I was listening to my favorite podcast, On Being, and the interview was of Alice Parker, “a composer, conductor, and teacher who’s been shaping the universe of chorale music for most of her 90 years.”
What we miss when we don’t have song is the means of creating a community, of creating a whole out of a group of people. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a group of people in an old folk’s home that can’t really sing anymore, or if it’s a kindergarten classroom, or a nursery school classroom, or a bunch of seventh-grade boys who can be fairly hard to get to function as a unit.
Wherever they are, if you get them on a song, you can establish a kind of group feeling that is really — well, it’s exemplified at its most marvelous after a perfectly wonderful concert when the last note is sound, and you get that silence in the room, which is a silence of completion, which is opposite from an anticipatory silence. But it just means that everyone — it’s as if all of our inner ions have been scheduled to be moving in the same direction at the same time.
I love that, the inner ions all moving in one direction. When I see our bodies as vibrations, as small kalapas that blink on and off constantly, then I love to think of how music affects us. I see the waves of sound moving thought these tiny particles, jostling them around, massaging them. I remember once in deep meditation, I saw myself as these tiny particles and watched as the sound of the rain moved through me, shaking and shimmering these little pieces that made me up.
Maybe that’s what music is doing, pointing all of our particles in the same direction. It feels this way, when I’m playing shows like the ones this past weekend with Zepparella. Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley is a small venue, about 300 capacity. It was built by musicians as a kind of musical jewel box that sounds so good. The ceiling is made of wooden beams and that is the best kind of ceiling in any venue. It lifts away any harsh high frequencies and rounds and warms the whole tone.
I felt the ions in the room, all the kalapas that made up the bodies vibrating together as the audience sang along with the songs. All the particles, all the sound waves, all the energy animating it all, that energy I call love. Not the emotion love, but the energy that lies beneath in a field of infinite awareness.
Maybe this is the beauty of music, that it fills us and reminds us of this infinite consciousness below our ego, our self. Maybe this is the beauty of music, that the waves that move through you then move through me, and they wrap us up and connect us on a sub-atomic level. It certainly feels this way when we are together, moved by a song. It certainly feels this way when we sing together, when we blend our voices.
I’ve been thinking that maybe all of the division and difficulty of the past years are here to spotlight these truths. To show that we are more connected than we believe. There is such power in raising our voices together. We vibrate as a whole, and our individual voices long to find a chorus of truth together. The communities that form of diverse people, connected by music only, remind us how deep our connection.
When I think of 300 people in a room, being connected by music and vibrating on a deep level together, I then think of how easily our bodies are affected by other energies too. The energy of thought, the energy of stress, of fear. How delicate our constitutions. How we are influenced by the frequencies of others. If those around me are in pain, how their pain must travel through me as well.
I guess this is my duty then, to generate as much positive frequency as possible. To be empathetic to the fear and pain of those around me, and to learn to release these things. To help us move together toward a new vibrational field, one in which all voices sing together in power, in joy, in truth and in justice. My path is to find a way to feel this pain and then to find a way to transform the pain into a truth. I want to contribute to the field around me with energy and power. I want to contribute to bringing us together, to helping release pain and to unite us.
If there is no “I”, if there is no “You”, and instead we raise our voices in one harmony, is this Truth? Can we believe that all our ions can be vibrating together? All of the issues we fight over seem to fall away when we are here, aware of this deep consciousness of love that overcomes all division. We can raise our voices together. We are being challenged to find this one song.
Perhaps the dark times we are living through are a kind of birth: a great movement from individualism to a deeper connected consciousness. Perhaps we are being called to move our ions in one direction, pointed toward the injustice that keeps us from peace and happiness, that keeps us from thriving. In one voice, we have all the power of change.
On a final note, a friend of mine passed into the infinite field this week, and in his passing he left so much wisdom. Shivananda, a stunningly beautiful black silky cat with big green eyes and a very wry sense of humor, left behind the knowledge that we are the bliss of a star, at our very core. Peace is with us now.
 In Theravada Buddhist phenomenology, Kalapas are defined as the smallest units of physical matter. Kalapas are described as tiny units of materiality, “tens of thousands of times smaller than a particle of dust,” coming into existence and disappearing in as little as a billionth of a second or a trillionth of the blink of an eye. Kalapas are understood by some Therevada thinkers as actual subatomic particles and the smallest units of materiality. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalapas
You can hear me read this post here: https://soundcloud.com/clemthegreat/song-of-ions?in=clemthegreat/sets/bliss-and-drumming