“There is no mantra for the Dragon because the Dragon is about self transformation, and self transformation requires emptiness, and emptiness requires quiet meditation.”
This is the way to do it. I don’t know how to explain it but there it is. Most beliefs come about this way or that way, I guess. It just comes to you and suddenly it makes sense. And this is what I felt this past Friday.
It was the day before International Woman’s Day and I wasn’t planning anything feminist in particular. I just wanted to go about the order of my day whatever it may be and wherever it will lead me.
I usually try not to do anything too transgressive when the Sabbath comes in, so my Friday routine follows the order that will most likely keep the most difficult work and mundane use of electronic devices and home appliances way before sunset.
But before all that, I take about an hour to an hour and a half to do my integral Tai Chi exercises – an important part of my Friday morning routine. I recently stopped using the YouTube videos as guides since I know the poses and the movements by heart, as well as most of the mantras. Instead, I put on my Ambient CD, concentrate on my movements, count my reps, focus on my breathing, on my focal point whenever balance is needed, on the horizon far beyond the walls of my living room, far beyond the Wadi in my backyard, but most of all I focus on the Truth or the Dharma that transcends the material world and the empirical senses. The One that dwells in all dimensions of this universe and beyond, within the spiritual realm and all the light and the darkness, the consciousnesses or the voids that can and cannot be expressed by human language or understood by the human mind. The mantras help me a lot in my efforts to connect to this supreme essence.
The Ambient tracks increase this connection exponentially through their experimental sound effects, each one going deeper and getting stranger than the next. Some contain repetitive sound patterns that change only slightly every time they come back. If these sounds were visual, they would look like the waves on the shore of the Kinneret that come in and out in a repetitive dance that changes only slightly every time the moon rises and the tide turns.
The routine closes with a few minutes of meditation. For this purpose, I skip forward to Sheila Chandra’s “Sacred Stones“, where she sings a Sanskrit prayer to Vishnu, followed by the Latin phrase “Dominus illuminatio mea” meaning “the Lord is my Light” and then Amen and Hallelujah. I close my eyes to shut off the mundane world, sink deeper into myself and into my spiritual world. I easily shift the Sanskrit lyrics to adapt it to my Jewish belief. When she sings Vishnu Vishnu over and over again, I hear Elohima Elohima (Mother Goddess Mother Goddess). She who is eternal and everlasting. She who will exist even after the waves on the shore of the Kinneret dry up and the tide no longer turns, and when the moon no longer rises or falls but moves out of orbit and disappears into some black hole. When the constellations move into some unimaginable celestial realm and all human existence will suddenly seem so small, so minuscule.
To close off the routine, I join my palms together, close to the heart chakra, bow my head and say “Namaste” – “My divine spark recognizes the divine spark within all my loved ones and all those within my karmic web”.
Later on that Friday, as the sun was nearing the horizon, I lit the Sabbath candles feeling even closer to the Goddess than I have felt in months. I honor the Divinity and Her Presence, I welcome the Sabbath Queen. International Women’s Day feels much more special when I pay homage to the Trinity which I refer to in female terms – Mother Earth, Mother Nature, Mother Goddess. I keep thinking I want to do my Tai Chi routine outside, in nature, under the celestial drape of the sky, preferably next to a running stream, with a couple of candles sitting next to me in a shallow groove in the earth so that the wind doesn’t blow them out. Being surrounded by the four elements – holy water, mother earth, the column of fire, and the Shechina so tangible and so effervescent in the Jerusalemite mountain breeze – for an hour and a half every Friday will be even more powerful than anything I can experience within the confines of my living room.
But my spirituality is different from that of the religious women who take advantage of their long bus rides to do their morning prayers or read King David’s Book of Psalms. I don’t like to expose it in such an obvious way. I would also feel self-conscious if I feel strange eyes studying me and my movements in the middle of a park, wondering if I’ve gone mad. It will no doubt distract me, and the spiritual aspect of my routine will be lost.
So this is what makes sense to me. Doing these exercises and reciting these mantras should be done on a Friday morning, with the sun coming through the windows, Ambient music in the background and maybe burn some scented oil or light a couple of candles anyway. And it should be done shortly before lighting the candles. The circle is complete.
Peace, love and a grateful heart is a happy heart and a happy heart is a healthy heart.