Fireworks were already booming from the surrounding neighborhoods as we entered the Portland community chapel last night for our New Year’s Eve ceremony. It was a blessed evening complete with purification ceremony, 108 repetitions of the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra and a deep meditation til midnight. 

I was struck by the simple yet powerful contrast of the fireworks and my inner experience: the big loud outward displays of light vs the more subtle yet still powerful light of meditation. In the auspicious hours just before this new year I realized more fully that all I wish to do is become a clearer, more transparent window for shining light into the world.

As a musician I often have to help people with stage fright. Typically our greatest fears are that the audience will laugh, throw something, or boo us off the stage. Our bodies react as if we are in physical danger, our minds enter the fight or flight mode, and all we can feel is the paralyzing effects of fear. Some will say that fear is healthy and panic is not, but in the context of being a channel for light and inspiration, any amount of fear will begin to shut down our pipeline and leave us high and dry. It takes a great amount of courage live fearlessly, to put ourselves out there again and again in bigger and bigger ways. It would be so much easier just to hide out and stay “safe” and not feel like we are putting ourselves in jeopardy.

I don’t think that anyone reading this will argue that our world is in trouble. The big corporations seem to only be getting bigger, and the darkness of greed is only getting stronger. My quest is to see how close I can get to fearless living, interacting with the world not from the accepted model of greed and insecurity, but  from a place of service and inner joy, and yet still make it in the world.

Being here in a city has definitely called for more outward engagement and it has been quite an interesting process relearning how to engage in urban life without losing my focus of channeling light. Paramhansa Yogananda has said over and over that environment is stronger than will power, but he has also given us this call to arms that I am taking as my motto for the New Year:

Sing songs that none have sung,
Think thoughts that ne’er in brain have rung,
Walk in paths that none have trod,
Weep tears as none have shed for God,
Give peace to all to whom none other gave,
Claim him your own who’s everywhere disclaimed.
Love all with love that none have felt, and brave
The battle of life with strength unchained.

– Paramhansa Yogananda, Songs of the Soul

I will be continuing our Voices of Light Virtual Choir next Wednesday, January 8th, and hope that you can join me in Session 2! If you haven’t had a chance to already, please give a listen to our recordings which have turned out more beautifully than I could have imagined. I hope you can join us as we continue to channel light through music of Divine Inspiration.



  1. Thank you David – this is my favorite chant when I need courage. The year promises to be an extraordinary one. Blessings in all you do – Lorna

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