Music and the Soul, 19 & 26



Musicians as Spiritual Teachers


pp. 260-1 musical adepts

p. 260

"When composed macrorhythmically, and performed with attention to the resulting swells of accumulating and dissipating musical energy, it can lead us into states of consciousness that transcend our usual nunderstanding of what it means to be human. Composers

p. 261

or performers who are able to lift us into higher states of consciousness are musical adepts."

pp. 261 & 264 beyond the thinking mind

p. 261

"According to Sri Aurobindo, there are four levels of consciousness beyond the ... thinking mind. These higher levels of levels of consciousness are higher mind, illumined mind, intuitive mind, and overmind."

p. 264

"In the case of composers, it's often possible to determine from their works whether they're operating from the thinking mind, higher mind, illumined mind, intuitive mind, or overmind, and the point in their lives when they moved from one state of consciousness to the next."

p. 262 surrendering to one's soul

"the soul feels alien to the ego ... . This fear can only be overcome by a gradual process of famiiarization in which

the ego gets used to the soul by being frequently exposed to it, for example, through dreams."

{This may indicate that this "soul" is the same as the divine "spirit-guide" (of shamanhood), inasmuch as such "spirit-guide" is usually, and frequently, encountred in dreams.}

"the soul is the source of the life force that sustains the ego.

The ego ... resists the soul ... .

{The candidate being divinely called to the vocation of shamanhood, usually is at first stubbornly resistant.}

The soul then diminishes the amount of life force available to the ego, and the latter suffers ... depression.

{Thereupon, in order to quell such resistance, the deity diminisheth the candidate's health -- mental, physical, or both.}

This fear can only be overcome by ... surrender to ... the soul."

{At length, the candidate for shamanhood is compelled to surrender to the deity.}

"Too much satisfaction, happiness, or ecstasy can cause the ego to ... shut down".

{After surrendering and commencing to practice as a shaman, the new shaman is overwhelmed with satisfaction and happiness.}

{Carl Jung in his Red Book told how his own "soul" demanded (in dreams) that he surrender by publicly repudiating Christianity, and by announcing publicly his conversion to the religion based one's dreamings.}

p. 263 surrendering to the music of musical adepts; being guided by their radiance

"the music of ... the musical adepts ... encodes characteristics of the higher states of consciousness from which it has developed, and transmits them to us. Such transmission either prepares us for that state of consciousness ..., or initiates us directly. In the latter case, we experience a TME.

The works of musical adepts have a special quality ... radiance ... . Such works radiate a wavelike spiritual force that move us ... into spiritual ecstasy. ... When exposed to radiant music, we want ...

to transform our lives, ... so that we may be worthy of the spiritual exaltation in produces in us."

"In Tibetan Buddhism, "divine grace may be received by human beings on earth in the form of

waves radiated by spiritual beings." [Evans-Wentz 1951, p. 96 (note)]

Such "grace-waves" are emanated by gurus, living or dead, or buddhas and bodhisattvas. Their purpose is to lift the recipient from spiritual ignorance into self-transcendence." (Evans-Wentz 1951, p. 282)

Evans-Wentz 1951 = W. Y. Evans-Wentz : Tibet's Great Yogi Milarepa. 2nd edn.

pp. 264-9, 271-2 descriptions of levels of mind

p. 264

"According to Aurobindo [1963, p. 85], the thinking mind is made up "of mingled light and obscurity or half light." It functions on the basis of [1963, p. 80] "inquiring reason or reflective thought" and requires a great deal of intellectual labor to arrive at a sense of the truth."

p. 265

"The true masters of composing from the thinking mind are those who can move fluently between expression, form, and vision, depending on the compositional needs of the moment; or who can combine all three of these modes."

p. 266

"The first range of consciousness beyond the thinking mind is the higher mind, which Aurobindo [1963, p. 85] defined as "a large clarity of the spirit." ... The higher mind is "a luminous thought mind," which is made up "of Spirit-born conceptual knowledge.""

p. 267

"According to Aurobindo [1963, p. 86], the higher mind "seeks to purify through knowledge, to deliver through knowledge, to create by the innate power of knowledge.""

p. 268

"Beyond the higher mind is the illumined mind, which Aurobindo described as "a Mind no longer Thought, but of spiritual light." ... According to Aurobindo [1963, p. 87], the illumined mind involves a "luminous 'enthousiasmos' or inner force and power." This enthusiasm "replaces the ...

p. 269

slow and deliberate process of Higher Mind by a swift, sometimes a vehement, almost a violent impetus of rapid transformation." The illumined mind works on the basis of sudden, spontaneous, seerlike vision".

p. 271

"Beyond the illumined mind is the intuitive mind, which involves what Aurobindo called [1963, p. 90] "revelatory truth-seeing," "inspiration or truth-hearing," "truth-touch or immediate seizing of significance," and an "automatic discrimination of the orderly and exact relation of truth to truth." ... At the level of the intuitive mind, reason steps back and acts "as an

p. 272

observer or registrar." Its purpose is to understand and record the "luminous intimations ..." of the supermind. ... In yogic meditation, the highest truths emerge from a continual sense of self-transcending union ... . Intuition is ... a momentary flash of such identification and understanding."

"Beyond the intuitive mind is the overmind, which Aurobindo described [1963, p. 91] as a "power of cosmic consciousness." The overmind involves [1963, p. 92] an egoless "sense of the universe in oneself or as onself." ... At the level of the overmind, thought, as well as "feelings, emotions, sensations" seem [1963, p. 91] to come into the mind from beyond, as if on "cosmic mind-waves." These waves have their source in the "cosmic immensity" {brahman} of the supermind and seem to break over one's consciousness like oceanic waves."

Aurobindo 1963 = Aurobindo Ghose : The Future Evolution of Man : the Divine Life upon Earth. London, Allen & Unwin.



Achieving TMEs


p. 367 the 3 parts of this book

"The goal of the yoga of listening is ... to achieve transcendental musical experiences (TMEs).

In part 1, "Music and the Soul," I defined TMEs as musical experiences in which one's relationship with some aspect of life ... has been immeasurably enriched or enhanced. ...

In part 2, "The Yoga of Listening," I developed a spiritual practice that allows ... to achieve TMEs through meditative listening to music. ...

In part 3, "Music of the Soul," I explained how composers and performers can become spiritual teachers for us. Through the yogic practice of transmission, the wisdom encoded in their music can be passed on to us ..., thereby enhancing our capacity for TMEs."

pp. 369-70 TMEs of congruence for listeners

p. 369

"Among the outer conditions are the live concert, a large audience, a favorite group [of performers] and song ... . Among the inner conditions are a sense of excitement, personal associations with the music, and ... gratitude and appreciation for the group and the music. I've often found that TMEs occur when a trigger or catalyst brings such inner and outer conditions together, creating a consciousness that I call inner equals outer.

In this state, the listener feels a coincidence, synchronicity, or congruence between her inner and external realities. ...

{Exposition : the "coincidence, synchronicity, or congruence" was divinely arranged. That a mortal witnessing this is duly impressed, is appretiated by the deities, who, as a reward to the mortal, visit upon that mortal a transcendental realization.}

The state of inner equals outer has the four characteristics of a mystical experience described by William James.

First, it's ineffable ... .

Second, it's noe[:]tic, in that it ... allows inner experience to be interpreted in the light of outer experience and vice versa -- each seems to represent or be symbolic of the other. ...

Third, the state of inner equals outer is transient. ...

Finally, the state of inner equals outer is achieved passively".

"the state of inner equals outer occurs when we're feeling connected and at one with our souls. ... When seeing things from the soul's perspective, we may weep ... . As I explained in chapter 3, being moved to tears is a sign

p. 370

that we've experienced a great truth about ourselves or the world. The soul uses our tears to highlight this fact."

pp. 370-1 "blueprint for achieving TMEs as listeners"

p. 370

"First, we should

follow our pleasure. ...

{select music idoneous to our mood}

The music that we love is an outpicturing of our souls."

"Second, we should choose with care the composers and performers who will be our spiritual teachers. The best spiritual teachers in music are those who reflect our highest values and possibilities".

"Third, we should make ourselves ideally receptive to these values, ... by frequent exposure to the favorite music of our chosen teachers."

p. 371

"Finally, in all that we do, we should try to see the soul's perspective on things."

p. 371 analogue of dream-interpretation

"I've learned from years of interpreting my dreams that many events in waking life can be interpreted symbolically as well. The practice of doing so keeps me alert to coincidences and synchronicities, which are often triggers for the state of inner equals outer. As a result of this practice, when listening to music that perfectly matches my inner state, I'm more susceptible to TMEs, a sense of oneness with my soul, and the tears of truth that often accompany the state of inner equals outer."

pp. 371-3 achieving TMEs as performers

p. 371

"My friend .... who plays ... with the Virginia Symphony, has been studying yogic breathing techniques for several years. ... During the concert, he had a TME as a result of breathing in this way. [He] ... experienced a sense ... that the energy of the music was carrying him along. He didn't have to think about the points when he had to begin playing again. ...

The music seemed to be playing itself through his body. ... He says that he was "letting the music play me and relay that to the audience." ...

{A possessing-deity was playing the music through possessing his body.}

While yogic breathing during a performance may be one way of achieving TMEs as performers, an appropriately spiritual attitude is also necessary.

p. 372

Indian classical musician Ravi Shankar once said [1968, p. 57] that the first step in creating transcendental musical experiences in ourselves [as performers] and an audience is for performers to "shut out the world" and "go deep within" themselves. ... According to Shankar,

[quoted] a raga {raga} is ... a living being ... to establish that intimate oneness between music and musician ... . And when that oneness is achieved, it is the most exhilerating and ecstatic moment, ... the supreme heights of ... worship.

In Western music, ... Performers should ... achieve a sense of oneness with the composer by becoming aware of the piece's process configuration and the energy transformations and wisdom encoded within it. Here, too, the result can be ecstatic, a TME that lets the performer know that a merging of minds has occurred between composer and performer. ... In performance, in the words of esotericist Geoffrey Hodson [1976, pp, 18-19], "an instant rapport" can be established with the composer, whether alive or dead, because his music contains "a measure [sufficient to establish the rapport] of his egoic life and consciousness."

Yogic practitioners ... continue to be guided by gurus who have passed on {died}. As noted ..., such guidance takes place telepathically through the {Ajn~a}, or command, center. That center is active in all Western music, encoding within it the telepathic commands {activated-and-mediated by deities} of the composer to feel, think, or see as he or she does. Once the merging of minds has taken place between composer and performer, the yogic act of transmission can take place. The energy transformations encoded in the music ... may be transmitted from the composer, as guru, through the performer to a receptive audience."

Shankar 1968 = Ravi Shankar : My Music, My Life. NY : Simon & Schuster.

p. 373 improvisation and humble devotion

"When music is improvised, as in the genres of jazz and [of] classical Indian music, this transmission occurs directly from performer to listener.

How would jazz differ if the modes and chord changes it employs were considered as living, sacred beings, like ragas {raga-s}?

{To consider thus, would, evidently, be to hold jazz to be an interaction with deities, in a religion of music.}

When the music is composed, the composer is the sacred being {because in communication with deities}. The performers must become vehicles for passing on the wisdom contained in this music, while allowing themselves to be transformed in the process. For this transmission [from composer to performers] to take place, the performers's

attitude must be one of humble devotion ... . ...

{devotion, scil., to the transcendent deities who have sent such down such mighty power to sacrify the composer and to transform

themselves, the performers}

Pathos, joy, peace, spirituality, and eroticism are points on the continuum of human potential. When the centers they represent are fully active, the result may be a TME for performers and audience members alike."

pp. 375-6 performance to induce TMEs

p. 375

"Playing ... music in order to induce TMEs ... requires an ability to capture the luminous waves of energy encoded in it -- the macrorhythmic waves. ... The best way for performers to learn how to bring out these waves is to listen to performances in which they're realized, such as ... the Odeon Trio's recording of Schubert's two Piano Trios ... .

p. 376

The problem of playing ... music in order to induce TMEs seems to be one of recognition, which may require a higher level than average of spiritual development in performers and listeners. For example, I recently heard a recording of the Sixth Brandenburg Concerto of Bach and was surprised to discover that the second movement is an instance of ... compassion. In other performances I've heard of this familiar piece, the second movement was merely ... pretty. ...

Finally, performers interested in inducing TMEs in themselves and an audience should learn how to create a value field. ... The highest values to live by and bring through in one's playing ... include

[quoted from Maslow 1971, pp. 308-9] truth, beauty, goodness, perfection, fairness, ... consistency, ... wholeness, transcendence, uniqueness, effortlessness, significance, .... humor ... ."

pp. 376-7 achieving TMEs as composers

p. 376

"In meditation, she received the message {by "hearing voices"?} "Write their song." Whose song? she she wondered. Her inner guidance told her ... . She thought, "That's a strange message to receive ... ." ... While working on the piece. Ruth had a number of TMEs. ... At times, she felt that the "vibration of love within the music" was so powerful that it "could pop out the windows" in her studio. "A keen sense of connectedness with the universe" developed as she worked, a sense of "the pure light and friendship that connects everything." ...

p. 377

Halfway through completing the project, Ruth received the following information {by "hearing voices"?} while meditating :

At the most subtle and powerful levels of inner light, this gives permission to all who come into the vibration of the music to be free. You have been given this work so that the music is free to roam throughout space and heal ... . ...

Cyril Scott ... might point to ... an example of a deva-inspired composer, the characteristics of which include ... becoming a conduit for the healing power ..., working for the benefit of ... all of life, and establishing a musical bridge between {among} the human, natural, and ethereal realms."

pp. 377-8 composition of music is saintly work

p. 377

"S[.]ufi musician and mystic Hazrat Inayat Khan claimed [1996, p. 4] that "music excells religion, for music raises the soul of man even higher than the so-called external forms of religion."

{So-called "external forms of religion" [impliedly, such so-called "religions" as Christianity and >islam -- are mere travesties of true religion, for they promote tyranny-and-despotism on earth by praetending that such tyranny-and-despotism praevaileth in Heaven (supposedly dominated by a tyrant of a God, instead co-operation of a divine council including aequally all supernatural powers)] are in reality no-religion-at-all, but instead constitute disguised anti-religion.}

For this reason, Inayat Khan ... said [1996, p. 101] that "the work of the composer of music is ... the work of a saint." According to Inayat Khan, more ... is required to achieve this saintly work [of music-composition] : ... Such work should ... be ... "a joy of the highest order." Therefore, composers should ... write ... when

p. 378

the "heart is singing," the "soul is dancing," and the "whole being is in vibrating harmony.""

pp. 378-9 music cometh from above {from the supermind of divine entities}

p. 378

"Aurobindo said that the approach to the supermind must be initiated from above. ... As with any mystical experience, composers can only prepare themselves to receive ... music, hoping for the act of grace that will allow it to come through. ... Whether the source of ... music is {be} ... the cosmic normative balance, angelic devas, or the nature spirits ... The only important thing [for a composer of music] is ... listening {to music resounding from Heaven} and

p. 379

translating both the sound the inner guidance {by a divine spirit-guide} that provides ... with instruction in how to proceed."

pp. 379-80 instance of making a soundtrack for "changing" {transmuting} one's life

p. 379

"Carl's most intense TMEs have been the result of composing his own music. ... He composes by ear using multitrack recording technology ...; and a Kurzweil synthesizer ... . ... Carl's compositional process involves working out the melodic and rhythmic details ... through playing it on Kurzweil keyboard, recording it ... . Once he has "laid down a track" in this way, a "new self comes in from the underside of my consciousness," producing another melody that ... harmonizes with the first one. ... As different aspects of himself come out in this process, each self contributing a melody, what emerges is counterpoint-oriented, yet capable of inducing a trance. ... Carl claims that his songs put him in touch with

archetypal aspects of himself or past lives ... .

{or perhaps, external spirit-guides (which are sometimes referred to as "multiple personalities")}

These selves work together as he composes.

The synergistic wholes created in this way may sound chaotic to other people, he says. But they resonate deeply whenever he listens to them, inducing TMEs in which mystical ecstasy develops ... . ... .

{This multi-track music is able to "resonate deeply" for him, simply because the spirit-guides who provided the tracks for him are listening to the music along with him; and in appretiation to him for his having recorded their simultaneous music-tracks, they grant to him the said "mystical ecstasy". [written Mar 17 2014]}

p. 380

... Carl walked around the Boston area listening to his self-composed music on a Walkman. He was amazed by the number of coincidences and synchronicities he perceived. ... This practice induced TMEs in which

his inner and outer realities became ever more congruent ... . ...

{The outer realities were being made congruent (with the inner realities of the spirit-world) simply because his spirit-guides were controlling the events in the outer world.}

Listening to old self-created soundtracks allows Carl to feel "more connected and whole across time and space," rather than ... "... fragmented ... .""

p. 382 cosmic-consciousness as the norm

"Frequent exposure to the luminous waves of macrorhythmically composed ... music, or [to] ... metarhythmically composed ... music, should help you to achieve TMEs more frequently. The more I listen ..., the deeper my experience of expanded and cosmic consciousness becomes. ...

The music heard in N[ear ]D[eath ]E[xperience]s is a representation of the harmony that exists within the cosmic normative balance. ... One purpose of TMEs may be to help us recognize these moments of heaven-sent music, and to align ourselves with the high harmonies they represent, to bring us into a right relationship with the cosmic normative balance. ... "Norm" is the only composer ..., and listening to music is to get as close to "Norm" as possible."

p. 383 "This is the book ..."

"When I first heard the {divinely-issued} call to become a composer ... there was nothing ... to guide me. This is the book I wish had existed then, to point the way ... . May it be an aid to ... showing ... how to achieve self-transcendence through music, ... in enabling ... transcendent musical experiences. ... In this way, the art of music becomes a mirror, enabling you to see your soul."


Kurt Leland : Music and the Soul : a Listener's Guide to Achieving Transcendent Musical Experiences. Hampton Rds Publ Co, Charlottesville (VA), 2004.