I saw this video on a friend’s blog a few minutes ago. I believe it is an important one to pass on. Thank you Kathie for introducing me to it and thank you Barbra for creating it.
Sreejit sent me the link to a video yesterday. I loved it:
This morning I played it again. As I was doing that, I noticed another video by the same group. When I listened to/watched it, I got goosebumps. By the end, I was teary.
What a good way to start my day. I hope these music videos also brighten your morning/afternoon/evening.
I’ve watched more videos than normal lately- ones that weren’t political for a change. I decided to share three of them with you.
Awe-Inspiring– wish I had seen this one 40+ years ago!
Fun- This video was Seattle Police Department’s response to a lip sync challenge from officers in Virginia.
Beautiful: A friend sent me this one earlier today.
Kuldeep M Pai has published a new music video of his student, Sooryagayathri, singing Kurai Ondrum illai. I find her music to be as inspiring now as it was when she was a young child. To my mind it is perfection.
I thank my friend Ramana for recommending that I check her out in August of 2016.
This new song and music video from Nimo of Empty Hands Music was written with graduates in mind but I believe the wisdom it contains is an an important reminder to all of us. I love it!
Those of you who have been following my blog for a while may remember that I am a big fan of Nimo Patel from Empty Hands Music. Nimo has recently offered another music video to the world. This one is called Beautiful. The email message from Empty Hands Music introducing the new video stated:
We have officially released our latest music video called “Beautiful“, a song and video sharing a message of letting go of our technology once in a while, to see the beauty that is constantly surrounding us. If you enjoy it, do share with your friends and family.
The introduction on the YouTube page gave even more information:
Ellie Walton and Nimo release another Empty Hands Music Video, this time featuring Nimo in collaboration with soul singer Jason Joseph. The message of the song is simple: that beauty exists every where we go. We just have to open our hearts and eyes, to actually see it moment to moment.
You can download the album that contains these songs and more- for free- at the Empty Hands site but I decided to put the links to some of my previous Nimo posts below. The first one includes introductory information as well as one of the songs he sang when I first heard him sing.
I was excited to see that Sooryagayatri has a new video. Her voice is as pure as it was when she was nine. What a blessed person she is.
You can learn more about her from a post I wrote in August of 2016 Sooryagayathri- A Mesmerizing Child Singer. Thank you Ramana for introducing me to her music.
Every year at this time, Nimo Patel shares his Empty Hands Music video Grateful. This year he included this message with it:
Grateful for the many blessings that are always surrounding us. When our cup of gratitude overflows, we are inspired to want to give more to others: thanks + giving. May we all continue to be grateful and giving, and have a blessed and safe holiday season!
In that spirit, I am passing his message and video on to you.
Today, a friend sent me a link to a video of an Assyrian Greek Orthodox choir singing in Aramaic to Pope Francis. Listening to it gave me goosebumps so I wanted to share it with you.
The performance took place in Georgia, a country in Eurasia. The video has been uploaded onto YouTube by different groups. Some say the song is “Our Father,” others say it is Psalm 53 and yet another says it is Psalm 16. In looking at the translations I think it may be Psalm 16, but I don’t know. What I do know is that it is beautiful.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
I have been thinking about Utopia since last Thursday when Sreejit announced it as the topic for this week’s Dungeon Prompts. My reflection took me to some uncomfortable places that expanded beyond the scope of Utopia.
When I think of Utopia, I think of Shangri-La, and when I think of Shangri-La, I think of the 1973 movie The Lost Horizon, one of my favorite musicals of all time. [The movie was panned by critics but it really spoke to my heart.]
As I began to write this post, I looked up The Lost Horizon and found this YouTube recording of the opening theme song. Here are the lyrics and the video. I started to cry as I listened to the song.
Have you ever dreamed of a place
Far away from it all
Where the air you breathe is soft and clean
And children play in fields of green
And the sound of guns
Doesn’t pound in your ears (anymore)
Have you ever dreamed of a place
Far away from it all
Where the winter winds will never blow
And living things have room to grow
And the sound of guns
Doesn’t pound in your ears anymore.
Many miles from yesterday before you reach tomorrow
where the time is always just today
there’s a lost horizon waiting to be found.
There’s a lost horizon where the sound of guns
doesn’t pound in your ears anymore.
Earlier today, the word nirvana came to my mind. Wikipedia says this about nirvana: “All Indian religions assert it to be a state of perfect quietude, freedom, highest happiness along with it being the liberation from samsara, the repeating cycle of birth, life and death.”
It occurs to me that I may have considered aspects of Utopia, Shangri-La and Nirvana this week. In fact, I think I’ve mixed them all together. I will be presenting some of my processing in a fairly random manner.
In my mind, Utopia would be a world without war. It wouldn’t be a world without conflict because humans will always have differences of opinions. It wouldn’t be a world without pain because humans aren’t likely to grow unless there is at least a measure of pain involved. But it would be a world where differences are honored, where people place a high value on seeking win-win solutions, and where love is valued more than hate. It would be a world where we don’t expect each other to be perfect. In my vision of Utopia, everyone would live a life full of adventure, challenge and learning. People would be willing to work on and resolve their issues with each other and would give and receive support.
This week I reviewed my life and identified times when I experienced a deep sense of bliss. The times that came to mind, in order of their occurence, were:
- In 9th grade riding on a bus with Youth For Christ members, singing Christian songs with all of my heart
- Listening to and singing bhajans during my early years with Amma, especially when the songs were about Krishna.
- Spending several hours in a deep meditative state during one of my first trips to India. It occurred when I was sitting in the temple, very close to Amma. I felt like part of me was in another realm, at a party that my conscious mind was not allowed to attend.
- Singing and “Dancing in the Spirit” at Power House Church of God in Christ (COGIC).
- Being one of a handful of white people at several COGIC convocations in Memphis, singing gospel music along with 40,000 African-Americans.
- Listening to Gregorian chanting at Christ in the Desert, a Benedictine monastery in New Mexico.
- Hearing Taize music for the first time.
- Singing and dancing to Amrita Vahini, Mata Rani and many other Amma bhajans.
- Singing Ganesh bhajans in the Kalari last week.
Amma teaches us that bliss comes when the mind is silent. She gives the example of chocolate. If we have been craving chocolate we feel bliss at the moment the chocolate touches our tongue. If the bliss was from the chocolate then we could eat more and more chocolate and become more and more blissful. The reality is, if we eat a lot of chocolate, we will become sick. Amma says we experience bliss at that time because in the instant our tongue tastes the chocolate, our minds are silent and free from desire.
In all of the examples above, my mind was silent. I was focused and living in the moment.
So how do I keep myself from experiencing states similar to Utopia/Shangri-la/Nirvana in my life now?
There would be no point in trying to recreate the experiences from the past since bliss is a peak experience that usually comes unannounced. If I look at the list above though, I can see that each instance involved music and community.
Nowadays, I spend too much time alone; watch, read or think too much about current events in my country and in the world; over-think in general; and often don’t ask for what I want or need. I’ve allowed music, singing and dancing to almost disappear from my life except when I am with Amma and even then I don’t take full advantage of those opportunities. I make myself miserable by ruminating about the past or by having expectations and being upset when they don’t come to fruition.
Being around Amma brings our negativities to the surface so that we can work on them. I know that even though the behaviors I mentioned in the paragraph above are areas of weakness for me, they all feel very heightened right now as I’m writing this on a day when I am immersed in my “shit.” Things are not as black and white as I’m feeling in the moment.
At the same time, I also realize that these self-sabotaging behaviors could become more entrenched now that I’m retired. Am I willing to change them? Time will tell.
Thank you Sreejit for creating a prompt that helped me to sort some of this out.