My experience recently with Deva Premal’s 21 day meditation series, for which I sang chants every day, has me thinking a lot about music and its place in my life. And possibly provided me with an answer for some long unanswered questions.
As a child my two main interests were music and writing. The writing just came naturally. I did it without thinking and had no goals or aspirations. Music I loved and wanted to pursue. I took piano lessons for 12 years, voice lessons for five. When I sent away for catalogs from music schools I was told that I couldn’t go to a conservatory; I had to go to a university and study something that would lead to real work.
I wasn’t the kind of kid who could just take off then and find a way to earn my own way through music school (it never even crossed my mind…) so I went to Northwestern, with the promise that I could switch to the music school there if I still wanted to after some unspecified time passed. The music school allowed only classical music which wasn’t what i wanted to study. I also realized when I met music students that my training seriously lacked theory and I’d have a hard time catching up.
Later, when I was in a band for a while I realized that all the training left me not well suited for the jazz/rock style I favored. And then that my talents were more suited to local community theater than the kind of unique career I wanted and I gave up the music dream.
In recent years when I contemplate my talents and desires and try to figure out who I’m meant to be and what I’m meant to do I often leave music out — I mean it really doesn’t cross my mind. And if I do think about it I turn it around and contemplate it from different views. I feel like I should want to because “they” always talk about how important it is to look at what you wanted to do as a child. But as far as a life purpose or career pursuit, I just really don’t want to do music any more.
The Deva Premal series gave me a new idea. I’ve also tried lots of different paths and never had much sense that one was more my path than another. I like being eclectic. But I’m now thinking that I would like to pursue the singing chants more. SInging those chants opened up something in me that nothing else has and created an amazing flow.
I wouldn’t necessarily chant to the exclusion of all else but if I were going to start taking workshops again or look for a teacher, I think it would have to do with singing chants or kirtan. It feels like a perfect way to express that musical side and at the same time follow my spiritual path — without having to make it a career or purpose. In the meantime I have plenty to learn and sing with on Deva’s Mantras for Precarious Times, Moola Mantra, and Gayatri. And if I can find lyrics for them, I have a small kirtan collection. So I’ll be singing along with recordings for now.
Sometimes it seems to take me a very long time to work through things like this but when the right moment comes and things start coming together, wow. I can often see that I needed years of gathering bit and pieces to get to a more complete picture. Do you have any loves or desires that don’t seem to have a place? Or could use a re-purposing?
- Ego Eradicator and CPS Open for Comment (bluegrassnotes.wordpress.com)
- Singing Chants and Lovingkindness (bluegrassnotes.wordpress.com)
- Ceremony Breakdown: The Chants (bluegrassnotes.wordpress.com)
- Deva Premal Concert & Falling In Love with the Gayatri Mantra (mantrasandmiracles.wordpress.com)
- Ceremony Breakdown: My Chants plus Gayatri event and CPS open (bluegrassnotes.wordpress.com)