In my daily walks in Manhattan I see thousands of people in a short period of time. Bryant Park is very close to my office and it is one of my favorite parks in the city so I go there often. They tell me that Bryant Park was not a safe place in the 80’s. New York City went through a transformation in the 90’s and after 9/11 the city was reborn. It is a different city now. It is safer and cleaner. Bryant Park, particularly, went through many changes in the last few years. The bi-annual Fashion Week is no longer held there so the seasons are experienced in a different way at the park. Winter or summer, as long as my office is close by and as long as I have my health I will be having my walks at the park.
Bryant Park is always full of people. They are always eating something. That’s the tradition at the Bryant Park. People go there to eat or sometimes to read. It is a lively place.
Why do I walk so much? Some people walk to exercise, some to think. I need those walks to clear my mind. My job requires constant thinking and concentration. This gets tiring sometimes. Usually, my mind is busy with many mundane problems. I don’t like the business world. I miss physics. In my dreams I sometimes see myself returning to Fermilab. Absorption in your work is a great feeling. I experienced that when I was at Fermilab. If you love your job then you never get tired, your head never gets heavy, but unfortunately most of us have boring jobs. Most jobs are very stressful too. The modern world is turning us into robots. Whether it is too much computer programming or too much data analysis, or too much this, or too much that, we are slowly being de-humanized.
Walking helps to clear my mind but not entirely. I keep thinking on those mundane problems even when I walk. I tried reading at the park. I tried meditation. Yes meditation helps but when you are struggling with so many problems it is difficult to mediate during the business day.
I noticed that when I sing a spiritual song my mind clears immediately especially when I chant the “Baba Nam Kevalam” mantra. But, sometimes I become so mechanical and so emotionally dry that I don’t have the psychic energy even to move my lips. Then, I force myself to sing, and somehow I find enough psychic energy to start humming “Baba Nam Kevalam” (Love is all there is). Then the chant starts flowing on its own. Suddenly the world looks brighter. The mundane is converted into spiritual.
Yes, it takes effort. It is similar to moving a massive object. There is inertia. Initially, you have to push hard. When the massive object starts moving it gains momentum and you don’t have to push as much. The devotional sentiment is very similar. You have to use aids in the beginning. Then, someday those devotional feelings flow naturally. There are also times when devotion overflows. In those rare occasions we get a glimpse of the eternal life.
You might ask “How can I do this when I am sick, when I am in pain? How can I invoke devotional sentiment in those situations?” I tried, it works. I sang devotional songs, I chanted “Baba Nam Kevalam” when I was in intense pain from kidney stones. I chanted when I was in fear of death. It always works. Not only does it work the devotional feelings are even more intense. The effects of spiritual music are amplified when you ideate on the Beloved.
When I sing “Baba Nam Kevalam” I often cry. I don’t know why. Maybe because I sing “Baba Nam Kevalam” to my own tunes, tunes that originate from sad Turkish music. Songs that describe the intense longing for the Beloved. It does not have to be that way. It does not have to be sad music. Start humming the first song that comes to your mind with ideation on Love.
Ideation is important but music is the key. Poetry brings us closer to Consciousness but music helps us touch it. Converting mundane into spiritual through music and ideation on Love is not a new idea. This magic has been practiced for thousands of years. It still works.