Music as Meditation
“Where has My Love Gone – A Mystical Love Song”
As a child, my mother encouraged us towards the arts. I played the flute, the oboe and took piano lessons for less than a year when I was just 7 years old. I never really learned how to read music, I mostly played by ear and I barely ever practiced; I am not a musician by any stretch of the imagination.
So, setting out to learn how to play “Where Has My Love Gone” was an odd adventure if ever there were any.
Yet the desire came welling up in me as a remedy to the longing in my heart to have known Swami Kriyananda in this life.
“If you want to get to know me, listen to my music.” – Swami Kriyananda
Some years ago, while meditating at the Moksha Kutir, sitting beside Swamiji’s bed, I felt his love permeating the room, permeating me.
It was a communion of souls.
When I got up from his bedside and went to my car, a song started playing on the CD that I had just bought, a song that I had never heard before “Where Has My Love Gone”. Listening to it, I couldn’t help but feel as if Swamiji were singing it to me, for me. And I swear, I could hear his heartbeat in that recording.
“There by my bed, she left me a note, can you explain these words that she wrote seek me she said love, out on the sea, boundless the reaches of true love must be.”*
In that moment I understood that the love that I feel in relationship to Swamiji and the Master’s, while never having had the experience of meeting them in the flesh, is an eternal love that knows no limit.
“I got the idea, to write the philosophy that we teach in song form. That it could be sung and perhaps more easily absorbed and memorized than in the form of a sermon… so I wrote quite a lot of songs with that purpose in mind.”- Swami Kriyananda
Getting to know Swamiji and Paramhansa Yogananda’s teachings of Self-Realization through the music of Ananda has the power to be a fully immersive experience.
As Master says “Chanting is half the battle”.
Being bathed in the spiritually uplifting vibration of sound has it’s own transformative power; so for me, spending two years learning this piece of music was a worthy battle that led me to many important insights.
And, whether it be the piano lessons that I took or the endless hours of practice, my time was always spent deeply imbued in Swamiji’s essence.
It became my Sadhana.
When I sit at the piano, I invoke Swamiji’s presence in my heart, that I be filled with the love and devotion which is expressed in this particular piece of music.
“Strange that when love calls, memory stays, crying across the tides of our days”.*
I always ask Swamiji to use me as an instrument through which every note is played. In this simple way, without a single chord sounding, I am attuned. And then, with deep concentration, I play.
The music has been my mirror, showing me my own reactive process be it: frustration, impatience, or self-deprecation and ego involvement; how many wrong attitudes were reflected back to me when I played the wrong notes.
“Life’s made of dreams friend, dreams that must break, quickly dispersing when we awake.”*
Much like the purifying effect of Kriya, with faith-filled effort and each new attempt, these downward-pulling tendencies were being uprooted, transformed, transcended and carried with me into my daily activity.
I am changed.
“Sweet was her promise when we first met, whispers of heaven, made me forget heartaches and labors, earth-searing pain. Rest now she said, you’ve found love again.” *
A friend of my mother’s is a piano teacher, she is a phenomenal player with superpower sight reading skills, trained and educated at The Juilliard School of Music in NY. She was able to play “Where Has My Love Gone” to near perfection the first time that I asked her to play it for me.
Two years ago, I told her of my endeavor, that my interest wasn’t learning how to play piano, but learning how to play this composition. She tried to convince me that there are many different and wonderful pieces of music to play, not to mention that I really should start with the basics of piano and work my way towards the complexity of this piece.
When I saw her recently, she couldn’t believe that two years later, I had stuck with it. She again tried to persuade me to expand my repertoire.
I reiterated that my aspiration was one-pointed and that for me, playing was a form of meditation and communion with the composer, Donald Walters – a.k.a Swami Kriyananda.
Then, I asked her if this time I could play for her.
I sat at the piano and worked my way through the piece. When I finished playing she said “That, is love.”
And with those three simple, yet powerful words, I felt that a mission was accomplished and that I am now ready to move on in an ever more expansive way.
“Surely, she lied not, heaven did shine, piercing the darkness love then was mine. Could she not linger, must even she, rise and depart like mist on the sea.”*
Thank you, Swamiji for the gift of Ananda music and the power that it holds to enter into attunement, to deepen meditation and to expand consciousness.
“Ah, passed she here? My sweetheart passed she here“.*
I have set my sites on “The Divine Romance”^ as my next Music as Meditation adventure…
*Lyrics from “Where Has My Love Gone – A Mystical Love Song“ written and composed by Donald Walters – Swami Kriyananda
^ “The Divine Romance” written and composed by Donald Walters – Swami Kriyananda