Medicine Slow Working

Sri Chinmoy plays the fluteI often listen to the music of Sri Chinmoy while working, while writing as well. Which is not to say that I do not have my moments of wild, popular musical abandon; but over and over again it is spiritual, meditative music, it’s slow moving, profoundly powerful currents of soothing peace and poise in which I rest my oars, close the world’s noisy doors.

I was working on a video project recently, an easy job but stressful task due to the total, irrevocable loss of a hard drive from which the project—and for project read economic sustenance for the next several months—was lost completely. Yes, I should have a back-up procedure, but you can back that finger-pointing up; this particular wisdom I have now learnt, albeit after the fact, and very much the hard way, remaking this and several other projects over, completely from scratch.

While working, and in much need of meditative soothing—the thought of other jobs, perhaps more so their owners pressing upon me like dark clouds, and like clouds just as hard to scatter, I stopped a while to actually listen to what I was listening to, gathered clouded attention to bear upon a talk on poetry by Sri Chinmoy.

Here are a few choice words that momentarily, happily stopped my train of work, lightened my pain of thought:

“Ancient poetry pined for inner freedom. Modern poetry hungers for outer freedom.

Since, according to many, I am a modern poet, I do not know how I can escape from Goethe’s irrefutable observation of modern poets: ‘Modern poets mix too much water with their ink.’

Ancient poetry paid more attention to the Unknowable than the knowable. Modern poetry maximises the power of the knowable and allows the Unknowable to remain a stranger, a perfect stranger.

The ancient poetry-boat was quite often overloaded with poetry-passenger-readers. The modern poetry-boat is quite often empty of poetry-passenger-readers.

Now what about those who are not poetry-lovers at all-no, not even poetry-readers? They do not care in the least either for ancient poetry or for modern poetry. Dear audience, with your soul’s permission, I am crying ditto to a statement by Anthony Hope Hawkins: ‘I wish you would read a little poetry sometimes. Your ignorance cramps my conversation.’ ”

—Excerpt from a talk entitled Poet and Poetry at Sri Chinmoy Library.

You can listen to Sri Chinmoy’s music at Radio Sri Chinmoy—flute, cello, Indian esraj and synthesiser among the many instruments available, and probably instruments easiest to approach initially. Listen to Sri Chinmoy playing for at least 10 or 15 minutes—put it on in the background even, and marvel at the sense of calm and peace that, like a medicine slow working, has seeped into you. Without you even noticing…

  • alf
    Posted at 00:28h, 05 June

    That is such a great line from Hope Hawkins, but not one I need ever use on you!

    I can’t always meditate, but I can always listen to spiritual music so it works for me.

  • Jaitra Gillespie
    Posted at 08:09h, 05 June

    Hope Hawkins? Sir Anthony Hope Hawkins? Honestly I have no idea!

  • alf
    Posted at 09:22h, 05 June

    …I am crying ditto to a statement by Anthony Hope Hawkins: ‘I wish you would read a little poetry sometimes. Your ignorance cramps my conversation.’ ”

    —Excerpt from a talk entitled Poet and Poetry at Sri Chinmoy Library.


  • Jaitra Gillespie
    Posted at 11:32h, 05 June

    Gosh—I should really delete the last two comments and maintain the illusion that I still have half a brain…

  • Shardul
    Posted at 16:20h, 05 June

    Hi John – I too am very fond of listening to Sri Chinmoy’s music while working and actually don’t go too far without my iPod when I leave the house either. I am particularly fond of Sri Chinmoy’s flute music. It is so soothing and a great help when I need a little mental clarity – which is nearly always. There was once a radio programme called ‘Desert Island Discs’ or something of that nature. Basically, famous New Zealand folk would go on National Radio and play the songs that they would choose to have with them if marooned on a desert island (without electricity – hmmm…). Well, I’m not famous at all, (although I may be after this comment :wink:), but my Desert Island Disc would be Sri Chinmoy’s Flute Music for Meditation. It was the first meditation music that I had ever heard when I was learning to meditate in 1984 and to this day, it is still my favourite. The great thing about Sri Chinmoy’s music is that it is saturated with the feeling of meditation. Stillness, poise, tranquility and pure, rejuvenating energy – it’s all there. Personally I find these qualities also exist in Sri Chinmoy’s more dynamic musical modes like his extemporaneous grand piano and pipe organ performances, but the flute remains my absolute favourite. And in keeping with the flute theme, this is a poem Sri Chinmoy wrote many years ago:

    The Golden Flute

    A sea of Peace and Joy and Light
    Beyond my reach I know.
    In me the storm-tossed weeping night
    Finds room to rage and flow.
    I cry aloud, but all in vain;
    I helpless, the earth unkind
    What soul of might can share my pain?
    Death-dart alone I find.
    A raft am I on the sea of Time,
    My oars are washed away.
    How can I hope to reach the clime
    Of God’s eternal Day?
    But hark! I hear Thy golden Flute,
    Its notes bring the Summit down.
    Now safe am I, O Absolute!
    Gone death, gone night’s stark frown!

    – Sri Chinmoy.

    Regards from a fluter – Shardul.

  • Jaitra Gillespie
    Posted at 16:24h, 05 June

    My goodness—thanks Shardul. I may have to put this on the frontpage and call you a guest blogger!

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