Monday, March 30, 2009

something new to explore


 I went for an evening hike, a short one, yesterday.   The path was familiar that led from a hilltop west of our house at the boundary of the  Coconino national forest.  I followed the path upwards and then over to the edge of a bluff.  From there, I could look down and see a wide wash, dry at this time of year.  I noticed for the first time that a slope of red earth ran upwards from it towards a highway bridge.  I couldn't figure out how one could access this slope and follow it under the bridge to whatever land lay on the other side of the highway.  It looked fairly close and easy to do, but I had often been down in the wash, walking and exploring, and never seen that slope that led under the bridge.  
     I continued walking along the bluff and down to the wash as I have so many times.  Once in the wash, I followed it to a place where a great white sycamore tree stands, and a huge, long smooth log that lays along the ground like a giant serpent, with its one-horned head raised.  It looks for all the world like the water serpent named Bololokong(I love that name!)  of Yavapai legend.  At this junction, the wash bends eastwards, away from the highway, and curves, like a snake, through the land for a longer way than I have ever followed it.  
      As I stood next to Bololokong, I glanced towards the setting sun.  It lit up the tangle of dead wood, leaves, and branches nearby in a magical way, and I quickly snapped a picture, stepping away a bit to get a good angle.  A moment later, the sun went behind the bluff overlooking the wash.  I glanced to my right, stepped a few steps further in that direction for some reason, and lo and behold!  I saw that the wash also curved and went south towards the highway.  Aha! That was the way to that red slope I had seen from high up on the bluff.   I took a picture of the highway bridge to which the wash led, barely visible through the trees.  
      It was too late to explore this new direction of the wash, but now I knew where to go. I'll let you know what happens when I go exploring.

     As I reflect on this experience, I think of the many times in my life when I have wondered how to get somewhere, and have thought I had explored all my options, only to discover there was another one I hadn't even seen before.  Often enough, this new option appears unexpectedly, at a moment when I am in the moment, more than usually awake and aware.  Have you ever had that experience?   It makes me realize that we usually have more untried paths and options than we imagine we do, and if we are aware,  they will present themselves to us.  I like to think that's one of the jobs of our "guardian/guiding angel"--to help us see new possibilities in unlikely ways and places.  

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Dance of Love

Today John and I celebrated our 47th anniversary!  Yes, we were very young when we got married.  And I like to think we are both still young at heart,  willing to try new things, explore, and most certainly enjoy the harvest years of "the Golden Age,"  which is what a card we got recently is called.  It lets us in , free!, to national parks all over the country, and gives us half off lots of state parks as well.   We have already made good use of it. Age does have its perks!

The round picture is a painting by a friend, Kuwica, which she did for us, depicting her intuition of us, after she stayed with us a few days.  I think its a beautiful and sensitive rendering of the dance of love between us, and, as an archetype, of the balance and inter-relationship of the masculine and feminine which is so important in our earthly life.  In this ideal dance and balance, both masculine and feminine lead and follow, weaving in and out of each other's lives, living in a way that combines oneness and difference.   

When a couple has danced together as long as we have,  there have been times when toes have been stepped on, and the dance has gotten difficult.  But there are many more times when the dance takes on its own life, and we are caught up in a Music and Love far greater than our own.
The dance becomes sheer joy, and "the dance goes on..."   

The other picture is of us sitting together in the sun during a walk at Cathedral Rock.  I think it captures the warmth and closeness of many shared experiences, and the relaxing into a life of more togetherness as we enjoy many glorious days and nights in this magical place called Sedona where we have been blessed to live as we enter our "retirement" years.   This is the time when we can enjoy the harvest of all the earlier years of hard work, raising a family, and the inevitable stresses of two demanding careers.   We are grateful we have the health and good spirits to be able to enjoy this stage of life together. I think of it as "holy leisure!"

In Hindu wisdom, life has stages which it is wise to honor.  The first stage is that of student.
The second is that of householder, when one takes one's place in society, and through work and family makes a contribution.  The third is when one retires from these responsibilities , and becomes a "forest dweller,"  preparing for the Great Transition to the life beyond this one, focusing one's attention on spiritual living, and being available to offer hospitality, wisdom, and love to those who are in the earlier stages of life.   I like to think of us now as "forest dwellers."
It just so happens that both here and in our cottage on Lake Michigan, we dwell in a forest.  They are very different kinds of forest, but in both places, the presence of large trees surrounding us remind us of long lives, well lived, in good company.   That's about as good as it gets! 


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Camel of Love: Judaism

Today is the Sabbath again....a day to rest, to be refreshed by allowing thoughts of God to flow through the mind, through the day, through all of life. 

Today's short saying from the devotional Hasidic tradition of Eastern Europe gave me another perspective on what happens when I go walking out on the land.   Of course, the same is true for you. 

When I was little, our family, which lived in Pakistan at the time, had a tradition of always going for a walk together along the canals of Lahore on Sunday afternoon.   When we were vacationing up in the mountains, we would walk a lovely mountain path in a leisurely way, stopping to use all our sense to see the beauty,  smell the fragrance of the flowers and pines, hear the singing of birds, and always, enjoy a picnic as far from any sign of civilization as possible.  I am grateful for the gift of this family tradition, and want to keep it alive.

May you enjoy the kind of walk described in this Hasidic saying sometime soon as a way of Keeping Sabbath in your own life.

"When you walk across the fields with your mind pure and holy,  
then from all the stones
and all growing things
and all animals
come the sparks of their souls, which come and cling to you,
and then they become a holy fire in you."
(from Earth Prayers)  

Starting this coming week, beginning tomorrow, March 29, I will be doing "Camel of Love" blogs just once a week,  focusing on one of the great religious traditions each week.  Doing two blogs almost daily has become a bit intense!  (probably for you who read my blogs too!)
So, The Camel of Love will come bearing treasures, probably on Mondays, (if the caravan does well) and we will enjoy an oasis of contemplation of wisdom from the world's Wisdom Traditions weekly.  I hope you continue to join me.   I will be continuing my daily blogs with musings on various things that inspire me, as usual.  Its good to be sharing all this with you.
Thank you for "listening."      with much love and many blessings to all of you.......

Friday, March 27, 2009

Camel of Love: Islam

Today is Friday, the day when Muslims the world over go to their local mosque to pray together, as Christians go to church on Sundays.
The readings today are poem-prayers by Rumi, the Sufi Muslim poet who has for centuries delighted and opened the hearts of people all over the world, of all faiths.  Savor these words with me:

"Rise up nimbly and go on your strange journey
to the ocean of meanings.
The stream knows it can't stay on the mountain.
Leave and don't look away from the sun as you go,
in whose light you're sometimes crescent, sometimes full."

Some nights, stay up till dawn, as the moon sometimes does for the sun.
Be a full bucket pulled up the dark way of a well, then lifted into the light.
Stars burn clear all night.
Do that yourself, and a spring will rise in the dark
with water your deepest thirst is for.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

somebody has to do it!

I am so blessed!  I have this splendid place to live, good health, and wonderful trails to hike. Hey, its a tough life, but somebody has to do it!   Kidding aside, I have decided that since I have the joy of being able to go on numerous fabulous hikes, I will henceforth dedicate every hike to someone I love, who can't be here to do it with me.
So, to you who read this blog---if you would like to have a hike dedicated to you, email me ( and let me know!   What does it mean to have a hike dedicated to you?
It means that I let you know before I go on the hike that I am doing one for you. And while I hike, I will think of and pray for you, and take a few pictures just for you, which I will send to you attached to an email, if I have your email address.   If you are not sure I do, just send it to me.  And if I don't write anything about a certain hike in my blog,  I will surely tell you about it, when it is dedicated to you.   I always take my flute along, so if there is a song you would like me to pray for you while I am out hiking, I'd be happy to do that too.
      The pictures of our hike yesterday in the West Fork Lost Canyon area was truly magical, as if we were in an enchanted forest.  Huge stone cliffs flanked the path, looking like songs in stone. There were many budding deciduous trees as well as huge old growth red pines and Arizona cypress as well as other evergreens.  Wildflowers bloomed everywhere.  Faces appeared in rainbow colored rocks.  Tall rock formations looked like ancient guardians of the forest.  Oak Creek flowed over countless little waterfalls as it tumbled through the rocky terrain.  Big smooth ledges of red rock afforded perfect places to stop and soak in the amazing beauty around us, soak in some sun, and listen to the symphony of birdsong.  
      This hike was dedicated to dear friends who make up what we call our Dream Group.
So now there is a new meaning to the term "dedicated hiker!"   That is my intention.

Camel of Love: Buddhism

This photo is from a place called "Buddha Beach", so it seems fitting to accompany today's wonderful classic "Discourse on Good Will", The Sutra Nipata, from Buddhist Scriptures.  This is another one of those Scriptures, which, if actually lived by most people, would create a wonderful, peaceful world.
It is worth committing to memory and practicing every day.

May all beings be filled with joy and peace.
May all beings everywhere,
The strong and the weak, the great and the small,
The weak and the powerful, the short and the long, the subtle and the gross:
May all beings everywhere,
The seen and unseen, dwelling far off or nearby,
Being or waiting to become:
May all be filled with lasting joy.

Let no one deceive another,
Let no one anywhere despise another,
Let no one out of anger or resentment
Wish suffering on anyone at all.

Just as a mother with her own life
protects her child, her only child, from harm,
So within yourself let grow a boundless love for all creatures.
Let your love fow outward through the universe,
to its height, its depth, its broad extent,
A limitless love, without hatred or enmity.

Then as you stand or walk, sit or lie down, as long as you are awake,
Strive for this with a one-pointed mind;
Your life will bring heaven to earth.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Camel of Love: Taoism

Today I honor the wisdom of Taoism.  
I prepare to write this blog as I sit on my meditation sofa overlooking the valley and red rock mountains and listen to music from China.  Music is, for me, the best entry into the soul of another culture and religion.  
Having soaked in the music awhile, I turn to two collections of interfaith prayers and passages:
Earth Prayers, edited by Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon, and God Makes the Rivers to Flow by Eknath Easwaren.
The first selection today is by Li Po: 

You ask why I perch
on a jade green mountain?
I laugh, but say nothing
my heart free
like a peace blossom
in the flowing stream going by,
in the depths  in another world
not among men.

The second selection is by Lao Tzu, founder of Taoism, author of the Tao Te Ching, according to tradition.

The best, like water, benefit all, and do not compete.
They dwell in lowly spots that everyone else may scorn.
Putting others before themselves,
They find themselves in the foremost place,
And come very near to the Tao.
In their dwelling, they love the earth.
In their heart, they love what is deep.
In personal relationships, they love kindness.
In their words they love truth.
In the world, they love peace.
In personal affairs, they love what is right.
In action, they love choosing the right time.
It is because they do not compete with others
That they are beyond the reproach of the world.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

"In action, they love choosing the right time."

That phrase is one that resonates deeply with me.
One can do the right thing, but if the time is not right, or better, ripe, it can turn out not to have been a wise thing to do, at least at that time.   Timing is so important in making choices,
responding to situations, starting something new, letting go of something old, etc. etc.
Taoist teachers tell us that ease and flow are marks that the time is right for something.
If there is a sense of force, of having to "make it happen,"  it could be the timing is off.
If a decision needs to be made, and there is still a lot of doubt, confusion, or lack of peace,
it could be one simply needs to wait until things ripen more,  and become clear.
Waiting is hard for many of us, given our culture of instant gratification, but there is much to recommend it.  And at least in our imaginations, we can sit with Li Po on that jade green mountain and watch peach blossoms float by on the river while we are waiting.  

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

hiking heaven

     Yesterday my good friend, Sharon Miller, went hiking with me in Long Canyon with Leo, the dog.  We made a day of it, starting out around ten thirty am and finishing around 4 pm.
Sharon and I grew up in India ,  and we both love hiking and mountains.  Sharon is visiting for a week and lives in Manhattan, so this is a rare treat for her.  There are many, many wonderful hiking trails here, and people come from all over the world to hike them in the exalting red rock country around here.   A lot of them were on the trail with us.  It was a bit busier than I like it.
But everyone was obviously hugely enjoying the beauty of the trail, as we were.  
     As we hiked, I felt reconnected to my childhood in India, when I was in boarding school at Woodstock school up in the Himalaya mountains.   On weekends, we were allowed to sign out all day Saturday with a buddy, and go hiking in the mountains.  There was a song we sang about that with a couple lines that go like this: "With a pack on my back, there is nothing I lack, with a friend who's true.  Let me hit the winding trail and go hiking along with you."
      That song still resonates for me.  There is something about hiking, being out in nature, moving along a trail that winds and has another vista around every curve that is entrancing to me.  I find that having my little camera along also keeps me more alert and aware of the beauty of the things along the trail....the bark of a tree,  a butterfly on the path,  the twisting beauty of manzanita bushes.  I fill my lungs with the clean, fresh, pine scented air, and stop here and there to play my flute.  Sharing the beauty of the trail with a friend doubles the pleasure as we see things from different viewpoints.  Some famous person once said "There is nothing that is as good a cure for what ails you as a good long walk."   It truly is great medicine for soul and body.  May you know the joy of a long walk in a beautiful place before too long.

Camel of Love: Hinduism

Today's  reading is a poem by Kabir, a fifteenth century mystical poet and saint honored by both Hindus and Muslims. He spent his life in a tiny shop on one of the winding alleyways of Varanasi, north India, as a weaver.  Legends say that at Kabir's death, Hindus came to carry his body to the cremation ground and Muslims came to bury him.  Yet, when the cloth covering the body was lifted, all that could be seen was a heap of flowers, a fitting fulfillment of his poetry.
Here is one of his poems.  Its is worth learning by heart!


I am a citizen of that realm where God reigns in fullness of Glory.
There, neither pain nor pleasure cast their shadows, for the sun of joy never sets.

I am a citizen of that realm where every day is a day of celebration.
The river of Love overflows its banks, and the lotus blooms in the devotee's heart.

I am a citizen of that realm where God shines as the Source of Light,
and lights the lamp of wisdom in my soul to burn without oil, without wick.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Kabir's realm sounds like what Jesus calls The Kingdom of Heaven, which he says is within and among us.  I want to not only be a citizen of that heavenly realm, or state of consciousness, but dwell there daily.  Maybe you do to.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Camel of Love: Native American Wisdom

Today's beautiful words from the Native American tradition are taken from the book "Earth Prayers" which I highly recommend.

The beauty of the trees, the softness of the air,
the fragrance of the grasses , they speak to me.

The summit of the mountain, the thunder of the sky,
the rhythm of the sea, they speak to me.

The faintness of the stars, the freshness of the morning,
the dewdrop on the flower, they speak to me.

The strength of fire, the taste of salmon,
the trail of the sun, and the life that never goes away,
they speak to me.

And my heart soars.

Will you join me today in listening to the Beauty of the earth speak to you?
The Book of Nature is the primary Revelation of God.  
What is it revealing to you today?  Take a few moments and ponder the question.
Let yourself feel your deep connection to this creation in which we live and move and have our being.   

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Camel of Love:JudeoChristian and Yavapai Creation Stories

Today's blog will combine my daily "musings" and my daily Camel of Love Interfaith blog.
Those of you familiar with the earliest stories in the Bible will remember the story of creation and the flood.  (If not,you might want to review them in the early chapters of Genesis so you will "get" what I am talking about in this blog.)

The Bible tells us that early on in human history, there was a great flood, in which everyone perished except a man named Noah and his family, who were saved in a wooden boat/Ark which finally landed on a mountain top.  Noah set out a raven, then a dove, and when the dove returned with a leaf in its mouth, he knew he and his family and the animals he had saved in the Ark could get out and begin creating a new life in the new world emerging from the old one.

The Yavapai, a tribe of Native Americans who have lived in this area for centuries, have  a story with interesting parallels as well as differences.  They tell of three world previous to this one, which were destroyed by ice, by fire, and lastly by flood.  One woman was spared from the flood. Her people put her in a big log(which they sealed with pitch) along with some food, seeds, and a dove, and told her to stay in it until she felt it stop floating and come to rest.  Then she could get out.    
A great flood drowned all people, but the woman, named Komidapukwia (GrandMother White Stone) survived.  When the log she was in finally grounded on the top of the tallest peak in this area of Sedona (some say it was Thunder Mountain, which I can see from our house to the east) she sent out the dove. When it returned with a bit of greenery in its mouth , she knew she could get out and live.  She planted the seeds and created a new world.    Since she was the only person alive, she couldn't conceive in the usual way.  So she went up on Mingus mountain (not far from here) and allowed the sun's first rays at dawn to enter into her.  Then she went to a cave and allowed water to also drip into her birth canal.  Thus, she became pregnant (an interesting version of a virgin birth!) and had a daughter.  When her daughter came of age, she did the same thing and had a son.   Unfortunately, when the son was just a baby, its mother was killed by a huge eagle.  So GrandMother White Stone had to raise her grandson alone.   She taught him all about medicine plants and the laws of life.  They created by singing songs around the land, rather like Aslan in C.S. Lewis's book "The Magician's Nephew" in the Chronicles of Narnia.  
     Now here's an interesting thing.  I have been studying these Yavapai stories as part of my getting to know and understand where I live better.  This story was certainly in my mind when I went out for my sunrise walk a few days ago, and as I descended into a wash not far from here (a dry riverbed) I looked up at the stone wall opposite me and saw the images in the rock which are portrayed in the pictures above.   Now I know the story was affecting my imagination, but I do think the figure of an old woman's head and outstretched arms are discernible, don't you? And the dove in her hand on the right side of the picture is pretty clear, wouldn't you say?
I also found I could perch in a ledge below her head as if it were her lap.  So I did.  I sat in First Woman's lap (Great Grandmother White Stone) and played my flute and wondered what it would be like to be the first and only person in a new world.   
      Then I pondered the poetic/metaphoric meaning of the story, and realized that every morning at sunrise,  I am given a new world, a new day, and the Dove of the Spirit to help me, and I get to create my day, and my life, with thoughts and songs of gratitude and gladness.  I can imagine what would make a wonderful day, and life, and with the Creator Spirit working through me, create, as Mother Theresa said, "something beautiful for God."   And so can you!  

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Unexpected

     When we took some visiting friends to Red Rock Crossing, near Cathedral Rock, we walked a trail to a place called Buddha Beach, which has lot of little stone pillars which I call "Prayer Pillars." I have included some pictures of them in former blogs.  This picture is a closeup of a little stone pillar right in the "V" of a tree---something unexpected which our friend photographer Gary Jones captured on film.  Most people would have just walked right by it and never even seen it.  
     Since being out here, I have gone out hiking a lot, and occasionally gone back to a place I had already been.  I could not believe how much I missed the first time!   It made me realize how much every one of us filters out of what we sense each day.   There are so many sights and sounds and smells we just miss, especially if we are in a hurry.  It takes a special kind of alertness and mindfulness to fully experience life each day.  
      Of course, there is such a thing as sensory overload too.  And our society does that number on us a lot!  It is wearing on the psyche, and is another reason why our souls need times of silence and limited sensory input.  Although the overload of sirens, traffic, horns, blaring music, loud talking, airplanes, lawnmowers, motorbikes, etc. are obvious sources of overload, even nature can sometimes be too much.   Some people I know of have moved away from living on Lake Michigan because the sound of the waves got to be too much for them.  Just now, my friend Sharon, who is visiting us for a week,  came in from lounging on the deck chair outside because, she said, it was "a bit much."  The wind is blowing hard through the pines, sounding like ocean waves roaring.  The birds in the trees and at the feeders are all chirping at once. The quails are running here and there, calling out in a way that almost sounds like a cat meowing.
There is a lot going on out there!
       So once again, its about balance--a balance of sensory input, and silence; of making haste and slowing down; of screening stuff out, and being really alert to take in what we might otherwise miss.  Would you say you're in balance?  Like those little rocks balanced just-so in the V of the tree?  

Camel of Love: Judaism

     Today is the Sabbath.  From the Jews, we get this great gift of a day in seven to rest, and to focus on God and soul and the spiritual dimension of life.  Sabbath time is what anchors us in Reality, so that we are not overcome and swept away by the "reality"  of this world and its echoes in our thoughts which disturb and distress us.   When we regularly choose to accept this gift of Sabbath,  we are relieved from work and worry.   We build a temple in time.  We focus on all that is good and true and beautiful, and we find a peace that passes understanding.  

Here are words to help us do this by Solomon Ibn Gabirol, a Jewish philosopher, poet, and mystic of the 11th century who lived in Spain.  He wrote hundreds of poems in Biblical Hebrew, which have become an important part of the Jewish tradition. 
 (I have taken the liberty to make his language inclusive in English)


Bow down before God, my precious thinking soul,
and make haste to worship God with reverence.

Night and day think only of the everlasting world.
Why should you chase after vanity and emptiness?

As long as you live, you are akin to the living God, Who is invisible, just as you are.
Since your Creator is pure and flawless,
know that you too are pure and perfect.

The Mighty One upholds the heavens
as you uphold the mute body.

My soul, let your songs come before your Rock
who does not lay your form in the dust.

My innermost heart, bless your Rock always,
Whose Name is praised by everything that has breath.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Flow of Time


 I chose these pictures because to me they depict my experience of that mysterious thing we call Time.  Sometimes it seems like a rushing stream carrying us along willy-nilly with the flotsam and jetsam of our lives.  The days rush by and we say at the end of a day, a week, a month, a year--"Where did the Time go?"   And then there are those quiet times, when time seems to stop, and there is just--well, being.    I find that when I am out in nature, whether walking or just sitting quietly by a stream or under a tree, time stands still.   Or when I am painting or writing or creating in some other way,  I lose track of time.  I have no sense of it carrying me.  Rather, I feel that I am still, and it is just there, like a calm pond reflecting sunlight.  
       I read that based on Einstein's theory of relativity,  one can say that time is relative too.
I find that to be true for me.  When I am enjoying whatever is going on,  how quickly a much enjoyed and anticipated experience  becomes just a memory.  When I am in pain of some kind, or can't sleep at night, or in a situation I dislike,  time just drags.  
      How obsessed with time we often are.  Most of us wear watches and keep track of time all day long.  Our lives are governed by time chopped up into fragments of minutes and hours.
Why have we humans invented this kind of time?   If I were to ask Leo the dog "What time is it?" or "What day is it?"  he would just look at me with those big golden brown eyes, mystified.  How easily we forget that clock and calendar time is a human construct!  Sometimes I yearn for a life in which time flows according to the seasons, and the simple rhythm of day and night.  To do that, I would have to give up making dates and appointments and scheduling things I want to do, fairly often based on when other folks decided they were happening.   I guess I am not quite ready to do that yet, but occasionally,  especially when I read the stories of how ancient peoples lived, I think I'd like to try it out for awhile.   Maybe!  
     I might be able to get a taste of it by meditating as if I were a rock in the stream or pond, and thinking of Time as the water flowing around and past me.  But I am rooted in the Eternal Now. No past. No present.  Just this moment.  I think I'll go try it right now for--well--I have no idea how long, because I won't be paying any attention to what time it is!   

Camel of Love: Islam



Everything you see has its roots  in the Unseen world.
The forms may change, yet the essence remains the same.

Every wondrous sight will vanish,  every sweet word will fade.
But do not be disheartened.
The Source they come from is eternal---
Growing, branching out, giving new life and new joy.

Why do you weep?--
That Source is within you,
And this whole world is springing up from it.

The Source is full,
Its waters are ever-flowing;
Do not grieve, drink your fill!
Don't think it will ever run dry.
This is the endless ocean!

(Poem by Rumi, from "Timeless Wisdom"  by Eknath Easwaran)

What more can I say.
The wonder of this Truth is simply beyond words.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Power of Singing

     This morning I took a sunrise walk out in the Coconino wilderness, as usual.  I was excited to discover a way to get close to a beautiful red rock formation about a 45 minutes walk from our house.   I call it "The Singers" because I can see the profile of a face on each side of the rock, and they look like they are singing.   I like to think of them as singing the sun up at dawn, which is when I took these pictures.  Maybe, like me, they sing the Zuni sunrise song.  I know many Native American tribes believed that it was vital to be out in nature at sunrise to pray and praise, and that such spiritual action contributed to the flourishing of creation.   I tend to agree with them.
     The Yavapai people  (the name means "people of the sun") have a creation legend which tells of how the First Woman, Grandmother White Stone, and First Man, her grandson, sang songs to the beautiful sky to bring down the rainbows and rain, and help create a new world.  They instructed their descendents to sing songs as they walked the land, and they would truly live.  
      This reminds me of C.S. Lewis's Narnia books.  In "The Magician's Nephew", Aslan, the Christ figure, is pictured as singing all creation into existence.  I loved this idea and how it is described.  Scientists tell us that the universe is "a symphony of vibrating strings."  A writer whose name I don't remember called the Universe "One Song."   And I love to think of each of us as a song of God, which goes on and on forever, inseparable from the Singer.  
     Singing is an absolutely essential spiritual practice in all the world religions and traditions I know of.  People who study such things say that when we hum and sing, the vibration greatly increases our well being in subtle but real ways.  And it matters not at all if we have a nice voice or can carry a tune.  The thing is to sing.  (think of it as sort of like a cat purring!)
     In the past, I have tended to stick pretty much to singing and humming familiar songs, made up by others.   But lately, out here, I have been inspired by the example of Native Americans to just make up my own as I go along, and its great fun.  I like to think you will be inspired by these pictures and words to make up your own songs/chants too, or at least whistle or hum something that makes your heart sing.  
Let's all just hum along with the One Song and Singer!