Meditation Benefits: Bhakti Fest 2011

On September 8, 2011, for four days of Kirtan, Yoga, Meditation, Workshops and Loving Community, many thousands will arrive at the Joshua Tree Retreat Center, “to express our love and devotion as one community through an enchanting array of activities.”

Bhakti Fest 2011

Bhakti Fest 2011

This will be an absolutely a cornucopia of the spiritually gifted and the event has been billed as the Spiritual Woodstock. There will be yoga led by Shiva Rea, Saul David Raye, Bryan Kest, Seane Corn and there others as well. Of the many workshops, one will be led by my one of my beloved teachers, Ram Dass.

Krishna Das, will of course, be leading Kirtan, but along with the singing and playing Krishna Das and Radhanath Swami and others will also be leading workshops. Speaking of Kirtan, Deva Premal & Miten, Jai Uttal, Dave Stringer, Donna de Lory, Wah!, MC Yogi, Larisa Stow and Shakti Tribe, The Mayapuris, to name a few will be there adding to the joy.     

Jai Uttal, just back from India, has a new album out, “Bhakti Bazaar,” which is absolutely wonderful with hints of rock, reggae, and classical music. In his blog Jai said about the music, “We took some beats and grooves and simply wandered. No rules, no formulas except following our feelings,” and “Making an album is a journey across mountains and valleys of moods and emotions.” We have certainly been blessed to have been invited along and the treat of hearing it performed live, well, bliss.   

There are so many notables that will be attending Bhakti Fest it’s hard to decide who to write about, because if I were to write about all the wonderful people ths would be a book not a blog post!

If you’re a fan of Krishna Das you’ll be happy to know he’ll be performing and doing a workshop, the Heart of Devotion and this will allow you the opportunity to ask him questions. The workshop will include chanting with musical accompaniment, storytelling, dharma talks, and discussions about life on the spiritual path.

Krishna Das

Krishna Das

 

I would like to note that substantial portion of the profits from Bhakti Fest will go to charities like the Seva Foundation, created by Ram Dass, an organization of “compassionate action.” That is the meaning of “seva,” compassionate action and that is in perfect balance with bhakti, which translates as “devotion.” Together they fulfill the mission of the Seva Foundation, “To be fully human, we must translate our compassion and concern into useful service.”

Damien Rose returns to Bhakti Fest for his third annual performance, those who are unfamiliar with Damien or his performance with the Tibetan healing bowls, are in for a very wonderful surprise. Damien have had a very synchronistic introduction to the Tibetan healing bowls, says he first discovered the Tibetan bowls when he picked up a hitchhiker in Northern California after graduating from law school. After arriving at hitchhiker home, he was invited in, and it was there he saw “a vast array of ancient bowls set up in the living room.” It was from that point on he decided to dedicate is energy to “working with sound vibration as a revealing and healing source of spiritual experience.”

My own experience was, as I said, synchronistic. I too, picked up a hitchhiker in Northern California. It as thirty five years ago, I noticed a man hitchhiking with a baby so I pulled my VW over and offered them a ride. It turned out that he was a somewhat of a local celebrity in the Bay area. Karman Moffitt, then also known as the ‘bell ringer of San Francisco,’ had played, on occasion, with the Grateful Dead and other area band, when they were in town. Karman was also a pointillist and on a trip to Nepal a couple of years earlier had traded some art for a set of Tibetan healing bowls. That was my introduction to the bowls.

And like Damien, the bowls have been a part of my life ever since. A few years ago I was introduced to my master teacher, Suren Shrestha, and began to become immersed in the healing practice. And as a side note if you are interested in the Tibetan healing bowls, Suren’s book “How to Heal with Singing Bowls,” is a chance to learn from a master.  

Here are a few other highlights to look forward to at Bhakti Fest. Philippo Franchini will talk about musical alchemy and how “creation is vibration.” Hoop Girl Christabel Zamor brings her love of hoopdance to Bhakti Fest. Joey Lugassy will enlighten us with the message of “stillness,” and how to release attachments and transform them “with a lighter touch” as “doorways to relevant self-discovery.”

Many of people, I’ve come to know and call friend, from the Chopra center will be attending and participating. Max Simon (assuming all is well with his dad) will make, as he has in the past, an appearance. Paul Heussenstamm, will be leading a mandala workshop. By the way, Paul’s workshops are of the ‘not to be missed’ variety, truly fun and transformative.     

Bhakti Fest is a Spiritual festival not a religious one, though there is a loving acceptance of all faiths. It’s the coming together of a loving community, creating a space as was said to express our love and devotion as one community through an enchanting array of activities.”

I thought I would leave you with a couple of videos of past festivals, so that if you’ve never had the opportunity to attend you can a sense of the ‘vibe’ and if you have, well, for a moment to be there again.   

Bhakti Fest September 2010.mov

Bhakti Fest brings people together from around the world to celebrate life through kirtan. This is an event that you do not want to miss. Next festival September 9-12, 2010, Joshua Tree, California. www.bhaktifest.com

Bhakti Fest 2010 Jai UttaL Groove Ananda

Jai UttaL led Kirtan for 3 hours! It was so crowded I could only get long shots but the sounds and psychedelic lightshow are awesome! My pleasant surprise was Wynn Paris’ band Groove Ananda ~ a sweeet mix of Music my fav being the Gospel type song. M…

Deva Premal and Miten… Whaou! – Bhakti Fest 2010

stunning! the crowd was speechless – Incredible silence for a minutes after that one!

Do you need a Guru to Benefit from Meditation?

The word guru conjures up all kinds of visions, mysterious mystics or silent mountain top monks, but the definition is generally accepted as teacher or classically as, “one who teaches spiritual liberation form his or her own direct experience of realization.”

Ram Dass and Maharaj-ji

Ram Dass and Maharaj-ji

The question is do you need one?  Actually, there are various reasons you may want a teacher. The most basic is, the reason you would want a teacher for anything, to help you avoid mistake and to speed up your learning time.

However, there are other questions that arise when deciding to look for a teacher. How do you choose the right kind of teacher? How do you find a teacher? What level of teacher are they, instructor, mentor, pandit or master?

What do you look for in a teacher, or as importantly, what to look out for in a teacher? These are all questions that will serve you well if you spend some time investigating them before you move forward, or to at least, keeping the questions in mind as you develop a relationship with a new teacher.ᅠ

They rely on him for calming meditation techniques – essential to counteract stress and muscle tightness during long weeks of intense training. He has now launched sessions open to individual clients, including rhythmic stretching, breathing exercises
Evening Standard

Ultimately, you will need to trust your own intuition, your inner guidance when choosing a teacher. Remember the old Vedic saying, “When the student is ready the teacher will come.” I will leave you with thoughts of Ram Dass on this subject, “Be open to all teachers and all teachings, and listen with your heart.

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