I danced a Sufi “dervish whirling” at the Buddhist Center today.
I “whirled” five revolutions (360 degree turns) with one hand above my head and the other in front of my chest as I danced for Jessica Barnett over a cup of tea. Well, I poured the tea. She watched and asked me questions about my new adventure on a dance floor.
Jessica and I are new members of the Chenrezig Tibetan Buddhist Center of Philadelphia, having joined nearly the same time about two and a half months ago. We also linked up with a meditation teleconferencing with other Buddhist students, and commiserate about the lack of knowledge we have of Buddhism. “You know more about it than I do,” I regularly tell her. “Plus you can pronounce words like Bodhisattva.”
“You can too,” she counters. “Plus, you’ve been coming to the Center longer than I have.” Right. One extra week. I started in December. She, a week later. But, she is the college student, majoring in art. Animation cartoons, in fact. Her mind is more nimble at 22 than someone tottering at the other end of life-expectancy scale. Well, maybe not tottering, but not as young as he used to be.
I felt comfortable with the Whirling, never staggering once, and did not lose my balance, until coming to a stop as I bowed to Jess, raised my head, and then bowed again to steady myself. I learned you can regain your balance and end the dizziness quicker by lowering your head. I’m sorry, Jessica, I wasn’t doing it just for your pleasure. The bow, that is. The second bow I made to you was actually for me.
Haven’t been able to talk with my young Buddhist friend lately. Our teleconferencing is on Wednesday nights, the same nights for my Sufi meditation class. The classes will end this week. I hope my Sufi teacher is successful in starting a “Circle” of Sufi “Lovers.” That’s what some call the Sufi, ‘lovers,‘ because of their feelings for their “Beloved.” God in my language. Allah in their’s.
Maybe some of the Buddhists at this center — those that still hold firm to their belief in a God the Almighty — might be interested in the Sufi. You can follow any philosophy or religion. Jew, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, you name it. All you have to do is seek God in your own way and be willing to dance with Him as the angelic child-like person you still have inside pestering you to get out and cut a rug. C’mon. It won’t hurt to get up from your chair.
And, dance, children, dance. At a Temple, Church, Mosque or street corner spiritual revival. Go on and dance.
I forgot how much I loved ballet as a kid. Think I’m going to put a ballet barre in my living room. Thanks for the reminder. I’m going to dance.
“Let the little girl dance” was a one-hit wonder by Bobby Bland that always moved me. Sounds like it could move you too.
(Don’t tell anyone it’s from the 60s. It would show I’ve been around quite a while.)
Nice post, Michael. Reminds me of Osho’s words:
” unless you dance, you have missed. Unless you dance with such abundance, with such forgetfulness, that you disappear in it… that the dancer is lost and only the dance remains… only then. And only then will you be able to know what life is.”
Sufi whirling is a great way to dance with such forgetfulness, but it usually takes more than five revolutions. Well for most people anyway… Perhaps Greeks are the exception.
No. Just the opposite. It takes Greeks longer to usually do things. But we act like we know what we’re doing by always moving fast.
Let’s Whirl! A hundred times!
I want to learn the whirl that causes the whole world to spin and the “I” to disappear in the middle! Thank you.
Find a teacher, read the poetry, and dance, man, dance . . .