Way, way back in the day, I used to play bass guitar. Played a little lead and rhythm guitar too but mostly bass. Tried singing once also, but oh dear, the less said about that experience the better.
Music is quite something though. Truly. It’s a vehicle like no other; music can literally take you into the mystic. Carlos Santana said that musicians work “In a field of mystical resonance, sound and vibration … that’s what makes people cry, laugh and feel their hair stand up …” Music does all those things. Everyone has experienced it.
U2’s, Bono said that, Music can change the world because it can change people. I think that’s going a bit too far, but it can most certainly help. Music is in many ways like meditation. That is to say, music transports you from the outer to the inner, as happens in meditation.
Listening to good music, you are suddenly transported into the Self. You forget everything. Everything melts away, your troubles, your work, your relationships. You become one with the Self. Music does that. Great music definitely, does that.
You know how when you watch musicians perform, they gyrate, contort their faces and whatnot? A good friend, who is an outstanding guitarist tells me he has no idea that he’s doing any of that when he is on stage playing, “I just feel the music,” he tells me.
Could it be that musicians are Sages? That instead of books and speeches they teach and touch the masses through sounds? Could that be why after a period of almost extreme activity they become quiet? Reclusive. Could that be because once they have said what they have come here to say it is time to exit the limelight, leave the stage, so to speak. Is that why many die young? When you have said all there is to say, what purpose is there left?
Many artists, writers and musicians are truly tortured souls. Why is that? Why is it that those who bring so much love and joy and beauty and hope into the lives of so many are tortured themselves? Could it be perhaps they know and see and feel the Truth, but are stuck, as it were, here, in hell?
French poet, Arthur Rimbaud, who wrote a the classic poem, A Season in Hell, puts it this way:
“A poet makes himself a visionary through a long, boundless, and systematized disorganization of all the senses. All forms of love, of suffering, of madness; he searches himself, he exhausts within himself all poisons, and preserves their quintessences. Unspeakable torment, where he will need the greatest faith, a superhuman strength, where he becomes all men the great invalid, the great criminal, the great accursed–and the Supreme Scientist! For he attains the unknown! Because he has cultivated his soul, already rich, more than anyone! He attains the unknown, and if, demented, he finally loses the understanding of his visions, he will at least have seen them! So what if he is destroyed in his ecstatic flight through things unheard of, unnameable: other horrible workers will come; they will begin at the horizons where the first one has fallen!”
Rimbaud talks about a poet, but could not, my dear reader, he be talking about anyone? You included?
Everyone has their own art. I just picked up a pair of my favourite boots, Old Gringos, they are, from a shoe repair guy. The soles needed a little attention. He did an absolutely magnificent job, this shoe repair guy. When I told him I thought his work was magnificent, he smiled and imply replied, I Love my work. Is he not an artist?
Is the guy who repairs your car, and does it well, not an artist? Or a brickie? A seamstress? A carer for the aged? A nurse. A hospital cleaner?
Everyone has their own art. It’s just that some care so much they become superstars at it.
What’s your art, dear reader? What’s your soul music? And do you care? Do you love it?