May BLESSINGS OF THE SILENCE ever be yours! May your soul sing! for each of us has a soul-song deep within the silence of our hearts.
Like laughter, music can help put us into NOW like nothing else can. And it can ennoble and lift up the NOW to where it belongs -- to the sublime. The beat, the rhythm, the measured time that is transparent in every fine musical work speaks to the subconscious rhythm of our very souls. Music as a part of a prayer-walking experience can hold wonders for us ... and these wonders just ARE.
Music is a part of life, not separate from it; and life itself is musical with its rhythms, variations of themes, episodes, fugues, counterpoints, consonances and dissonances, cadences, silences, and tonalities. When we listen to music, we are contemplating the very structures and colors that make up our own lives. The music we play mirrors the music we live.
One day when Francis was walking in the woods, he was so filled with delight at the beauty of the world that he wished to express his gratitude with music. He had no violin, so he picked up two sticks and began to play. Birds sang and animals came out and danced. Far-fetched, you say? Perhaps only those who believe that animals dance can hear the violin music of two twigs.
We live in a world of sound
We are sound
We are singers,
born into this world to sing our song
The old language speaks with purity
through the songs of our feelings
Resonating from the core
to fill the vastness of our being.
The world of violins and flutes, of horns and cellos, of fugues, scherzos and gavottes, obeyed laws which were so clear that all music seemed to speak of God. My body was not listening, it was praying. My spirit no longer had bounds, and if tears came to my eyes, I did not feel them running down because they were outside me. I wept with gratitude every time the orchestra began to sing. A world of sounds for a blind man, what sudden grace! The inner world made concrete.
In the next stage of our collective evolution it is the hearts of individuals that will hold the cosmic note of the planet. This note can be recognized as a song being born within the hearts of seekers. It is a quality of joy that is being infused into the world. It is the heartbeat of the world and needs to be heard in our cities and towns.
One night we visited camp for devotional songs. One man would start the first line of the song, his companions joining in. Then the women would begin, huddling together under their dark wool, keening their lungs out... It was as if they took a spiritual bath in the music, their troubles washed away with songs as old as the subcontinent. How comforting it must be to pass through life's storms always with the support of the group infusing every action and every thought with one voice extending down through the generations, saying,
"It is all right. We are all here. There is no such thing as alone."
Elected Silence, sing to me
And beat upon my whorled ear,
Pipe me to pastures still and be
The music that I care to hear.
The universe is a perfect, pulsating, rhythmic mechanism that sings the music of the spheres.
I remember as a boy standing at the side of a gorge watching the swift, shallow water and a girl standing in it up to her knees. Everything was settled and at peace in the sunlight. As I watched the hills began to sing -- I could hear them as an indistinct choir. Then they began to shimmer and dance. It seemed clear that we were linked -- hills and humans -- in a deep, objective way. And this connection made life true, and my usual fears irrelevant.
I know that we hear God in the silence. And for this reason, it is crucial to avail ourselves of silence. For there is a sound in silence that is the voice of God. There is that divine whisper.
Driving home on a rainy day, Lorna was rear-ended by a truck just before the woman playing Rosina in Act I of the Barber of Seville was to sing. The impact was sudden and stunning. "But even as I entered a world of shock and pain, I found a world of bliss and order. I listened to the aria and fifteen minutes of the opera as firemen tried to free me from the wreckage of my car." Though told she had been unconscious until she was in the ambulance, she remembered listening to Rosina's voice throughout the ordeal. "My spirit stayed with my body. The music kept me alive. I was able to listen and stay conscious, alert, and at peace with the music. ... From the beginning of that aria, I knew I had to finish the opera of my life."
Music is, and always will be, a method used by beings to bring about a unity between different vibrations, causing a harmonious note to the ear. In mystical fashion, one endeavors to achieve the same result with our intermingling vibrations of polarity. The thread, which binds in harmony, is the "music of the spheres." Its song plays continuously, but our ears cannot hear, unless our soul is tuned in.
Essentially neuter, silence, like light or love, requires a medium to give it meaning, takes on the color of its host, adapts easily to our fears and needs. Quite apart from whether we seek or shun it, silences orchestrate the music of our days... If it's true that all symphonies end in silence, it's equally true that they begin there as well. Silence, after all, both buries and births us, and just as life without the counterweight of mortality would mean nothing, so silence alone, by offering itself as the eternal Other, makes music possible.