A Universe Aware

“What’s meant to fail will fail / What’s meant to soar will soar” —Nimo

Sitting cross-legged on a smooth stone floor, socks and shoes shed, the words of Nimo’s seed-planting song overpowered the ubiquitous hum of scattered fans. A majestic orchestra flowed out of his cylindrical speaker, thrusting us all into a space of effortless beauty. As the last vibrations dissipated, I felt the space directly below my heart, ticked away behind my sternum (?) more acutely. It felt full and warm and if I had felt the way I do now (read: aggressively comfortable) with the people surrounding me, I’m sure I would have sacrificed a tear or two to gravity. This loving reaction, however, was in stark contrast to my sentiments before the music filled the room.

The first time Nimo invited us to sing along with him and showed us the hand motions and lyrics, I was skeptical – I felt like a child again, and not in a good way. I believed I was too good for singing rhyming refrains and performing accompanying motions. I thought the message was too simple, and that it would encourage stagnation – after all, if you believe that all actions are predetermined, there’s no real reason to do much of anything. Perhaps Nimo sensed my discomfort, because he thoroughly explained his reasoning behind the words of the song. All you can do it plant a seed. If it grows, it grows, and if it dies, it dies. But it’s more than that – what happens to the seed correlates with how you plant it. Maybe, if you plant seeds with a spirit of acceptance, the universe will contort itself to ensure their growth. To roughly paraphrase Nimo: If you do something with pure intentions, the universe will notice. Of course, it is important not to expect that each time you do something “pure” something good will happen. That, in itself, shows a lack of pure intention. But maybe, if you let go – if you surrender yourself to being, to feeling – there will be a response of some sort.

This idea sounds beautiful while it is just that – an abstract idea. In practice, there are some obvious logical flaws. Or are there? Sure, there aren’t any laws of physics that underscore this point, but if you think about how connected we all are, if you consider the energy flowing between us and around us, maybe this idea is entirely plausible.

On Thursday morning, Maddie, Shyan, Ms. Staff, and I got to hang out with a bunch of preschoolers in an anganwadi sponsored by Setco. Once we reached the brightly-colored, minimalist classroom we would be residing in for the next few hours, we immediately began to perform our “set-list” of songs, cheers, and dance. “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes,” “If You’re Happy and You Know It,” and a Gujrati song about a saint with extensive facial hair echoed throughout the classroom. My shirt stuck to my back, my cheeks began to hurt from smiling so much, but in that moment, I understood what Nimo meant by pure intention. I left behind any thoughts of the past, or the future. I didn’t dawdle on understanding what others were thinking of me. I was simply singing. I wasn’t expecting the children to follow along or to even enjoy our presence. But I wanted to try to make them smile. Unfortunately, our bravado and intensity scared most of them (at least three children were crying) but the pure intention behind our actions was recognized and transformed. As the four of us dispersed throughout the circle and began to interact with the preschoolers more intimately, I soon became paralyzed with uncertainty and a seemingly infinite language barrier. But then, the universe stepped in with a box of crayons and a few sheets of paper. Soon, all of the children surrounding me were coloring in a massive flower I had drawn. The connections were forming! After all of the paper had been sufficiently colored, a younger boy tried to crumple up one of the sheets. That action (seemingly “bad”) inspired me to start folding a small paper crane out of the colored sheets. From our original “failures” of singing and dancing (performed with pure intentions) came a beautiful pair of cranes and unending smiles: the universe was listening.