By Kimba Arem
One fateful day, my life began when it ended, on November 22, 1992… through voluntary ingestion of a powerful psychedelic…unknowingly mixed with an unidentified poison. It was my first experience with a mind-altering substance. I was poised to graduate from college, at the top of my class in molecular biology — only one semester away– and enter medical school. I thought I knew what life was about and where I was going. I was dead wrong…
In light of an event that would take an entire book to describe, I am so grateful for an early “mid-life” crisis or what I call my “awakening” at the tender age of 21.
Having experienced what I later identified as a near-death experience (after reading a book by Raymond Moody, titled Life After Life), I realized that I wasn’t crazy…and during that holographic life review, I also realized that all of my life experiences leading up to that day were actually the catalyst for the awakening of my soul. Years of deep soul work followed that day, and still continue today…
During the course of that evening, everything I thought I ever knew about anything was shattered completely into infinite pieces, as I “melted” into a space that I now feel to be the place we come from before we are born and the place we go after we die. This place is completely ecstatic– utterly beyond words the human mind could create– and understandably, one hesitates to return to this world of form, where there exists great joy, but also great suffering, polarity, and eventually death. But if it is not time for the Spirit to return to the primordial Clear Light, one cannot stay there. So I returned to this world, with great sadness, joy, and forever changed. And I came out of the experience remembering that during that time I was shown the perfection of everything that ever happened in my life—it showed me also that perfection exists within every particle of everything in every moment, on every level, unto eternity. There was a great peace that came from this awareness. To me, being able to ground and remember this consciousness is the equivalent of Heaven on Earth.
I had been raised Jewish, but did not have any memories of direct experience with the Divine, so I had no language, reference points, or people around me to reflect what I experienced that night. However I knew without doubt that I was given this experience as a “wake-up” call to drastically change the direction of my life. I saw how certain patterns that were created over the unfolding of time (from before my birth and through every moment of this life), creating energies that had ripples of effects–the physics of karma. I also saw that most beings on planet Earth, including me, during the part of the Cosmic cycle we are in, live as if sleeping, only partially aware of our totality. Actually, it began to seem that the nighttime “dreaming” life was more real than “waking” life. I started to wonder if we are living in the mirror image of reality—the looking glass—and the moments of lucid or vivid dreams are the true reality; and the majority of our life, what we call “awake,” is actually the unconscious limited dream of who we really are. Therefore, it seemed that to become fully conscious or “awakened” in this dream became, and always has been, the goal or meaning of life. At least it became the goal of mine.
After this experience, I knew that my future was not in genetics, molecular biology, nor medical school—what I had been studying in college to enter as a life career. However, some deeper part of me knew that I had to finish my degree, one semester away. However, it was difficult to continue schooling in the ordinary way… but soon enough the reason revealed itself.
During that final semester, one day, while walking to organic chemistry class, I was merging into the spirit of each tree I passed along the way. I was experiencing difficulty remaining in the world, but knowing I still had to somehow be in it. But that day, one of my greatest teachers arrived on the scene. On the way to class, I saw a long wooden instrument of some sort lying next to a small group of people on the campus lawn. The magnetism I felt toward this object was unmistakable. I walked over as in in a trance, and asked one lady who was sitting there about it– she called it a “Dream Pipe,” made by her partner. I asked her to play it…and when I heard the sound, I said, “I need one now.” It was another turning point in my life. I later found out that it was the oldest instrument in the world, in the western world we call it the didjeridu. In 1992, this instrument was almost unknown in America. But somehow it made it all the way to Arizona, to this coordinate on campus, allowing me to connect to this ancient teacher that would turn my life inside-out. Since that time, the didjeridu has become an integral part of my life, and continually re-creates me from within.
As I began to explore this amazing, ancient, most simple of instruments, I discovered that I didn’t really breathe…not fully nor deeply. So that became a big part my focus then—re-learning how to breathe, and using my breath more fully and consciously. In most languages, the word for “breath” and the word for “Spirit” are the same word—except in English. We somehow separate the two, diffusing the attention we give to either.
When I play the didjeridu, somehow the sound and the process of playing, circular breathing, helps me connect to the place I went when I “died.” For me, there is a deep experience of peace that exists within the pure, circular-spiral sound that comes out of this long tube, so simple yet so complex simultaneously.
On the night of my awakening, I was given only one piece of information as far as my life purpose— that I was “the voice.” It was a kind of direct knowing, although my more limited awareness upon returning from that state had no idea what it meant. It didn’t make much sense then, but I started to understand more and more, as the didjeridu opened my throat chakra, guiding me into situations where I was using my voice to sing, play, teach, express…connecting my head to my heart, and helping me to evolve.
Over time I found the didjeridu to be like a best friend. On a deeper level it seemed like a way to give back to creation, to honor the Earth, and let the breath of our planet Gaia speak through me in an ecstatic dance of co-creation. The sound became and still is my sanctuary, in the realms of the timeless cosmic OM.
Since my awakening, I have allowed my inner voice and breath to open more and more, to express… to breathe fully… to be a voice of the Earth. Most importantly, I have let the voice of my higher-vibrational self be heard and infuse into my lower self-body more, that I may be an instrument of peace. The didjeridu has taught me how to relax, to be in the moment, to incarnate more fully into my body, and to meditate. Through the therapeutic process of circular breathing and creating tones, it has helped my body come into greater harmony and attunement with my soul, on many levels. I feel that the healthier and clearer my body-instrument is, the easier it is for the full voltage of my Spirit to be present in a physical form here on Earth. It is also reflected in the clarify of the sound when I play. The didjeridu is a wonderful tool to assist in the process of harmonizing and clearing.
When I was seven, I had begun my training in classical piano and later, silver flute. I always loved music and would practice diligently, but performing professionally was often a stressful experience for me. Being a perfectionist, making a “wrong note” was too much of an alarming prospect… so I didn’t choose music as my life-path, though I loved it and it came naturally to me. As time progressed, my career plans were slanted toward service and the healing arts, and I chose medical school as my goal. However, it was not until my “awakening” that I realized I was not completely following my heart, and medical school would not be the best path for me. Shortly after my awakening, I went to see Dr. Andrew Weil, who had an office at the U of A (where I was graduating), and he helped me greatly in my integration process, and also helped me to bridge and ground this experience into Earth reality. He also helped direct me to people and resources that helped to direct my next steps.
With some good guidance, and after a few years of travel and inner exploration with the didjeridu by my side, I decided to move to Hawai’i and enter acupuncture school. During that time I also took many other courses in various fields of subtle energy medicine. One of them was a workshop by Jonathan Goldman about the healing properties of music and vocal overtoning. This ignited something inside of me, because I loved both music and medicine, and here was an ancient practice that put them together! Slowly, life circumstance directed me more and more toward my heart’s path, which has been an expanding practice of performing, teaching, recording, scoring, and doing private sessions using sound therapy.
Over the past 10 years I have developed a practice that integrates the many years of studying I have done applying music as medicine, as well as other subtle energy modalities such as aromatherapy, Reiki, herbal medicine, acupuncture, nutrition, flower essences, crystals, and light therapy. An individual sound session uses many live instruments being played in the fields around the body, while the patient is lying on a “vibrasound” table with the live music being amplified into the table. Along with other subtle energy modalities, the individual is invited to go on a multi-dimensional, multi-sensory journey to access expanded states of awareness, in a safe and therapeutic way. Altered brain-wave patterns, caused primarily by light and binaural sound beat frequencies and overtones (using ancient and modern instruments and technologies), allow the individual to leave ordinary reality for a little while, where the soul can expand to perceive life from different angles and to become aware of other perceptions and possibilities. This is what I experienced in part during my near death experience, and this in itself can be healing. The tones of the instruments also carry the ability to harmonize the chakras and balance and restore imbalances in the cells.
My path now continues to be a teacher and creator of music as medicine, and with the current widespread global challenges, the focus on individual and planetary inner-peace has become even more relevant. Music therapy is intended to help create a sense of peace and well-being inside each individual. Because we are all one, each a part of the whole, we are all connected energetically. I feel that each person who can maintain a sense of inner peace, quieting the inner wars of negativity, self-judgment, fear, addiction, etc., shifts the collective environment of the planet. We cannot change what is outside of us as easily as we can change our inner perceptions and thoughts. I feel that it is each our responsibility to do the inner work, becoming part of the transformation, reducing our part in the collective challenges.
Now more than ever, perhaps due to codes of light being activated by our alignment with the galactic center and other cosmic turning points, we can more easily see through the illusion of the veil of separation from the Divine and step back once again into unity, wholeness, and remembrance of our common heart of unconditional love. It seems that the awakening of Gaia, the harmonious and symbiotic planetary overmind embracing all of life, is at hand for those who choose to support this vision.
Part of my awakening experience showed me “as above, so below.” By this, I mean that I realized the holographic nature of reality, and saw a beautiful image– the pregnant mother Earth. It can be seen that we are like a baby in the womb of the mother, and each one of us is a cell, part of the whole living being (some ancient people called it Gaia or Gaea). Perhaps we are now in the final stages of development, with the nervous system integrating us all together (internet, cellular phones, all media and communication systems). We may be in a kind of preparatory-labor stage, preparing for a global birth into the next stages of our evolutionary process. The world certainly seems to be in turmoil and change on many levels. During the birthing process, the most important thing a mother (and the baby) can do is relax, breathe, and be in the present moment. For me, the didjeridu and indigenous music teaches deep breathing, relaxation, and connection to the core, the heart of mother Earth. As we realize our oneness, that we are all cells in the body of a larger organism, we see that we all need to work together in harmony for a healthy world.
The aboriginal people of Australia have been stewards of this Earth for as many as 150,000 years, and only in the last 50 years has the oldest known instrument on the planet—the didjeridu—spread all over the world. Perhaps these ancient tools are needed at this time, to help us all to remember, to relax, to listen to the mother Earth, to breathe, to connect to our individual and planetary core.
My wish for this Earth is that every person can follow their heart and do what they love, because then we have a healthy collective being, every “cell” doing what it came here to do, effortlessly and with joy.
My greatest prayer is that my life, my music, my work, may serve as a catalyst to midwife the Earth, and to activate others into living their life purpose, to follow their inspiration, their heart’s joy– so that we can be conscious and glorious stewards of the Earth. May her and our birth be graceful, even joyful, and may we all rejoice in happiness, harmony and peace.