Today represented a milestone of a day for me. Since, oh, 1998 or 1999 I have dreamed of playing the harmonium-- that portable combination accordion/organ used in Kirtan, devotional chanting and mantra. There's something so amazing about the sound of a harmonium-- hearing it alone immediately opens my heart. And even just chanting Om along to a couple of well-placed chords becomes a transformative experience that turns my day around.
Since I received my harmonium on December 1 from Kristin Brooks of the Bhakti House Band, I have played sometimes for two or three hours a day, not actively trying to learn chords or tunes but just delighting in the sound I'm able to make with it-- and how resonant the vocals are on top of it. It's so powerful to me, the sounds reverberate in my mind and in my throat long after I am done actually playing and singing.
There is the feeling that this is a new way of being, and at the age of 38, finding those moments is pretty special to me. There was probably a time in my life when I thought I had seen it all. I'll save my story for another time, but suffice it to say that this year has represented a beautiful shift for me-- from the unreal to the real, the safety of the known to the juicy mystery of the unknown, the darkness to the light. I've been stunned and touched by my students, most recently the ones who allowed me to share my new love of the harmonium with them today. I'll say that the experience of teaching has shifted for me in a big way this year. It's not always been easy-- goodness knows I've found more ways than I care to admit that I have made everything about me-- but there is now a release of all that, a willingness to live in service of something greater, even though I am not sure at this moment what exactly that "something greater" is. In any case, 2012 promises to be more of the same awakening, unfolding, revealing... and I am ready for it, here, now, receptive.
asato ma sad gamaya
tamaso ma jyotir gamaya
mrutyor ma amritam gamaya
From ignorance lead me to truth
From darkness lead me to light
From death lead me to immortality
— Brhadaranyaka Upanisad, I.iii.28
I bow to the light that shines within.
Infinite peace be with you.