SingPeace! Pilgrimage for Peace & Global Harmony

SingPeace! Pilgrimage

I think maybe people meditate to find spirited story in the land. It is why the human animal seeks out a movement practice, psychotherapist, self-analyze, contemplate dreams, make art. It is why we read, dance, blow a conch, read science, leverage a poem, pray, tell a story, “make story”, “make war”, go on a pilgrimage. We gather sensory tones to store in our bones. Then sit at the fire and “feel up” a song that will best sing the song in our bones, releasing the truths that sing the words that have been stored.

While at the fire waiting to release a song, some good questions arise. What tones have i gathered and stored? What war has separated and silenced my rhythm, buried my song of “peace”? What does it take to release the song from my internal wind chambers and sing in harmony with all the land, releasing words into the wind that guide? Where is my soul song? What is a sole song?

Many questions arise, some reminding me to tune my body as a instrument of the land.






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Comment by Pushkara Sally Ashford on February 18, 2010 at 11:36pm
Why I meditate:

I've been meditating, now, for a good 30 years. It all began when I heard a very loud c-r-a-c-k and, like a baby chick, stepped out of the egg of my cozy shell and entered a vast space, where "i," as i'd known myself and my world up to then, no longer existed as a separate and discreet entity. In its place was pure awareness - a unified field of "consciousness," that was, at one and the same time, the "All" and each of its parts.

Looking out, I could see the infinity of space. My mind was still there, but it took up only a tiny fraction of this vastness that I was aware of as the totality. I could see it spinning on its own axis over to my left side, having its little thoughts, making comments, without having a clue about what was going on.  Like a drop that had entered the ocean, "i" had dissolved to become that "All."

My "body," as I knew it a moment before, disappeared. In its place was a hollow shell, widely opening to the cosmos. The nothing that was something and something that was nothing - that awareness - was the same inside and outside. Like a thousand-stringed instrument, being strummed by the cosmic musician, my being vibrated and hummed with the primordial sound of om. I (my mind) was astounded at the ecstasy and perfection of this state. Suspended in a nectarean emulsion of divine love, I  promised never to leave this spot! I was going to stay there with my eyes closed forever.

"Now, I have something to let go to." That was my first thought as these feelings of infinite support and grace came over me. "Now, I have something to give to my children." As I  noted, my mind was trying to make sense of it all. "Where and how could anyone place their hands to make me feel this way?" How can I possibly describe a visitation from the cosmic lover?

I did open my eyes. We were gathered at a house, a meditation center, in Seattle. A few people remained in the room. "I feel like I've just been made love to," I said breathlessly. The others began telling me their most intimate stories. We went outside to eat lunch. I couldn't speak of what had just transpired. I knew it was sacred and shouldn't be scattered heedlessly on the wind. But I rolled on the ground, laughter bubbling up and spilling over. Contagious, it set the others off. None of knew what we were laughing about.

A strange thing, then: a whirlwind entered my spine. Like a roto-rooter, or like someone was whipping a towel from head to toe, it spun around and around. By the end of the afternoon, it was in full motion and I was lying prone with the power of this energy coursing through me. From time to time, someone would look over: "How are you doing?" 

"It's still going on," I'd say in that same wondrous tone. It went on for weeks and months. I could see inside people, looking into the eyes of strangers on the street, I saw only love. I would sneak out of bed at night to meditate, falling once more into that nectarean stupor. 

People brought me gifts, acknowledging the sacredness of this transformation. They also brought books that helped me to understand some of movements and permutations of this wondrous thing they called "shaktipat," the descent of grace. Knowing in my heart that this had everything to do with a meditation master who was 3000 miles away at the time, I wrote to him. He answered all of my letters. I met him "in the flesh" six months later.


As for why people meditate, I talked to many: "for inner peace," to reduce stress," "to lose weight," "to heal old wounds," "to find God." In the early days, I compared my meditation experience to a 3-layered birthday cake:
the top layer is our world - that which we can see, taste, touch, feel and hear. There's an invisible border between that world and the second layer -our inner psyche - the intellect, the unconscious, our perceptions and feelings and outlook. 

What happens for me when I meditate, is that a third and deeper realm opens up. All the "furniture" - thoughts, habits, life patterns - carefully constructed and arranged for convenient access, falls through the trap door of my mind and disappears; it dissolves in the elemental unity and pre-existing primordial nature that i understand as the "All." At times, I've told myself: "It's the only God I'll ever know."

But wait! The master's message is two-fold: "Meditate on your Self, worship your Self, kneel to your Self. God dwells within you as you for you." He also says, "See God in each other." He would say, "The bliss of the world is the bliss of samadhi." So, ultimately, the inner and outer can be known as one and the same. 

Through meditation, through any focused practice, we do enter "the eye," an ocean of bliss, where we exist in the world, as the world. The work is not over if we're still sitting there with our eyes closed. Until we can know ourselves as the bliss of the world, foot the land as the land, as you say, we're still wet behind the ears.

One of my favorite stories is in Tripura Rahasya - the secret of the Goddess Kundalini - of Hemalekha and Hemacuda. 

Prince Hemacuda made love to his wife in the forests, on the river banks, and in the garden, but he soon perceived that his wife was indifferent and not interested in these pleasures. He tells Hemalekha: "I am utterly drawn towards you, while you seem to be drawn elsewhere. When I speak to you, you don't seem to listen. Many times I have gone to your place to embrace you and soon you say, 'Why have you come?' Hemacuda laments for a long while.

Having listened carefully, the pure-hearted girl smiled a bit and answered her husband very shrewdly, with a view to explain the truth. "O prince, no hear me. It is not true that I do not love you. The fact is that I am deeply engrossed in a thought. I am not able to solve this problem for my self as to what is really 'good' or 'not good' (satisfying in a higher sense). I have been thinking about it for a long time, but woman as I am, it is not possible for me to find an answer."

Hemacuda laughed and said, "It is true that women have not much reason. Now, I no doubt about it since even insects, animals and birds know full well what is good and not good for them. It is so evident that there is a natural tendency to turn towards things which are pleasant and good and to  
turn away from those which are otherwise. It doesn't need much thought since anything which gives pleasure is good and that which brings pain is not good." 

Hemalekha leads her husband on through various stories and inquiries, examining how a single thing - fire, for instance - can be both pleasurable and painful, depending upon the circumstances. She, already a realized being, is there as helpmate to her husband, quietly leading him from the limitations of the mind's wanderings to liberation. 

Hemacuda is quite surprised by Hemalekha's understanding. He wants to learn more. She suggests he meditate with his eyes closed. After he's mastered that, she tells him to try it seated with his eyes open. He still hasn't gained anything, she points out later, until he's able to engage, get up on his feet and walk around - he is ruler of a kingdom, after all - and enter into life and the role he's meant to play. In the end, he becomes a great leader and serves the people well for many years.

This "scripture" of Kashmir Shaivism, in the form of a teaching story, winds its way through many fascinating allegories. I've given only a taste of it, here. 

Perhaps the answer to why people meditate and why they sing, as you imply, may be found in the same place - hOMe. They are practices that bring us home to our true nature, the divine presence we can only experience here and now. One provides a container of stillness, out of which arises an urgency to move, to spill over, to laugh, and dance and call out our songs, stories and poems, our "spirited story in the land," as you have described.

This is the eternal play  - the lila - of Shiva, the cosmic storehouse, and Shakti, his consort whose dance illumines the diversity of all life!

HeartSpace - love and wisdom meet in the listening space of the heart.

“No journey carries one far unless, as it extends into the world around us, it goes an equal distance into the world within”
--Lillian Smith

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