Assyrian Greek Orthodox Choir Sings in Aramaic to Pope Francis

Today, a friend sent me a link to a video of an Assyrian Greek Orthodox choir singing in Aramaic to Pope Francis. Listening to it gave me goosebumps so I wanted to share it with you.

The performance took place in Georgia, a country in Eurasia. The video has been uploaded onto YouTube by different groups. Some say the song is “Our Father,” others say it is Psalm 53 and yet another says it is Psalm 16. In looking at the translations I think it may be Psalm 16, but I don’t know. What I do know is that it is beautiful.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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Exploring Utopia

I have been thinking about Utopia since last Thursday when Sreejit announced it as the topic for this week’s Dungeon Prompts. My reflection took me to some uncomfortable places that expanded beyond the scope of Utopia.

When I think of Utopia, I think of Shangri-La, and when I think of Shangri-La, I think of the 1973 movie The Lost Horizon, one of my favorite musicals of all time. [The movie was panned by critics but it really spoke to my heart.]

As I began to write this post, I looked up The Lost Horizon and found this YouTube recording of the opening theme song. Here are the lyrics and the video. I started to cry as I listened to the song.

Lyrics:

Have you ever dreamed of a place
Far away from it all
Where the air you breathe is soft and clean
And children play in fields of green
And the sound of guns
Doesn’t pound in your ears (anymore)

Have you ever dreamed of a place
Far away from it all
Where the winter winds will never blow
And living things have room to grow
And the sound of guns
Doesn’t pound in your ears anymore.

Many miles from yesterday before you reach tomorrow
where the time is always just today
there’s a lost horizon waiting to be found.
There’s a lost horizon where the sound of guns
doesn’t pound in your ears anymore.

Earlier today, the word nirvana came to my mind. Wikipedia says this about nirvana: “All Indian religions assert it to be a state of perfect quietude, freedom, highest happiness along with it being the liberation from samsara, the repeating cycle of birth, life and death.”

It occurs to me that I may have considered aspects of Utopia, Shangri-La and Nirvana this week. In fact, I think I’ve mixed them all together. I will be presenting some of my processing in a fairly random manner.

***

In my mind, Utopia would be a world without war. It wouldn’t be a world without conflict because humans will always have differences of opinions. It wouldn’t be a world without pain because humans aren’t likely to grow unless there is at least a measure of pain involved. But it would be a world where differences are honored, where people place a high value on seeking win-win solutions, and where love is valued more than hate. It would be a world where we don’t expect each other to be perfect. In my vision of Utopia, everyone would live a life full of adventure, challenge and learning. People would be willing to work on and resolve their issues with each other and would give and receive support.

***

This week I reviewed my life and identified times when I experienced a deep sense of bliss. The times that came to mind, in order of their occurence, were:

  • In 9th grade riding on a bus with Youth For Christ members, singing Christian songs with all of my heart
  • Listening to and singing  bhajans during my early years with Amma, especially when the songs were about Krishna.
  • Spending several hours in a deep meditative state during one of my first trips to India. It occurred when I was sitting in the temple, very close to Amma. I felt like part of me was in another realm, at a party that my conscious mind was not allowed to attend.
  • Singing and “Dancing in the Spirit” at Power House Church of God in Christ (COGIC).
  • Being one of a handful of white people at several COGIC convocations in Memphis, singing gospel music along with 40,000 African-Americans.
  • Listening to Gregorian chanting at Christ in the Desert, a Benedictine monastery in New Mexico.
  • Hearing Taize music for the first time.
  • Singing and dancing to Amrita Vahini, Mata Rani and many other Amma bhajans.
  • Singing Ganesh bhajans in the Kalari last week.

Amma teaches us that bliss comes when the mind is silent. She gives the example of chocolate. If we have been craving chocolate we feel bliss at the moment the chocolate touches our tongue. If the bliss was from the chocolate then we could eat more and more chocolate and become more and more blissful. The reality is, if we eat a lot of chocolate, we will become sick. Amma says we experience bliss at that time because in the instant our tongue tastes the chocolate, our minds are silent and free from desire.

In all of the examples above, my mind was silent. I was focused and living in the moment.

***

So how do I keep myself from experiencing states similar to Utopia/Shangri-la/Nirvana in my life now?

There would be no point in trying to recreate the experiences from the past since bliss is a peak experience that usually comes unannounced. If I look at the list above though, I can see that each instance involved music and community.

Nowadays, I spend too much time alone; watch, read or think too much about current events in my country and in the world; over-think in general; and often don’t ask for what I want or need. I’ve allowed music, singing and dancing to almost disappear from my life except when I am with Amma and even then I don’t take full advantage of those opportunities. I make myself miserable by ruminating about the past or by having expectations and being upset when they don’t come to fruition.

Being around Amma brings our negativities to the surface so that we can work on them. I know that even though the behaviors I mentioned in the paragraph above are areas of weakness for me, they all feel very heightened right now as I’m writing this on a day when I am immersed in my “shit.” Things are not as black and white as I’m feeling in the moment.

At the same time, I also realize that these self-sabotaging behaviors could become more entrenched now that I’m retired. Am I willing to change them? Time will tell.

Thank you Sreejit for creating a prompt that helped me to sort some of this out.

 

Song Lyric Sunday: Purple Haze

The first song I thought of when I read that Helen’s Song Lyric Sunday prompt for this week was color was Jimi Hendrix’s Purple Haze. The fact that he was significant in my history (I heard him sing at the Atlanta International Pop Festival in 1970, two and a half months before he died), my son’s history (as a teenager Sreejit was an aspiring heavy metal musician) and was born in Seattle contributed to me choosing that song as well.

Purple Haze was written by Jimi Hendrix and was performed by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. It was released as a single in 1967 (7 years before my son was born). It became one of his most well known songs.

Lyrics

Purple Haze all in my brain,
lately things don’t seem the same,
actin’ funny but I don’t know why
‘scuse me while I kiss the sky.

Purple Haze all around,
don’t know if I’m coming up or down.
Am I happy or in misery?
Whatever it is, that girl put a spell on me.

Help me
Help me
Oh no, oh

Yeah, Purple Haze all in my eyes,
don’t know if it’s day or night,
you’ve got me blowing, blowing my mind
is it tomorrow or just the end of time?

Help me, yeah, Purple Haze!

Sooryagayathri and Rahul Vellal: Brahmam Okate

In August of last year, I posted several videos of a child  singer, Sooryagayathri, from Kerala, India.  I described her as having an  exquisite, mesmerizing voice. I just found out she has a new video, one that was posted three weeks ago. This time she sings with a young boy named Rahul Vellal. I hope you enjoy their music as much as I do.

Song Lyric Sunday: Imagine

Helen’s prompt for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday is “Healing.” The song that came to my mind when I read the prompt was John Lennon’s Imagine. Its tune and lyrics have touched me from the first time I heard it.  I believe that only healing would lead us to the world that he so powerfully describes. May his dream become a reality some day.

Imagine was written and sung by John Lennon in 1971.

Lyrics

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today… Aha-ah… 

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace… You… 

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
I
magine all the people
Sharing all the world… You…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

 

Song Lyric Sunday: The First Time I Saw Your Face

The Song Lyric Sunday prompt for this week is “Time.” As I searched for a song about time, my eyes fell on Roberta Flack’s, The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face. I LOVE Roberta Flack and hearing the song brought back so many memories from the 70’s.

The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face was written by Ewan MacColl in 1957. It was first sung by Peggy Seeger and then by a series of folk singers. Roberta Flack’s version became an international hit in 1972. (Wikipedia)

The first time ever I saw your face
I thought the sun rose in your eyes
And the moon and the stars were the gifts you gave
To the dark and the endless skies my love
To the dark and the endless skies

The first time ever I kissed your mouth
I felt the earth move in my hand
Like the trembling heart of a captive bird
That was there at my command my love
That was there at my command my love

And the first time ever I lay with you
I felt your heart so close to mine
And I knew our joy would fill the earth
And last ’till the end of time my love
And it would last ’till the end of time

The first time ever I saw your face
Your face, your face

Song Lyric Sunday: For the Record- Kumbaya

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Helen’s direction for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday is to share a song about respect. My son, Sreejit Poole, recently wrote a blues song called For the Record- Kumbaya. I think his song is both profound and deeply moving. I have been looking forward to sharing it with those who read my blog and the Song Lyric Sunday community.

Sreejit lives at Amma‘s ashram in Amritapuri, India. His blog is The Seeker’s Dungeon

This short introduction precedes the singing.

Why do we call it civil rights instead of basic human decency?
The wings of science and spirituality, or possibility and love, should foster a world where no one has to beg for respect
but limited is our vision when our intelligence we neglect
or we try to fly with one wing, as the case may be.

Song Lyrics (The lyrics are also written on the video.)

I’ve got a pen and a thought,
I’ve got a story trapped deep in my heart,
I’ve got a freaky little way to start.
but it seems the words don’t want to come out, I’m feeling a little restless now.

Who read my soul, who read my soul and turned away.
Who read my soul and turned away.

Kumbaya My Lord, Kumbaya
Kumbaya My Lord
– but for the record, the words don’t want to come out ’cause I’m not feeling very holy now.

I’ve got a pen and a thought,
but I’m scared to write the words for the power they’d impart.
I’ve got a lot of careless things to say,
I’ve got a lot of minds to mold my way.

Who read my soul, who read my soul and turned away.
Who read my soul and turned away.

Kumbaya My Lord, Kumbaya
Kumbaya my Lord
– but for the record, the words don’t want to come out ’cause I’m not feeling very holy now.

Who read my soul and turned away.
because they didn’t have the time for more than just a smile, and a “have a nice day?”

True love it comes from above, and I don’t expect it,
but a little bit would be fine with me.
It would be fine with me.

Kumbaya My Lord, Kumbaya
Kumbaya my Lord
– but for the record, the words don’t want to come out ’cause I’m not feeling very holy now.

Lord come quickly ‘cause I’m falling down.
You better catch hold, ‘cause I’m not gonna catch hold.

Lord I’m running never to be found,
unless you catch hold, ‘cause I’m not gonna catch hold.

Lord come quickly ‘cause I’m falling down.
You better catch hold, ‘cause I’m not gonna catch hold.

Lord I’m running never to be found,
unless you catch hold, ‘cause I’m not gonna catch hold.

cropped-senior-salon

 

Shared with Senior Salon

Taize: Veni Sancte Spiritus

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This has been such a difficult week for me, as it has been for many of us. It seems like so much of what I hold dear is in danger.

From time to time during the last two days, a song from a monastery in France has come to my mind. That song is Veni Sancte Spiritus.

The Taize monastery is dedicated to the reunification of the Christian church. At this point there are 100 brothers living there. They come from various Catholic and Protestant denominations and are from 30 different countries.

Taize music touched me to the core the first time I heard it and that has never changed. I visited the French monastery with friends in 2003 or 2004. We had the privilege of spending part of one evening with Brother Roger, their founder. He was in his late 80’s at the time of our visit.

I will never forget that experience. I felt like I was in the presence of a master. One or two years later, he was murdered in the temple. The world lost a great soul that night, but his work lives on.

There are Catholic and Protestant churches singing Taize music all over the world. Those services are always ecumenical.

I have picked a version of Veni Sante Spiritus that includes several different languages (I don’t know how many languages since I only understand English!) When I started the video and the music began, I burst into tears once again.

Following the first video, there will be another one that is in English. And at the end of the post you will find the lyrics in English. The photos in the first video are from the Taize monastery.

I chose to put the video prior to the lyrics so you had an opportunity to get a sense of the song without knowing what it meant. Here is the English version followed by the lyrics. It is also a very beautiful version. As I am listening to it my tears are still pouring.

Lyrics

Come, Holy Spirit, from heaven shine forth with your glorious light.
Veni Sancte Spiritus

Come, Father of the poor, come, generous Spirit, come,
light of our hearts.
Veni Sancte Spiritus

Come from the four winds, O Spirit, come breath of God;
disperse the shadows over us, renew and
strengthen your people.
Veni Sancte Spiritus

Most kindly warming light! Enter the inmost depths of our hearts,
for we are faithful to you.
Without your presence we have nothing worthy, nothing pure.
Veni Sancte Spiritus

You are only comforter, Peace of the soul.
In the heat you shade us; in our labour you refresh us,
and in trouble you are our strength.
Veni Sancte Spiritus

On all who put their trust in you and receive you in faith,
shower all your gifts.
Grant that they may grow in you and persevere to the end.
Give them lasting joy!
Veni Sancte Spiritus

Read more: http://www.letssingit.com/taize-lyrics-veni-sancte-spiritus-t9tpw88#ixzz4PrsEY2x0
LetsSingIt – Your favorite Music Community

 

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Song Lyric Sunday: Everyday People

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Helen’s direction for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday is to “post a song that deals with judgment or the opposite- getting rid of judgment and being more accepting of everyone.”

I love how this weekly challenge gives me the opportunity to re-connect with music that has been important to me in the past. The song I chose for this week is Sly and the Family Stone’s Everyday People.

Everyday People was written by Sly Stone and was released in 1968. It was the first single by his band to reach #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. Wikipedia reports that Everyday People was “one of Sly Stone’s pleas for peace and equality between differing races and social groups, a major theme and focus for the band.” It also stated that the band was “the first major integrated band in rock history.”

Lyrics

Sometimes I’m right and I can be wrong
My own beliefs are in my song
The butcher, the banker, the drummer and then
Makes no difference what group I’m in

I am everyday people, yeah yeah

There is a blue one who can’t accept the green one
For living with a fat one trying to be a skinny one
And different strokes for different folks
And so on and so on and scooby dooby doo

Oh sha sha we got to live together

I am no better and neither are you
We are the same whatever we do
You love me you hate me you know me and then
You can’t figure out the bag I’m in

I am everyday people, yeah yeah

There is a long hair that doesn’t like the short hair
For bein’ such a rich one that will not help the poor one
And different strokes for different folks
And so on and so on and scooby dooby doo

Oh sha sha we got to live together

There is a yellow one that won’t accept the black one
That won’t accept the red one that won’t accept the white one
And different strokes for different folks
And so on and so on and scooby dooby doo

I am everyday people

Song Lyric Sunday: Thriller

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Helen’s direction for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday is to share lyrics from a scary song. That assignment turned out to be harder than I thought.

When I think of scary movies, Stephen King’s The Shining and Misery are what come to mind. I also thought of Silence of the Lambs. That one wasn’t as frightening, but it certainly was intense. The problem with all three of those movies is that none of the songs have lyrics.

When I searched on the internet for scary songs, the first one that caught my eye was Michael Jackson’s Thriller. I have loved that song and the dance that goes with it since it came out in November of 1982.

Lyrics

It’s close to midnight and something evil’s lurking
In the dark
Under the moonlight you see a sight that almost stops
Your heart
You try to scream, but terror takes the sound before
You make it
You start to freeze as horror looks you right between
The eyes
You’re paralyzed

‘Cause this is thriller, thriller night
And no one’s gonna save you from the beast about to
Strike
You know it’s thriller, thriller night
You’re fighting for your life inside a killer
Thriller tonight

You hear the door slam and realize there’s nowhere
Left to run
You feel the cold hand and wonder if you’ll ever see
The sun
You close your eyes and hope that this is just
Imagination
But all the while you hear the creature creepin’ up
Behind
You’re out of time

‘Cause this is thriller, thriller night
There ain’t no second chance against the thing with
Forty eyes
You know it’s thriller, thriller night
You’re fighting for your life inside a killer
Thriller tonight

Night creatures call
And the dead start to walk in their masquerade
There’s no escapin’ the jaws of the alien this time
(They’re open wide)
This is the end of your life

They’re out to get you; there’s demons closing in on
Every side
They will possess you unless you change the number on
Your dial
Now is the time for you and I to cuddle close
Together
All through the night I’ll save you from the terrors on
The screen
I’ll make you see

That it’s a thriller, thriller night
‘Cause I can thrill you more than any ghost
Would ever dare try
Girl, this is thriller, thriller night
So let me hold you tight and share a killer, diller
Chiller
Thriller here tonight

That it’s a thriller, thriller night
‘Cause I can thrill you more than any ghost
Would ever dare try
Girl, this is thriller, thriller night
So let me hold you tight and share a killer, diller

Darkness falls across the land
The midnight hour is close at hand
Creatures crawl in search of blood
To terrorize y’awl’s neighborhood
And whosoever shall be found
Without the soul for getting down
Must stand and face the hounds of hell
And rot inside a corpse’s shell

The foulest stench is in the air
The funk of forty thousand years
And grizzly ghouls from every tomb
Are closing in to seal your doom
And though you fight to stay alive
Your body starts to shiver
For no mere mortal can resist
The evil of the thriller

I don’t think I have ever seen this video before. It is definitely scary. If you find it is too frightening to watch, know that the song and dance begin at 4:15 minutes!