photo: Stig Nygaard on flickr

photo: Stig Nygaard on flickr

Have you ever had contact with something Bigger than yourself?

And I’m not talking about a phone call with the I.R.S.

Or an offer to join the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes.

I’m talking about Something so big, so vast, it takes your breath away. Something that reminds you who you are, and what you’re made of.

I guess if you’re super enlightened, you could find this Something everywhere, including the I.R.S. and Publisher’s Clearinghouse.

But given that I’m still inching my way to super-enlightened status, I took a different path. I found this Something on stage.

photo: Will Bakx

photo: Will Bakx

Here’s what happened:

A while back, Melissa and I did music for the Sunday services at the Center for Spiritual Living Santa Rosa. I’m blessed to be married to a gifted singer and songwriter – that would be Melissa – and this particular Sunday, we were performing two of her newest songs.

One of these songs, entitled “All is Well,” is one of my favorites. The song starts out like this:

I release and let go

Of what isn’t mine to carry.

I let go

And I dwell. . .

In the space in between.

In this silent sanctuary

I know

All is well.

Every time I’ve played this song with Melissa, I go into a trance. And by trance, I do not mean that I’ll do wacky tricks upon request, like those people who get hypnotized and start barking like a dog or reciting the alphabet in Arabic.

photo: cushing memorial library on flickr

photo: cushing memorial library on flickr

This trance is way better than that.

I feel like I’m floating along with the music. Melissa’s voice and the words of the song, along with the notes coming out of my fingers on the piano, combine to create a magical bubble that carries me along until the song is over.

This Sunday morning was no different. The Center has three services, and the first two allowed me to experience the magical-bubble effect like usual.

And then came the third service. That’s when things got really good.

First I need to back up a minute, to put things in context.

At the time, I was working with Linda Marshall, who does Craniosacral Therapy. When she was first talking to me about how this particular form of therapy works, she described a huge force, which she calls Love, that directs the movement of the treatment.

She said that anytime she tries to step in and intervene, this force backs off. But when she remains a gentle guide, this Love energy can come in and work Its magic.

After my first treatment, Linda was talking about how my particular system reacted to the therapy. She said there’s a component in me that she described as “will”. This is the part that thinks I need to do everything myself.

She reminded me that this part can relax, and that I can allow the bigger force to do Its work.

And so I found myself, a few days later, sitting in front of the piano for the third Sunday morning service.

Before I started to play, I closed my eyes. All of a sudden, I felt this huge energy, like a gigantic river. And I knew that the river was the song I was about to play.

Mountain River

I heard a voice say that this river would always be there. I could step into it at any time. And every time I stepped into it, it would be different.

I also heard that I could give myself fully to this river. That I didn’t have to be afraid.

And so I opened my eyes and began to play.

The magical trance bubble was there, like usual. But now I knew it to be a river. A big, endless river. And I was not only carried along by it, it was inside me as well. I was allowing the river to make me bigger, to make the music bigger through me.

This lasted the entire song. And then it was over.

But it wasn’t over, because of the hugeness of what had happened.

It took me a few hours to remember the Craniosacral Therapy, and the link between the two. But I finally got it.

The river is my life.

river dawn done

That life force is always there, waiting for me to step into it. It’s way bigger than me, and it’s different every time.

But I can give into It. I can trust It.

Ultimately, the river is in everything I do. But there are certain activities – like music – that make it easier to apprehend.

We all have this ability to remember and experience the river. And every one of us has our own unique way of experiencing it.

Maybe it’s through music. Or art. Maybe it’s being in nature. Or in physical activity like running or dancing. Maybe it’s yoga or meditation.

Whatever it is, give yourself to it! Allow yourself frequent excursions to this place.

Eventually, you’ll be able to experience it everywhere. In everything.

Even the I.R.S.

photo: Jason Paris on flickr

photo: Jason Paris on flickr

How do you experience the river? Share your stories!

For more on my on-stage antics, go here and here and here.

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