The destination of our practice: What Machine Gun Kelly, X Ambassadors, & Bebe Rexha have to share about our longing to find ‘Home.’

I was deeply moved by this song and video the first time I encountered it.  Though it is rap and hip hop and out of my usual mode of classics, concerto, classic rock, folk lyric musical-norm, Kelly et al’s song Home offers a powerful and poignant description of our human longing to find ‘home’ in the direct experience of life.  How life trends toward difficulty, suffering and madness when ‘home’ is distant. The lyrics and images of the music video, while not what many would find as substance for commentary relevant to mindfulness mediation and yoga, I think the song speaks wonderfully about our longing to come home to ‘this moment’ and a path in that direction.

The lyrics unfold with the chorus about the human longing to be at home:

A place where I can go
To take this off my shoulders
Someone take me home

I take this to be longing for a state of mind and heart. A universal longing we all have, especially in the midst of difficulty.   Our experience in meditative or contemplative practice is to open the door to a path ‘home’ with what is; life’s direct experiences good and bad.  This way we acknowledge and work with the sharp edges of life that will always be here to distract us and to hone our ability to come ‘home’   A place of compassion and acceptance.  The domain of love and belonging.

The lyrics and video continue with Kelly describing his the travails of life and loss.  Lines like “. . . just can’t get to a place where  . . . I’m still safe . . . I still ache from trying to keep pace.  Somebody give me a sign, I’m starting to lose faith.”  He continues lamenting  “. . . And it’s hard to maintain and smile on my face ‘Cause there’s madness on my brain, So I gotta make it back, but my home ain’t on the map. . .”

The music and video continue with a beautiful rendition of Kelly finding ‘home’ in the embrace of music, friends and family.  A knowing community that offer him a ‘home’ to soften the difficulty of his path so overrun with pain and distraction.  This is graphic, very graphic love and compassion, hugs (man hugs!) sharing food and conversation.  Sharing attentive presence with one another even in the context of uncaring, heartless people at the periphery of those loving folks who are standing firmly with one another and Kelly.

Our practice here hasn’t included rap, hip hop or similar modes of learning . . . yet!  Though as I practice and as I listen deeply over these years to students, I realize when we veer far from ‘home’ we suffer in many ways large and small.  Our willingness to listen closely at these times and find a path back to attentive presence will always include loving and sturdy connections with those nearby.  This is the state of our experience in classes here and it echoes out toward others in our lives as we practice our methods of coming home;  mindfulness meditation, movement practices including yoga, Nia, bellydance, and the many informal practices introduced in an MBSR training.

Dance, sing and practice well with one another as you arrive home.  Even give those nearby hugs of assurance that they are ‘home’ in your presence.

In Kindness and Gratitude for You  —  Brant

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