Tuesday, December 9, 2008

On Music, Vibrations, and Meher Baba

I just posted this stream-of-consciousness on my Who Forum site, and I thought I would plunk it down here, too.

I have inspired to start this thread by reading and responding to so many other threads in this vast, rich forum. For some reason, in the past few days, the same topic started to come up in various threads, which is the topic of music and vibration. (Obviously Pete has been talking about this for YEARS--it almost seems to be his main reason for being on this planet at this time, to teach us about vibration.)

Also, it’s quite possible that these subjects have been discussed before. I am fairly new to www.thewho.com and was not even aware of the Lifehouse Method at the time it was taking place. (I was sequestered off at a Buddhist retreat center at the time). Anyway, if this a repeat topic, I apologize. But I imagine that the new Wholigans might appreciate is, as well as the old!

Like most of us, I have been a Who fan for more than one decade. Their music has brought me great comfort, joy, solace, and great, grand feelings of connectedness and vitality—especially when I was young.

I wrote this in another thread but, I was an incredibly lonely, isolated and morose adolescent. (Weren’t we all?) At times the only thing that brought me out of this state was music—especially the music of the Who. Something about Pete’s dead-on, yearning lyrics and Roger’s brutal and honest voice helped me. I felt as if I understood them, and I felt that they understood me. You all know what I mean.

But looking back, I realize something much deeper was taking place. In a word: vibration. By listening to the Who’s music, and loving it, and taking from it, and giving back, I was taking part in a vibration--the very vibration of the band. Pete’s keen intelligence and his despair at being Separated; Roger’s aggression and the tenderness he hid behind it; Keith’s majestic lunacy; John’s solid wryness. And of course their f—ing instruments. Good Lord! All that was in my adolescent room with me.

Another thread in these forums is discussing David Hawkin’s book “Power Versus Force.” This excellent book, written by a scientist, talks about how each human emotion carries with it a vibration—some are high; some are low. Negative emotions such as sorrow weaken us. Higher emotions such as acceptance strengthen us, and raise our vibrations.
(This particular thread also included discussions of Meher Baba, but more on that later). And music, quite obviously, can affect our vibrations too.

Of course, as an ignorant adolescent, I had no idea what a ‘vibration’ was. I remember once reading an article in which Pete tried to explain “Tommy” and I was like: what is he talking about? All I knew was that I loved “Tommy”—especially the triumphant See Me,Feel Me/Listening to You suite--and that I always felt better after listening to it. I felt new and cleansed and whole. Then I’d have to go downstairs for dinner with my family and feel like crap again. Anyway, in Hawkins’ terms, The Who were taking my low-caliber vibration of, say, grief (which calibrates at 75) and raising it to a level of, say, anger (150). I found Quadrophenia to be a great album to stir up some righteous anger!

I don’t want to go on too long here. But I am fascinated with the subject of vibration. It is fun to finally be able to grasp some of Pete’s concepts on both an intellectual and experiential level. (And I don’t think I could have grasped any of this without having turned to a more spiritual path when I entered my thirties.....plus, I believe that Pete is a being from what Meher Baba called the Fifth Plane of Consciousness, but that it totally another thread.). I would love to hear about others’ experiences.

For about a year now I have been a kirtan walli. That means I lead a group of people in a series of ecstatic chants, in which we repeat cosmic sounds, and the names of the divine. It’s a completely blissful experience, and much of the bliss comes from, of course, vibration, as we combine universal notes with sacred sounds. (Ask me about it.)

Recently, I also formed an all-female Who tribute band called “Pictures of Lily.” And I have to say that the experience of singing the Who songs is very similar to that of kirtan. It’s a different energy sometimes—a very male energy, I’d have to say. But it is energy and it is vibration and it swirls around and around and it is glorious.

All this has made me realize that the vibration of the Who is all of us. I’m not trying to sound grandiose here, but each time we listen to a Who song, and love it, and jive to it, we add to its vibration. I have a completely new understanding of songs like “Join Together” and “Pure and Easy.” Brilliant!

So this brings me back to my original point. Which is to open up a thread on the vibration of the Who’s music, and how this has affected your own vibrations. Are there any songs that have been particularly evocative for you? Can any of you musicians elaborate on how the vibration of a C-note differs from that of, say, an F-sharp?