Archive for June 19th, 2008

OK, I’m all blissed out!

Posted on June 19, 2008. Filed under: Culture, Health, Music, Spirituality |

I’ve lived here for several years, now, and I continue to discover that southern Arizona is amazing!  I came from a large metropolitan area, where EVERYTHING is available.  I leave it to your imagination what “Everything” entails.  Around here, though, Everything I WANT is accessible.  It’s just not obvious.  I keep discovering gems of artistic excellence ’round these parts I’d never have guessed were here.

On Wednesday evening (under a beautiful full moon) I attended the Wave1 gathering I spoke about in this post.  It was a time for people of many different backgrounds to come together and spend some time focusing upon what unites us rather than what divides us.  There were performers highlighting many spiritual traditions, including some I’d had no idea were represented in my part of the world.

Tony Redhouse is a local celebrity; I’d heard and seen him and members of his family before.  He comes from the largest American indigenous tribe, the Navajo, or Dinè.  He is an ambassador to all tribes and all people.  His chants touch many souls.  He sings, chants, plays flute and other instruments, and has a talent for setting sacred space.  One of his videos contains not only his beautiful music (good for meditation), but features some of the most beautiful pictures of our desert I’ve seen anywhere.  It can be found here.

Another local character is Allen Smith, virtuoso Didgeridoo player, who also participated.  I’ll bet you didn’t know that Tucson, Arizona is the western American didgeridoo capital?  Who would have thought that this native Australian instrument would have found such a home here?  This article explains how & why.  There is a huge didge festival each year, where people come from all over the world.  A local part-Cherokee resident discovered that our local Agave plant makes splendid didgeridoos, as he discusses in this video.  I attended a didgeridoo workshop a couple of years ago by yet another itinerant didge player and teacher.  There were about 20 of us, and I was astounded that more than half had brought their own instruments.  I managed to get some good tone out of my borrowed one towards the end (it’s hard!), but it would take a long time to master the circular breathing technique required.  Mr. Smith, at the Wave1, produced sounds I’d never heard before from this instrument, fostering a deep sense of peace within the audience.

I didn’t know there was a Thai Buddhist temple in Tucson.  Three of their monks shared an absolutely awesome chant with us.  Their performance was polished, but beyond that, I could hear many, many years of tradition broadcasting through their voices.  I have not been able to find out much about their monastery, or indeed why they are here.  These are not American converts, as are most of the Zen Buddhists I know, but monks from Thailand that have established a monastery in Tucson.

These are just a few of the individuals and groups participating.  The ceremony was held in a spectacular, beautiful Roman Catholic sanctuary, unusual in that it is a “church in the round” setting.  The worldwide event was simulcast on two screens.  This may become an annual event; if so, I’ll let you know! Om Peace.

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