Singing and dancing at Kunsangar. Photo by Daniyal Ibragimov
At the end of the June 2014 retreat at Merigar East in Romania, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu gave some words of advice to those who were present.
Those who are leaving and those who are remaining here should try to remember what we do every day everywhere – at Dzamling Gar, at Merigar East, at Merigar West, everywhere. It is becoming a daily practice. Daily practice is not only chanting mantras and doing visualizations. We are not yogis. We are living in normal society. But if we follow Dzogchen teaching that means we know how to practice Dzogchen and the most important point in Dzogchen practice is being present. Dancing is this.
Another very important point is relaxing. When we think about our job, about this or that, when we are always judging, then we are not relaxed. When we dance and sing, we are not doing these things, we are only singing and dancing. And afterwards we can notice that our mind is relaxed. This is very important for our lives. So dancing and singing is a kind of practice, a really important practice in daily life.
When people know that we do this, our practice, in this place, slowly, just like in Tenerife, in the end everyone will know that in the Dzogchen community every day we dance at 5 o’clock, even though at the beginning most people didn’t know.
Some people are curious and come. They can participate too – there is no secret about it. It’s very nice to participate. It is also very important that we work with local people because the situation is not so easy. Local people are curious and think: “Who are they? What are they doing?” But even though it is not so easy, gradually, with our awareness, we [show them that we] are dancing, doing something like ‘normal’ people, not ‘strange’ people. And gradually they understand and discover that it is also something useful for them, not only for us. It’s very important for everybody to relax, whether they are local people, local government. If they are relaxed and know a little how to go beyond too many limitations, it really brings benefit for the country. So this is what we should do.
So try to remember: “What do we do at 5 o’clock? We sing and dance.” If sometimes you don’t have much time and feel that you can’t dedicate three hours to it because you have so many things to do, that is okay. You can dedicate less time, but it is better that you participate. I really hope very much that people can do this everywhere. I would also like to tell people at Merigar West, in Tenerife, everywhere, to try to remember the time – 5 o’clock.
For example I have many very important things to do, and I’m always working on the computer at home. But at 5 o’clock I’m ready to go and sing with people. Why? Because I know it is something very important for me and for others. So you should remember that, not thinking that because your teacher has gone away that you are freer. You are always free, but it is better that you are free in the right way. Even if the retreat has finished you shouldn’t consider that we are finished.
It is very good if some of you who are leaving have this book [“Tibetan Songs of Today-Message from Tibet”] and when you have a computer, you can listen to the songs and dedicate some time to singing and dancing. In particular remember 5 o’clock. This is our time to sing and dance. It is more of an international time. I’m going to go ahead like that everywhere continuously. The time may be a little different, but if I’m in the United States when it is 5 o’clock there you should sometimes remember: “They are singing now”. Then you can sing. Our activities must be a little more alive, doing things in this way.
Merigar East, Romania, June 10, 2014
Edited by L. Granger