"Singing is like praying twice"
There is an ethereal feeling which emanates from our hearts, outward through our limbs when surrounded by a chorus of people singing together. Can you feel the chills as you remember the last time you found yourself ensconced in a river of uplifting voices? Certain hymns resonate with me as they strike a chord where my emotions seem to sit waiting to be plucked, as I'm sure they do for you. Though it doesn't have to be in a formal place of worship, these are the moments which filter into my thinking today.
Any concert, any congregation of people who are harmonizing in a moment of song has the potential of reaching the same prayer-full plateau. Even singing the national anthem together at the beginning of a sports event, or when it is played during the medal ceremonies of an Olympics can resonate in a similar tonal feeling. I'll never forget an Italian team on the podium after winning a gold medal in their home country, singing with such joyful passion together with an outdoor piazza filled with family, friends and countrymen and women singing along with them. The men were arm and arm...........they couldn't smile more broadly as they belted out the meaningful words and well known tune on their tip toes ...... STRETCHING up into the night air ........ soaring in unision.
Praying twice......praying in abundant joy.......singing in unison
I wonder if one could use the same analogy when considering the connection with another through a conversation? Not any normal conversation mind you, but one where two people, or perhaps three or four or more.......... reach a plateau beyond the everyday chattering of shared facts and opinions. Is there a point where the level of communication between human beings could be like praying twice?
Last week, I had lunch with a woman who I am just beginning to get to know. The moment I met her last fall at a workshop planning meeting, I saw sparks in her that were familiar in a way that pulled me into wanting her in my life. As I later watched her facilitate the workshop, I saw for the first time someone up in front of a group of people who had such similarities in her manner and approach to my own that it floored me. It was like I was given a chance to be an active observer of how others respond to my own teaching techniques. It completely intrigued me as I watched her "perform".........saw what worked best, what others reacted to and how they did......... saw the flow of her manner. During a break, I asked her if I could take her out for lunch to delve into it more and to ask her for some guidance on making a move possibly into the world of consulting. Lunch was finally arranged..........last Friday. Neither of us lifted our heads up while sitting in the restaurant for over an hour. In fact, we were so into our conversation that neither of us realized that we hadn't been served our meals yet! The place was a buzzing beehive of activity, filling up while we slipped into a place where the words and stories and sharing came tumbling out............in the zone.....
Two people unaware of the surroundings, but completely focused with a heightened awareness of eachother.
Tune the world out, focus the world in...
When we are able to sing from our hearts, when we are able to talk from the same place, when we are able to listen intently, we feed off each other's heightened energy. What is stripped away is a sense of time, an ego driven sense of self. Rather it is transformed into a place driven by our essence....our spirit. Facts and opinions don't live there. They live in our ego centre alongside our sense of bravado..... our desire to be right..... in control.
This is what I think...
This is what I believe is right.
When communication between two people transcends this, and leads to a "heart to heart" talk, we soften. We soften our sharp edged opinions and the needs to be right and heard and rigid. We soften to bare ourselves and to provide a trusting featherdown landing place for another to do the same. When we move from two egos talking to two hearts conversing, an unconditional holy space is discovered. Heightened awareness, respect, empathy........a true transference of vulnerability felt in prayer.
Whether it's in a restaurant, around a campfire, in your living room, late at night sipping something smooth.... whether its over coffee, a pot of tea, on a bench in the park, it can happen anytime, anywhere...........and it feels like praying twice.