2011 will bring what I hope is an end to a triad of very, very trying years. Since 2008, my circle of long-time friends experienced the loss of 3 of our own, in what can only be described as a surreal and bizarre series of events. Out of respect to their families, I’ll keep the last names and circumstances private. I will say that each of them passed suddenly, without any warning whatsoever, and that their consecutive deaths sent shockwaves through us which resonated furthermore with each one. Not only were these close friends, but each of them were fellow musicians, and something that really haunts me is knowing that they will never have the chance to fully realize the potential of their gifts. I remember when we were teenagers. The world would be ours. Sky was the limit.
So when each passed so suddenly, and at such a young age (at MY age!), my worldview capsized. No longer did I feel that invincibility, that complacency towards life that comes with believing you’ll live forever. I was now confronted with my own mortality, and it was devastating.
At first, I literally teetered on the edge of insanity, my own personal hell. Those closest to me will recount that I was in shambles. My psyche had been disturbed to a dangerous level, where the questions I used to gleefully philosophize over, like God and the nature of reality, were now terrifying subjects. Did I want to know? Have I been lied to? Who AM “I”, anyhow?!
After many months of struggling to just simply “get my life back”, I reached a turning point. The overwhelming fear of life that had been crippling me was beginning to transition into a childlike curiosity, something I’d lost a long time before amidst my cynicism and angst. I now saw the world, or more precisely, Existence altogether, with new eyes. I realized I no longer wanted that old life back. Without knowing it, I’d already been set out on a journey, towards peace of mind, self-actualization, and Truth. This rebirth of sorts is what I now refer to as “the tilt”.
So I’ve spent the last 18 months or so reading, writing, listening, watching…essentially absorbing stories and philosophies from all walks of life. I’ve talked to priests, monks, artists, professors, businessmen, doctors, preachers, everyone who’d give me their time. Have I stumbled on the “One Great Answer” that could ultimately go uncontested? No. Not exactly.
But there does seem to be a common thread. Beyond the questions, beyond our conceptualizing, and beyond this material world, there is “something” that drives us, ALL of us; the priests, the artists, the businessmen, etc… Some guiding force that we can choose to follow or ignore. But it’s always there, waiting for our next move. Our lives are not an accident, nor are our conditions. There are lessons in adversity, but we can’t sleep through class. Every moment counts. At any given time, this guide can be accessed, with an untouchable clarity, in the silence and the stillness.
I hope this record speaks to you. I hope it will connect with you in a way that, at any time along your journey, you can revisit it and it will continue to serve you.
Dedicated to all those I’ve loved and lost. -BRS
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