Suddenly there was perfect silence and stillness in that crowded café tent. A feeling of immense gravitas overcame me, the serious nature of what our endeavour amounted to now present in my thoughts and my heart. I felt privileged, awed to be present at such a unique gathering. We had chosen to give what we could of ourselves to aid a world in pain and crisis, or perhaps we had been chosen. There was the sense of a huge responsibility which we had shouldered. The awareness of that to which we were committing ourselves filled me with both pride and humility. The hushed crowd had the presence of a congregation at midnight mass on Christmas Eve, with a touch of the dignity and solemnity of Remembrance Sunday. Palden, tall and lanky, bespectacled with a stubbly smile wide full of teeth would be our choirmaster.
He began the chant with a resonant “Ooo…….” Slowly at first, but with growing strength we joined in. The multitude of voices created a rich chord, blending from deep male basses through the majority of mid-range to the sopranos who floated above the chorus. It reminded me of my prep-school where the pupils would sing the ‘Amen’ to grace at mealtimes, led by one of the senior choristers who would sing the first note. We were like the schoolchildren falling in behind that keynote, following the initiation made by Palden.
We seemed to have entered a dimension in which time had a different velocity, density and viscosity. Slowing down our connection with the outside we went more deeply into ourselves through that sound, touching our deeper beings in the inner stillness, awakening parts of our souls which had been lying dormant, waiting for the moment, waiting for the call.
The vibration penetrated with the smoothness of a knife through melting butter. Our psychic defences were as much use as that butter in keeping it out of our souls. To have resisted would have been more disturbing than to go with it, it would have shaken me apart like a jack-hammer. Better to let it slide smoothly in to connect with whatever it was seeking, gently loosening obstacles in its path to the being at the centre of each of us. In those moments we were exposed to ourselves, knew our apprehensions, our fears and ambitions, even a glimpse of what it was we had come in search of.
The energy focussed like a standing wave in the centre of the circle, resonating subtle ripples out through the ethers. It truly felt that we were creating a new beginning, seeded from the aspirations and intentions which we brought with us and encoded in the harmonies of that great hum. Briefly a thought crossed my mind ~ what hidden notes might lie unnoticed within the harmonies? In the Ainulindale, the creation myth in Tolkien’s Silmarillion, one of the Angels sings a note which is disharmonious, causing conflict and destruction. My ear detected no dissonance, but what might be hidden within those sonorous layers of textured sound? Tolkien’s primal chord had had its antiphony, but it had been disguised at first within the whole. Only as the variations found their way into manifestation did the conflict, the clash of wills and directions become apparent. But this had been part of the Great Design, so that discernment could be exercised in differentiating the divergent vibrations, understanding the confusion and making a world which could rise above these contradictions.
This thought was but a small voice as the cadence within our circle rose and fell, breathing with us like the sky I had seen less than 24 hours before, singing our new creation into existence. Our souls, like stars, the source of worlds yet to be born, realities yet to grow from the seeds we brought with us. We would overcome the conflict and hostility endemic in the world by our example, so that by the Hundredth Monkey effect new patterns would be adopted which did not engage with these negative energies.
The sound of our congregation rolled around the circle like the backwash of the Big Bang, the Cosmic Background; its centre of gravity now here, now there, now in the middle as we exhaled our breath into this deep space and united ourselves for the journey we were beginning.
I counted 128 faces in that circle, adults and children. Two to the power of seven. An interesting number.
The chorus abated. It had lasted perhaps little more than thirty seconds, but in that time we had travelled to the centre of Creation and back again. I felt that I would have travelled for this alone, for the privilege of chanting with all these others, most of whom I did not know and had not met before. Diverse our paths may have been which led us here, but we had now all been united in a shared experience, all been affected by the vibration we had shared, become one in opening ourselves to each other in this.
We stood there holding hands in silence until we felt the press of our neighbours fingers pass round the circle, signalling the moment to release from this union. Slowly, reluctantly, like lovers parting, we let our hands relax and slide free.
The silence was almost as profound as the chant; reluctant to part from the moment we stood meekly, like children respectful of the sanctified atmosphere in a great cathedral. Slowly, hesitantly, we began breathing again, the rustle of movement returned, someone cleared their throat and then we were back in normal space-time in the late twentieth century again.
copyright © 2011 Claire Rae Randall