Julia and I had the honor of being a part of our friend Mirabi Moon’s kirtan CD Bridge to Where You Are, and getting to join her for her CD release. Before the concert we were eating a light dinner and I got to talk to our mutual friend Jim, who joined Mirabi on her last visit to India. He was telling me about the pollution and the poverty of Delhi as well as going to visit Neem Karoli Baba’s home and ashram. Baba was the influential guru of Ram Dass, Krishna Das and others. Jim told me that he went into Baba’s room and felt the love and joy palpably. There was a definite shift in the energy.
Now, there are people who would tell of this experience and place the emphasis on them noticing the shift of energy. “Notice how I was the one who felt the love and joy in this space, I am really something that I was able to pick up on this.” Jim is not that way. He is unassuming, quiet, gentle and real in a sweet grounded way. When he told me, I believed him. Jim is like the untitled, unannounced guru, who manifests an enlightened quietude with a smile and the ability to listen to you without interruption.
We started talking about meditation and he said what was important was polishing the connection between you and your source. If mediation allowed you to do that, that was the thing, if playing music did it for you, then that was the thing. He said most people are actively seeking other people’s opinions for guidance or validation when everything is inside. Polishing the connection is all that matters.
The next night I spent time with a veterinarian from Argentina who grew up seeing headlines about the Jewish Problem in the newspapers, published by the local Nazis. He came to this country and incurred grief for being ‘Hispanic’. He laughs about it and maintains his wholeness. He turned me on to Harold Land, a saxophone player and a recording he did with Clifford Brown. These were folks who polished their connection through their instruments to be sure. What struck me about my friend the veterinarian was that he was fully himself without apology or any discomfiture. While he was humorously incredulous about the state of the world, it didn’t diminish his presence or push him off his center. There was no need for validation as he told me his stories about meeting the Art Farmer, the trumpeter.
He laughed and said the Spice Girls made more money than Clifford Brown, Art Farmer, many other great Jazz greats and even Bach combined. Yet, here we were listening to Clifford Brown, not the Spice Girls. Genius will prevail is essentially what he said.
Later, Julia turned me on to a video of Bill Murray being interviewed and when asked what he wanted, Bill said that he wanted to be here more of the time. Essentially, he was saying that he wanted to be present and if it were possible to become enlightened but he never actually said that. Yet listening to him hint at it, the energy raised up right through the screen.
The next day I discussed all of this with Julia and reflected that I also desire to be present more of the time but also admire and long to be more consistently comfortable being who and where I am. In my desire to be the bridge between communities, I get lured into seeking the approval of those either in front of me or those I admire. If I am with a Jewish beloved leader, there is an undercurrent driving me to prove or show how Jewish I am, as if I don’t believe I am measuring up to what other people are doing. The truth is, our own path is not worn by many feet. If we are truly on path, we are forging it and while I want everyone to love me, the polishing is within. If I am in a space of being love, then I do not need that validation or acceptance. I am loving and accepting and that becomes the bridge between communities. I am not the conduit but the love generated, within my connection is.