Let It Be, Let It Be
Quiet your mind and say hello to your silent partner
In recent weeks, I have gotten to know a longtime Southern rocker and his devoted wife. How that connection came about I could tell you easily enough. Why it did remains an open question.
They have helped me to better articulate and understand thoughts I have had for a long time, including the belief that my best impulses and my best work are influenced by a beneficent presence.
The musician has described for me his creative process or, better said, un-process. His lyrics and melodies are not products of mental exertion, he said, but instead arrive at still, wee hours. Even so, he cannot merely be passive. He must be open and alert to the arrivals and secure them before they vanish like an insight from a dream not recorded on the pad at the bedside table. He must act before somebody else claims them.
Bob Dylan expressed a similar outlook in a 1978 interview with Karen Hughes of Rock Express magazine. Editor and anthologist Jonathan Cott included that interview in Dylan on Dylan, a book published in 2006.
“Do you find that as a composer, you’re more like a medium, tuning into something greater happening?” Hughes asked Dylan.
“I think that every composer does that,” he replied. “No one in his right mind would think that it was coming from him, that he has invented it. It’s just coming through him.”
I have many times had that conduit experience. I remember very well, for example, one afternoon during my tenure as editor of the Panama City News Herald. A staffer was trying too hard to arrive at a headline for a two-page illustration of an estuarine grass flat that included a speckled trout, a blue crab, a flounder and other life forms.
I sized up the project at the staffer’s desk and then as I headed toward my office, there it was.
“Splendor in the grass,” I announced.
“How did you do that?” the reporter, furious, demanded to know.
“You just have to let it happen,” I said, making things worse.
I had the privilege a few years back of taking a transcendental meditation class with Prudence Bruns at a cabin she owns in a wood at Santa Rosa Beach. A person more peaceful and kind I will never meet. The TM experience for me brought freedom from distractions, so emptying my mind that I am certain my blood pressure dropped. She is speaking to me now, Prudence is. She knows that I have abandoned the practice of meditation; she’s aware I run around like a man who has lost his mantra.
The musician has turned me on to the notion of thought adjusters, godlike spirits that are described in The Urantia Book, a work that is central to a foundation that has been spreading its messages throughout the world since early in the 20th century. These entities, the adjusters, are said to indwell the minds of creatures of time — like me and you — after becoming apprised of our intellectual endowments and spiritual capacity.
While these adjusters may join with us, human will dominates the adjuster–human partnership, according to The Urantia Book. Human will functions on a personality level while adjusters operate on a pre-personal level. That is to say that if we are to benefit from the partnership, we must get out of our own way.
We must let things happen, and when we do, the benefits can be far-reaching.
Early in our earthly evolution, it is said, humans began to experience a feeling of social duty as the product of fear and the need for security arising from group membership. But a less selfish tendency toward “social service and the idealism of altruism is derived from the direct impulse of the divine spirit indwelling the human mind,” according to The Urantia Book.
Whether indwelling god-extensions might be responsible for glorious headlines or perfect lyrics isn’t clear. But, in any event, the notion that I might succeed in new or renewed ways by setting aside my stubborn will, quieting my mind and being receptive to arrivals has tremendous appeal to me.
It may seem that I am being led.
Something, dear Prudence, has led me back to meditation, and as a new year approaches, I am resolved to slow down without losing speed to make room for a better nature. Good things come back around.
Peace be with you,
Steve Bornhoft, Executive Editor