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  1. #301

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    I see a distinction between sacred and secular music, but I don't think "spirituality" (-as used in the OP) fits wholly into either of those categories. It's unclear (to me, at least) just what the OP meant by "spirituality." Perhaps this was deliberate, an invitation to a very open-ended talk on "spirituality" (and jazz) however members may define it. Such conversations can get messy---people may mean very different things though they use the same words for them---but they can also provide insights and food for thought.
    Maybe the OP was asking do we do anything or think something to get into that improv zone. I don't. I know I can improvise but I wanted to get paid. Improvisation is energy and you can't get by on energy alone.

    As for sacred and secular music there's no wall between them. Sometimes you get some cross-over. Look at Pharell Williams 'Happy'. Love that tune.

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  3. #302

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    Here's a simple question on a simple sing that we've all played at some point.

    I don't think anyone's heard it played like *THIS*, however. What do you think of this truly original delivery/phrasing/even arrangement?

    Navdeep Singh.

  4. #303

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    The chimp, he's real!!......

  5. #304

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick2 View Post
    Which God should we thank?
    The chimp, he's real!!....

  6. #305

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    Quote Originally Posted by NSJ View Post
    Here's a simple question on a simple sing that we've all played at some point.

    I don't think anyone's heard it played like *THIS*, however. What do you think of this truly original delivery/phrasing/even arrangement?
    Since you asked, I don't care for it. I thought it too slow and stopped watching a minute in. I like Mahalia Jackson---I first heard her as a child--and I love this song but for me, this performance was too slow.

    But I do think this kind of singing gets at one meaning of "spirituals.' I grew up hearing some gospel songs referred to as "spirituals." I don't object to that usage but to me as an adult it seems obvious that the more emotional something is, the less spiritual it is.

    Emotions are of the body; 'spiritual' means immaterial. I get people who say there is nothing immaterial and thus nothing spiritual. I disagree with them but I understand what they are saying and why. I have a much harder time with people who think something 'spiritual' should be highly emotional (-or suggest a highly emotional state, whether one is in it while performing or not.)

    Having said that, I understand---both as a musician and a writer---the desire to be in "flow" state.

    Flow (psychology) - Ask.com Encyclopedia

    I appreciate that state as well as the next guy. If someone means by "spiritual" 'being in a state of flow,' I understand that and can talk about it that way.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  7. #306

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    I hope this is not beating a dead horse!

    In the last post Mark raises a point about the word "spiritual" and gives "flow" as another way of looking at it.

    I've always had problems with the word spiritual. When people say, "I'm not religious but I am spiritual", I want to cringe. I felt guilty about that -- I don't want to be that atheist guy. Then I read this interview with Barbara Ehrenreich and she put my feeling in words better than I could do it:

    Here we leave the jurisdiction of language, where nothing is left but the vague gurgles of surrender expressed in words like “ineffable” and “transcendent.” For most of the intervening years, my general thought has been: If there are no words for it, then don’t say anything about it. Otherwise you risk slopping into “spirituality,” which is, in addition to being a crime against reason, of no more interest to other people than your dreams.
    What happens when an atheist sees God? - The Globe and Mail

    Maybe if I ever had an experience I would want to label spiritual I would change my mind, but I've never felt anything the least bit spiritual or religious. I've had overwhelming emotional feelings, but that part of my brain hasn't changed much since my lizard ancestors and is easily fooled.
    Build bridges, not walls.

  8. #307

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    When I think of the word spiritual, it is just a vague contemplation of the vastness of the universe and wonderment that something that big started so small.

    I remember my hippie neighbor who took too many drugs in the 60s when she said "I'm not not religious I'm spiritual like the Native Americans". Yikes.

    The other day I saw this hipster 20 something carrying a yoga mat while smoking a cigarette. I wonder if she knew that one cancels out the other.
    Navdeep Singh.

  9. #308

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyLoveHandles View Post
    I hope this is not beating a dead horse!

    In the last post Mark raises a point about the word "spiritual" and gives "flow" as another way of looking at it.

    I've always had problems with the word spiritual. When people say, "I'm not religious but I am spiritual", I want to cringe. I felt guilty about that -- I don't want to be that atheist guy. Then I read this interview with Barbara Ehrenreich and she put my feeling in words better than I could do it:


    Maybe if I ever had an experience I would want to label spiritual I would change my mind, but I've never felt anything the least bit spiritual or religious. I've had overwhelming emotional feelings, but that part of my brain hasn't changed much since my lizard ancestors and is easily fooled.

    I don't think you're beating a dead horse. I welcome your comments When I was in seminary (and people I met know I was in seminary), I often heard, "I'm spiritual but not religious." That made me cringe too. I still don't like to hear it but I've stopped cringing about it.

    As for Barbara E's quote, she is simply using "spiritual" in the sense of emotional. ("I've never FELT anything the least bit spiritual or religious." Imagine someone saying, "I've never felt anything mathematical..." or "I've never felt anything intellectual...") I take her at her word. Antony Flew, in "There Is A God," says the same thing: he's never had what he would call a "religious experience." Conversely, many people who tell me they have had a bushel basket full of religious experiences strike me as overwrought.

    I have problems with the word "spiritual" too. When I told the priests in seminary that "spiritual means intellectual," they looked at me funny. They knew what I meant and really couldn't argue but they thought it wasn't a priestly attitude. (And lest there be any confusion, I am NOT a priest. I left seminary. One priest told me, "You read too much and drink too little to be happy as a parish priest." I know what he meant by that.) When I hear "spirit," I think "immaterial." (I think of the intellect as immaterial too.)

    If you ever run into Barbara E, tell her to read Aquinas. He was utterly rational and concise. (Many Catholics hate to read him because he's not an emotional writer, as Augustine was, but Augustine was quite an intellect in his own right, but much more personable.)
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  10. #309

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    "That all sorts of men may know where to quench their thirst."
    "Beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror, which we still are just able to endure, and we are are so awed because it serenely disdains to annihilate us." -- Ranier Maria Rilke

  11. #310

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    "I'm not religious but I am spiritual"...I compare that to "I'm not into music theory, but I'm into music". Religion is more about organization, dogma, spiritual rules, rituals, etc, where spiritual can just mean some type of departure from the material or seen world.

  12. #311

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    "I'm not religious but I am spiritual"...I compare that to "I'm not into music theory, but I'm into music". Religion is more about organization, dogma, spiritual rules, rituals, etc, where spiritual can just mean some type of departure from the material or seen world.
    I never heard it explained that way, Cosmic. I see the music theory / music part. (My younger brother, who is not a musician but has more recordings than I do, one told me, "Mark, I don't give a sh*t about music per se, I just like the records I like. A lot.")
    But I don't think the analogy holds. Consider musicians who know no theory still play things that make sense in light of theory. For example, one need not know what I, IV, and V chords are to play a simple twelve-bar blues but that progression is nonetheless "theoretically sound." Many unschooled kids have come up with progressions that a student of theory would immediately recognize (I-vi-ii-V, a cycle of dominants, and so on).

    By the same token, some students who were bored silly in grammar class nevertheless speak and write grammatically correct sentences.

    In these two cases, one need not know theory in order do what that theory describes. (For a third example, one may have "natural" golf swing without lessons but a pro could immediately see why that "unschooled" swing works---the pro would know what the "swinger" achieves without thinking about it.)

    But "I'm not religious but I'm spiritual" seems to be a different kind of case. For the analogy from music and theory to hold, those who call themselves "spiritual" would be doing the same things but not using religious language to describe them. (As Jimmy Bruno's dad once told young Jimmy about a particular tune, "O, that's one of these"--he plays a few chords--"mixed with one of those"--he plays some different ones.) But here the claim seems to be "I prefer not to act like religious people act; I'm doing something else, something all my own."

    (Readers of Wittgenstein might here recall his argument against the possibility of a private language. I take "I'm not religious but spiritual" to be akin to "I have my own private language," and think the same problems arise.)

    The stress seems to be on the difference between whatever one takes 'religious' and 'spiritual' to be, coupled with a suggestion that being 'spiritual' is more authentic. People who don't know music theory (or care to learn it) still want their music to sound good, and people who groan when they hear the word "grammar" nonetheless want to understand what they read and want others to understand what they say. It's not so clear, at least to me, what the goal of being "spiritual" is.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  13. #312

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    I guess what I'm implying is that I know people who are religious, but not really spiritual, kind of what Christ accused the Pharisees of being. I know people who are spiritual, but not interested in the doctrine, principles, rules and organization of religion. To qualify as religion, it usually has to do with an organized system of beliefs on the relationship of the natural and supernatural.

    To say that "I'm not religious, but I'm spiritual", seems like it could be an informed, honest statement, not something cringeworthy or ignorant.

    My comparison with music implies that you could be a great musician, or lover of music, be totally absorbed by it, but have no formal knowledge or interest in music theory. Likewise, being a theory expert doesn't make you a musician.

    Maybe not the best analogy to religion/spirituality.
    Last edited by cosmic gumbo; 04-18-2014 at 12:05 AM.

  14. #313

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    Explaining spirituality is like trying to tell someone how music sounds. You can tell them all you want but listening to it is like the difference between night and day.

    Spirituality IS music, the way I see it. Everything in music is an expression of spirituality. My favorite music isn't always the most technical stuff. It's the stuff that touches my soul.

    When I play, if I can't stop thinking, if I can't stop planning and comparing and hemming and hawing in my head, then my music sounds overly-intellectual or strained or boring or mismatched.

    Conversely, when I surrender to the moment and the experience and continue surrendering and listen, then my music is sometimes beautiful. What a gift!

  15. #314

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    I guess what I'm implying is that I know people who are religious, but not really spiritual, kind of what Christ accused the Pharisees of being. I know people who are spiritual, but not interested in the doctrine, principles, rules and organization of religion. To qualify as religion, it usually has to do with an organized system of beliefs on the relationship of the natural and supernatural.

    To say that "I'm not religious, but I'm spiritual", seems like it could be an informed, honest statement, not something cringeworthy or ignorant.

    My comparison with music implies that you could be a great musician, or lover of music, be totally absorbed by it, but have no formal knowledge or interest in music theory. Likewise, being a theory expert doesn't make you a musician.

    Maybe not the best analogy to religion/spirituality.
    I agree with this, my only point was that the hippy woman made the statement "I'm not religious, I'm spiritual, like the Native Americans". It was the last part that created that head-slap moment.

    By the way, the undiscussed Elephant in the room when one talks of religion/spirituality/Big Questions, is, ahem, death.

    I just heard the following quote from someone who just passed away today.

    ""Don't cry because it is over... smile because it happened."
    - Gabriel García Márquez
    Navdeep Singh.

  16. #315

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    I don't think you're beating a dead horse. I welcome your comments When I was in seminary (and people I met know I was in seminary), I often heard, "I'm spiritual but not religious." That made me cringe too. I still don't like to hear it but I've stopped cringing about it.
    Seminary?! Yikes. I did not realize that. Years ago I worked for a man who eventually revealed he'd been in a seminary. He told us stories of the "disciplines" (scourges or small whips) they used on themselves.
    Build bridges, not walls.

  17. #316

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    I guess what I'm implying is that I know people who are religious, but not really spiritual, kind of what Christ accused the Pharisees of being. I know people who are spiritual, but not interested in the doctrine, principles, rules and organization of religion. To qualify as religion, it usually has to do with an organized system of beliefs on the relationship of the natural and supernatural.

    To say that "I'm not religious, but I'm spiritual", seems like it could be an informed, honest statement, not something cringeworthy or ignorant.

    My comparison with music implies that you could be a great musician, or lover of music, be totally absorbed by it, but have no formal knowledge or interest in music theory. Likewise, being a theory expert doesn't make you a musician.

    Maybe not the best analogy to religion/spirituality.
    I appreciate this, Cosmic. I see theory as describing how music works. People with good ears can make great music without knowledge of music of theory yet all that music can be described in terms of theory. I'm not sure what, so to speak, the music of spirituality refers to. Or to put it the other way around, religion has a lot to say about behavior: praying, attending worship services, burying the dead, fasting, loving one's neighbor, serving one's community, and so on. To say that one's spirituality is not religious makes me think, "Okay, then, what are we talking about?" I'm not sure.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  18. #317

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    Personally. I see no connection between religion and spirituality.

    Spirituality is defined by the individual, not by the masses. Therefore, to say you're a spiritual person, and not a religious person, is a blank slate, for what does being spiritual mean to you?

    To some, a spiritual person, is defined as someone who has an identification of SELF developed through self investigation; i.e., investigation of ones inner self. This is commonly seen as an inward investigation beyond normal egoic means.

    The phrase, the "higher self" is consistent with self-inquiry.

    Most see the word "spiritual" and will immediately go into meaning making mode...as in, well that means that ------ fill in the blank.

    Fascinating discussion...
    "You've got to be in the sun to feel the sun. It's that way with music too." - Sidney Bechet

  19. #318

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop View Post
    Personally. I see no connection between religion and spirituality.
    I hear that a lot. But I also know that many people see a serious connection between the two. The ancient churches with monastic orders showed a deep concern with the spiritual life. (And before the monastic orders there were the hermits who lived in desert caves to 'get away from the world' and focus solely on the spiritual life.) It's hard to argue that monks and nuns, who are by definition "religious" (-it is called 'religious life'), are not spiritual people. Or at least, they are one sort of spiritual people. Seminarians---those studying to become Catholic priests--are required to have a spiritual director, and many priests offer spiritual direction for parishioners who seek it. Such uses do not exhaust the meaning of "spiritual" but they should not be excluded either.


    Outside a religious context, I'm not sure what people mean by "spiritual." I want to be clear: I am not saying such people are not spiritual but only that I don't know what they mean by saying that they are spiritual.

    If spiritual is as each individual defines it for himself (or herself) then when A says to B "I am spiritual" and B replies "I too am spiritual" what is either to make of what the other has said? In short, when someone says to me, "I'm spiritual but not religious," and I say, "I'm not sure what that means. Could you help me understand what you mean?" I've yet to receive a clear answer.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  20. #319

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    If spiritual is as each individual defines it for himself (or herself) then when A says to B "I am spiritual" and B replies "I too am spiritual" what is either to make of what the other has said? In short, when someone says to me, "I'm spiritual but not religious," and I say, "I'm not sure what that means. Could you help me understand what you mean?" I've yet to receive a clear answer.

    Great question Mark.


    It's like the riddle surrounding the commonly used phrase "I love you," when in fact, in reality, no two people have ever loved each other. But yet, we commonly speak in terms of our thoughts, our love, or emotions, towards others as if we're speaking of shared feelings, when in fact the opposite is true. It emanates from within you, and therefore cannot be experienced externally by another.


    But just the same, the story, the myth, is an age old one. I love you, I love you too.

    Ones experience of love is always one step removed from the expression of it.

    Same goes for spirituality, as I define it to be. It can only be experienced by the individual, as it is borne from within you. As near as one can get to sharing it is to describe what their experience is. Since that experience cannot be duplicated it is unique to only you.

    I prefer to refer to "it" as the great journey within. This is where self-awareness develops. Initiated of course, by self inquiry.

    edit: many refer to spirituality as a path, a journey. Others refer to it as an acceptance, or a surrendering. As in, the alcoholic, or addict, in search of wellness or healing, who surrenders to their addiction. These, in my experience, like ones personal path, or spirituality, are personal life paths. Again, only experienced by the individual. And no two paths are alike, nor in my experience, is one path higher than another's.
    Last edited by 2bornot2bop; 04-19-2014 at 12:34 AM.
    "You've got to be in the sun to feel the sun. It's that way with music too." - Sidney Bechet

  21. #320

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    Quote Originally Posted by NSJ View Post
    By the way, the undiscussed Elephant in the room when one talks of religion/spirituality/Big Questions, is, ahem, death.
    The "problem" of death is the root of religion. What happens to us when we die? How does that happen? Etc.

  22. #321

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    Quote Originally Posted by fumblefingers View Post
    oh really?

    according to you, what kind of events, trends, legislation, policy changes, and discourse would one have to observe before they could reasonably declare it to be true?
    I don't understand what you are asking.

  23. #322

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara View Post
    The "problem" of death is the root of religion. What happens to us when we die? How does that happen? Etc.
    Of course.



    The interesting thing about this country, set up as a "Christian Nation', is that the "Founding Fathers" were most likely not Christians, but followed the traditions of the Enlightenment as put forth by many, including Locke and Hume, i.e., those codified by "Deism".

    Per Wiki: "the belief that reason and observation of the natural world are sufficient to determine the existence of a Creator, accompanied with the rejection of revelation and authority as a source of religious knowledge.[3][4][5][6][7] Deism gained prominence in the 17th and 18th centuries during the Age of Enlightenment—especially in Britain, France, Germany, and theUnited States—among intellectuals raised as Christians who believed in one god, but found fault with organized religion and did not believe in supernatural events such as miracles, the inerrancy of scriptures, or the Trinity"

    In the United States, Enlightenment philosophy (which itself was heavily inspired by deist ideals) played a major role in creating the principle of religious freedom, expressed in Thomas Jefferson's letters and included in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. American Founding Fathers, or Framers of the Constitution, who were especially noted for being influenced by such philosophy include Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Cornelius Harnett, Gouverneur Morris, and Hugh Williamson. Their political speeches show distinct deistic influence.
    Other notable Founding Fathers may have been more directly deist. These include James Madison, possibly Alexander Hamilton, Ethan Allen,[47]and Thomas Paine (who published The Age of Reason, a treatise that helped to popularize deism throughout the USA and Europe)"
    Last edited by NSJ; 04-18-2014 at 11:04 PM.
    Navdeep Singh.

  24. #323

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    I see a lot of people talking about the history of spirituality & religion, the definition of religion vs. spirituality, theories on why religion exists, etc.

    Spirituality is an EXPERIENCE. Coltrane says he had a spiritual awakening. He doesn't need to talk about the enlightenment movement of the Founding Fathers (which is interesting and useful history -- not to knock it), he doesn't need to define his spirituality. He experienced God and it had an impact. I don't need to tell you; you can hear it for yourself in his music.

    If we're not here to share our experiences, then we're just dispensing knowledge ABOUT spirituality, which is totally different than engaging in a discussion that IS spiritual.

    The ego loves knowledge. In the material world, we learn that knowledge, money, power, intoxicants, sex, etc. and other acquisitions of this type are enough to get us by. And they're really great -- all of them.

    But they're the spice of life; not the core. The jackpot is to try to live in the spiritual world... seeking an experience with God (utterly unattached to our preconceived notions about what God is, be they religious or otherwise). And when it happens, it changes people. Happened to Coltrane. Buddha. Jesus. Happened to Ram Dass. Happened to Thich Nhat Hanh.

    The idea that there is a personal God, a personal source of joy and insight and love that exists for everyone... I think that's what's important. If we're not SEEKING something in music, then why the fuck are we even playing?

    If the word "God" bothers you, it's because you're deciding what I mean when I say "God". The teaching of non-duality or a personal God requires NO RELIGION. It just requires seeking and a community of other seekers.

  25. #324

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    I humbly barge in.

    For me spirituality is a vague thing, but essentially is a feeling that there's more to "life" than what concerns us materially. IE concern for others or concern for what is outside the self.

    Religion in one sense is a regulated system of observance. If you "religiously" work out you keep at a regimen, a schedule.

    Religion as a system of metaphysical beliefs and Dogma to create a "Church" is really a form of control.

    Almost all religions have their strong points, and most often it's the Golden Rule, ie "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Which I think most people would agree with, or would wish for.

    But then you get all sorts of folks adding their wisdom until you get Dogma, which is a codification of a faith. Seems like a dilution of the golden rule. Now we have to worry about property rights and obeying our parents. It's not anything that's not covered in the Golden Rule, but it's like a clerical lawyer decided "We better cover infidelity, stealing, killing, worshiping false idols, keeping a day a week off limits for a reason to be determined and other Commandments to be named later" kind of thing. In other words it's man-made baloney.

    I stick to the Golden Rule and am quite happy.

    And when I'm improvising and hitting it I mostly am listening to the drummer and the other guys and trying to converse with them or make colors if I'm laying back. Can't say it's religious but it is outside the normal life.

  26. #325

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    Spirituality is ones personal journey. Whether organized religion had anything to do with ones personal journey or not. One can meditate in an organized way, learn some orthodoxy or invent the mediation for oneself. Or not call it that. Or spend ones life walking in mountains, or devote oneself to the betterment of humankind, or art, music or poetry. Life is self discovery. There can come a point of real revelation, not connected to any of the religions of Abraham, meaning Christianity, Islam, Judaism. One can play music and discover oneself outside of ones own body. This is unexplainable by western science. Many things are unexplainable by science, so science ignores it.

    The problem with spirituality is the word itself. It's so long in the tooth it's come to mean nothing. Too many groups have laid claim to it and confused it. I don't think there's necessarily anything mystical about it. I believe it's "mysteries" lie within the domain of the mind. And I think the mind is basically not material. Neuroscience has yet to discover where the cells are that house the projector and screen for our mental image pictures. Or where our thoughts reside or why. If after cutting every fragment and scrap and dust mote and they still haven't found evidence, real evidence of consciousness, how dare they poo-poo other explanations? They have no idea.

    Religion is a group led by policies and orthodoxy to indoctrinate religious ideals to their own group, or mankind as a whole. Spirituality can be contained within that orthodoxy, depending on the individuals of the group, techniques, devotion, whatever, but it's a personal journey not limited to any orthodoxy. A "spiritual" experience can only be a personal experience.

  27. #326

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    Spirituality is dried shit on a stick.

    Edit: (just paraphrasing Buddha =P)

  28. #327

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    Quote Originally Posted by brightsize View Post
    I. If we're not SEEKING something in music, then why the fuck are we even playing?
    I play because it gives me an unfathomable and otherwise indescribable, serenity, joy and calmness to my day. While of course, I always strive to play better, in the end, that is not as important as the process of playing music. I feel that music is an elusive end unto itself; does it require the practitioner to extract something from it? In all art, from the practitioner's point of view, it is the process that is most important. The process of doing, experiencing.

    There is nothing outside of music that we should seek; music itself should suffice. Perhaps there is an excessive element of inappropriate reification in the treatment of music in such a way, to treat an abstract object as if it were a concrete, real event or physical entity.

    I don't know.
    Navdeep Singh.

  29. #328

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    I wake up at 5 every day so I can practice 6 hours before noon. I usually do 8+ a day, but 6 has been the minimum for the last year. I love music more than anything else in the world, and I do it more than anything else.

    But the idea of closing myself off to seeking anything outside of music strikes me wrong. I don't think any one thing is enough. I think my music would suffer if I didn't live as well as play.

    And I think the jackpot is an actual spiritual awakening that is made up of the same energy music evokes.

  30. #329

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    Quote Originally Posted by brightsize View Post
    I wake up at 5 every day so I can practice 6 hours before noon. I usually do 8+ a day, but 6 has been the minimum for the last year. I love music more than anything else in the world, and I do it more than anything else.

    But the idea of closing myself off to seeking anything outside of music strikes me wrong. I don't think any one thing is enough. I think my music would suffer if I didn't live as well as play.

    And I think the jackpot is an actual spiritual awakening that is made up of the same energy music evokes.
    Sorry, I was thinking aloud and wasn't clear. Of course we need to live our lives to the fullest and should not close ourself off from the outside world (Bird: "if you didn't live it, it won't come out of your horn").


    I was just inquiring if we should expect SOMETHING from music exterior to itself. Do we have to seek something FROM music, or is music itself enough?
    Navdeep Singh.

  31. #330

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    Playing music for me is spiritual, for want of a better word. That's all it is. It's the full expression of who I am through music. I express my thoughts, feelings and paint my world as a see it. And it's a communication of me to the world.

  32. #331

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    True... I dunno man, guess we'd all have to answer that one ourselves.

    I think music is great. I guess I also believe, just based on personal experiences with meditation, NDE's and the aftermath of those, even certain drugs, and helping homeless people/other unfortunate folks in the community that there is something that I'm longing for desperately that I'm separated from, and that all my favorite experiences in life are things that get me in touch with that. I think that thing is God, or Life, or the Spirit of the Universe.

    And I guess I don't feel like I want to only have a little of that and then go back to chasing things that don't really work. I want to go for that all the way and try to grab it by the balls. I don't think there's any reason for me to feel content living in a state of perceived separation from the universe.

    If my practice can reach a state where I'm in non-dual thinking all the time, then everything's great. And I think that's possible... I see people who are just really happy to be alive like 90-95% of the time. The more I practice outside of music, the closer I get to that happiness and oneness with the moment being my default state. And, FWIW, the more I practice that, the more my music improves.

  33. #332

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    Quote Originally Posted by NSJ View Post
    should one expect SOMETHING from music exterior to itself. Do we have to seek something FROM music, or is music itself enough?
    "Love, to love, not to get something back, or it isn't love."

    -Leo Buscaglia

    this question is under the category of "meaning making" I was eluding to earlier. We, you, I, have a projector in our minds. The entire world is one big projection. And the minds job is to make meaning of it...it's constant...it never stops.

    the question, any question, is one to take to self inquiry, if for no other reason than to discover ones own truth.

    One doesn't discover, what's really true to themselves, inquiring outwardly. One turns their projector around, inwardly, to discover their own truth...to any question...inquire within. Be still...
    Last edited by 2bornot2bop; 04-19-2014 at 12:57 AM.
    "You've got to be in the sun to feel the sun. It's that way with music too." - Sidney Bechet

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    Imagine how much more spiritual and transcendent music must have seemed before radio or recording. It could only be experienced when it happened, and when it was over, it was gone without a trace, except in your memory. Almost like magic. We just don't have that perspective anymore, it not as special anymore to the masses, it's everywhere, including where you don't want it to be. Turn that music down!
    Last edited by cosmic gumbo; 04-19-2014 at 01:28 AM.

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    Interesting, too, that what is music to some is noise to others.

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    How are music and "spirituality" connected? To a piece of music, there is a set of connected tones within a rhythmical framework. These connected tones together form a relationship that can be construed as chords or related to some type of scale. Getting to the heart of these tonal relationships within their rhythmical structure is what improvising is. To me, it is improvising that is the deeper part of the search, where stream of consciousness originates, the core, where spirituality is (the nous?), where those tonal relationships resinate.

    Each song has a relationship of its parts that give it its character. Just as a portrait painter knows that a person's face is not just a group of parts, but the relationship of those parts that captures that person's personality, their "look." There is an abstract essence to the relationship of those parts where their personality is. Getting to that essence requires a connection in a visceral, non-intellectual way. It's a sense... a feel... an intuitive understanding.

    I really think that capturing, or feeling, or "getting," the essence of any work of art is what "aesthetics" is all about. The great part of improvisation is being able to take that essence and make it your own, recreating it to give it your own personality without completely losing what it was to start... my grandfather's axe.
    Last edited by zigzag; 04-19-2014 at 09:59 AM. Reason: Not quite finished.

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    Music is inextricably attached to time. Therefore it's also attached to the time track of beings. And of course it's creative. Aesthetic, and emotional and has personal significance, or not. But basically it's time. The rhythm of time. That's in essence why I think music is "spiritual." And all time is personal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by henryrobinett View Post
    Music is inextricably attached to time. Therefore it's also attached to the time track of beings. And of course it's creative. Aesthetic, and emotional and has personal significance, or not. But basically it's time. The rhythm of time. That's in essence why I think music is "spiritual." And all time is personal.
    The Greeks used two words for time, "kairos" and "chronos."

    "Chronos" is what we call clock time. "Chronos" is the root of "chronology," the order in which events occur. Watches, and other timepieces, were once called "chronometers."

    "Kairos" is what many call "felt time", or "the supreme moment." "The nick of time," "rising to the occasion" and "the moment of truth" all refer to this sense of time, as did Ray Charles when he sang "You know the night time is the right time to be with the one you love..."

    Music can be said to mark the passage of time with the beat whereas a solo might carefully build to a crescendo which is the high point of the performance.

    Curiously, for all their concern with time, musicians often lose track of clock time while playing. Who hasn't spent an hour or more practicing that seems to have passed in five minutes?
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

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    Well I think it's clock time. You can lose sense of general agreed time, but it's still clock time - one's personal clock time. Perhaps a different universe of clock time. And I think it's this that connects you to the very personal clock time that pulls you back to high school, or nursery school or first date or moments of dire circumstances or death when listening to music. Most of this happens, I believe, without our full conscious awareness that this is what's happening. It attaches to our own personal life clocks and calendars.

    The beat, the rhythm, the time demarkations that the musicians on the bandstand know so well and agree upon in groove or swing, is all clock time of a sort. Clock time is all relative anyway. Throughout history various calendars and clocks have been developed. Pretty arbitrary I think, however they've been figured out mathematically. Jovians or people from Acturus most certainly would have a different conception of time.

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    Someone earlier mentioned death.

    I find this offering fascinating:

    Gangaji - From the recorded Satsang, 'the truth alive in you'

    "I don't have anything to teach you. You have learned enough.

    Nothing wrong with learning. But this is not about learning.

    I'm not asking you to remember anything. I'm not asking you to do something, to get this realization, that you are that already, that you want, and have wanted forever.

    I'm simply suggesting, as my teacher suggested to me, and as his teacher suggested to him, that you take one instant, one millisecond to be absolutely, still.

    I don't mean to go into a stupor. I mean to be alertly still. To allow the mind, to stop.

    And in that millisecond...what a discovery.

    In that millisecond you actually receive the true and deep invitation to surrender to that which is revealed when there is no thought. When there is no attention on somebody, or some emotion, or some circumstance. This is a momentous instant.

    The whole of human conditioning, is to be thinking about the past, and speculating about the future, and analyzing the present, in relationship to the past and future.

    That's called, conditioned existence.

    There's nothing wrong with it. What could be wrong with it?

    The problem with it, is when it's identified as reality. And in that, you become misidentified with body, thoughts, emotions, and circumstances. And the result of that misidentification, is enormous suffering.

    Because in that identification, you must notice that bodies come and go.

    And there's great fear, that since you are a body that means, you, will go.

    You're right, you know this. Well I'm telling you, you don't come and go. Bodies come and go, that's very correct. In an instant a body is gone. You have the opportunity in an instant of silence to discover what is permanently here. And what an instant. It is an invitation for true refuge, true retreat, true peace, regardless of comings and goings."
    "You've got to be in the sun to feel the sun. It's that way with music too." - Sidney Bechet

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    The article explains why some physicists are thinking of consciousness as a state of matter but gives no good reason for thinking this is a good idea, merely why it is a popular one. (It is convenient.) The stress on information is good, though, and I was happy to see the use of the ancient term "substance." These guys might eventually work their way back around to Aristotle.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

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    I saw that the other day and thought of posting it but didn't. Glad you did.

    >>>>That synch happens in the areas of the brain that deal with music production and social cognition, so it makes a real difference in how tight a band sounds. When people talk about a band's chemistry, this may well be what they're seeing. It also explains why brothers are the core duo in so many famous rock bands. But part of this ability to synchronize actually comes from one overarching truth about guitarists: they're more intuitive than most.<<<<

    Interesting.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

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    This is stupid only in the sense that they single out guitar players rather than ANY musician who improvises.

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