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  • Catherine Schultz, Ph.D.


November 13, 2011 by Dr. Catherine Schultz, Ph.D.  

For a few months leading up to the ‘event’ of 11-11-11, I kept finding myself looking at digital clocks that said 11:11, either a.m. or p.m. So, this past Friday, November 11, 2011, there were two times where 5 sets of 11’s showed up in our chronological system of time management. My husband and I decided to commemorate this momentous occasion by spending $40 to attend an 11-11-11 event whereby a famed local poet would recite Rumi, T.S. Elliot, Haafiz and other touted mystics accompanied by three famed local musicians – a floutist, a piano player, and a dumbek drummer. The intention for the event was to commemorate our “oneness” and it all sounded “one-derfull” since One was the central number represented and we both believe in this central principle.

Much to our surprise, almost the moment the presentation began, we both had odd negative reactions to the poet’s presentation of the mystical wordsmiths. There were several video camera’s on him with his wired microphone and he waved his arms, paced back and forth, loudly annunciating each syllable in dramatic fashion. He was simultaneously appearing to us to be a revival preacher and a first year drama student. Spoiled by having seen Coleman Barks recite Rumi on several occasions, and having exchanged Rumi poems for our wedding ceremony on a Holy Hill in India, we were immediately interested in getting our money back and hitting the road.

As I inquired about how to get our money back because we ‘didn’t like it’, the couple of people I spoke with appeared stunned, taken aback and then judgemental. How could we not like a musical presentation of Rumi dedicated to Oneness?! The ticket-taker had already gone … 10 minutes into the show … and we elected to leave chalking off the ‘social contract’ of our $40 to a donation to the cause of “Oneness”. This wasn’t the first time when our taste differed from the larger community … including two experiences at a very popular local restaurant where everyone around us was eye-closed in ecstacy at each bite and we thought the food was mediocre at best.

We returned home to watch a Rumi-like, absolutely beautiful film entitled “Mao’s Last Dancer”, a true story based on the autobiography of Li Cunxin who was taken from his poor village at the age of 11 years old to become a premier ballet dancer in Madame Mao’s Dance Academy. He eventually became a visiting student with the Houston Ballet Company and the brief 3 month exposure to the U.S. culture lead him to question the dictates of Communist China, and their rigid imposed ‘oneness’, to the point of defection. He found the courage to do so, despite losing his Chinese citizenship and experiencing several years of agonizing separation from his beloved family.

Here is the embodyment of 11-11-11. The simulatanous combination of the individual life expression and the wholeness of the social system. At times, they seem at odds. The individual who tells the deepest truth each moment life flows through them, pirouetting, amidst deep social conditioning of an architectural design that appears fixed and rigid. Without the courage of such individuals, mystics following their bliss, our species could never evolve. Here ‘deviance’ is truly a creative act of inspiration, both internally and externally, effecting the Whole for the betterment of itself.

May all beings revel in such bliss – the experience of 1-1-1-1-1-1 with all things.

Rumi couldn’t have said it better.

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