Soul’s Soundtrack

by Mark Chmiel

Before coming to tonight’s writing class
I listened to a song from my youth

George Harrison late 1970
My Sweet Lord

I think I could go far in mettā
If I allowed that song to penetrate my life

“Incredible! Irresponsible! Delusional!”
I hear the scoffers (in my mind)

But that song is full of bhakti
Deep, ardent devotion

I think it’s way warmer
Than mettā, poor old Pali word

“I really wanna see you
Really wanna be with you

Really wanna see you Mā
But it takes so long Mā Mā Mā”

(OK, I changed the ending from “Lord”
To “Mā”–Sri Ānandamayi Mā)

I really wanna see Mā
The personification of divine bliss

In Carol who scribbles beside me
Her heart doesn’t back down before gangs of sorrow

In Srimati Madalyn
About to give birth in a couple of weeks

In Fatima who gives & gives & gives
And doesn’t condemn, condemn, condemn

“I really wanna be with you”
I want to be bliss myself

Like the gurus point out
There’s only one way to do that

Put your Mark Chmiel ego on a diet
Or, as St. Paul affirmed

“Not I that liveth
But Christ who liveth in me”

I want to become empty
So I can be full of everyone

The Gita says “they live in wisdom
Who see themselves in all and all in them”

But I digress, as Eileen McGrath Mosher once wrote
Back to the song———

“It takes so long, Mā Mā”—
But that’s where George is mistaken

Ma, bliss, enlightenment, the cosmic “ah”
Is. One. Thought. Away. (Ram Dass)

That’s an inspiring prospect
To notice my stupidity IS enlightenment

So the song calls out to me
With the euphorigenic mahamantra verses:

“Haré Rama Haré Rama
Rama Rama Haré Haré

Haré Krishna Haré Krishna
Krishna Krishna Haré Haré

Melissa Banerjee (an inspiration
For a character in Dear Layla Welcome to Palestine)

Once gave me a book,
Chant and Be Happy

To wit—chant the mahamantra
Throughout the day

Chant and be happy
Chant and wake up

Chant and serve the afflicted
Chant and see through the masks of the afflicters

Chant in the midst of eternal traffic jams
Chant at the counter at RISE

Chant at the next demo/rally/march
For a free free Palestine

Chant and quiet down chattering monkey mind
Chant and soothe my all indelicate indignations

Haré Rama Haré Rama
All the aching human beings right around me

Rama Rama Haré Haré
The countless Sisyphuses rolling up their boulders

Haré Krishna Haré Krishna
“Let me get your boulder this time I’ll push it”

Krishna Krishna Haré Haré
“Your boulder is my boulder”

The boulder is the occasion
For the bliss that passeth understanding

 

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