When I look around me, it seems as though everyone feels like they are running out of time.
Our daily lives are ruled by time. Everyone is in some kind of a rush. Everyone is trying to get everything done before the day runs out. Tick tock, tick tock. we are bound by it, frustrated with it and often angry at it.
A year ago, in the golden light of the late afternoon, I pushed my grandmother along in her wheelchair. As she is in the last years of her life, her words are few, yet when she does speak, her words are profound. It was during that afternoon when she broke a comfortable silence, tilted her head toward the sky and said, “Isn’t time such a wonderful gift?”
Her words confused me. For as long as I could remember, time was something that I viewed negatively. It had always been a burden, a pressure, a limitation—it was something that I was always running out of, and something that I couldn’t grasp.
Yet there my grandmother was—someone who, at nearly 90 years old, didn’t necessarily have time on her side—calling time a precious gift. It startled me for a moment, but that moment passed as quickly as it came, and we continued on our walk in silence once again.
Something happened when my grandmother said those words that day. I didn’t know it then, but that one remark would stick with me for weeks and months to come. They continually came back to me like a mantra—isn’t time such a wonderful gift, isn’t time such a wonderful gift. What did she mean by that? What could I learn from her? Slowly, but inevitably, I witnessed her words begin to unravel the weighted tassels of time that I had continually allowed myself to be fettered by. Eventually, time changed its face.
Thus, my new album KALA was born. “Kala” is the Sanskrit word for ‘time’. In contrast to my own inherited understanding of time, many Eastern cultures of our world understand and treat time for its eternal nature. It is spoken of in its relationship to space and to growth. It fosters wisdom and understanding. It is the womb of all creation—from which we all came, and to which we will all return. It is cyclical, rather than linear. There is no beginning, and there is no end.
Because of my grandmother’s words, I found that, through song, I began to explore the notion of time differently. I endeavored to surrender myself more deeply to it—to let go of the pressure of it and embrace the stillness within it. That began a journey from which many songs were born. These songs, or explorations even, have been compiled into the album that is KALA.
The majority of this project was written this past winter on the island of Maui. My wife and I had been lucky enough to have taken a full 3 months off to relax and unwind. During our time there, we had the good fortune of visiting Ram Dass at his home on the north shore. Upon entering his home, we were bathed in a presence … a presence I can only contribute to Maharajji and Ram Dass’s love for Him. There was a “timelessness.” I fell into a meditative mood and completely forgot about the minutes and the hours and how much time we spent there. My heart was full and at peace. After Ram Dass spoke for a while and we were about to head home, I went to give my pranams and said to him “Thank you for having us in your home.” Ram Dass just laughed and looked down at me and said, “It is HE who is having all of us.”
When I look back on that moment and its relationship to KALA and my music, I think about how Maharajji, the ONE BEING, comes from a place that is totally beyond time and space … and yet as our Guru and Divine Guide, He is arranging everything perfectly in time. Every single moment and interaction is being perfectly orchestrated in His blissful symphony. It is He who is speaking through every mouth and moving through every action. When I surrender to this, my whole being is at peace. When I forget this, I am confused and controlled by my emotions. BUT even the forgetting is only His Grace. This is what I feel.
We fall out and we fall in, but through Maharajji’s Grace, the project of KALA has taught me how important it is to continually endeavor to fall in to the total surrender to the passage of time.
It is Babaji who is the weaver of it all. It’s in His hands anyway 🙂