Rock On, with Awareness!

The spiritual life pervades daily life. That’s my view. You don’t have to sit in a cave or be a renunciant to have a spiritual practice. And you don’t have to compartmentalize your practice to your cushion or mat or any formal practice. You can find opportunities to practice all around you.

Summer is my favorite time of year, and one of my favorite activities is going to all the outdoor concerts that San Diego hosts. Pack a picnic, feel the breeze off the Bay, and swim in an ocean of sound.

You might not think of a rock concert as a particularly spiritual place, but if you keep an open mind there are signs all around.

I had to like the sign the Yeah Yeah Yeahs put up at their show: “Please do not watch the show on a screen through your smart device/phone. Put that shit away as a courtesy to the person behind you and to Nick, Karen, and Brian! Much love and many thanks!” I’m not so much annoyed by having to watch a live show through somebody else’s screen, but I have often wondered how present these folks are. Are you here experiencing the ephemeral magic of a live show? Or are you busy recording the event so later you can try to remember whether you were there?

At another show Cyndi Lauper chatted with the audience about the subject of meditation. “I can’t meditate. I have too many thoughts in my head,” she said in her girly voice, pointing to her red dreadlocks. I wanted to jump out of my seat and shout, “That’s exactly why you should meditate! I’ll teach you how!” But social decorum kept me in my seat, reflecting on how much we all desire inner peace.

Then while watching an electrifying show by Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks asked the crowd to listen to each song as if for the first time. I loved this idea as a practice of mindfulness, and it helped me delve deeper into the sound and meaning of their songs. Maybe that also explains how they keep their sound so fresh and intense after all these years, as if they’re playing them for the first time.


Rock on, Gold Dust Woman!

Concerts are also a great place to observe group energy and dynamics. It’s thrilling to see thousands of people singing in unison. Imagine what else we could do with our world when we all sing together.

Have fun this summer, and remember that wherever you go, there you are. Enjoy your life adventure!


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