“Music is my religion.” ~ Jimi Hendrix
Most people wouldn’t associate profound spiritual experiences with the band Van Halen, but the following is a perfect example of why when people have preconceived notions about how spirituality is supposed to be, they may be missing out on some amazing experiences!
It was roughly seven years ago when my brother and I had free tickets to see Van Halen play the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. I grew up enjoying Van Halen (not Van Hagar) and thought it’d be a cool nostalgic experience to go see them, especially since they’d just reunited with David Lee Roth (yes, again). All in all, they put on a hell of a show but the highlight for me was an epic 20 minute guitar solo by Eddie Van Halen.
It was towards the middle of Van Halen’s set that Eddie began his solo while the other band members proceeded to leave the stage. As I stood there watching EVH’s solo, his playing intensified, I mean to the point where I found myself literally mesmerized by it. There was nothing else happening in my reality except his fingers moving on the neck of his guitar and the notes and sounds they subsequently produced.
It was one the realest moments of samadhi I’ve ever experienced, which came to a head when around the fifteen minute mark of his solo when I abruptly snapped out of it as I caught myself beginning to fall into the row of seats in front of me. While of course I was physically there, every other part of my being was gone, with my body proceeding to act accordingly byletting itself go. Luckily, I caught myself before making a complete ass out of myself and knocking anyone over. I watched EVH finish his solo in embarrassed amazement before the rest of the band joined him on stage and went into their next song.
Trust me when I tell you I’m not overly romanticizing this experience at all. One of the coolest things about it was the fact that I’m not even the biggest Van Halen fan and would have never in a million years seen this experience coming. Of course Van Halen rocks and are an amazing band, but if I was going to have an experience like this, I’d personally have expected it to happen at a punk/hardcore show where I’m more firmly rooted and connected with the lyrics on a deeper level. It just went to further prove to me that if I’m open minded and in touch with spirituality as it resonates with me in my own experience, amazing things can happen at any time and anywhere!
The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.
~ Khalil Gibran
One of the things I love about spirituality is that it’s accessible at all times.
I believe that we’re all completely connected to something greater than ourselves 24/7/365 and that sneaky bastard will find his/her/its way into our heart anyway he/she/it can as long as we’re open to it. I think if you were to take a moment and reflect on the music that moves you, you’d be hard pressed not to find at least one, though most likely many times you’ve completely lost yourself in it. Maybe it was while you were out running or riding a bike, at a concert, gardening, skateboarding or driving—regardless of the situation, if you were one with the music, I truly believe you were having a spiritual experience my friend.
As I previously said, we’re all completely connected to something greater, and that connection is established at all times. If you’re having trouble relating to music as an example, let’s try film. What are some of the movies that truly moved you, excited you, brought you to an experience you’d never had before in your life? Shouldn’t experiencing something on a deeper level, regardless of its source, be considered spiritual?
I remember the magic of watching Star Wars for the first time when I was a kid. It’s mythos opened my mind to infinite possibilities that weren’t being taught in school. Those films connected me with something more than myself and though I didn’t recognize it as such at the time, seeds were being planted which subsequently blossomed as my interest in space, physics and all things unknown in general.
I even remember being eight years old when I was on an indoor soccer team. We had a Friday evening game and I remember being completely jazzed the entire time knowing that when I got home, CBS was scheduled to play the original Star Wars! That happened 26 years ago and I still remember it like it was yesterday, so how can there not be something special, something spiritual about that!?
Does Barry Manilow know that you raid his wardrobe?
~ John Bender
To this day, I will still stop and watch Say Anything, The Breakfast Club or Sixteen Candles anytime I come across it on TV. Those films are not only nostalgic and take me back to a special time in my life, but they also touch me on a deep level. Sure, they’re corny as hell, but there’s some powerful messages about self worth, stereotypes, paradigms and so forth that I can relate to and that I would certainly consider to be in the spiritual realm.
Life is a classroom and everything in it, music and film included, can be our teacher if looked at from the right perspective.
I can’t stress enough how strongly I believe that we’re all already connected to a higher Self and that we are all f*cking amazing exactly as we are.
Every one of us is cared for by something greater. Your outer appearance and personal tastes can never affect this, even if you wanted them to. Sure, you can ignore the love and guidance that’s always availing itself to you, but it will wait patiently for your awareness to return. Love is, and never changes. Everything is either done from a place of love, or as a call for love, it’s really that simple. Seriously, underneath all the semantics and rationalizing we do, it really is all about love, and allowing that love to teach us in whatever way it chooses, no matter how unconventional or out of the box it may seem.
Editor: Lynn Hasselberger