I can’t do it anymore. This incessant googling of videos and stories about Newtown, inviting a dose of tears and heartbreak to my every day. It’s as though any pain I feel might somehow ease it a bit for those poor, devastated families. And then we find out scammers are profiting in the wake of this tragedy. And then the NRA does a press conference. While some guy in rural Pennsylvania walks down the street shooting people. And here I am, consuming one news story after another, my face twisting in horror, surely no improvement to the happiness level in this Panera.
As a culture we are drawn inexplicably to the sickness in this world. We are addicted to awfulness, shock and horror. We attempt to find victims and killers on Facebook to get a closer look, we stay glued to the most gruesome news on TV, and we tweet about the delusion of Wayne LaPierre. As a result, we perpetuate bad, feeding twisted consciences and criminal minds.
Why oh why can’t we all be unexplainably, uncontrollable addicted to love instead?
It may not keep anyone glued to the news, but in real life, so many are. Here’s one example, set to the tune of a photo shoot with my bubbly best friend Michelle taken back in March – one that I’m wayyy overdue in posting, and one bursting in uncontrollable love.
Last night, the final night before The Golden Age, I went to one of the most sacred, spiritual, little-known weekly gatherings in New York City: Deeksha, also known as Oneness. Deeksha is essentially is the ritual of giving love to another person. A “divine transmission of energy.” It’s free to attend, and all are welcome.
Truth be told, the idea of Deeksha is beautiful, but crazy-sounding. How it works: A Deeksha giver puts their hands over a Deeksha recipient’s head, and with a silent blessing, literally shoots lightening beams of love though your scalp into your body. Michelle recently got trained to give Deeksha after quite literally falling in love with it. Michelle spontaneously gives Deeksha to friends and homeless people on subways. Last night she was subbing in for Margaret Nichols, the founder of Oneness in the City, who typically leads the session. I had to go see my girl in action, and mannn I needed some good juju.
Note: A giant afro wig is not encouraged for Deeksha.
About twenty-five people of all ages and races gathered in a room at a wellness center on West 20th street, sitting in a circle on chairs, couches, the floor. After a short welcome speech by Michelle, we closed our eyes, and the love-fest began. Everyone in the room who is qualified to give Deeksha (say, seven to eight people) started walking around the circle, placing their hands on people’s heads, and transmitting their divine blessings.
Enlightenment happens, Michelle has told me. People scream. People burst out in hysterical laughter. Some people cry. People are just generally overwhelmed with emotions. All these things Michelle has told me, I was finally witnessing firsthand. As Deeksha giver after Deeksha giver placed their riveting hands gently on my head, I waited patiently to feel something.
Would I well up with tears? Would I match the raucous laughter of those around me? Would I have a breakthrough about humanity or myself? Is there any way they could just massage my head a litlte while they were at it? And then………… the big moment happened: I fell asleep.
The Deeksha, it didn’t work! When I woke up, I was so bummed! I felt relaxed and refreshed, but I did not feel emotionally different. My heart did not skip a beat and I felt no new connection to my surroundings. But then… I started looking around the room.
Every single person had a hazy, happy, peaceful smile on their face. People snuggled with one another on the couch. Strangers exchanged slow, passionate hugs. Long doses of direct eye contact were happening all around me. Souls visibly connected. Hope, non-judgement, self-love, and world-love existed in abundance here. I was surrounded by pure, blissful love. I didn’t need to feel anything new during Deeksha; it was all evident now. I had already felt the love.
The Oneness community believes that we are all born as love, and we are all vessels carrying love that can be shared and given to all. People, animals, flowers… we are the same, and we are all made of love.
I personally don’t know if I subscribe to this system of beliefs exactly, but it’s one hell of a beautiful thing. And I do believe the core of it: That we each have the ability to constantly share our love. We can give the gift of our smile on the street, and the joy of genuine eye contact to a stranger. We can tell our friends and loved ones “I LOVE YOU! Here is why!” as often as possible. We can show them. We can choose to focus our energies on learning from and writing about ceremonies like Deeksha, not googling the unthinkable.
We can take part in love-mobs:
As they said in the video, “We decided to have love’s voice scream louder than hate.”
We must be actively looking to love one another all the time. We MUST.
Get your blessing on at this beautiful Oneness gathering, which takes place every Thursday 7:15 – 8:15 at Infinity Wellness, 27 West 20th Street, Room 306.
Photos by Pierre Stone