To gather experience over countless lifetimes.

We Realize who and what we really are, and come to behave like That.

Ignorance of That and associated bad habits result in mistakes and consequential suffering.

The accumulation of experience eventually brings us to realize that we are not separate from others, which forms habitual devotion to the ultimate welfare of all.

Posts Tagged ‘belly dancing’

Mer-Amun MerAmun (Summer 1984)



I had been married to a world-famous belly dancer and because of that I had become a great fan of belly dancing with knowledge of and respect for the best known dancers in Egypt.

Nagua Fouad

Nagua Fouad

One day it was announced that one of the most famous Egyptian belly dancers, Nagua Fouad, would be dancing in Toronto at Seneca College, partly sponsored by the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism. My ex-wife got tickets for me, and our Teacher, and a couple of other mutual friends. We were all excited to see such a famous woman dance, especially since she was still so highly respected, even in her 50’s.



When the day of the performance arrived, and we were ushered to our seats, we found that the tickets were not in the same row, but that one of us had to sit in a row behind the others. I took that seat, so that I could be closer to our Teacher in case he had anything to say that I wouldn’t want to miss. I sat next to an elderly Canadian couple who had obviously been to Egypt themselves, and who had great respect for the dancer too. I believe my seat was K73 and they were sitting in seats K71 and 72.

Well, the show was billed to start at 8:30, but 8:30 came and went and everyone was wondering: “what was the hold-up?” The audience was getting loud and restless. Our Teacher was studying the Egyptian hieroglyphs that decorated the program card that everyone was handed at the door. He remarked that these hieroglyphs were not randomly chosen simply for decoration, but that someone who understands hieroglyphs had chosen and arranged those particular ones for a specific effect. I was, as always, amazed by the breadth of our Teacher’s knowledge.

When the show still hadn’t started by 9:30, an announcer came on stage to explain that the dancer wouldn’t be ready for another hour, possibly two. This raised uproar from the audience. The announcer went on to say that a tourism office was offering in consolation, as prize for a draw of ticket stubs, a free trip to Egypt. The condition was that we had to be in our seats to qualify for the draw, and that the draw would be held at the end of the show.

We waited another 20 minutes or so for the show to start. During that 20 minutes it was explained by my ex-wife that famous dancers in Egypt don’t normally go on stage until about 3:00am and that the night-clubs where they perform don’t normally even open until 1:00am. This, apparently, was why the dancer was not prepared for an 8:30 show, as no-one had explained to her the different expectations here in the West. While we waited, I saw our Teacher scan the crowd, and at the far section of the audience he pointed out a group of people who knew my ex-wife very well, who were acting quite hostile toward the group of us sitting together where we were. Our Teacher looked at me and motioned for me to come closer. He said, “If anyone in this room deserves that prize, it’s you. I’ll see what I can do,” and he winked at me with a nod as if to say “it’s a sure thing.” I was flattered and deeply touched that he felt so much for me, regarding all the pain I’d been through as a result of my divorce.

Nagua Fouad

Nagua Fouad

The show came on and I completely forgot the incident. The music, the dancers, and Nagua Fouad were all spectacular. Our Teacher mentioned that he was especially impressed with the subtlety of muscular control that Nagua Fouad had, especially considering her age, and I had to agree entirely. None of us could see how she could possibly have been older than 30 or 40.



I was so involved in the show and the excitement of it that I didn’t notice the elderly couple sitting beside me get up and leave, it evidently getting too late in the evening for them to remain. It was a long show after all, and it ended very late, especially for a show that was billed to have started at 8:30.

After the last encore by Nagua Fouad was finished, and our cheers and applause would not coax her to the stage again, the announcer came on stage and said that it was time for the ticket-stub draw for the free trip to Egypt. I had completely forgotten about it. I remembered what our Teacher had said, and felt deeply warm that he thought of me again, but put that out of my mind, not really expecting anything to come of his promise, feeling unworthy of such attention from him.

The announcer asked a little girl to come on stage to pull a ticket stub out of a hat he had in hand. The little girl must have been 4 years old. She was shy and reluctant, but eventually the announcer got her to reach in and pull out a ticket…… K72! “Would the person in seat K72 please come to the stage to accept your prize! Your free trip to Egypt!”

My mind was reeling. I couldn’t believe how close to me the winner actually was! It was the seat right beside me! It was one of that elderly couple right beside me! “What are the odds?” I thought in excited amazement. I bent down to say to our Teacher: “WOW that was amazing! Right beside me!” But he was already stretching around to speak to me. He was apologizing profusely, saying again and again, “I’m so sorry. I thought for sure it was yours. I thought for sure you were the winner. I’m sorry. I don’t know what went wrong,” he said. I was shocked. I didn’t realize he was so very serious about making sure that I got that prize. I’d never heard our Teacher apologize like that before. I felt so very badly that he was upset about something to do with me. All I could do was to express my amazement that whatever he had done, had landed the prize RIGHT NEXT TO ME!

Then, as people started yelling that the winner wasn’t in his seat, that they had gone home, I realized that there was no-one sitting in that seat anymore. It was only then that I realized that the elderly couple must have gone home. So now what? The announcer confirmed with everyone in the audience that yes, that draw was disqualified because the winner wasn’t in his seat any longer, so another draw must be made.

I thought “Wow, how lucky I was to have been so close to winning, and how lucky I was to have been so close due to the efforts of my teacher!” “What a magician!” I thought. I realized that my chance at winning was granted but that for some reason or other I didn’t get it, and that was that. I thought “I’ll never forget how close my teacher brought the draw to making me the winner!”

So the announcer asked a little boy to come on stage this time. I thought of the impossibility that out of two draws, that they should be adjoining seats, and that the adjoining seat should be mine after my teacher said “I’ll do what I can” with a wink. The impossibility of it made me give up completely the notion that I could possibly be the winner.

The little boy reached into the hat, pulled out a ticket….. K73! My seat! My ticket! Right after the seat just next to me had been pulled! Impossible!

But everyone around me was yelling “congratulations” and “good for you” and our Teacher had turned around to face me and was laughing, and everyone seemed to be laughing, and I realized, Oh my God! I better get down to the stage to get….. I WON! I thanked our Teacher as best as I could amid everyone’s yelling and presented my ticket stub on stage. I actually received a voucher for what turned out to be one of the most spectacular trips of my life, second only to traveling through Katmandu and part of India with our Teacher and friends many years later.