“A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”
May we all sing wholeheartedly the song that's in our hearts!
I hope you are all well and warm and cozy and singing your heart's song.
(below I have enclosed a lovely account about how this manifests in an African tribe)
There will be a gathering tomorrow evening at St Matthew and Mark Church in West Barrington at 6:30. There will be sitting/walking/sitting meditation and Ellen and Jess will co-facilitate the Dharma Sharing about the paramitas and Reverance for Life. . "Seeing that harmful actions arise from anger, fear, greed, and intolerance, which in turn come from dualistic and discriminative thinking, I will cultivate openness, non-discrimination, and non-attachment to views in order to transform violence, fanaticism, and dogmatism in myself and in the world." This practice helps us to become more mindful of the way we create obstacles to being able to love ourselves and each other. I hope you will all be able to attend.
If you can help with the Sangha please let me know and I will add you to the list for the Care Taking Committee.
We need to have a meeting and I will be sending out a doodle to see when the best time to meet will be.
Next Saturday, the 15th there will be an OI/aspirant gathering at the Bell Street Chapel. This meeting is open to Order members, aspirants and anyone who is interested in learning more about our practice. We will recite the Fourteen Trainings and share the Dharma. We are focusing on the Paramitas, and will be looking at diligence. There is a meeting of the Radiant Bell Sangha that morning from 8-9:45. So if you like you can be a part of that before the OI gathering.
Remember that you can access Thay's talks at tnhaudio.org and some of the monastics have been offering Dharma talks during this Winter Retreat at Blue Cliff Monastery…you can access them at bluecliffmonastery.org
Also, I hope that you will be able to join us at the Aldersgate Retreat, May 16-20. It is a wonderful time to deepen our practice together.
There is a wonderful interview with Sr. Chan Khong filled with good reminders of how our misperceptions create wars in ourselves and in the world…..it is available at
and a lovely song for meditation…Breathing by joe Reilly….
I hope to see you at one or more of these gatherings. We are so blessed!
with much love and the extraordinary clarity of sunshine on snow for you,
The Himba of Namibia….the Song of the Child
There is a tribe in Africa where the birth date of a child is counted not from when they were born, nor from when they are conceived but from the day that the child was a thought in its mother’s mind. And when a woman decides that she will have a child, she goes off and sits under a tree, by herself, and she listens until she can hear the song of the child that wants to come. And after she’s heard the song of this child, she comes back to the man who will be the child’s father, and teaches it to him. And then, when they make love to physically conceive the child, some of that time they sing the song of the child, as a way to invite it.
And then, when the mother is pregnant, the mother teaches that child’s song to the midwives and the old women of the village, so that when the child is born, the old women and the people around her sing the child’s song to welcome it. And then, as the child grows up, the other villagers are taught the child’s song. If the child falls, or hurts its knee, someone picks it up and sings its song to it. Or perhaps the child does something wonderful, or goes through the rites of puberty, then as a way of honoring this person, the people of the village sing his or her song.
In the African tribe there is one other occasion upon which the villagers sing to the child. If at any time during his or her life, the person commits a crime or aberrant social act, the individual is called to the center of the village and the people in the community form a circle around them. Then they sing their song to them.
The tribe recognizes that the correction for antisocial behavior is not punishment; it is love and the remembrance of identity. When you recognize your own song, you have no desire or need to do anything that would hurt another.
And it goes this way through their life. In marriage, the songs are sung, together. And finally, when this child is lying in bed, ready to die, all the villagers know his or her song, and they sing—for the last time—the song to that person.
You may not have grown up in an African tribe that sings your song to you at crucial life transitions, but life is always reminding you when you are in tune with yourself and when you are not. When you feel good, what you are doing matches your song, and when you feel awful, it doesn’t. In the end, we shall all recognize our song and sing it well. You may feel a little warbly at the moment, but so have all the great singers. Just keep singing and you’ll find your way