One of my goals of the Secret Lives of Singing Bowls is to show the many ways in which singing bowls are integrated into cultures all over the planet in the form of healing modalities, music, and meditation tools. There is no better resource for this focus than through the prism of our customers. This is the first in a series of interviews and guest blogs from healers, masters, musicians, Shamans, teachers and energy workers that use Bodhisattva singing bowls in their transformational work.
In early March 2011, we heard a Skype request for singing bowls from our beloved second generation customer – Dao Zhen, founder of Tao Yoga in the Kanagawa Prefecture of Japan. Before we were able to fill his order, the March 11 Tohuku Earthquake and Tsunami interceded. About a week later, we finally reached him on Skype to check in with him and his partner Yuko and were relieved to find him well. But our Skype conversation went like this:
“Wow I’m so relieved to hear you guys are OK!”
“We’re OK, but we just heard a building blew up.”
And so began the Fukushima Nuclear reactor crisis. Over the next few days, I kept an eye on the news as events started to spiral out of control and a major reactor leak and nuclear fallout was reported. My last Skype to Dao Zhen went unanswered:
“Could you guys get out if you wanted to?”
The following guest blog is Dao Zhen’s answer. It is both a moving account of the series of disasters to hit Japan and the aftermath; as well as testimony how his meditation discipline enabled him to stay centered in an environment of catastrophe and fear. Dao Zhen didn’t get out; but stayed on to embrace his role as a healing force in his community.
The Tao of Acceptance
The Great Way shines in our heart;
with wisdom we may understand its nature.
Comprehending the diverse keys of the profound and glorious Tao,
we are as buddhas and will come to know the abode of the immortals.
we understand no-mind;
we understand true nature.
With relaxed mind,
we grasp the meaning of Tao;
with the boundless Way, we understand truth.
~The Book of the Heart: Embracing the Tao
Where were you on Friday, March 11th at 2:46pm? If you were in Japan, this is a moment you will remember for the rest of your life…
So much change has taken place here in Japan, and so much growth is slowly taking place to rebuild.
Today, I came home and changed trains in Yokohama, it was so surprising, as many small shops that are usually busy had closed early. A sight I had viewed for years had suddenly changed. A place that was usually busy and active with shops, was closed, and silent.
People move forward with their lives, yet there is an underlying feeling of worry or uncertainty I can observe in the people. Yet there is also a very positive change happening in the consciousness of many.
I contemplate these days, how much psychological damage has been done by the constant influence of the media. I think it is important to be aware of how much negative influence we gain from ‘bad’ news, and limit this influence, and instead create ‘good news’, and also ‘good images’ internally for ourselves.
We may find words used in the media in Japan such as:
COMPLETE NUCLEAR MELTDOWN
And so on…….
Yet what do these words really mean, in a scientific light, and what are the reactions those of us with no scientific understanding will suffer when reading such words with accompanying images of smoke, and destroyed buildings….
FEAR & PANIC…..
The powerful force of the media has caused a HUGE exodus of foreign people fleeing Japan. Many Japanese themselves fled their homes during the first days after the earthquake, not feeling safe in the areas they reside in.
When the first of many earthquakes struck, I was having lunch in my home in Gokurakuji, Kamakura.
The whole house began shaking, and it seemed the intensity just kept increasing. A very large force and energy was being issued from the earth. As we made our way to the street, the earth transformed into something akin to water, and a wavelike flow emerged. To be honest, it was amazing, and so fascinating to me to be able to experience this raw force and power of the earth in motion.
Yet, the earthquakes never quite stopped, and aftershocks are still continuing.
There has been a huge exodus of foreigners from Japan. During the first week after the earthquake, we bumped into many foreigners daily with backpacks and suitcases who are fleeing Japan, and leaving everything behind. There was a lot of fear, uncertainty and worry.
A huge tsunami washed over Miyagi prefecture, and entire neighborhoods were simply washed away by giant walls of water. Rice fields were ruined, and many lost their lives. This may very well turn into one of the most devastating natural disasters the world has seen.
And yes, I have not mentioned anything about the ‘Nuclear Disaster’ in Fukushima.
Let us just pause for a moment from all the sensational media coverage.
As of this moment, well over 10,000 are known to be dead – all in relation to the Tsunami and the Earthquake disaster.
No one has died yet from the nuclear power plant accident and malfunction.
I am one to support natural living in harmony with nature, and would like to have more solar power, geo-thermal power, and other natural sources of energy, rather than nuclear.
Yet this is a situation that is being used to create sensational media, and create fear and panic in many. I wish the focus would be on the huge number of people who are currently homeless and without proper food, shelter and water – due to the tsunami and earthquake. Let us all let go of fear and worry, and send our prayers and positive healing energy to those suffering from being uprooted from their land and homes.
This experience has been a great journey, and I have had wonderful self growth during this time in Japan.
I awoke a few days after the earthquake, and when the problem with the nuclear plant had begun, had a strong intention to leave my home and journey south. The journey was amazing, and we synchronistically met many along the way who assisted in our journey.
We stayed in the wonderful DaiTokuji temple complex area of Kyoto, sleeping in the second floor of an old wooden house surrounded by bamboo, and the walls were made of glass. When the sun rises, birds alight in the branches of the bamboo, and sing pleasant songs.
Taking strolls among the temple complex, meditating in pristine bamboo gardens. Yet even in all of this beauty, there was a fear of the unknown….
Is it safe…?
Will we be poisoned from leaked radiation….?
Will there be a larger earthquake…?
Life is uncertain.
Yet how we respond to times of uncertainty are an example of our true nature and spirit.
Let us all pray for the people of Japan in this time of great disaster….
Let us join together as a world community and use this event to gain a higher consciousness to support our fellow humans in their time of need….
One merciful thought on behalf of another brings harmony.
A kind and goodly nature brings us to the Way.
True attainment is dependent on our actions:
Talk without good deeds is a waste of time…
Cultivating goodness in the heart,
we are rewarded in kind with goodness vast as green meadows.
Since ancient times, among all peoples
Virtue has embodied the Way…
With birdsong and fragrance of blossoms the sun rises;
above the eastern gate, a flawless azure sky.
Attaining the Way we are like the sun
dawning with roseate fire….
~The Book of the Heart, Embracing the Tao
There is a force that empowers the movements of the sun, moon and stars….
A force that is behind the cycle of the changing of the seasons…
A force that governs the birth, growth and decline of all living things…
This Universal Life Force is the key to the functioning of all things as observed by the ancient Tao Masters in the sacred mountains of China. These Tao Masters deeply studied this Life Force, its patterns as expressed in nature, the universe, and also its patterns of development and growth within the human being.
When one has an abundant reserve of Life Force Energy within their system, and this energy has a smooth flow, one experiences great happiness, health and a great feeling of life vigor.
When one has a low source of energy within their system, they will experience fatigue, sickness, negative emotions, stiffness and pain. A proper reserve of energy is truly the key to a long healthy and happy life.
Energy is frequency…
Energy is vibration….
Energy manifests as sound…..
The Magical Singing Bowls help us to re-harmonize our energy systems, and bring us balance, healing and inner peace.
Thinking in this light, our Tao Yoga group gathered together in Yokohama Chinatown, and practiced Tao Yoga, and I gave a Sound Healing concert with our Tibetan Singing Bowls, we all prayed together for the many lives that have been lost, and made a conscious promise to maintain our positive spirit in this trying time we find ourselves in here in Japan.
The sounds soared, our energy raised, our spirits aligned in a positive light, and we joined together in prayer.
The following Sunday, we held a wonderful Tao Yoga class in Kamakura. the sun was shining, the leaves and flowers are beginning to bud, and new life is making its way forward.
A former student from 3 years ago suddenly returned to our class. After the other students had left, she came up and we talked for some time. I could tell she was holding back fear, anxiety and worry; forcing a smile. She relaxed, and told me how much of a shock the earthquake had been for her, and now she also felt much fear about ‘radiation’ in the air. She confessed that she felt she can no longer trust the earth, and felt she can only now direct fear for the earth. She was about to cry, and she looked into my eyes and asked,
“Jesse-teacher, is everything going to be ok?”
I smiled, and held her shoulders, and told her, “Yes, of course everything will be fine. Look at the sky, the clouds passing by, the trees standing tall and proud. All is perfect, and as it should be. Enjoy this moment we are in now, and let us be thankful for all we have now.”
She smiled, and began to deeply cry, and released a big sigh from deep within; letting go of so much emotion and tension she had been holding due to the stress and trauma of the earthquake we all experienced.
How do we deal with all this fear, trauma and stress?
For me, I feel very lucky to have been given wisdom and techniques from the Traditions of Taoism and Buddhism; and when I am mindful enough to see that I am under the influence of fear, trauma and stress, I am able to apply techniques such as using the breath, and meditative movement arts to transform, and free myself from this influence, and enter into the Positive Inner Harmony State.
Return to your breath…..
Embrace your breath….
Balance your breath….
The breath can hold the key to gaining inner balance, release of negative emotional states, and reuniting with our center.
During this time in Japan, there are many amazing stories and people are coming together and expressing a positive and brave state of heart in these trying times; the country is working together to rebuild externally, and also to regain the inner state of a Positive Heart.
Here is one amazing story I have seen that has inspired me:
~Hideaki Akaiwa, was startled at work by the now infamous earthquake and tsunami that shook and overtook Japan on March 11, Akaiwa rushed to high ground and immediately called his wife of two decades. When she didn’t answer, Akaiwa ignored friends’ pleas to wait for a military rescue, instead rummaging up some scuba gear and diving into the dark, cold, debris-filled tsunami. Hundreds of yards of swimming later, Akaiwa found his wife struggling against the 10-foot current that had overtaken the couple’s Ishinomaki home. He later went on another scuba diving journey through the dangerous and dark waters to rescue his elderly mother who was trapped and alone on a roof top surrounded by water.
I spoke with my spiritual friend the other day, who is a Zen Priest, and a teacher of meditation, about all that is taking place in Japan. He said this is a unique and special time for all of us living here. He spoke on how often times we read books and scripture to gain spiritual learning, but such learning is of course limited. He went on to speak that NOW, we are able to learn spiritual lessons in a direct way, due to this intense experience we all share here in Japan.
This is real spiritual learning.
Let us all pray for Japan, and let us as a world community come together. Let us shed the barriers of race, country and religion.
For in the end, we all wish for the same things.
We all wish for Peace, Happiness & Harmony…
Let us all come together,
Let us all be a world family,
Let us create Peace on Earth….
Like muddy water our hearts await cleansing;
turbid or clear, its nature is of our choosing.
Black or white, right or wrong –
these things come from the heart and its training:
Destiny is shadowed by the color of our intentions.
With prayers and a calm mind,
the Way can be understood and attained:
The roots of wisdom are heavenly endowed,
With Tao implanted in our heart,
we ourselves may become buddhas.
Empty your heart.
Sit quietly on a mat.
In meditation we become one with All;
Tao billows like the vapors in a mountain valley,
and its supernatural power wafts into our soul.
~ The Book of the Heart – Embracing the Tao
Tao Yoga – Kamakura