Everyone enjoys dancing even if one is alone inside or outside of the house, in a field or a forest. Dancing for fun or dancing for the spirit expressing itself for Joy, in joy or warmth and love with a lover, or Love for God and God in the person, or a partner…..whether old or young it fits the human being like a glove to the hand. People have danced for a millennia and will continue to till the end of time. It is almost like the movement in space….causes one to meet oneself or another on the molecular level where atoms inter-mesh with oneself and can enhance one’s own self realization of who one is as well as who another is….every culture has its own way, their own unique dance and they are all fantastic, many being repeated for centuries and are known as Folk Dancing.
Greek Folk Dancing of all dancing, I think I liked the Greek Folk Dancing the best. I never found or had the opportunity to go and learn it as most, if not all of it was not available unless you knew exactly where to go to learn it. Often, you had to be of a certain ancestry in order to be accepted and specially taught the folk dances of the country. There weren’t many classes to do that…….Finally, in the mid 70’s a group sprang up called International Folk Dancing, however, I never got to go to it.
Louis Pagonis….taught Greek Folk Dancing at UBC (University of British Columbia). He was an Art Student – Fine Arts – an artist. He wrote perfect essay papers always getting 100% on his papers and was the top Honor Roll art student. His art creations still stand the test of time from the early 70’s and if you look closely at almost most modern color combinations in art…..I would say they came from him, or that he worked on that idea….his work – the plum colors, the wine colors, the greens, the shades of purple, the antique whites…..marvelous combinations! Louis was also a track and field athlete including doing long distance running, he was muscular and strong. He played guitar and violin. At parties he would spontaneously create beautiful, entrancing, poetic songs singing in a melodic-ballad nice sounding voice on the guitar and then do the same on the violin…which would either be classical sounds or sounds like a fiddle. He could and did go on and on making up songs for hours. Week after week, the songs were different. You never knew where or how he or anyone could create so much music, so many songs, so varied, with so many sounds….and so different……they were marvelous spontaneous songs, simply amazing. Louis was only 23 or 24, but when i first met him, he looked like he was a wise person of 35. He was also a great Greek Folk Dance teacher. I learned enough from him to do it. Can’t remember it now, but i did it and remember having fun doing it!
The Twist was happening when i grew up as a child in Canada, it seemed almost all younger people here in North America knew how to do it…..then it spread in Europe and Central America. Practically everyone learned to do the Twist….the Chubby Checker Twist. If you practiced using a hoola hoop, you got better at it. You had to be in good condition, practically excellent physical condition to be good at the Twist, and if you weren’t the more you did it, the better condition you got in….in a short time! Most of the time, the Twist was combined with the Jive.
The Jive is probably the perfect dancing partner dance. Fun from the start to the finish, you try to get as much done in the time of the song and can be danced to with many songs and different types of pop music. I think of it as the Friendship Dance.
The Two-Step and The Three-Quarter Time, The Polka and The Slow Waltz was something every teenager had to learn. The Waltz compositions included pop music, the folk music and the beautiful classical musics. Often considered the Romantic Dance, it is the perfect dance for a party at home or in a club, a lounge, a disco club or at any official gathering place or dancing hall.
Disco Dancing included all of the Twists, the Jives, the Waltzes. I used to go and have fun when I was 15 (that was the minimum age to enter the Disco Hall). They started at 8:00 or 8:30 or 9:00 going till 12:00 or 12:30. The best dancer that came to our disco club was a guy named Billy…..his dancing was so awesome whether you were sitting around or dancing your eyes went to him because he danced just fantastically …..no one had seen anyone in such a flow of movements from one to the other, effortlessly, endlessly creative, totally gentle like an inspiration from a love from somewhere who knew where? He had red hair, freckles and looked like a normal guy, someone later told me that he learned from his mother jazz and belly dancing. We saw the flick of the wrist with the fingers unfolding last as this tai chi flow of the arms and hands went high with the fancy footwork and leg movements going from a flatfoot to a stance like a Spanish stomp without a sound to a chubby checker drop to the ground to do the complete splits to an immediate stand up, turnaround to move into a jive position with his partner and move her around effortlessly like she was a total part of him…….then remain close when the music changed to a waltz. He was amazing! We got pretty good at doing disco dancing because of Billy.
What was Jazz Dancing? I really wasn’t sure so I decided to enroll in a class that was being given near Granville Street and Drake. You went up a few stairs to a reasonably small area to a room about 20 feet wide by 40 feet long, beside it was an office. An old lady was there doing registration for the class. I registered, paid $20 and came back a few days later for the first class. Absolutely astounding to me, was that this old lady was actually the Instructor…the Teacher……and so was her sister, and she was just as old. Old, I mean about 85. I thought I got duped by two little old ladies from Montreal, but I was too embarrassed to ask for my money back. I’m not sure if i had ever talked to anyone who was 85 by that time, I was just 22 or so….I wasn’t sure how to talk to them and it was really difficult for me to think how “they” were going to teach “me”, my real suspicions were they had just come from Montreal, had set up shop and were going to leave, I figured I had been scammed and wasn’t sure what to do. Anyway, it turns out that apparently these ladies were lifelong dancers and had been teaching for about 50 years not just in Montreal but many places all over Canada, some places in Europe and United States and had decided it was time to come and teach in Vancouver……and give their benefit in not just Jazz Dancing but all sorts of dancing. So here they were in Vancouver, and by golly in about two months they had many, many students, full classes for at least six or seven years the last I heard of them. I wasn’t sure what it is I learned, but when I went to the local jazz clubs…..which were like the seedy Bistro ‘LSD’ Light-strobe type of clubs which had sprouted up at the time…..inside “everyone” was into dancing….particularly Jazz Dancing. The Jazz Dancing at the time was dancing with a partner -or either alone- and expressing or attempting to express your deeper thoughts about yourself…..what you wanted communicated, but couldn’t communicate any other way ‘other than’ by body movement…..or should say, body-emotional movement. People considered good or great jazz dancers…danced with a combination of body sexiness…emotional feelings……all in a combination which may have included mental thoughts, looks, gestures that might have included current political thoughts pertinent to political goings on in the area or the country. There were some great jazz dancers in Vancouver and it could be said some of those dancers took jazz dancing to a whole new level. In fact they were invited to special dances, special events…..to perform their interpretation in the dance way of ‘what was going on socially, politically even’. So….all the emotional responses one might feel as an interpretive effect from the government, from their politicians could be seen in these great jazz interpretive dancers. I arrived in the jazz dance scene at the latter part of these political interpretive dancers, they seemed to dance only at performances, but no longer frequented the local dance jazz clubs……what was happening there at the clubs was the type of dance with emotional feelings of how one was feeling. I got hooked on it after a few months, and seemed to be pretty good as a jazz dancer of this sort…..and then one night, I decided to dance alone as if in a search for my inner, higher self. It was a great dance for me….expressing my joy, my searching, my ‘almost’ realizations of being successful in my practice of my search after having found it…..and then the next dance, was my dance of farewell expressing the realization that realization cannot be done while dancing…..therefore, in order to be successful, in order to be true to myself….I had better get on with the search…..and get on with the meditating. And……that’s what happens in Jazz Dancing.
Ball Room Dancing
Arthur Murray had a job posting in the local newspaper for someone to become a BallRoom Dance Instructor, so I responded to it. It was downtown on Seymour Street. Seven of us showed up, one was a girl, but she quit early on. We were just ordinary guys and some of us thought this might be a cool way to make a living. At the end of the course someone person……maybe two guys, would be selected to be an Instructor. for Arthur Murray…..teach others and get on the payroll.
The Instructor was a beautiful, a lovely young woman, beautiful large blue eyes and natural bright red hair. She had an english type of accent and she was Scottish. Charming, kind, humorous, intelligent and patient, she had every attractive ingredient of a required teacher. Beautiful legs, nice figure….and warm hearted. Us guys thought we had come to high heaven and after the second class we were all having a good laugh about how each of us wanted to take her home. Everyday we had some fun about it. We kept it respectful, but boy, did we enjoy dancing with her…….she was such a good dancer…..and such a good teacher, and such a good partner to dance with…that we actually learned how to dance!
First it was the Waltz, then the Polka, then the Swing, the Rumba, the Cha Cha Cha…..the ???…..then the Tango. It was then in the Tango, that each of us learned she had her heart on someone else…..but by now we were ‘attached to her’ and I was so attached that when it came to the exams, the dancing exams….being so close to her and looking into her beautiful eyes, I literally forgot some..or “too many” of the dance steps…..and failed the exam! That’s what happens when you get distracted:))
Always i considered myself lucky to be able to study Musical Theory. I did that for a year at 38 years old. Studying piano notational chords and theory by myself had never worked for me, it didn’t for guitar notation either. I had come to the conclusion reading music was impossible for me until i finally went to a music studio and met a Rock Musician…..he was also a Studio Musician who was sought after and hired to play the more difficult parts of rock and classical music that musicians had difficulty doing during recording sessions. I was ever so glad to begin to understand the theory. Being left handed, the guitar didn’t fit because all guitars were made only for right handers. Always playing with a right handed guitar did not allow me to develop the dexterity to strum or learn strums properly or to use a pic or doing finger picking really really well. Nevertheless, playing right handed, i had learned the scales on the guitar, played them quite a bit; had learned some of the 7th cords: B7, D7, C7, E7, F7, as well as the Minor Chords – A minor, E minor G minor and of course the Major Chords. Someone taught me how to open tune to E, D and G. I made up my own ‘jazz’ on them, however, would say i wasn’t much good at it. I didn’t learn many “rifts” as in lead guitar, but was aware the Mandolin in Greek and Middle Eastern Music was played in 7-11 and also 11-11 rhythm. Later, it was brought to my attention that music from India was played in 16’s. And that China played in the 5 Chord method, as did Bali and most other Asian Music and also Rock and Pop Music.
I learned Musical Theory from Richard who owned White Rock Music Studio at Five Corners. Richard was a Studio Musician, he also had a rock band and played mostly guitar and piano. I came to learn strumming and to learn how to distinguish timing properly 2-4 time, 3⁄4 time, 5/4 time, 7⁄8 time….as opposed to 4/4 time. I asked him if he could teach me theory…..the theory behind music as well as the theory itself. He said he could. I was surprised as i didn’t think a rock musician could do that. To coin the phrase “ To throw the ball from anywhere in the field” to him i.e. a music theory question and get the exact answer everytime was a real thrill for me and a real privilege. Richard quickly gained my respect by answering my questions. I kept track and being a ‘chart’ guy….(i like to create charts of,…and for “information”)….the next thing i knew a few months later i had a chart that covered all the chords, all the harmonics, the sub-harmonics, the diminished chords – of all the scales! A second chart included all the different main chord combinations for the Pentatonic Scale as well as the primary strumming methods along with the timing for the different melodies i.e. 2/4 time, 3⁄4 time, 4/4 time. These charts never did get published, but I told Richard he could patent them for North America…..while I took China! :-)) Wouldn’t you know it……work at my business required a new tremendous amount of time, and Richard got requests to return to Ladner and set up shop there – which he did. I lost track of where the charts were, got too busy to play guitar, but I did get to a point that while listening to the radio, I could detect the chord being played and play along with it somewhat. In my early days, I used to jam with some friends who were at the same level or better than myself and we rather enjoyed it. But to this day i don’t even own a guitar…..and can still play only the basic cords with the regular strums I used to. I kept talking about these charts on and of for years and years, till finally they showed up as products in a website based out of California. That’s good, they were and are good charts.
An older man in Kerrisdale used to professionally teach singing….how to sing… and I would suppose he taught some famous people. I came because I was tone deaf and always sang in a monotone voice. Unfortunate, but true. He showed me how to make sounds like the notes on the piano then told me to go home and practice for six months. I went home but I didn’t practice, consequently I never learned a whole song or how to tune or identify my voice to the keynote that they were being sung in. Later, that toning did happen, I was able to accomplish something of what he said when tuning and playing the guitar. When i was a kid, when the song came on the radio “I found my thrill….On Blueberry Hill….”, i fell in love with the black singers especially Fats Domino, Nat King Cole and later Smokey Robinson. Being older now, I have forgotten the words to every song I knew…..yet still I wish to learn how to sing better and learn many songs…..it seems i just do not have the time to focus on it. I think i was a better chanter, than a singer.
Sant Mat Bhajans….and the Art of Meditation
They say Meditation is an Art. My absolute favorite singing….and the hearing of my favorite songs changed a lot in my late thirties…..I became very, very fond of the poetic songs written by those Holy Saints of India, these songs called “Bhajans” and the singing of them are called “singing bhajans”. Bhajans are sung without musical instruments….therefore, we hear only the human voices. To me, they are the most beautiful songs I have ever heard and i have heard nothing to compare to these songs. Sometimes The love that the songs are sung with are sung as if the Holy Saint, or God Almighty were standing right there in front of them……and in many cases they profess that is exactly what is happening when these bhajan singers are singing in front of their Beloved Saint….many times a song is sung with all the love of all of the singers with all the love in their heart…and it is being recorded on a tape deck or a video. They are so “sweet”……so heart rendering…..so…well, indescribable….something just to be heard to be known about. Tens of thousands of western people all around the world know many of these songs very, very well and are also very good singers like the India people are. These are that special type of song called devotional songs…..songs of love written by the Saints themselves so that when sung, they give the person the feelings of love, maybe a spiritual love right inside the person’s heart…..they are so poetic, so beautiful, so specially written that many many times, very often people even during the first chorus find themselves beginning to cry, singing with tears….by the end of the song the eyes are full with tears with other tears rolling down the cheeks. Some songs are over eight hundred years old, while many new songs are by some one or two Living Holy Saints who presently lives amongst us. They are sung in a foreign language, while those translated words are given below each line in the songbook. Some songs are sung quietly, with the most gently way possible, others are sung joyously because that is the tune of the song and is equivalent to the meaning of the poetic words of it. Saints write songs from a different level than what songs are usually written about and to mean. They have a lofty viewpoint we could say, that has more awareness of love and of compassion, and of devotion, and they are nothing like pop songs, folk songs or even classical songs…they are unique poetic songs of love and about Love.
Being older now, a favorite story often in my memory i have is of the Prince of Austria, our modern day Austria. He had been visiting India, he was in New Delhi, and one day decided to go for a long walk in the local neighborhoods to acquaint himself with a small portion of the Indian culture. As he was walking, from a distance he heard these unusual sounds coming from within a house. As he walked closer and then by, he could hear singing going on…..so he lingered for a moment to hear the song more closely. As he continued walking some considerable distance along he felt he found he had to turn back and to go knock on the door of that house where the songs were being sung and inquire what song it was and what it was about, what did it mean. He was curious as to try to understand how it was that their was so much love in their voices. He had never heard a song sung with such a sincere full sense of love before and was intensely curious. Hesitating to knock as they were still singing inside, so he stood there listening to many more songs. Each one seemed to him as amazing as the other or more amazing still than the other. He lost track of time, then finally the singing stopped and politely waiting till he heard no more, he knocked on the door and inquired as to what songs they were singing. Although being a complete stranger he was invited in very graciously. Asking some questions about the songs eventually, modestly they mentioned they were initiates of a Holy Saint who was known as The Wondorous Saint and the songs were written by him and other Holy Saints and sung towards their Holy Saint and God. Seeing the love in all of these people, he inquired if he too would be able to meet this Saint and as to where the Holy Saint was living and if he might be able to meet him. They gave him the address, told him how to get there, heartfully thanked them and he immediately went back to his hotel, packed up what he needed to take and straight away got a ticket to go see the Saint. He travelled all the day to the night, a gruelling, dusty trip into the desert of the neighbouring country, arriving late into the next day, finally arrived at the Saint’s home. Once there, he explained to the Saint how and why he got there, talked about the love how the people in Delhi were singing with, and asked if he too could get initiated. The Saint very graciously said yes he could get initiated but that he would have to study the theory and wait six months. The delay was so the Prince would have time to fully understand the theory of the path, and also to stop eating meat, etcetera, become vegetarian and stop any intake of intoxicates. The Prince returned in the six months and got initiated right away.
The Celestial Music
Since time and space began millennia ago, since the onset of Creation, Perfect Saints and Perfect Masters have given talks of the Royal Highway back to Sat Lok…..which is translated as True Region, and described as being The Eternal Home from where all Souls have originally come from. They say the most beautiful music is heard right from within us. In our time, Pythagorus, the Greek Mathematician and originator of the Pythagorean Theory called the way back The Music of the Spheres. Similarly, Socrates called it The Logos, or the Sound of the Silence…..as did Madame Blavatsky in her tiny book Voice of the Silence. For thousands and thousands of years, The Hindus have called it Bani or Celestial Bani…..Bani meaning Song. In the Vedas of the Hindus it is also referred to as Akash Bani, Naad and in the Upanishads it is called Nada and Udgit and is commonly spoken of amongst the Seikhs as the Dhun, the Naam or Shabdha, Shabhad or Sacha Shabd meaning True Sound …which has as its meaning being…..the Inaudible Sound versus the Varnatmuk sound. Varnutmak sound which means any sound that can be written or spoken. The sound that cannot be spoken…..is the sound of The Dhun….the Dhunatmak Sound. Also called the Lifestream or the Inaudible Lifestream as it cannot be heard by the ear through normal hearing, however, when heard by “the Spiritual Ear” it is called the Audible Lifestream. Called by Islamics as The Kalma or Bang-i-asmadim or Kalma-i-Qadim. LaoTse of China called it The Tao…..meaning The Way. Tibetan Buddhists call it The Sonorous Sound while Bhudda referred to it as The Transcendental Intrinsic Sound, the Christians have called it The Word, The Holy Word. In Genesis, we have: In the Beginning was the Word, The Word was God, and The Word is God. Perfect Saints and Masters tell us that God is made of Light….and Sound…and is everywhere….Omnipresent……and all powerful…..Omnipotent. When one comes to or is found by a Perfect Master, the Perfect Master opens up that person’s Soul to hear….through the Inner Ear……their Spiritual Ear…..and their Spiritual Eye ….to hear the Beautiful Music of the Spheres and to see the Beauteous Light of God….thus on their journey back to God, the Soul can see what is before it and follow the Sound Current all the way back to the feet of God…..to His Home, His True Home. This Royal Highway, the Perfect Saints say is the way back to God, but humbly say “By the Grace of my Master, this has worked for me, but if you find a better way, please come and tell me…..go and experiment.” This is an open path for everyone old and young and costs no money…..it is free and one cannot pay for it. Saints are sent by God to come as the givers and when here, God Almighty manifests within them, hence the sayings….”and he was the Word made manifest”….”I and the Father are One”……”God and I are One”. Those that receive the Blessings of the Perfect Saint indeed, in fact do hear The Beautiful Sound and see The Beauteous Light always consider themselves fortunate and consider their selves as the fortunate ones……as everyday they may hear the Beautiful Sound and practice the art of meditation on it and in it, and if they have Love and if they have Devotion…..to that Perfect Living Master whom connected them with The Beauteous Sound…..become one with it, while leaving the physical frame of the human body, go with it, in it, into the Astral Plane and the Causal Plane… with the Grace of the Master who guides and leads them every step of the way back to The Original Home and meet God face to face. Saints say this all depends on the person and the control they have over their own mind, their present life karma, their past-life karma. Those that gain access to each inner plane, live here as ordinary persons but always have ability and access to go by their soul to each plane they can reach……the Perfect Saint, whom, while appearing ordinary as a person would do, he has access all the time, and is able to be at will in all planes…..and is always one with God Almighty. A person who improves his opportunity molds his mind and character with good and higher moral and ethics in all ways of life…..then with more and more love and devotion to obeying the wise, kind and loving words of The Holy Saint, gradually gains control over his own mind and the ruling passions of lust, anger, greed, attachment and egotism till finally he can ride on The Holy Sound Current……and gain access in the full consciousness into the Astral Plane.
The Perfect Saint calls the Sound Current as The Master, the Real Master and The True Master and takes no credit for whatever he does and however the help given to the devotee and helps the person in his inner ascent…..he always refer to it as his Master’s Grace, professing he had done nothing. The Master, and The Holy Sound Current….The Shabdha is full with Spiritual Energy, and the Naam is full with Divine Love. First, The Master…..Loves the ones he has connected to the Sound Current……then that person responds in love back to the Master…..The Holy Way is The Loving Way. Not just anyone climbs to the heights of the high region of Sat Khand, The Eternal Realm….or comes from there being sent by God Almighty to bring the suffering humanity back home…..there might be only One Perfect Living Master….. living at a present time, but apparently there are from time to time, sometimes two or three Perfect Master’s living amongst us. Such True Saints are the Blessing to humanity and humanity has never been without them……nor ever shall it not be….they will always come in the future also. They are there for the true seekers. They come for the true seekers only. If a seeker has found a yogi and has learned from him, that is good if the teacher has said or taught the seeker to go “within”……whatever the seeker has learned that is good…..when it is ‘time’, either the seeker will find the Perfect Master or the Perfect Master will find him……..then the Journey begins.
To hear the Bhajans sung by those connected to a Perfect Master, go to www.mediaseva.com. That same website has available volumes of books written by The Holy Masters …..Master Baba Sawan Singh, Master Kirpal Singh and Sant Ajaib Singh Ji (Sant Ji), a Saint in our modern times has written hundreds of beautiful songs, some of which are published in a booklet entitled: Songs of the Masters.