Namaste! Greetings to everyone. Amidst this COVID crisis, all these inventions, comfort and progressing society foundations seem too much to me. We have everything. However, we overlooked the basic practices needed for a good and healthy life for a long time now. People turn to Yoga for better body-mind and yet look at it just like another workout routine. Yoga is a 5000-10,000 years old discipline that originated in India. Hip Hop though a new lifestyle depicts similar values as Yoga. All and every lifestyle disciplinary in this world has and will preach the same values. The Gospel of Hip Hop proves the point by showing similarities in spiritual living. And so here we go – Hip Hop Lifestyle and a Yogi’s Way: Part 1.
What is The Gospel Of Hip Hop?
The word Gospel stems from an Old English word “gōdspel” i.e. good news. Since it talks about Jesus, Gospel in common man’s language means “the teaching or revelation of Christ”.
That wise, the Gospel of Hip Hop means the teaching or revelation of Hip Hop. We often say or hear the phrase, “I am Hip Hop”. Shallow analysis of this phrase can only make a person have a superficial frame of mind on life. Fame, money, desires is all that matters. With the realization to understand Peace and Love, one shall successfully find his/her way to their own Hip Hop lifestyle. Hip Hop is spiritual and a HipHoppa is meant to have a spiritual living.
The Gospel of Hip Hop preaches the same. The Third Outstanding – The Divine Performances from The Gospel of Hip Hop by KRS-One is the reference for this and upcoming parts of this blog. These Divine Performances are the practices you need to overcome the shortcomings – in you and outside you. Life is about growth and thus strengthening and evolving yourself by these divine performances will keep you stable and strong.
To succeed in these performances and preserve the Hip Hop lifestyle, remember the following to-do’s:
- Affirmation – Any change comes with a challenge to persist through it. That’s where affirmation comes in. Affirming yourself every single day to stay positive through all the hardships is the kind of self-motivation one needs when no one’s around. Tell or write to yourself before you sleep that you can do what you want to do. Keep watching your back with the Will for Yakka!
- Moderation – Consume moderately; neither less nor more. To have a moderate intake of food as well as thoughts. Okay, let me repeat this one more time. No-stupid-diet-experiments-that-make-your-eyes-pop-out-and-cheeks-go-in. Now, do you understand that young bun? Umm-hmm. Moderate diet leads to a healthy body and mind. We might read this old saying “You are what you eat” OR “You become what you eat”. So let the thoughts, feelings and food that enter your body be moderate and healthy. Resist over-eating. Cleanse your body inside-out. The yogic scriptures like Bhagavad Gita, Hatha Yoga Pradpika, Patanjali Yoga Sutras, etc. have discussed the same concept in details. It is called as Mitahara (Mit means moderate, ahara means diet).
As a result, the body functioning improves as less time is needed for it to digest and clean your system. Thus, your energy is more preserved and channelised. Cleanse your body inside-out and like the Gospel says, “Respect yourself by committing to you Self”. Respect your vessel!
- Forgive – We have often heard people say, “Learn to let go”. However, letting go of something or someone means accepting whatever is present. The only eligibility for acceptance is Forgiveness. Forgive yourself and others. Repent. And you shall get over the inner blockages you hold in your heart about your past and future. Be in the present so you can grow in the present.
- Cleanse – Cleanse your environment. Your environment can be your practice place or your praying altar or anything else you believe in. Where you can overstand. It is just your place, your zone. Inner cleanliness that comes from forgiveness, moderation and affirmation, cleaning on the outside is an absolute prerequisite. Your body and mind together shall help you live your Hip Hop lifestyle. Yoga explains a certain list of observances and self-restraints called the Yamas and Niyamas. The concept of Mitahara or moderate diet also is a part of it. Such ethical rules are to reign control over our senses, desires, body and thus our Mind; and eventually understand the divine performances. Let’s go through them one at a time.
~~THE DIVINE PERFORMANCES~~
If one observes around our actions all throughout the day, then one shall realize that every action we do directly or indirectly, actively or passively, voluntarily or involuntarily all are performance taking place within one’s mind, body and environment. So we can say that each performance is a “per-form-ance” i.e. an action that creates and forms life circumstances forming a Karmic Cycle. Many peeps seem to use the word “Karma” in a trivial way. Apprehending its real essence is essential.
“To perform correctly is to live and act totally aware of your life and aware. The arena is your environment. The stage represents your level of mentality and the audience is the World. The show is an act of one or more divine performances. Therefore, give a good show.”– Page 148, The Gospel Of Hip Hop
Understanding each performance is going to take some time and almost a few chapters of this blog. So today I will talk about the first two performances. So let’s dive in.
1. Perform God
The word GOD animates an image or an idol of a deity in our head. And trust me that imaginative version of God is quite g-oddly GODY. In our country, India, we imagine more than one deities. But more importantly, our ancestors have always worshipped Mother Nature as well. Reminding us to be aligned with nature. More importantly, what I feel is when we worship a certain entity we tend to learn about it naturally. So gradually all questions unfold at their pace.
Say, for example, my Guru (my teacher) asks me to perform Suryanamaskars (Sun Salutations) every morning. I will do it as told by her, but as days pass I’ll observe it’s effects on my body-mind functioning. This makes me more curious about the properties of the Sun, it’s energy and effects on a human body, etc. Then eventually the local and global stories about Sun which I can easily correlate and understand with the foundations I learnt from my Guru and my practice.
This way of learning isn’t rebellious. It doesn’t push you on the extremities such as offence and defence of information. Acceptance and diverse unity seeps into you. Knowledge seeps in you. So for me, the concept of God is similar. Rather than considering God as the supreme destroyer or creator, consider the qualities and values they possess. And you shall transform into one eventually. You just have to find that divinity in you.
“God is your nature. Perform your God in God. Direct your Self, teach your Self, govern your Self, heal your Self, guide your Self and most of all LOVE your Self. Develop the ability to care unconditionally for your Self and others. Act, speak and love like your God would love. God is not a name, it is a nature.”Page 149, The Gospel Of Hip Hop
However, do not force your interpretation of God upon others. That might trigger their mind’s defence mechanism. Do not expect people to see what you see. They shall see it, someday by themself. Such a spiritually aligned living is a real Hip Hop lifestyle. So let us all accept each other and perform God.
2. Perform Listening
Previously I said – “This way of learning isn’t rebellious. It doesn’t push you on the extremities such as offence and defence of information. Acceptance and diverse unity seeps into you. Knowledge seeps in you”. This also means that you are listening. Listening to your divinity, to your Self. Listening to others. Enlarging or strengthening your Self in order to make room for the other speaker and see it from within. The Gospel says, “Perform your listening. Don’t just hear; train yourself to listen”.
Now take some time to understand this and read it once again. I believe every sentence I have read in my past shall be of great use in my future too. In every time, it is understood a bit more. So coming back now.
The art of listening is sweet. The more you listen, the more you relax. Your ear is directed to the right sound. Calmness ascends as you are able to listen to your inner voice. I had such an experience at an Art Of Living meditation camp. I had a lot of time to listen to the silence. The peace in silence. Reminds of how Master Oogway listening to his inner peace. The old master sure learned to troll and chill through his listening. Coolest sensei!
We listen to either our heart or brain to make a decision. But when you listen, both are in unison. You are guided and balanced by both of them. Some decisions or choices might go wrong. But it’s like the situation where even losing means victory. Every choice helps later with your listening. It is your guiding lamp.
Through each stage of growth it is the discipline to listen and comprehend the voice of God that provides the greatest guidance through the obstacles of the streets. Listen for your purpose and listen through your purpose.Page 153, The Gospel Of Hip Hop
To be honest, I was always much of talker than a listener. So impatient. But I changed. I have the courage to change. A lot of my fam says Hip Hop saved us. But in my case even though Hip Hop came to me before Yoga, Yoga saved me. I consider Hip Hop and Yoga to be interdependent and equally yoked in my journey. Hip Hop gave me a reason to thrive harder, but Yoga found me a beautiful way to seek that. I am truly in debt of both of them.
So guys, let your spirit guide be your inner Self, your God. Listen and it shall show you the colors and chords to compose your life. Let this be your Hip Hop lifestyle. And now like always let’s just take a moment to be grateful to all our fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters. Breathe and like the Rastas say – Overstand!
Let this chapter be continued in the next blog. Peace out, my people.