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Jerry Katz
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#2825 - Sunday, May 27, 2007 - Editor: Gloria Lee  

The Nondual Highlights  

A first for the highlights?  

Music reviews may be rare here, but it's about time to include them. Tell us your own favorites.    

Already Shining  

How can music be more than music? When it offers satsang with the music; as music. The songs of John Astin are just that, a place of peace you can fall into and that will stay with you long after the sound fades away. He pulls you into listening deeply with your heart, and takes you deeper and deeper into the heart of presence itself. With an unhurried pace, somewhat reminiscent of folk ballads, and an underlying tone of exuberant joyfulness, this is the voice of someone already at home calling you to come in from the storm. Along with what the words say, the tone of the music conveys presence, peace, happiness, clarity of awareness. John's voice is very mellow and gentle, and he sings the words with great tenderness. The quality of musicianship is excellent, too. A lifelong classical guitarist himself, John's arrangements are enhanced by piano, cello, drums, and harmony vocals. Two of the songs in this album are based on poems by Adyashanti, and his own writing is simply exquisite. This album was recorded live, and includes his signature song, "Love, Serve, and Remember". Impossible for me to choose a favorite, yet "Fall in Love with Now" seems especially unforgettable. Listen, and spread the joy.

  A note from the artist:
“Already Shining” points the listener back to the simple light of awareness that is taking in this moment right now. This is a light like no other, a light that is self-luminous, self-sustaining, and effortlessly present. It is the light of knowing that makes everything visible and yet itself can never be seen. There is no practice we can engage in that will keep the lamp of awareness lit, no technique we can employ to keep this light from going out, for there is no existence, no mind, or self apart from it. The self and awareness—they are one and the same thing. There is nothing that needs to be done to make awareness shine. It is already shining. This is your nature. It is what you have always been…
2006 John Astin

The website has generous sample clips from this album and earlier ones, including songs from Rumi's poetry.   

Note: Along with his musical work, John holds a PhD in psychology. He is currently a research scientist at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco where he conducts cutting edge research in the field of mind-body medicine. Also, John Astin's first book, Too Intimate For Words, was featured in an earlier highlights and he has a new book coming out later this summer. You can read some poems from that issue here:   

Here is one found on his website that I especially like.  

This Constant Lover

Her gaze is so constant,
our every move watched
with such affection, a
ceaseless vigil without
condition or agenda,
silent, patient,
unrelenting in Her

There is endless room in
the heart of this Lover,
infinite space for whatever
foolishness we may
toss Her way.

But She is also
crafty this One -
a thief who will steal
away everything we ever
cherished, all our beliefs,
all our ideas, all our
philosophies, until
nothing is left
but Her shimmering
this simple love
for what is.

2006 John Astin

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