Note: Don’t read this post if you intend to read Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol.

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I was reading about a terrifying individual called Mal’akh.  He was tall and had an impressive body, tattooed with sacred symbols. He slept with plenty of women and young men, until he decided to castrate himself.  Over the years, he became more terrible. Mal’akh killed innocent people and had a very twisted, selfish and inhuman view of the world.

But towards the end of the book, the reader realises that Mal’akh was once a little boy called Zachary Solomon. He grew up in Potomac, Washington.  The clumsy sign “Zach’s Bridge” that he made as a boy still hung in his family home. His father Peter remembered his son as a baby sleeping in his bassinet, and later, taking faltering steps across the study.

But Zachary Solomon morphed into the evil Mal’akh hellbent on the path of destruction because of what happened to him as a young man.

We meet Mal’akh at some stage or other in our lives.  Those are the people who have hurt and damaged us without a justifiable reason, and perhaps killed a part of our tender souls with their callousness and cruelty. But as in the story, the Mal’akh we were unfortunate (or maybe fortunate?) enough to meet in our lives were once lovely Zachary Solomons, until people damaged them and turned them into this evil demon.

When we are struck down by Mal’akh, we have a choice to either become like Mal’akh ourselves or to wish them well and continue with our journey in light.

I was discussing this book with a male acquaintance who asked, “What happens if I am Mal’akh?” He is Mal’akh. He has hurt the women who have loved him, because a long time ago, he was hurt by one very important woman in his life: his mother.

At 60, he is alone except for “bought” company. He craves for someone to share the sunrises and sunsets with, who loves him for himself rather than his enormous wealth. “But I f*ck up all the time, even with the right women,” he lamented.

I have no remedy, other than to tell him to learn to love himself. Love is the healer, I said, if you want to shed Mal’akh and become Zachary Solomon again, who is worthy of being loved.

He laughed at me. “I have seen psychologists and I have seen relationship counsellors. I have been in therapy. And you tell me all I need is love?”

Yes. Without love, even the most expensive counselling will not work.

This is from Rumi:

The intellect says: “The six directions are limits: there is no way out.”
Love says: “There is a way. I have traveled it thousands of times.”
The intellect saw a market and started to haggle;
Love saw thousands of markets beyond that market.

Jalal-ud-Din Rumi
(Translated by Andrew Harvey from A Year of Rumi)