We’ve been shut in all week, the pug and I, due to the terrible Northern California fires and the subsequent sinus infection from the air quality. It’s been harrowing, watching the notices come in about the beautiful areas overtaken by firestorm, and the neighborhoods burning daily. It is paralyzing, watching and not being able to help beyond donation. It feels callous to participate in life going on while so much suffering is so close at hand.
That is a heavy feeling, this guilt of being momentarily spared. Each of us are assured of suffering in life. Suffering is happening right now, all around us, possibly within us, or within the people we are sitting near as we read this. Maybe the suffering is not as tangible as that of a home burning down, or of losing loved ones in tragedy, but in the minds of many, the anguish is just as real. It is the human condition to suffer, as long as we identify with the ego and its preferences and emotions and attachments. As long as we are in duality, we suffer. Light has its opposite. Just by shining bright it deepens the darkness of shadow on the other side. It is the human condition to live in both light and darkness. We will live in both, that is unavoidable.
This week I wrote a treatise on this idea, of finding the field of bliss energy beneath all the light and dark, but really, the discussion of bearing suffering feels trivial in the face of current events. So I will do what is required of all beings on the planet, in this moment, and then in this one. I will just keep breathing. I will move to where I am called. The band will play on.
This week was the week I was to release the first music video for my new project with Adrian Conner, Beaux Cheveux. As luck would have it, it was a terrible week to release such a lighthearted and joyful tune. Hurricanes, fires, shootings: the last two weeks have brought with them a litany of misery and it felt like the best response should be to stay in bed and hit the crying emoji on every Facebook post encountered.
However, the website had been built, the video made, the record mixed and mastered, the artwork done. Guitar Player Magazine set up to release the video and this was the week and it was going to happen no matter what else was going on in the world.
It took me two days to say anything about it on social media. I couldn’t bring myself to feel excited about anything when so much pain was happening so near. How frivolous, art. How frivolous, creative output. How frivolous it all seemed.
The option to retreat, though, just didn’t seem right either. The song we released is called “Deeper Feeling.” The video is a collage of Adrian in various joyful states. The lyrics are about that still place of being beneath everything that is our abiding, infinite field of consciousness. The lyrics are about our distraction with life and how we don’t even notice what is living. They are about that deeper feeling that animates reality. Bliss.
We get lost in the clover.
We get taken for a ride.
We get stuck inside the pouring rain.
We live on borrowed time.
We beat our hearts a symphony.
We pace the same old mile.
And the tide never asks why.
And the tide rises in delight.
Adrian plays the Angus Young parts in the great AC/DC band Hell’s Belles. A solo artist, a songwriter, a shredding guitarist and a singer, she lives for music, as a fan and as an artist. She lives in Austin, Texas, so we wrote long-distance. I created 10 drum beats and we sat in my kitchen during one of her visits and I hit record and said, “Go!” and she riffed on her guitar to one of the drum beats. Next beat, same thing: “Go!” and her infinite creative self came up with endlessly new and interesting melodies.
Then, I took what she had made, cut up the guitar lines into parts, and wrote lyrics to what I had arranged. Then, we traded ideas back and forth, honed it and developed the songs together. Then, real studio time. Then, record, done.
I said I would like a video for every song and so Adrian learned how to make videos. “Deeper Feeling” is the first one she made. So far there are five more. There is nothing she can’t do, when it comes to music. She is tenacious, adaptive, and hungry to create. She drags me along as I find reasons to delay.
I guess when I put this Adrian energy in perspective I see, maybe this is what the world needs. Stubbornly creative energy based in joy. Limitless capacity for new information. Drunken nights of wild abandon singing Madonna at the top of the lungs. A view that reality is set in bliss consciousness, and an understanding that struggle is just a tool that brings us to our true being.
So, we send the song to the world, out to music lovers and to whoever cares to listen. We stand by the side of the road grieving, and we hug each other, our molecules merging and connecting, our pain spreading through our bodies and comfort too. We lie in the grass and let compassion and love and connection wash through us, and we send it to mingle with the energy of the whole universe. Time expands and contracts. The pain is real and the comfort too, and yet all evaporates in this enveloping love energy.
It is a revelation that pain is how we find this infinite field. Again and again I seem to write, pain is the gift we are given to spur awakening. Awakening to what is important in life, awakening to Oneness, awakening to this moment, this Now, awakening to love and its infinite power to heal, awakening to this ocean of Bliss energy where we find out who we truly are.
Let me open up with the resonance of the universe, still, infinite vibration of being. Here, anguish and suffering, happiness and light, all of it falls into perfection.