Michael Divine

Now Beats Antique was playing and for once, to me, their music fit. I’ll be honest – I’ve never been a huge fan of their music. They are great musicians and talented, for sure, but their music has, at times, just not worked for me – the sounds and such – but now, with it’s Middle Eastern flavors, it’s call and response within the song structures, I settled down and closed my eyes and listened.

I listened sounds like to horse hooves beating over the ground and saw sweeping vistas of peoples thousands of years ago of great living through wars and triumph. I saw the pyramids as clean white and fine, with lines drawn on them – huge lines – and topped with gold, decorated in colors carnelian and malachite and turquoise and ochre and black – and the Nile flowing – it was much higher at that time – and the whole thing moving and changing and power – the power struggles between pharaohs, the control of the priests, moving the great flocks of people as they claimed divine right and divine inspiration – according to the harmonies of the seasons and to the whims of the gods and seeing how it’s not changed at all – still the wealthy elite – put in power by the churches, the mosques, the secular religion – corporatocracy, controlling people through fear, through promises of afterlife, through job creation, building tombs, waging wars only to defend us against perpetrators who are angry for the time we hit them last and who drew the first drop of blood and how far back does it go and how great a height to we raise it – our desire for communing with the Other – to great heights to the greatest peak we can and, after all is said and done, all that remains are dusty symbols and crumbling architectures but within one – within one is an echo chamber in which man might know man – when we sit and we hum and om in there – we feel ourselves – and we feel expansive. Holy is the expansive mind and heart. We are alive and wild and here we are, time and time again, dancing ancient presence coursing through us and here we are – men and women dancing together living and loving and laughing and crying and sweet sweet aliveness…

And all we want… all we want…

Is for everyone to be happy, to experience freedom, to experience joy.

That is all that anyone wants. Time and again I come back to that. Even the tyrant – that is what he wants. What I am reminded of, time and again, is that -beyond governments and behind borders and within religions – people just want to be happy. Just experience basic happiness, basic freedom…. To love, to live, to breathe easily….

One tension creates the next – the Muslim Fundamentalist Extremist sees, on the other side of the ocean, his mirror, his counterpart and enemy, in the Christian Right Fundamentalist Extremist. This government vs. that government. Tension builds tension. But light can ignite light and love can ignite love and we can find better ways to be with each other.

There are no holy ships coming to save us. No aliens of ascended beings. There are no rays of light shooting out of the pyramids. When we come down to it – when we just look in each others eyes and just sit with the fact that WE are all we have – then maybe we can rest and breathe and love. This life – this magic thing – maybe the new beginning that everyone is hoping for us just GETTING REAL with ourselves.

Other musicians came up on stage to play with Beats Antique and then the vocalist of the Sufi troupe stepped up to the microphone – and older man in his long caftan and a clean lined face – and his voice rang out clear and true, like a wavering reed, like a pillar. He sang, most likely, of Allah. It was beautiful. But there was the irony that this man – he is well-respected by the Egyptians around us – could be allowed to sing his religious songs but heaven forbid that we do anything ‘spiritual’.

I want to add something here: I have loved meeting so many wonderful people and all of the Egyptians that I’ve met have been sweet, kind, loving people (if a bit demanding for baksheesh at times). It is not they who I’m critical now – it is governments, institutions, those who follow blindly, identifying with belief systems that ultimately are oppressive and close people off from loving more fully. For them, I have even more compassion because it is like a sickness that is passed down from generation to generation since the time when man first said ‘There is a power over us and so I will be next in line and be a power over you.’

Anyways, I got up to dance, tired of my contemplations.

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