Music Matters

November 5, 2013

I am just back from one of those powerful, ‘full of power’ week-long conferences. You know what I mean, events that renew your body, mind and spirit. Upon returning, I’ve experienced the familiar frustration of naming this “power” to those pressing me for its meaning.

​I found myself focussing on the leader, a typical fall back position. After all, the leader is up front, visible, the one most easy to blame or commend. I chose commending. I spoke of her inner freedom to offer fully who she is, her clarity of thought, her humor, her generosity and other such glowing, yet nebulous words. I gave some examples. I drew a few mental pictures.

​But, upon reflection, it was the “music” that empowered me. She helped us make music together. Her vulnerability invited ours. Her self-giving invited ours. Her wisdom invited ours. The power is from what happened between us — the invisible, immeasurable, mysterious — like a symphony. I most enjoyed what flowed through her, much like the music that flows through the violin and violinist in concert with other musicians.

​Then I remembered a quote from Anthony DeMello in Awareness. I pulled down from my shelf this favorite book in former years, leafed the pages, finding these words:

“What I really enjoy is not you; it’s something that’s greater than both you and me. It is ​something that I discovered, a kind of symphony, a kind of orchestra that plays one ​melody in your presence, but when you depart, the orchestra doesn’t stop. When I meet ​someone else, it plays another melody, which is also very delightful. And when I’m ​alone, it continues to play. There’s a greater repertoire and it never cease to play.” ​(p.54)

​That’s it. That’s the deeper truth. Last week I experienced a symphony, many variations on a theme, with numerous players involved and — yes, an authentic, skillful maestro leading us all.

​Then my mind jumped to another memory:

The surprise came at the end of a banjo lesson. Cary Fridley, my teacher, began describing the ​work involved in “cutting” her next CD: recruiting musicians, practicing privately, practicing ​together again and again — all in preparation for the final recording session coming up ​the next week.

​“I get increasingly anxious as we approach the recording,” she admitted.

​“Well,” I asked, “what helps you with your anxiety?”

​Her response was profound beyond her knowing.“When I can get to that place within myself ​and with others where the music is more important than me, then I am not anxious.”

​Maybe the music is what’s important, what really matters — the Music we experience through others; the Music others experience through us. Name it Love, Grace, Spirit, God, Sacred, Christ, as I am prone to do. But today Music is my word of choice.