Follow your inner moonlight;
don't hide the madness.
As a child, I absolutely loved to sing. Before being drugged with a potent dose of pubescent self-consciousness, I was more than happy to serenade anyone, anywhere, with earsplitting melodies of my own creation. When adolescence arrived, however, all of this changed. Terrified of what others might think, I stuffed my voice deep down where no one could hear it. There it sat, gathering dust, until difficult life circumstances summoned it to the surface many years later.
Worn out from a prolonged, mysterious illness, I was exhausted to the core. Not knowing what to do, I learned to play the tamboura, an Indian drone instrument. For hours every evening I strummed the resonant strings and surrendered into sound. As each note rang out in space and broke me open, my grief began to flow. It was as if the rich harmonics reached deep inside my being and exhumed everything I had suppressed and rejected up until that point. Years of self-betrayal, sadness, and shame poured out of my heart, and I had no choice but to feel the pain and let it go. Soon, my tears turned into music and I sang with wild abandon for the first time since childhood. As I freed my voice, I freed so much stuck energy—and my illness began to heal.
Having spent a lot of time in India and studied with different teachers, I was familiar with the devotional practice of kirtan, but I had never explored it on my own. Without a background in music, the whole idea of singing and learning an instrument was intimidating, but I bought a used harmonium and eventually taught myself to play. Little by little, these sonic experiments morphed into music and my debut album, Soma-Bandhu, was born.
These days my passion is spending time with people—sharing stories and singing. I often wonder: Why is it hard for so many of us to genuinely love ourselves? Why do we live in separation, constantly comparing and competing? How can we find the thread of truth in our lives instead of conforming to some "norm" espoused by the media? Who are we, beneath the masks we hold up for the world? These are questions that intrigue me. I'm fascinated by the 'poverty of the heart' that so many of us experience in the modern world and I hope to explore this epidemic through my art and offerings.
Vaclav Havel once said, "The salvation of this human world lies nowhere else than in the human heart." These words reflect my deepest belief that peace begins within. In today's turbulent world we are facing a spiritual disconnection that is both subtle and pervasive. While our intellects may be sharp and strong, our hearts are withering in the harsh glare of our smartphones. Many of us no longer have a sense of belonging in the natural world, and our existence grows more fragmented with each passing day.
It is no mystery that we are at a critical tipping point. The pain of our collective grief, fear, and rage is coming to the surface in the face of environmental destruction, racial inequality, corruption, greed, and so much more. Surely we are missing something as we numb our discontent with an arsenal of techno gadgets. It's as if there is an ambient angst that so many of us feel, exhausted by the fast pace of modern life with its endless distractions and tensions. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed by it and find myself falling into anger and despair. It's at these moments that I call on the wisdom traditions for insight and support.
No matter the path, spiritual teachings point us towards our fullest human potential, even when it seems completely out of reach. Perhaps this is why stories of great saints, sages, artists, and social reformers have endured through millennia: they are beacons of light, reminding us that positive qualities like love, creativity, and generosity are possible. Indeed, these qualities can shift the very structures of our society.
While on the surface meditation, chanting, and prayer can seem self-indulgent and unproductive, in my experience practices like these don't exist in a vacuum—they are the tools that help us see the sacred in everything so that we can take inspired action. The truth is that none of us is powerless. We all have the inner resources, courage, and power to transform this world by transforming ourselves. Inside and outside—mind and world—are one.