Take a NOW Break

Take a break from your spiritual journey to find time to smell the flowers, to look at nature and enjoy the universe, and, most of all, to smile and laugh.  Don’t worry over lost or wasted time, because at the heart of true mysticism lies a PARADOX waiting to swallow you up in its mystery like a hungry black hole.  It is the secret of transcendence along the mystical path.

Here is the great paradox of the mystical path: Utterly strange yet astoundingly true, you have already arrived at your journey’s end!  You’ve reached the destination and you’re there already, right here and right now, this very moment, in fact, even before the journey began.  To realize this paradoxical truth right here, right now, makes it so. Otherwise, the destination, the enlightenment, will always elude you, and it will always be just beyond your reach.

The only God you can relate to is the one with you, within you, at this very moment, in the timeless state referred to as the eternal NOW — not in the yesterdays of the past or in the tomorrows of the future, nor in that fleeting in-between moment of transition as the future turns into the past. The eternal NOW does not exist as a moment in time framed between the past and the future; otherwise, it is merely another mental construct of time without the transcendental quality of existing beyond time and space.  

When you are going through your day in the conscious awareness of God-presence or living in the conscious awareness of the Truth principles, you are living in the eternal NOW Live, therefore, in the fullness and completeness of this ever-present moment of the eternal NOW…  and you will always be living NOW.

Now, take a break from your journey with one of our kiosks below.
 


Guānyīn’s Dance of a Thousand Hands —

The video below is a performance by China’s Disabled People’s Performing Arts Troupe. Their dance depicts the thousand hands of the Chinese goddess of mercy, Guānyīn or Guānshìyīn Púsà (觀世音菩薩), also known in Mahāyāna Buddhist culture as Avalokiteśvara (in Sanskrit: अवलोकितेश्वर  lit. “Lord who looks down”), the bodhisattva of infinite compassion. Note that the performers are hearing-impaired.

 
Here is another performance of the same dance by the same troupe.

 

 
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Always Look on the Bright Side of Life —

[Acknowledgment: Our appreciation and gratitude to MonteCristo37 for the following YouTube video.]

Here are the lyrics to the song “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” from the Monty Python movie The Life of Brian.  Play the embedded video above. Listen to the song… smile… whistle or sing along with it… then laugh!

Some things in life are bad, they can really make you mad,
Other things just make you swear and curse.
When you’re chewing on life’s gristle
Don’t grumble, give a whistle.
And this’ll help things turn out for the best. And…
Always look on the bright side of life, (whistle)
Always look on the light side of life. (whistle) 

If life seems jolly rotten, there’s something you’ve forgotten,
And that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing.
When you’re feeling in the dumps, don’t be silly chumps.
Just purse your lips and whistle, that’s the thing. And…
Always look on the bright side of life. (whistle)
(Come on.)

Always look on the bright side of life. (whistle)
For life is quite absurd, and death’s the final word,
You must always face the curtain with a bow.
Forget about your sin, give the audience a grin,
Enjoy it — it’s your last chance anyhow.

So always look on the bright side of death, (whistle)
Just before you draw your terminal breath, (whistle)
Life’s a piece of shit, when you look at it,
Life’s a laugh and death’s a joke, it’s true.
You’ll see it’s all a show, keep ‘em laughing as you go.
Just remember that the last laugh is on you. And…
Always look on the bright side of life. (whistle)
Always look on the bright side of life. (whistle)
(Come on guys, cheer up.)
Always look on the bright side of life. (whistle)
Always look on the bright side of life. (whistle)
(Worse things happen at sea, you know.)
Always look on the bright side of life. (whistle)
(I mean — what have you got to lose?
You know, you come from nothing,
you’re going back to nothing.
What have you lost? Nothing!
)

 

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The Gospel of St. John… according to Rowan Atkinson —
The video below is a sketch by comic Rowan Atkinson (a.k.a “Mr. Bean”). It is a hilarious parody of the gospel accounts about Jesus, as only Rowan Atkinson can do.

I love this comedic piece. It never fails to make me laugh.

[Acknowledgment: Our appreciation and gratitude to KjevL for the above YouTube video.]

The human lives we live is such a parody, if not a gross distortion, of the spiritual beings we actually are.
 

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Marcelino Pan y Vino —
My formative years as a very young boy were shaped by the elementary education I had in a Catholic school run by the monks of the Order of St. Benedict. Back in the late 1950s, the school sponsored the viewing of a movie with a religious theme entitled “Marcelino Pan y Vino” (alternate title: “The Miracle of Marcelino”). It was a Spanish movie with English subtitles. I was so impressionable a child then, and the movie influenced me deeply into desiring a personal closeness to God that I became an altar boy a few years later once I could pronounce and memorize the Mass responsorials in Latin.

View the film “Marcelino Pan y Vino” online (in the original Spanish version with English subtitles) by clicking on the film title’s active link. I hope you enjoy the childlike quality of the movie.   [NOTE: If the embedded link does not work for you, do a "copy and paste" operation into your browser's URL address field box using the following Website location:   www.gloria.tv/flash/player2.swf?video=26881&duration=5147&autostart=false&controls=true ]

 

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Angels Singing Pie Jesu and Danny Boy
Pie Jesu is a piece of sacred music composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber for the Requiem Mass he wrote and dedicated to his father, William, who had died in 1982. It premiered at St. Thomas Church in New York on February 24, 1985. Church music had been a part of the composer’s upbringing and the composition was inspired by an article he had read about the plight of Cambodian orphans. Lloyd Webber had on a number of occasions written sacred music for the annual Sydmonton Festival. He received a Grammy Award in 1986 for the Requiem in the category of best classical composition.  Pie Jesu is a favorite of mine for its hauntingly beautiful music and heavenly melody. Listening to it is utter rest in heavenly peace.

In the music video below, The Choirboys, an English boyband made up of cathedral choristers, sing in a live performance of the song. The boys’ names are: Charles John “CJ” Porter-Thaw (b.1994) from Sheffield, Patrick Aspbury (b.1993) from Chelmsford, and Ben Inman (b.1993) from Yorkshire. The boys and their singing are absolutely angelic!

[Acknowledgment: Our appreciation and gratitude to Jiadazi for posting the above video on YouTube.]

(Postscript: The visitor response to The Choirboys video has been so favorable and complimentary that I have created a playlist of their other music videos at YouTube.)

Here are the Latin lyrics of the song:

Pie Jesu, Pie Jesu,
Pie Jesu, Pie Jesu,
Qui tollis peccata mundi;
Dona eis requiem,
Dona eis requiem.

Agnus Dei, Agnus Dei,
Agnus Dei, Agnus Dei,
Qui tollis peccata mundi;
Dona eis requiem,
Dona eis requiem.
Sempiternam, sempiternam requiem.

In the next music video, another choir of young boys and girls called Angelis sing the same piece. Their voices as well as the musical arrangement give the song a different quality, a more “stagey” or theatrical one (after all, the group was a Simon Cowell production) but nonetheless still beautiful. The video displays the English translation of the lyrics.

[Acknowledgment: Our appreciation and gratitude to GrandMasterGuess for posting the above video on YouTube.]

In the music video below, the song is sung by the original performers of Requiem at its world premiere in New York City: Sarah Brightman and then boy soprano Paul Miles-Kingston.

[Acknowledgment: Our appreciation and gratitude to adriant882002 for posting the above video on YouTube.]

And here is Sarah Brightman again with Ben De’ath this time, in a more operatic version during a live performance at The Royal Albert Hall Celebration. Ben looks so adorable in his choirboy cassock costume.

[Acknowledgment: Our appreciation and gratitude to OfficialRUG for posting the above video on YouTube.]

The lineup will not be complete without the fantastic talented Norwegian soprano Sissel Kyrkjebø (popularly known simply as “Sissel“).  If Sarah Brightman’s rendition is passionate with feeling, Sissel’s version glows exceedingly radiant. Her voice is so pure with a luminous elegant quality to it.  I’m sure God would consider her the favorite singing archangel in heaven (which she is).  Listen to her sing Pie Jesu in the video below from her PBS concert “All Good Things”.

[Acknowledgment: Our appreciation and gratitude to OettingerCroat for posting Sissel's video on YouTube.]

The next video is a solo version by a wonderful youngster named Andrew Johnston, who reminds me very much of my own childhood. When you see and hear him sing Pie Jesu, you will understand how wonderful he is.

[Acknowledgment: Our appreciation and gratitude to dieginhosoles for posting the above video on YouTube.]

Here is another video of Andrew Johnston where he performs on television. You will better appreciate the quality of his voice in this one.

[Acknowledgment: Our appreciation and gratitude to ToddClassical for posting the above video on YouTube.]

Here is another astounding young singer, Jackie Evancho, whose voice soars higher than where angels fly. She will amaze you with the remarkable power and adult timbre of her voice considering her young age. I was ecstatic the very first time I heard her sing Pie Jesu; she is so incredible and terrific!

[Acknowledgment: Our appreciation and gratitude to AmericanBestTalent for posting the above video on YouTube.]

Finally, it is with pure joy, fond appreciation, and great wonderment that I share with you an extraordinary and lovable young fellow named Liam McNally as he sings an eternal favorite — Danny Boy.  You will simply love Liam in this video (You will have to click more than once on the video image below to view it at YouTube.). You can watch more of Liam at the show’s semi-finals and the finals. His parents must be very proud of him.  I am!

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Winnie the Pooh and Friends —
There is a little of them in each of us.  We can’t help but just love them all.

Everybody is a mirror reflection of ourselves, because we all share a common humanity. There is something of everybody in each of us.  So, we have to love everybody, too. Let us be like Christopher Robin… at home with everyone in the Hundred Acre Woods.

 

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Mozart’s “Grosse Messe in C-moll, K 427″ —

This is one of my favorite classical compositions by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Here is part of his “Great Mass in C minor” — the Et incarnatus est sung expressively by Diana Damrau. Diana’s rendition is absolutely heavenly!

[Acknowledgment: To maggeo78 for the Damrau video on YouTube.com.]

Here is the same piece, Et incarnatus est, performed in a more restrained and conservative manner befitting liturgical music by another diva with a golden voice, Barbara Bonney.

[Acknowledgment: To DeGyE for the Bonney video on YouTube.com.]

I get goose bumps on my skin and my soul swoons in silent ecstasy, whenever I listen to these renditions. The music speaks so eloquently of how “the Word became flesh” to dwell among us… as us. Remember that thought of Oneness always, and hold fast to it as a little child clinging to its mother. Delight in the play of its divine mystery as you listen to either diva interpret Et incarnatus est: You are the Divine Incarnation of the Spirit.

 

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Mysticism in “The Phantom of the Opera” —
Anything can be a reflection of the Spirit, and, as Zen teaches, any activity can become a meditation. When I began to listen intently to the lyrics of the love songs in the stage musical “The Phantom of the Opera” by Andrew Lloyd Webber, I began to perceive an underlying current of mysticism in them. For example, in the song “The Music of the Night,” I began to hear the Phantom’s words as words of seduction and love spoken by the Spirit in its divine romance with the human soul. Its mystical union with the soul in meditation became to me the music of the night.

Here is that beautiful song performed by the original London stage Phantom, Michael Crawford. May you also find the mysteries of the divine romance and meditation in it. Above all, enjoy it.

Open up your mind, let your fantasies unwind
In this darkness which you know you cannot fight
The darkness of the music of the night.
(From “The Phantom of the Opera”)

Listen very closely as the Phantom (in our case, the Spirit) begins the seduction (at time count 0:52 of the video) with the words “Slowly, gently, night unfurls its splendour…” and then tells you to “Close your eyes start a journey through a strange, new world; leave all thoughts of the world you knew before..” Open your feelings to the song… “Only then can you belong to me.” …and be seduced in “sweet intoxication” by the Spirit’s plea to “Help me make the music of the night.

[Acknowledgment: To KathyGeinLecter for the Michael Crawford video of the song and its lyrics on YouTube.com.]

Lyrics:
Nighttime sharpens, heightens each sensation
Darkness wakes and stirs imagination
Silently the senses abandon their defenses
Helpless to resist the notes I write
For I compose the music of the night.

Slowly, gently, night unfurls its splendour
Grasp it, sense it, tremulous and tender
Hearing is believing, music is deceiving
Hard as lightning, soft as candle light;
Dare you trust the music of the night.

Close your eyes for your eyes will only tell the truth
And the truth isn’t what you want to see
In the dark it is easy to pretend..
That the truth is what it ought to be…

Softly, deftly, music shall caress you.
Hear it, feel it, secretly possess you.
Open up your mind, let your fantasies unwind
In this darkness which you know you cannot fight
The darkness of the music of the night.

Close your eyes start a journey through a strange, new world;
Leave all thoughts of the world you knew before.
Close your eyes and let music set you free;
Only then can you belong to me.

Floating, falling, sweet intoxication
Touch me, trust me, savour each sensation.
Let the dream begin, let your darker side give in
To the power of the music that I write,
The power of the music of the night.

(music)

You alone can make my song take flight;
Help me make the music of the night.

With some modification in the lyrics as when the Phantom tells Christine to “Turn your face away from the garish light of day; turn your thoughts away from cold unfeeling light…and listen to the music of the night,” here is the sensuous movie version of the song performed by Gerard Butler.

[Acknowledgment: To thephantomoftheopera for the Gerard Butler film rendition of the song on YouTube.com.]

Once the divine romance between Spirit and your soul enters its climax, Spirit grasps your soul firmly in the lock of Its dissolving embrace, and you know you have reached the Point of No Return — a point of mystical oneness, spiritual ecstasy, deep emotional rapture, and intense mental orgasm.

Read the lyrics of the sensuous song “Past The Point of No Return” below, also from “The Phantom of the Opera”. Then listen to the song as sung with passion and full expression in the embedded movie version’s video clip. Note how the lyrics appropriately express the divine romance and the mystical union between God the individual soul. Listen again to the song, this time with your eyes closed, and in your heart contemplate the words of the song as spoken by the Spirit to you, you to the Spirit, and the unison of oneness at the end of the song. You will actually feel the soul ecstasy and rapture the song produces in you — just open yourself to it.

      (Phantom/The Spirit)
      You have come here in pursuit of your deepest urge,
      In pursuit of that wish, which till now has been silent, silent . . .

      I have brought you, that our passions may fuse and merge;
      In your mind you’ve already succumbed to me, dropped all defences,
      Completely succumbed to me — Now you are here with me:

      No second thoughts, you’ve decided, decided . . .

      Past the point of no return, no backward glances:
      Our games of make believe are at an end;
      Past all thought of “if” or “when” — No use resisting:
      Abandon thought, and let the dream descend . . .

      What raging fire shall flood the soul?
      What rich desire unlocks its door?
      What sweet seduction lies before us?

      Past the point of no return, the final threshold;
      What warm, unspoken secrets will we learn
      Beyond the point of no return?

      (Christine/The Soul)
      You have brought me to that moment when words run dry,
      To that moment when speech disappears into silence, silence . . .

      I have come here, hardly knowing the reason why;
      In my mind, I’ve already imagined our bodies entwining
      Defenseless and silent; now I am here with you:

      No second thoughts, I’ve decided, decided . . .

      Past the point of no return, no going back now:
      Our passion-play has now at last begun.
      Past all thought of right or wrong, one final question:
      How long should we two wait before we’re one?

      When will the blood begin to race;
      The sleeping bud burst into bloom?
      When will the flames at last consume us?

      (Both)
      Past the point of no return, the final threshold —
      The bridge is crossed, so stand and watch it burn.
      We’ve passed the point of no return.

[Acknowledgment: To leydelle for the video clip of the song on YouTube.com.]

The exquisitely beautiful love song “All I Ask of You” from the same musical, again, is a love song between Spirit and the individual soul: “Then say you’ll share with me one love, one lifetime; Let me lead you from your solitude. Say you need me with you, here beside you. Anywhere you go, let me go too… that’s all I ask of you.” That’s all God asks of us: To share one infinite love, one infinite lifetime; to let God go anywhere we go (through our conscious awarenss of Its presence).

“Love me… that’s all I ask of you.”

[Acknowledgment: To shinysuicune for the video clip of the song on YouTube.com.]

 

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La Vie en Rose —
If there were a song of life and love that could express the mystical union, this would be it.

[Acknowledgment: To gre1990 for the Sophie Milman rendition of the song on YouTube.com.]

Behind the veil of the mystical union is the divine romance and the seductive flames by which the Spirit woos the Soul. It can be full of passion yet remain cool in silence and stillness. Sometimes, in the passion of intimacy, the Spirit ravishes the Soul in sweet ecstasy, and when this happens the Soul can only moan and groan in its deepening surrender (or perhaps even shout out Basta ya, Senor, basta ya. [Enough, Lord, enough.] as the Spanish mystic Teresa of Avila was said to have uttered during an episode of her Soul’s orgasmic swoon).

 

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“If you touch Me… you’ll understand what happiness is.” —
The title of this segment — “If you touch Me… you’ll understand what happiness is.” — comes from the lyrics of the song Memory from the stage musical of Andrew Lloyd Webber titled Cats.   I capitalized the “Me” because whenever I remember that particular line from the song, I can’t help but think of that “Me” as the indwelling Spirit of God speaking to me from within.  I am reminded that when I touch It in Oneness, I experience Its bliss, thereby understanding what true happiness is.   So, Me is capitalized as to refer to God inviting me to come in contact with It in mystical union!

The song Memory as sung by Elaine Paige, playing the old cat Grizabella in a recorded performance of Cats, is utterly DIVINE, exquisitely FINE, intensely POWERFUL, and emotionally OVERWHELMING — just as the experience of God would be to the soul.  Here is Elaine Paige singing Memory.

“Open up; enter in…”

[Acknowledgment: To MrMistoffelees666 for the video excerpt of the song on YouTube.com.]

“Touch Me.  It’s so easy to leave Me…”

 

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Mozart’s “Jeunehomme” Piano Concerto —
The Piano Concerto No. 9 (“Jeunehomme”) in E♭ Major, K. 271, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is one of my favorite classical music compositions.  In the following series of videos, it is performed sublimely by Mitsuko Uchida, whom I adore for her interpretations of Mozart pieces, with Jeffrey Tate conducting the Mozarteum Orchestra.

Ms. Uchida’s performance at the piano is utterly brilliant and sparkling like a diamond. The concerto was recorded in the Mozarteum, at Salzburg, Austria, in 1989, during a Salzburg Festival performance.

Mozart composed this concerto in Salzburg in 1777. Though only 21 years old, he displayed great maturity and originality in what is regarded by many as his first great masterpiece. It was composed for a Mademoiselle Jeunehomme of whom very little is known (including her first name). The concerto is a mix of dramatic and intense emotions, some seemingly mad and anguished with parts of joy and happiness, suggesting perhaps a romantic involvement with Mlle. Jeunehomme on the part of the young Mozart.

(Acknowledgments to the YouTube channel of TheGreatPerformers for posting the videos.)

The First Movement

The Second Movement 1/2

The Second Movement 2/2

The Third Movement

Did you notice how Ms. Uchida’s entire body expressively flows into her piano playing? That is really “going with the flow” of the music and her playing.  She, her piano playing, and the music are just ONE!

 

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What Do Babies Know? —
The following video is a gas, guaranteed to make you laugh!


 

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Remember to SMILE — :-)

[Acknowledgment: Our appreciation and gratitude to Grandad35 for publishing the above video on YouTube.]

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What do you wish to do next on the path?