Music is my dharma -- what am I talking about? If you’ve been following my posts you’ll know that I’ve been going through a metamorphosis of sorts. I didn't realize until today that I was re committing to and refining my dharma.
Note: This article was first written in 2016. I found it in my "saved drafts" folder. There's an update from Now (August 2018) at the bottom.
Like when the caterpillar feels the itch to allow the butterfly to emerge.
All you can do is surrender. Well, you don’t have to — but it makes it much easier.
For the first few weeks of 2016 I didn’t touch my guitar unless I was teaching.
I sang around the house when moved to sing a song, but did no vocal exercises (singing is a muscle).
I just wanted to make sure that I didn’t fall into the pattern of thinking I really had to do something with my music.
I mean, commercially. You know, make money from it. I'm most definitely not against making money with my music! It just turned into a subtle form of (in)validation over the years.
For me, it’s just not working. The drug is not doing it’s thing.
If you know me, you know that I’m the master of discipline and perseverence. Going after your dream, being courageous and consistent, etc. All that stuff is child’s play for me.
That’s not the issue. It was coming to the realization that it’s just not what I want anymore. Or I don't want it in the same way.
It’s like suddenly realizing the shoes you’re wearing are too tight.
Or the person you’re “in love” with is just not loving you back, man! Get over it. Walk away. Move on.
Know what I mean? The wisdom to know the difference.
So it’s been interesting and disorienting at times waiting and allowing the “butterfly” to emerge from the cocoon.
I’m getting glimpses.
And I’m now practicing a bit. 4 or 5 days a week is all I’m allowed. No more than 20 minutes on guitar and about 40 minutes of singing each day.
Just bare minimum to keep in shape.
And have fun. No commercial agenda. No putting pressure on myself.
What I’ve Been Up To In The Meantime
Previously I also talked about how I enjoy the idea of teaching about spiritual tools, techniques and realizations.
Inspiration and wisdom for people who are looking for that. People who are starting to realize more of their inner truth.
Sharing things like how to develop awareness, access intuitive faculties, more creativity, peace of mind, less reactive, more patient, etc.
How to get free of the conditioned mind made sense of self that we are all so unconsciously spellbound by.
And of course, to realize Self. The Self being a word or pointer that I’m using in this context. You can use Life, Source, Divine Intelligence, The Tao, Beingsness, Is-ness, I am, etc.
I assume this is going to take some time to develop. I just want to follow the impulse to discuss these things and see where it leads me.
Meanwhile, I still need to earn a living, so…
I’m still teaching and enjoying it very much. It’s very rewarding to work with the people I’m working with.
Helping them develop their musical gifts and interests.
I’m also helping Mary with her intuitive and coaching business. I’ve been interested in and studied tarot cards and astrology since my youth, it’s a natural fit.
Not to mention I've always seen beneath the surface of life so to speak.
I see "The Infinite stretched out in smiling repose" behind the finite forms. Can't really put it into words any better than that. Because symbols are not the thing Itself, are they?
I just want to close out by saying I know that somehow music’s still very much in the picture. I just don’t know how it’s going to fit in with my life yet.
I do have a new song that I’d really love to record. It’s constantly playing in my head and giving me goose bumps. It’s called “Empty Hands.”
As a writer, that’s when you know you’ve written a cool song that will connect with people.
I’ll keep you posted.
Update August 11, 2018: Music Is My Dharma
A few months after writing this article (it was written sometime in 2016) I realized deeply that music is my dharma.
note: "Empty Hands" is now in preproduction along with a handful of other cool songs I'm looking forward to sharing with the world.
What is Dharma? Dharma is a Sanskrit word from Yoga. It is used extensively in the classic ancient yoga text, The Bhagavad Gita.
In essence, dharma is connected with our vocation in the world. These days we'd consider it closely connected to the idea of our career.
It's not that simple however. The world cannot give you the complete answer. For example, how did I deeply recognize that music is my dharma?
It's pretty simple to see that in many respects, my entire life has been geared to making and creating music. But that's not enough.
You see, in order for it to be dharma, you have to RECOGNIZE it. Deeply. It's not just like one of those worksheets "what do I want to be when I grow up?"
You know and you know that you know. It's like your soul. Nobody can take it away from you -- although you could perhaps lose it temporarily through neglect.
Dharma is most often connected with our vocation as I said above, but not necessarily. It could however, be raising a family for example. Or working in a cubicle somewhere but raising the vibes of the other people there just with your uplifting presence.
The ancient seers and yogis felt very strongly that every soul has a dharma or mission to deliver in the world. An inner genius that only that person can do.
I've known music was my dharma since before I'd ever even heard of the word. But it's had to go through many challenges and metamorphoses in order to get rid of any self consciousness around it.
To be able to throw myself into making music and put it out into the world without being attached to the outcome.
And then to surrender my life to the Totality of Life.
All these burning transformations I've had to go through in the past where I questioned my dharma because the world wasn't paying me much heed were leading me to this point...
I'm fairly free of what the world does or doesn't think about my music anymore. I still get a little stuck on this from time to time, but I'm able to unhook myself rather quickly.
And this is where most people get hung up. We are so conditioned to achieve and to measure results -- but even in the field of psychology it is being recognized as a major hindrance to performance and happiness.
You may be thinking that this is apathy. That's what most of us think when first confronted by these ideas. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Music as my dharma is actually Love in action. Just like in a relationship, if you're looking only to GET love from the other, you're relationship will eventually fall apart -- if it even gets off the ground.
When you are aligned with BRINGING love to your relationship, watch what happens! Harmony and connection between you both.
The same Principle applies to creation. When you create for the joy of sharing your art, in order to possibly uplift others, BRINGING it, you are free. This is being in your dharma.
You're no longer a prisoner of "wanting" approval -- the proverbial carrot on the end of the stick.
I'm counting my blessings as I write this. And I don't take where I am for granted. I'll keep alert and keep creating and sharing.
Music is my Dharma after all. Oh yeah...along with sharing these mystical insights.