The Dances of Universal Peace and Walking Meditations are spiritual practice in motion. Drawing on the sacred phrases, scripture, and poetry of the many spiritual traditions of the earth, the Dances blend chant, live music and evocative movement into a living experience of unity, peace and integration.
Introduction to the Dances of Universal Peace
practice brings us face to face with Life and Truth, prior to the concepts and
beliefs of the person, opening to our true nature - authentic, unguarded,
beyond form and imbued with the spaciousness and love that connects all.
Dances of Universal Peace and Walking Meditations are spiritual practice in
motion. Drawing on the sacred phrases, scripture, and poetry of the many
spiritual traditions of the earth, the Dances blend chant, live music and
evocative movement into a living experience of unity, peace and integration.
This taste of our true nature - as Universal Peace - opens to the possibility
of a deep spiritual revolution within the person.
About The Dances of Universal Peace
the beginning of time, sacred movement, song and story have brought people
together - at times of seasonal ceremony and celebration, as part of everyday
life and life passages, in daily renewal and meditation. The Dances of
Universal Peace are part of this timeless tradition of Sacred Dance.
crowning life achievement of Sufi teacher and Zen master Samuel L. Lewis, the
Dances set scriptures and sacred phrases from the worlds spiritual traditions
to music and movement. The Dances are transformative spiritual practice,
invoking an embodied sense of unity, presence and compassion and touching the
spiritual essence within ourselves. Offered in an atmosphere of safety,
authenticity and mindfulness, the Dances evoke a unified experience of
movement, sound, breath and sacred phrase.
Sam, as he was known to his Sufi students in the 1960's, brought forward these
ecstatic Dances, meditative walks and other esoteric practices to awaken the
hearts and minds of his Sufi students and create an ecstatic experience of
unity. The Dances today remain an integral practice of many who seek to hold to
their true nature and rest in the Unity of all.
A Visit to the Dances
Dances are taught today in much the same way as Samuel Lewis presented them. No
musical or dance experience of any kind is required and everyone is welcomed to
join in. Participation, not presentation, is the focus. No special attire is
required and dancers need not bring a partner.
join hands forming a circle with the Dance leader, and possibly musicians, in
the center. The leader teaches the sacred phrase, melody, and movements for
each Dance and perhaps some context about that particular Dance. The teaching
is always brought from a compassionate heart in a comfortable, quiet, and often
sacred setting. When Dance lyrics include sacred phrases in native languages,
attention is given to ensure that all have ample opportunity to pronounce the
unfamiliar words comfortably and correctly. Most Dances are only four lines
long and repeated many times, so learning is usually quick and easy - within
ten minutes dancers are moving, singing, and sharing together.
more than 400 Dances include themes of peace (both inner and outer), healing
(the Earth, individuals, and the global family), and the celebration of life's
great mystery. Dancers focus on the truth contained in the sacred phrase or
other text set to music and movement in the Dance. Dancers commonly experience
a collective peace, harmony, a sense of solidarity and community, and insight
into the underlying universality of all the spiritual traditions of the Earth.
A greater understanding and appreciation of other cultures, as well as one's
own path or religion, is often gained.
mood of the Dances is infinitely variable, evoking feelings of love, joy,
peace, compassion and ecstasy. The focus is on the sacred phrase, which often
points to truths about Life which cannot be put into words. The dancers'
experience flows out in the context of sacred presence to one other and to the
group as a whole. An experience of the Unity of the human family with all of
Life and a taste of one's essential nature are among the gifts the Dances bring
to so many who come in contact with them.
A Worldwide Family, A Grassroots Movement
the late 1960's, the Dances have spread throughout the world, touching more than
a half million people in North and South America, eastern and western Europe,
Russia and the Baltic countries, India, the Middle East, Africa, Pakistan,
Australia, and New Zealand. (Click on Worldwide Network to learn more.) Further
networking and citizen diplomacy through the Dances have occurred in South
Africa, Bosnia and the Middle East. New grassroots Dance circles are
continually springing up around the globe, with over two hundred dance circles
meeting weekly or monthly in the United States alone. (See North America for
more information.) The Dances are also shared in schools, therapy groups,
prisons, hospice houses, drug rehabilitation centers, homes for the
developmentally disabled, retirement villages, holistic health centers, and
ecumenical worship celebrations.
stream of blessing and vision of human liberation behind the Dances is carried
forward today by the Sufi Ruhaniat International, the Sufi order established by
Murshid Sam before his passing, and by the Mentor Teachers Guild which oversees
training and certification of the Leaders Guild.
worldwide yearning for Unity have found in the Dances of Universal Peace a
renewing and inspiring practice, based in religious truth and an embodied
spirituality. The Dances open us to remembrance of the natural human state -
unguarded, authentic and free. They continue to be, as Samuel Lewis envisioned
them, a way to make liberating life-energy and the "peace that passes all
understanding" a reality for all who come in contact with them.