My two youngest, Mya and Siân, have been taking music lessons for a couple of years now. They know and understand that it’s not enough to show up for the lesson, they also need to practice between lessons, and the more they practice, the easier it gets to play, and the better musicians they become.
An accomplished concert pianist still has to practice with their instrument several hours each day to refine, perfect, refine, perfect and refine. The more they play, the better they become, in fact, the more they play, the more they dissolve away and instead it seems as if they become the music. You can see it when you watch someone this accomplished, how they close their eyes while going into a dreamlike state. The music seems to come from inside of them, they don’t need to follow it on paper, they just play, and become one with the music. It’s not just the musical notes that are important, it’s the pressure, the speed, and the spaces in between. The emotion they bring, the will behind it, and their intention for the music. Each person plays the same music in a different way.
So let’s compare being a musician to being connected to God. Everyone who is on the spiritual path wants to connect to God, whether you call it this, or Source Energy, Great Spirit, Grace, you know that I’m saying God but you can call it the Universe if you prefer. Feeling that connection, feeling like you’re in flow, that is why most of my clients come to me, to enhance this feeling. To release the blocks, and to feel expansion. Like the musician in the throws of their concert, to dissolve from the small things and the life situation, and become completely absorbed by the beauty, grace and bliss of the music.
Imagine you come to me for help. I give you a musical instrument, let’s say a cello. I give you the sheet music too, and I teach you how to play, give you enough to get you started on it. The rest is up to you. If you want to play this music in a concert hall, you need to put in the hours and practice. Have more lessons too if needed. You choose how devoted you are to the cello, but perhaps you are still on a quest, not quite ready to commit to just one instrument.
Next month you go to a Priest and he says he doesn’t like the cello so he gives you a different instrument, let’s say a piano. He gives you different sheet music to play, and again he shows you how to play. But at the end of the day, what he gives you is still a musical instrument, and the sheet music may be different but it is still music. And again, the rest is up to you – if you want to play this instrument and this music you must practice, practice, practice.
Maybe you get tired of practicing piano so next year, you decide there must be more to this and go on a retreat to Nepal to meet a famous monk. You tell him of your troubles and he listens, nods his head, and then gives you a violin, some sheet music and tells you how to play.
You see where this is going. The instrument and the music are just the vehicle.
There are many pathways to God, many different ways to get there. Your dedication to your daily practice is what is important. Nobody can do your spiritual work for you. And it’s all music, and there are a lot of choices. So you can choose the instrument that fits for you, and the sheet music that resonates with you, but you still have to practice, practice, practice.