So, when we go to festivals we do this thing called “Wisdom Bananas.” It started back at Resonance 2015 in Legend Valley, Ohio along the brightly lit and bustling walkway atop the hill overlooking the stages. It was a hit and only grew from there. What we do, is we set up large boxes of bananas at our camp in front of a big board adorned with various colored markers that says “Take a Banana, Leave Wisdom.” We are trading food for food-for-thought. On one side, bananas are great festival food, proper sustenance, just the right amount, and they come in their own natural carrying case so they don’t get dirty. On the other side, it’s really illuminating to compare and contrast the wisdom from different festivals, as new settings with changing musical acts always end up attracting varying kinds of people, with fresh stories and completely original wisdom. Every festival and each interaction brings some fresh wisdom for us all to munch on. Our inspiriation was the great Indian saint and Ram Dass’ guru, Neem Karoli Baba. Maharaji, as he was affectionately known, said, “Serve People, Feed People.” When people are hungry in their stomachs, you feed them food. When people are spiritually hungry, you feed them wisdom and love. When devotees were sitting around having darshan of Maharaji, they would be receiving these internal downloads of innate loving wisdom, and then out of nowhere he would whip a banana at them as prasad, to surprisingly and hilariously bring them back to the present moment of the physical plane, all while giving them his blessings in the form of consecrated food. This kind of playful compassion and the kind of space that the essence of Maharaji imbibes, fits perfectly into what music festivals represent to me.
Wisdom Banana board and Maharaji totem from Resonance 2016 To have the opportunity at these events to create a sacred space that draws people in and cultivates this kind of spirit is such a joy, so this time around at Rootwire 2018 we brought our little puja set with Ram Dass’ ‘hippie bible,’ “Be Here Now,” a tiny Hanuman murti, a pocket sized photo of Maharaji gifted to us from a friend who received it from the most recent Ram Dass retreat, fragrant incense, palo santo, and some sage. We were able to use these to create a small, humble altar alongside the Wisdom Board at our campsite, which generated a soft spiritual space within the festival campgrounds. As more people were drawn in to check out Wisdom Bananas, take prasad and leave wisdom, we met a budding contingency of beautiful souls to hold space with, chant mantras, and share insights on life and spirituality. As our young satsang grew, more and more people added to the growing altar, with crystals, Alex Grey books, Tibetan singing bowls, chimes, and radiant artwork, truly making it a communal, shared sacred space. All weekend we would bop back and forth between the festival grounds and our camp to hang out, sing mantras with friends, overlay maps of wisdom, share food, laugh and love. I never wanted to be one of those kids at festivals who gets too far-out and ends up spending most of their time at camp. This time around; though, that kind of happened with us, but we weren’t too far-out, we were just totally blissed out, bhakti style. As I’ve outlined in previous posts, bhakti yoga is the yoga of love and devotion. When we sit around sharing in a space of love with each other, singing these mantras which are the vibrational frequencies of unity, love, and compassion, we truly are merging with each other and merging with the present moment. This is why bhakti is so potent and so joyously blissful, and also why it can be shared so directly with such ease.
Nightime puja vibes with an illuminated Hanuman shadow
I really cannot express in words the amount of gratitude I feel towards the individuals that came together with us over the weekend at Rootwire to share in puja, song, prasad, stories, chanting, laughter, bananas, and wisdom. It truly felt auspicious, as if we were all supposed to meet and share space with each other, as if our souls magnetically drew us in, knowing we had all done this dance before. Sharing in this vibration is one of my fondest memories. Thank you to the beautiful souls we met over the weekend. I know we will stay in touch and cross paths again, but Rootwire 2018 will remain a very special, path-affirming memory. Thank you to all my new friends, who I now consider family, for being present and for feeding our souls. Below is the transcribed wisdom that we accrued on our Wisdom Bananas board at Rootwire Transformational Arts Festival 2018: Wisdom Bananas: Rootwire 2018 “’Sab Ek,’ ‘All One’ – Neem Karoli Baba “Maharaji” “In the heart of the abyss lies infinite possibilities Kiss” “Love Everyone Serve Everyone Feed Everyone” “This too shall pass” “To see all people in one is to see the face of God” “Want a teacher? Try a waterfall” “Shine your light in the darkest of times”
“Find love for yourself every day! Unlock your highest potential!!” “Suffering is resistance to what is.” “Om Mani Padme Hum” “Suffering is the root of all change. If you were in all ways perfectly comfortable, why would you move?” “The cosmic struggle of our “ethos” is a tug of war against our predisposition towards collective community in the shape of pantheistic intentions of togetherness” “Preach the gospel and when necessary use words” “Compassion starts w/ the self” “Intend Manifest Create” “Seek and you will FIND” “Your life is yours to create” “The hardest falls are our greatest teachers” “If every(thing) went right there would be no fire to purify us”
“The only thing between you and Be-ing is thought” “When you hit a bad note you’re only half a stelp away from a good note! - Max reaven the Pupils of Groove” “Think Globally Act Locally The world will change through decades of daily change.” “H ustle I s M andatory “ “We are not consumers, We are Creators! Breath takers Energy makers” “Not what we have, but what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance -Epicurus” "Apple" “It’s ok to not be ok! It’s ok to ask for help!” ---- Hari OM Keep it Bhakti, Stay Sloppy, James