A little note for my students

Music and Spirit

Yes, Music is my Religion. Music is the Ship that takes me to the Other Dimension (which is right here right now all the time). My favorite vessel is the Drum, but any form of Sound will do. When you get deep into Sound you find the doorway to Silence. When you enter the vortex of Rhythm deeply you find the Still Point at the Center. All you need to do is Show Up and get out of the way. However, getting out of the way takes an enormous amount of discipline and knowledge.

Firstly, we need a tremendous amount of study and practice so our technique can serve us effortlessly and not become a block in our expression. Secondly, we have to cultivate self knowledge in order to recognize the intrusions of Ego in our artistic expression, and, without judgment or violence, observe it and bypass it. Thirdly, a vision and desire to Serve will empower our Sound. We can use some kind of Archetype we have chosen to focus our efforts (it doesn’t matter if it is Jesus, Buddha, Iemanja, the most abstract idea, or your daughter or lover, as long as it opens your heart and your will to love and serve). Intention is the key. Then our Sound becomes an integral expression of Who We Are and a tool for Healing, Prayer and Meditation.

Showing Up takes a lot of work too!. We are blocked by fears, by “you are not good at that” subliminal messages that we unconsciously incorporated through our lives, by lack of trust, by trying to project a certain image, by all our false but fiercely held images of ourselves. The fact is that if we don’t show up completely, our experience and expression is always going to be partial.

One of the issues that comes up often as a teacher is (usually young) people who don’t quite want to follow your instruction because they just “want to be themselves”. I try to explain that “being myself” is most often a trick of the Ego and it can be translated to “leave me in peace in my little cage of conditioning”. It’s just another way of not Showing Up. By learning with a teacher and completely embodying and experiencing what is being communicated, we expand our tool kit and our means of expression. After that we can choose what we keep and what we don’t need. But the only chance that we have is by experiencing it fully to begin with, otherwise we’ll never know what they were trying to teach us and we wasted ours and the teacher’s time.

There is no doubt that someone who has dedicated many years to cultivate Spirit through Music can make our path a little bit easier and shorter.

Showing Up can sometimes be enough. Even taking a simple pattern on your drum and becoming aware of breathing fully, relaxing, and connecting with the Great Storehouse of Energy (I’ll let you figure out what that means to you), can take you very deep into what I jokingly refer to as “Headquarters”. The rhythm pattern acts just like a Mantra, and the body relaxes into the choreography of the playing and becomes the Dance. If to this you add a group playing in unison and sharing Intention, you can have a powerful experience even if you are technically limited.

There are no shortcuts, though, and no substitutes for Patience, Commitment and Discipline. Good thing about it is… it Can be a lot of Fun too. Always keep your sense of humor, breathe!, and accept where you are at with Joy and Compassion. We are all students, and at whatever level we are we all have someone to look up to and think: “if I could only…”. Well, we Can!. But it all comes in it’s own Time, and we might as well enjoy ourselves on the way there. Learning is a precious gift. I feel quite embarrassed when I’m referred to as “Master Drummer”. I have so much to learn!!!. And I don’t think I’ll ever feel differently about it. Music is a humbling experience constantly. My Guru Trichy Shankaran, after playing a concert, would hear my amazed and admiring comments and gently say: “you should have heard my Guru play”…

So, wherever you are at, let Spirit shine through!. No matter how much we weigh or how many pimples on our nose, we are all embodiments of Beauty… When people Show Up they are Always Beautiful! We are all little sparks of the Big Light, and our essence is LOVE.



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