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Say Hello.

 Do you know the experience of witnessing a masterful artist, or listening to a well-spoken scholar and having so much within you inspired by them, feeling that their expression has met something in your own mind? From that may arise a wish to share your perception and experience, and to hear what they think about it; to have a conversation; to actually meet.

Often it is too much to ask of someone who has been so generous with their talent, and who doesn’t know you. So you say “Thanks” as you walk out the door, grateful for the experience. But, once in a while you are compelled to connect more.

A father and son duo from India, the Mishras, came to play sitar music one evening in my hometown of Bolinas, California. I have been to many concerts of Indian music. Nearly all were beautiful, solemn, meditative events. I was prepared for something similar but the Mishras completely surprised me. Their clear mastery of the classical form and then transcendence of that with brilliant innovation, was riveting.

Thoughts of returning to India had been steeping in the teapot of my brain for months. Maybe years. Probably since the very day I arrived home from my last trip there.

On the night of the sitar performance I was compelled to greet the musicians and had a chance to talk with them briefly. Just by this simple meeting, those thoughts of returning to India were changed into a vision and timeline for my next journey, which included some study of devotional singing at their  Music Academy in Varanasi.

Metaphorically the steeping tea was, suddenly, ready to be poured.

The best things that have happened in my life have come from recognizing the moment to say ‘Hello’, and recognizing the moment to say ‘Yes’.

Being empowered to say ‘No’ when we don’t like something is of course crucially useful. 
That being said, every day there may be moments when something makes the heart sing or the mind light up, and these moments ask of us the courage to be open.

In 2009 I returned to India. I practiced yoga on the Ganga, stumbled upon a surprisingly accurate Vedic Astrologer in Haridwar, and deeply enjoyed this intimate house concert in Varanasi, which the video below shares a glimpse of.
And how did all this come about?
 I said ‘Hello’ in Bolinas.

(This video is number 1 of 4. It shows really lovely sarangi and tabla played by members of the Mishra family and community.  Seemingly by magic, my camera batteries didn’t die. )  

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om mani padme hum

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Sometimes people ask for a recording of chanting. Here is one.

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