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Sri Chinmoy

Music and Meditation

“Music transcends the barriers of nations, nationalities and religions. It is through music that the universal feeling of oneness can be achieved in the twinkling of an eye.”
    – Sri Chinmoy.

Have you ever wondered about the realm of spirituality and consciousness and intuition while playing or performing on a musical instrument and pondered on how to get in touch with these capacities more easily? It’s that lovely realm that we sometimes access when we go beyond technique and mind and become one with the music itself, as though we ourselves are an instrument and some beauty that is not our own is flowing through us. Athletes call it ‘being in the zone’ – a rapture of pure consciousness when the mind is free of all thought, constraint, self-consciousness and everything we do flows from some deeper part of our being. The ego ‘I’ that separates musician from music has gone and we have become the music itself.

The artist Paul Klee compared the artist-performer to a tree and wrote,

“From the root, the sap rises up into the artist, flows through him, flows to his eye. Overwhelmed and activated by the force of the current, he conveys his vision into his work. And yet, standing at his appointed place as the trunk of the tree, he does nothing other than gather and pass on what rises from the depths. He neither serves nor commands – he transmits. His position is humble. And the beauty at the crown is not his own; it has merely passed through him.”

How can we gain access to this intuitive and deeper part of our being? Meditation is the easiest way that I know. This is the process where we learn to cultivate an absolute stillness in our mind and body and by gradually mastering any one of a number of possible techniques such as concentrating our awareness on our breath, we can enter into a much deeper and more intuitive part of our being.

My own interest in meditation was greatly heightened when in the mid 1980’s I attended a free concert featuring the musician-composer and renowned spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy. It was at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York city and I had heard much of Sri Chinmoy’s music from a pianist friend.