it.
To put it simply, love religion is not a sexual revolution as some could expect from the title of it, but it is love revolving around the Divine. Rumi says:
- “The religion of lovers is beyond all faiths. The only religion for lovers is God.”
- “Religion offers knowledge and escape from pain, but those who give freely of themselves are God’s favorites.”
- “Love is the bridge between you and everything.”
- “With life as short as a half taken breath, don’t plant anything but love.”
So it is not love (or sex) which is god and the subject of adulation, but vice versa, it is God that is love pervading all world creation and embracing us into one. Universal love is like losing oneself in the Creator and being at one with every piece of his creation – be it a human being, an animal or a blade of grass.
Remember Michael’s plans he shared with Deepak Chopra to write a song about creating a spiritual relationship with the nature and the world being an extension of ourselves? This must be it, and we find the similar idea in Rumi’s verses too:
- “A strange passion is moving in my head. My heart has become a bird which searches in the sky. Every part of me goes in different directions. Is it really so that the one I love is Everywhere?”
- “Love is the whole thing. We are only pieces.”
- “Do not feel lonely, the entire universe is inside you.”
- “And you? When will you begin that long journey into yourself?”
- “Don’t wait any longer.
Dive in the ocean,
Leave and let the sea be you.”
- “You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.”
But if each of us is the entire ocean in a drop then our potential should also be as big as that of an ocean? Rumi assures us that this is the case:
- This universe is not outside of you.
Look inside yourself;
everything that you want,
you are already that.”
- “You were born with potential.
You were born with goodness and trust.
You were born with ideals and dreams.
You were born with greatness.
You were born with wings.
You are not meant for crawling, so don’t.
You have wings.
Learn to use them and fly.”
- “Everything in the universe is within you. Ask all from yourself.”
- “Start a huge, foolish project, like Noah…it makes absolutely no difference what people think of you.”
- “You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life?”
- “Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames”
Remember Robson complaining in his lawsuit that Michael also encouraged him and professed that he would be greater than Steven Spilberg and his forecast didn’t come true? And the deceased Michael is allegedly to blame for it and should pay him a compensation?
I suggest that Robson re-addresses his claim to Rumi who influenced Michael’s way of thinking or at least to Deepak Chopra who introduced this Sufi poet to him, but not to Michael who also learned these ideas from the 13th century poet. Michael surely mentioned the original source to Robson and it isn’t his fault that Robson did not read Rumi and doesn’t know whom to sue for his ruined plans.
Researchers conclude that Rumi’s poetry can be summarised in one line: “Everything other than God is a falsehood”.
The same can be said about Michael – his devotion to God was infinite and he was never shy to say it to his younger audience and speak about God even in his dance songs. Michael would subscribe to each of these Rumi’s words:
- “What? Are you still pretending you are separate from the Beloved?”
- “You have forgotten the One
who doesn’t care about ownership,
who doesn’t try to turn a profit
from every human exchange.”
- Although you appear in earthly form
Your essence is pure Consciousness.
You are the fearless guardian
of Divine Light.
So come, return to the root of the root
of your own soul.
You will also immediately recognize Michael’s views in Rumi’s universal message of love – people of all religions and backgrounds can live together in peace if they purify their hearts, abandon their ego and give up hostility and hatred.
When all belong to One there is no division between people and each can find a place for oneself to be in harmony with the rest.
It is utterly amazing that this was said by Rumi in the 13th century and people are still unable to hear it:
- “Since we worship the one God, then all religions must be one”
- “I am not from east or west
not up from the ground
or out of the ocean
my place is placeless
a trace of the traceless
I belong to the Beloved”
- “And watch two men washing clothes, one makes dry clothes wet. The other makes wet clothes dry. They seem to be thwarting each other, but their work is a perfect harmony. Every holy person seems to have a different doctrine and practice, but there’s really only one work.”
- “Lover’s nationality is separate from all other religions,
The lover’s religion and nationality is the Beloved.”
- “We may know who we are or we may not. We may be Muslims, Jews or Christians but until our hearts become the mould for every heart we will see only our differences.”
- “What are “I” and “You”?
In the niches of a lamp
Through which the One Light radiates.
“I” and “You” are the veil
Between heaven and earth;
Lift this veil and you will see
How all sects and religions are one.
- “I looked in temples, churches, and mosques. But I found the Divine within my heart.”
- “Every war and every conflict between human beings has happened because of some disagreement about names. It is such an unnecessary foolishness, because just beyond the arguing there is a long table of companionship set and waiting for us to sit down. What is praised is one, so the praise is one too, many jugs being poured into a huge basin. All religions, all this singing one song. The differences are just illusion and vanity. Sunlight looks a little different on this wall than it does on that wall and a lot different on this other one, but it is still one light.
Rumi has become very popular lately (he is described as the “best-selling poet in the US”), however some critics say that his admirers tend to misappropriate his poetry and focus on their own self instead of focusing on the “annihilation of the Self in the presence of the Divine” as Rumi was teaching.
Indeed, “Expanding your Happiness” groups like the ones promoted by Deepak Chopra/Oprah Winfrey may be very helpful for reaching personal happiness and peace of mind even despite the world of trouble and chaos around us, but it still seems to be in some contradiction with Rumi’s call to be selfless and be of service to the whole creation.
What’s clear is that the harassed, ridiculed and unhappy Michael Jackson wasn’t in the least thinking of expanding his personal happiness when he was going to orphanages in every country he was on tour and visiting burnt children in hospitals, and sharing his love and generosity with the needy and the sick.
It was literally to his last breath that he kept thinking of others and remained a truly selfless soul, thus following the principles of love, purity and self-denial taught to him by the Jehovah Witnesses, Rumi and Tagore.
“Ego is a veil between humans and God”, said Rumi and taught him not to be prideful of himself (which he absolutely wasn’t as Debbie Rowe said):
- “Shall I tell you our secret? We are charming thieves who steal hearts and never fail because we are the friends of the One. Blessed is the poem that comes through me but not of me because the sound of my own music will drown the song of Love.”
And exactly that same was said by Michael about making his music. He always surprised us by saying that his songs didn’t belong to him – it was a gift from high above that simply fell into his lap. Michael never took credit for them and knew that they were the work of God:
- “I wrote ‘Will You Be There’ at my house, Neverland in California… I didn’t think about it hard. That’s why it’s hard to take credit for the songs that I write, because I just always feel that it’s done from above. I feel fortunate for being that instrument through which music flows. I’m just the source through which it comes. I can’t take credit for it because it’s God’s work. He’s just using me as the messenger…” Michael Jackson in Ebony Jet interview, May 1992
- “The song writing process is something very difficult to explain, because it’s very spiritual. It’s, uh…You really have it in the hands of God, and it’s as if its been written already – that’s the real truth. As if its been written in its entirety before were born and you’re just really the source through which the song come. Really. Because there is…they just fall right into your lap in it’s entirety. You don’t have to do much thinking about it. And I feel guilty having to put my name, sometimes, on the songs that I – I do write them – I compose them, I write them, I do the scoring, I do the lyrics, I do the melodies but still, it’s a…it’s a work of God.” Michael Jackson, online audio chat, October 21st, 2001
- “The key to being a wonderful writer is not to write. You just get out of the way. Leave room for God to walk in the room. And when I write something that I know is right, I get on my knees and say thank you. Thank you, Jehovah!” Michael talking about working with Quincy Jones and how God was behind his creativity, from the Ebony magazine 2007 interview
God and music, music and God – these were two recurrent themes in Michael’s talk, the two wonders interrelated with each other where music was regarded by Michael as a gift from the Supreme. The precious emotional bond with God was a condition for Michael to be able to create and this is why Michael said prayers after writing a song and got on his knees to thank Jehovah for it.
But have you ever realized that Michael valued this spiritual bond too much to be able to discard it for the extremely sinful things he was accused of? And that he would have never broken this bond even for all treasures of the world, let alone crimes he was simply unable to commit?
Indeed, children were so sacred to Michael that he thought them to be God’s representation on earth:
- “When I see children, I see the face of God. That’s why I love them so much. That’s what I see.”
- “By loving children I am able to see God. I see God through children. If it wasn´t for children I would not understand who God is, who He is, no matter what the Bible says, even though I love the Bible. But children are proof. You can write and talk all you want, but I see it. Man, do I see it.
- “Children – this is my opinion – represent the purest, the quitessence of honesty, of love, of God. To me they are the God´s way of saying there is hope, there is such a thing as humanity. Be like children, be humble like them, be sweet, be innocent. It shows in the eyes, I always see it in the eyes. When you look in a child´s eyes you see just a pure innocence and it reminds me to be humble, to be sweet and to be really good.”
- “I don´t mean to sound weird, but I really believe that children are God. I think that they are the purest form of the creation of God. When a child steps into a room I am totally changed. I feel their energy, their presence, and their spirit. I think we have to remember it is so easy for adults and parents to push them aside and not to pay attention to them. But I think they have so much to say and we don´t listen, we don´t feel. It´s almost hard to put it into words.”
It’s high time we finally realized that Michael Jackson’s system of values had no place for the dirt attributed to him by his haters. He believed in God in all forms and shapes that the One can only manifest himself. Michael was in love with all God’s creation – the planet, its people, children, animals, nature. He was a Jehovah Witness, an admirer of the Islamic poet Rumi and a pupil of the Indian philosopher Tagore all at once, and from all these powerful sources he was learning to live a pure way of life and be free from dirt, greed, ingratitude and hatred, all of which stand in the way of purification of one’s inner self.
And in the late 80s and early 90s, described by some people in wholly fictitious terms, Michael was busy with something totally different – the personal pain he went through due to the burn, vitiligo and scalp operations resulted in intense spiritual work for him and seeking the will of God even in the troubles befalling him.
He had read a lot and was ready to share it with his listeners, and took the courage to talk to people about serious matters on his mind directly through his songs. He started the Heal the World Foundation and sent there all the money he earned in the world tour, began writing hymns about changing ourselves and turning the world into a better place and wanted to share with us a wonderful discovery that we are one and the nature is just an extension of ourselves.
But the world thought him “weird” and involved him in a lawsuit after lawsuit for its personal gain. And he didn’t have the time and strength to finish that song.