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Dances of Universal Peace - an Inter-Faith experience
article by Ralph Nimmann - [web posted 3 Feb. '10, updated 1 March '10]

I like to invite you to experience the Dances of Universal Peace.
We hold hands and dance in a circle while singing sacred phrases honouring various religions or universal truths.

The leader may accompany with drum or guitar - it's that simple.
And yet: such a profound experience!
Where else will you find people of different faiths singing and dancing together in peace and harmony?

I believe, for thousands of years people have gathered in circles, sung and danced; so when we do the same, it triggers very deep memories. And it gives you a sense of what Buddhists call Sangha - community.

Singing is healing and therapeutic. Chanting sacred phrases which resonate with your soul even more so. And adding movement to this is like adding a third dimension to it: involving the whole body, our whole being.

It may look like a silly children's activity, a merry-go-round... actually: when we dive into these Dances of Universal Peace, we forget our worries and problems; we become light hearted and happy - like children.

The Dances were created by Samuel Lewis (1896-1971) from California. He was probably the world's first Guru-Roshi-Murshid in one person. He studied the main world religions in depth, created these dances (or they came to him 'from above'). In Sufi groups they are usually called Sufi dances.
Murshid Samuel Lewis was recognised as a Sufi murshid by the Sufis of eight orders. He was also a Zen roshi, recognised by both the Soto and Rinzai Zen lineages. He spent a long time in an Indian ashram to study Hinduism, until his Hindu guru of the the bhakti yoga tradition, Swami Papa Ramdas, confirmed Samuel L. Lewis' ability to enter Samadhi. Many Christians respected him as a teacher of the message of the Bible. He was a spiritual master with a good sense of humour. With the peace dances he managed to bring drug addicted people off their drugs, because they felt "high" after dancing with him.

You can find out more about the Dances of Universal Peace:

Of course, experiencing the dances is better than just reading about them.
Why not join a dance group near you - or attend a dance day or weekend or one of the big camps like the Sacred Arts Camp www.sacredartscamp.org
...or invite a peace dance teacher to come and dance with your community?

About Ralph (the author): After leading a chanting group in Berlin he discovered the peace dances in 1992 and began to lead them. He moved to England in 1997 and completed a dance training. In 1999 he met his wife Vitalija on an international peace dance camp. Now they lead peace dance groups in Berlin, Cambridge, London, Norwich Oxford, St Neots and Riga, accompanied by guitar and drum.
Ralph has been chair of the Cambridge Inter-Faith Group for 6 years. He also produced 50 audio shows for 209radio in Cambridge. More about Ralph see www.rainbow-cambridge.org.uk/ralph

LINKS:

[ This article is on www.rainbow-cambridge.org.uk/dances/interfaith.htm ]

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