Category Archives: I Am

Holding the chord

Barring love to uphold justice prevents the completion of the circuit that fulfils our aim.  Locked within us are the answers we seek to resolve the struggle that our minds cannot reconcile. Belief is an individual process that becomes entangled with our upbringing as well as loyalties to both the need to be accepted and our innate fear of punishment.  Love transcends our need for self-preservation.  Wanting to uphold for all beings what we desire for ourselves is not rational but instinctual.  Nestled in our conflict is the desire to embrace our vehemence and outrage, to allow the song of life to rejoin itself in harmony.

Israeli Palestinian peace*************************************************************

Last week I posted the Stream of Light about Elie Wiesel onto Facebook. A musical acquaintance of mine made some accusatory and ugly remarks about Mr. Wiesel.  I deleted his comments. He was outraged and asked me to unfriend him for censoring him.  We messaged back and forth.  I apologized for deleting his comments without asking him to.  My acquaintance is very passionate about standing up for the rights of displaced Palestinians and he felt that Mr. Wiesel, who stood for other groups rights, failed to do so for the Palestinians and was antagonistic to their plight.  I looked up an article written by a Palestinian writer who was a fan of Mr. Wiesel’s book Night but who was disappointed in Mr. Wiesel’s actions.  Since my acquaintance also works for peace, I pointed out that although outraged, our ability to not close the hearts of those who are needed to amend or help facilitate justice, is vital.

Elie Wiesel, who would have concurred that he was not a saint, said:

“No nation is composed of saints alone. None is sheltered from mistakes or misdeeds. All have their Cain and Abel. It takes vision and courage to undergo serious soul-searching and to favor moral conscience over political expediency.”

At the end of our conversation, my acquaintance and I reached an understanding. We both were able to be heard.  In fact, that Friday night as Julia and I sang for a service at a temple, I was wrestling with the issue of people wanting a home for themselves and their families. The depth of the situation, is parallel to the plight of the Native Americans, whose land many of us rent or seem to own.

During the service, Julia and I were asked to sing Jerusalem of Gold, by Naomi Shemer. The song reflects 2,000 years of yearning for a homeland. In the middle of it, I held one of the chords and stood there with my eyes closed. I had to wait, overcome by what felt like an endless torrent of tears.  The innate connection to the song felt deeper than my identification with my tribe. The moments of holding that chord in silence felt like the collective longing all of humanity has for shelter, to belong, to be embraced by the dignity of their own wholeness.

When I related this event to my mother, she shared this excerpt from one of the I Am discourses:

   “When you enter into the understanding of what Indestructible harmony means to Life, you will have entered into the Powerhouse of the universe, because discord is disintegration; and the only thing that is Eternal Perfection is Indestructible Harmony. There is no freedom without Harmony, no permanent health without Harmony, no Victory over that which you call evil, which is discord, except Indestructible Harmony.”

Last night, here in Iowa, Julia’s mom gave me an article she has saved for me about Elie Wiesel talking in a church. Mr. Wiesel confessed that he was only able to speak and sing in this church because he was able to put aside his anger and recognize that not all Christians had turned their backs on the Jews during the holocaust.  What he said after that was what had stayed with the author of the article ever since:

“I believe people who can stand together and sing together, can live in peace together.” – Elie Wiesel

Even in the midst of all this heart wrenching unrest and the Civil Liberties that we still need to stand for here in America and around the world, remembering our harmony will help us to sing as we stand.  I believe our internal harmony bridges the gap between us.

May you hold the chord, even as you struggle to regain your voice within the silence of yearning.


Flipping the switch- turning ‘me’ off for freedom

Sri Nisargadatta: “You are not experiencing suffering; you are suffering your experiencing.”
Mooji: “As long as you believe you are the body and your mind is your self, you will remain bound…
…If you hold to the intuition, the sense ‘I am’, and do not allow this to connect with any other concept, if you just let the ‘I am’ incubate in itself, immediately joy and space prevail. Spontaneously, there is the silent and intuitive conviction that confirms, ‘I am timeless, unbound being.’ This is not a teaching; it is a powerful inner experience. Inexplicable.”*-  *from Before I AM/ Mooji
This week I have been experimenting with what Mooji is describing above.  That is leaving the identification with my name, status, and endless neurotic traits to actively be inside a happy conscious spaciousness.  The ability to lay down the burden of ‘me’ is wonderful.  As I described last week, I am not able to do this all the time but I’ve been playing with the idea of flipping a switch and turning ‘me’ off and turning on ‘I am’.  It has been especially fun doing it while playing music.  So often as a performer, I have been chained to what the audience thinks of ‘me’ and how I am doing.  We often talk about doing great things when we get ourselves out of the way. This wide-open waking meditative connection with what is here without my body and mind demanding to be center stage, is very satisfying, loving and doesn’t prevent anything from getting done.
The challenge is remembering and being able to flip the switch.  Sometimes it is a light switch, sometimes it is a weighted lever, sometimes my mind convinces me not to want to.
This particular take on connecting to the stream is new to me but of course, it is very ancient.  In being able recognize that our form is just cosmic play- changing, decaying, reforming, we can celebrate our diversity not as tolerance but as the kaleidoscope winking at our ‘eye/I’.
With this in mind, here is a lyrical take on the Gettysburg Address from the play Hair:
Four score and seven years ago
Oh, sock it to em’ baby, your sounding better all the time
Our forefathers, I mean all our forefathers
Brought forth upon this continent a new nation.
Oh, come on and stroke me Stokely*!
Conceived, conceived like we all was, in liberty
And dedicated to the one I love
I mean, Dedicated to the proposition
That aaaaall men….honey, I tell you all men,  are created equal.”
-Abe, Baby
And women too, of course!
Formless in form, let the play begin!
*- “There is a higher law than the law of the government. That’s the law of conscience.”
– Stokely Carmichael