Music in nature

The Life of Music

An Example of developing the Spiritual Faculties

There are uncountable ways in which we could use the Abhidhamma system to develop our faculties. And a true meditator will ever be on the lookout for some opportunity for doing that.

For example, you hear music somewhere played, and being accustomed to meditate on the four elements, you try to see if you can comprehend that music in matters of the four elements.*

You hear the soft, dreamy notes of a piano, flowing forth like the slow clear waters of a little brook. Following its flow, sometimes you see it widen, sometimes you see it narrowing. Sometimes you find it churning in a little pool, just to go on flowing again in a definite direction. As you continue following its flow, you begin here and there also to hear some notes of brightness, appearing just like some glittering beams of sunlight, fracturing on the surface of the steadily flowing brook of piano music.

Then all the glimmer disappears and a sudden thunder like sound captures your mind. Some deep sounding bass instrument has brought into the scene the earth, just when you were wondering as to where to look for that element. But you yet comprehend it as a water suffused earth element, having the characteristics of both heaviness and depth.

More and more of that comes in. A drum, a bass, earth with more water, earth with more wind. You see how things blend together, and you realise how your understanding gradually increases as to how to know more than just one element at a time.

Slowly the thundering passes and you again perceive notes of brightness and a gentle wind’s blowing speeds up a little everything in your field of perception. You see how the wind element and the water element gently merge together. And on top of it a fires brightness.

And having sharpened your mind to such a height of comprehension, in the light of those bright notes, glittering orderly on the rest of the song, being breathed at rhythmically by some subtle strokes of lively motion, you begin to see a fairy’s dancing play.

Gradually you come to understand, that that artist having so perfectly harmonised his notes, has actually brought into being a new life, with definite powers and its own individuality. And you also learn, that that life also has a kind of mind, a mind breathed into it by the maker of the music.

Ever deeper becomes your comprehension of what the thing called ‘life’ actually is. And you see, how this life can actually move people, yea, can move into people. And how it can in fact influence them from within. How it uplifts the depressed, calms the hectic, deepens the superficial, but also at times dominates the weak and captures or distracts the one who seeks to concentrate his mind.

Remembering your list of emotions, you try to estimate its primary character, after which you continue your observation.

Observing how the music flows and sparkles and foams, you slowly see at times not just one, but many fairies’ dancing play. Making you realise, that life must not necessarily be one singular body or base, but can be made up of many centres playing together as it were to make up one larger organism or entity, which is providing the mind for all.

Little by little, you learn something about the lives of entities which seem very different from anything you have known so far.

Little by little, you learn something about the lives of entities that seem so entirely different from anything you have known so far.

You keep observing, aided by your faculty of knowledge and your intuition, the guiding lights which help you to continue your discernment. And with them you study the powers and the limitations of power of an entity which grows or withers in proportion to how it gets received by others.

More and more perceptions arise of invisible lives surrounding you and filling the infinite cosmos. Some beneficent, some perhaps not at all. Some short lived, some maintaining themselves for longer. Some weak and some powerful. Some centering around veins, some around wires and some even centering around stable ecosystems in nature, or around processes that destroy those ecosystems.

Images arise in your mind of you yourself having been at times a being quite akin to that song, whenever loftier mind states of braveness or love or enthusiasm, were uniting you (and even those you were in contact with) to become infinitely larger than you where when you where caught up only in immediate sense-impressions and petty fears.
While at the same time realising, that when you were caught up in immediate sense-impressions and petty fears, you actually also have made yourself receptive to the minds of certain entities greater than you in power, but not necessarily great in intent.

But dwelling further upon the positive site, seeing in your mind how far and vast that music can spread, you realise, how vast you yourself can become when you cease to be overly identified with the mere outer form and learn to attune your consciousness to some higher emotion or thought.

This you realise is the way of the heavenly life.

* Note: I chose the example of music to have an example for developing the faculties which is distinctly different from the sense of bodily feelings, which will be used by most meditators for developing their faculties. I believe, a good meditator, will have no difficulties to translate this example into the sphere of the experiences of meditation centering around bodily feelings. 
Apart from that, I would recommend anyone who really is determined to get somewhere with the element meditation, to also try to use (or harmonise) more than one sense-organ, for example the body and sound or sight and sound.

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