WAS CHOPIN A SHAMAN ?

One thing I often notice in admirers of Chopin's music as well as in musicians and artists in general is this feeling of not being completely from here or being a bit elsewhere at the same time. Nostalgia for the divine, a friend once told me...


Then where ? Often on the edge of their skin, those who feel his music sometimes wonder if they don't come from another planet ! Paradoxically, they aspire to better adapt to this unconvincing reality to put an end to this perpetual coming and going.


Sometimes this slightly melancholic or joyfully offbeat feeling that we all experience at least once in our lives, leads, seemingly out of nowhere, to new tracks. You don't always need to know what you're looking for when you're connected to what you're feeling. Some dimensions are so subtle that we cannot access them by will alone. Rather, it is through honesty, meeting at the heart of oneself, daring to bare oneself without before or after, that one then feels approaching like a star in the darkness of the sky.


What you seek also seeks you, says the wise Rumi.


What was Frederic Chopin in quest for ? And what is it that almost two hundred years later, his notes resonate with each of us as the most universal of languages ?


Are we all a little "crazy", a little "offbeat", a little "besides" ?


Having travelled myself and having met men and women healers, transmitters, shamans, I have found this beautiful - a priori - paradox : linked to their greater sensitivity, the one that allows them to access infinitely subtle planes of Consciousness, they have the strength of the warrior who knows how to overcome his fears, go beyond illusions, break imaginary or factual dragons. Like a piano tuner, reacting to the micro-millimeter on the exact vibration of a string and at the same time capable of taking over the entire soundboard if necessary, redoing the wood, striking with the fist to balance and regain the accuracy of the instrument's sound.


There is in Chopin this world of the infinitely intimate, closest to oneself, like the wriggling of a tree branch when the breeze hardly blows, and the heroism of transcendence, of surpassing oneself, when one has nothing more to lose! The roots of the tree. Despair sometimes has the good thing that it is a doorway to the beyond. And this beyond - borders, our reality, beliefs, matter, the visible... - is the characteristic of the shaman and the virtuoso.


It is said of a shaman that he is the guardian of knowledge. Unlike knowledge, knowledge is only acquired through experience - by oneself. With Chopin, I often seem to hear struggles, storms, spirits fighting each other as shamans fight in the invisible for the balance of life.


And then that flicker. The one Jesus speaks of when he evokes awakening, that place from which everything is seen as for the first time, as innocence sees. Being in its raw state.


Once anchored to the earth, the shaman's spirit can travel.


Travel is what we experience from the first day of our lives to the last day. And perhaps even further... Could it be infinite ? A score is played like a breath, from beginning to end, but it resounds already well before the first note and continues in the air after its last vibrations.


Suffering is undesirable, never. Yet I will always remember a young man, 18 years old, in the audience of a spiritual conference, speaking up to ask, with such authenticity, if it was possible to access this lucidity, knowledge and wisdom without going through the experience of suffering. At the time, I began to think that he must be very unhappy to have such a belief, to let such words emerge... And then a few seconds later I realize my naivety ! Without making an apology for suffering, it turns out that, in a fairly common way, when one suffers, one only wishes for one thing, and that is peace! To find or rediscover this state of plenitude, equanimity, even joy. In India, it is said that suffering is a friend who takes you by the hand to bring you home. To tell the truth, it is obviously not that suffering is desirable, but when it presents itself, it is a signal that something is dissonant, dysfunctional. Like a badly tuned, out of tune instrument, suffering comes to tell us that it is necessary to revise one's cartography and consider another route, even - and above all - to get where one wants to go.


Unfortunately, the notion of suffering has unfortunately been overlooked, particularly by an interpretation of the Judeo-Christian religion in which it has no other purpose than itself, or worse, that it is a price to pay for acts committed or simply the fact of living !


It also takes a great deal of honesty and acceptance to say "I am suffering" where so much frustration, oppression and repression are part of our social conditioning today. In the end, I sometimes seem to observe humans more afraid of pleasure than of pain. As if, like Stockholm's syndrome, they prefer to "collaborate" in this confinement to try to find a place, however small it may be, a den, a known cell, rather than venturing beyond the supposed limits.


"You mustn't be afraid of happiness. It's only a good time to spend," Romain Gary said with his irony not devoid of depth.


In the end, some people are more afraid that the joy might stop and prefer then, like a woman or a man towards whom the impulse dangerously pushes them, not to really know it.


There are all kinds of shamans just as there are all kinds of artists. And of course, if Chopin was an artist above all, we must believe that he had the gift of magicians, of alchemists, to turn a collection of notes into harmonies capable of healing our souls from their vicissitudes, their fears, their struggles.


When I listen to or play Chopin, I don't have the impression of an always serene soul. But I do feel a soul that is looking for a path to heaven! A soul that seems to have overcome so many illusions, like a faraway suit... Myself, by putting on this costume, I then feel again all the spasms of Humanity and find, through the path of this music, the sap of the heart, this note that presses right at the place of our love - unalterable, invincible. In this it speaks to each one of us, as with that gently disturbing question: "Who are you really ?"


Some of her melodies connect us to the oldest part of us, the part of the last day of our life, the part that, beyond the joys or the sufferings, finds peace, light, penetrating and almost carefree. Like a trance, its music is a catharsis of our own pains and comes to whisper in the hollow of our ear that we are much bigger than we think. It is possible to extricate oneself, to exile oneself, and to return very exactly to one's home, that place sometimes neglected by ourselves.


"It is not by looking at the light that we become luminous, but by plunging into its darkness. But this work is often unpleasant, therefore unpopular." Carl Gustav Jung


As he composes his 24 Preludes on the island of Mallorca, led by his travelling companion George Sand, his body is plagued by chronic pulmonary difficulties in the middle of a rainy, wet and cold weather in the small room of a monastery ! While he spends a night writing the famous prelude N°15, later nicknamed The Drop of Water, George Sand, returning from a walk, as if emerging from the storm, opens the door and sees Chopin, livid, in a light from beyond the grave. Looking at her, he then says in a strange and foreign voice: "I knew I was dead !".


It is then art as hypnosis, as magic, as transformation, a journey, a transcendence between several dimensions. Experiencing this is perhaps the greatest gift to be experienced. Getting out for a moment of this great bath of illusions, of this strange ride, is to mourn a character or rather to mourn the fact that you believed in it.


"Only that which stops the light can be seen by our eyes." Sadhguru


Of course, many things can be perceived differently, and more and more people are experiencing this. One time a lady in the audience said to me: "I thought you listen with your ears, but in fact you listen with your skin, your stomach, your heart, your legs, your guts !..." Simply, to the naked eye, what we see is, precisely, according to the laws of physics, what stops the light. Otherwise it wouldn't be visible. And it is amazing to feel how Chopin's art connects us to our most incandescent light as it passes through the farthest corners of our darkness.


In performing his music, I understand how impossible light would be without darkness and how impossible night would be without day.


What brings a great artist closer to a shaman is this ability to dive into other worlds and cross them. Those who remain stuck, in their melancholy, their schizophrenia, are those who have found themselves on this path without being able or knowing how to come back from it.


So, by listening to Chopin, we too can travel, in time and space, until we no longer know if all this really existed, if all this exists... Without before or after, forgetting everything for a moment and plunging through our shadow to touch our eternity.


The shamans know that what we take for reality is only a great dream and that where we do not think we are conscious is the Truth.


What if what we thought we were living was just a dream? What if the only reality was that star that shines, imperturbably, beyond the torments, the fights, the excitements, the passions, the storms or the outbursts of souls?


Wishing you sweet dreams...


In your heart and down to your fingertips,


Hélène Tysman



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                                                                     all rights reserved Hélène Tysman - 2018

                                                                                                                                                          

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