Presence: Practical Uses of Mysticism in Music
“Music in all ages has given man a sense of mystical but immediate kinship with the transcendent and the universal.” -J.H. Masserman
Early in my music career I came to realize, as a both a listener and performer, that music has the potential to be a conduit for profound non-verbal, dare I say, mystical experiences. Many of the musicians who I gravitated toward seemed to have the ability to focus the awareness of “the Collective ear”, and bind all present in the room, and hold it spellbound. Through this Collective experience, both performer and listener are opened, and given an opportunity to brush sleeves with something beyond their immediate selves. They begin to experience (though often not consciously) an essence of the human mind as it exists Collectively, beyond our day-to-day, concrete mind. This opportunity (to open into a conscious experience of the Human Entity) is often untouched (consciously) in modern society. Through the music, the intuition opens pathways into realms of the abstract mind which lack the limitations of linear thought processes of the concrete mind, and the listener(s) begins to experience something that is transcendent.
After coming to this understanding of music, the question that became most important to me was: “how do I (as a musician, composer, and performer) open the room to this type of experience?” This question led me towards learning about various Meditative practices to integrate, and include in my playing as a means of helping to facilitate an experience that was beyond being simply musical. Music is an act of invoking an alignment of a pulse within a Collective of Individuals, and this alignment prepares the Collective for an understanding of a state of consciousness, which touches upon the abstract aspects of the mind. This experience of the abstract mind is paramount, not only to music, but also, to one’s connection to the community in which we live. There is an intangible understanding that one comes to (first individually, then collectively) which has very little to do with the intellect, and much to do with that essence of existence which is an experience of the Collective of the larger Human mind (Collective consciousness). This experience, though initially provided by the music, is enhanced and further defined by the collective intention of the participants (both performer and audience). The abstract understanding allows a bridge to be built, connecting intellect with intuition within the Collective (performer/audience), and the experience transcends simply being musical.