The transcendent power of music has long been recognized as a vehicle for spiritual practice and a path to spiritual fulfillment and enlightenment. Spiritual music, a universally powerful form of prayer, has for millennia provided human beings with a sense of the greater spiritual universe. Chanting forms part of many religious rituals, and diverse spiritual traditions consider music as a means of opening the individual to spiritual experience.
In this episode of Global Spirit, host Phil Cousineau explores the transcendent qualities of spiritual and sacred music with guests Rev. Alan Jones and Grammy-award-winning singer and member of the Native American Onondaga tribe Joanne Shenandoah. Experience the power of liturgical musical performances in Latin from Grace Cathedral in San Francisco (where the Rev. Jones serves as Dean) and witness powerful, live studio performances by Joanne Shenandoah and her daughter. This episode also includes a hauntingly moving, seven-minute sequence from Peter Brook’s film, Meetings with Remarkable Men, in which the young mystic Gurdjieff learns the power of sacred sound as it resonates from the Afghan mountaintops.
“Among the many forms in which the human spirit has tried to express its innermost yearnings and perceptions, music is perhaps the most universal. It symbolizes the yearnings for harmony, with oneself and with others, with nature and with the spiritual and sacred within us and around us. There is something in music that transcends and unites. This is evident in the sacred music of every community – music that expresses the universal yearning that is shared by people all over the globe.”
-His Holiness the Dalai Lama