And on the other hand...

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Went to See the Guru

...and the guru said...why not enjoy living, because you're not dead.

Well, not exactly what he said, but that's the message I took away.  This was Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (not THAT Ravi Shankar), leader of a non-profit organization called the Art of Living Foundation.  (First time I heard of him, I thought he was Irish: Art O'Fliving.)  Six years ago,  I went with a friend when the good guru visited Hawaii to talk and lead us in meditation and answer questions about the meaning of life. Then, as he was ceremonially exiting the hall, I offended someone with my quip, "And next week, the Pope."

But yesterday, I saw an ad in our vaguely alternative newspaper announcing his appearance again at the Japanese Cultural Center (of all places).  My horoscope in the same newspaper suggested that this would be an "excellent time for you to take inventory of what brings you pleasure....see if you can gain access to an experience that could accurately be described as a blessed state of bliss."

Well, I just HAD to go.  The newspaper also had an ad for a concert of Cantonese music, naahmyam, at the East-West Center.  Seeking bliss, I dragged the Wizard (who loved it) to this event, featuring a singing style performed in brothels and opium dens in turn of the century Canton. By blind musicians.  It was really interesting, but that's another story.

And here it is:  Naahmyam is an operatic storytelling style, sentimentally like Mississippi Delta blues or Portuguese fado:  I think of it as Pearl River Delta blues.  I didn't understand a word of it,  but the emotion was conveyed.  By Blind Willie McCheong.  The Doc Watson of Guangzhou. Or  even Stevie Wonder. No, I'm not making fun, it was really cool. Not exactly the state of bliss suggested in my horoscope, but it was certainly worth the attention.

Back to Sri Sri.

The guru is about a decade younger than me.  He taught a head massage which was very like some Taoist qigong techniques I have learned, and then a meditation which was good, but interrupted with some weird "Oms" and guidance that I found distracting.  The persons at my left and right in the hall were fidgeting.  The meditation ended much sooner than I expected.

Still, his comments and responses to questions were right on.The local person who introduced him talked about "aloha" and "Ha-wai-i". "Ha" is the Hawaiian word for breath (like prana or even qi); wai means "sea" and "i" is spirit. Alo-ha is the sharing of "ha"(which is why it can be both a salutation or greeting and a farewell). I'm not really enchanted with aspects of ancient Hawaiian/Polynesian culture, (kind of stone age, really) but spiritually there is a commonality...breath and whether it's a Hawaiian kapuna (an honored elder), Sri Sri, or Hu Lao Shi (my Chinese Tao teacher)...the teachings are similar.

I don't really know what a holy person is. But there are times when you meet someone, are in someone's presence, that you get an energy, a confirmation of things you know to be true. Maybe that's bliss. Maybe my horoscope was right.


sybil law said...

Sounds like your horoscope was pretty accurate!
I love breath- sea - spirit. Hawaii. Beautiful. I should be living there, if only for that reason!

Kittie Howard said...

I am delighted that I could finally access your blog. For a week, I've been getting Blog Not Found...checked with a computer geek friend who said this wasn't unusual, ie, Easter Week, spring break, everybody on the computer...anyway, I think your horoscope was right...and, yes, I've been in situations where everything felt right and the positive energy flowed...oh, what a treasure!

Kittie Howard said...

Ahhh, success. Just to be sure, I returned to your blog; no problems. Guess the Geek was right (as in, what do I know about computers? Zilch!) Anyway, wanted to thank you for your most generous comment...Your sense of direction is like my husband's. Drop him anywhere and he gets to exactly where he wants to go. I've read where this is genetic. Spatially handicapped? Tis I!

baroness radon said...

Geeks and gurus...guidance counselors for adults.
Although, it's funny...I bought some music at the guru's event, very beautiful Indian chanting, beautiful female voice against that droning harmonium thing..but one chant sounds for all the world like she is saying "Guru preddy dam nasti..."

I am grateful that someone might have missed me! I guess I only get lost in cyberspace.