Alchemy of Celebration
I was speaking with Aneesha after the New York event. She was searching for a word to describe the experience, then paused. Suddenly she exclaimed, “Alchemical!” I nodded yes, knowing deep inside it was exactly the right word. Truth is, it is always difficult to say exactly what does go on at the events. Usually what happens when people ask, I end up shrugging my shoulders. I don’t know how to put it precisely into words. It is such a mystery andso much bigger than me. But at least I have a new word for it now – alchemical!
Alchemy. The ancient longing of science to change baser metal into gold. In the context of meditation, one could say: the science of changing darkness into light, unconsciouness into consciousness; changing basic life-energy into something higher, purer, more refined; from our small individuality to the universal, the oceanic; coming home to that ephemeral something inside each one of us that is always here-now; realising what we already know to be the case, but have a tendency to forget. Perhaps it is this same longing the dewdrop has for the ocean, or as Kabir would say, the ocean has for the dewdrop.
So it is a kind of alchemy that happens when a group of people from all walks of life, races, and nationalities assembles on a Friday evening in Upstate New York and Wisconsin on two consecutive weekends in late September and begins to dance, sing, and meditate together. Faces soften, worry lines disappear from foreheads; the volume level of conversation increases in the diningroom at mealtimes as hearts open and love starts flowing. Laughter is suddenly noticed coming from every nook and corner; eyes are seen shining with strangely mysterious light. And a distinct, tangible silence pervades the atmosphere, a silence that hangs almost heavy in the air, becoming deeper, stronger, with each new meditation, each new peak of celebration. In no time at all, it seems alchemy, the magic, is happening. One cannot avoid seeing it, feeling it, experiencing it.
I have heard Osho say religion is the ultimate alchemy because it is the effort to give birth to yourself, to be reborn through meditation, through awareness. I experience the events as such: like a womb where we give alot of energy and nourishment to ourselves inside – with the meditations, the celebration, music, the dancing and songs, laughter, sweat, tears, not to mention love. And in the short space of a few days, a miracle happens: We give birth to ourselves. Then, in a flash, time inevitably is upon us to separate and say goodbye. But not from a space of sadness, but of absolute joy, overflow, renewed, rejuvenated from the inside-out, ready to move on, back into the world and our daily lives with new eyes and a fresh perspective, deeply grateful for having remembered once again something so priceless, so very precious: the knowing to our very bones who we are. And if this isn’t alchemical, I don’t know what is.
New York Event