Play from your HEART!

Bill Hicks, ladies and gentlemen. One of the most offensive comedians of all time. He also happens to have been one of the very, very best. How is that? Well... the fact that he saw through the manufactured bullshit that masquerades as “reality” and called it out for what it was. The fact that he was totally unafraid to be seen for what he was: nobody special, just a guy with a taste for vulgar jokes and a gift for telling them. He was more than that, of course. He was a man of uncompromising integrity, brutal honesty, deep humility... and he did what he did because he loved to do it. No other reason could have driven him.

Today I listened to a couple of songs by Rage Against the Machine (Wake Up and Calm Like a Bomb, from the Matrix soundtracks). I listened in a way that I'm just discovering how to do (although I've probably been doing it all along): such that my internal state of mind is at its own place of repose, while the music plays out around me. I could appreciate the soundwaves, the thoughts and emotions without getting attached to them myself. I don't know if or how this is a productive way to listen, but it appeals to me. It's a way that I can apply to any genre of music, even (and especially) music that is full of angst and rage and darkness. I don't have to go to the place where the music is coming from in my totality, just enough to appreciate it. It's enough to have been there myself at some point in the past. You might ask why I would do this. Why listen to music that's not in line with where I'm at in my innermost? That's a good question.

Part of the answer is that the world is not in line with where I'm at or where I'd like it to be at. That's something that I just have to make my peace with. Appreciating music that comes from a human being's experience of this tortured reality while also holding peace and unconditional love in my heart... it feels real. It feels like healing, somehow.

Bill Hicks had a lot to say about music and the music industry. He made no bones about his distaste for empty, mass-produced, ego-driven dreck. He ranted against banality and mediocrity. He also praised those artists who he saw as having done humanity a service through their music, who played from their hearts.

I listen to a lot of different genres of music. I've never become an expert or a connoisseur of any particular one. Rather, I simply listen to whatever I find that appeals to me. Imagine my surprise when I discovered this artist. Here is someone who plays a genre so apparently full of garbage (in my uneducated opinion) and yet comes across as a true artist with a genuine message. Ana Free is (to me) a diamond in the rough. Her music comes from her heart. And what a heart it is! Beautiful. Generous. True. - And she's pretty, to boot! (grin) Anyway, lest I sound like I'm advertising (ahem), she is what she is, her music is what it is. You may like it or you may not, it doesn't matter.

“Play from your heart.” That's all well and good for those with a talent for making music... what about the rest of us, like me? I think the answer is obvious enough: whatever your talents happen to be, use them to express what you feel, the things that matter, the things that inspire you. Don't be afraid of what people are going to think. Don't worry about whether it's got market value. Those things are distractions! They don't matter! What matters is that you believe in what you're doing. If you can find something you would do for free, without any hope of recognition from the world, just because it gives you joy and fulfillment... do it. Whatever you feel is your purpose for being here now, do it. You will know what that is, because it will come from deep inside you and the mere thought of doing it will fill you with energy.

Play well, yes... but more important than that is to play from your heart. And it's more than likely that it'll come to the same thing anyway.

Ana Free - Try (Live)


    Bill Hicks was such a beautiful soul! I've noticed that many of the greatest wisdom teachers don't identify themselves as such. They're just as (or maybe more) likely to identify as comedians, musicians, fiction writers, etc. He's so right about music and drugs. Music has definitely gone downhill as a result of musicians not doing enough of the right kinds of drugs.
    Music has to be near the top of my list of favourite things about Earth life. In my bleaker moments, I've sometimes wondered what could have possessed me to be born into this time period on this planet. One day I realised (admittedly while stoned lol) that I would have come for the music, even if that were the only reason. The privilege of hearing bands like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd is worth the price of admission, IMO.
    I have zero talent as far as creating or playing music. But I do have a talent for appreciating it. Truth be told, I prefer it that way.
    While not as important as quality,
    genres are really interesting. They do have identifiable signature vibrations, as do we. It seems that, if some aspect of your personal vibration matches a genre, you'll like it and if not, you won't. I've got a bit of a rebellious streak (No! really?) which inclines me to love punk and power metal. There aren't many genres I really can't stand, except for country/western and avant garde jazz. I can't help noticing that I don't have much in common with people who prefer those styles either.


    As a wisdom teacher, I found Bill Hicks to be literally transformative. The first time I listened to his "Rant in E Minor," I laughed so long and hard that my consciousness actually went to a different place. It felt very akin to what I imagine a psychedelic experience would be like. After listening to him talk about mushrooms (God's little accelerator pad for evolution), I've been considerably more amenable to the idea of trying them myself. I intend to do so at the first available opportunity that feels right. Not just in order to have a direct experience of God's love - I've done that without drugs - but to go places where I haven't been able to go before and maybe bring something back to this plane of experience. That would include an enhanced appreciation for certain music (the music of Tool comes to mind)...

    My own taste in music has evolved and continues to do so as I expand the range of what I listen to. In my earlier years, a puritanical belief system influenced my tastes such that my explorations were pretty much limited to the realm of so-called "classical" music (of which J.S. Bach is still my all-time favourite). As I've branched out in the past couple of years, I've come to resonate with many different genres, with the band Gregorian particularly introducing me to many artists through their choral interpretations of various excellent songs. (In some cases, I find I clearly prefer G's version.) I have never much enjoyed classical opera (with the exception of Mozart and a very few others) and have found my appreciation for overbearing, "forced," militaristic music diminish greatly. On the other hand, I find music that is extremely free-associative also hard to listen to (no surprise there), with the context of shamanic, meditative music being the exception.

    Metal and its permutations have become a staple of my listening these days. The melodic metal of Sonata Arctica has been especially resonant.

    My only musical ability is vocal. I sing in a church choir. I do it for the challenge and the harmonies, and also for the fact that it gets me out of the house and into a social setting where everyone works together and has fun.

    Music sometimes lights a "fire" in my solar plexus (most often with highly energetic music). I've learned to take that as a positive sign generally. The same goes for waves of electric shivers that run out from my head and spine all the way to my fingers and toes.

    I truly believe music is one of the most central reasons for existence itself. It's not for nothing that J.R.R. Tolkien's mythology (and many others) places the creation of music before that of physicality. Music, in my opinion, is one of the most direct routes to the knowledge of God - depending on how it's used, naturally. I prefer the direct way myself. (grin)


    If you're going to try psychedelics, I'd advise:
    1. Taking them with an experienced guide that you trust.
    2. Natural settings are preferable to artificial ones.
    3. Daytime is preferable to Night, at least initially. You wouldn't want to miss out on the supernatural colours.
    4. The first time, it's best to approach the experience in a playful spirit. Trying too hard to make the trip spiritually justifiable can backfire. Music appreciation is a great focus. I'd highly recommend "London Calling" by The Clash. I never appreciated that album's creative complexity until I heard it on Mushrooms. It's amazing!
    In that Bill Hicks clip that you posted, the name of the band involved in the lawsuit was cut off. It was Judas Priest, my favourite metal band. They actually lost the case and the album in question was recalled. I, like Bill Hicks, don't believe the band was responsible. It's like he said, why would they want to kill their fans. I'm not so sure about the corporation that released it though.


    Thanks for the advice, I really appreciate it! Numbers 2 and 3 I already had in mind, but your first and last pieces of advice struck home as being items to take to heart.

    I'm not familiar with The Clash or Judas Priest, but I like the songs you linked. I will check out more of their music. :)