Today while chanting the Sh'ma, everywhere the eye fell was tinted with a light shade of violet.
Four hours later, where the eye falls is tinted with a light shade of green.
I take these to be changes in vibration speed of the brain which manifest through the eye consciousness, but would certainly be open to suggestion.
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Monday, March 23, 2009
Some Number to Color Correspondences from Synaesthetic Perception
9 Hard Metallic
12 White Blue
16 White and pink
22 Blue Swirl
32 Gold blue
43 Green and Yellow
55 Brown and Wood Bark
64 Pink and green
78 Purple and Pink
9 Hard Metallic
12 White Blue
16 White and pink
22 Blue Swirl
32 Gold blue
43 Green and Yellow
55 Brown and Wood Bark
64 Pink and green
78 Purple and Pink
Posted by Daniel David Feinsmith at Monday, March 23, 2009
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Interview of Daniel David Feinsmith by Jack Zaientz
Jack Zaientz: When I read about or listen to people talk about Jewish music, the
same images tend to repeat: the European klezmer, the superstar
cantor, the contemporary songleader, the Yiddish Theater star, the
Sephardic singer, the Chassidic rebbe, the family zemirot. Could you
tell me about the Jewish art music tradition, where it comes from and
why you think it hasn't achieved the same cultural status as the
others? (Or has it, and I've just missed it?)
Daniel David Feinsmith: The Jewish Art Music tradition is as ancient as Judaism and music itself. In every generation where musicians have authentic spiritual feeling and love for the Creator, the purpose-made talents that God gives them allows for an expression of those feelings. For whatever reason, what is called “Jewish Music” nowadays is mostly music that doesn’t come from the heart, or from genuine spiritual experience, but more often, comes from copying forms of the past, such as Klezmer, etc. Who today can honestly claim to experience and feel the feelings and emotions of the klezmorim of eastern Europe? At the time of the building of what we have now as the klezmer forms, these works were new and fresh and spoke directly to the hearts of the Jews of the time. Do we have those times today? Yes, we can take joy in that music, but ultimately, they only speak to us at a certain level, because they don’t speak to the real experience of Jews today. The great cantorial soloists of the postwar experience, were also truly great Jewish musicians. They felt the profound emotions of Jewry, and their musics were deeply felt and filled with profound emotion. In this day, these kinds of profound feelings, the intense longing and spirituality accompanying the feelings of the prophets, are rarely heard. You can sometimes hear this longing, this combination of exaltation in divinity and sorrow at the human state in genuine niggunim as well, when sung by masters who can feel and project the emotional and spiritual states that the niggunim project. More often than not, what we have today are copycats in Jewish music. Empty forms devoid of real experience or real effort. Forms over time naturally become empty and devoid of real meaning, of genuine emotion.
The Jewish Art tradition is, much akin to, for example the paintings of Marc Chagall, a unique and personal expression of the love of God and the Torah. It is unique in that it comes directly from the heart of spiritual practice, rather than coming from the ossification of tradition and traditional form. Therefore, it has always historically refreshed Jewish art, refreshed Jewish thinking, and enabled people, through the powerful force of music, to enter the feeling of the composer.
There are so many examples of Jewish art music, that I will confine myself to the near present in discussing them. The works of John Zorn and Steve Reich are good examples. My own works as well as my father’s works are other examples. These are works that deal with either themes or questions that arise from the study of the Tanakh or esoteric studies such as the Zohar or the Sefer Yetzirah.
It must be remembered that the flowering of music is what we can call art music. This music is not folk music, but it is a studied music that is equal part philosophy, spirituality and science, and is involved in the study of sound, the study of genuine emotion as projected through sound, the study of the creation of worlds through the power of sound. This is very different from a folk music, which evolves along different, usually communal lines.
Of course, many non-Jewish composers have concentrated on themes from the Tanakh, notably Stravinsky, ….. But the very specific Jewish feelings associated with those themes makes the Jewish treatment perforce have a different voice.
Others that have dealt with the subjects of the tanakh mythopoetically, stravinsky, others. you wouldn’t call these jewish
JZ: Your biography says that "your family history boasts a
multigenerational line of composers, musical performers and writers
which has been traced in an unbroken line as far back as the 1600s."
Did this multigenerational line participate in Jewish art music as
well? How did Jewish art music relate to the other types of music in
which they were involved?
DDF: Only back a few generations. Prior to that time, there were Hazzanim.
JZ: Your biography also says that your a "modern experimental classical
composer" When so much of art music, particularly experimental
contemporary art music, is abstract, what do you personally feel is
the significance of labeling some of it Jewish? Do you think that's
consistent with other Jewish art music composers, or do you think that
other composers might have very different ideas?
DDF: All music is abstract only to those that don’t understand the language of music. To a person who is not cultured in music, descriptive lyrics, or onamatapoeticism is necessary. But to a person who has awakened the inner ear, who can hear depth in sound, there is no abstraction in music, but just the opposite: A concreteness of feeling, emotion and a concreteness of the worlds created through the potency of the composers craft.
JZ: One of your current projects, the Feinsmith Quartet, has a concert
coming up on January 19th in New York. What music will you be
performing? Do you feel that this concert is representative of a
community of musicians and composers, or that the Quartet is fairly
DDF: We will be performing two works of mine, ELOKIM, a 45-minute work for the quartet, HAVAYAH, a duet for cello and bass, as well as a work by MIchael Manring and two works of Gyan Riley.
The quartet is unusual in that it is the most powerful assemblage of virtuosi playing Jewish art music today. We also play music that is not Jewish art music, for example, Michael and Gyan’s works are not Jewish in content. They are both spiritual men, so there is a genuine feeling of love that comes from their works and their performances, so it is important for me to recognize the universality of the spiritual experience and life.
That said, there is no equivalent ensemble anywhere. Every player is a well-known star in their own right, and I put the ensemble together expressly to be able to perform works that have spirituality as their main thrust. Most ensembles will play whatever is popular, or whatever can bring an audience. Our thrust is different. We want to project depth and ideals that have eternal value, not abstract and clever principles of passing meaning.
JZ: If one of my readers wanted to know more about Jewish art music
scene, maybe to keep track of new recordings or to find shows in there
area, could you point them to any resources? Maybe a magazine, web
page, or mailing list?
DDF: Just keep your eye on google.
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger of good tidings that announceth peace. The harbinger of good tidings that announceth salvation, that saith to Zion: “Thy God reigneth.” -- Rabbi Moshe Ben NachmanOh Master, bring me together with all beings, destroy this separating selfishness now! The more notes I compose, the more complete the synaesthesia becomes in my everyday experience. Then my dear friend, the Sabbath Bride, arrives. Angel is the only word that describes my musical friend who first appeared to me in the middle of the night while living on the third floor in the New Orleans’ Zendo, awakening me with a ferocious power. This angel’s presence is pure bliss.
But is she real? Others cannot see her, and she communicates in silence rather than words. Indians call her Saraswati, the Greeks call her the Muse, and Jews know her as the Sabbath Bride. Beethoven was most likely referring to her when he wrote a note to his “Immortal Beloved”.
Using gender isn’t really accurate, since this angel is not human; however, she is feminine in the archetypal sense. When the Sabbath Bride is present, all is bliss, the flow of notes comes easily, thoughts are divine, and she is my dearest friend! In this state, the questions of who composes, who hears and what a piece of music is, are clearly answered. Music is a movement of God, the right hand of God reaching out through His creatures to bestow pleasure upon them, and to draw His creatures into closeness and an equivalence of form.
As sages often say, the self is a non-existent evanescence, empty in every way. If the animal body composes then the work is invariably dull, or clever at best, and the composer is puffed up and ultimately, irrelevant, or even harmful. One’s physical, animal body and its desires for food, survival, and procreation, constitute the lowest level of man, and all humans share these in common. To reach holiness, the true goal of man one must elevate themselves from this base level by uniting with a larger group of humanity and giving to them ceaselessly, as the creator gives to us ceaselessly.
The Kabbalists believe there are two ways to ascend the ladder of spirituality: through suffering or effort. The method of suffering is described as the longer of the two, with the creator correcting us through beatings, that is, making us feel the pain of our behaviour rooted in separation, in hatred of man, of living only for the comfort and pleasure of our body distinct from others. These Kabbalist sages taught and wrote books to point us towards the light, helping us correct ourselves through effort, avoiding the anguish and desolation of the slower method. These books continue to exist even though the evil in this world has always sought to destroy them and their abundant luminosity.
Composers have also left behind their books, in the form of music. The works of Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Saint-Saens, Bartok, and many others influence us through listening, and if we are an instrumentalist, through practice and performance. Listening and playing are two fundamentally different activities. Listening to a work inspired by and dedicated to divinity changes the type and quantity of light surrounding the listener, and elevates them to experience the feelings of the composer in his state of exaltation, love and regard for his creator. Performing a work of this nature can even be deeper, as the passive act of listening joins with the active embodiment of the player. On several occaisions my father explained how playing the bassoon correctly requires that the performer drop their personal ego in favor of a new one: that of the work itself. In this way—especially when performing works of depth and breadth—the performer draws into himself the divine feelings of the composer.
I have repeatedly observed that great musical performers are most often gentle people with deep insight. I have seen this in Itzhak Perlman, Richard Goode, so many more. These qualities come out, I believe, not only because of the difficulty and effort required in mastering their instrument, but also due to the particular music their very souls seem to choose which aids in their climb up the spiritual ladder. For the same reasons I have always chosen to study music that has a spiritual message encoded in its sound. Through this study, I receive the music’s light and powers within me, and use them as a lever to raise my soul to a higher and less dense plane.
Yet all ideas of what I want and of my intentions are often just folly; sometimes greatly impressive and grandiose—and always well-meaning—but folly nevertheless. When God draws near and my dear friend arrives, it is God’s intention we speak of together. I see through her consciousness and gift of awareness a larger picture of world events and the impact of sound and compositional form on God’s created world and its creatures. Alex Gray’s painting of two hands on a paintbrush expresses the genuine (non-imaginary) experience of this help that Hashem provides if we purify ourselves sufficiently. It is through such experiences that a musical piece comes to be written. The ego, with its solid form and impressive ideas, must be completely removed. Yet, even after the ego is discarded, a structure is helpful. A prayer, written specifically for pieces of music, is one constant in my composition. Here is one prayer from a work for string trio and voice, BARUCH:
Lord! I fervently pray now, I pool all my energies and power, which are all from You and for You. I fervently yearn for your closeness. Oh Lord! Strengthen my heart and bring me always closer to you! Oh Lord, my master, open my heart to Your Word, and purify my soul to receive Your Glory as sound and sound forms. Lord, enable me to always see your creation as Your Word. You brought all into being through speech. You have said, and through that saying, the world has been created from Your Will and for Your Purpose. Lord, I yearn for you to enlighten my mind with profound understanding of the nature of Your Word, and the nature of sound as the substrate of the Word.As the composing proceeds, the ego melts away more and more, while the beauty and depth of a single note rises. Each note—and the process of selecting a single note—contains the bliss of that note’s sensation and all the different movements, possibilities and effects of one note over another during the course of time in a passage. This requires purity through purification. The mind and body must be clear, emanating simplicity and gentleness, along with an intense, yet relaxed, altertness.
Here is another, from the benediction of my work for The Feinsmith Quartet, ELOHIM, adapted from a poem of benediction by Rabbi Moshe Ben Nachman, the RAMBAN:
In the name of the great God, and the fearful, I will compose novel music on the greatness of the creator, Elohim. With terror, fear, trembling, sweat, dread, I pray and confess with a humble heart and a broken spirit, asking forgiveness, seeking pardon and atonement, bowing to the ground, kneeling, prostrating, until all the vertebrae of the spine are loosened.
My soul knows rightly, in clear awareness, that the ant’s egg is not as small in comparison to the outermost sphere as my limited wisdom and knowledge next to the hidden teachings of the Torah that lie secreted in her house, concealed in her room. For every precious thing and every wonder, every profound mystery and all glorious wisdom are stored up with her, sealed in her treausre by a hint, by a word, in composing and speaking. Just as the prophet—adorned with royal garnets and a crown, anointed by the God of Jacob, the author of the sweetest of songs—said: I have seen an end to every purpose; but Thy commandment is exceedingly broad. And it is said, Thy testimonies are wonderful; therefore doth my soul keep them. But what shall I do since my soul craves for Torah and she is in my heart as a consuming, burning fire in my kidneys restrained. To go forth in the steps of the former ones, the lions of the group, the exalted of the generations, the men of might; to enter with them “the thickest part of the beam,” to compose as they wrote Explanations of God’s creations, ordered in all things and certain.
God, whom alone I fear, shall save me from the day of wrath. He shall keep me from mistakes and from all sin and transgression, and He shall lead me in the straight way and open the gates of light and He shall deem us worthy to see the day of tidings. As it is written: How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger of good tidings that announceth peace. The harbinger of good tidings that announceth salvation, that saith to Zion: “Thy God reigneth.” Your sound forms are tried to the uttermost, and your servent loves it. Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and your Law is truth. Your testimonies are righteous forever; give me understanding, and I shall live.
In Korean Zen intensives they say you must “Leap like a tiger while sitting”. Motionless, open, you practice a powerful altertness and responsiveness in serene balance. Another Zen instruction that says to sit in Zazen like an ear hanging in limitless space, brings to mind the image of Milarepa, the Tibetan saint, with his right hand cupped to his ear, listening to the sufferings of the world while seated on a lion’s pelt. All of these examples explain the process of composition perfectly. Sitting, standing or walking as an ear—a writing ear—hangs in limitless space just as the light of a sun travels infinitely throughout the universe; and the light of all that ear hears is written down, to cause that light to travel further effortlessly and automatically.
And when a man is chosen for this kind of work, he feels as if his functioning is natural, cosmic and uncomplex—not in a musical sense, but in the sense that one’s ego is simple. As my friend Michael Disend, long time denizen of zen dojos, states:
“EVERYTHING comes from Grace. Until an artist comprehends that conceptual effort isn't necessary, he or she will remain top heavy. Every atom of the universe is replete with blazing light which is also Pure Intelligence. So we find a way to open to it, and that's that. True emotion and creativity come from only one side of the wall. Without such grace the best an artist can hope to attain is ordinary brilliance.”
"Chastity is the flowering of man; and what are called Genius, Heroism, Holiness, and the like, are but various fruits which succeed it." - Henry David ThoreauEvery morning, an hour of Shinkantaza while wearing Tefillin and Tallis preceeded by Schacharit. Then to the gym, lifting huge weights, and another hour of swimming while repeating the mantra of E – L – O – K – I – M with each swim stroke, then back home and composing ELOKIM for the quartet. Aleph – stroke, Lamed – stroke, Heh – stroke, Yod – stroke, Mem – stroke, Aleph – etc. Over and over again, becoming, being, dropping off body and mind, killing the I, murdering the I, bludgeoning the I, living the life of the letters, letting it change you, deepen you, purify you as you swim back and forth in the cool morning water lap lane, swimming outside of space, outside of your lane, outside of matter, outside of time, truly not moving back and forth, but staying completely still, though to an outsider, swimming back and forth.
That was my hard and fast schedule for over 8 months of the composition of my 50 minute long work for Feinsmith Quartet, Elokim.
God blessed me to be able to work on that piece. What fortune! I could communicate my joy to no man or woman on earth, unfortunately. It utterly pointless. How can a man telegraph joy completely enough? A smile, abounding energy, happiness, these things are the outward effects of an inner sense of completeness and satiation that I don’t think can be explained properly. However, I didn’t care much. I truly did “become” the work throughout the period of its creation cycle, just as I “became” the physical labor as I was a celibate inmate at the New Orleans Zendo, our teacher Robert Livingston doling out the work orders with the mature mind of a 60 year old with great life experience and the intensely-energetic body of a teenager. Robert was a new kind of man to me. Usually you see men wither mentally and physically with age, and the young folk with abounding energy having to wait on the old fellows. Not Robert. Ever-alert, powerful and complete, he truly was a living advocate for the efficacy of Zen practice. Us poor kids had to work hard to keep up. It was actually impossible to do and none of us could come close.
All of that intensive work of cultivation and creative power, and not wasting that power on sexual indulgence – genuinely is a good idea. The mind and body become gem-like. there is a genuine sensation that the animal body is replaced by something made of precious metals and precious gems. Gems in the head, gems in the arms and legs, gems in the torso, and a liquid hot gold pulsing through your nervous system.The Yang power is enormous, and I find that in such a circumstance of built up creative power, at the gym I can outlift enormous guys half my age.
I have to say, this is not the right era for a celibate. Celibacy, at one time the province of the religious or intellectual elite, has fallen very much not only out of fashion, but into suspicion, thanks to the antics of various priests who were supposedly under vows, and the general culture that seems to worship the animal form. All of this is sad, given the mystic potencies of sexual restraint and chastity, meditation and the quest for God Realization, not to mention the great worldly benefits of following the ancient moral law. Not all great men have been celibate, but there sure have been many. The short list of Moses, Beethoven, Handel, Brahms, Sir Isaac Newton, Tesla, Thoreau and Da Vinci are enough to make anyone who cares about human potentiality to seriously consider this path. Writing Elokim was also my first work for the quartet, and served as a good vehicle for getting the band off the ground.
I begin composing once I have determined the title, which is also the mantra for the period of time that the work is being composed. The science of mantra is one of the greatest sciences for the musician. I begrudgingly again give props to the hippies for hauling the Indian musicians to our land, and receiving this marvelous tradition from them, and putting in the heavy lifting of conjoining mantra to sound forms in minimalism, first presented to a drugged out post-vietnam audience.
It is the understanding that a sound form has a power both within and without, and that sound form is predictable in its nature, and in it particularized form. A sound form is a perfectly stable organism. Every single time it is executed, it is precisely the same with no alteration. There is nothing mystical about this to a poet, or even to a child, who can hear a word, and, as open as they are, become effected by the sound form of that word. In Indian music, the term “Raga” means “color” or “coloration”, and this is just an extension of this same concept. The exact form of color does not change. Yes, you could say, what is color in the face of the changes of light? A leaf may be bright green during the mid day, and look black at night time. Any Zen guy with a Satori or two under his belt would tell you that form is emptiness and emptiness is form. Of course, yes, from that standpoint, absolutely nothing is ever stable, and life is impermanence. However, in the relative world, in mid-day next day, the leaf is bright green again. Obviously, such vicissitudes must be taken into account when calling any form “stable”, but it is “stable” within given reproducible conditions. And this reproducibility is the craft of the performer and the impresario both to create those conditions. The mantra, the sequence, the collection of tones, serve in a way akin to “color”, in that they are complete creators of experience, of form, and of content.
Raziel, Elokim, Havaya, YHVH, Solomon, Amalek, Leviathan, El Elyon, etc. Each of these titles are taken apart into one number per letter, and material is drawn from them. And this is how I become my work. My birth name is Daniel David Feinsmith, which in Gematria, is 613. 613 is the total number of commandments God gave the Jews, and also is the # of parts of a human body as well as the # of steps to the perfection of man from a broken shard of infinity to a perfected and unified re-join of that original light. But this is just one manifestation. When I compose a work, I shift from 613 to a different number, for example, to 26 (The tetragrammaton), or to 21 (AHVH – ‘I will be’), or 375 (Solomon), etc. The craft of the actor really takes hold here, in that one must completely be capable of switching to that structure of being, and just as quickly jumping out, so as not to become a lunatic in everyday life – Something I have succeeded or failed at different times. I remember at least five individual times getting so lost to my “self” that I couldn’t figure out how to get home or where I lived, or what my name was. How relaxing that is! I have to say, not knowing whom you are must certainly be the most relaxing position a human being can take, aside from death or prior to birth. Not knowing who you are, where you belong, what belongs to you and not to you, who is your friend and whom is your enemy, this is really marvelous. And then when I realize the full implications of what I am, the body, the Jewishness, the composer, the friend, the wise-acre New Yorker in San Francisco, the land where everything is upside-down, etc.
Raziel, which was suffering from beginning to end, which I managed to dive in to such a degree that my so-called “external” life crumbled apart. I wrote Raziel as a film score for Rob Nilsson’s work ATTITUDE, the story of a luciferan petty car thief who eventually is destroyed by God through the purification of extraordinary suffering. Well, this became my life. As I continued to write, all of the dross dropped away, and I became purified, the worthless things dropped away, the meaningless completely evaporated. This continued to the point of being on the verge of pennilessness during that work. I had lost $50k in the stock market overnight, and was holding onto my beloved Steinway B with passionate intensity, hoping I wouldn’t get to the point where I’d need to sell her and move from my hermitage on Blake Street, Berkeley, former haunt of Whoopi Goldberg and her comedic compatriots during her college days, now built-out by Mexican labor for soundproof compositional glory into the middle of any given night. They were harrowing days, and the work bears it out.
The next harrowing experience when writing of demonic entities in my work for four pianos, Amalek during the ejection of the Jews from the Gaza Strip, evenings and days were filled with visions of bloody and perverse violence, and many bad things overcame me, such as the theft of my auto, all of my computer equipment self-destructing, etc. And then, when I concentrate on topics such as Elokim, generally, it is the beginning of the compositional process that the demons attack strongly, and then give up when I prove too relentless and unstoppable, or more likely when Hashem or His helpers kick some butt and help me out. The Creator gave easier conditions for composing this time, and I was able to complete this long work more or less without too many catastrophes and a decent supply of peace. And now, when I think about writing on the Shoah, as much as I need to go to that place at some time, I have to say it is with considerable trepidation that I make my plans, knowing the danger to my “outer” life and the utmost care to be taken in the coloration of phenomena to that horrific tint of grey and red.
Elokim was a much easier topic to compose on than I had thought. It all seemed to come more or less automatically and naturally, and the light was an easy and non-oppressive light, unlike, for example, Raziel.
I intuited something wrong about the game of life I was growing up into. The perversion of greed and lust on the faces of men and women, the unknown quality of need, the sorrowful darkness of a life driven to desperation in order to race and achieve purposeless aims At age six, I recall thinking how thick the cloth that man drapes upon himself with his own twisted thoughts. Also at that time, I was engrossed in understanding the basis of what reality appeared to be against what the raw input of the senses told me. It all seemed incongruous, and Mom and Dad seemed to be sure that life was something that I had completely opposite perceptions of.
I was horrified by life as a youngster, my sensitive eyes opened widely and a deep inner cry took seat in the halls of my own internal Sanhedrin as I looked out from above those eyes at a life filled with what I now know to be the common sickness of lust greed and sloth, those three tests meted out in exacting force by the Holy Master Himself. Later, as I came to understand the sounds that came from my parents bedrooms, the whole picture of life unfurled in front of me like an ancient tent-dwellers hanging scroll, portraying the three poisons of greed, anger and delusion, and how their seeds spiral out of control to produce a fantasy vision of life which all at once struck me as absolutely not the vision for my own future, as I always felt that in the past I had known something more recondite and certainly more interesting.
I remember that, at age eight and above, after class and practice and usually before composing, I used to ride my bicycle to nearby Cunningham park which had a massive green and a backwoods for discovering the old forested regions of a bygone Queens, NY, where I would sit on the grass for hours, cross legged, meditating and extracting the soul from its fragile bonds with the body. How did I learn to do this? None of my youthful friends did this, they often told me I was “weird”, in the language of a bicycle-riding skateboarding gangland of post-post-holocaust Jewish youth. Oftentimes, seagulls would land around me and just stand there in a circle, which I wouldn’t notice until my physical eyes returned. I recall the wonder of that infinity, of traveling the vast expanse of the universe, and riding the breeze of God’s magnificent creation. And especially, I noticed that upon return, I would have no recognition of whom I was, and sometimes it took a few minutes to remember that I was Daniel David Feinsmith, a Jew, a musician, a little kid, and I lived on 173rd street in Flushing, Queens. All of this always came as a shock. Finally I would be able to ride my bicycle to where I remembered home to be.
Later, as I was saying, with the infinity of desire that woman has for man, after thousands of flirtations, each of one bringing tears to the white heads of my internal Sanhedrin, I came upon a more distant past in a monastery. Dreams each night of talking to and working with an older mentor, and friends of mine, brother students and I talking and laughing in various places on a stone stepped interior of what appeared to be a monastic learning institution. Bronze and golden containers, oil-lamps and incense, a quality of mystery, and this odd and unrecognized life continued in my dreams without apparent purpose.
These meditations on the expansive lawn of Cunningham Park were featured by the visceral sensation of an explosion in the center of my head, each and every time. The pain was both extraordinary and at the same time oddly pleasurable. What was this? This happened hundreds of times as I sat alone on the grass unconscious to the world of apparent phenomena around me. Ten years later, a man, a French monk I later came to know as Tony, told me that he recognized me from a prior lifetime living as a temple monk and studying the practice of alchemy in a high solitude in the Himalayan mountains. He told me the story of my prior life, which was cut short in my mid teens. He told me the same story that was in my dreams, and I became shocked and also impressed. I was a monk, according to him, a youthful monk, who was shot in the head by the Chinese occupying Tibet during meditation. From this, I began to consider the possibility of either reincarnation of the soul, or of the soul being affected and connected to other souls throughout eternity in such a way as directly connect to it – A nascent consideration of the laws of harmonics that I had been a student of since birth to humankind and to my own personal life.
My heart was golden and pure as a youth. When I recall the sharing of pain that I was capable of, the feeling of pain moving through my own body as much as the others, the ever-alert and poignant ear for falsity, I think back with wonderment. And how did such simplicity come to depart? And above all to be spoken of, Glory Be! How did God come to commence his repair upon my soul and put me back together where I was so entirely fragmented by life's heart-breaking tragedies? My heart once again is pure and unscathed! Though the wiser - mind you, of necessity - not of design.
What word from a sage’s mouth or prayer of his heart ages past came to descend upon my fortunate days, I do not know, but I am grateful and I will return the favor with this body and this mind! As my Zen Monk brothers and I learned from our adamantine postures is the truth of the law of similars, or the magnetic connection when patterns are alike. When the mind is pure for a moment, it connects through all eternity with the pure minds of the sages of all traditions, resonating in sympathy with them, and being strengthened by them, as a vast piano string resonates all strings tuned with shared harmonics within the harp.
And of course, the opposite is equally true.
Degradation and immoral thoughts, words or deeds, bring one to close alliance with the criminals and miscreants of all degrees throughout space and time. So, a face being a face, eyes being eyes, are more than a window to a given soul, but a window to a world of harmonies, either taking place within a burning hell of leather coat self-interest donning sunglasses, or a celestial zone of self-abnegation and connectedness-without-end with an innocent smile on its bearded face.
My Lord and holy Master! You have heaved this massive and broken mirror on your broad back into your workshop of fragmented souls and mended its cracks mysteriously and alchemically to bring me back into a heart of absolutes, a heart of simplicity, a brain powerful yet pure and good, and in the process, given me over to a grandiose love and affection for you, all out of bounds with the common affections and pleasures of this little crumb of life!
Baruch Shem Kevod Malchuto L’Olam Va’ed!!!
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
According to Ramchal - Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto - in his book, 'Adir BaMarom' (p. 40), the planets are moved by musical waves. These are his words: "All those thiings above are carried out by music, and all the luminaries, when they go out from their source, are motivated by music."
Posted by Daniel David Feinsmith at Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Thursday, January 3, 2008
20 December 2007 – San Francisco, CA: Welcome home. On January 19 at 8pm, the Francisco based Feinsmith Quartet (www.feinsmithquartet.com), founded by New Yorker Daniel David Feinsmith makes it New York Debut at the Kaufman Center’s Merkin Concert Hall (129 West 67th Street). Known for its powerful new sound with an ecstatic spiritual bent, the Feinsmith Quartet will appear in this one-night-only concert with special guest Scott Amendola. A super-group in the most complete sense of the term, the Feinsmith Quartet features Jennifer Culp on cello, Michael Manring on bass, Gyan Riley on guitar, and Christopher Taylor on piano. The group will perform original compositions by founder and artistic director Feinsmith, guitarist Riley and bassist Manring. Tickets are $25 in advance; $30 at the door. Student and senior advance tickets are $10 in advance; $15 at the door. Ticket may be obtained by calling the Merkin Center Box Office at (212) 501-3330 or online at www.kaufman-center.org.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Here is a photo from our recent session at Skywalker recording El Elyon, with Erin Downey on Piano, Chris Seifert as the Chief Engineer, and Judy as the Assistant Engineer. An amazing group of people. The end-result could hardly be improved upon. Unfortunately, Marcelline Krafchick, our patron, could not be in the photo, as she had to leave earlier in the day.
Posted by Daniel David Feinsmith at Sunday, December 30, 2007