Music is where Reason meets Love

The highest function of reason is to reason itself out of a job.  Nowhere can you experience this as clearly as through music.

Reason is a function of the mind.  It is most active when we get away from our feelings about things and just deal with information.  It is neither sympathetic nor unsympathetic, just generally intelligent and rational.  Reason is the mind at its finest.

Yet the mind is like the captain of a ship, pouring over charts and logs, always plotting.  Alas, it miss-takes its genuine ability to observe and describe and direct for having control over what it sees.  Often all we can do on our journey is batten the hatches when there’s a storm, or catch some rays on good sunny days.  The mind is in fact but a passenger.  And moreover, in truth, there is no boat.

A co-worker once asked me, “What’s your favorite thing in the whole world?”  It took me a year to come up with my answer: A Song That Moves.  Moves my heart, makes me want to dance, and moves me even more deeply.  In the fantastic documentary Bluegrass Journey, songwriter Tim O’Brien comments something like, “Music gives people the chance to take some time and think about the really important things in life.”  When your mind is quiet for a while, suddenly, gradually, you may notice feeling lighter, easier.  Perhaps you can feel the whisper that somehow all’s right with the world.  Can our linear minds & brains help us get to this ephemeral, etherial place?

Yes.  My two favorite ways are through listening to and playing music, and giving and receiving energy work.

In 2003 I graduated from the four-year program at the Wakepoint School of Energy Healing (  Words often fail to capture what I learned there.  I used to tell people that in some ways it was as if I had believed with utter certainty that aliens didn’t exist, was then abducted, and now had to come to terms with a dizzying new reality.

I uncovered what it seems like every romantic knows, what every child knows, every mystic and shaman, passionate scientists at the top of their game, snowboarders on the perfect run, artists and musicians at the height of their craft, et al knows: there is something unseen and hard to name that is very real and nearly incomprehensible that is with us all the time, that can be leaned on and counted on.  Among its hallmarks are a feeling of compassionate connection to all things, a reduction of stress, a sense of well-being and freedom, a harmony and synchronicity in the events in our lives.

People like myself who have this experience come to hold the conviction that everything that exists must be and is made of the energy of Love itself.  The best that the mind can do to support this, for it is way beyond the mind to coordinate the machinations off everything in existence.  Only by opening and emptying – becoming a passenger on the boat – can we tap into and experience the typically unseen world of energy.

Music embodies this experience.  How did Miles Davis’ legendary ‘Rhythm Section’ know to change tempos so wildly and spontaneously?  How did the Beatles captivate their frenzied audiences?  How does a soloist know how to let the notes of a perfect spontaneous solo fly so freely?  Some call it talent, some call it practice, others call it mystical, I call it natural.  When a musician, like a child at play, relaxes their mind they suspend judgments, comparisons, criticism, and other attempts to control or ‘make perfect’ what they’re doing.   In this state of acceptance they are able to rest more comfortably in something else that is larger and more capable.  I identify that boat as our heart or our soul, and the water it floats in as Love.

Music is an art form that comes from both our heads and our hearts.  Healthy hearts are characterized by passion, compassion, warmth, love, understanding of ourselves and others, and caring in our relationships.  Good music can be reasoned down into all of its component parts – instruments, notes, rhythms, melody, etc – but in the end the magical sum of its parts results in wonderment.  It has a power like the arch of a solar flare – both fleeting and awesome – that makes it so enduring.  Like love.

When music comes from the heart the mind takes a backseat.  Like all art, it is created from a place in us that is hard to explain.  Some might say it doesn’t come from within us at all, but through us.  As a musician I have to let go of understanding, controlling and directing what I’m doing to do it well.  Despite all its hard work, my mind eventually – inevitably – works itself out of a job.   This is where reason meets love.  The captain has seen that is just a passenger on the boat.

And in truth, there is no boat.  But that, perhaps, is another story.

Published in: on April 23, 2009 at 12:58 am  Leave a Comment  
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