The Sublime Mystery of J.S. Bach

I have been luxuriating in a very healing experience – an immersion in the music of J.S. Bach for the past week, as WQXR-FM, a classical music station in NYC (my home town) has been playing ALL of the master’s music 24/7, from March 21st (his birthday) till Easter Sunday.

Bach has always been my favorite – and I know I’m not alone.

I’ve been pondering today what it is about his music that affects us so deeply, placing it for many in a category all its own. And something became clear to me.

What I hear in Bach’s music is an insight into the workings of the Universe – or (as he would doubtless prefer to say) into the mind of God.

What I hear is perfection and power of Mind combined with fathomless depth of Heart, embodied in endlessly varied Form.I hear mathematical complexity, order, and fractal patterning infused with total Love. I hear each dimension expressed at full throttle, holding nothing back – with each new invention adding to the inexhaustible creative drive, energy, and resource of the Creator.

I hear infinite tenderness, passion, joy, freedom, power, playful delight, and serene detachment expressed in turn, personal and impersonal at the same time.

I hear vast structures and intricate particularity, macro and micro expressing with the same precision even to the cellular, or atomic level.

I hear fully released intensity and unstoppable forward propulsion – just as the relentless creativity of Great Mind hurtles ceaseleslly, unfolding itself through evolutionary space/time.

What is the mystery that allow a “mere” human being (he looks ordinary enough in the images passed down to us) to bring through such vast, interconnected perfection?

I bow to the mystery and accept the gift of music, as I accept the gift of life, of cosmos, of Mind, Heart, and Form.


Beauty & Soul

Isabel Parlett, the magical Soundbite Shaman with whom I’m studying, asked me this in response to what I wrote about my experience lecturing on art: “Say a bit more about what you see happens to people in the presence of beauty – and when they see beyond their usual awareness. Why is that important?”

This is such an interesting question to me.

I sometimes despair of what people fail to see, where they don’t bother looking, what they’re not curious about, that is right in front of their noses and all around. Wake up! I want to shout. (Why do I care?)

I see how we’re all captured and hypnotized by the superficial, that our culture promotes, and how this dulls the senses and the potentials of the soul for perceiving on deeper and subtler levels. I’ve also seen these potentials develop in people – including in myself. I am speaking now of the sensitivity to the subtle presence within each human being, the infinite facets and nuances of the soul itself, and the dimensions of reality these reveal. . . . Continue reading