July 21, 2019
Sanford Baran: Preparing to speak in a spiritually charged forum can be daunting. As my turn draws nearer, I often find that my mind is in the dark as to what I should talk about. The experience can be a bit intimidating, because starting with a blank slate can lead to the anxiety that nothing will be there—that this time around I'll come up empty handed. But of course, that hasn't happened yet. I've seen time and time again that what is needed does come to me and is abundantly available, reminding me to stay in position to let it be so. Over the years I have increasingly come to know that spirit can absolutely be trusted.
Now having said that, I'm also aware that the conditions have to be right, specifically the factors moving within me. I find it is critical that I clear the decks internally, so I can make space for creative action. For me, a crucial first step is to put aside the cares of the world, stilling my mind and heart, and entering into a place of quietness and calm. Demands and agendas must be relinquished. I've also learned that it's pointless to slap deadlines on the creative process. The cycles and seasons of Life occur quite naturally in their own time, not mine. So, patience really does come in handy.
Then, as there is sufficient internal stillness, I find myself touching the character and nature of the divine within, and that's when the real fun begins—discovering in the moment what Life has in store. In doing this it becomes clear that something is very much on the move, which by the way can be very different from what vibrationally was moving just a week ago.
Hopefully my words give voice to what is genuine and are vibrationally current. Perhaps this might inspire you to do the same—to speak to that which is originating from spirit in you, as it moves through your own unique capacities of body, mind and heart.
I hope it is evident that although I am apparently speaking about myself, this consideration goes way beyond just me. Frankly, there isn't anything particularly special about me, and in a way that's the point. Giving voice to spirit is not just the province of great spiritual leaders and thinkers. The fact is that the job, globally speaking, can never be fulfilled by just those few. Not to diminish in any way what these great ones have accomplished and revealed in their own living: what has always been needed is a core of many who also take responsibility for consistently expressing this tone themselves, expressing that which is genuine, original and immediately current in their day-to-day living.
The deeply ingrained notion that "I'm not ready," or "I don't have what it takes," or "only the select few, the very special ones can really do the job," is one of the factors that has kept so many stuck for so long.
I really like what John Gray had to say about this in his talk from two weeks ago entitled Teacher, Mentor, Leader: "In our own ways and in our own places, it is each of ours to be that leader in any and every moment."
We don't need to pay too much attention, by the way, to what I referred to as a core of many. "How many are in the core?" "How would the assembly of that come about?" Rightly, our primary concern is that we each play our part—that we each happily step up and do the work. I am most appreciative of anyone who is doing this, in whatever way it is happening in their moment-to-moment living. I equally am grateful as this occurs to whatever degree in myself. After all it's great to feel that one is actually doing one's job. It's wonderful to all be together in this.
Allowing spirit to sound in our own momentary living is our raison d'etre, our reason for being here. You would think that this would be so elemental, so instinctual, as natural as breathing. But because of the pervasiveness and tenacity of the unreal state throughout the course of human history, it sadly is something that has been lost if not completely forgotten.
And yet there have always been abundant providential opportunities to remember who we are and why we are here. In these very interesting times the question is, "Can humankind rise to the occasion and begin to find their way back home?" Even more to the point, can we as individuals, each one of us, touch into the character and nature of our own divine selves and discover our own true voices, our own authentic expressions, which would take us into realms of unimaginable creative possibility?
Increasingly I'm finding that expressing what is real and being attuned to what is spiritually current opens doors of tremendous opportunity, both in terms of my own immediate circumstances but also much beyond that—as individually-generated spiritual substance is subsumed and incorporated into the larger overall vibrational pattern. In the true state, everything really is connected in this way. It's all one.
I find that my days are very full, no doubt the result of welcoming various opportunities that have somehow come my way. These include opportunities that have shown up out of the blue and equally interesting, opportunities that present themselves by suddenly popping into consciousness. Where do these things come from? From the same place this talk is coming from, the ever-flowing current emanating from our divine selves. And this originating source in me is just as surely present in you and in everyone and everything. As I say, it's all one thing.
Practically speaking, discovering what life has in store for us saves a huge amount of time and effort— for one thing, not having mentally to figure it all out. Trying to achieve something significant through human effort, we'll probably miss what really is the timely golden opportunity. How much better to avoid all the brain damage and let the right opportunities put in an appearance naturally and organically—having them magically come to us and then seeing where they might lead.
I recently have gone through a series of interviews for a Data Analytics Instructor's position down at the University of Denver. This, by the way, is something that came to me externally out of the blue. My first impulse upon seeing the email describing the opportunity was, "I've been retired for two years and I'm kind of liking it. And living in Boulder would mean commuting down to Denver two evenings a week and a Saturday. I had already been through such a commute for ten years at my last job. Do I really want to do this again?"
But then I thought, "Well, this opportunity came to me, what's the harm in seeing where it might lead? And because I could very well be swiftly eliminated in the interviewing process, that would make things easy." Life would have made it abundantly clear that this position is not what I should be doing.
As it happens, I have made it through all three interviews, and I guess that at this stage my performance is being compared against other qualified candidates. So, we'll see. But again, the decision as to how to proceed might easily take care of itself. If I'm not offered the position, end of story and thankfully no commuting. And if I do end up being offered the position, I of course will weigh the pluses and minuses. But a critical factor will be to tune-in to what Life has in store, tapping into the ever-flowing current emanating from the core within myself. Life knows what it's doing, so it's definitely advisable to pay close attention to that and not be distracted by considerations that have nothing at all to do with the ongoing creative process.
I wanted to share another interesting part of the experience that cropped up during the course of these interviews. In the third and final interview, I taught a one-hour mock lesson using one of their prepared lesson plans. My class consisted of the three people interviewing me and it was conducted over a ZOOM teleconference. I was previously given guidelines which highly encouraged me to make my delivery engaging. I also was advised that one technique to keep people engaged (and awake) is to make noise. Make noise, really? Okay, I'll try to incorporate some noise into the lesson. And then about an hour before the mock lesson began, this thought popped into consciousness. "Wait a minute… I'm a radio DJ. Why make noise which really is annoying and instead play some music which probably would be much more effective?" So that's what I ended up doing—worked in a few snippets from a radio show I just did the previous week. That apparently did seem to grab my interviewers' attention, keeping them engaged and slightly amused. I think it definitely did stand out. Of course, I'll find out soon enough if this made any difference whatsoever. Regardless I sure had fun doing it.
So where did that idea that popped into my head an hour before my interview come from? Again, I would say the same place this talk is coming from. It's interesting, I was tapping into my radio substance, a bi-product of another opportunity that came my way a few years ago. And I was connecting that substance to this potentially new opportunity in the realm of teaching. It struck me that opportunities very naturally attract and connect with other opportunities, if we let them. The very nature of life is that it is attractive, and life attracts even more life. How wonderful to be about increasing life, in everything that we touch.
As we do generate substance in our living, the objective is not to hoard it, put it in storage somewhere, or keep it isolated from what others are generating in their living. Substance is meant to be shared, interconnected with other substance and ultimately subsumed and woven into a larger overall vibrational pattern. It's quite natural and useful that substance generated in one area connects to and cooperatively interacts with substance generated elsewhere. I find that this is becoming more evident in my own living. And it no doubt is occurring in larger settings where numbers of individuals collaboratively interact, weaving together individual substance into a more expanded unified field of creative function.
Last year, one of my piano assignments required that I learn the Andante movement of Johann Sebastian Bach's Italian Concerto. Also around that time I was looking for a few classical selections to play on my next radio show. The Italian Concerto came to mind as I was already working on it—and I ran into a really interesting recording of the Presto movement (the final movement) performed by the Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Montero, whom I wasn't familiar with at the time. This particular track was on her 2006 album called Bach and Beyond. And this piece really was beyond, a fascinating and very clever improvisation executed with great finesse, incorporating some intricate baroque riffs along with some jazzy harmonies. I was very impressed with it and did end up playing it on my show. I actually think that Bach himself would have approved.
Now fast forward to this summer. About once a week I volunteer as an usher up at Boulder's very fine six-week classical music festival called the Colorado Music Festival, nestled right up near Boulder's iconic Flatirons in Chautauqua Park. The festival musicians descend on Boulder from all across the country and they are absolutely top notch, all members of professional orchestras themselves. And their ensemble-playing together has been absolutely superb—a beautiful example of the weaving together of individual substance into something much greater.
It turns out that last Thursday night I was up there ushering, and Edvard Grieg's famous Piano Concerto in A Minor was on the program. And to my amazement the pianist for the Grieg was none other than Gabriela Montero.
Needless to say, she did a splendid reading of this concerto which is one of the workhorses of the classical orchestral canon. She was given a standing ovation, came back out on stage and then did something extraordinary. Microphone in hand she explained to the audience that ever since she was a girl one of her passions has been improvisation, which is pretty rare for classical musicians. It's something that just came very naturally to her. And although this took a back seat for a while during her earlier professional years, it very much is an essential part of her piano artistry today. So, her encore was going to be a spontaneous improvisation and she told us that it would be one of a kind and only ever played once.
Ms. Montero next asked for a volunteer in the audience to hum a few notes of some tune. Someone hummed the first couple of bars of the standard, Blue Moon. She then started off modestly playing the melody against a few simple chords and then almost immediately we were off to the races! She took that musical theme and abruptly shifted into overdrive, now playing it full out, lacing it with incredibly intricate baroque counterpoint as if Bach himself was madly composing it on the spot. And this went on effortlessly building momentum and increasing in intensity. She then segued into a kind of ragtime groove, highly syncopated with rumbling base notes pounded out by her left hand. And then it gradually began to taper off and calmly came to a refined point of closure.
As you can imagine the audience went wild, and people were shaking their heads in disbelief. A man next to me uttered, "Work of genius." And it definitely was—the expression of the divine, uniquely articulated in the moment right before our eyes.
What an amazing experience to be there and to feel the power and immediacy of spirit on the move. And how interesting to observe the various circumstances leading up to it all—almost like one opportunity setting the stage for another. Who could possibly have foreseen or planned any of this?
Incidentally, I took advantage of one other interconnected opportunity that presented itself this morning. The pre-service music that I played was composed and performed by Gabriela Montero.
So, it is wonderful to be about discovering what Life has in store for each one of us moment by moment. What naturally comes to us might be surprising, but I can tell you this; it definitely won't be boring!
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