Jazz of the Spirit book series:
There is a saying in jazz: To know how to play your instrument, know the others you are playing with and know how to back them up at all times. Likewise, this metaphor applies to the rhythmic pattern of an integrated life.
Jazz of the Spirit is an essential riff in the human song.
An excerpt from Jazz of the Spirit I: Life’s Vibes
The peace we seek is within ourselves.
To find peace we have to go outside ourselves.
Going outside changes you.
This change brings peace back inside.
The most prominent aspect of peace
is how you handle your peace.
It is through relationships that we establish a tangible and concrete connection with God or “the force”. This bonding goes beyond our intimate relations with our families and friends. It must extend to the global community as well. Dialogue with humanity and all created reality defines the meaning of the “Creator”
We go from myth to mystery and then from mystery to mastery. We learn about Santa Claus and we believe. When we find out Santa does not exist, we doubt, because each
Christmas the gifts arrive. Eventually, we know that our elders in our family are Santa. We come to understand that the spirit of Christmas is the reality. This truth becomes
profound when we understand the fullness and meaning of the Santa Clause myth. All stories are true and some actually happen! Rather than being disappointed, we
should cherish the journey-from myth to mystery, and from mystery to mastering a full understanding of the myth. When we understand, we gain grounding – a foundation. The grounding allows us to become whole. Seeing the force (God) within the events of our lives is the path to a peaceful mind. Understanding the mysteries of life moves you closer to achieving completeness.
With this thought in mind, let us explore the extreme phases of life – youth and age. While youth is always the beginning, we see more clearly, when we look back from the vantage point of age. Age has wisdom. Age has a clear perspective of what is important and where
our priorities should be. Therefore, youth brings the joy of beginnings, while age provides experience and achievement. “If wrinkles must be written on our brows, let them not be written on the heart. The spirit should never grow old1.” This is why we should never lose our youthful enthusiasm for life and adventure.
Youth is the time when you absorb, like sponges, the vitality of the universe. Here is where you take shape, molding your patterns for responding to people and events. This is the foundation for the rest of your life, but your future need not be fi xed or rigid. The youthful time of development is not a condemnation to inflexibility. While youth establishes your roots, there are significant emotional events, along with exposure to many cultures
and ideas, which can alter the course. We often get impatient with youth and criticize their
experimentation. We must recognize that, while it may appear at times to be foolish, it is essential for development. Development comes from your ability to make comparisons and from deciding what works and what does not. We push the “wall” and try to go beyond the threshold. Finally, we learn the “wall” does not have to be penetrated. There are inviolate laws, and this is okay. There are indeed 24 hours in a day, something you
cannot change. You need to rest your bodies, to gain a fresh approach to the challenges of the day. Therefore, you begin to learn to:
Ask for courage to change the things we can
Serenity to accept unchangeable things
Wisdom to know the difference.
I admire the youth, for they challenge the status quo. If we do not challenge, we begin to perish. While you cannot tame all frontiers, there are always new ways of looking at things. This is what makes ideas grow. For without the questioning, there can never be new answers. Youth gives us that, and we can only pray that we never lose this enthusiasm completely.
The Beauty of Age
As we begin to enter the phase of aging toward our twilight years, it is fitting to reflect on how these years should be. While no one has total control over the condition of aging, it is important that we at least form a philosophy and create a vision of our fi nal years. They
will most likely include what we have learned in our early and middle years. Therefore, as we reflect on the past, and analyze the present, we must try to project the future. By doing so, we may prepare ourselves for what is to come. In addition, it provides a barometer for us to judge how we are treating and responding to those who have arrived ahead of us. Our treatment of those who represent the advanced troops allows us to prepare
for our own arrival. We might also discover whether we have been honest and true to the ideals, we hold precious.