The Hare Krishna is said to be the mantra of mantra, the mantra that encompasses all other mantras.
For the past 8 years since I was first moved by the mantra it has had varying meanings for I and my journey and I felt compelled after attending the most recent 24 hour kirtan to share some of how this has impacted my life...
When I first heard it walking through Prana New Year’s festival in New Zealand, it was something powerfully sweet and beautiful. I didn’t know what it meant but could feel a sweetness that sounded amazing and I wished to experience more of. I began to observe how some of the people who sang this mantra had a lightness and joy. 9 months later back in Ireland I felt a need to add something to my spiritual practices. I was meditating, healing etc. but realised it was time to introduce something new into my life that would increase the awareness and integration of the connection between voice and heart. As soon as I questioned what that could be, the answer came to try the Hare Krishna chanting that I had heard that beautiful afternoon back in NZ. Within 24 hours I noticed a sign when I was walking down Abbey St in Dublin. I went online and saw there was a weekly kirtan which would be taking place the following day. I went along and have pretty much been going ever since.
At first I felt a million miles away from the sounds I could hear. I desperately wished to be able to sing along and experience the feeling that was calling me. Over time it happened, first a word or two then the whole mantra, sometimes very loud and out of tune! Sometimes I cried from a sadness that arose and sometimes I laughed. Sometimes I cringed at my voice, sometimes I marvelled at others, and found and still find that when I truly listened to all voices and instruements playing together in the one moment, I am truly deeply and powerfully moved! I noticed that whenever I would bump into someone afterwards on my way home, they would often mention that I looked well. The chanting releases an inner fire and energy, it purifies the heart and uplifts the spirit. It nourishes the being beyond what food, drugs, exercise and sex can. It’s a different flavour, one that boosts all areas of life and makes intoxicants seem trivial and playschool toys. Still everything can have its place but nothing I knew could quite compare to what I could feel and experience during a kirtan, not every kirtan but many of them. Sometimes they’d feel painful and to stay was an act of sure discipline, but that’s okay and sometimes I'd stay and sometimes I'd go!
The 24 hour kirtan in Birmingham has been going for many years and I have been fortunate to attend the past 5 years. Each year I marvel at how something beautiful occurs during and after it. At first being able to sing and chant with so many others was such a trip. To listen to 700+ people chanting this mantra at the same time in a sacred environment with amazing musicians and people spontaneously dancing and twirling is the sacred buzz!
Last year I remember a part of my brain opening and all this beautiful energy flowing through. The week that followed visiting my sister and giving healing sessions in London was seriously blessed too.
This year I observed myself on the Saturday wondering if this mantra being repeated so intensely was really beneficial. I observed all thoughts arise. I wondered why I always attended this kirtan, without even needing to think about it. I wondered if maybe I didn’t need to go any longer. But onwards I went watching thoughts arise and disappear as I chanted,
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare,
Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare
I was enjoyably tired and when it came to 1am felt it was a good time to have a sleep on the mat next to kirtan. Most poeple stay in hotels but for I to stay right beside the kirtan and fall asleep to it, sleep with it and wake to it is an important part of the pilgrimage/ journey. I fell asleep quickly and woke 4 hours later to a crescendo and great kirtan with the 10 or so who were still up playing. About 20 stayed on the floor in differing areas of the hall and the rest had returned home and arranged hotels which the event organisers had highly encouraged.
As I awoke I felt such a warmth love, blessings of the great mother, father and holy spirit talking and moving through me. I lay and listened and after 45 minutes or so sat back up and joined back in. Something felt different though. I felt different; lighter, clearer and so much inner love flowing everywhere giving me messages of peace and joy.
I was blessed with having that day to give great thanks to the creator, be it God, Krishna, the holy spirit, love, these are just words I am using to describe a feeling, a state of being, where I felt more in the now than maybe every before. As I chanted the mantra I could feel the energy flowing right through the body and energy field in a pattern I hadn’t previously experienced. Beautifully radical!
I got the opportunity on Sunday to chant for my family, friends, those I went to school with, those I work with and those I am yet to meet. I chanted for Ireland, for Birmingham, for the U.K. for the Earth, solar system and beyond. I chanted for love, compassion, forgiveness, wisdom and truth. My energy field mixed with that of the room and I could feel and see love moving through all.
Although it’s called a 24 hour kirtan it actually went on for 32 hours. At 26 hours it was time for I to leave. I hada train and plane to catch back to Ireland to attend an ole friend’s birthday party. I felt tears of love and gratitude. I felt a flow of oneness with the Divine, feeling the flow in the now and with it a new softness and expanding light. I am forever grateful for the mystery and gifts of this mantra and all who create, partake and make this event possible. It blew me away over 8 years ago and continues to do so. It has continually strengthened me on the spiritual journey and given me greater access to depths of love, far more than any drug, chocolate, synthetic or otherwise! I’m not one for going on about things, but for anyone you meet who is in a good place, there are practices they undertake regularly to create and sustain the good space. I have many, from keeping my spaces clean and clear to good nutrition to alkalising juices to cleansing to meditating to music to art to good association to being in nature… And I think this recent journey and the renewed recognition of this mantra's strength might have just put it into a definite No 1 place in practices of my life. All I say really is, If you feel the calling, give it a go. You can repeat in in your mind as you go about your day, or for a walk, sing it out loud in the car or come to a kirtan. There is a kirtan boom happening around the world right now so you'll probably find one pretty close to where you live if you look on-line. So ahppy to share this treasure!
It’s amazing what you can experience in 24 hours- sometimes!
Peace & Love to all beings everywhere.
Jagannatha, Balabhadra(Balarama) and Subhadra, thank you for your kindness and generosity.
Hare Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare.
Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare
Well i't's been a while since I've written something here and what a while it's been!
It started off with a trip to Greece for a kirtan retreat with Kevin James aboard a catamaran.
About a month ago I was questioning should I go, I was feeling a bit nervous, didn't know anyone going on the trip other than Kevin James ever so slightly. I love kirtan, it's one of the most soulful activities I've discovered, that, dance, singing, healing and a few other things mmm just wonderful enrich my life and self beyond words:) So I thought yes let's just do it! This is what I wrote the day of arriving in Kos. I had to overnight prior at Stanstead airport, arriving at 11.15pm and leaving the next morning at 6am...
The trip has been such a blessing so far. I am eternally grateful. The journey to my mum's, the trip to airport early, the movement through security and being early at boarding gate and able to charge laptop...
Arriving at Stanstead I was prepared for cold and the possibility of no chair… to find an arm chair across form a lovely Sweedish woman who has missed her flight and was overstaying too felt like a great blessing! The staff at Costa Coffee were really nice and so busy and the café stayed open 24 hours. Just incredible. I slept 2 hours or so on and off mostly on and I must say it was a euphoric sleep.
Awoke and took off my wooly hat as I washed my hands in the perfectly just cleaned hands after using a perfectly clean loo to find that somehow my hair had calmed and gone like a wavy blowdry from wearing the hat while I slept! A miracle! Any of the community of 200 or so who braced Standstead through the early hours of the morning that I mamanged to talk to were lovely!
The security check to Kos flight had the customes guard help refill a new plastic bag so that it would include all my bottles of liquid, that did not seem to fit since I had added an extra product purchased at Dublin dutyfree. The guy get a new bag, rearranged and moved the bottles around. I apologised saying, 'You probably have much better things to be do'. He kindly replied, 'Not really! 20 years of experience coming into use!' He smiled as he handed it back to me miraculously closed holding all my liquids! Success! Thank you.
The flight was easy, I ahd three seats to myself and Kos, well Kos is just gorgeous. I felt it combined a bit of Thailand, Argentina and Mallorca. The blue colours and breeze superb! I am here only 4 or 5 hours and am feeling like crying from the love I feel on this trip. I feel such appreciation for giving myself this well needed rest, change of scenery and recharge. I am in a lovely hotel run by a lovely family, homely, kind and feeling blessed. My god, a shower awaits, change of clothes and off to find some tasty food. I am just beside the marina and close to Hippocrates tree where he used to give lessons which I look forward to investigate! God life is great right now, thank you thank you thank you. I feel an awakening of energy. Thank you God Thank you Goddess.
So you can imagine mixing this with sailing, a beautiful bunch of people from Australia, Bali, Spain and Germany, great weather mid 20's and visits to various Greek islands and well let's just say, it was bliss. In the simplest way. Sun, wind, sailing, kirtan, good food, conversation, time in silence in beautiful surroundings. My heart opened more and more day by day the more beauty I saw. The beauty was in the islands, sea and sky and in the hearts of those who I spend this time with. I realised and remembered the importance of holidays. The wind blew the unnecessary away. I threw a special something into the sea one afternoon as we sailed on a strong wind to symbolise the release of an aspect of my life I had outgrown. It felt good. Following this trip I headed to Athens for an adventure. I wondered how it could ever follow on from this amazing week. After finding nothing enticing via hotels and airbnb I had contacted a person from couchsurfing.
Miraculously it turned out a treat! An accunpuncturist and artist from Athens with fluent English, greeted me in their lovely spacious home. We shared many a tail of especially of our spiritual journeys, swapped treatments and had enjoyed a great walking tour of Athens. Words can't possibly explain the good energy I received from Greece and Athens, though perhaps a song could. I arrived back in Ireland alight full of good energy and kind of shocked by how good a holiday can be for us and how it is so important to take these kinds of breaks. If you've been thinking about going on holiday and it feels right, I truly encourage you to go!
Within 2 days of returning, I was getting my make up done and working with a team to photograph Sophie Rieu designer Autumn and Winter collection. Sophie Rieu is a French fashion designer who makes high quality clothing for women using ethical and sustainable materials. We are talking silk, satin, cashmere, tweed, organic and just fabulous really. It was a full day and my first time doing something like this. It was was great stepping out of my comfort circle. What a gift to wear such clothing and an honour to be asked by Sophie who was looking for a woman in her power to showcase her new collection and also great to support Sophie's approach to fashion (ethical and sustainable materials, high quality etc..) and really great fun to work with the team. Thank you Sophie! Check out her clothing here Go to Sophie's website
A week later and I am volunteering at the Amma gathering in Dublin. Amma is involved in incredible humanitarian work. She provides 10 million meals a year in India alone, as well as has built over 50,000 homes, countless schools, and so on. Many see Amma as a direct manifestation of God, of the Divine mother. It was a privilege to help the amazing Darshan team with Tracey , Poorima and many others who gave so much. Amma gives hugs as her way of giving service to others. The two days were a combination of meditation, spiritual talks many many hours of thousands of people receiving hugs. Amma was also blessing the family unit so people received a family hug in addition to an individual hug. I particularly loved this. Amma stayed up till 3am the first night and till 7.45am on the 2nd day giving thousands of hugs. I met lovely people, friends, new friends and those who had travelled from afar to be there; Americans, Italian, French, Dutch, Swedish, couple who been married at the Castleruddrey stone circle the previous day and had come here for a blessing and many other wonderful stories. Amma helps millions of people every year in both spiritual and material ways. The label I believe is not that important of what one's wishes to identify Amma as a God or sister or friend or spiritual master or...Allow each to choose, the fact is she is a loving force and this is the gift. Click here for to go to Amma Ireland website for more info
As you can imagine I was exhausted after all this! But with more awaiting onwards we travelled. A few good sleeps and I am back at the Hare Krishna temple in Dublin where kirtan takes place every Tuesday evening. I had the ultimate joy of leading a kirtan session for the first time, playing the harmonium and singing, with other beautiful devotees playing and singing along. Something so small yet that filled me with so much good energy, I am forever grateful for the experience and joy I felt!
As a friend's teacher reminded them the other day, 'The Spiritual journey is everything, all else comes after spiritual presence and being.' Personally, this is how my life works best, is most rewarding, interesting and purposeful. Feed your spiritual journey daily, listen within, serve others and all else with blossom. I see the journey as continually ascending spiral. Each mini journey leads us to the next. Each highlight and pivotal points stays alive forever within and can be built upon on the next journey and the next. It is never ending from here, rising and expanding in good energy continually. Sometimes we might forget, sometimes it seems hard, these are temporary aspects of the spiral, in a way everything in this outer world is temporary the good and the apparent hard times :) With inner awareness and listening a light sparks, the flame thickens and the light expands; our inner treasure. This is the jewel available to us all regardless of what the outer circumstances look like. We can take our highs and beautiful moments and through maintaining awareness of them be this light as we go about life and share it with others through our work or a simplye smile. Watch what happens. More light will be drawn to this light. If someone important leaves your life, don't worry, watch who enters. Look at the people, conversations and events that arise. It can be in the beauty of a quiet solitary moment looking at the sky, a laugh shared with someone you care for or a celebration with family... Our time on this planet is journey after journey, watch the inner light more and see it grow. Meditation, being in nature, exercise, good food, rest and healing are all valid and fabulous ways to grow the inner light. If you are interested in healing work, I work with a small number of select clients ccommitted to their soul path and evolution. If this resonates with you, please get in contact. Healing work and the workshops are a pleasure and fun, producing great results for many. Wishing you peace and happiness! Aho!
Hi This is yoru invite to a unique opportunity to practise some amazing and feel good chants with Kevin James of Bali.
It's going to be fun and we'd love to see you,
Here's the link to the event https://www.facebook.com/orlaphelanlight/
Please check it out and come join us for the full day or even just half a day- All welcome!
Am here in lovely London, and yes really and honestly it is lovely here!
After a great experience of a 30 hour kirtan in Birmingham (they call it a 24 hour kirtan but I left to get the train after 30 hours so who knows how long it actually went on for!? A big thank you to everyone who helped organised a great festival and gave so freely. Can you believe that was not 1 penny charged to attend this gathering though donations were gratefully received! Still, that makes it pretty inviting for many, and many there were with over 1600 registered and I believe many donations were also received!
What it involved:
30 hours of continuous kirtan, that is singing of the Maha mantra to many different melodies in a call and response manner. The Maha mantra is considered the great mantra, it contains the energy of all mantras within it. Various singers from around the world and UK turned up to lead 30 minute to 2 hour sessions with a large group of wonderful musicians. Over two days people sang and danced and all of us were fed four lovely meals each day too!
I love singing this mantra. It connects one deep into the heart space where a sweet feeling of love arises and permeates my mind and being.
Through kirtan there is a call and response where a 'leader' sings the Maha mantra and everyone responds and sings the mantra with the same melody.
It's a real journey of emotion and depth. While I sing, I find major things moving through my awareness especially my family, friends, past and even future experiences.
People were advised to sleep in a hotel but I decided to brave it and sleep at the hall! I lay down with a blanket and somehow managed to sleep quite comfortably right beside the kirtan players. At this stage the number had gone from about 900 in the busiest moment to 20! I awoke early and sat up immediately and very happily joined back in!
Through the 2nd day I entered deeper into the present moment, the presence of love and the presence and love of the creator.
I am ever grateful for this experience. If you'd like to give it a go, look for a kirtan group near where you live. In Dublin and London there is kirtan weekly at the Hare Krishna Temples as well as in other places.
Personally I love (as you can probably tell!) and highly recommend it. Allow the sound to move through your heart! Give it a try if you feel the calling!
The Maha Mantra:
'Haribol' means chant and be happy as this is what chanting is said to do for you- make you feel happier! A pretty nice outcome!
Meanwhile this week, I am in London checking out opportunities, spending time with my sister and offering one to one healing and soul's goals sessions.
Back to Ireland next Monday evening, with healing sessions taking place Tuesday and Friday at the Harvest Moon Centre, Dublin 2
Irish number: 00 353 872320159
English number: 00 44 7435816809
I welcome you to get in contact whereever you are as in addition to being in Londond nad Dublin am also working with other locations via skype!
Wishing you peace and happiness,
Thank you and Haribol!