March 30th, 2010

Coming Full Circle; Jerry Garcia and Krishna Das in San Francisco

You know those times when your life comes full circle, and you get to see the panoramic view of who you were and who you have become?

I had one of those nights last night.

What an experience to see not only the differences, but the similarities of this being who is now called HeatherAsh Amara, and was then called Heather MacKenzie-Gaudet. (If you want to know more about my name change, click here for the blog post.)

I flew into Oakland yesterday to attend a concert of two of my favorite kirtan “bands,” Krishna Das and Deva Premal & Miten. Five minutes after sitting in my faded red velvet balcony seat in San Francisco’s Warfield historic theatre I was immersed in chanting Sita Ram with hundreds of other people.

As Krisha Das and the audience passed the chant back and forth, I felt my heart get as big as the room. To my right and just below me, a man threw up his arms in devotion and swayed to the music. I followed the happy gaze of the woman sitting next to me, and saw that dozens of people were dancing and chanting in the upper aisles.

That’s when past and present merged, and I felt the overlay of being in this same place a double-handful of years ago, immersed in the energy of devotion in this same place as we sang to Jerry Garcia and his band.

What a long, strange, trip it’s been.

For years I pilgrimaged to see Jerry and the Grateful Dead as often as I could. I was one of the long-haired, long-skirted girls dancing and spinning in the hallways, arms wide to the universe as I celebrated the divine marriage of the music and my soul.

At the Warfield once again, immersed in a peaceful sea of sacred song, I floated free of time and separation. Who I was, who I am, Jerry, Krishna Das, and all the beings around me, past and future, physical and spirit, all coalesced into one.

I spent the rest of the evening at the apex of the balcony section, alternatively sitting cross-legged on the top red-carpeted stair and singing mantras with my thousands of new friends, dancing to gospel music “Jesus on the main line, tell him what you want….” or swaying barefoot in my long skirt to rocked-up ancient indian chants.

Krishna Das shared stories between songs, and one image in particular made me laugh out loud at the gloriousness of being human with all of our resistance and struggle.

There is a train that has left the station, and it is speeding towards its destination. Inside the train you may be running as fast as you can in the opposite direction, but when the train gets to the station, so do you.

Later in the evening, as Deva and Miten led us in singing “living in the light of love, we are home,” I understood. Home has no past, no present, no future. And the train has already arrived AND it is still en route, and we are all going home, one way or another.

Here is a you tube clip from the gospel part of the show… Enjoy!