Music is an integral part of our lives. It’s as if we yearn to be surrounded and inspired by rhythm and melody. One man who certainly knows how to help satisfy this yearning through his Afro-Latin-blues-rock fusion sound is Carlos Santana.
On Sunday, December 29, CBS will air the 2013 Kennedy Center Honors that were recorded last month. Santana is one of five honorees who will receive lifetime achievement accolades. The other accomplished recipients are: singer/songwriter Billy Joel, jazz pianist Herbie Hancock, actress Shirley MacLaine, and opera soprano Martina Arroyo.
The Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame’s website, states, “[Hall member] Guitarist Carlos Santana is one of rock’s true virtuosos and guiding lights.” His band has sold over 100 million records and earned 10 Grammy Awards, but, as well, Santana, himself, is a humanitarian and, maybe, most importantly, a spiritual thinker.
In a recent PBS NewsHour interview, Santana was asked, “You talk about spirituality. Is it your sense that music is a kind of spirituality?” Santana responded, “It's not kind. It’s 150 percent. Music was given to tame the beast, as they say in the Bible. You know, … fear and anger.”
The Bible describes how David, a shepherd and future king of Israel, had a real gift when it came to music. When King Saul was distressed, the king’s fear and anger were erased each time David performed on his harp.
Was it the music, by itself, that benefited Saul's mind and body or was there something else that animated David's healing melodies?
Yes, although David had a real gift when it came to music, his most significant talent, it might be considered, was his spiritual sense. David’s receptivity to the divine enabled him to perform soothing songs that healed.
Today, clinical studies reveal the same results David achieved. They show that music can be used as a therapy in treating depression, schizophrenia, autism, dementia, and substance abuse. Creating or listening to music can alleviate symptoms of mental illness and ease pain.
Santana also stated in his PBS interview, “Music is to glorify the light in you.”
Music doesn’t present a vague or general sense of harmony, but a specific divine expression, tangible to you, right now. The reason you react to a song’s beat and melody is because, first and foremost, you are spiritual. The beauty and energy expressed in music can remind you of the “light in you,” your radiant spiritual selfhood.
In the interview, Santana also stated, “I remember my dad playing violin.” Responding to the question of what he remembered about this, Santana replied, “It's a sound of screaming charisma.”
“Just the way he put his chin on the violin; just that alone, you are like, ah. And then when he would bow that note -- he taught me how to carry a melody.”
Long sustained guitar notes distinguish Santana’s World music sound. Such ability is as if the divine were giving us an extended taste of the harmony within us.
Instead of charisma being a selfish, personal sense that says, “Look at me!” it can be a divinely conferred and honed talent that, when individually expressed, blesses others.
Christian author and spiritual healer, Mary Baker Eddy, characterized the distinction appropriately, when she explained, “Music is divine. …and if the divine tone be lacking, the human tone has no melody for me. …Music is the harmony of being; but the music of Soul affords the only strains that thrill the chords of feeling and awaken the heart’s harpstrings.”
Will you watch this Sunday as Carlos Santana is honored? Certainly, his talent has blessed and will continue to bless many.
– Keith Wommack is a Syndicated Columnist, Christian Science practitioner and teacher, husband, and step-dad. He has been described as a spiritual spur (since every horse needs a little nudge now and then). Keith’s columns originate at: KeithWommack.com