March 2016 (Vol. XXIX, No. 3)

Dear Friends ~ The world we perceive with our senses is resplendent with texture and color and form. I am in love with this tangible world–the one of weight and substance, the one I can hold and stand upon, see and touch. And yet the iridescent blue in a butterfly’s wing comes not from pigment but from the way light bounces off myriad tiny scales, one wavelength converging on another, the unseen world creating color in the perceived world. There is a pulse beneath the flesh and blood, a resonance even within the stone, that cannot be explained. The alchemy of unseen interactions is at play and we humans need help in order to perceive them. Perhaps that is why music penetrates so deeply into our souls–because it is so much more than the wood of the instrument, the vibration of the strings, the touch of fingertips. A doorway through our senses into mystery, it can take us beyond everyday perception into the realm of feeling and of wonder.

I am the string in the concert of God's joy

As Jacob Boehme puts it, "I am a string in the concert of God’s joy."... We need to experience our own personal aliveness as part of that greater cosmic aliveness...When I become "a string in the concert of God’s joy," I am "sounded through" by the music, and in that sounding, in harmonic resonance with all the other instruments, is revealed both my irreplaceable uniqueness and my inescapable belonging.

~ from THE WISDOM WAY OF KNOWING by Cynthia Bourgeault

Music is medicine for the soul

Music is medicine for the soul and a pathway to the heart.

~ from TALES OF THE WOUNDED HEALER by Maria Fenton Gladis

The music of our souls

May the music of our souls
Be accompanied by grand gestures
And the persistent clapping of hummingbird’s wings.

~ from a prayer by Lisa Colt in WOMAN PRAYERS

We must pass through solitude and difficulty

We must pass through solitude and difficulty, isolation and silence, to find that enchanted place where we can dance our clumsy dance and sing our sorrowful song. But in that dance, and in that song, the most ancient rites of our conscience fulfill themselves in the awareness of being human.

~ from "Letters of Solitude" in The Spirit of the Earth v. 5, no. 2

I live by breathing in and breathing out

I live by breathing in and breathing out. I sing by transforming this breath into sound, the sound which in turn forms the material for contents of the soul. Our life stretches from morning until evening, from dusk to dawn embracing the night...In these elements the soul rises and falls in equal measure between above and below, between light and dark. The human voice is based on the same elements.

~ Alfred Wolfsohn

Hosts of warbling sparrows keep repeating Your name

My Lord,
Lord of the mountain grove,
At dawn
Hosts of warbling sparrows
Sing a song.
They keep repeating
Your name.

~ Andal, India, 8th c. from WOMAN PRAYERS

Music still inside us

Most of us go to our graves with our music still inside us.

~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

Where I become a part of nature's song

There is a quiet place I know where nature sings to me the music of the mountains and the forest and the sea. It is not far away, and yet it sometimes seems a place removed from daily life, a distant dream of time and space. I have been lost in city streets, in traffic fast and loud, where sirens scream and nature’s voice is drowned out by the crowd. And so I go to seek that place where I become a part of nature’s song–that quiet place I’ve found within my heart.

~ Paul Conrad

Silence is disturbing

Silence is disturbing because it is the wavelength of the soul. If we leave no space in our music, then we rob the sound we make of defining context...It’s almost as if we’re afraid of leaving space. Great music is as often about the space between the notes as it is about the notes themselves...What I’m trying to say here is that if I’m ever asked if I’m religious, I always reply, "Yes, I’m a devout musician." Music puts me in touch with something beyond intellect, something otherworldly, something sacred.

~ "Silence in Music" from a commencement speech by Sting
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