Currently viewing the tag: "The Bhagavad Gita"

HarmonologyThe following is an excerpt of the foreword I wrote for Stephen O’Connor’s latest book, Harmonology: An Insider’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Through Music

Music has played an important role in my life for as long as I can remember. I am sure I am not alone in this sentiment as many of you must feel the same way. Who among us cannot visualize his or her life’s story to the sound of the important music each has resonated with at various points in time? When we think of the greatest influencers throughout history, many have been music makers. So why does music have such a profound influence on us, our lives, and even the world, and on such a dramatically grand scale? It is because music is a primordial sensory archetype buried deep within our collective unconsciousness—that layer of consciousness lying just beneath our personal unconscious awareness, formed by millions of years of evolution, and common to all people. The psychoanalyst Carl Jung called it the lower stratum of the psyche, the source of instinctive behavior, those which come from the constant repetition of universal emotional experiences, like the rising and setting of the sun, wakefulness and sleep, happiness and sadness, conflict and resolution, and the change of seasons. Music, then, has the ability to touch that deeply unconscious part within us, bringing forth an intense appreciation of the beauty of the universal vibrations to which we all resonate.

Primordial SoundWhat is this universal vibration? The Vedic philosophies call it Om (or Aum), the primordial sound. According to these teachings, Om is the original vibration, leading to all consciousness and material creation that is the known universe. It is considered the manifestation of God in form. In the sacred Hindu text the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says to Arjuna:

“I am the father of this universe, the mother, the support and the grandsire. I am the object of knowledge, the purifier and the syllable om.”

In Judaic and Christian religions, the heaven and earth is said to have been created by the Word of God (Logos). From the first chapter of the Gospel of John:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made…”

Even modern science has identified this universal vibration, this primordial sound, as the “music of creation.” Regular patterns in the so-called afterglow of creation, astronomers say, were caused by sound shock waves shortly after the Cosmos was born. Scientists have even been able to determine the musical notes associated with these waves. Said Italian astronomer Paolo deBernardis:

“The early Universe is full of sound waves compressing and rarefying matter and light, much like sound waves compress and rarefy air inside a flute or trumpet. For the first time the new data show clearly the harmonics of these waves.”

bigbang-immagine-di-anateprima (Copy)Music is thus the archetype of all creation to human beings, and as such represents the most elemental feelings of beauty that reside within us. I would even go as far to say that all living things resonate to sound vibrations, and modern science continues to amass evidence in support of this notion.

So while music as a reflection of the primordial sound may connect us to all living things, another human attribute separates us from every other species: The ability to use models or symbols to expand our reality. Tool making is one such application of modeling, which actually helped separate our early ancestors from similar species that continued to cling to trees. In fact, tool making was one of a handful of skills that rapidly progressed our evolution into the world-dominating species we are today. And our persistent use of models and symbols over several millennia has led to technological advances that have ultimately resulted in the construction of massive civilizations, instantaneous trans-planetary communications, and regular exploration of outer space and the cosmos, along with a myriad of other marvels.

CounterpointWe have mastered this use of symbolism to expand our reality. Much of the advanced scientific thinking of today has started out initially as a model, theoretical at first, but after some observation and testing, the model is accepted or rejected as a reasonable representation of nature. What is Interesting is that we tend to look to nature itself to come up with ideas on how other aspects of it might operate. Call it an understanding we humans have—whether innate or via thousands of years of experience—that we find within nature a number of processes which repeat themselves. By simply looking at the histories of aviation, biotechnology, artificial intelligence and even warfare throughout the ages, we can see how nature has been the greatest influencer on human innovation. It is this ability to describe and understand our universe from the physical, to the mental, to the experiential, by creating models based on known natural processes that have expanded our thinking, and our reality, to where they stand today.

These two themes—the universality of music as a connector to the primordial sound of creation, and the uniquely human trait of using models and symbols to expand our reality—are what have captivated me most by the literary and philosophical work in front of you now. Harmonology: An Insider’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Through Music came to my desk by means of a request from the work’s author, Stephen O’Connor, to take a look at the book and possibly write a foreword. The author and I had met back in 2012 when, through a serendipitous bit of synchronicity, our paths crossed in the virtual universe, specifically the dimension of social media. I speak of our meeting as synchronous because, having read and reviewed his first book, Counterpoint to Reality, I became acutely aware that he and I had been destined to meet. And I paradoxically refer to our meeting as serendipitous because—as I sit here having just finished his current work—I feel a sense of gratitude for the great insights that I have received from the philosophy and model that is harmonology.

red-counterpointThrough this book, and the insights contained within the harmonology model, I am able to see that my day-to-day interactions, my relationships, and my work are all a part of a grand universal symphony, of which my experiences are the individual notes and harmonies that make up the musical masterpiece of my life. By studying this manuscript, the reader will see, as I have, the inherent order in his or her relationships—both romantic and otherwise—through the model of the 12 note musical scale. The author has brilliantly made the connection between the primordial sound and how people vibrate individually, as well as with one another, and has created a reasonable model, through observation and research (albeit small at this time), which seems to support the principles of consonance and dissonance inherent in the rules of Counterpoint (the relationship between musical sounds that are interdependent harmonically yet independent in rhythm and contour)…

I have left the remainder of the foreword for you to read when you pick up this book, and I highly recommend you do so. The information contained within Harmonology: An Insider’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Through Music, will give you valuable insights into your current relationships, your life experiences and yourself. I believe you will find, as I have, that Harmonology is fairly accurate in describing your current, past and even future relationships. Relationships are life’s harmonies and we are the musical notes. Harmonology: An Insider’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Through Music does an exquisite job of showing you exactly how these notes blend together to make up the symphony of your life. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

Back to GodheadI am convinced that all people have a life’s purpose. We are ‘born’ into this existence with certain qualities and drives that are direct reflection of this purpose. The Hindu teachings call it dharma, and the epic scripture, The Bhagavad Gita, spends much time explaining it. It’s easy for people of atheistic or materialistic philosophies to dismiss this idea as simply spiritual mumbo jumbo, but if these people could open their minds to the fact that certain human struggles are timeless, then they might be able to appreciate the true origination of these works or philosophies.

As I said, we are all born into this existence with a dharma. In its full definition, dharma is the universal order—it is pure reality.

Verily, that which is Dharma is truth.

Therefore they say of a man who speaks truth, “He speaks the Dharma,”
or of a man who speaks the Dharma, “He speaks the Truth.”

Verily, both these things are the same.

~ Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upanishad, 1.4.14

All aspects of the universe are determined by their dharma—it is the law that runs the entire operation (and beyond); the harmony in which all things resonate.

Zach Grether, A Canyon Lake Morning"  - 2013 International Earth & Sky Photo Contest, 2nd Place in Against the Lights Category
Zach Grether, A Canyon Lake Morning” – 2013 International Earth & Sky Photo Contest, 2nd Place in Against the Lights Category

Dharma

What are those qualities that determine our dharma? Essentially, they are our values, the inner drives that determine how we spend our time and what we work on (toward). Each one of us is unique in the totality and hierarchy of these values, and they are part and parcel with our dharma, not one the cause or result of the other.

My dharma is to teach and to heal—I know this within the depths of my soul. I have no uncertainty about it whatsoever. It runs a little deeper (much deeper), but I want you to understand the essence of dharma. All my decisions are based on this duty I have to the universe, to existence and all its inhabitants. I take this duty seriously. It’s why I am here.

Nothing takes precedence over my purpose, nothing. This does not mean that I do not attend to other aspects of my life—earning money, my children, my relationships, my health. On the contrary, I connect all parts of my life to my purpose, which has been monumental for my decision-making abilities. If it doesn’t fit into my dharma—and believe me, many things don’t—then I don’t do it, period.

It is so easy to get caught up in the externals of life, and in this case, I mean external to our purpose (not dismissing the reality of the interconnectedness of all things). But here is something I discovered: When we are following our purpose (dharma)—when we are doing what we love, what we are here to do—we do not need to focus on the outer details. When we focus on the outer details (the externals), they simply become distractors to our true work. When we focus on our purpose, without attachment to the outcome, trusting in the universal dharma, the outer details take care of themselves. As hard as this may be for some to believe, just consider your life an experiment on this principle, and act accordingly…and you shall soon see.

But dharma again has a deeper meaning than just purpose, and this is a point of focus in The Bhagavad Gita: our dharma, our life’s purpose, is simply a tool for us to understand ourselves on a deeper level, and in this regard, as a matter of indistinguishability, for us to understand God.

samadhi

And this is where I’ve likely lost the atheistic/materialistic among us. However, if you are still here, just appreciate that we all have a life’s purpose. It need not be grand or lofty, as being the loving caretaker of a beautiful garden and animal children is equally valuable as striving to end all suffering. In the end, our purpose—our dharma—is what drives us. You can help make your life easier (and more fulfilling) by basing all your decisions on your dharma, not focusing on results but on the work itself, and getting to know yourself, and God (sorry atheists) more deeply through complete dedication to your dharma.

*For anyone who would love to uncover his or her dharma, I am available for consultations: drnick@drnickcampos.com

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