Thursday, May 23, 2013

Yoga, Kirtan, Music, Life

When I was 24 years old, something pushed me, that something was painful and persistent and unknown. I took a leap and headed to a month long "self transformation" program at a yoga and meditation center on the East Coast. I had only done a little yoga at that point. It began with a Kathy Smith exercise video in college, and then the following year a once a week class at a little yoga center near where I was living. I soon thought it was a joke to expect to transform your life in one months time, but tonight I'm not so sure. The seeds of transformation sometimes take a long time to root.

I was first exposed to kirtan (devotional chanting) at that yoga center. I was sitting in the back of a large room listening to this strange music/singing and my eyes and my attention were held by a young woman, my age, in the front who was completely absorbed by the experience. I remember looking at her and wanting what she had.

At some point in my path I found it, and lost it, and found it again.

Every once in a while, I google Krishna Das (kirtan musician) to see if he is coming to MN. The last time I did so, I listened to a recent interview...and suddenly I understood why I love kirtan.
Krishna Das said,

 "I don't sing to the 'so called' Hindu Gods and Goddesses, that's not what is in my head, those are the names for sure because these chants come from India, but I am singing to love. I want to be in that presence, the presence of that love, and chanting moves me into that space and opens/widens my heart."

After I listened to this, I decided I needed to go to more local kirtan. Tonight I did.

#1 - I had never been to the meditation center where it was held, but when I arrived I realized it was affiliated with the place on the East Coast where went at age 24. As I stood in the lobby looking at the bulletin board beforehand, I saw a flyer for Amma. Amma was another seed planted, in this case, at age 25. At the time some of my friends/housemates were going to see this "Amma" woman I had never heard of. I don't remember what they told me about her, but I do know that I didn't understand it and I didn't join them. A few years, later I watched a movie and got to know a little more about Amma, the "hugging saint". She blesses people by hugging them, and apparently it is a very powerful experience. I am not sure what to make of it, but I know it is possible. You could call me an open skeptic at this point.

Anyway, she will be in town next week. I wasn't ready to see her at 25, but I may just check her out now. It would qualify for "doing something that scares you" - the good kind of fear that leads to growth.

#2 - Kirtan was beautiful, a little poetry, a lot of singing to love and a very attractive man sitting behind me. I stayed for the soup afterwards, unfortunately hot guy left so I didn't get to talk to him, but I still appreciated his presence, and maybe he'll show up again in the future.

#3 - Being able to stop in time to not run over the Canadian Goose family that jumped in the road in front of me, and the car behind me, which was not tailgating, so it didn't rear end me when I did.

#4 - I took a half hour nap underneath the trees in the top photo. Today was my once a week 5:15am wake up, so at 4:30pm I was tired. After 1/2 hour of rest I felt so quiet inside. I went to the co-op to buy some more plants for the garden. I looked up rhubarb recipes before I went (there is rhubarb in the garden I often don't use) and I picked out a strawberry rhubarb bar one and strawberries were on sale. Yeah.

#5 - My friend told me about this song last week. When I first heard it on the radio today, it made me feel proud to be a part of this movement.  And the video is even better.

"If you want to know if you are making progress on the so called spiritual path, see if you are kinder to people, see if you are a little easier on yourself, see if you obsess about your own self and all the stuff in your life a little bit less, see if you are happier during the day, a simple day more content, see if you are treating people more like you would like to be treated, 
that means it is working."

  - Krishna Das

Here is a bonus - new Mraz song -

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