My daily activities often begin with reading the news of the day over breakfast or listening to podcasts, watching news – on a seemingly endless cycle- on television. I, and I suspect many others, find it easy to become discouraged. Our species, capable of such great kindness and love and empathy, also succumbs to evil and violent tendencies. It has always been the case. We war, we brutalize and we lie to each other. We scramble over one another to the top of some imagined heap. My great friend, Phil, reminds me there is only room at the top for one, so the gigantic game of “Who’s the King of the Mountain” is foolish…to put it very mildly.

My daily activity includes a generous amount of listening to music, recorded or live. Also, through practicing piano I get to enjoy great music (although, marred by my unintentional mangling pieces I’m learning to play, and sometimes ones that I think I know). Listening to a great recording of a beautifully performed piece of music, masterworks and others) is a time when the best qualities of our species are completely in control. There are no political debates, no cheating, no lying, no violence toward one another. Just pure, unadulterated sound. A slice of heaven, as the saying goes. Perfect mindfulness. I enter a world where I am continuously amazed and moved or excited. The performer(s) are focused on the same thing I am. The sound. The moment. Now. Now. Now.Now…..

How powerful and pure. No deceit. A celebration of human life in its highest idealistic state. Whether the music is tragic, romantic, celebratory, heroic, inspirational, it exists as an expression of the highest of our species ideals. Our better angels visiting.