Around the time of my eighteenth birthday i was living in a small hut in a tropical forest in the north of Queensland, Australia. At that time, i had taken it into my head that i needed to 'find myself'. So i had retired to a small patch of forest just outside the country town of Kuranda, intent on leading a life of meditation and contemplation.
My partner had remained in the town of Cairns. We generally only met when i came down from the tableland to do a little shopping and take care of some chores from time to time. However, when my birthday arrived he asked me to come down especially, so we could have a meal together and perhaps meet with a few friends to mark the occasion.
Calvin was always very outgoing and made friends easily, and although we had only moved to Queensland a few months previously, he had already gathered a fairly large circle of friends and acquaintances around himself. I, on the other hand, was much more reticent and besides, my self imposed isolation, at that time, was not very conducive to making new friends.
Therefore, being in a somewhat subdued frame of mind, i was happy to meet with him and a few of his closer acquaintances, but not interested in any sort of large gathering. However things did not quite turn out as i might have envisioned.
When ever Calvin planned anything, he would get caught up in the spirit of it and soon it would take on much larger proportions and when evening rolled in that day, word had got out that there would be a party on the beach and everyone should bring a little something to eat. What ever i lacked for in terms of sociability in my younger years, he more than made up for and when he decided on something, it usually came together in a much grander way than i would have imagined.
That evening a large group of us gathered on the brilliant white sands of Half Moon Beach. It just happened to be a full moon and the whole landscape was transformed into a silvery white world. Evanescent waves, shimmering with moonlight, lapped the shores. It was a gorgeous evening. We all sat around sharing our food, talking and laughing.
There would have been about forty people present, of which i knew only a handful. However the atmosphere was light and relaxed and everyone seemed to be having a good time. After the dinner was over, Calvin decided to give a little speech in honor of my birthday and he cracked a few jokes and had everyone laughing and gathered around. Then he turned and asked me to make a wish, something that could be shared with everyone present. I will never know why, but i suddenly had the inspiration that we should all join hands and chant the sacred letter 'om'.
No one objected, so we all took the hand of whoever was next to us and soon we had linked ourselves into a circle and begun to chant. At first it was quite faltering and forty voices were all at different pitches, some even a bit dissonant, but as the moments passed, there came a natural adjustment and the tone of our combined chanting began to balance itself and become harmonious and more and more powerful.
Then something quite extraordinary and unexpected happened. It was as though our combined forty hearts and voices became completely attuned to one another, as though the people standing there in the circle had become a single, breathing unit. Everybody felt it. As if we were one voice we suddenly stopped singing without anyone having given a sign, and we all stood there enfolded in a most magical blanket of warmth and light. It was something quite tangible...
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