Music and the Body/Spirit
Music means "from the art (technique) of the Muse", or that which comes from that part of the mind which is least controlled by the fetters of human consciousness enslaved by the physical dimension. We play music to partially experience the feelings of freedom which are spirits know from our flights into deep psychic realms such as sleep, hypnotic states, religious ecstasy, and love. Each one of us has known freedoms of unlimited scope and dimension, but our physical embodiment limits are conscious memory of these freedoms, and our verbal mentality is incapable of expressing them in anything better than approximate, you might say, poetic, terms. Music is given by God as a path, as a half-way point between the language of man in the language of the soul. We cannot fully understand the message a piece of music gives us because understanding implies translation of information into the verbal language of thought, which is a physical phenomenon, centered as it is in the BRAIN, a physical organ. The spirit knows no specific values such as those which words express; therefore, to understand music must necessarily have something to do with transcending the physical into a super-conscious appreciation of values we cannot express in anything like physical terms. We understand music with our hearts--it is our hearts’ secret, not shared by our minds.
We appreciate the meaning of music in brief moments of recognition--an instant when the soul touches the mind with the light from the higher dimensions, and parts the veil for a little peek at the higher reality. We cannot hold on to this light any more than we can hold a rainbow in our hands—but the instant is palpable enough for us to want to continue coming back for more—we continue to seek that eternal moment, relive it over and over, and feel its influence affect our lives in ever more profound ways. Music whispers to our hald-waking mentalities that there is more to life than what we can see and touch and discuss and control.
Problems arise when our bodies interfere with the free movement of the spiritual energy through the material self. Part of our reason for physical incarnation is a need for groundedness—for that which makes us feel in contact with the earth. We are simple people who need the sense of safety attachment to physical things gives. However, music is always exerting a liberating pull away from the physical, such that, during the process of music-making, we can either flow with the spirit away from physical attachment, or we can succumb to the gravitational attraction of the flesh and remain attached, inflexible, earthbound. Observe a flag floating in the breeze—you cannot see the wind, but you can see the shape of the wind in the flag because it is supple and therefore malleable. If you put a piece of cardboard up there, you can still see the general DIRECTION of the wind (like a weather vane) but you cannot see the nuances. Thus, we must be relaxed to receive the subtle impressions of spirit on the muscles of our bodies—we must let go.
The choice of letting go is difficult, because our body-brain always seeks control, stasis, stability. Letting go is movement away from the central, fixed, ego structure into a wider de-centralized realm of consciousness. Furthermore, to let go of the physical, in making music, is a personal experience whose effects may not remain confined to making music alone. Certainly, the choice involves the adoption of a attitude toward physicality in general, which may go on to inform many other physical activities. To let go, when making music, is not to let go only when the music is playing, and then seize control again when the music is done—no, music motivates the energy for change within us, and, as such, it affects the entire human being, the multi-dimensional being, on every possible level, and keeps on changing him after the music has sunk into cosmic silence. We cannot pretend that the person who plays music is different from the person who eats, goes to school, spiced with her brother, etc. And we cannot pretend that the person, after playing music, is the same person he was before he played music.
To experience the “letting go” required by the best music-making is to experience a personal revelation of the first order. The transformations worked on the personality by music-making our all-encompassing and complete. Once a person has experienced the freedom of music-making, it is difficult to return to the old way of living.
I do not mean to say that in all cases there is a lightning bolt from Heaven that sears our consciousness with radical new insights; this happens often enough to be sure, but by far the most common experience is a subtle, day-by-day, moment-by-moment, gradual change in the way the instrument lies in the hand, the way the sound flows from mind to vibration in air, and the way the spirit shapes the emotional responses to what the body is doing in the ear is hearing.
You must realize that the body is the receptacle of the soul’s wisdom and must be loose and supple to receive the subtle guidance of the mind's instruction. Your heart’s delight is in making the world of spirit come alive in the physical world, so you must be free to respond to the Spirit's direction. If you are, the power of spirit will lead your body down the path to freedom and increased spiritual awareness; if not, the music will drag miserably, and your body will never know the secret.
January 9, 1984