Singing is the temple where I experience God. The feeling of sound from within opens a divine spectrum of communication for me. I’m breathing out a sound, and at the same time, I’m filled with its quality. Belcanto is very much about staying and experiencing the present moment. Maybe that’s the most challenging part of the training: To let go of the inner listener.
Tony, my singing teacher, has been explaining to me for nearly five years now that one can not sing and listen to oneself simultaneously. An aria needs to first exist in the form of thought, an idea before it can be breathed or translated into a particular sound.
There is, however, also another direction in that relationship between the sound and the instrument of the body. As I breathe out the sound, my body is filled with its resonance. When I experience myself as a musical instrument, I remain within the space that receives the inner message from the sound that it produces. Isn’t it crazy? I’m learning the sound from the way my body reacts to it. It’s a mystical encounter that touches me on the soul level. It’s Divine to me.
I know that God listens when I sing. He meets me within my scales. So often, when I’m desperate for his presence, I open up my arms, relax my throat and allow the sound to happen within me. I don’t even have to sing about God. A love aria may become a prayer. (Besides, God often comes as a lover.) Singing for me is just a tool of focusing my presence in the nanosecond of the current moment. It’s very close to God from there.
I treasure those encounters with God in the simplicity of the present tense. God feeds us with His grace when we’ve managed to bring ourselves into His presence. He provides us with Himself.
We need the daily God to open us up for the God of festive encounters. We need to feed ourselves with God present in the everyday moment to sustain our capacity for mystical togetherness with the Absolut in person. And for me, singing is one of many daily temples.
It is also a beautiful language to describe my relationship with Jesus and his Church. I’m approaching the seventh anniversary of my return to the Catholic Church after seventeen years of rejecting it, despising, even fighting it. And the story of my return is very much about singing.
I want to share some of that story with you, hoping to fit my God-experience into a breath of an aria, a safe rhythm, and a comfortable key, keeping a few silent bars to pause. I’m a prophet of God who loves meeting his people in the dailiness of a pasture. Who chooses the poor stable and shakes the earth beneath heavily decorated temples. I’m proclaiming God of simple people ready to fall in love with their Creator.
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