In commemoration of the upcoming Passover and Easter holidays, a gratitude chant seems fitting. Here are the words:
I just want to thank you; gratitude fills my heart (2x)
For all the blessings and abundance you bestow (2x)
I want to thank you.
Happy Passover, Happy Easter!
Today is a very special day for me. My home for the past 15 years, the Temple of Sound, just went on the market. This is a happy occasion because I get to live with my wonderful and beloved bride, Maria. At the same time, I know that I am parting with a uniquely sacred space.
In December 2007, Global Chant hosted the Maitreya Project Heart Shrine Relic tour (which has now ended) in Tucson. For four extraordinary nights, my home housed the relics of the Buddha and other Buddhist masters. These pearl-like crystals, called ringsel or Śarīra , are often found in the cremation ashes of enlightened beings. Each night, while a relic custodian guarded them with his life, the sacred relics sat on my bedroom altar, seen here:
That is when my home was transformed into the Temple of Sound. In the past 12 years, I have had every imaginable blessing come my way in this space, including an explosion of creative inspiration. I wrote all four of my books here: The Chanter's Guide, The Way of Play, Repose: The Potent Pause, and most recently Deep Creativity. I also recorded hundreds of chant videos, most recently my weekly Five-Minute Chant series:
And based on some calculations, I estimate that I have spent approximately 2500 hours chanting here. You can see why this is not just a home; it is undoubtedly the Temple of Sound. To find out more about this remarkable space, please check out the listings on Craigslist or Zillow (link will be posted here shortly).
Even though it is the basis of some of the most profound creative breakthroughs in human history, the experience of inspiration continues to receive relatively little attention from the research community.
Having spent 30 years studying this important yet elusive topic, I offer the only known model of what creative inspiration is and how it works. Here I summarize the defining features of the experience in less than three minutes:
PLEASE NOTE: This video contains an important announcement about Global Chant.
Here is a chant I introduced last Saturday night at the "AUM Coming" event that Maria and I did at Tucson Bhakti, along with talented young musicians Lyric Williams and Steven Horkey. The words are:
Empty as the clear blue sky (2X)
Empty am I, Empty am I
Empty as the clear blue sky
Yes, my friends. It's true. I have cracked the code. The experience of what I call "the greatest feeling in the world" is something I have learned to access on a regular basis. And you can too. At the 2:35 mark of this four-minute video, I reveal the key to this experience. Find out here:
I made a decision a long time ago that has served me well. If given the choice, I would rather be happy than right. To me, this is basic pragmatism. It does not mean that I ignore facts. It's just that everything in our lives is subject to interpretation. Given that we can see things from any perspective we want, it makes sense to look at them in the best possible light. Every morning, I say The Pledge, which includes the following statement:
Everything that comes my way is a gift and an opportunity. To think otherwise would be the height of arrogance and ingratitude. It's like declaring to the universe: "I know better." The problem is one of expectations. If I expect things to turn out a certain way and they don't, then I am setting myself up for disappointment.
The flip side is to always expect the worst. Psychologists use the term depressive realism to describe the finding that depressed people who expect the worst also tend to be right. Of course, part of that could be self-fulfilling prophecy: If you expect the worst, you often get it--especially when the outcome is determined to a certain extent by your own efforts. Expect to fail and you probably will.
Success is trickier because it is harder to define or anticipate. I have had many times in my life when something wonderful and unexpected happened. Such outcomes far exceeded anything I could have expected or imagined. Case in point: The night I met and fell in love with Maria. I never saw it coming, and I certainly wasn't looking for it.
In a results-oriented society, we are pushed to set goals and envision our future successes. To a large degree, I buy into this philosophy. I know that there are a number of things I can accomplish more successfully if first I can conceive and imagine them. And yet, there has to be room for magic--for the kinds of outcomes that defy expectations and stagger the imagination.
I just experienced a bit of that magic while visiting my father, who is dying at age 91 of a series of complications, including congestive heart failure. I went to see him without expectations of any kind. And here is what I found:
The one thing we can all expect is that my father will die in the days or weeks to come. That moment, when it does arrive, will come with great sadness but also a tinge of relief. None of us wants to see a good man's life come to an end. Yet we also know that his decline has brought a certain level of indignity to a dignified man, who is now relegated to having his diapers changed several times a day and being spoon-fed his meals in bed. And we have watched my mother work herself to total exhaustion trying to attend to his ever-growing care needs.
I don't know how I will react to the death of my father, because I have never been through this experience before. And also, because I don't want to have expectations. I prefer to stay open to whatever gifts this major life event will bring my way. Maybe, just maybe, a little unexpected magic will occur.
I want to hear from you! Please share your questions and comments. And sign up for my newsletter, where I will pass along the insights, ideas, and inspiration that come my way.