Monday, September 30, 2013

Invitation: Live

August 2013

This afternoon, I was driving down the street. I had just decided to change the music, and was saying to myself something about how Reggae music has within it an invitation to live. That led to remembering the imperative that I'd gotten from the spirit, which was to live. Then the spirit show/told me that the prior message, which I had thought meant simply to start trying to have fun, was about all aspects of life, including participating in making a living, regardless of my loathing for that world. Actually, I should say my fear of it. The spirit show/told me that I drag myself through that world miserably, because, first and foremost, I don't feel confident or safe in it. All other considerations are secondary.

I remembered my friend James mentioning something I hadn't allowed myself to articulate, that maybe I could do better at work now that I've been growing so much. The spirit confirmed that remark an indicator that it's time to give it a try. He said that the suggestion to live was also a challenge, as it requires courage to live, as much to fully enjoy yourself as to earn your keep. And the challenge is issued in full knowledge of your capabilities, including those enhancements your friend referred to. You now have intimate knowledge of the power of awareness. You're committed to the Lord (I maintain, ironically, despite your lingering doubt). You have allies and access to the spirit world. You can write your experiences and have someone to talk to if you need help. You have all anyone else has.

You have one thing, though, that you could do without: the idea that you're missing something, an idea so deep-seated and entangled with your psyche that the only way to remove it is to see it, recognize it, distinguish it from you, and then drop it. But until you can do that, we must educate you to improve your vision. This is much easier when you are in meditation, and when you are  participating fully in life. So the prescription: Live, is intended to show you the next step in your healing process. The Zoloft plays an important role, as does the sacrament. But in order to deal with your fears you have to face them, fully present. There is no other way to learn these lessons.

Here's a meditation. Put on Michael Jackson's, With a Child's Heart. Follow the rhythm by nodding your head, tapping your foot or patting your lap with your hand. Follow the changes in the music. Notice what happens without trying to articulate it to yourself. Alternate between the elements you attend to in your mind. First, maybe the rhythm, including the physical accompaniment you're providing, now the chord progressions, now the lyrics. As you begin to sink into the stress relief of focused attention, see if you can't follow the music emotionally. It is known that certain chords and progressions affect the emotions in certain ways. Don't look it up. Take the opportunity to experience it. Again, you only need to notice for a few moments, that when this particular part came, it made you feel different than you did on the previous part, or maybe a certain feeling grows as the music approaches a change. Listening 2 or 3 times this way should be enough, or you may want to change the music.

Of course, the music may trigger unrelated thought progressions. That's fine. When you've exhausted this or that progression, come back to focusing on the music. If you have persistent or obsessive thoughts that make it difficult to stay with the music, take the opportunities that come. The music will often draw your attention back to it, and if you've been able to maintain your accompaniment, use it to anchor your thoughts, bringing them back to the beat.

At some point, it becomes possible to take a more distant, "bird's eye" view of the emotional and musical changes. I see it more like a river bank view, allowing me to experience to flow of emotions without following any of them. As you do it more often, you can choose different aspects to focus on, for however long. Obviously, there's an abundance of music to do this with. And it can be done with many styles of music as well. I maintain that for people for whom soul music is home, it might be the best medium. The lyrics in this particular song lend themselves to this activity because they are kind of a guided meditation already.