On All Hallow’s Eve (aka Halloween), we lost a great and notable spiritual teacher, Grandmaster Kham. Today is his memorial service, the day we say goodbye as a community.
If you haven’t ventured to Brooklyn or NYC, you might not have heard of him. It’s also possible you have. He was a venerable spiritual teacher to many.
Off and on for the last 8 years, he had a spiritual meditation and healing center across the street from my apartment. I never meditated in there or got any healing; but when I stopped in to say hello, he was always kind and supportive. He always introduced me to people in his shop as “The Professor” and would recommend my services to them.
He had known of my work for years, including when the Zodiac Lounge used to be right up the street at its birthplace, the now defunct Food 4 Thought Cafe. He stopped by once to support when we were there. The last time he came to the Zodiac Lounge was in April, at our most recent location at Freebrook Academy, to support us and his mentee (and my former astrology student), Janelle Belgrave. I was very happy about that.
What sticks out the most about Grandmaster Kham besides the assurance of his ever White-cladded splendor, usually seated in front of his center on warm days as you see him pictured above, are the wind chimes that hung over the front door of his center. When I first moved to my current neighborhood, it was a neighborhood in transition. My street was a stubborn firewall against the encroaching gentrification coming from a few blocks above it. There were really no cultural businesses on the block except his–and his wind chimes. The apartment building next to me doubled as a crack hangout with no apparent working doorbells because someone was always screaming for somebody at all hours of the morning or night. But I also used to hear the wind chimes from my bedroom window. I knew intuitively that those wind chimes had a transformative purpose based principles that Grandmaster Kham probably had studied from his deep appreciation and knowledge of Egyptian magic, history and lore. Next, my landlady got wind chimes over our building door. I always wondered if he, directly or inadvertently, inspired her.
About 2 years ago, Grandmaster Kham took the chimes down. I don’t know why, but one morning I noticed they were gone. Just before they were taken down though, a mosque had cropped up across from my house; an art gallery followed nearly a year later; a hip, thriving restaurant/bar has opened beneath me (I still groan about that); a Habitat for Humanity housing condo complex is thriving next to me; the crack hangout apt. building was completely gutted, renovated and re-housed with quiet neighbors who like to have subdued parties to make jack-o-laterns at Halloween; and there’s even a chai cafe around the corner. In other words, the neighborhood has changed. Perhaps he knew the chimes had done their job. I can’t say I like all the changes and there’s more work to be done, for sure; but I know the vibration of the neighborhood has elevated. Grandmaster Kham taught me that change does not have to be loud or with loud protests. It can happen with the sound of wind chimes.
For that and much more, I will miss him.