[I had the chance to meet and spend time with Julie at Reunion. Her quiet grace compelled me to go over and get to know her. I discovered that she has spent years as a kirtan singer in yogic traditions. Reunion was her very first exposure to the Sacred Fire Community experience, and I asked her to share it with all of us. Her words have touched me deeply and reminded me, yet again, that our work in the world is not only crucial, but it’s working. —Erin Everett, Editor]
RE-union is the Remedy
By Julie Permut
“It is possible that the next Buddha will not take the form of an individual. The next Buddha may take the form of a community- a community practicing understanding and loving kindness, a community practicing mindful living. This may be the most important thing we can do for the survival of the earth.” —Thich Nhat Hanh
I was invited to REunion by my dear friend Chris. I had heard him speak with great reverence and love about the Sacred Fire Community, and I could feel through him that it was very special. So I followed the inspiration of my heart, and accepted the invitation. I am very glad that I did.
The land was beautiful, soft, and holy. The people were warm, genuine, and embracing. The river was cool and purifying. The food was delicious and nourishing. The music was trance-inducing and intoxicating. The sacred fire…melted my heart. What was not to love? There was a familiar feeling to all of it, a real sense of coming home. I have never been in a place with so many people like me.
One of the most interesting things I witnessed over the weekend was the Grandfather Fire Ceremony. Having spent many years going to ashrams and temples, trained in definitive etiquette and protocol, it was surprising, actually outright exhilarating, to open a high ceremony and invoke a Master Teacher with smoking, dancing, dirty jokes and chocolate. It was the perfect setup to free my mental concepts and ideas about “good” and “bad.” What a relief, for one such as me who is always trying to be “good,” to drop that pretense and just relax. What a healing, to embrace all of myself, even the most “primal” parts. Especially the most “primal” parts.
Grandfather spoke in length about the meaning of deep community. I think. To be honest, I was in and out of several states of consciousness (mostly sleep). But I believe that I heard what I need to hear. My education in deep community really happened experientially that weekend. I gathered that a deep community is one where its members really care about each other and take care of each other, on all levels. Over the course of the weekend, I witnessed the great care and attentiveness of one of the Marakames to Grandfather’s every need, the plea of two mothers to look out for the children, the honest sharing of personal struggles and triumphs during the talent show, the cooperation of the cooks in the kitchen to feed us, the harmony among the musicians, the hard work and dedication of many organizers who put their hands and hearts into action, and the great patience of each person I spoke with to answer my questions and make myself and other “newbies” feel at ease.
What I realized was, in a world that has become so separate and divided, how important it is to take the time to come together to work, to play, to pray, to feed the Gods, the elements, and the ancestors who feed us. How important it is that we back each other up, that we help each other through struggles and hard times, that we come together to celebrate life, laugh, cry and share. It is not enough just to keep oneself and one’s family in balance. In order to restore the balance of all life on earth, we must cultivate our hearts, and then extend beyond ourselves to see what others need, and what the world needs. This is how we break through the walls of separation and become one heart. I think that this is the Spirit of Deep Community, and I was definitely touched by it.
The experience for me was a RE-union with my primal Self. RE-union with my soul family. RE-union with nature. It was very real and profoundly moving. I will RE-turn.