Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Music And Spirituality

It's January but yesterday I went for a walk in the park wearing a short sleeve shirt and no jacket. We had a chance of breaking a previous weather record when the temperature was 72 degrees on this date. I'm so glad I didn't get a sled for Christmas. Before and after my walk, while working at my desk, I listened to a Miles Davis album entitled "Kind of Blue". This is considered the greatest jazz album in the history of jazz. Even if you think you don't like jazz, you would like this. I even played it for my mother once and she liked it. "Kind of Blue" is what I consider traditional jazz. It was recorded in 1959 with a band of legendary jazz musicians that included John Coltrane, another giant in the world of jazz. Admittedly, I am more of a rock and roller but when I used to go to Grateful Dead concerts, they played Miles Davis over the PA system during breaks and many of their jams where inspired by his music, especially his "Sketches of Spain album. Miles is a legendary figure who, sadly, died back in the 90's. He was...and is...my favorite jazz musician. Check this out in your leisure time>http://www.milesdavis.com.

Once, one of my music friends, knowing my interest in spirituality, asked me, "Do you think music is spiritual"? My answer? Absolutely! I think music, and art in general, are deeply spiritual. If religion could generate as much emotional feeling, enthusiasm, and joy as most concerts, the churches would be packed. I have listened to almost every kind of music, and I have attended many live concerts in my life. Sometimes it was just entertainment and a pleasant evening. Many other times, though, it was a religious experience. It wasn't just my ears that were affected. My heart and my soul and my entire emotional being was moved. I felt that way this past Sunday when I was lost in the music of a solo cello player. I have felt like this in the group mind experience of a Grateful Dead concert. I have listened to poets with guitars whose words deeply moved me. I have sat in monastery churches where the sounds of flutes, harps, trumpets, and huge pipe organs sounded heavenly. I got misty eyed at a Paul McCartney concert as I called to mind how important and meaningful the music of the Beatles was during my coming of age years. I know I am not alone when I say that the right music in the right place at the right time with the right people can touch and move every part of me. Although different people of different ages and maybe with different cultural backgrounds may enjoy different kinds of music, I have never seen anything in life that can bring people together like music. How can that not be spiritual?

Here's a poem by a spiritual guru named Sri Chinmoy.

His soulful music expressed His aspiration,
His realisation and his oneness with the Universal Consciousness.
God's favourite sound is the sound of His inner Music.
This inner Music Is the music of earth's transformation and humanity's life-perfection.

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