Happy New Year! I thought it would be fun to start the year with a philosophical offering. I recently had an exchange with a good friend of mine. He’s a guy with whom I went to college, and who is now a master jazz performer, composer and instructor in the bay area. I sent him my album called “Present Moment”, and he wrote back asking me a provocative question:


Clearly there is a cosmology in your work, which I don’t pretend to understand.  Of course all good music comes from or at least is informed by a spiritual source, that we share.  In your case is your world view coming from one line of teaching or is it your own amalgam of different spiritual streams?  Its so present in your music that it begs the question. Having read a lot of religious texts, then having spent time as a “born again christian”, I’ve thought about this quite a bit. While not regretting any of the experiences, I’ve come to my own conclusion that mankind has invented religions as a way of ordering the chaos of creation. That viewpoint might change (I’m always up for a personal experience with God) but we humans indeed are quite capable of creating mythologies that help us along the pathway. In any case, the spiritual intent in your work is very deep and highly evolved.  While as I say not pretending to understand, I do feel that this is key component to understanding/appreciating your work, something that started perhaps around the time we met and has continued to grow through today.


Here is my response to him:


“Present Moment : Wonderful Moment” is a breath mantra, Present Moment on the inhalation, Wonderful Moment on the exhalation. It originates with a Vietnamese Buddhist monk named Thích Nhat Hanh.

The woman who hosts the meditation group I attend most Wednesdays turned me on to it. It points to the one place where free will is at work, our ability to choose how we feel in any given moment. This little breath mantra sparked the whole album, and I had a vision of the album’s arc from the very beginning. While I like to have a unifying flow to albums as a whole, this “seeing” of the album’s arc at the start of it has never happened in this way. The faith that life, at its heart, is both benevolent and eternal is the basis of my spiritual understanding. Clearly, life experience can be challenging and full of endings, but who we really are is vibrational awareness, eternally evolving across incarnations. There is no death as we think of it, only change. Science has come to that conclusion, with the idea that energy cannot be destroyed, only changed. Life is energy. Life never ends, but it constantly changes. There is a Hindu expression: Sat Chit Ananda, which means “Ever Existing, Ever Conscious, Ever NEW Joy.” This, I believe, is our true nature. And ultimately, everything contributes to that expansion of awareness, which could be called the eternal life of god. So in this way, despite appearances, everything is OK. Or to say it another way, “all is well and getting weller.” I go through the spectrum of emotional experience, and as Cath could tell you, I can be very cynical…. I’ve been known to say, “Humanity is a failed experiment.” But I come back to my fundamental mantra, “Life always knows what it’s doing,” even if we don’t. Whatever thoughts or feelings might flow through me in the course of my daily life, music is my sacred ground. I keep my musical realm focused on the transcendent positive, because that’s the best feeling place to be, and I believe it reflects the truth of what the life experience really is. Life is a journey, not a destination. Our awareness expands with the full range of our life experience, and the awareness we call god expands with us. We, through our focused perspective, asking questions and making choices, are where the rubber meets the road in terms of this expansion, so you might say that god bows in gratitude to us for being the vehicle of this eternal awakening. We are the spark that fuels the expansion that is the eternal life of god. Yeah baby.

So where does religion fit in to all this for me? Not at all. Religion is often the antithesis of authentic spiritual experience. Think of Jesus, teaching his followers how to pray. He calls god “Abba”, which means daddy…. Very intimate, close, connected…. And he tells his followers that they can access god directly. They don’t have to go through the Pharisees. So the Pharisees killed him… or actually, convinced the Romans to do it for them, because in telling people they could have their own relationship with spirit, Jesus was threatening their job security, and their power base.  Another example of religion missing the point of authentic spiritual experience is when St. Francis was on his deathbed, and suddenly sat up, telling his followers that he felt a song of joy, and wanted to sing it to them. They told him to lie back down, he was dying, and this was a somber occasion… certainly not a time for a joyful song. And then they went out and formed the Franciscan Order, having already completely missed the point of his message. So it goes with religion, over and over again.

The big thing for me around religion is to not get seduced by my disdain. There is no freedom in defiance, and true freedom is everything to me.

I believe that the incarnation we experience is only a facet of the infinite diamond that we really are. Connecting with our broader reality is not only possible, it is constantly happening. Like a fish, asking where the water is. But the knowing is intuitive, not intellectual. The mind is a funny thing… it likes to act as if it is leading the dance, but it always follows the emotions. It looks for data to support whatever the feelings are expressing. And we do have a choice as to how we feel. As we find better and better feeling places, life itself begins to line up with that expectation. The better it gets, the better it gets…

So there you go!

Thanks for your wonderful question. I have enjoyed reaching for the high frequency answer.