Category Archives: music

Remembering Connection

The tears come – spring into my eyes .. and will not stop. I know if I let go the flood gates will open – so I breathe into it – the opening is there unbidden but rushing in. Gifted to me with no volition of my own. Simply being here – being for a moment still – and existence rushes in .. the flowers shower and the gifts of the connection of souls allow me to feel myself – to remember that which I have forgotten.

The music transports me .. I am alone – separate and yet it is the sharing of the space and the melting of the souls and hearts together that allows me to break open and feel the space of our wonderful Universe.

How interesting it is that my busy life takes me so far from this space and yet just a hint, just a moment of recognition and I fall back into that place deeper than ever before.
It is a kirtan event – singing of repetitive odes of joy to existence and the energy of the Gods – a birthday party for a friend – a gathering of beings together to celebrate and sing and dance. The voices rise and fall together, the harmonies intertwining and the drum carrying the beat. The chants beginning slowly – measured and considered – and then as the voices of all join, the tempo lifts and reaches into the place of joy and the abandon that comes when the Divine is invited in.

It is completely unexpected – my immediate response – that allows me to fall into a place of purity and depth of existence. As is said on the Desiderata that hangs on our wall… “In the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.”

It had been a difficult week, I had seen too much of the bad news of the world – been caught in the snare of the media hype and taken on some shadow of what ifs?…
Here in the music, suddenly I am lifted out of the place of fear and anxiety into another reality – here is the parallel – here is the place of joy and of bliss and of interconnectedness… the place where I know.. all is well.. despite any of the turmoil and chaos that is around me – the political garbage, the stress of our lives – the pain and the suffering .. this too exists .. this too is real, this too is…..

And as I now stand and allow the music and the singing to transport me, and lift my arms to the heavens to feel the infinite joy of the energy of beingness, I come home to myself.
So many realisations – just out of reach of expression are falling in to me, along with the sensation that I am being showered with the blossoms of existence. My imminent departure to India.. back to the land of Kali and Krishna, and Gopal and all the gods of that infinitely colourful land. My knowingness that I go to India for me – that it is my time – my place – simply to open up and allow India to wash over me and transform as it will. Not to ‘help’but simply to be.. to allow what comes to me to be done and allow what is to be .. I have known this before that my work in India is for myself – but once again that sense comes home to me in full force.

It would seem that the leaving of Australia and all that is here for me is a challenge.. can be difficult … can be something that is done for altruistic reasons.. and if done in that vein then the struggle will be there. But if the realisation is as it truly is, that the return to India is completely and utterly my choice and for my own evolution then all suffering has to fall beside the path – has to be seen for what it is .. simply self indulgence of a ridiculous nature.
And in that I see too that it is time not to be hard on myself.. that when I do fall by the wayside into the ‘self indulgence’ that this too is part of my journey, intertwined in the learning of the whole. Is it learning? Or is it simply letting go? The questions that arise as the insights come – such a simple thing .. this kirtan, this chant, this space inside myself – to open the place for the unfolding to be.

Thank you to the kirtan – thank you to the community that has brought me to this place. Thank you to David who spoke at the outset of the ceremony of our aboriginal roots. As he was speaking of the welcome to country, as he began the afternoon’s blessing of music and dance, he spoke to those of us who were born here and absorbed the land through the minerals and the air and the dirt of country.. so that we too though white skinned simply need to remember who we really are..
Thats when the tears began to fall .. as the connection was made to my roots .. those roots that are to be transported again to India.. to connect again with my roots in that ancient land.. from one ancient land to another.
Where will this journey lead me? I know not. But I do know that it is right – and on the path that opens before me – revealed as my steps lead me on, I am cared for and nurtured and .. as I go….I do not go alone – I am forever guided on the way – for my existence is an extension of those who surround me and cheer me on as I go forward on this great adventure called life.

Only The Singing Was Left

An old friend shared this beautiful story with me recently and I could not resist sharing it on further with his permission.  Enjoy…

Nisheetha and i just drove a 200 mile round-trip to hear an unknown and illiterate Bengali sing for twenty minutes.  You’ll maybe remember the Bauls of Bengal are the itinerant mystic poets of India, the drunken laureates of the spirit.  In the local language they are known as the madhukuri , the honey-gatherers.  Like the minstrels of mediaeval Europe they travel the villages and small towns of Bengal offering their songs and their inspiration to all and receiving in return rice and dhal and vegetables.

At the Old Vic Theatre in Bristol the writer on Indian spirituality William Dalrymple was reading excerpts from his latest book ‘Nine Lives’.  Two Bauls were seated beside him on the stage.  He introduced one as the singer Paban Das.

Paban stood and tuned his five stringed instrument for a moment.  When he opened his mouth the honey poured forth.

I keep bees.  At the end of summer we take the boxes with frames full of honey off the top of the hives up to the kitchen. With long knives we cut off the wax cappings, put the dripping frames into a centrifuge tank and crank the handle until all the honey is extracted.  Then we leave it to settle for twenty four hours to allow bits of wax and pollen to rise to the top.  The kitchen at this time is redolent with the smells of summer, of the fragrance of flowers and the sweetness of the nectars.

Then the moment comes.

With  sparkling clean glass honey jars lined up beside me, I hold one beneath the tap at the foot of the tank.  As I open it a rope of thick golden honey flows noiselessly into the jar.  This is the beekeeper’s moment of fulfilment, the consummation of a year-long dialogue with nature and the bees.

When Paban began to sing my heart was pierced with sweetness.  Tears poured down my cheeks.  He sang another song and the roof and walls of the theatre came off and the place was filled with light.  In his third song everything disappeared, the singer the audience, the song; only the singing of was left.

Later when we met him and his wife, his soft hands, his warm embrace, his brilliant smile were ordinary markers of an extraordinary master honey gatherer.

The lover
who wholly loves
can reach reality.
The secrets of death
are revealed to him
while he is fully alive.

What does he care
for the other shores of life?

love and hugs
Rashid

rashidmaxwell@yahoo.com