It Happened Again...

April 8, 2014

It is important to know that every single human being, from the moment of birth until the moment when we make the transition and end this physical existence, is in the presence of guides or guardian angels who will wait for us and help us in the transition from life to life after death.
-Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
 
It happened again...
 
There it was. The sound was back. Light monks on hope, it was a dream come true. A new monastery built for peace and love and compassion and all those good things, right in my backyard again. As I sat listening to their mandalas in sound, I drifted back in time. It was 1985 when Dan Healy and I visited them while we were on tour with the Grateful Dead. It was at Amherst College, I had heard from Fred Lieberman that the monks were in the USA.  They were in the charge of Robert Thurman, a monk himself at one time, and now a leading Buddhist scholar.
 
We sat on the stage that afternoon, had some tea and then it happened, they started the chants. We hit the record button on the trusty Nagra…that was the beginning of the trip to never-ever land. Three notes emanating from a single larynx, from the throat of a human? Impossible. As Robert Hunter would say, “Heaven Shaking Hymn.”
 
I’ve been with their sound for many years. It has helped me, inspired me in times of need, and most importantly, has been my intermediary, my connection to the macro and micro worlds of sound.  Contained within their sound are healing properties, which can be translated into powerful spiritual material. That is the power of the chants for the uninitiated. It’s not so much about the chants, it’s about your participation in the sound, the vibration carries its power.
 
It’s what it does to you, without prejudice of religion, belief systems, race, etc.  It is a vocal connection to the great mystery of how this universe is tied together and works. Sanskrit was not my major language in high school, so what could it be? The extraordinary sound is a psychopomp. 
 
A psychopomp serves as a guide through various transitions of life, as well as guides to the afterlife. This has long been a role of the shaman and others with the ability to travel to the spirit realms and offer help to those in need.  I was in need. I had a busy week and my head was filled with sounds and to dos, deadlines, recording, and all those things. As I was drawn into the chants all my priorities changed suddenly,  and I was in the now, right here, right now. I was in a room filled with hearts bursting with joy for the Gyuto Monks. They had made the transition. They have traversed time and space. They are experienced as border crossers and walkers between the worlds.
 
This gang has outlasted revolutions, invasions and years of persecution. They are old, very old.  They were born in 1474, in Lhasa, Tibet country, high in the Himalayas’ looking for answers and asking questions to the gods.  How could a human speak to a god? Sound is perfect for this.  On the breath is carried the message.  The breath is the most important asset that we own. We give the essence of our life with every exhale, every inhale, it is precious, it means everything. I give my breath in search of answers, we ask questions, and we tell our story in sound, in vibrations. We are humble and simple monks in search for the sound of life.
 
With Respect and Love,
 
Mickey Hart