Thursday, January 04, 2007

Dictionary Day: Baraka

From the Merriam-Webster Open Dictionary Project:
baraka (noun): [ba'ra-ka] [arabic] - a state of heightened consciousness or grace achieved through religious fervor involving prayer and dancing; a blessing that can be carried and transferred from one person to another or from an object to a person (usually one who has made the hajj); the blessedness possessed by a person of character, courage, and selflessness
Muslims who have completed the fifth of the five pillars of Islam are often endowed by Allah with baraka that may transmit to those around them. —christopher j moore, book In Other Words: A Language Lover's..., 2005.

Dance! Dance is one of my favorite art forms, and one I don't hesitate to participate in. Give me tango, waltz, cha-cha; jive with me during some happy hardcore, if you can, or let's jump around to some dark progressive house music. Give me some vocals; add a little electronica, spice it up with some South Indian beats and a good soprano, and we are set!

While I am not someone with decades of experience in Modern dance or ballet, I do have a background in studying movement that comes from decades of experience in the martial arts on top of my amateur ballroom dance studies. In the realm of my own experience, dance can endow the participants with a state of exhilaration and even ecstasy, without recourse to drugs, legal or otherwise. My current theory is that the effect of fervent movement and the joy of expression is akin to the phenomenon known as "runners' high". Add strobe lights, and it's a potent experience.

Where does that leave those who join religion and dance? Religion is a private matter, and I don't engage in such activities, since I prefer to spend my energies dealing with reality and real people. Dance is a beautiful set of activities on its own, with meaning assigned by choreographers, ravers, and your own personal self. Religion and faith don't have to be part of the equation for it to be a transcendent experience full of the vigor and ecstasy of enjoying life. So, love, live, and dance!



  • I meant definition "a" or "b". Kant likes to make his own mental Möbius strips, and I don't participate in that.
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