Homage to silence, time and the circle of life

Homage to silence, time and the circle of life
By Pocholo Concepcion Philippine Daily Inquirer First Posted 02:43:00 06/29/2008

MANILA, Philippines - Quotable quotes from videos, interpretative dance sequences, song numbers and a very engaging address by a 63-year-old yogi spelled success for the educational-entertainment event, "Circle of Life," Thursday night at Onstage, Greenbelt 1 in Makati.
The absence of an emcee throughout the hour-long program was deliberate, according to Antonio Salac Santos' concept of creating an atmosphere "based on the experience of meditation," meant to allow the audience to "go with the flow" and appreciate the benefits of "keeping quiet." Upside-down world Indeed, everyone kept still, eyes focused on the video screen that ran a series of text graphics about the perception of time—mostly, how many people tend to waste it. Of the numerous quotes, the one from Mother Teresa encapsulated everything: "I think the world has turned upside down. We have lost time for ourselves."

A group from Douglas Nierras' Powerdance highlighted this terrible reality by celebrating joyful moments as expressed through precise, orderly movements, capturing a sense of fulfillment in such simple situations as having fun with friends. The pained look of one dancer as the rest deserted him underscored the statement that things go haywire when people refuse to share their time with others.

Another dance sequence, rendered to the tune of "Bituing Marikit," was an homage to precious moments offered by the contemplative hours of the night.

Singer Erik Santos provided the wonderful possibilities that pop music could achieve, in relation to the themes of spirituality and valuing time. If, in the past, Alamid's "Your Love" sounded corny for its naivete, this time it seemed like a devotional offering to a Higher Being: "Your love is like the river/That flows down to my veins/I feel the chill inside..."
"At first, I felt a little scared of the silence," Erik described his part in the "unique" experience. "I wasn't used to it."

In his second number, "Next in Line" (originally by After Image), Erik was right on track, adding drama to the yearning sentiments of idealism: "What is life to offer me, when I grow old?"
That is one question which the night's lone speaker, BK Vedanti, beautifully answered— with doses of off-the-cuff humor. (The show was presented by Brahma Kumaris, an international NGO affiliated with the United Nations.) Vedanti, regional director of "Serve Africa" in 42 countries, who travels around the world on a weekly basis, again stressed the need to value time. Time defines our existence, she said. We should appreciate the "circle of life," that endless, God-given cycle of nature that everyone should find time to reflect on.

Wanting to simplify her discourse to sustain attention, Vedanti challenged her audience to attain the fullness of life by: 1)smiling more often and 2) cutting down on sleep, talk and food.
The part about smiling is relatively easy. But to eat, talk and sleep less? And yet, hearing it from her, it made a lot of sense. "She talked to me," Erik recounted "and said my daily 8 hours of sleep was too much! But she gave me such a warm feeling." Indeed, at the end of the event, the lady in white robes radiated peace and happiness as she sat still, very slowly moving her gentle gaze around, giving her audience the feeling that the past hour was truly time well spent.

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