Sunday, March 6, 2011
“R-E-L” my friend spelled out for me as I was talking with her on the phone, making a play on words of my name…. cute, I thought.
And then she spelled it out again, only this time continuing so that the whole word spelled “R-E-L-I-G-I-O-N” ….
And I said to her “Oooooooh. no! No religion! <laughing> We don’t allow that around here! No religion no religion no religion no religion” I chanted directly into the receiver, taking the earpiece away from my ear to say it.
She laughed and said something to the effect that she guessed I don’t go there anymore… and she’s right… I don’t; though I USED to be Catholic… but it reminded me of something I had been thinking about earlier in the day.
It was a memory from when I was in my early 20’s when I still used to go to church – and in fact I was VERY involved with the music ministry at the particular church I was used to attend. That seemed natural enough on account of the fact that I was going to college and majoring in Music Theory at the time. I was in my senior year and getting ready to graduate … so I knew a thing or two about music and how it is put together.
Right around that same point in time, the music director of the church, being an avid writer of popular style songs, had aspirations of going to
to ply his wares and hopefully hit it big. And so that was exactly what he did. He didn’t know it, and I don’t know maybe he still has no idea, that he was my mentor then; the one who really inspired me and unwittingly helped me to decide where I wanted to take my career in music, even years later. Interestingly, his name is also Michael… just can’t seem to get away from that, huh? LOL L.A.
One week he came to folk group practice and announced to the members that he was planning on leaving to go down to
and live out of his van for a while to try and get his foot in the door of the music industry there. Incidentally, I had actually lent my voice to a demo recording of some of his songs that he took with him to “shop”. California
That was one week, and the next week, he was gone, leaving the church music department without a director. Being in my final year of music school, I volunteered to take his place… And so I did for a few months, taking us all the way into and through the Easter season that year, until one day they replaced ME unbeknownst to me… but that is another story altogether and best left for another time.
In any case, one Sunday morning after communion, we proceeded with the usual “meditative” period after everyone had received their Eucharist and wine and got sat down and quiet, and the priest and his helpers went about cleaning the chalice and the plates/bowls, etc. And I played (the piano) and played away, playing my heart out. I wasn’t following any pre-written score of any kind, just improvising away, the way I had learned from my mentor Michael, the music director who made his escape to
I played and played and played… at one point I noticed the priest get up and stand in front of the altar, which was common at the end of mass after the meditation was over with… ehem… and I played and played and played my heart out. In case you hadn’t guessed, I was really no longer there… I had transported away to some calm, beautiful place where my musical creation was truly being enjoyed and appreciated by my Higher Self and whomever else might have been present in that wonderful moment.
I played and played, for probably 5 minutes or more – maybe as many as 10 minutes, I really have no idea – until finally at last the music came to a bit of a lull and the priest went,
clearing his throat and clearly trying to signal to me to STOP ALREADY!!
Over the next 30 seconds or so I carefully crafted an ending to the piece I was constructing on the spot, mortified, after realizing that I had no idea how long I had been playing. It seemed to me that EVERYONE was staring at me, and I wondered what they must think of me. Well, maybe they weren’t thinking anything, though at the time I thought that they must be angry and impatient with me for making them have to sit in their self-imposed prison (church) longer than they thought they should have to on a beautiful Sunday morning. They didn’t want to sit there and listen to a free concert, they wanted to get home and get on with whatever it was that they had planned… no appreciation for the finer things in life…. like beautiful music. I know... just my perception and probably not at all what was really going through their minds. But I also felt somehow, upon receiving their glowering stares (again, probably just my perception), that somehow I had broken some Cardinal Church rule and that they all thought I should be banned from ever playing in church again… Interestingly, it wasn’t too long after that incident that they did actually replace me… with a Jazz pianist. Hmmmmm.
I found myself this afternoon wondering how it would have made them all feel if I, upon realizing my momentarily having been carted away on the whim of my creative spirit, in my mortification had just stopped playing suddenly and ran out and never went back… of course I never would have known how they felt. Did they care; didn’t they? Does it really matter anymore?… I would say, no. Especially when you consider where I am now with the way that I see things… it’s in the past. It was an interesting lesson in human behavior. It helped to shape my current opinion of organized religion. So, I think that the way it did happen was exactly how it was supposed to happen, and I wouldn’t change a thing.
That experience, and others I’ve had since then have helped me to understand that religious institutions are ego-based political behemoths that really have little or nothing to do with Love, God, or why we are really here. In fact more often than not they cover up and prevent us from learning of our True Nature and our Divine Connection to Source/God. God/Source is created in
MAN’S image, not the other way around, because through anthropomorphization of Source, man (religious institutions) could put that Energy in a context which the “common” man (they would have liked us to believe anyway) could more easily understand, so that the “common” man could be more easily controlled.
I’ll stop there for now, lest I get into a 1.000 page long diatribe about why organized religion in this world is so corrupt, but it IS interesting food for thought, isn’t it?!