I could feel the drum beat of the music coming out of Alladin’s closet. I would have expected celestial sound but I got “Help Me Rhonda,” Beach Boys 1965. I had just graduated Martin Van Buren High School and was now in my freshman year at Hofstra University (they had great mashed potatoes). I remember listening to the Beach Boys, Beatles, Stones, Four Seasons and many others while I studied, studied and studied. I also listened and sang to it in the car, at the beach, on picnics and just about ever where. It felt good and was always in the back of my mind. I associated feeling good with feeling groovy. It seemed to make studying not only easier but more effective. My dad would ask me how I could study with that “noise” going on and on. I didn’t know why, but it worked for me.
So I stepped into the closet, sat right down and let my mind grow long. The music was wonderful. Full surround sound with a video playing on the back wall. I listened for a few moments and then closing my eyes my long mind started to separate into wedges like the pieces of a multi-fruited pie. All of the pieces connecting at the center but each one having its own borders. I sensed that each wedge had its own fruit or its own function while still being connected to the whole pie or mind. The part of the mind that was listening to the music was blocking the part of the mind that wanted to go back to the beach or out to play racket ball. It allowed the studying part to be able to concentrate without the continual distractions of thoughts wanting to be doing something else. Don’t get me wrong I did want to study, at least some of the subjects I really enjoyed, but these distracting thoughts had a “mind” (a wedge) of their own in the pie of my mind.
Coming out of the closet I now know the value of that music I loved of the 60’s. It had trained my mind like the Karate Kid learned “Wax on wax off”. For me the music is now replaced by one of several short musical mantras. Each mantra has a theme and a visualization that goes with it. The mantra accomplishes primarily two things. First it allows me to stay connected to the intention I have to travel on the path of happiness. And second it acts as a fence to make it more difficult for stray thoughts to create an imbalance of wanting too much of something or pushing away too forcefully of something else that I do not want to be happening. When I listen to the mantra and sing along in the car it stays with me during the day; just like the last song you hear on the radio reverberates in your mind. I find that if I actively “think” the mantra that piece of my mind’s pie keeps me connected to the path of happiness. When I forget then the routine “stuff” and distractions of life pull me off the path and it takes more energy and work to get back on.
If you would like more detail on this practice feel free to contact me.