I have been a musician, teacher and seeker since my first memories. I would hum along to the pitch of the outboard motor on family excursions in one of my father's hand build boats. I would revel in the tympani at Portland Symphony Orchestra Concerts. And I would plunk sullenly at the piano trying to practice for my dreaded lessons. As a teenager in the 1960's I learned guitar, played folk and rock and dreamed of fame. Well, it never happened (or at least not yet). But music has remained at the center of my life as an avocation and passion.
Since I can remember I have been the brooding kind, not in maudlin way, but always curious about those things that seemed bigger than life, spiritual in nature and mysterious. Living in Boston in the late 60's and early 70's drove me further along this road and in my early 20's I began to consider ministry as a vocation until bad counseling and adolescent confusion drove me away. This turned me from a religious quest to a spiritual quest, something for which I am entirely grateful, and my focus shifted from music as a profession to small group interaction, and then onward, through many twists and turns, until I settled on a career as a University Professor.
In my late 40's, I finally succumbed to my desire to actively pursue a spiritual path. I entered a doctoral program (now Wisdom University) offered at a small school started by radical Catholic theologian Matthew Fox and I completed a Doctorate in Ministry having focused on a deep exploration of the principles common to all major faiths. A year later I was ordained as an Interfaith Minister. I am not a deeply religious person, but rather, as I see it, deeply spiritual, and I see value in the spiritual practices, rather than in the dogma, of all major faiths.
During my Doctoral education, I took courses with Russill Paul, a chant yogi and spiritual teacher who has been instrumental (no pun intended) over the last ten years, in my process of integrating my music, my teaching and my seeking into a coherent whole.
Though one of several, music is one of my primary spiritual practices. I believe that spiritual practice should remove us from the tyranny of the mind, while at the same time allowing us deeper access to what lies behind our suffering (as the Buddhists would say). Sacred chant, and the profound silence that surrounds all music, both serve as a bridge that allows me access to my more peaceful self, and to feel the comfort of the divinity that lies within me. Both the music and the silence exist in each of us.