Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Musical Mystical Pilgrimage

For years now I have entertained this fantasy in the back of my mind, a very soft-focus daydream that someday I would travel around the world visiting the places of reknown mystic tradition and I would learn the sacred music and the ceremonial dance. My intention has always been that I would get right in there and sing the songs and dance the dances, so I would know them. I would know them in my Body, in my Soul. And by coming to know them all so intimately I would begin to find the thread that binds them all together, the common humanity across cultural distinctions, across borders geographic and linguistic. I would document my work, perhaps as a travel diary and publish. But most importantly I would begin to fuse them into something Grand. Something that would not erase the difference of each culture, of each distinct tradition, not to blend them together in the "Great Cultural Melting Pot" America once claimed to be. But something that would somehow celebrate the difference, the distinction even within a common humanity, and in such a way that we still feel, still know in our hearts that essentially we all desire the same things, Union with the Divine, Unconditional Love reflected back to us by the Universe herself.

For far too long humans have been using Religion to control each other; to keep each other down by creating an illusion of separation, a myth of Lack. We argue, and then battle over resources, and over the slightest differences in ideology and semantics. Growing up my Grandparents were proud members of the Missouri Lutheran Synod, and when I went to their church there was this subtle but understood message that any other Christian Church was misguided, and thus wrong, and thus essentially one step away from being Satan Worshippers. To this day I can't tell the difference one Lutheran from another, or a Lutheran from a Baptist for that matter (except, Baptists tend to be better singers, and have more fun at it), or one Christian from another. At an early age, I had a real strong feeling that "Us" was defined as "Thank God we're not Them".

But I was always curious about "them". Until I discovered I was them. It wasn't until the last decade that I really began to understand that I am "Them" and "Us" because there is neither; there is no Other. In true blissful being there is nothing to be Against. I love when Chogyam Trungpa talks about the "Against" state of mind; "Don't be Against anything." And then Pema Chodron after him. You can't even be Against the Against state of mind. Accepting everything. Isn't that at the Heart of the Christ's teachings? Love is acceptance. Unconditional.

And love is at the heart of all these mystic traditions. It's in the songs, it's in the teachings, it's in the stories and the dance. The divine has been taken out of our hands by a Bureaucracy of middle men, installed specifically to keep us feeling like we can't touch god ourselves, or speak to Her, or see Him, or feel It. We have been raised to doubt our own splendidness. Our own miraculous nature. Our own Divine birthright. And we keeping running and running and running on the Hamster Wheel of Life, trying to gain merits, and markers, like prizes hoping; they will make us feel complete, hoping they will prove to us that we are valuable, that we are worthy. That we are Gods.

Everyone of us has been born with the potential to become a Bodhisattva, to realize our true Christ Nature IN THIS LIFETIME. Not later. Not lifetimes away. You have it in you right now.

It is a terrifying realization. And a huge responsibility. To accept the Truth of your Being might mean you have to give up Beer, or Coca-Cola, or Marijuana or Playstation, or TV. Not because they are Bad, or Evil, or Wicked, but because they scramble the energy, the vibration of your True Self. And your True Self wants to come forth.

Your True Self is talking to you right now. Whispering your name.

There is a Tibetan teaching story about a simple man who chanted every minute of every day the Name of Padmasambhava, the Bodhisattva that brought Buddhism to Tibet. For twenty years, he repeated the name inside his own head. While he slept it was still turning like a prayer wheel.

Until finally the man said "Screw this! I've been repeating the name of Padmasambhava for twenty years straight, and am I any closer to Enlightenment? No!"
And he spat on the ground in contempt, immediately ending the mantra that ran effortlessly through his mind.

He began to return to his daily routine relishing the silence in his head. Then he heard someone call his name. He looked up from his work, looked around, but no one was there. He turned back to his work until he heard it again, someone calling him as if from a far. He looked up and looked farther but could see no one. This happened several times, each time hearing his name spoken a little louder, a little closer. Each time he saw no one, each time he turned back to his work curse the mantra that had addled his brain.

Then it came again, so close he froze. And he listened.

It came again. And he realized the voice came from within himself, and in a flash of Self-reflection he discovered the Bodhisattva Padmasambhava dwelling within him, chanting HIS own name.

Right now your own Buddha Nature, your own Perfected Being is calling your name, wanting to come out and shine forth. To answer the call means recognizing that many of the peanuts you've chased after, many of the merits you've won (at what costs? at whose expense?) are really meaningless. It is terrifying. And your ego has invested so much in that stuff; your ego says your value is equal to all that stuff and without it you are worthless. You don't have to take my word for it. You can take a look right now at yourself, ask yourself what you would be without all that stuff. Not the shelter, not the Wellbeing, but all the accessories and the luxuries. What happens if you just consider giving it all way, letting it go. Notice the sneaky ways the mind (tool of the ego) shuts it down, distracts you. Maybe you're finished with this stupid Blog.

Still here?

Then there's still hope. Hope for us all. Even if its just you and I left sitting here.

So just the other day a made a huge commitment. I acknowledged that I have been given a gift: a gift of telling a story, and singing a song. In a powerful way. In away that speaks to people's hearts. So, I made a commitment with my partner to devote my life to developing that gift, to travel the world and learn the sacred song's of the people and to reflect them back in a way that reminds us that despite our uniqueness, despite our difference we all share the essential Buddha Nature, and that deep down that Christ Consciousness wants to Shine forth. In that realization there is no longer any space for war, for murder, for starvation, for separation.

"When no one is watching,
And I want to kiss God
I lift My own hand to my mouth." - Hafiz

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