From the OM Room to the Boom Room - by Chris
Last night, I went to a 2-hour meditation. After sitting for 2 hours, interspersed with kirtan, and joining with other people, the energy gets really still and peaceful. A lot of stuff gets put into perspective. Insights, revelations, reconnecting with the heart, all the stuff we are trying to desperately find and cling to in this life…meditation helps contact that juicy stuff more frequently.
Right after the sit, I hopped in my car and drove over the Bay Bridge to go to the Boom Boom Room, to check out my bandmate Robin play with his solo project, “Robin Applewood.” Also on the bill for the night was Pamela Parker, a super talented soul who brings it!
I’ve played the Boom Boom probably more times than any other venue I’ve played in SF, and there’s a certain aura to the place, a certain funk meets grit meets dirty meets hip. The place has swagger. The energy of the room isn’t friendly per se, but then, it’s not overtly nasty; it kinda lures you into its vibration, making you feel cool, but then at any moment it might pounce on you like a spider with a fly in its clutches and devour you.
Coming directly from the meditation into the club was a strong experience in polarity. The music was great, and Robin killed it as always. Pam took it to another level. And there were many of my good friends there.
The challenge for me was that underlying it all, the room emitted a vibration of restlessness, and my interpretation was that there was a certain discomfort with the present moment, a desire to fill a void inside with, well, sex, drugs and rock n’ roll.
I’ve changed a lot over the years with the band, gone through many phases. My continual unfoldment manifests externally as physical changes in appearance and style…long hair, short, beard, clean-shaven, thinner, heavier, certain jewelry or accessories, glasses, no glasses etc. It’s all an external reflection of my internal process and I just follow the new stylistic expressions as my intuition gives way to the next incarnation of myself in this lifetime.
For the first few years of the band, I was smoking a lot of weed. Maybe a normal amount for the typical Californian, but for me, it felt like a lot. At some point in the band history, I decided to really look at that habit, and realized that it was not one that I could hold onto and continue down my own path. And I’ve never been a huge drinker, but as my spiritual path has deepened, I decided to completely forego alcohol for many months. As of late, as in, the past month, I’ve had a few beers and glasses of wine, as I’ve been finding balance in a new recent incarnation of myself…the post-mountain Chris.
By that I mean, I went to a pretty far extreme in my monkishness, giving up many things in order to deepen my practice, but then I felt a call to come more into my body, into the world, and show up more with the men and women, boys and girls around me. Walking with men is something I can do and sometimes enjoy, and it is also strange. When I enrolled in graduate school for psychology, the thing that sold me about the program I finally chose (Integral Counseling Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies) was this line, on the cover page of their informational program book: “We are not human beings learning how to be spiritual, we are spiritual beings learning how to be human.”
For me, that is so unbelievably spot on with how I see the world.
I’m trying to figure out how to be in this society, how to fit in, and sometimes I do all right with it, and many times I can’t help but wonder and think, “What’s the city for anyway? It’s madness really.”
The rubber meets the road in how and where I bring my music to the world. The contrasting experience of last night, where I come from a meditative environment I feel so at home in, to a gritty, grindy club, where I didn’t feel comfortable, was illuminating. The music I make is about waking up and yet, a lot of the things surrounding the music industry seem to me to be a way to tune out from the truth of our experience.
What I’m really contemplating is, “Where do I belong?” and “How does transformational entertainment interface with the rest of the entertainment industry?” The answer, I think lies largely upon venues. I love some of them that we play, like farmers markets, where the sun casts its rays upon stands filled to the brim with vegetables, where multiple generations mingle and criss-cross; or drug-rehabilitation centers, where the words I sing land like anvils in the room, and hearts become planter boxes for flowers of love and compassion, and people understand our oneness, our pain and our struggle towards the light, and they are on that path, and I am one of them; or yoga classes, where prana simmers in the room until it becomes a thick syrup and the receptive bodies open themselves to all we have to share and we in turn to what they have to share, through their movement, their breathing, their sighing.
That’s what I’m working with right now…where do I belong in the music world? And at a more global level, what’s in store for the future of transformational entertainment? Thanks for reading.