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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Glorious Palaces Amidst Severe Poverty

Golden fountain in Topkapi Palace
I recently returned from a wonderful excursion to Turkey and Greece. We wanted to experience Christmas in a country where we could enjoy some time off from the type of music that is piped into every corner of the US. Some of us would prefer it be kept to the actual time of the holiday. I am not a hum bug, but the intent of the marketing machines that thrive in our country have slowly infiltrated Christmas music into our lives beginning in October. Enough said. It was delightful to visit Istanbul and Athens and I have learned a great deal from this experience.

While touring I always make time for daily meditation as it can often vary in degrees of intensity while sitting in areas of a different energy vibration. If you have not thought to do this, as it may feel awkward in an area you are not accustomed to, you may want to try it.

Sultan's room decorated with tortoise shell tiles.
By keeping a daily journal I am able to look back and find interesting bits of information sometimes describing what I may come upon in the future. While visiting Istanbul this actually occurred and I am intrigued by the message. Here is a note from my log.

Dec. 24, 2012 Meditation: Brilliant Christmas like sparkling lights cascading. A feeling of wealth as they blend into sparkling jewels. A swirl like icon appears and it feels like a logo to me. It is gold thin metallic and it splits into several of the same swirls on a thin long narrow body. A voice then speaks. "Severe Poverty- Behold the Tombs"

I finished the meditation and wondered about it. I remembered something about tombs all throughout Istanbul. The Sultans of course are kept in a very distinguished area of the Topkapi Palace – a place on our check-list of sites to see.

Severe poverty. I did some research and noted that in May of 2011, Istanbul hosted the 4th United Nations conference of the world's 48 least developed countries (LDCs), with their 800 million people, half living in extreme poverty. Here is what Turkey’s president Abdullah Gul had to say.  "The gap is widening in “income, education, child mortality, agricultural productivity and export performance… This situation is not sustainable. While a bottom billion lives on less than $1 a day, the rest of the international community cannot turn a blind eye to their sufferings.” The situation was alarming “not just morally, but politically … the nexus between development, peace and security cannot be ignored.

Room built to hold Sultan's Turbans in Topkapi Palace

On the following morning after this meditation we visited the Topkapi Palace. I stared at the ticket in my hand unable to move. The image was the logo I had seen in my meditation. I was stuttering as my fellow travelers nudged me to move along. Why was I given this message in my meditation? What can it mean?

I am still researching this. I was told by a ticket counter person with poor English that it is the Key to the Hagia Sophia and indeed this image adorns several of my tickets purchased to other sites in Istanbul.

Ceiling in Hagia Sophia - Istanbul
"Severe Poverty- Behold the Tombs." I will continue to reflect on the message brought forth – but I am left with this thought. Who built the tombs? Where are their remains?

Hagia Sophia - Istanbul
Istanbul is a treasure to behold and boasts a marvelous collection of antiquity, art, music and food to be sampled. But I must say that the thing I found to be most endearing were her people. This is her wealth. I am thankful that I was able to brush off the many westerners who told me to stay away as this was an unsafe place to visit. It was an experience that has opened my eyes to yet again the beauty that surrounds all of us. If its inhabitants truly are living in extreme poverty than I am thankful I was able to help contribute what little I did to the merchants, shops and cafes I enjoyed during our visit. It was an added pleasure of course to have my daughter join us. Here she is scoping out the many shops selling musical instruments near Taksim Square in Istanbul.


Learn to listen to the messages given to us everyday. Tune into your inner voice and feel the wonder that is all around you. Be that wonder to all you meet. Be the LOVE in the spirit you are.

To learn more about meditation please read Meditation Mojo.