SOUND AND FORM

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When I was on my retreat I spent a long time looking at this tree, when these words came into my mind:  ‘In the form is the music and in the music the dancing.’  I did not know if these were remembered words, or whether they were my own.  In any event, it felt like a fresh discovery.

I remembered many years back when I was living in Brussels, my mother was still with me, and I had been going for a few years to the School of Philosophy.  This was the school of esoteric spirituality which had transformed my life. I had been initiated into meditation, which I now did regularly, morning and evening.

It was a Sunday morning, my mother was still in bed, the radio was on and I was listening to a piece of modern music, I think it was Enesco. I was not really in to modern music, but on that particular morning my mind must have been very quiet and I heard every note very clearly. It was beautiful, had I ever really heard sound before?

Still in that frame of mind I went to buy some milk at the local corner shop. The Belgians have a very lilting way of speaking, their voices go up at the end, rather like the Welsh. I bought my milk, and in the formal way they have, she said “Merci madame, au revoir madame.”

As she spoke I had an instant realisation that the words coming out of her mouth were  creating  her form.  The form was in the sound. The two were one.  I saw it so clearly. It was like a revelation. I have never had that experience again and when I tried to explain it to Gilles Petit, my singing teacher, he did not seem interested.

I wonder if anyone else has experienced this? I would love to know. Was this what Keats experienced when he heard the nightingale?

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