Two Upcoming Kirtan Dates with Rick Colella and Mike Wachs

Friday, June 17 · 7:30pm – 10:00pm

Location: Against The Stream Buddhist Meditation  Society           4300 Melrose Avenue Los Angeles, CA

Info by Coordinator George Haas:

Mindful Music events are evenings of formal meditation to live music at Against The Stream Buddhist Meditation Society.

George says “We have some truly wonderful artists on the bill who are also meditators: our own wonderful Pablo Das, the sublime Patrick Hildebrand of the Ooks of Hazard, and Rick Colella (aka Rick Chant) and Mike Wachs doing their wild, jazzy kirtan.

The evening will consist of instruction in music meditation, followed by three half-hour set/sits. We’ll close the night with food and merry-making. No sign up is necessary, and this is a Dana (Donation) based event.

Should be really, really fun. Look forward to seeing you.”

Friday, June 24  8-10pm

Location:     Mind in Body

2313 West Olive Avenue
Burbank, CA 91506
(818) 694-3507

Info by Coordinator Molly Hagan – Join us on Friday night, June 24 from 8 -10, when Yoga Mind In Body hosts Rick Colella and percussionist Michael Wachs as they lead us through Kirtan.

Molly says “What is Kirtan?  Kirtan is Devotional chanting; musical prayer. It is a rhythmic call and response chanting that can kindle a joyful mood and can lead to profound states of meditation.

My own limited experience has been ecstatic and mesmerizing.  It is like a musical meditation that begs your participation.  However, you may come and simply sit, absorb and enjoy.  Or you may come, sing and move.  You needn’t be familiar with the words that are being chanted.  You needn’t be familiar with the simple melodies.  You needn’t be a Hindu, believe in any specific religion, or follow any path.  Just come – open your heart, mind and body – and be embraced by this experience that can sweep you away and sweep you into self.

A $5-$10 donation is suggested but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.”

Please invite your friends and forward this Link!

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/mobile/world-us-canada-12661646?SThisEM

 

Brains of Buddhist monks scanned in meditation study

23 April 11 21:13 ET

 

By Matt Danzico
BBC News, New YorkIn a laboratory tucked away off a noisy New York City street, a soft-spoken neuroscientist has been placing Tibetan Buddhist monks into a car-sized brain scanner to better understand the ancient practice of meditation. But could this unusual research not only unravel the secrets of leading a harmonious life but also shed light on some of the world’s more mysterious diseases?

Zoran Josipovic, a research scientist and adjunct professor at New York University, says he has been peering into the brains of monks while they meditate in an attempt to understand how their brains reorganise themselves during the exercise.

Since 2008, the researcher has been placing the minds and bodies of prominent Buddhist figures into a five-tonne (5,000kg) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine.

The scanner tracks blood flow within the monks’ heads as they meditate inside its clunky walls, which echoes a musical rhythm when the machine is operating.

Dr Josipovic, who also moonlights as a Buddhist monk, says he is hoping to find how some meditators achieve a state of “nonduality” or “oneness” with the world, a unifying consciousness between a person and their environment.

“One thing that meditation does for those who practise it a lot is that it cultivates attentional skills,” Dr Josipovic says, adding that those harnessed skills can help lead to a more tranquil and happier way of being.

“Meditation research, particularly in the last 10 years or so, has shown to be very promising because it points to an ability of the brain to change and optimise in a way we didn’t know previously was possible.”

When one relaxes into a state of oneness, the neural networks in experienced practitioners change as they lower the psychological wall between themselves and their environments, Dr Josipovic says.

And this reorganisation in the brain may lead to what some meditators claim to be a deep harmony between themselves and their surroundings.

Shifting attention

Dr Josipovic’s research is part of a larger effort better to understand what scientists have dubbed the default network in the brain.

He says the brain appears to be organised into two networks: the extrinsic network and the intrinsic, or default, network.

The extrinsic portion of the brain becomes active when individuals are focused on external tasks, like playing sports or pouring a cup of coffee.

The default network churns when people reflect on matters that involve themselves and their emotions.

But the networks are rarely fully active at the same time. And like a seesaw, when one rises, the other one dips down.

This neural set-up allows individuals to concentrate more easily on one task at any given time, without being consumed by distractions like daydreaming.

“What we’re trying to do is basically track the changes in the networks in the brain as the person shifts between these modes of attention,” Dr Josipovic says.

Dr Josipovic has found that some Buddhist monks and other experienced meditators have the ability to keep both neural networks active at the same time during meditation – that is to say, they have found a way to lift both sides of the seesaw simultaneously.

And Dr Josipovic believes this ability to churn both the internal and external networks in the brain concurrently may lead the monks to experience a harmonious feeling of oneness with their environment.

Self-reflection

Scientists previously believed the self-reflective, default network in the brain was simply one that was active when a person had no task on which to focus their attention.

But researchers have found in the past decade that this section of the brain swells with activity when the subject thinks about the self.

The default network came to light in 2001 when Dr Marcus Raichle, a neurologist at the Washington University School of Medicine in the US state of Missouri, began scanning the brains of individuals who were not given tasks to perform.

The patients quickly became bored, and Dr Raichle noticed a second network, that had previously gone unnoticed, danced with activity. But the researcher was unclear why this activity was occurring.

Other scientists were quick to suggest that Dr Raichle’s subjects could have actually been thinking about themselves.

Soon other neuroscientists, who conducted studies using movies to stimulate the brain, found that when there was a lull of activity in a film, the default network began to flash – signalling that research subjects may have begun to think about themselves out of boredom.

But Dr Raichle says the default network is important for more than just thinking about what one had for dinner last night.

“Researchers have wrestled with this idea of how we know we are who we are. The default mode network says something about how that might have come to be,” he says.

And Dr Raichle adds that those studying the default network may also help in uncovering the secrets surrounding some psychological disorders, like depression, autism and even Alzheimer’s disease.

“If you look at Alzheimer’s Disease, and you look at whether it attacks a particular part of the brain, what’s amazing is that it actually attacks the default mode network,” says Dr Raichle, adding that intrinsic network research, like Dr Josipovic’s, could assist in explaining why that is.

Cindy Lustig, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Michigan, agrees.

“It’s a major and understudied network in the brain that seems to be very involved in a lot of neurological disorders, including autism and Alzheimer’s, and understanding how that network interacts with the task-oriented [extrinsic] network is important,” she says. “It is sort of the other piece of the puzzle that’s been ignored for too long.”

Dr Josipovic has scanned the brains of more than 20 experienced meditators, both monks and nuns who primarily study the Tibetan Buddhist style of meditation, to better understand this mysterious network.

He says his research, which will soon be published, will for the moment continue to concentrate on explaining the neurological implications of oneness and tranquillity – though improving understanding of autism or Alzheimer’s along the way would certainly be quite a bonus.

Posted in Healing, Meditation, Meditation in Action, Uncategorized, Vipassana/Insight Meditation | Leave a comment

Some random posts from the old site

 

quote from Bede Griffiths
 
founder of a Christian-Hindu Ashram in India . . .
 
 “We have to try to discover the inner relationship between these different aspects of Truth and unite them in ourselves. I have to be a Hindu, a Buddhist, a Jain, a Parsee, a Sikh, a Muslim, and a Jew, as well as a Christian, if I am to know the Truth and to find the point of reconciliation in all religion.”

George Harrison on Chanting –

“…it’s really a process of actually having a realization of God, which all becomes clear with the expanded state of consciousness that develops when you chant. ”

 

From An Interview with Bhagavan Das:

Interviewer: Do you identify with a particular religion?
Obviously Hinduism, but you’ve also studied Ti b e t a n
Buddhism and you were a born-again Christian.

Bhagavan Das: I identify with love, I identify with attention, with consciousness,
with awareness. There’s only one religion, and that’s compassion. I love
Hinduism, I love Buddhism, I love Jesus, I have a lot of connections.
Buddhism is probably the best bet for most people because it’s not a
religion, it’s a science. Science is good, because people don’t have to
believe anything.

Interviewer: Yet you say that the nature of the true self is bliss.

Bhagavan Das: But you see, you have to discover that. It’s not a concept. It’s
like, back off from the drama and just be still. Get up early in the
morning and sit for 15 minutes; just look at what we think is real.
Where is our self? Who is our self? My self changes all the time; I
don’t know who I am. We just flow into whatever the thing is. I
mean, what do you identify with? The yoga thing is good, we all
need something to keep us in a satsang, an association of like-minded
souls. So we go to the center and do yoga and hang out with people
who are working on themselves.
Krishna’s description of Bhaktas from the Bhagavatam:

“They do not care for anything. Their hearts are fixed on Me. They are without ‘mine-ness’. They have no egoism. They make no distinction between sorrow and happiness. They do not take anything from others. They can bear heat, cold, and pain. They have love for all living beings. They have no enemy. They are serious and possess exemplary character.”

About Kirtan by Ram Dass from Be Here Now:

Song, dance, chanting and prayer have been throughout the ages traditional forms of bhakti yoga. At first such rituals are a matter of curiosity, and you are the observer. Then you arrive at the stage of peripheral participation—a “sing along.” Then in time you become familiar with the routines and you start to identify with the process. As your identification deepens, other thoughts and evaluations fall away until finally you and the ritual become one. At that point the ritual has become the living process and can take you through the door into perfect unity. To know that these stages exist does not mean you can jump ahead of where you are. Whatever stage you are in, accept it. When you have fully accepted your present degree of participation, only then will you experience the next level.

Singing and music: Most familiar to us is the use of a song to open the heart. Hymns such as Holy, Holy, Holy . . .Amazing Grace—have touched the hearts of millions with the spirit. In India, bhajan (the singing of holy songs) has been until recent times practically the only social function in the villages. Evenings, the men gather, squatting or sitting on the ground in a circle with their chillums (pipes) and a harmonium, a set of tabla (drums), perhaps a serangi or violin (stringed instruments) and cymbals . . . and they take turns singing the stories of the holy beings such as Krishna and Ram. Night after night they participate in this simple pastime, keeping themselves close to the Spirit.

It is often startling to the Westerner to realize that it is not the beauty of the voice but the purity of spirit of the singer that is revered by these people. It was only when music was profaned that it became a vehicle for gratification of the senses. Prior to that, it was a method of communion with the Spirit.

A special form of bhajan is called kirtan . . .which is the repetition in song of the Holy Names of God. Perhaps the most familiar of these in the West at present is:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

The melody of kirtan is usually basically simple and it is only after many repetitions that the process of coming into the spirit starts to happen. Singing the same phrases over for two to five hours is not unusual for the true seeker. And you will find as you let yourself into the repetitive rhythm and melody that you experience level after level of opening.

a quote from Swami Abhishiktananda (Henri Le Saux, O.S.B.)…a Cathlolic Benedictine Monk who studied meditation with Hindu masters
“Om is the dawn of Being in the Father, SAT. Om is the Being’s Self-Awareness, its awakening to itself in the Son, CHIT. Om in the Third Person is the tremor at the ultimate threshold of sound which is the Spirit in God and in the Universe, ANANDA.” Swami Abhishiktananda (Henri Le Saux, O.S.B.)

Posted in Bhakti, Bhakti Yoga, Chanting, Japa, Kirtan, Mantra, Meditation, Yoga | Leave a comment

Check out the New Tune and Sing Along

Are you coming to chanting in Pasadena, CA on Sunday April 10, 2011?

Time – 7:30pm

Rick Colella – Harmonium and Vocals

Cody Lawry – Percussion

location – private residence –

PLEASE RSVP — For address, phone number, and directions, please email or contact Rick – rickycolella@gmail.com or call 323-273-2850

Posted in Audio/Video Teachings, Bhakti, Bhakti Yoga, Chanting, Kirtan, Mantra, Yoga | Leave a comment

Kirtan Chanting with Rick Colella and Cody Lawry Sunday April 10, 2011

Sanskrit Chanting concentrates the mind and opens the heart – Our little chanting group has been going strong for 4 years now and it is a great opportunity to practice together and be part of a community of like-minded people.

Don’t worry if you can’t sing or if you don’t know any chants or mantras- Just come and express yourself and have fun. We’re non-judgemental, non-sectarian, and we love to have first-time chanters come to the group. If you know any chants and want to lead one, feel free to jump in and lead.

“Working on our own consciousness is the most important thing that we are doing at any moment, and being love is a supreme creative act.” – Ram Dass

“It always comes back to just letting go with love. Just put the love in it. Whatever it is, and if you can’t put love in it, don’t do it!” — Bhagavan Das

7:30pm Tea and Snacks (feel free to bring something to share!) 8:00pm Kirtan

Location: Private residence in Pasadena. PLEASE RSVP — For address, phone number, and directions, please email or contact Rick – rickycolella@gmail.com or call him at 323-273-2850

Want to know more about the chanting and our group?  sign up to receive notices at:

THIS BLOG –

https://kirtanwallah.wordpress.com plus Coming soonKirtan 101 HD videos with High Quality sound– Learn some new chants at home!!

Posted in Bhakti Yoga, Chanting, Healing, Japa, Kirtan, Mantra, Meditation | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kirtan in Pasadena

Kirtan in Pasadena, CA – Tonight Sunday February 13, 7:30– 10:00pm

Kirtan Chanting with Rick Colella (harmonium and vocals)
and Michael Wachs (percussion)

Sanskrit Chanting concentrates the mind and opens the heart – Our little chanting group has been going strong for 3 years now and it is a great opportunity to practice together and be part of a community of like-minded people. Don’t worry if you can’t sing or if you don’t know any chants or mantras- Just come and express yourself and have fun. We’re non-judgmental, non-sectarian, and we love to have first-time chanters come to the group. If you know any chants and want to lead one, feel free to jump in and lead.

“Working on our own consciousness is the most important thing that we are doing at any moment, and being love is a supreme creative act.” – Ram Dass

“It always comes back to just letting go with love. Just put the love in it. Whatever it is, and if you can’t put love in it, don’t do it!”
— Bhagavan Das

7:30pm Tea and Snacks (feel free to bring something to share!)
8:00pm Kirtan with Rick!

It’s okay to come late, just come in quietly.

Location: Private residence in Pasadena. PLEASE RSVP — For address, phone number, and directions, please email or contact Rick – rickycolella@gmail.com or call him at 323-273-2850

Posted in Kirtan, Yoga | Leave a comment