It was hot—really hot as I wound my way up the Historic Columbia River Highway to the Royal School of Church Music Retreat. The river glistened in the evening light as I entered the beautiful grounds of the Menucha Retreat Center in Corbett, OR. I was about to present a Meditation for Musicians workshop, and I was stoked.
I introduced myself to the sixteen Episcopal musicians who had come from all over the country. I felt right at home to speak openly on inspired sacred music, meditation and the presence of God.
We gathered on the shaded porch and meditated. We felt for hints of a cool evening breeze and the awakening of deep enjoyable stillness.
We sang a unison hymn, then dropped back into meditation to feel for the resonance of the Holy Ghost or Comforter. Using the language of my Christian upbringing felt really good.
Wait a minute – Holy Ghost? Really, David?
Yep. Simply put: God in us. A reverberation in our soul, a Divine response from the music. This universal experience is described differently in each spiritual tradition. In the ancient Indian tradition, the Holy Ghost is referred to as AUM (or OM).
But even if you aren’t religious or even spiritual, I bet you have felt:
an often-undescribeable presence of highly enjoyable energy or feeling, beyond the physical senses and reactive emotions.
So take a deep breath with me and keep reading.
We sang again, meditated, and relaxed even more deeply into any genuine experience sparked by the music.
The third time we sang, I invited them to infuse their voices with what they were experiencing inwardly, no matter how humble.
And the music came alive. Its potency stopped my breath for the entire verse.
What’s going on inside as we perform matters tremendously.
Although acclaimed performances may come when you’re feeling the worst, and other performances that feel great may hardly get any response, we still have the opportunity and responsibility to bring inner Divine resonance into practice and performance.
First of all, the awareness of “God in us” leads to greater concentration, focus and productivity. Discipline and commitment can only take us so far—we need joy for optimal motivation.
Secondly, our responsibility is to offer congregations a sonic portal to their own experience of the Divine. People know when our energies are off and when we are aglow. They can perceive it within the music.
When we deepen our perception of the Divine and infuse it into our music, listeners sense an invitation to relax into their own sacred experience. This is what makes Sacred Music performance truly sacred.
At the end of the evening we sang for the other staff and guests. As we infused our genuine experience into the Psalm, a tangible presence suffused the room. I was not the only one to feel it.
Later that evening, the moon shone in the darkness to light my way home along the river. A sacred presence silently reverberated inside of me.
I was complete.
Resonate With the Divine workshop available for your choir. Perfect for choir retreats.
Testimonials from the evening:
“Essential viewing! A must for all performing artists!” Michael Kleinschmidt, music director for St Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle
“Brief, but full of things to take to heart and practice implementing in everyday practice and rehearsals.” Arwen Myers, In Mulieribus
“Amazing! This is a class that every musician should experience. These concepts are universal for every human being.” Josh Bullock
“This experience was eye-opening, given by someone who is living what he speaks.” John Palmer
“It brought me into my spiritual sense.” John Pivarnik
“David’s style is elegant and eloquent, helping to invoke a true understanding of the connection between body, mind and Spirit.” Tami Stoecker
“Insightful and connected experience from the start. Mindfulness at its core for inspiring performance experience.”
“Emotionally uplifting and relaxing all at once. I will use these tools to improve my music.” Matt Hill
“Led by a person with genuine calm centered presence with a desire to help others resonate with peace and joy.”
“Experience this. It may change your approach to music and enliven your music-making.”