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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Singing for Your Freedom

"You are forever pure.
You are forever true
and the dream of this world
can never touch you.
So give up your attachment
and give up your confusion
and fly to that space that's beyond
all illusion."

~ Shimshai from the song "Suddhosi Buddhosi" off the album "Live on Maui"

I love the sound of silence so much that sometimes I forget how transformative a blessing music can be. Of course, it can always be entertainment, and such distractions can be fun, but when I'm not looking for distraction, when instead I'm looking to deepen my intimacy with the present moment, I generally surround myself with silence. And then there comes a day where I brew the very best oolong tea I have been able to find, open up the French doors to the garden, and turn up the volume on my favorite acoustic musicians.

Today I immersed myself in Shimshai, and what a soul opening choice it was. As I listened to his music today, I found my heart opening with a keen awareness of one aspect of the suffering in this world. Recently I have been troubled by the rise in gang violence, and particularly in the growing tension between the races and an increase in gang related race wars. As I sat listening to the music, I felt a deep connection to the false beliefs that were controlling the minds and eclipsing the hearts of all those young people, causing them to live in rage, hatred and fear -- some as victims and some as victimizers, but all as suffering souls. The more I felt the pain of their delusion, the more my heart opened and I began to cry for them. Every inch of my heart cried out for their release, as I prayed that the light of the Truth of their perfection, and indeed the perfection of their imagined enemies, might pierce the darkness and reveal itself to them.

Earlier today I began my morning meditation the way I always do, with the Buddhist Four Immeasurables prayer:

"May all beings have happiness and the cause of happiness.
May they be free from suffering and the cause of suffering.
May they never part from the happiness that is beyond suffering.
May they dwell in equanimity, without attachment or aversion."

I have long known that the one cause of suffering this prayer points to is the suffering caused by the delusion that we ARE these limited, separate, physical devices that we use to move through this physical realm. This false belief is the only true source of suffering that exists. Once we know that we are infinite beings having a localized experience, everything falls into perspective. Group identity is just an idea. Pride, respect, power -- all just ideas, none of which hold the power to cause or prevent our inner peace and outward demonstration of love. But in the presence of false identification with the illusion of these separate bodies and their separate life stories that we call "me," well then no happiness can possibly be a lasting one, for it is all frail and threatened, needing constant defense and shoring up.

Ending each meditation, there is the prayer that the merit gained by the practice be used to free all beings from suffering:

"Rising above all forces of negativity,
going beyond the turbulence of [belief in] birth, old age, sickness, and death,
from the ocean of samsara,
may I free all beings."

This is always meaningful to me, yet rarely does it reach into the depths of my emotions and empower itself as a creative prayer. Yet our thoughts and words have the power to create within this manufactured realm. We can take action upon the physical using our physical bodies and their efforts, but as Divine creators who manufactured this realm ourselves, we can also act upon this physical realm from a non-physical level. Yet in order for us to do this, we must "move" from the locus of our spiritual self, which is heart-centered. Emotion can be one of the widest paths to that center of connectedness with all life. And today it was music that allowed me to follow that path home, and re-energize my commitment to using my life to help as many people as I can to find freedom from the tyranny of their mental confusion, and to remember who they are.

"Pure, pure like the water,
let it run forever more,
to be clean, clean as the waves
come crashing to the shore.
It leaves me
smooth, smooth as a pebble,
polished in the depth of love
carried by the winds of grace
on the wings of a dove.
...
Arise and awake from your slumber
Kindle ancient flame
as witness to the waves of what's to change
though the essence remains the same."

~ Shimshai from the song "Pure" off the album "Deliverance"

Let yourself rise from the depths of your slumber. Remember who you are. You have lived a life from within a limited perspective, but you are not a limited being. You are Christ. You are Krishna. You are Buddha. Remember, and shine your light so that it might enlighten others as you pass through this world. You are not alone. You were never alone. There is only one of us.

"I know that Jah
is forever beside me.
I know the love
will forever remind me.
I know that Jah
is the light in a darkened world.
I must live in Thy way and Thy will."

~ Shimshai from the song "We Give Thanks" off the album "Live on Maui"

May you see the Truth in yourself, and find it again reflected back to you within every face you see.

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