On Thurs 7 Aug 08 @9PM I had a deeply moving and spiritual experience when I lit candles and deeyas for Tibet. This was in unison with everyone in my time zone and done globally. I'd like to explore this and share my experiences with you and hear yours as we participate in universal collective prayer events together. I hope to work together with all the universe's beings as we move toward the ideal of Universal Collective Prayer.

Come join me in Universal Collective Prayer!

May God Bless Us All!

UCP-Universal Collective Prayer is produced by Meady's Musings Production . Copyright 2006-2011

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Advent Calendar:HAPPY NEW YEAR!-Auld Lang Syne!

Today is the sixth day of Christmas and the New Year's Eve. I thought as part of Universal Collective Prayer cause prayer is also a sharing of love...I'd repost the lyrics of Auld Lang Syne by the Scotsman Robert Burns...you can learn more about Scotland's favourtie son on this site! :)


Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp,
And surely I'll be mine!
And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pu'd the gowans fine;
But we've wandered mony a weary fit
Sin' auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidled i' the burn,
Frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roared
Sin' auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And there's a hand, my trusty fiere,
And gie's a hand o' thine!
And we'll tak a right guid-willie waught

For auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And you know I had to have it...Here's the song of prayer in a way! :)
Please sing along with me tonight and all your friends in Universal Collective Prayer! :)

But seriously this song has such meaning for Universal Collective Prayer so I will now put it with a Scottish accent and and throw in Amazing Grace for good measure to the Universal Collective Prayer mix! :) Because Amazing Grace is so loved by the Scots although not originating from there and it just adds to the prayers!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Advent Calendar:5th Day of Christmas-Guardian Angels or Ishq Devata

Photo Free courtesy this kind page

On this 5th day of Christmas on all my blogs I am talking about angels in some form or fashion. To me the equivalent of angels in Hinduism is devata(s). (I'm making a Hinglish work there by pluralizing devata but you get my drift.) The rough translation of devata into English is deity. And then here's the thing like many Hindi-English translations I encounter...because I grew up in a culture or religion I know the word in its original language (Sanskrit/Hindi)and practice but by the time it makes it to English well although English is my mother tongue I am clueless! Clueless I tell you as to what it means! I often see this word deity and deities being used to refer to things in Hinduism and goodness I haven't a clue what it means! So here it is according to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary the English word deity means:

'Deity-1 a: the rank or essential nature of a god : divinity bcapitalized : god 1 , supreme being2: a god or goddess 3: one exalted or revered as supremely good or powerful'

And according to the Hindupedia a devata or deity is

By Shankara Bharadwaj Khandavalli

'Devata or deity is a multifaceted concept in Sanatana Dharma. There are very many different aspects of devata. Apart from object of worship, devata is a symbol representing different things in different forms of knowledge.

Commonly we see that devatas are described as having consorts, weapons and vehicles. And they have number of heads, hands and feet. They are also associated with different sets of numbers. All these have different meanings in different senses, when we talk of different aspects of the devata. Some of the symbols become more important or less important based on the aspect we are talking of.

Then there are different likes and dislikes for each devata. Not having a form and qualities in the human sense, likes and dislikes do not apply to devata the way they apply to humans. They represent methods that make the devata easily reachable or in other words, they are the means to realize the devata.'

So here is the thing as a girl taking part in Universal Collective Prayer I personally find that to me a devata can also be like an angel. And since I was a girl born into Hinduism and growing up in it I've been told (dunno according to the astrological charts of Vedic culture or this or that)...that my ishq devata is Ganesh...Ganapati! Now ishq means love and so in this case it can also roughly be translated then that my beloved devata or my much loved one...or how I see it...my guardian angel is...Ganapati! But in practice I like to play around with all of them...had a crush on Krishna:)...hug Hanuman Baba all the time when I see him bowing with such humility at the feet of Shri Ram and then always ask him for his strength when needed too...such a strong monkey he is! :) Then, with much respect and reverence and to be honest sometimes awesome fear I sit at the feet of Shiv and become a Shiv Bhakt learning the ideas of meditation straight from the super one himself...my super yogi..and so I become a Shiv Bhakt then...But yep officially I'm supposed to be giggling about and playing with my belly giggling, ladoo munching elephant headed incredibly wise friend-Ganapati the most! He is the ishq one for me! :) He is nice too though so don't mind but I like to practise free love and so like that I can move from one to the next...and can even be seen hanging out with the guardian angels of the Catholics...after all I only answer one call and that is the one for Universal Collective Prayer! :)

According to the Catholics and their Catholic encyclopedia New Advent:
'Guardian Angel

That every individual soul has a guardian angel has never been defined by the Church, and is, consequently, not an article of faith; but it is the "mind of the Church", as St. Jerome expressed it: "how great the dignity of the soul, since each one has from his birth an angel commissioned to guard it." (Comm. in Matt., xviii, lib. II).
This belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity; pagans, like Menander and Plutarch (cf. Eusebius, "Praep. Evang.", xii), and Neo-Platonists, like Plotinus, held it. It was also the belief of the Babylonians and Assyrians, as their monuments testify, for a figure of a guardian angel now in the British Museum once decorated an Assyrian palace, and might well serve for a modern representation; while Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, says: "He (Marduk) sent a tutelary deity (cherub) of grace to go at my side; in everything that I did, he made my work to succeed."
In the Bible this doctrine is clearly discernible and its development is well marked. In Genesis 28-29, angels not only act as the executors of God's wrath against the cities of the plain, but they deliver Lot from danger; in Exodus 12-13, an angel is the appointed leader of the host of Israel, and in 32:34, God says to Moses: "my angel shall go before thee." At a much later period we have the story of Tobias, which might serve for a commentary on the words of Psalm 90:11: "For he hath given his angels charge over thee; to keep thee in all thy ways." (Cf. Psalm 33:8 and 34:5) Lastly, in Daniel 10 angels are entrusted with the care of particular districts; one is called "prince of the kingdom of the Persians", and Michael is termed "one of the chief princes"; cf. Deuteronomy 32:8 (Septuagint); and Ecclesiasticus 17:17 (Septuagint).
This sums up the Old Testament doctrine on the point; it is clear that the Old Testament conceived of God's angels as His ministers who carried out his behests, and who were at times given special commissions, regarding men and mundane affairs. There is no special teaching; the doctrine is rather taken for granted than expressly laid down; cf. 2 Maccabees 3:25; 10:29; 11:6; 15:23.
But in the New Testament the doctrine is stated with greater precision. Angels are everywhere the intermediaries between God and man; and Christ set a seal upon the Old Testament teaching: "See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you, that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 18:10). A twofold aspect of the doctrine is here put before us: even little children have guardian angels, and these same angels lose not the vision of God by the fact that they have a mission to fulfil on earth.
Without dwelling on the various passages in the New Testament where the doctrine of guardian angels is suggested, it may suffice to mention the angel who succoured Christ in the garden, and the angel who delivered St. Peter from prison. Hebrews 1:14 puts the doctrine in its clearest light: "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent to minister for them, who shall receive the inheritance of salvation?" This is the function of the guardian angels; they are to lead us, if we wish it, to the Kingdom of Heaven.
St. Thomas teaches us (Summa Theologica I:113:4) that only the lowest orders of angels are sent to men, and consequently that they alone are our guardians, though Scotus and Durandus would rather say that any of the members of the angelic host may be sent to execute the Divine commands. Not only the baptized, but every soul that cometh into the world receives a guardian spirit; St. Basil, however (Homily on Psalm 43), and possibly St. Chrysostom (Homily 3 on Colossians) would hold that only Christians were so privileged. Our guardian angels can act upon our senses (I:111:4) and upon our imaginations (I:111:3) -- not, however, upon our wills, except "per modum suadentis", viz. by working on our intellect, and thus upon our will, through the senses and the imagination. (I:106:2; and I:111:2). Finally, they are not separated from us after death, but remain with us in heaven, not, however, to help us attain salvation, but "ad aliquam illustrationem" (I:108:7, ad 3am). '

So I guess you can see why my only call is to that of Universal Collective Prayer because sounds kinda similar in some way no?:)

Thing is whatever their origin, look or place of being I like to play and pray with them and learn from them and for sure I feel them about and I really do think they protect me daily! :) 'Love is all around me and so the feeling grows...it's written on the wind its everywhere I go':)...and because my mum and I watched 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' together last night and this YouTube clip is exactly 4:44 long as in 4 mins and 44 secs and some people say it is the number when our guardian angels are around us! :) Here it is Wet, Wet, Wet singing 'Love is All Around!' and I bet angels and ishq devatas are too! ;)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Advent Calendar:4th Day of Christmas-The Gift of Hope Through Prayer!

Tonight on all three of my blogs I'm giving the gift of 'Hope'. Usually the words 'Hope' and 'Prayer' go together so it is very difficult to give the gift of Hope without also giving the gift of Prayer so when giving the gift of Hope along the theme of this blog-Universal Collective Prayer it is kinda like overlapping but I think this video will suffice...

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Advent Calendar:3rd Day of Christmas-The Gift of Inspiration and then acting on it by Carrying Out Our Life's Purpose-Karam(ma)

In Hinduism doing what one is suppose to do is Karam or Karma that is the action, the doing, the verb and the noun or the duty we have to perform is our Dharam or Dharma. Most of us who would subscribe to Universal Collective Prayer regardless of our religious background and the details would believe that we have a soul and the soul inhabits our body and God/the Universe sent us here in this body to carry out a specific and unique purpose some will say in his name or to fulfill his way here on earth. The classic film 'Chariots of Fire' that was released in 1981 and won four Academy Awards including best picture has a scene where the girl watches on remembers when the runner, her brother I believe told her once in the past:

"Jennie, I believe God made me for a purpose. But he almost made me fast. And when I run, I feel his pleasure"

Truly Karam and Dharam...

Friday, December 26, 2008

Advent Calendar:The 1st of The Twelve Days of Christmas!

Today is not only the first of the twelve days of Christmas but it is also my Birthday and in some parts of the world Boxing Day...I've gone on about my birthday already on my Meady's Musings blog and you can check that blog on on this link.

However today on Universal Collective Prayer I want to talk about The Twelve Days of Christmas and what it means...

A couple years ago I like many people perhaps thought...The Twelve Days of Christmas was actually the twelve days before Christmas itself. I often tried to count back to see on what date then did it begin and often even wondered if anyone had really tried in reality to give all those gifts to their true love on each of the twelves days! This is a weird and wacky world and I'm sure someone for all you know must have really done it by now! :) Perhaps a rich Sheik trying to impress his fourth wife! :) No offense in Universal Collective Prayer intended...

But I now appreciate it is the twelve days after Christmas and so today is the First Day of Christmas! And although I so wish my 'True Love' would first indeed come to me and if not bring me a Partridge in a Pear Tree...simply bring his true love and with me be...goodness knows how he'd pull that off in the Tropics anyway and how does one bring a tree? I mean wouldn't it have to be uprooted well and how then do you keep the partridge in there? Well someone who would do that would perhaps be no true love to me! I mean who so cruel could be able to give true love? But seriously I know it is just a fun counting song and if you read my Meady's Musings installation for today you will see how obsessed I think we as a society are with the numbers!

So I'm now learning that this twelve days of Christmas business really starts off today and ends on the Epiphany, the day of the Kings which is especially celebrated in Spain and Spanish influenced cultures as El Día de los Reyes and commemorates the Magi's gift giving to the Christ Child...so you see I will get to see those good men three one last time before Christmas comes to an end! :) But really let's face it the first thing that comes to our minds is that song! Some people say it is just a random song...fun for kids... but some say in it is some religious significance in code or was necessary during war times to pass secrets too even! :) As I was saying on Meady's Musings ...Hum Na Jaane ...dunno...however here is what this UK carols site- says about the meaning of the Twelve Days in the song:

'Religious symbolism of The Twelve Days of Christmas (The 12 Days of Christmas)

1 True Love refers to God
2 Turtle Doves refers to the Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens refers to Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds refers to the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings refers to the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying refers to the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming refers to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking refers to the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing refers to the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping refers to the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping refers to the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming refers to the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed'

Hmm...and it makes sense though...TRUE LOVE = GOD!:)

Anyway we all think of that song and since I've been playing with John Denver and the Mumpets and enjoying it all Season long here they are! :)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Advent Calendar:Christmas Day!-Joy to the World Let's Rejoice in Universal Collective Prayer!

Since I've created Universal Collective Prayer the blog I've been more and more dabbling in and rejoicing in forms of prayers from other cultures and religions. I've always celebrated Christmas and no doubt I've even reflected on the birth of the Christ child before but posting on this blog has made me even deeper into it I've found...it has made me realize how much I feel Joy for the symbolic birth of the Christ child today and how every time I see him as a baby I also see an image of Baby Krishna similar to the one from the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust which I can't re-post here after reading their terms and conditions. But it is of the baby stealing ghee (clarified butter and a real treat in that time and era of Vedic culture...I guess equivalent to being caught with your hand in the cookie jar in modern Northern American culture.). This parallelism happened to me earlier this week while driving to work when I heard a very very cute Christmas song on the radio along these lines....
'I'm getting nuttin this Christmas cause I've been nuttin but bad...I put a knot in Suzie's hair somebody snitched (told) on me! I....somebody snitched (told) on me! I'm gettin nuttin this Christmas...'

I can't remember the words well but it was so cute and the first visualization of it that came to me head was of Baby Krishna and how he was so bad ....a bad bad boy when he was a baby...always stealing the ghee and stuff...and so cute! :) And I guess it made me realise that the kid in the song would have been just like little Kanhaiya (Krishna) and so he would have been getting nuttin for Christmas too! He who then proceeded to show his mum that he had the whole universe in his mouth! There is a good visualization of this in the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust but I just realised I can't publish it here even if it is not for profit and even if I link back and in so doing give the site its rights but I guess they do need to sell the pics to build temples apparently so... And perhaps in that we see already how religion and people decide how to share or hoard God's love...but yep understand bout copyright and all.

But yep He who I see as Love's Pure Clear Light as it was manifest through the Christ Child as he was symbolically born today....Said Christ child who as an adult told his followers that to go to his father and his kingdom we had to become in our hearts like children! :) It made me think that if I ever did have my own kids on earth in this lifetime that I should try to remember what Mata (Mother) Yashoda saw in Baby Krishna's mouth and give my kid something for Christmas even if he is bad and somebody tells on him! :)

And guess what I luckily was able to find back that song on the You tube so here it is! At least as far as I know for now it can be shared not for profit if we want to simply share our thoughts...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Advent Calendar:Christmas Eve!-Love's Pure Clear Light!

I must apologise for not blogging yesterday and you can read my full apology on my Meady's Musings Christmas Eve entry and following on that post...I'm going on the theme Love's Pure Clear Light tonight. As a wish you and yours a Happy, Holy Christmas and a Bright and Reflective New Year Filled with Love and its Pure Clear Light...here is how I express to you Love's Pure Clear Light!

The best way for me as usual to express it on this blog is by prayer in song. So tonight on the eve of the symbolic birth of Love's Pure Clear Light given to us from the Universe in the form of the Christ child. I share with you songs that to me expressed Love's Pure Clear Light! I may have shared some of them through the season already but if they are repeats they are Encores! Cause they perhaps were so good I felt to do them twice...or thrice! :) Here I go wishing you Love's Pure Clear Light!

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY!:) As we all make our way to Love's Pure Clear Light!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Advent Calendar:Mon 22 Dec- Continuing with the Gift of John...

I've gone deep on my Meady's Musings gift today so will keep the prayers on here light tonight and just ask you to Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas...Let your heart be light...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Advent Calendar:Sun 21 Dec-More John Denver!

On this day of Advent I share more of John Denver as he Christmases with the Mumpets. This song about peace again truly embraces what I envision 'Universal Collective Prayer' to be all about! :)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Advent Calendar:Sat 20 Dec-John Denver's Poem Alfie!

I think John Denver's poem Alfie really embraces what I conceive Universal Collective Prayer to be! For years I've heard this on my Mumpets Christmas cd with him and I'm always so caught up in every word of this poem! I mean he is embracing the wind, the trees, the birds, the animals and people from all over the world and from different traditions and religions! How lovely and truly Universal Collective Prayer!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Advent Calendar:Fri 19 Dec- Silent Night in Languages of the Universe!

Sharing Parang music yesterday which was in Spanish made me think about Christmas music in languages other than English...then it made me recall that, in my book, one of the most beautiful and heartfelt Christmas carols is Silent Night. One of my favourite things is to hear how John Denver on his Christmas Album with The Mumpets goes into the detail of the whole story about how the carol came to be in Austria where it was first written and performed in German! How lovely, beautiful, synchronous and meant to be that whole thing was I find from John's story just like how to me many great work's of Art and Inventions seem to come to be! :)I guess just prayers from the soul. So tonight my Advent gift to you is various versions of Silent Night...Stille Nacht....Noche de Paz...and I kick it off with John Denver's explanation version! :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Advent Calendar:Thurs 18 Dec-Parang Music!

On this day of Advent I give you Parang Music Trini style. Parang music is indeed prayer in the form of song because in its purest form it describes the Nativity scene and the joyous birth of the Christ child. Here is an excerpt of a story kept at this link on Trinidad and Tobago's National Library site:

'By Abdelkader Marquez

Trinidad Guardian

December 25th 1989

Page 6




The word Parang represents the written equivalent to the phonic Parran, which in turn is an adulteration of the Spanish word Parranda.

Dr. Daphne Taylor explains that the Trinidadian has incorporated into the Caribbean language many words of Spanish origin by the simple procedure of eliminating from the word the last syllable or last letter.

For example, "guarap" for "guarapo" sugar cane juice; "lanap" for " la hapa" an extra portion; "alpagat" for "alpargata", sandal; and "taso" for "tasajo", dried meat; "planas" for "planaso" this term being frequently associated with regard to relations between the Trinidadian fishermen and the National Guards; and even the verb "mamaguy" for the Venezuelan idiom, "mamadera de gallo".


In Trinidad, Parang has various meanings, which are closely related between each other.

As a noun, it identifies a custom originating from Spanish tradition in the island, which consists in celebrations which take place from the last week in November until January 6th, even though the real season starts during the middle of October with the rehearsals by musical groups and ends after January 15th.

During this time, on radio, TV and at private parties, etc., nothing but parang is heard and this is expressed in the following Trinidadian piece: Parang por la manana.

Parang por la manana

Parang al mediodia

Parang a toda hora

Como si fuera comia


As an adjective, Parang depicts music, musical inistruments, dances, costumes, etc. all related to the season.

In the form of a verb, to parang means to wander, to travel merely for the sake of pleasure and without destiny.

Paranderos, of course, are all those who participate in the celebrations.

The origin of Parang is still a matter for discussion amongst its followers.

Some maintain that the custom was introduced by Spain during the Spanish occupation of Trinidad (1498-1797) and was adapted to the island's environment, influenced by its contact with Venezuela and kept alive by the conostant communication with that country.

Others believe that the custom came from Spain through Venezuela during the Spanish administration of both countries and continued after the capitulation, through continued communication with Venezuela.

In reality, these discussions are irrelevant since today, Trinidad Parang has its own national characteristics and is enjoyed by all despite the difficulty experienced by many in understanding the words sung in "local Spanish" to the rhythm of typical Venezuelan music, though recently, Colombian pieces such as The Caiman, La Mucura and even Cuban pieces such as El Muneco, Cuando Sali de Cuba and others, have been included in the repertoire of many of the Parang groups.


There can be absolutely no doubt about the influence Venezuela has had on Trinidad parang and to further compound this statement, one has only to see the names of the most popular parranderos - Paul Castillo, Clarita Rivas, Soltero Gomez, Silvestre Mata, Rita Guerra, Petronila Marcano, Marcelina Hernandez, Jose Pena, Jose Espinoza, Adrino Reyes, Luis de Leon, Casimiro Leon, Gloria Alcazar, Pedro Ramos, Paulina Lezama and many others and the same applies to the names of the various parang groups.

La Divina Pastora, La Sagrada Familia, Los Muchachos del Agua, Los Pavitos, La Libertad, Las Estrellitas, Ay Caramba, La Tropical, Los Caballeros, La Santa Familia, Los Hermanos Lara, La Estrella de Oriente, La Santa Maria, Santa Rosa, Los Amigos, Los Campaneros, Rancho Quemado.

Parang was kept alive in the hearts of Trinidadians mainly through the efforts of the older generation who maintained the tradition of parang in the outskirts of Port of Spain.'

And I leave you with the voice of Daisy Voisin of La Divina Pastora who, now deceased, is an icon of Trinidad Parang during her lifetime and will be for a very long time! And for me her voice and the Parang music is synonymous with a 'True Trini Christmas'!Hope you enjoy it too!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Advent Calendar:Wed 17 Dec-A Charlie Brown Christmas =The Meaning of Christmas

My Universal Collective Prayer Advent Calendar installation for you tonight is not very long as I leave you with one of my favourite memories of Christmas from my childhood... watching the Charlie Brown Christmas cartoon on TV! So tonight I leave you in the comfortable hands of Charles Schultz and the prayers he tells through the lips of Linus and the wonderings of Chuck! :)If you want to learn more about Charles Schultz you can check out this site and perhaps visit the museum in his honour just outside of San Francisco.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Advent Calendar:Tue 16 Dec-Yes, Virginia

Image take from Newseum:Newsman Francis Pharcellus Church who wrote The Sun's response to Virginia.

You can read about the strategy for the Advent Calender postings that I'm doing on all three of my blogs today on this post on my parent blog Meady's Musings.

Just for you today on Universal Collective Prayer my Advent Calendar gift to you will be words from 'Yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus' which I reference in this prior post on here and was written in 1897 by the editor of the then New York Sun. Here it is accompanied by an appropriate film clip based on the story of how it was written! :)

As taken from the website Newseum:
'Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York's Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.

"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
"Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'
"Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?


VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.'

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Check Out the Review on Spiritual Media Blog and Thank You Intent Team!

Dear Readers...Hey everybody! :) I'm please to announce that Matthew Welsh has reviewed this blog on his blog Spiritual Media Blog please check out what he had to say! More importantly I'm glad for whatever joy, love and compassion that came to him during his visit to my blog! :)I met Matthew on Intent where he is part of the community. I'd also like to thank the Intent team for providing such a lovely space where many like minded people can meet in mind and collaborate on things like this!

When I first visited Spiritual Media Blog and subsequently his website Matthew Welsh, I was blown away that someone so youthful had achieved so much and that it was in such an area. I normally associate people in the area of spiritual media to be a bit more mature in years but Matthew it seems is still in his 20s. He wrote the book 'The Bottom Line' while still in Law school. Here is a bit of a summary of Matthew's background as described on the Matthew Welsh website:

'Matt Welsh graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in Economics in 2004. During his junior year of college, Matt reached a point of virtual self-destruction, that stirred within him the need to seek out an easier and more fulfilling way of life. This awakening sparked him to study the practices of history's greatest spiritual teachers.

His debut novel, The Bottom Line, tells the story of how their practices forever changed the way he lived his life. He graduated from Indiana University - Indianapolis School of Law in 2007.

After law school, Matt moved from Indianapolis to Los Angeles to work for the William Morris Agency. While working in the entertainment industry, he was driven to create SpiritualMediaBlog.com to raise public awareness for emerging spiritual entertainment.

Matt now lives in Indianapolis where he speaks to high school and college students about how to use their natural talents to turn their passions into their career path.'

I hope you guys check out the review on Spiritual Media Blog. Also feel free to catch other stories that are highlighted on there whenever you feel like it. Since Spiritual Media Blog highlights happenings in the Spiritual Media Industry on an almost daily basis.

Have fun! And whenever you can drop in to join me in Universal Collective Prayer! :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Embracing Universal Collective Prayer-By Walking the Shoes of the Other!

You all know how much I cried a few days back about the animal sacrifices...but I'm always looking for the positive to highlight when I see it although I believe I need to speak out against injustices when I see them too...especially for the wordless like 'my fellow little ones' as defined in this post.

I know the cynical way of looking at this might be to say the Muslims in India are just afraid of Hindu fundamentalist rage but I think even if that is the case their actions here are in the end good and should be highlighted. Perhaps next year it will be repeated not out of fear but out of the true desire to be in Universal Collective Prayer with the Hindus. And really I don't know if some persons are truly doing this out of their heart too not out of fear but out of genuine compassion and the love of peace and universal understanding. I mean I am in no position to judge of course! And perhaps the next year it won't just be the cows who are spared but all the animals...all 'the little ones'. For as you will also know from my last post one of my fav quotes from the Gita sees cows on equal footing as 'other little ones' too.

I repeat it here:

'The Humble sages, by virtue of true knowledge,see with equal vision a learned and gentle brahman, a cow, an elephant, a dog, a dog-eater (an outcaste)'-The Gita Chapter 5 verse 18.

However I am thankful for at least the cows spared and appreciative of the overall camaraderie shown by the Muslims in India towards the Hindus there this Eid-Ul-Adah in wake of the recent Mumbai Terror Attacks.

Check out what I'm talking about here in this Washington Post article by Emily Wax-In India, Muslims Mark a Somber Eid Celebrations Subdued After Mumbai Siege Special correspondent Pragya Krishna in New Delhi also contributed to this report.

I have quoted below some points in the article that to me show the goodness and reflects the values of Universal Collective Prayer the most:

'Muslim groups in Mumbai, meanwhile, have brought tea and cookies to many of the victims still recuperating at the city's hospitals.'

'Muslims around the world usually celebrate Eid by slaughtering sheep, goats and cows to commemorate the prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son, Ismail, on God's command. This year, Muslim leaders asked that no cows be killed out of respect for the Hindu belief that cattle are sacred. Muslim leaders have also refused to allow the bodies of the nine fighters killed in the attacks to be buried in Islamic cemeteries. In sermons and in street demonstrations, Muslims have said they, too, want tougher laws and a stepped-up fight against terrorist attacks.'

'Near an Islamic prayer cap store and in front of a popular mosque in Mumbai, friends gathered in a narrow alleyway after prayers to console Mohammed Rafique, 45, who had been at the landmark Taj Mahal Palace & Tower hotel, the scene of much of the carnage. "We all have felt the horror," said Rafique, a driver, who was inside the hotel to help organize a wedding party. "I just hope my Hindu brethren don't blame us. We have suffered greatly, too." '

Always glad to see Universal Collective Prayer being embraced even if in a subtle way! And there you have it others very different to me in some ways are also walking in my shoes if even for a little bit!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Gita Jayanthi, Eid-Ul-Adah, My Little Ones- Can There Ever Truly Be Universal Collective Prayer?

Can there ever truly be Universal Collective Prayer? Can I really keep my intent to 'Walk in the Shoes of Others Very Different to Me?' Today I learnt since I really don't myself celebrate either that there is the Hindu festival of Gita Jayanthi on one hand and the Islamic festival of Eid-Ul-Adah on the other. For those of you taking part in Universal Collective Prayer with me but do not know much bout either one I will repeat two summaries of the festival descriptions from some other websites.

But before I do so let me mention what I mean by "My Little Ones"...it's quite simple really...I consider other non-human creatures in the Universe to be my brothers too and I don't believe they like to be eaten and should not be eaten by humans simply cause we can do differently. I can't expect a lion to be a vegetarian but to me it seems humans can be and even vegan and food rawist vegans too! I like that I'm not a lion and so I can feel comfy amongst all my brothers...other than the ones who would eat me too I guess! If anyone has seen the film Madagascar think how sad it was for the lion in that film when he realized by nature he wanted to eat his friend the zebra! And if a film can be a lesson look how well that little ole lion did! Anyway back to it before I lose credibility...talking animals and cartoons today...Santa Claus yesterday hmmm...?

But seriously I think too my understanding of how I feel about animals and eating them or not doing so actually is very Hindu centric. So really I'm not loony just more Hinduey a girl in Universal Collective Prayer than a follower of Islam in it...but I want to walk in those shoes...I also want that one day all of the universe can sit and engage in Universal Collective Prayer. So I continue to ask...also as I ask I am mindful that however limited the reach of this blog may or may not be (cause really anyone or thing can be found on the globe today!) there is enough religious tension on the earth today and I vow not to add to it. This blog was created to put forward positive healing cohesive prayer not divisive or disruptive thoughts...so I have to dig deep especially give the recent tensions in Mumbai as I don't want to encourage any inter-religious tensions...

So here is the little summary of each festival. First up the description of Eid-Ul-Adah as outlined on the BBC's website:
'The Hajj ending in Eid-ul-Adha - 11th - 14th December 2008

Eid-ul-Adha ('Celebration of Sacrifice'), also known as the Greater Eid, is the second most important festival in the Muslim calendar. It marks the end of the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Makkah (Mecca). It takes place on the 10th day of Dhul-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar. Although only pilgrims to Makkah can celebrate it fully, Muslims elsewhere also mark the occasion of Eid-ul-Adha.

Pilgrims on Hajj in Mecca The Hajj is the Fifth Pillar of Islam and therefore a very important part of the Islamic faith. All physically fit Muslims who can afford it should make the visit to Makkah, in Saudi Arabia, at least once in their lives. Every year around 2 million Muslims converge on Makkah. They visit a shrine in the city known as the Ka'bah, built by Ibrahim (Abraham) and Isma'il (Ishmael) at the command of Allah (God). It is a place for all who want to reaffirm their faith.

Eid-ul-Adha celebrates the occasion when Allah appeared to Ibrahim in a dream and asked him to sacrifice his son Isma'il as an act of obedience to God. The devil tempted Ibrahim by saying he should disobey Allah and spare his son. As Ibrahim was about to kill his son, Allah intervened: instead Allah provided a lamb as the sacrifice. This is why today all over the world Muslims who have the means to, sacrifice a sheep (alternatively a goat or cow can be used), as a reminder of Ibrahim's obedience to Allah. They usually share out the meat with family and friends, as well as the poorer members of the community. In Britain, the animal has to be killed at a slaughterhouse.

Eid-ul-Adha is a 1-3 day celebration and in Muslim countries is a public holiday. It starts with Muslims going to the Mosque for prayers, dressed in their best clothes, and thanking Allah for all the blessings they have received. It is also a time when they visit family and friends as well as offering presents. At Eid it is obligatory to give a set amount of money to charity to be used to help poor people buy new clothes and food so they too can celebrate.'

Now there I'm already learning cause to me I always cringed when I heard of this festival cause I always thought of the animals...and so never thought of the pleasantries and positives of it:

-celebrating the end of Hajj
-time spent with family
-giving of charity

But of course the animals are killed but that happens daily and not just by Muslims. But unlike in Britain in Trinidad animals aren't killed in slaughter houses necessarily on this festival...now you have to bear with me that I've not investigated this and you'll have to empathize with me as to why but I believe many do it in the mosques some at homes...and I'll tell you I can't walk farther in the shoes than appreciating that this festival is about people surrendering to their God...ultimate surrender and sacrifice and I get that and it is lovely. But why do they need to sacrifice the animal still? I mean God isn't still asking for a son? So why give a lamb? And good grief a cow too when your Hindu neighbours consider it in such high regard. Here lies the need of the other to walk in my shoes too please!...You can walk in shoes of another but sometimes if it is too tight your feet at some point will get sore and you will have to take it off less you bleed...And I've experienced many a taunt and a tease by not only Muslims but many of all faiths and belief who do not have the idea of empathy and of walking in the shoes of the other... Many revel and taunt about the various animal flesh they consume not considering...without empathy...but even in those shoes I must have walked some day...

Now on to the Gita Jayanthi where I will have to admit my heart sings and my feet dance even without the shoes that I just took off and even with bleeding feet I dance. Here is a summary of the Hindu festival as outlined on the site AryaBhatt Festivals of India section:
Celebration : The Birth of Bhagwad Gita
Known for : The Sacred Scripture
Religion : Hindu
In the month of : December - January
THE GITA Jayanthi or the birthday of the Bhagavad-Gita is celebrated throughout India by all admirers and lovers of this sacred scripture on the 11th day (Ekadashi) of the bright half of the month of Margaseersha (December-January) according to the Hindu almanac. That was the day on which Sanjaya narrated the dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna, to King Dhritarashtra, and thus made the glorious teachings of the Lord available to us, to all the people of the world, and for all time.
The Gita Jayanthi marks one of the greatest days in the history of mankind. Nearly six thousand years ago on that day a dazzling flash of brilliant lightning lit up the firmament of human civilization. That spiritual effulgence, that flash, was the message of the Bhagavad Gita, given by the Lord Himself on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Unlike ordinary dashes of lightning which die away after dashing for 'a split-second, this brilliant dash of that memorable day continued to shine through the centuries and even now illumines the path of humanity on its onward march to perfection. '

I've never celebrated this festival before but I would gladly do so as I feel as I just said above I can dance barefooted to it's song even if my feet did bleed...however I celebrate it with the understanding that we live in a multifaceted universe and indeed I'm not the one to judge what is indeed Universal Collective Prayer or who is in it! So in celebration of Gita Jayanthi I leave you with one of my favourite quotes from the Gita:

'The Humble sages, by virtue of true knowledge,see with equal vision a learned and gentle brahman, a cow, an elephant, a dog, a dog-eater (an outcaste)'-The Gita Chapter 5 verse 18.

...and in my desire to walk in the shoes of others...but quite frankly I prefer Eid-ul-Fitr to this Eid...but I'll have you know that there are even Muslim Vegetarians...I personally know a few and I leave you with this quote from The Holy Quran:

'There is not an animal on earth, nor a bird that flies on its wings - but they are communities like you.' (The Quran, 6:38)

Hmmm....maybe Universal Collective Prayer is not too far a foot? If only people would read and practice the scriptures for which they fight so hard through religion to preserve?

And I leave you tonight as we close the Universal Collective prayers with a You Tube clip as an offering of my prayers for the little ones... (Don't worry none of my vids are very graphic as I couldn't bear them myself if they were. Cause the prayers in sound seems to be currently missing from the old clip I've inserted another one...they are sad but not graphic enough to aggravate anyone I hope.) (which I've shared on this blog before:)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Do You Believe in Santa Claus?- Saint Nicholas Day

In some parts of the world (mainly Europe)today 6 Dec is celebrated as St. Nicholas Day. I don't know much about it personally but on the web I stumbled on a site that seems to be very complete into all things Saint Nicholas...St Nicholas Center.

Here is some info summarized from the site:

'The true story of Santa Claus begins with Nicholas, who was born during the third century in the village of Patara. At the time the area was Greek and is now on the southern coast of Turkey. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus' words to "sell what you own and give the money to the poor," Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to the those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.'

'Widely celebrated in Europe, St. Nicholas' feast day, December 6th, kept alive the stories of his goodness and generosity. In Germany and Poland, boys dressed as bishops begged alms for the poor—and sometimes for themselves! In the Netherlands and Belgium, St. Nicholas arrived on a steamship from Spain to ride a white horse on his gift-giving rounds. December 6th is still the main day for gift giving and merrymaking in much of Europe. For example, in the Netherlands St. Nicholas is celebrated on the 5th, the eve of the day, by sharing candies (thrown in the door), chocolate initial letters, small gifts, and riddles. Dutch children leave carrots and hay in their shoes for the saint's horse, hoping St. Nicholas will exchange them for small gifts. Simple gift-giving in early Advent helps preserve a Christmas Day focus on the Christ Child.'

In Trinidad the idea of Santa Claus is more celebrated than Saint Nicholas and is mainly influenced by the North American traditions of Santa Claus. So little children are told that this 'mythical character' is real and then told later on or when they figure it out that really the gifts given are by their parents and not Santa Claus. Parents put gifts under the Christmas tree at night when kids are thought to be asleep. Some dads will even dress up as Santa Claus...perhaps the inspiration for the song "I Saw Mummy Kissing Santa Claus".

But do you believe in Santa Claus? Another website called The North Pole talks about the origins of the American Santa Claus image as follows:

'American Origins: (As sent to me by Brian Dodd)
Quote from ENCARTA 95

The American version of the Santa Claus figure received its inspiration and its name from the Dutch legend of Sinter Klaas, brought by settlers to New York in the 17th century.

As early as 1773 the name appeared in the American press as "St. A Claus," but it was the popular author Washington Irving who gave Americans their first detailed information about the Dutch version of Saint Nicholas. In his History of New York, published in 1809 under the pseudonym Diedrich Knickerbocker, Irving described the arrival of the saint on horseback (unaccompanied by Black Peter) each Eve of Saint Nicholas.

This Dutch-American Saint Nick achieved his fully Americanized form in 1823 in the poem A Visit From Saint Nicholas more commonly known as The Night Before Christmas by writer Clement Clarke Moore. Moore included such details as the names of the reindeer; Santa Claus's laughs, winks, and nods; and the method by which Saint Nicholas, referred to as an elf, returns up the chimney. (Moore's phrase "lays his finger aside of his nose" was drawn directly from Irving's 1809 description.)

The American image of Santa Claus was further elaborated by illustrator Thomas Nast, who depicted a rotund Santa for Christmas issues of Harper's magazine from the 1860s to the 1880s. Nast added such details as Santa's workshop at the North Pole and Santa's list of the good and bad children of the world. A human-sized version of Santa Claus, rather than the elf of Moore's poem, was depicted in a series of illustrations for Coca-Cola advertisements introduced in 1931. In modern versions of the Santa Claus legend, only his toy-shop workers are elves. Rudolph, the ninth reindeer, with a red and shiny nose, was invented in 1939 by an advertising writer for the Montgomery Ward Company.'

There's the history but here I ask a personal question again - DO YOU BELIEVE IN SANTA CLAUS?

Well yes I do believe in Santa Claus...:) And why not? I know this is not a linear world and there are so many unknowns so just cause I don't have proof doesn't mean it doesn't exist. If we believe in the spirit world, the supernatural and the existence of God or something more that the material world we see before us, well...Of Course there can be a Santa Claus!

Perhaps he may not fit the image we have in our mind that we were fed by our traditions...which if you read about it above was more defined in the US by the writers and poets but then churned out in masses by the businessmen. Perhaps American commercialism has sullied the good old Saint's name but I think he does exist. Perhaps he is just that force or spirit of giving or perhaps he works in mysterious ways and puts gifts when they would not have been given. Can any of us wholeheartedly say we've not experience things we can't explain or don't wonder if there is something more?

So I agree with the editor of the New York Sun who in 1897 wrote...'Yes Virginia There is a Santa Claus'
And maybe it's not that when we become adults our parents tell us the truth but that when we become adults we lose our childlike innocence. Think about it would our parents really be that good at make believe or fooling us normally? So it's not that they told us so and we believed but cause we knew something then that as we grew into this world we forgot. As Jesus says if we make our hearts like children only then can we enter the kingdom of heaven/God/The Father.

Perhaps when we see kids lost in their own world when <5 they are seeing something we don't...like in the film Polar Express...we stop hearing the bell...no discussion without Santa Claus would be complete I think without reference to the film Miracle on 34th Street and tonight I wish you all a good night and leave you with that clip where they explain about the sound of the bell and how adults can't hear it in the film Polar Express and a clip from Miracle on 34th Street. Believe...


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Guide Us to Thy Perfect Light!

Yea I know there is terror in the world...India and Pakistan are staring down each other and there are the things in Somalia, Nigeria, Thailand...AIDS threatens to wipe out Sub Saharan Africa as many may have become informed of yesterday as the UN marked World AIDS day...Africa has an adult prevalence of 5%! In a world where every other continent/region is <1% save the Caribbean region which has a prevalence of 1.1%! In other places people aren't as free as they should be all sort of things...closer to home on my island people daily try to kill each other on the roads and the murder toll thus far for the year I'm sad to share with the rest of the world is upwards of 500!

But I know there must be hope and it is Christmas time...so I've decided to take a break from loading up on all the recent sad events globally and look to that shining light of hope...I was just singing and dancing to that amazingly fun You Tube vid below courtesy of Hugh Jackman et al who I recently saw in a different light in Australia...not a bad film and good performance from Nicole Kidman too and the child actor playing the part aboriginal part white child in the film. And great to learn a bit about the wisdom of the aboriginal peoples of Australia who live, breathe and feel the land so well that they have become intuitive. Yes if you didn't guess it or check out the YouTube comments it was Hugh Jackman singing! :) That's the Hugh they are referring too...such fun! So I've decided to get back into the Christmas spirit...world worries and recessions aside...and what better vid that that! And in listening to the fun of the Magi, I remembered how they sing in the tune:

'Guide Us to Thy Perfect Light'

and so I got the title of this post!

And you know what they say when something is so much fun you got to do it again! So I'm gonna leave you with them three kings again but a different version this time and another Christmas carol that surely goes alongside the tune...The First Noel...after all:

"The first Noel the angels did say was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay...they looked up and saw a star shining in the east beyond them far and to the earth it gave great light and so it continued both day and both night...and by the light of that same star three wise men came from country far...to seek for a king was their intent and to follow the star wherever it went"

So the shepherds were looking to the east...the Magi (three wisemen) to the west and who said "East is and west is and never the twain shall meet"?!... Rudyard Kipling was wrong cause when Jesus was born east and west became as one as a star they looked upon!

So dear God please guide us from East and West...and North and South...Guide us to thy perfect light! And as the Magi had that Intent I plan to add a new Intent on my Intent profile...To Be Guided to Thy Perfect Light! :)

So now I leave you to the effortlessly angelic voice of Charlotte Church!

And well here's the thing...cause Hugh and they were so good and I can't find a single thing on You Tube as fun and lovely as it! Ladies and Gentlemen Mr. David Hobson, Mr. Hugh Jackman and Mr.Peter Cousen doing it again! Encore! :)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Time to Heal...Mumbai, India...Planet Earth!

After yesterday's terror attacks in Mumbai there will come a time of healing...it might take some time and it doesn't mean that the wound might not even be re-opened or hit into something and cause pain etc. As with the human body this happens...but as it always is with the human body, mind and spirit...there comes a time for healing and we do heal whenever the time for it comes and however long it takes us to do so. One more thing with healing is it never comes before the time is right for it and it needs to take as long as it needs...I don't know how long it will take for Mumbai, India and the world as a whole to heal...but I think this video clip below can be an inspiration to the people of Mumbai, India and any nation and perhaps in ideality one day there will only be one nation-Planet Earth.

But for sure hope of this lies in our future generations and here is the inspiration from the Hindi film Ganga Jumna(two of India's and Hinduism's great rivers)...I chose it cause of it's inspiring message to children and this time around it does have the English subtitles (although not word for word but you get the gist)which is the language that this blog is carried out in. Of course like Jesus bids us we could all become like children and then we will be able to enter the kingdom of God so perhaps this can be an inspiration to all of us if we look at it with the eyes and spirit of a child...new, fresh...look at it as if we have never been hurt...

No Traffic in Mumbai-Indeed a Time for Universal Collective Prayer

Above is a murti of Ganesh or Ganapati after I had done worship or pooja to the universe in his form a few months ago for the Hindu festival of Krishna Janamashtami as in Hinduism the way I practise it Ganapati is worshiped at the start of all poojas no matter which form is being worshiped. However tonight I start my blog with this image to use it to symbolize the Indian city of Mumbai as Ganapati is seen as the deity of the state of Maharashtra or I like to call it the patron saint of Mumbai and normally Ganesh Chauth/Chaturthi/Ustaav are the biggest there in all of the Hindu world.

This morning India time there was no traffic in Mumbai ...no traffic! How come you ask? Well if you don’t know as yet it is as a result of the terror attacks (the Mumbai Terror Attacks) that were carried out the night before at one or two of the city's major hotels, a famous cafe and a railway station. It is currently being paraded all over CNN and BBC and they keep talking bout how Brits and Americans may have been singled out as the terrorists asked for passports from people of these nationalities. So it begs one to consider whether the terrorist chose these targets this time and this approach so that CNN and BBC would jump on it...after all say the word Brit or American...show me your green card or your American or British passport and now you are a person and the world will decide if it jumps or if it mourns!? I mean terror attacks go on globally all the time and in India itself on several different occasions this year including Mumbai. What makes this particular attack so highlighted? Aren’t all the people of the earth and the Universe important? Isn't all life important?

As America prepares for it's annual turkey fest I had originally thought I would be putting up a short blog about that here before I continued on my Christmas theme…but then this happens…I was going to post bout how I think Thanksgiving would be and is essentially a lovely festival minus the massacre and praying over the dead turkey bit…I mean why not… a family gathering to give thanks...what could be bad about that?

It makes me reflect that I am also thankful cause I live on a little island that for now with all its other problems is basically terror free although sadly even here we had our own localized version of terror in 1990 and sorry for the religious stereotyping but even that insurrection was by Muslims…I’m not against Islam or Muslims however and this blog is about Universal Collective Prayer …Islam included…but prayer can never take the form of violence…not to a man and not to an animal…

But we are all animals only thing though as George Orwell’s Animal Farm characters remind us… “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”. So we can eat turkeys and then be thankful for our happiness and we can give token acknowledgment to India the world’s largest democracy now, but not that we are really only worried bout this one (despite all the terror attacks they have all the time)cause it’s just the Brits and Americans we are really worried bout…then we might mention some of the Australians one or two other important European nationalities you know…then we will talk bout India a bit…well it’s how CNN and BBC does it…don’t know if their people’s hearts are like that though. And I’d like to be hopeful and say no people globally aren't like that by and large especially since on the Intent community I hear/read so many warm stories by mostly Americans…

I can go into how hurt and bothered I can sometimes get in the world …and all of the possible political and this and that reasons why all of this is happening and the possible ramifications of it according to little ole my brain (ego)but as I always say its not why I started Universal Collective Prayer …why not at all…But without getting into it again I will quote myself from a comment I made earlier tonight on Intent when and a lovely lady (I’m assuming American) started a blog called Pray for India!!!:

“Thanks for starting this Blog Lynn I was thinking to send prayers too...might put up a full call to prayer blog on my Universal Collective Prayer blog later tonight...hope others do too and things calm down...it's sad too that the reality is this happens a lot in India but this one is more highlighted as perhaps the terrorist envisioned it...cause a lot of foreigners are involved and tourists etc and so now it's getting a lot of TV coverage...India is really a place that is at the mercy of terrorists much more so than the US and the UK etc...and it made me remember as a person also living in a 'third world country' how sometimes many dead here isnt a concern but a few in a developed place is so highlighted...luckily I dont live in a land of much terror...but feel sorry for those in India that have to live at the mercy of it daily in many parts and in so many other countries too....”- Me on Intent earlier on.

Anyway I can’t say I’m my usual joyous self tonight... dancing like Rumi I’m not…but I have to dig deep and find a way to inspire myself and ask others to join me in Universal Collective Prayer. I don’t know what to say so I will find a way to say it with a song so listen and watch the good ole YouTube vid below and to it I should add that it not only matters if you are Muslim or Hindu etc...but it also doesn't matter if you are born in Iraq, Trinidad, India, Pakistan, Barbados, USA (or got your greencard!) or are a Brit...but don't tell CNN and BBC that! Anyway hope the song brings some prayer, peace, beauty and love for all! And to all fellow intenters and Americans HAPPY THANKSGIVING! And I know the vid clip is in Hindi but if you scroll down in the comments on YouTube you will get the gist of the meaning but it is basically about saying that it doesn't matter if you are Hindu or Muslim just like Michael Jackson once sang "it doesn't matter if you are Black or White".

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Visualizing The Tree of Peace...

I thought I had blogged this on one of my blogs but based on interactions I had in response to comments made about my last post on my Meady's Musings blog I realized I just never got about to doing it. One of the things too is I think this post is applicable to both my Meady's Musings blog and the Universal Collective Prayer one so I'm going to do a dual entry and post it on both. So here is what I want to say...

Last month as part of the Diwali celebrations in work we had a photography competition I was a major driver of the competition and I was a major player in setting up the structure of the competition, developed judging templates, sat as a judge and also had the immense pleasure of presenting the awards too! :)One of the guys on our organizing committee was at loggerheads with me of a severe kind cause he didn't and still does not believe that if one wanted to show the concept of peace or what we called the 'human value of peace' for the competition they could take a serene scenery or a picture of a tree say to show it!I don't know why he couldn't see it but I don't want to go into all of it...I took the higher road I think and felt he should still be a judge cause it was good to have opposing ideas on such a panel. But I stood my ground as also being a judge. He however took that idea to the judging matrix and so as far as I'm concerned all such entries had a major handicap in that judge's eye. Luckily there were three judges and so an almost perfect picture of a water pond/dam in our refinery area surrounded by beautiful Samaan trees was able to cop third prize representing 'Peace'. Had it just been two judges or a third judge who felt differently it may have came first.

The Third Prize winner is at the bottom of the picture:

Now when I was visualizing how the structure of the contest would flow I kept seeing this tree in my head when I thought of peace...I didn't have the picture locked down to location but I had a general idea of it's shape, size and type although in the visualization I never knew what type of tree it was I cleared saw it...and I sometimes visualized me or just an arbitrary human (no identifying features at time) sitting in Yogi position under the tree and usually dressed in white or sometimes just under the tree not necessarily in any Yogi pose. Weeks past and then I had to go to Tobago for the weekend with some friends (it's when I had the Gran Couva chocolate) and that Friday although I was off from work and in Tobago was when the entries for the competition was closing. And so I kept being excited to get back into to work to see how the entries would end up! :) Although I also relished the time for relaxation and the company of friends. And guess what...as I walked into the yard of the home I would be staying in for the weekend...I saw the tree! The said tree...very similar in shape and size...it is only then it occurred to me on the prompting of a friend that the tree was what we call an Almond tree in Trinidad...although it's not the actual almonds that people eats as nuts I think...although the fruit is huge and green and shaped like a big Almond i.e. almond shaped. I don't know much about the details of the fruit of the tree and how it is treated to be honest...but there was the tree! And in saying that it reminds me of something I read when I was 14 or so by J. Krishnamurti bout how man names trees and label things and in doing so gets so caught up in that, we miss the beauty of the thing. So let's not get into the name of the tree and I was glad that in my visualization I never named the tree type as in label it and I myself although come to think of it knew it was 'an Almond tree' never clicked into that until the friend named it...I was just caught up in the tree for being all that it is!

So there was girl and her tree...All weekend long as we sat in the porch looking out...I kept thinking there was the tree! And just as I had visualized it...if someone had told me that could happen or it happened to them I'd think them crazy...even now people can say it is just coincidence and who knows perhaps it is? But it had a huge impact on me! So imagine I did end up spending many hours just lounging with friends looking at this tree! :)Perfect bliss...Satchitananda...Perfect Peace...Harmony...a thing of beauty is a joy forever...and so much more...just me and my tree!

And here is looking at your tree!Pics taken by me and one of friends think was Ian Graham not sure who snapped what...And if it was Ian he knew nothing bout the visualization story as I didn't share that story with him so going to flag him in this writing to let him know now...:

Monday, November 17, 2008

We Three Kings! - The Mystery of the Magi...

One of my favourite Christmas carols growing up is ‘We Three Kings’. I first got into it when I was about 14 and dancing in a my high school Christmas Musical that was an original work written by one of our beloved teachers- The late Mrs. Joy Moore who was an inspiration to myself and many of the students she touched from conversations I’ve since had with fellow students. I know she is still embracing Universal Collective Prayer somewhere out there! The play was about Christmas and adapted totally to be set in Trinidad with the core message being about good versus evil but in one ongoing subplot in the story there was ‘The Three Kings’ getting lost and ending up in Trinidad instead of I guess Bethlehem? But it was where our dance came in…cause when ‘The Three Kings’ said the line...“Boy, I sure miss home…” or something to that effect cause I can’t remember it word for word now…but it was our cue for coming in with the dance. You see I was part of this Indian folk dance group when I was younger and although our dance was actually to a Hindi song about Ram, we had learned to perform to the music by use of scarves. And I guess at the time it was the closest thing to perhaps Belly dancers? We wore kinda Indian village clothes with orhnis and stuff but at the time it didn’t have belly dancing groups in Trinidad or Middle Eastern dancers as there are actually now and plus they had to be students of the school etc. So Indian dancers were sought to make up the act but I think too it was Mrs. Moore’s way or reflecting the diverse cultures of Trinidad in the play. Anyway I always felt that not all of the other girls in the dance act were so into it as I but I was really excited about it…I remember explaining to the girls how I envisioned it when I did the dance so that I wasn’t just a dance act but part of the whole story. Cause in the story when one of the Three Wise men says he misses home…they all fall asleep and we were the dancers in their dreams as they dreamt of their home land. So I guess we were like dancing girls at their palace? I didn’t like the idea of being part of a harem but then it didn’t matter much cause it was an all girl school and actually for starters ‘The Three Wise Men’ were being played by girls! Plus we weren’t really doing very seductive dancing just the same dance we always did which was like Indian village dances that were usually performed as worship to Ram or Krishna. Although I’ve since seen actual belly dancers perform and it’s not as I had then envisioned it as my view of it then would have probably been given to me by Hollywood films. But yep I was all into this idea of what I represented in the play…‘A dream version of The Three Magi’s homeland’. Since then it made we wonder if at least one of these men didn’t come from India or China perhaps? Or somewhere even farther East than is commonly said in the myth. Cause it’s amusing how religions always exist in their corner of the earth…but luckily nowadays and on Universal Collective Prayer the blog…light, love, prayers and devotion comes in all forms and fashion and occurs in every part of well…the Universe!

However, not all people are ready to embrace the universality of prayer and we have to respect this…In fact some might say that the three Magi didn’t even exist as it is not strictly mentioned in ‘The Holy Bible’ but others embrace it for the beauty that it is whether true or not. These three holy men that existed before, coming to welcome a new light, and their points of light being drawn to it’s light…such that they had no choice but to follow that light in the form of the star! And points of light no doubt exist not just westward leading but north, south, east and west and all points in between! :)How sweet and lovely isn’t it? :)

Just last week when I was researching about the Snan/Snaan or Nahan…I learned that in Zoroastrianism they also say Nahan to mean a ritualistic cleansing bath in water…and it made me think indeed that religion although small in members on the earth today must have so much ancient wisdom in it to tell…Just the thought of Magi makes you dream up so many stories in your head! I found an interesting bit of dialogue on the existence of the Three Magi or Three Kings on this site. If interested in delving further you guys are welcome to check it out! (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09527a.htm)

And of course I couldn’t leave you without the music! Cause I always found the song associated with those good men so sweet and fun too! I found this pleasant surprise version of it on Youtube …you have to play it! …and guess who is singing…

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Love's Pure Clear Light!-It's Christmas Time!

Just yesterday I wrote bout the Snaan and that’s the great thing bout this here land and really the universal space we call earth is when one festival of prayer ends yet another begins. The Snaan of Kartik that is ...is more or less the last festival on the Hindu calendar for this year it kinda ends up or overlaps into the Hindu New Year that is heralded in with Diwali and closes off the holy month of Kartik with well a splash! :)But the good thing bout our here land is as I just said well we always have plenty an opportunity to pray. When one religion’s festivities end another one is yet to begin. Cause in this land of multi-ethnicity CHRISTMAS TIME IS HERE! I wasn’t quite ready to be going on about all the ring and jing-a-ling-ling in fact some were saying to me Scrooge is back! Cause I’ve not been feeling into the Christmas spirit so far and all of that! But love’s pure clear light prevailed! Cause here is what happened to your blogger kinda author…

I am on Intent as you all for sure by now will know…and well there is a member on there who goes by the name Clear Light…but all day today I’ve been thinking bout Love’s Pure Clear Light! Seriously I know I sound like I’ve just gotten my wings and all but it’s what is been going on…for real! I’ve been only thinking bout surrendering to the universe and stuff and having its way be done…and thinking bout it over and over and more so feeling the feeling of it! And I keep visualizing myself just bowing just like the pic that is up on Intent for Deepak Chopra’s I take the Vow of Non-Violence thingy which by the way I’ve so far not taken…but a fitting image is like how on Intent that man is bowing on the pic for that post except I more see it too with like those bleeding hearts or with those glowing hearts like you see in some angel pics! :) And I keep remember on that community there is a member already called Clear Light and I’m not friends with her…hmm…I should spot her an invite?! But really Love’s Pure Clear Light…and Thy Way Be Done…and me just bowing and surrendering to the Universe!

So I did it ….I searched Love’s Pure Clear Light on the web! And BANG! Christmas spirit is back Scrooge is melted! Guess what I find it seems in that carol or hymn…’It Came Upon a Midnight Clear’ there is some or all of the words- love, pure, clear light in there! :) And I stumbled on this site that plays the music in the background and has the lyrics and who composed it! Here are the lyrics as posted on that site-http://www.cyberhymnal.org! Followed by some cool and different versions and slants of it as found on the YOUTUBE ! ENJOY! And “Peace on the earth, good will to men...well and women and children and animals of course!" :)And the trees! :) And the wind...OK you get the point! After all I just said my ode to water just yesterday!

Words: Edmund H. Sears, in the Christian Register (Boston, Massachusetts: December 29, 1849), volume 28, number 52, page 206. Sears is said to have written these words at the request of his friend, W. P. Lunt, a minister in Quincy, Massachusetts; the hymn was first sung at the 1849 Sunday School Christmas celebration.
Music: Carol, Richard S. Willis, Church Chorals and Choir Studies, 1850 (MIDI, score). Alternate tune: Noel, arranged by Arthur S. Sullivan, 1871 (MIDI, score)

It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold;
“Peace on the earth, good will to men,
From Heaven’s all gracious King.”
The world in solemn stillness lay,
To hear the angels sing.
Still through the cloven skies they come
With peaceful wings unfurled,
And still their heavenly music floats
O’er all the weary world;
Above its sad and lowly plains,
They bend on hovering wing,
And ever over its Babel sounds
The blessèd angels sing.
Yet with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long;
Beneath the angel strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love-song which they bring;
O hush the noise, ye men of strife
And hear the angels sing.
And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,
Look now! for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing.
O rest beside the weary road,
And hear the angels sing!
For lo! the days are hastening on,
By prophet-bards foretold,
When with the ever circling years
Comes round the age of gold;
When peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendors fling,
And the whole world send back the song
Which now the angels sing.

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