Like a prayer
FIGHTING WORDS - Kay Malilong-Isberto () - October 2, 2007 - 12:00am

A few weeks back, I read a newspaper article about Pi Villaraza, a marketing executive who became a hermit in Palawan and found something mystical there.  The story caught my interest as I've always had a fascination for hermits. 

My grandmother had a relative who lived as a hermit for years.  He visited our house when I was about four years old.  I remember staring at his long flowing hair and his white beard and hanging on to every word he said.  He had lived in caves in the forest to avoid having authorities cut off his hair during the early part of Martial Law.   

The thought of having to forage for food and hide in a cave was very exciting to me.  I wanted to ask him how he managed to survive but I was very shy so I just listened to the grown-ups talk. I was also a little afraid of the strange-looking man sitting in our living room.  This was in the 1970s and men with long, flowing hair were not as common as they are now.

A few days later, I came across another newspaper article about Pi Villaraza.  It described the experiences of persons who had undergone what he called the "Inner Dance".  It also had instructions on how to get in touch with him. I emailed and received a text message inviting me to a workshop on a Sunday afternoon.  I said yes immediately.

I went to the penthouse of a building where the workshop was going to be held.  I saw people sitting cross-legged on the floor, forming a circle. Meditation music was playing and incense wafted across the room.  Except for a girl I went to a dorm with in college, I did not know anyone else there.

At exactly one in the afternoon, the session started. Pi Villaraza talked about his experiences that led to Inner Dance (more information about him and Inner Dance can be accessed at  We were instructed to lie down.  I did and closed my eyes.  I felt someone/something touching my head.  I then noticed that my arm was moving-without me letting it.    

Pretty soon, I was dancing.  I was conscious and very aware that something was making me move and I kept asking myself what was happening. 

After a while, I decided to stop thinking and just go with the flow.  I saw myself doing "ethnic" dance moves, the sort that my high school classmates did during Linggo ng Wika celebrations.  At one point, I was doing the Running Man (very nineties), even the Robot move (similar to a doll dance I did in Grade 1).  I was also spinning like Wonder Woman.  I was dancing vigorously for close to three hours and not running out of breath-very weird considering that I'm the most out of shape person I know.

After I stopped trying to explain what was happening, I found myself filled with peace.  God is love and that is all that matters, a voice seemed to be saying (or maybe that was just me).  I felt myself sending love to the people I know and to the rain-drenched city I saw from the penthouse window. 

I've looked up the Internet and tried to find a "logical" explanation for what happened-hypnosis, kundalini rising, Tibetan spinning dance, whirling dervishes?  I even went to a pranic healer.  To date, I still have not found an acceptable, rational explanation. What I do know is that I felt, and continue to feel, God's presence more acutely after I experienced the Inner Dance. I guess this outcome is more important than finding the cause.     

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