Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Where the F*CK is that music coming from? (hint: open your eyes…)

Last night I went to an amazingly turned-on event in Tribeca with lots of great men and women in the health and coaching business. Afterwards, since the night was warm, I decided to take a stroll north and see where the road took me.

I made my way to Soho, when I began to hear music: the beating of a drum and the clang of hand symbols. It sounded far off, but not so far that I couldn’t easily get to it by foot. I strolled on and as it got closer, I began to look in the distance. Perhaps if there were a crowd of people that would let me know where the impromptu concert was happening. I got closer and the music got louder and I could hear a call and response chant going on. “Oh! So it’s a kirtan,” I thought. Perhaps there is a yoga studio or large loft nearby and they have the window open for the whole neighborhood to hear the concert. Spring St…Prince St…I keep walking north. Step by step the music got louder (even to the point where I feel it almost next to me), but I can’t seem to find a location. Not just to the right or left, but all around. I look up in windows. I look for the crowd in the distance. And the music just gets louder and louder…I can feel it almost thrumming underneath my skin…I am getting obsessed with it by now. I have to know. Where is this fucking music coming from? I’ve been hearing it for blocks now. I should have come upon it by now!

I’m just about to get to Houston when it hits me…BAM! There are five people walking on the sidewalk. They have been ahead of me for some time and I have only just caught up to them. Four men and one woman. One of the men has a drum. The others have hand symbols and all are chanting. They are in regular clothes (not long white robes as I had envisioned), so they easily blend in with the crowd. In that moment I was literally shocked into how blind I was. The whole time I was looking in windows, looking for a the crowd, trying to pinpoint exactly where that damn music was coming from and it was right there…right in front of me the whole time. Yes, moving. Yes, blending in. Yes, not drawing a big crowd. But if I hadn’t been looking all over the place for the usual signs or staring off way in the distance, I would have discovered that the music and I were walking along the same path rather near each other for some time.

I thought it to be a great metaphor for our desire. There are times when we hear the music of our desire and we get annoyed. “How dare those assholes make such a ruckus in my streets,” and then we turn away (or call the cops, aka mind saboteurs that kill our desire). Other times we hear the music and we completely ignore it. We are too cool to care. “Ah, whatever…let the crazy people have their music. I’m fine right here with my nachos and margaritas and cigarettes.” And then there are those of us who hear the call. The music is the only thing we hear. But where we get stuck is in looking ahead to the future to find the source. Or we use other people or objects as a reference point for helping us to locate our desire. Or we have an expectation about how it “should” look, so we are searching all over the place rather than seeing its true form. In fact, we are always walking with our desire. It’s right in front of us in the present moment. We can have it now. Truly living a turned-on life means acknowledging that desire exists, being willing to approve of it without expectation and opening your eyes to beat inside of you RIGHT HERE AND NOW. It is your compass on the journey…

So slow down. Listen. Let your gaze relax into the stillness of the present moment. Can you hear the music within? Stay connected to that source and you will no longer have to strain your eyes or rush ahead to try to figure life out. You will simply be dancing…

Photo copyright Candice Holdorf. Masada, Dead Sea, Israel.

1 comment:

  1. This is really applicable even to a composer, such as I am, when it comes to discovering the music within. Like your crowd of camouflaged yet right-in-plain-sight band of musicians, musical material and creative output, too, feels elusive yet obvious, falling prey only to that voice that says "something that obvious can't be all that good" or "it's not cool enough to be written down" or "no one else is listening but me..."

    This image is a lovely analogy therefore for what my creative process is sometimes like. Searching for inspiration rather than just writing what comes easily and naturally because, obviously, what comes easily and naturally is low-brow/simplistic/derivative/nonsense...etc. As an example, it could take me weeks to write something I find to be a meaningful art song only to trash it days later for being jejune when I uncover it's derivations, yet I can, right now, compose, today, a hero theme that could appear in a movie, because I am not at all concerned with derivativeness - ALL film composers are derivative. The point therein is that THIS music is the music that is there all along. Looking in the windows for the 'right' music, the 'real' music, the 'deeper' ideas may end up being fruitless and frustrating at best and paralyzing at worst.

    The music existed, for you (and for all time), for the sake of being. The crowds are irrelevant. When the crowds are the goal, the music stops being itself. In my opinion.

    Did you join in?