This month I have a different book, but each by the Dalai Lama, in every room in my house (except the bathroom – no further comment). So I pick up one or another book at odd moments… which are quite frequent in my life. A recurrent theme, in the D.L.’s writings, is the veneration of the mother, in terms, for instance, of a meditation practice of imagining reincarnation over endless lives (it is not necessary to believe in this, literally), implying that one could regard every creature as having been one’s mother at some point in time, in some other life. For myself, I am using this practice suggestion to meditate on many different people I have known, and imagining them as close to me – as close as a mother or a father, a sister or a brother, a son or a daughter… It is so important now for more and more humans to develop empathy as best we can. What can we do to reinforce our sense of impartial positive regard or love? What is more pertinent to that project than the fostering of awareness and respect for mothers?
One of my spiritual teachers was the late John G. Bennett (1897-1974). He was an Englishman who off and on lived and traveled in the Near & Middle East, and he was really impacted by experiences in Islamic countries in the early 1950’s. Here’s a note from his published journals, “I began to be occupied with… sacrifice and trouble for the sake of work. As these thoughts proceeded in me, there was suddenly added the phrase, ‘the effects of a cause must always re-enter the cause’. (from Gurdjieff’s All & Everything, p. 1135)… [and] I saw afresh the whole significance of this ‘world law’ and its application to sacrifice and trouble. Wherever the sacrifice issues from, thither it will return. If it comes from our silly egoism and desire to be seen and appreciated, these will be strengthened by it. But if it comes from a sincere feeling of need to serve the work, then the result will give life to our own individuality… If we wish to carry with us something that can become immortal, then our actions must issue from an act of will that is not confined to this fugitive experience of life in space and time.” – Volume 2, p. 173. The journals were published in two volumes as “Journeys in Islamic Countries” – https://www.amazon.com/Journeys-Islamic…/dp/1881408124
photo by Christopher Vardas
An ancient idea occurring across many cultures is the notion that being in harmony with oneself is related to being in harmony with the world at large. Whether or not the brain waves, of a relaxed human being, vibrate at the same frequency as the earth (said to be 8 cycles per second and known as the Schumann Resonance) – composers such as myself aspire to intuitively find a music that helps people get back into a harmonic balance… this has been noted by many people. Please join us if you can, for this free concert at the Portland Piano Company on July 10, 2016, 3 to 4:30 p.m. – There is a comprehensive announcement in the Portland Mercury: http://www.portlandmercury.com/events/18292535/earth-you-are-here
If you can’t make it to the concert, or just want to hear an example of David’s music, there’s a concert excerpt on YouTube from this past January, recorded by John-Henry Dale, using a special 360 degree camera (interactive) and a new kind of microphone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xBxrRAsgPE
NASA image – public domain
David Salminen’s concerts over the past few years start from an idea or a feeling generated by a Cosmic perspective about our place in the Universe, or our understanding of some aspect of the Universe. The July 10, 2016 “EARTH – YOU ARE HERE” concert comes more from a feeling than an idea – a feeling for our home planet, a place so rare – unique really, to the best of our certain knowledge – that we cannot overemphasize its importance to us, in terms of place and time.While I am not closed to the idea of life on other worlds – even on many planets throughout the Universe, what we know for sure at this point is that our home planet, Earth, is the place, in the whole of the Universe, that we know is hospitable to life forms such as us. In this sense, the oneness of life here on Earth, as well as our individual lives as we each experience life, is central – the very center – of the Universe. “Each of us – whoever and wherever he may be – is then the center, and within him, whether he knows it or not, is that Mind at Large, the laws of which are the laws not only of all minds but of all space as well. For as I have already pointed out, we are the children of this beautiful planet that we have lately seen photographed from the moon. We were not delivered into it by some god. but have come forth from it.” page 274 of Joseph Campbell’s book “Myths to Live By”. http://www.portlandmercury.com/events/18292535/earth-you-are-here
(photo credit – NASA image – public domain)
“Earth – You Are Here”
David Salminen, piano improvisations
July 10, 2016, 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Portland Piano Company, 711 SW 14th Ave, Portland, OR 97205 – phone 503.775.2480
free admission and open to the public – donations welcome
The idea behind this “Earth – You Are Here” concert is suggested by the NASA images of Earth from space, beginning from the time of the Apollo missions of the late 1960’s and continuing. These images remind us of the unity of humanity and the wholeness of life as we know it – from a cosmic perspective. David’s improvisations build intuitively and spontaneously on the extraordinary resonances that are possible with the modern grand piano, via the 88 keys as entry points, in activating the sounding board as a vehicle for a holistic experience of endlessly evolving complexes of harmony and harmonics.
BY THE WAY – If you can’t attend in person – please check this out, for the fun of it:
When I can remember myself a little more consistently, it is music that I believe in… along the lines of the famous Leonard Bernstein remark – to the effect that his response to violence would be to pursue music more passionately than ever, or Albert Schweitzer’s famous footnote to all his philosophizing about “reverence for life” – something to the effect that his life was his argument. Many good and generous people have made possible my development as a musician, by showing up and giving attention to my spontaneous aspiration toward harmony via mellifluous string plucking at the piano, and this has helped make my life meaningful. Remarkably, the making happen & the taking in of music & art, and any effort toward value realization, gives one courage – courage from the inside – a courage not dependent on external recognition. This kind of courage is linked to maturity and self-realization – not as a claim, but as an aim.
“Know your strengths and own them and don’t apologize for them.” attributed to Annabel Acton (seen on the Forbes.com website, 5/11/16) – As a kind of example… I have been able to improvise at the piano, quite amiably, since the beginning of my own memories, from around the age of 5. More importantly, as I discovered in the fall of 1980, it is possible to improvise with great purpose and result, given special circumstances. Describing such “circumstances” could result in a very long story – and one that I hope to be able to share someday. Meanwhile – let me just say that I am very, very grateful to all the people who have attended my musical meditations over the past 30-odd years, with the kind of openness and attitude that facilitates a methodology driven by spontaneity.