Dances of Universal Peace in Charlottesville
How to Dance
(From How to Dance: 11 Keys, by Murshid Wali Ali Meyer, 1988. Found in Spiritual Dance and Walk: An Introduction to the Dances of Universal Peace and Walking Meditations of Murshid Samuel L. Lewis)
Here are some keys which will help the dancing be more meaningful for you.
Listen — Don't simply recite the sacred phrase. Listen to the other voices. Listen to the person directing the dance. When you listen, your voice automatically begin to harmonize. Find the center of the sound.
Feel — The dances are designed to take us more and more into the universe of feeling. Stay with your feeling. If you go off into the world of thoughts, don't judge yourself; simply bring your concentration back to feeling. The heart center, found in the middle of the chest, is the natural place to begin.
Concentrate on the Sacred Phrase — The sacred phrase, sometimes referred to as Wazifa or Mantra, centers the dance. We all say this together. The Grace of Allah/God can operate through the sacred phrase if we are willing to receive it, to let it be. With each repetition, feel the phrase touching your being in a deeper and deeper way.
Move Together — Restrain the exuberant impulse to make an individual expression. You will be amazed how much higher/deeper the dances are when you use that same energy to harmonize with the others in the circle. Feel your body fully. Then gradually, or suddenly, become the whole circle.
Watch your Breath — Breath is life. Breath is movement. Voice is breath. Let breath breathe. Return to awareness of breath in silence between dances. Notice the subtle changes in breath with each dance.
Ecstasy — These dances can lead to states of ecstasy. Joyously invigorating! In dances where you are brought to the center of the circle, especially soar. But soar with your whole being. Taste all planes at the same time. If your feet are grounded on the earth, then your head can be in the heavens.
Devotion — This is a grace. To willingly submit ourselves to Allah/God in Whom we live, and move, and have our being. Hypocrisy may be the only sin. How wonderful it is when we actually feel like bowing in humility before the eternal truth. These dances can be worship: the celebration of the Divine Presence.
Amin (ah-meen) — This means "so be it". We say this at the conclusion of many dances. (Other phrases such as the Sanskrit Svaha, or the Native American Ho, are also used. The important thing is not to say it, but to mean it, to affirm with one's whole being.
Silence — There may be a silent meditation before the dance starts... As the sound and music of the dance stop, enter the Silence. This is your opportunity to hear what has been created. In this silence one can absorb the qualities evoked during the dance. This is the most important part of the dance. It becomes all-encompassing.
For More Information
To learn more about the Dances of Universal Peace, visit the site of Dances of Universal Peace International, the coordinating hub that links and supports the many Dance circles around the world.
Wednesday Healing Circle
lead by Hadi David Hunter.
This is a Dervish Healing Order circle with practices to attune to each other and the space, setting the intention prior to the ritual.
7:00 pm each Wednesday See DHO for info and directions and to submit names of people who have asked to be included in the ritual.
The Dances evoke feelings of love, joy, peace, oneness and compassion. There are no performers nor audience: new arrivals and old hands hold hands to form a circle as everyone sings and dances together.
The spirit of Samuel Lewis shines over the dances. See more about Murshid Sam elsewhere on our site.
4:00-6:00 pm, at Friends Meeting House located at
1104 Forest Street,
Latifa Jennifer Till leads quarterly.
September 17 -- Autumnal Equinox
December 17 -- Winter Solstice
Read more about our dances here.
Mantras and Sacred Phrases Often Used in the Dances
These translations are offered as an aid to attunement to the Dances. Your own realization of a phrase may transcend any verbal description.
Om Mani Padme Hum - Hail to the Jewel in the Lotus. The sound of this mantra is said to be the vibration of compassion itself.
Gate Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha Gone, gone, gone beyond, everyone gone completely beyond, awake enlightened, so be it.
Om Tare, Tutare, Ture Soha - A tribute to the goddess Tara, the embodiment of wisdom and compassion.
Kwan Zeon Bosai - The Korean name for Kwan Yin, “she who witnesses the distress of beings in the world, who hears their cries, and accords them mercy.”
Om Sri ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram - God who at once is Truth and Power, impersonal and personal, victory to Thee, victory, victory to Thee.
Hare Krishna - Praise to the God of Love and Divine Ecstasy.
Gopala, Gopala, Devaki nandana Gopala - “Gopala” is one of Krishna’s names. Devaki was Krishna’s mother. “Nandana” means rejoicing or son. A possible translation is “Krishna is the joy of his mother.”
Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim. Bismillah is the Arabic word meaning "We begin in the name of Allah" -- in the name of god, the Divine Reality, the One and All. The "most beautiful names" of Rahman and Rahim refer to Allah's innate and expressed qualities of mercy and compassion. All suras of the Koran begin with this phrase.
La ilaha il Allah - There is no God but God. There is no separation from the One Being. This is the most sacred phrase in the religion of Islam.
As-Salaam Aleikum, Wa-Aleikum As-Salaam - Peace be with you and with you be peace.
Muhammad ar-Rasulillah - Muhammad is the Prophet , or messenger, of God.
Hu - Hu is the spirit of all sounds and of all words and is hidden under them all, as the spirit in the body.
Ishq Allah Mahbud Lillah - God is Love, Lover and Beloved; God is all aspects of Love.
Alhamdulillah - Praise be to God!
Ya Hayy, Ya Haqq - Oh Life, Oh Truth.
Ya Shafee, Ya Khafee - Oh Healer, Oh Remedy.
Shalom Aleichem - Peace be with you.
Shabat Shalom - Greetings of peace to the Sabbath.
Shema Yisrael, Adonai Eloheynu, Adonai Echad - Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. Most sacred phrase in Judaism.
Ek Ong Kar Sat Nam Siri Wahe Guru - There is but one God, Truth is its name, great is its indescribable wisdom.
Ahura Mazda - Lord of Wisdom, Wise Creator.
Ashem Vohu - The light of truth found in the heart of every being (Asha) is identified with the ultimate principle, the source of that light (Vohu).
(adapted Universal Dances of Universal Peace publications)