Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What is devotional music?



There are many as many definitions of devotional music as there are traditions and practices around the world. This September 6-9th, Bhakti Fest, a devotional music and yoga festival, will be held out in Joshua Tree, CA. Four days and nights of non-stop Kirtan (chanting), music from many spiritual traditions, as well as yoga, will be offered by musicians and yogis from all over the country, and many of them, including myself, hail from Southern California. While many musicians at this festival will be singing mantras in Sanskrit, including myself, I also weave songs of peace in other sacred languages I have learned from traditional paths that I have walked. Living in Israel, Europe, Hawaii, South America and many states in the West and Southwest regions of the US, I have searched and discovered that prayers of the heart are the same no matter what language you speak. For me, devotional music is music sung from the heart, and more specifically, it is singing from the connection with my Highest Self.
What is our ‘Highest Self’? After living and spending much time on the Big Island and other islands in the Hawaiian archipelago, I have come to deepen my connection with Hawaiian spirituality. In the Hawaiian language, “Aumakua” is a word used to refer to our divinity, our divine self. Aumakua is equivalent to our “I AM” presence, Spirit or our immortal essence. Our Highest Self is the expression of who we are, not limited to our bodies, time, space or dimension. When we connect in with our Aumakua, we connect in with the realm of spirit, expanding our perspective, perceptions and awareness. When I sing, I connect in with my Highest Self; I sing songs of peace and healing, prayers of gratitude and forgiveness. I make sound offerings to Life. Many songs I sing are from traditional paths I have walked or from which I have been initiated, and others are original songs written from lessons learned and medicine received. Part of my devotional path is singing songs dedicated to the healing of our relationship with all beings, including the earth.
One of the songs I have written is called, Earth Prayer, a song that was written after the oil spill devastated the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. This song weaves the Hawaiian Ho’oponopono prayer into the chorus, “I’m sorry, Forgive me, I love you, Thank You.” Like mantras that I sing in ancient languages, the repetition of this prayer in English opens our hearts to healing. When we offer this healing prayer to our bodies and minds, our relationships with others both living and dead, the earth and All Our Relations, healing and transformation occur. Just like the prayers sung repeatedly in ancient mantras, singing this prayer has a similar affect. Singing with the intention of healing, we are connecting in with the healing vibration of our bodies as well as the earth, reminding us that our thoughts and actions are interconnected with all things.
At Bhakti Fest, songs of prayer and devotion are sung continuously throughout the day and night. By the second or third day of singing together in community, there is a spirit of openness and acceptance, joy and celebration that naturally begins to fill the entire festival. It is a reminder how important it is to practice intention, prayer and align our hearts with Source. In these challenging as well as transformational times in which we are living, I find that the practice of singing, sound as healing and prayer as sound, transforms my thoughts, puts my mind on a higher plane while aligning my thoughts with my heart and my ‘Highest Self.’ It is in this place that creative ideas, new paradigms, collective healing and personal growth occur. For me, devotional music includes mantras, repetitious prayers in sacred languages as well as in English, because music sung from the heart is devotional, life supporting, expressive of truth and All That Is.
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Join Ena Vie at  Bhakti Fest on September 6th 10am...Ena and her band, will be opening Bhakti Fest this year!!

What is devotional music? by Ena Vie

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