May All Be Happy

Ravi Shankar “Sarve Shaam” (Official Lyric/Mantra Video)

Give yourself five minutes to enrich your spirit.

Om

Taken from Chants of India by Ravi Shankar, produced by George Harrison and released on HariSongs.

 

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Sonny Rollins: Meditating on a Riff

I just discovered in my Twitter feed an illuminating source for the book I’m writing about spirituality and the healing power of music.

Sonny Rollins: Meditating on a Riff, A Journey Into His World of Spirituality by Hugh Wyatt.

It’s the second title from a new, independent book publisher Kamama Books that focuses on books as diverse and offbeat as the city itself.


Jazz legend Sonny Rollins spent his youth hustling on the streets of his native Harlem, but over time the tenor saxophonist shifted gears and developed the reputation of being “the world’s greatest living jazz musician.” Did he deserve such a lofty title?

This biography, entitled Sonny Rollins: Meditating on a Riff, will attempt to answer this and other questions. However, it will not be a regurgitation of previous books or articles that focus exclusively on jazz. Instead, the major focus of this book will be on Sonny’s adventurous foray into spirituality and even the occult.

The secretive Sonny experimented with certain esoteric forms of yoga and spirituality, such as Rosicrucianism and other otherworldly practices. His goal was not only to achieve God-realization, among other things but to develop certain powers that would enable him to unlock the secrets of the universe.

Wyatt’s riveting biography offers a unique glimpse into the psyche of one of the most reclusive figures in jazz. It is a tell-all that reveals intimate and unpublished details of his fascinating life directly from Sonny himself, as well as his family members and close friends

These Are The Words – Patti Smith

Friday, May 18th gave us the simultaneous launch of the documentary and original soundtrack for Pope Francis: A Man of His Word.

This film is intended to be a personal journey with Pope Francis, rather than a biographical documentary about him. The pope’s ideas and his message are central to this documentary, which sets out to present his work of reform and his answers to today’s global questions. From his deep concern for the poor and wealth inequality, to his involvement in environmental issues and social justice, Pope Francis engages the audience face-to-face and calls for peace.

Viva Papa!

I love the collaboration accomplished by Director Wim Wenders and the artist Patti Smith. Their collective effort benefits viewer and listeners in capturinhg the true spiritual resonance Pope Francis conveys in our world.  How rewarding it must be to have your words and film raising further consciousness about the Holy Father. The illumination of our spirits is the direct result. I can’t wait to see this film in a movie theater for I am convinced as a devout Roman Catholic the experience embodies my faith and teachings.

Patti Smith’s song “These Are the Words” are heard over the closing credits. I’ve been listening to the song repeatedly while writing this blog post. It gives one pause and solace.

Filmmaker Wim Wenders says that Patti Smith “is a truly amazing spiritual person, not just one of the greatest singers and songwriters ever. She admires St. Francis very much, and at one point, she told me she stayed in the same Franciscan monastery where we also ate with the monks every night when we shot the St. Francis episodes,” Wenders said. “And she told these very kind and friendly brothers that she was convinced that the next Pope was going to be called Francis. They all laughed wholeheartedly and told her this was, unfortunately, never going to happen. And then it happened!”

Wenders added, “When I first heard Patti’s song and read the lyrics that she had sent along, I admit, I was in tears. This was such an incredible gift to the film. She had found the perfect way to sum it up in her words. It is uplifting without ever being remotely embarrassing, which is close to impossible. But she did it.

 

Let There Be Peace On Earth

My favorite spiritual hymn is, “Let There Be Peace on Earth”, by Jill Jackson and Sy Miller.

Jill Jackson

Let there be peace on earth,
and let it begin with me;
let there be peace on earth,
the peace that was meant to be.

With God our creator,
family all are we.
Let us walk with each other
in perfect harmony.*

* © 1955 Jan-Lee Music, renewed 1983. Used by permission; all rights reserved.

“When I attempted suicide [in 1944] and I didn’t succeed,” Jill Jackson said, “I knew for the first time unconditional love—which God is. You are totally loved, totally accepted, just the way you are. At that moment I was not allowed to die, and something happened to me, which is very difficult to explain. I had an eternal moment of truth, in which I knew I was loved, and I knew I was here for a purpose.”

This realization was followed by years of exploring her spiritual nature and her relationship with God. Jackson discovered her love for writing and began writing songs with Sy Miller after they married in 1949.

In 1955, she wrote the lyrics for “Let There Be Peace on Earth” while her husband wrote the melody. The song was introduced at a California retreat to a group of young people who were from a wide variety of religious, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. The young people had come together for a weeklong experience devoted to developing friendship and understanding through education, discussion and working together. The song’s focus on peace and God made it easy to cross many boundaries.

Sy Miller wrote about the effect of the song: “One summer evening in 1955, a group of 180 teenagers of all races and religions, meeting at a workshop high in the California mountains locked arms, formed a circle and sang a song of peace. They felt that singing the song, with its simple basic sentiment—‘Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me’—helped to create a climate for world peace and understanding.

“When they came down from the mountain, these inspired young people brought the song with them and started sharing it. And, as though on wings, ‘Let There Be Peace on Earth’ began an amazing journey around the globe. It traveled first, of course, with the young campers back to their homes and schools, churches and clubs.”

Miller noted that the song was then shared in all 50 states at school graduations, PTA meetings, holiday gatherings, celebrations of Brotherhood Week, Veterans Day, Human Rights Day and United Nations Day. Kiwanis clubs sang it, as well as 4-H clubs, United Auto Workers, the American Legion, the B’nai B’rith and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).

The song was taped, copied, printed in songbooks and passed by word of mouth. Eventually, it spread overseas, sung by Maoris in New Zealand and Zulus in Africa.

In 2009 Random House published “Let There Be Peace on Earth” as a children’s book.

Peace

The above information is lovingly shared from History of Hymns, authored by Dr. C. Michael Hawn a professor of sacred music at Perkins School of Theology, SMU.

Journey to the Heart

Music of our Heart, We are one

Reflections of the heart

Right from the very start

Our faith will never be undone

It is Sunday and all is still in the house. I listen in spiritual appreciation to Kitaro’s newest CD, Sacred Journey of Ku-Kai, Volume 5. The next leg of the journey commences.

I am rewarded with a new tapestry of sounds and sensations. It is the perfect backdrop as I prepare my soul to renew my lector assignment at the 11:30 mass. I have been absent from God’s altar for 113 days and I’m eager to renew my stewardship in Christ’s teachings.

Today is the Second Sunday of Easter and the readings support the Gospel according to John, 20:19-31. “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

A gift included with Kitaro’s CD is  Journey to the Heart III, “Music for Healing”. A sampler CD that ties the journey together starting the initial track “Tabiji” from Kitaro’s An Ancient Journey.

various_journey_to_the_heart1