this



this is a meditation on the connection between mindful compassion and mystical longing and the title comes from a cabbalistic use of the Hebrew word for 'this' that can denote the un-nameable one-ness that surrounds us at each present moment. The texts include an excerpt from The Song of Songs that can be read as a desire for mystical union, a poem by Rumi that is a reflection on compassion and freedom from longing, and the famous six syllable Sanskrit mantra associated with the bodhisattva of compassion. When searching for a way to balance an end for the piece, the om manipadme hum mantra reminded me that the Dalai Llama has said that one way to sum up his religion of kindness and enlightenment was simply to treat everyone he meets as an old friend. This saying in turn reminded me of a a stanza from a poem by H.N. Bialik that beckons a tired friend to repose and peace and I end the piece with a setting of that poem (in part derived from a previous setting by Moshe Vilensky).

When thinking of all these things, I kept thinking of prayer wheels and mantras. For some Tibetans, writing a mantra or prayer on a wheel and then spinning it has the meditative effect as saying that mantra as many times as the wheel spins, and this in turn lead me to think of the spinning religious dances native to the Sufi traditions that Rumi is associated with. That lead me towards using about four different very repetitive drone-like mantras. And around those, different dance rhythms and melodies alternately float above and engage in the mantras as a way to express the seemingly paradoxical coupling between a deep yearning and a compassionate lack of desire, between seeking and peace.

this is dedicated to my daughter, Ruby.


Video Credits:
Performed by Jodie Landau and wild Up
Conducted by Christopher Rountree
©2015 Bedroom Community