The MAGI Project is about the ancient Rings of Truth. Putting shattered pieces together.

THANKS FOR VISITING! Once the Nightmare is Over, Maturity of Awakening Begins.


First Impressions

With hesitancy I passed through Mashhad airport security.
Mashhad is the second-largest city in Iran. Known as the Holy City of Imam Reza it has a population of just over three million. So here in the airport, I was surprised there was no pat-down, no body scanner, nor a Draconian Customs presence. It took a bit longer for me to get through than for locals, because this was my first visit. As I travelled by air several more times over Iran in the weeks ahead, airport security varied, as did check-ups of luggage or person.

When airport screening happens (and that is not every time), I found men and women are screened independently of each other, so women go into private “women only” check-up areas and men the same. No prying eyes or feeling of being mentally undressed by others. So it felt reasonably comfortable when pat-downs were done by women because they were neither aggressive, rude, or ogresses. There was no hint of sexual innuendo such as Alex Jones bellicosely portrays, and many others have mirrored, of American airport indignities. So let us get that out of the way for a start. Iran airport checking was humane, respected privacy, and while handbags were sometimes checked, it was matter-of-fact.

As a stranger to one of George W. Bush’s “axis of evil” (I wonder who scripted that), and accustomed as we are in the West to a media downpour of toxic statements about Iran, with negative portrayals streaming from news agencies and television images for decades, is it any wonder a new visitor to there would not have at least a few uncertainties?  The mind fog is well in place around what Iran is, embedded just a few millimetres below consciousness if not right on top, so the way is unclear as one pulls through internal alleys and bombarded inner states. Therein is a dangerous-sensed enemy, one ready to dispatch you into a world of dark, medieval strangeness. You are not sure of reality when you enter Iran. You realize you have no idea.

Strange Minds Approach Iran…

A visitor to the Islamic Republic of Iran is apprehended by their own all-too-real installed (media, tv, internet, propaganda) censorial wall of imaginings that drops down a behavioural card on to the cipher (you), transfixed in the strange game: “I better be on the look-out and on guard for what untold can happen to me next…”

I apprehended various mind-states in my own psychology in this new world. Used to studying consciousness, I was prepared to let whatever conditional reflexes had been previously installed, known or unknown, to rise, appear, or shudder balefully on the periphery of my mind, so each assumption, position or internal imagery, could be studied as interesting phenomena.

Would a chador-cloaked woman pull a hidden kalashnikov from under her arm to monitor the outsider, or would men in military uniforms and caps interrogate me mercilessly at the gate as a foreigner from their terrorist “axis of evil”? Would they ruthlessly destabilize one’s sense of person to extract what Western poison one was perhaps unknowingly bringing into their atmosphere?
Was I guilty, therefore, by association, and dragging the West with me in my head, or on my person into their very different and hostile territory?

Such images and background thoughts lurk unseen in Western consumer-satiated minds, I don’t care who they are, even if fleeting shadows…as they touch down in the Islamic Republic on whatever tourism, research or business errand.  The internal message that presents itself, whether wanted or not, is that Iran is a dangerous place; one has to be wary, and at all times think “be safe.” What are we to expect after a lifetime of negative images drummed into our heads?

The Position of Letting Things Reveal Themselves

As we left Mashhad airport, I was conscious of the eyes that followed me. If I had an agenda against these people I could feel paranoid, but as I didn’t, I decided to follow the route of “let the people reveal themselves and what they are,” and let the days run their course. Because for sure, I was the foreigner. No doubt about that. The clothes I brought were conspicuously non-Iranian, most of them unsuitable—if you didn’t want to stand out, that is. Dress is modest in public, my jackets were on the short side, so stayed packed. As it turned out, in the snowscapes just days ahead, my best dress weather-wise, was a lined Nepalese llama-wool thigh-length coat with a hood, duffle toggles and big red spots, Tsk-tsk.  And Australian Ugg boots.  So, foreign I was, and remained so (except for a welcome pair of handmade boots I found in Shiraz).

First Walk in Mashhad, NE Iran

So putting the ugly dimensions of Western consciousness towards Iran behind me, in reality I found that almost minor details could uncover a revelation and they did. We flew into Mashhad at night and after resting the next day went on what would be a three-hour walk through the streets, filled with busy shops, eating-places and boutiques, and on to the largest central park in the city, a park kilometers in circumferance.

People were jogging, and as I needed to stretch, asked if there was a local gym. I was told “we have gyms in the parks for everyone.” Not believing it at first, sure enough, all-weather gymnasium equipment to construct almost every kind of work-out you could devise, were lined up under the wintry trees.  Many of the machines allow for two people to use them at once so you could exercise with a companion socially. Buttoned-up in the fast cooling late afternoon, we tried out the machines for the next hour.

Mashhad’s Central Park…Be Never Alone at Night?

As it darkened, we discovered new avenues in the park through tall tree-lined walks; a mosque, a lake with ice over it, a few drink vendors, and plenty of young women, unaccompanied, walking through the park with satchells, student notes, portfolios or computer bags over their arms.  

This was a particular surprise because several people, trying to show concern before I left Australia had said: “Be sure not to go out at night,” or “Make sure as a woman you are never alone at night.” While here, before my very eyes, were women walking alone through the park without a second thought! Minding their own business and obviously going somewhere, not loitering. There were no loiterers with seedy cargo I saw anywhere.

I still remembered at eight-years of age, the man with the suitcase that used to show up at Rippleside swimming beach just down the road. It was usually on cold days when he showed up in a gabardine coat with its collar up, and flashed comics and magazines to prepubescent children, selling some to the 14-year old boys from out of the suitcase. Sinister and scary he added to the drama of the beach for the local kids, but I could not imagine that easily happening in the Islamic Republic as we crossed the crisp, cold grass to find a water fountain to drink.

As evening drew in on this first night of walking in the city of Mashhad, as people were freed from work, the park was a choice place to get fresh air, briskly walk and some exercise. The pace of our stroll picked up as the avenues became more crowded.

“The Eyes”

My next surprise came as I noticed the eyes of those that passed me, or approached, and disappeared from sight, the eyes of females and of males, old or young. My walking partner asked me:
“Do you notice the eyes of people?”  
“Yes,” I replied, “why do you ask?”
“They are clean, aren’t they?”

That took me aback. He had noticed it, but why did he say it? I had felt it. So his words suddenly pointed laser-like at a vast gulf between a “looking at others” that Westerners take for granted, a gaze that veils what thinking there is behind it, yet is adept at all manner of ruse. Whereas here, women walked or jogged past, some in scarves (hijabs) and some in chadors (full black), and the men and boys, but the eyes were different in ways Westerners are not used to. It is an awareness that they are somehow more innocent, you could almost think, more susceptible, but you know you are really referring to yourself on the last point. And the issue of backward or “ignorant” existentially is inadmissable. So then I became aware of the different sets of eyes inside of me, to put it more succinctly, the eyes in the masks we Westerners wear, and some of those inner eyes were struck downcast in exchanges with some of these people, or could not help but register peripheral appreciation of the beauty in eyes that are not lascivious. On the walk I was organically becoming more meditative at what was being taken in. It slowed me and made me realize some of my inner furnishing was wrong.

Quiet Heads

Yet it was more than the eyes (the eyes that are the “windows of the soul”).
As a  meditator of many decades, and having worked with all kinds of people clinically and privately as mentor and guide, I am acutely conscious of vibratory disturbances in people’s energy fields when they occur, to what chakra they refer, and details of neuroanatomical or subtle cues. A small example, is that children generally have “quiet heads” especially when asleep and when they are babies. But once television, ads, and over-stimulation takes over, from games, consumerism and massive distractions, their heads become “noisy” within. Usually by the time the child is about eight, the job is done, and it becomes hard to reclaim the inner child of peace and stillness, often deep stability, in that little mind and head. You could say their heads are done in. Some children, depending on their upbringing manage to retain that stillness, but it is rare. Usually, even if a child is visibly quiet, if one is attuned to it, one can still hear the mental noise that is tearing at their heads and breaking down their foundations for awakening to the world in an enlightened sense.

Animals, if they are peaceful, ruminative, take meditative cats for instance, can soothe their owners greatly by their inner calm, their purr and synchronous heart-beat. Their heads are quiet too. You could rub your brow on theirs and that little dome is filled with nothing noisy, just peace. This is one of the reasons for the good effect on the elderly’s health that a having a moggy around can have. With humans it is more complex, of course.

And that was the next discovery on the first night out in the huge park, teeming with adults and children playing hand-ball and table-tennis and enjoying the evening in lighted open-air courts: their heads were quiet.  This surprise was more humbling, almost mortifying, because I was simultaneously becoming aware of many things at once. Not the least was that most families in Iran lost at least one member during the American-West-backed war when Saddam Hussein was delivered chemical and biological weapons to use on the Iranians in a war Iran did not start. This nation lost a million citizens not too long ago in that war (ended 1988). And here they were, quiet in their heads, just going about their lives and asking nothing of me, or for my attention to fall on to them.

Walking in the street, in red-polka dot llama coat and Ugg boots, wet or snow, I often heard the words of Iranians, including the un-shy, if curious young men:
“Welcome to Iran,” or “You are Welcome Here.”

It helped me realize I was not in an alien country. It is the Westerners who have done the alienating deeply within themselves.

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