"If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music.

I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music. I get the most joy in life out of music."

~ Albert Einstein

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For (U2)

The Sufi mystic Rumi wrote many poems about the mystery of relating to the sacred. In "Love Dogs," he indicates that one way to understand the spiritual longing we have is that the longing is for the longing itself.  Our crying out is sometimes the connection we need. The U2 hit, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for,” is an excellent example of this longing. Here it is presented by Bono along with a gospel choir in Harlem. (Scroll down to see Rumi’s poem, “Love Dogs.”)

Love Dogs
by Rumi

One night a man was crying Allah! Allah!
His lips grew sweet with praising,
until a cynic said, “So!
I’ve heard you calling out, but have you ever
gotten any response?”

The man had no answer to that.
He quit praying and fell into a confused sleep.
He dreamed he saw Khidr, the guide of souls,
in a thick, green foliage.

“Why did you stop praising?” “Because
I’ve never heard anything back.”

“This longing you express
is the return message.”

The grief you cry out from
draws you toward union.

Your pure sadness
that wants help
is the secret cup.

Listen to the moan of a dog for its master.
That whining is the connection.

There are love dogs
no one knows the names of.

Give your life
to be one of them.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pilgrim's Hymn

“Endless thy grace…Beyond all mortal dream”

Stephen Paulus was a prolific American composer who died this month from medical complications following a stroke at the age of 65. His musical compositions were eclectic and varied. "Pilgrim's Hymn," a beautiful anthem, is one of his most frequently performed pieces. Scroll down for the lyrics.


Pilgrim’s Hymn
By Stephen Paulus

Even before we call on thy name
To ask thee, O Lord,
When we seek for the words to glorify thee,
Thou hearest our prayer;
Unceasing love, O unceasing love,
Surpassing all we know.
Glory to the father,
and to the Son,
And to the Holy Spirit.

Even with darkness sealing us in,
We breathe thy name,
And through all the days that follow so fast,
We trust in thee;
Endless thy grace, O endless thy grace,
Beyond all mortal dream.
Both now and forever,
And unto ages and ages,


Monday, October 20, 2014

Om mani padme hum (Tibetan Buddhist chant)

In honor of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's visit to Birmingham this month, enjoy some Tibetan Buddhist chanting. The Dalai Lama will be in Birmingham this week as pat of Human Rights week and will be at a public gathering at Region's Field on October 26. "Om mani padme hum" is one of the most revered mantras in Tibetan Buddhism. It is often carved into rocks and written on paper and placed into prayer wheels. It's aim is to bring the liberation of enlightenment to all living beings.
(For more information, go to Not Dark Yet)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Holy Radiant Light

I first heard this song when I was in seminary in Mill Valley, California. I thought at the time that it was one of the most beautiful pieces I had ever heard. "Holy Radiant Light," by Russian composer Alexander Gretchinoff, is performed here by the Luther College Nordic Choir. A beautifully transcendent a cappella piece.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Yeha-Noha (Wishes of Happiness and Prosperity)

I discovered Sacred Spirit by accident (or serendipity) at the public library. The CD is a collection of songs that are a fusion of Native American chants and modern music. I enjoyed it so much I got my own copy. Sacred Spirit:Chants and Dances of the Native Americans was released in 1994 and nominated for a Grammy as best New Age album. The song here, "Yeha - Noha (Wishes of Happiness and Prosperity)" was top ten on the charts for 27 weeks in the UK. Even though it is "New Agey," it offers an opportunity to appreciate the sacred traditions of a culture that has been too often neglected and disregarded.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Come Down O Love Divine

"Come Down, O Love Divine," a hymn to the Holy Spirit, with musical setting by Ralph Vaughan Williams, the British classical composer who was called upon to work on the hymnal for the Anglican Church. His musical compositions remain some of the best that continue to be offered in current church hymnals.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

What was Said to the Rose

Mawlānā Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Balkhī, better known in the English-speaking world as Rumi, was a Sufi who lived in 13th century Persia. He is today the best-selling poet in the United States. Coleman Barks has done remarkable work interpreting and communicating Rumi's poetry. This recitation with musical accompaniment illustrates why the Sufi poet is so popular today.

Coleman Barks performs a poem by Rumi, "What Was Said to the Rose" at one of the Mythic Journeys conferences. Musical accompaniment by Eugene Friesen and Arto Tuncboyaciyan.



Sunday, October 5, 2014

Siyahamba (Zulu hymn)

"Siyahamba ekukhanyeni kwenkos'," (We are marching in the light of God)

I tracked down this song "Siyahamba” after reading Maria Evans’ beautiful post on Daily Episcopalian. About the song she states: 

I'm willing to bet that "Siyahamba" has been the most universally translated African song in the last 30 years. We have something really awful – the struggle for civil rights in South Africa – to thank for its universal nature. Yet at the same time, every time I sing it, the image of Bishop Desmond Tutu comes to the forefront of my mind. This awful thing gave the world a beautiful song and an amazing saint on earth. It's a reminder that we need more verses to "Siyahamba" – verses like, "We are listening in the light of God," "We are being still in the light of God," and "we are sharing in the light of God." "Being African" means these things are not incongruous with singing, dancing, and praying in the light of God.

Maria Evans is a surgical pathologist who blogs at http://kirkepiscatoid.blogspot.com/ Read her entire essay, “Siyahamba,” here


Friday, October 3, 2014

Taizé - Iedere nacht verlang ik

Taizé is a small village in eastern France. For over 50 years, it has been the home of a Christian monastic community made up of brothers from many different countries, speaking many different languages and, uniquely, belonging to several different Christian denominations. Catholics, Anglicans, Protestants, Orthodox and others live and pray together, share a simple life and welcome the tens of thousands of visitors who come to spend time with them every year from all over the world. The community has developed a unique style of meditative singing which focuses on the repetitive chanting of short phrases from the Bible and other Christian texts in a range of languages.
The Taizé community is known for its simple and beautiful chants used in worship. This one is called LIedere nacht verlang ik (My soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you.)