Image: Melania Brescia
“I was dead, then alive.
Weeping, then laughing.
The power of love came into me,
and I became fierce like a lion,
then tender like the evening star.”
I have admired Eastern Philosophy, and been intrigued with Eastern culture and traditions since I can remember.
My draw to the East began through music.
I was in the band when I was a kid and I played the French Horn, I was ashamed to be the only girl “among the horns” as I used to say, now the metaphor makes me laugh.
For little girls it was the clarinet, or the flute, even the violin that was “supposed” to be the instrument of choice, not that I have ever liked gender roles to begin with, nor am I that good at living up to someone else’s expectations, I decided to go for an instrument that nobody wanted.
We had a really eccentric, vibrant music teacher and I had an even more eccentric private teacher; I think he takes top spot for eccentricities in one human being. One day my music teacher played a piece of music, I have never been able to find it since, and in the background was an Indian flute.
That noise, that Divine sound triggered something in the depths of my soul that changed the entire course of my life.
The Indian Flute is an instrument used by Indigenous people all over the world, primarily made of various woods (depending on geographic location) and with various numbers of holes, usually 7, it is a Sacred instrument, with a truly resonating sound.
One specific flute is known as the Bansuri which originates from Southeast Asia and is associated with Krishna; the same flute depicted in most Buddhist paintings around 100 CE. Krishna of course is “a Hindu deity, worshipped across many traditions of Hinduism in a variety of different perspectives. Krishna is recognized as the complete and eighth avatar of the God Vishnu or as the Supreme God in own right.
“Often described and portrayed as an infant eating butter, a young boy playing a flute as in the Bhagavata Purana, a young man along with Radha or as an elder giving direction and guidance as in the Bhagavad Gita. The stories of Krishna appear across a broad spectrum of Hindu philosophical and theological traditions. They portray him in various perspectives: a god-child, a prankster, a model lover, a divine hero, and the Supreme Being.”
His name originates from the Sanskrit word “Kṛṣṇa, which is primarily an adjective meaning “black”, “dark” or “dark blue”. The waning moon is called Krishna Paksha, relating to the adjective meaning “darkening”. Sometimes it is also translated as “all-attractive”, according to members of the Hare Krishna movement.”
Music has played a huge role in my life, and it plays a huge role in spirituality as many deities teach us, from Krishna and his flute to Pan with a flute of his own, Archangel Gabriel and his horn, or even Bast with her love of music; it seems that music is the Universal language we all so desperately have been seeking.
Dance, and expression through movement have also been crucial on my path, though I keep that personal to me because I use it as a form of meditation; both music and dance help me de-stress, find my center, and ground back to my reality when the outside world causes me to lose focus of Self.
Eastern Philosophy has taught me a lot, and when people see my collection of Buddhas, or my various Hindu trinkets they seem confused. I am questioned, a lot, on how these mystical traditions play their role on the Left Hand Path, and Luciferianism.
I would like to explain how I see them meeting in the middle, or at least, how they meet in the middle for me.
Seek your own truth, as I have.
The first most notable influence on my path is Rumi: a 13th-century Persian poet, jurist, Islamic scholar, theologian, and Sufi mystic. If you are unfamiliar with Sufism it is the mystical sect of Islam, also a sect synonymous with the twirling Dervishes also known as Sufi Whirling, or Spinning; a form of active meditation referred to as Sama.
Rumi believed that through the act of whirling (spinning in a choreographed motion) you view the world differently, losing natural coordination along with perception of reality, you find rhythm in the spin thus you are able to find your center. Rumi believed that God is in all of us, and exists in our center, he believed to commune with God during these sessions. In this context God can be a term for an omniscient power, or an umbrella term for ‘the Divine’.
The dance itself “is a customary dance performed within the Sema, or worship ceremony, through which dervishes (also called semazens, from Persian سماعزن) aim to reach the source of all perfection, or kemal. This is sought through abandoning one’s nafs, egos or personal desires, by listening to the music, focusing on God, and spinning one’s body in repetitive circles, which has been seen as a symbolic imitation of planets in the Solar System orbiting the sun.
“As explained by Sufis:
“In the symbolism of the Sema ritual, the semazen’s camel’s hair hat (sikke) represents the tombstone of the ego; his wide, white skirt (tennure) represents the ego’s shroud. By removing his black cloak (hırka), he is spiritually reborn to the truth. At the beginning of the Sema, by holding his arms crosswise, the semazen appears to represent the number one, thus testifying to God’s unity. While whirling, his arms are open: his right arm is directed to the sky, ready to receive God’s beneficence; his left hand, upon which his eyes are fastened, is turned toward the earth. The semazen conveys God’s spiritual gift to those who are witnessing the Sema. Revolving from right to left around the heart, the semazen embraces all humanity with love. The human being has been created with love in order to love. Mevlâna Jalâluddîn Rumi says, “All loves are a bridge to Divine love. Yet, those who have not had a taste of it do not know!”
How I personally connect this to my own Philosophy is the idea that God, the Divine, the Source, whatever name we use, that energy is already inside of us and through the act of meditation, in this case active meditation, we are allowed access to that Source. Dance is something that I find freedom in, I find my inner voice when my body moves in unison with sound.
Dervishes are not strictly Muslim, either, in fact, they accept people of all faiths, and genders to partake in their tradition. Many who wish to become Whirling Dervishes will make a pilgrimage to Rumi’s tomb in Turkey, and actually perform right there. An experience described by many as “life altering”.
Rumi himself said:
“Dance, when you’re broken open. Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you’re perfectly free.”
Dance to your own music, find your own rhythm and find your God, for you are it.
Another Eastern tradition that many would not think fits into the Left Hand Path Philosophy is Buddhism, specifically the path of the Shaolin Monks.
Buddhist’s traditionally believe that no one can save you except yourself; they do not seek answers from a higher power as most are in fact Non-theistic, not the same as Atheistic as they do acknowledge a power outside themselves, they do not seek that power though. They believe that going within is the only way to enlightenment, and their most important lesson: letting go.
There are various subcategories but the two main branches are Theravada (“The School of the Elders”) and Mahayana (“The Great Vehicle”). All branches of Buddhism wish to attain the ultimate goal which is total enlightenment and a blending of the physical body, with the mind.
Shaolin Monks practice a branch of Buddhism that dates back 1,500 years and the primary purpose of the Monks creation were to protect the Emperor.
The Monks themselves are notorious for their feats that defy all logic and reason, and especially known for their Kung Fu mastery.
This group, like the twirling Dervishes, performs active meditation in the form of Kung Fu, and as stated by a Shaolin Monk himself “is not about defeating your enemy, but finding inner stillness amidst the chaos of battle.”
The goal of most Monks is to swear off material possessions, live a life of humility, and compassion, and to release all mental and physical limitations placed on the body. The Monks believe that only they can free themselves of the inner demons that haunt them, and the release, control, and manipulation of energy or ‘Chi’ is how they fight these demons, before the demons defeat them. They believe if you do not release what haunts you, you will become what you run from.
The primary teachings of Rumi, the twirling Dervishes, and Buddhism are that we hold the keys to open all the doors necessary on our path. They teach us that everything we seek is inside of us already, all we have to do is start to look.
Hinduism is another Eastern Philosophy that deserves to be mentioned, even if you are not a theist, and take the stories as metaphors only, how glorious those tales are. Why we are not teaching the future generations enlightened trains of thought that will open their mind, and allow them to fulfill their full potential is beyond me; why we continue to spread Monotheism is also beyond me.
There is no God that can save you from yourself, only you can do that and that is the most important lesson of all, no matter what Philosophy you follow.