Bowing

Jimmie Dale Gilmore

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Jimmie Dale Gilmore has been singing for over thirty years in a style that blends Eastern ideas with acoustic folk and country music. Rolling Stone has named him Best Country Artist for the past three years and last year his album Spinning Around the Sun was nominated for a Grammy Award. In the mid-seventies, he received the sacred Tibetan Buddhist Black Hat initiation from H.H. the Sixteenth Karmapa. Gilmore's songs include "My Mind's Got a Mind of Its Own" and "Just a Wave." He shared his thoughts about bowing when Tricycle phoned him in July.


The first time I saw formal bowing I was shocked. I just had completely mixed feelings. Something in me loved it—I was taken by the sincerity and the intensity of it. On the other hand, I'd never seen that happen before, outside of a movie or a photograph, so I was shocked; I was enthralled. It was still quite a long time before I felt comfortable kneeling down to my teacher, or even to his image. But after a while something happened—it was just a release of some little teeny part of ego. I've kind of analyzed it, psychoanalyzed the whole thing. I think it was a milestone. I had to overcome a lot of cultural conditioning even though I had studied some anthropology and psychology and there was a part of me that was already open-minded in the recognition of different cultures and different ideas. It was a little bit like trying oysters for the first time, and I still don't like oysters.

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