ONE MORNING IN THE not-so-distant past, I arose before dawn for my yoga practice. Standing in preparation within the silent darkness of an imminent sunrise, I lowered my head in gratitude to the infinite presence that was watching me. It was the ultimate gesture to creation as I reached into infinity to find out what was wanted of me in that moment. Yes, I am assured, all is well and as it should be.
Pregnant with pure creation, this silence penetrated every atom of my field as I moved my body into sacred shapes to align my energies with those of the manifesting universe. Silence; the world is quiet. Silence; all knowledge is here. Silence; there is nothing to do. Silence.
When I was a child, I used to start saving my pocket money in June so I could buy expensive presents for my family for Christmas. My mother is a convent-educated Catholic so this festive time was paramount in our family, and my father loved to go to the cathedral on the Eve with us to try and join in with the carols, offering his prayers with open hands in his Islamic tradition. It was so sacredly beautiful as I think back upon those early years, of a mixed marriaged family offering prayers and reverence on the birthday of a Master in the early 60s. It was in those formative years that during November and December as the fever built up for Niklaus and Midnight Mass, that I used to actually sense the energetic presence of a field apparently descending. My childhood assumption was it was that Master’s. Today, I cannot imagine what else it could have been, and yes, I am waiting to see …
I would go anywhere for a Latin Midnight Mass on the Eve. In the past two decades or so, I had given up hope of ever experiencing the magic of an inspired Mass again, because the church, I pronounced, had lost the plot. In those 20-odd years, I would simply watch the news and retire to my bedchamber, as sleep became me much more than yawning and shivering to the nasal droning of a bored, mechanical priest who had certainly swiped from the bottle before the consecration of the host – in nomine Patris, etc., indeed.
However, to my greatest surprise, in December 2014, I sauntered down to the magnificent cathedral in Berlin Mitte near my apartment. The church was absolutely packed, and I stood to one side thinking I would give it 10 minutes before heading home across the cobbled square, keys in hand, front door in sight, to take command of the kitchen in preparation of the feast. Suddenly, a most exquisite note was played by a church musician and that same, pregnant, evocative silence held us enraptured as the choir sang the first sound of surely the most beautiful carol of all, Stille Nacht. I could hardly breathe with the beauty of the sound. Tears streamed down my face as I worked my way through a sachet of Kleenex, completely incapable of singing in unison as I was so overwhelmed by how inspired and sacred music can move us, and you know by now, by this I mean, shift and alter our energetic fields through resonance. The sanctity and solemnity of that cathedral on the Eve was something I had not experienced in many a year and it is on those rare occasions that we can really experience ‘in Spiritus Sancti’.
It must be said that some languages evoke more easily in music than others. There is no comparison between Stille Nacht and Silent Night because German articulation brings in a resonance of sound that strikes a myriad of subtle energetic spots that the English version simply fails to do. It is the poor man’s dismal version. Bland, in effect. The same is true, of course, with opera – Italian and German are long dominant for exactly the same reason.
As I prepare for my own family festivities, I leave you with this thought from Swami Vivekananda, the celebrated Bengali yogi who introduced oriental spirituality to the west in the 1890s in Boston, preceding Yogananda by 20 years.
—– “Amidst this chaos there is harmony, throughout those discordant sounds, there is a note of concord; and he who is prepared to listen to it will catch the tone.” —— Vivekananda
May you too know what I have found this time
and drink the exquisite silence of the Infinite
As life’s elusive immortal nectar
Long and hard with me.
And may you weep for all eternity
In the ecstatic, eruptive joy that you are.
May you sing from the highest, forbidden mountain
Only and just with me.
May you dance like the devil and whip like the wind
As you twist, turn, leap and swirl as the cosmic dancer alive
In ecstasy to Him; intoxicated by the Divine
Forever. Forever. Forever.
Always and only with me.
London, Christmas 2017.