Tag Archives: music

Be an Instrument of Light

Although the HOW and WHAT vary over time, for me, the WHY of writing is a given. It’s a calling.

Whenever I doubt or become distracted by immediate daily concerns, the inner voice that guides me (call it what you will), sends messages to steer me back on course. Sometimes they’re subtle – even comical. Other times, they hit with the force of incoming bricks. (Maybe you know the feeling.)

Here’s a good example.

I tell it, by the way, because it’s not just about me. More importantly, it’s about you too. So . . . please stay with me.

One day, a couple of years ago by now, I was on the way to the grocery store when the van I was driving took a sharp turn in a different direction. (Sometimes it seems to have a mind of its own : )

It pulled up in front of a Dollar Store. So I decided to take a look around.

As I walked through the aisles, what caught my eye was a small table lamp. It was okay. And I did need a reading light for my bed stand.

But there was no room for extras on my card. I counted out my pocket change to see what I could afford.

I had $6.26. Down to the last penny, that was the exact cost of the lamp. An “all-in” moment. I was being asked, as an act of faith, whether I was willing to give everything I had in exchange for this lamp.

It seemed like the thing to do.

guitar lamp.sized

As you can see, it works fine. The lamp shade is opaque. It appears to be black. But when I turn on the switch, electricity shines through, making it brightly translucent.

I liked the guitar motif, but didn’t get the hidden message for quite a while. Then, Click!

I should have known. Being a string player, the message was tailor-meant for me.

During my musician-yoga years, I’d actually outlined a book, The Body as Instrument: How To Tune It. Did you know that string instruments are modeled on human anatomy? They vibrate the same way we do, which explains our resonance with music.

It’s no accident that violin parts are called the back, belly, neck and head. Strings (which used to be gut) are stretched across the neck. They resonate with an underlying sounding board called the spine.

There’s much more. But here’s the point. Going deep into music, I discovered that there were important similarities between me and my violin. I too am an instrument. One that needs tuning.

In essence, my guitar lamp was an answer to unspoken doubts about writing, confirming the call to “be an instrument of light.” Cool.

But I still continue to unpack the meaning. Is writing the way to serve? I could just as easily be a light in my daily life, in the conduct of my ordinary responsibilities. Becaring the humans and dogs I love. Making meals. Doing laundry. Running errands.

Who’s interested in light, anyway? Most humans are hidden away in Platonic, cave-like normalcy. Historically, they kill light bearers. They certainly shun inspired messages, or else imitate them, adding spin to negate the message.

There are, however, small windows in time when catastrophes make it suddenly “convenient” to hear truth. My thought for a long time has been, prepare. Put the writing in place, so when the opening occurs, what’s needed is ready and available.

book header bird

I’ve waited several years to write about the lamp because its hidden messages are still unpacking. Now, taking it to next level, the connection with you becomes clear.

I’ll give you the Aha conclusion first, then back up to show how I got there.

God is not

and could not possibly be

dead.

Being made in the image of God,

YOU are the living proof

of God’s existence.

(How convoluted and ironic is this? Though made in God’s image, we have the free will to hide from our Creator and deny the very being which our existence mirrors, upon which our lives depend.)

Nevertheless. The truth cannot be altered. Each of us is the embodied form of a musical instrument. Even if, for any multitude of reasons, your light is switched off right now, you still have the innate potential to conduct electricity (energy, prana, chi) that in turn transforms into light.

Ancient Hindus mapped the internal energy transformers knows as chakras [“wheels].” Know how to activate them, they taught. You’ll experience enlightenment.

Throughout time, various systems have reached the same conclusion, though using different avenues to reach the same destination.

If that were not enough, there’s more. Did you know that each and every part of our anatomy is a fractile-like mirror of the whole?

Maps of the front and back of the head catalog pressure points which correlate with every other part of the body. Stimulate one and corresponding internal organs throughout the body resonate with healing effect.

face & head.jpg

Similarly, complete correlations are mapped for the hands, for the feet, for the eyes, ears and tongue.

hands & feet

As such, the human physical body is a magically redundant fail-safe system. If you’re hurt in one place, you have a full-spectrum range of distant locations from which to choose. Use one or any combination of sites to intercept and remedy what ails you.

A few of us are natural healers. We intuitively know how to regenerate from injuries, often with remarkable speed. But most have forgotten. The maps, much less the sciences which explain their effectiveness, are not within the range our limited, fractured belief systems currently allow.

Why? Who does it serve, that we’ve been so alienated and cut off from the magical inner workings of our miraculous, musical bodies?

The Egyptians knew about subtle anatomical correspondences. Sages in China and India based their healing practices on them. Though suppressed by the politics of unnatural Western science, the facts now packaged as “reflexology” are available for you to act on, if you to so choose.

It may well be that, given the inevitable, coming collapse, it will suddenly once again become convenient —  perhaps even urgently necessary — to seek out and restore what we’ve relegated to the outer limits of conscious awareness. We have untold, as yet unknown resources for obtaining information, guidance and healing — if and when we are sufficiently motivated to heed them.

In 2014, I put it this way in Rethinking Survival:

I’m now convinced that the Life Wheel imaged as the Positive Paradigm of Change is the ultimate answer to the ancient ultimate question. It’s the literal proof that humans are made in the image of the Creator — the microcosm resonates with the macro. I AM that I AM.

Put another way, “God don’t make no junk.” In this context, the exhortation, “Ye must be perfect like your Father in Heaven” makes perfect sense.

Just as Einstein had the Unified Field Theory, but didn’t know it, each and every one of us on the planet is perfect in potential: made in God’s image. But we’ve forgotten.

And tyrants want you to sleep on. They’ll do anything to prevent you from remembering that you’re inherently okay. Because once you do, as Einstein did, no one can intimidate, control or dominate you. You’re aware that nothing anyone has for sale can make you more perfect. Nor can anything that anyone threatens to take away alter your essential okayness.

It’s your inalienable birthright. A given.

The Positive Paradigm is the viable basis upon which to build valid self-esteem. It’s the key to personal freedom — freedom from ignorance, freedom from fear. It’s the rock-solid foundation of functional relationships/community. It’s grounds for rethinking what the word “freedom” really means and how to implement its promise.

One minor caveat: it all depends. While we all have the option to remember who we truly are, most of us are like Lambert, the Sheepish Lion. It takes a smack with a two-by-four upside the head before we’re finally ready to wake up. Often it takes the form of life-threatening danger to those we care for. A personal health crisis will also do the trick. So will job loss or a run-in with natural disaster.

But, like Dorothy stranded in the Land of Oz, when you want dearly enough to return “home,” you can click your heels whenever you chose — and come to find out, you’re already there.

girl w guitar sized

Let’s back up a little. Let’s play a round of the board game, Survivor. A card is picked from the deck. The card’s question is read out loud. Each person around the table has to answer the question.

Here’s one. The situation posed is, After the Collapse, you want to join up with a community. Resources are scarce. There’s not enough room for everyone who wants in. The leader asks, “What skills do you have to contribute? Why is it worth our while to choose you?”

What’s your answer? Are you in good health? In the absence of well-equipped modern hospitals and pharmacies, could you survive? Have you made yourself familiar with and competent to practice traditional healing skills, able to maintain your health? Are you qualified to heal others and/or teach others to heal themselves?

If/when the grid goes down, are you to prepared serve as an instrument of light? As the next dark age continues to advance, do you have the strength of will to stand tall in the face of evil forces threatening to destroy all you hold dear?

Have you ever even thought about preparing for the inevitable, or the consequences of failing to do so?

Just asking.

11th hour

Maybe my calling as an instrument of light is simply to remind you that you are too – if and when you choose to remember who you truly are. And to warn you that crunch time is upon us. The time to wake up to your unlimited potentials is NOW . . or never.

Angel Calling

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WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET

After months of over nights engrossed in writing Rethinking Survival, the kaleidescope has turned. Time to put on another hat. It’s now or never. Give form to thought. First I produced the Kindle version and now the paperback edition. Quite a strenuous project. A friend likened it to giving birth.

Tonight, Friday, December 27th of the waning year 2013, I’m waiting for final approval of the submitted book. How, then, do I announce this new arrival? It’s full of hope for the New Year, yet so fragile in its uncertain future.

When I draw on my memory banks for the best way to describe my concern, I’m remembering a powerful experience from Oberlin years. It was the mid 1960’s. I was a college Freshman. The occasion was a performance of Brahm’s A German Requiem.

I was seated towards the back of the upper balcony in Finney Chapel. This 19th century, church-like assembly hall was fitted with wooden pews and a large front stage. The Conservatory Orchestra and College Choir were seated up front. The chapel was filled to capacity with a mix of students, faculty and “townies.”

The Requiem wasn’t new to me. As a member of the Festival Choir at Interlochen’s National Music Camp, I’d actually participated in an earlier concert. So the power of the music was reinforced with memories of intense rehearsals.

The unforgettable, dirge-like opening weighs on the soul with its ponderous message of mortality. ” . . . all flesh is as grass, and the glory of man like flowers. The grass withers and the flower falls.”

But at Oberlin, I had the misfortune to be seated behind a clique of music students. (Conservatory students called their building the Con. We called them “Connies.”) They were remarkably oblivious to the solemnness of the Requiem. Throughout, they showed off their cleverness by critiquing the performance. In stage whispers, hissing derogatory remarks. A soloist’s pitch was off. The conductor’s tempo was too slow.

However, right next to them, ignoring the Connies entirely, sat a single listener, engrossed in his attention to the music. His right elbow rested on the pew before me, his hand resting on his chin, as if deep in thought. I could actually hear his wind-up wristwatch ticking in time to the morbid music. It took my breath away. It seemed as if the watch was in synch with the Brahms, confirming the shortness of human life on Earth. The countdown clock was ticking for those with an ear to hear.

Were the Connies rude? That was the least of it! They’d totally missed what Brahms had labored to communicate to us from an earlier century. What a loss.

Were they correct in their technical assessments? Maybe, so far as it went. I wouldn’t know. Because I was listening for the music, not the mistakes. This was my choice.

I made this decision at Interlochen while attending student concerts there. On the one hand, I realized, I could listen with my physical ears, focusing on the limitations of amateur musicians. But that approach would have driven me crazy. I’d have made myself miserable.

On the other hand, I could listen with the heart. I could open myself to what the composer heard with the inner ear and done his best to express in the language of music. I could admire the energy of enthusiastic, sincere students who loved the music and were doing their very best, however imperfectly, to measure up to it. That was the beneficial path of gratitude and enjoyment.

In the English language, we use the same word for both the piece of paper upon which physical notes are printed . . . the sheet music . . . and for the music itself. In contrast, in the German language of the Requiem, two different words are used to distinguish between the notation and the actual sound.

Just so, I agreed with myself not to worry so much for the technical notes, but instead to focus on the actual music. I chose to listen with the inner ear to hear what the composer intended and what merely human musicians labored to recreate. Here Brahms was reminding us with his dark, brooding music that mankind, as numerous as blades of grass on the face of the earth, is perilously mortal. Like flowers, all human greatness ultimately comes to naught.

But the Connies missed it in their chit chat, hearing only with their physical ears.

This memory serves to illustrate the choices available for approaching Rethinking Survival. It’s my best hope that readers will meet me half way — that they’ll focus not on the book’s technical mistakes but on its substance and value. This book is about survival in the very literal sense of the term. And like the Requiem, it balances short-term warnings with long-term hope. Brahms completes his reminder of mortality with the confirmation of immortality: “The word of the Lord endures for eternity.” Rethinking Survival mirrors this balance.

In short, what I’m offering is the very best I could do given limited time and finite resources. For the sake of the message, I urge readers to forgive an imperfect messenger for the sake of the message. Because what you see is what you get — either a powerful paradigm or a less than perfect physical book. Your choice.

 

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