Last week, I found a holy space. With my small body hidden amid a crowd of thousands, I felt the spirit roll through me on waves of sacred music. I raised my arms triumphantly into the air and swayed, lifting my eyes to the heavens. My soul was soothed. My mind was filled with one crystalline thought: I believe.
It was one hell of a concert.
See, I believe in many things. I believe in karma, and I believe that dogs have souls. I believe that wild places are the planet’s manifestation of love. I believe in hugging, and I believe that feeling truly heard is better than sex or chocolate.
I don’t believe in ghosts, or gods. That’s not to say they don’t exist – just not for me, not now. (Thinking my own experience should define everyone else’s is a step closer to complete arrogance than I’m willing to go.)
I don’t believe in coincidence, nor do I believe in fate. I do believe in the power of music, though – to heal, to inform, to delight. My friend C says she can’t bear to listen to some music, because the feelings it evokes just go too deep. She resents having to deal with chills and teary eyes just because a radio DJ picked a certain song.
Yes, I believe in the power of fingers caressing strings, slamming keys, holding wooden sticks. I believe that a musician’s essence directly powers their instrument (and the voice is absolutely one). And now I know – that stage just past belief – that a really good rock concert feels a lot like being in church.
It’s all there: the shared experience, the people at the front of a room delivering their message, the devotion of those listening. When that long guitar solo screams into the night, I’ve seen people (no, I’ve been the person) swept up in a fit of dancing, and it’s just a different embodiment of the energy that makes others speak in tongues.
Isn’t that what we’re all seeking, really, whether we look for it religion or music, nature or writing? Aren’t we all yearning to be caught up in something larger and more profoundly beautiful than our own small self?
To me, the human experience is essentially a quest to find true connection. Our souls spend their whole lives fighting to burst beyond the confines of these physical shells and touch other souls. It’s an epic struggle, and vitally important, so our souls need to renew their energy along the way. For you, new vigor might come from prayer. Or maybe you gather strength from a walk in the woods, or speaking with a friend who just understands.
The happiest part is that there is no catch. Your soul doesn’t have to choose just one method to recharge. So no matter who you are, or what you believe, I’m telling you now: if you want to be caught up in the swirl of life, to simultaneously lose and discover yourself in something greater, go to a concert. If you’re lucky, the music will take you on a Journey.