After being told by a radio host that his music was “simple,” the musician responded in a thoughtful and humble manner. He said that he writes music that is serviceable. He went on to explain that when writing a piece, he thinks ahead of the musicians who will play it. He knows that jazz musicians like to improvise, and his composition leaves room for that creativity.
That struck me as very profound, for as the inspiration flows through him, he also thinks of the other musicians who will perform the piece. How can he make it more serviceable to the other musicians who would play it in the future? He understood that creating a piece of music in that way would lead to a continual exploration and creative expression of its meaning by others who would perform it. The meaning and beauty of it would continue to grow and expand as others brought their own truth and vision to it.
The comments by this master musician were also serviceable to me, for they reminded me of how Masters of the spiritual life make their teachings “serviceable” to seekers of truth. A Master often gives out truth in a simple form, such as a parable or story, so that we, the students, may understand and apply the truth the teacher is giving. When we observe how this principle is working in our life, we then realize its meaning and value, and it becomes a part of who we are.
Just as music comes alive only when it is played or sung, truth must be experienced to be realized. A truth may be read in a book, but only serves us when we experiment with it in our own life. One who has an open mind and heart will experience truth in ever new ways, for truth is a living thing. As we grow in our awareness and begin to live truth, we are demonstrating truth. And like the musicians who improvise on the simple composition of the man in the story, we make the truth that we realize visible and serviceable to others.
We can begin to see our life and the lives of people around us as a series of connected stories or parables that are examples of living truth. Every experience throughout the day has an underlying meaning and message that can teach us something about truth and life. Like the composer in the story above, we can design our day to get the most service from it, but allow room for the unexpected improvisations that others bring into our life.
Shall we try an experiment? We can choose a day to begin with an inner request: “Show me truth today,” and then watch for the underlying truth and lesson in the stories that unfold that day.