Adam Rafferty – Guitar and Spirit

All about music, guitar, spirituality, personal development and being happy

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The Buffer Of Time and Manifesting Anything You Want

One thing I find particularly fascinating is “time”. Even as a kid I saw a problem with our linear concept of time. I did somehow see that there is only a present now moment and future and past are thoughts.

I’m not saying I am a luminous teacher of a new world religion – but I am saying that I saw it with an uncluttered child’s mind.

And, the more I ponder this, the more I understand life and the easier my existence is.

What’s even more fascinating to me – and this is new to me, sort of – is how there is a thin “veil” separating that which is an idea and that which has manifested physically.

Is hunger out there or inside? Inside of course. We as humans can relate together because we are made of the same stuff so we can agree on hunger being a “thing” – but it is and inside experience.

The same for the feelings and perception of things like elation, happiness, sadness, tiredness, – and so on. The point is that these are not feelings outside our bodies and minds.

Couldn’t the same be true for time? Time is just an idea we have. An every present now that we see in a linear fashion.

“Yesterday it rained” – imagined in the NOW
“Now it is hot outside” – perceived in the NOW
“I have to work tomorrow” – imagined in the NOW

As you can see, all is in the NOW. Your thoughts of what was, and what will be are just your thoughts.

I see this incorrect notion of linear time in music – when musicians incorrectly think a groove can be gotten from a steady flow of beats spaced exactly far enough apart, the way a computer or metronome would.

Often you’ll find no feeling or groove there. Just listen to the radio these days- perfect time and no grooove. Playing a deep groove has more to do with being in a spiritual / musical place, a yummy NOW moment, which humans attempt to translate in a linear fashion.

Here’s where it gets really cool for me, these days. We can manifest ANYTHING we think of (and do). Time is essentially a buffer that we experience, but it is an illusion.

Let’s start with something easy – at least for me. Please follow me.

As I sit here, I get an idea. “Boy I’d love a cup of coffee”.

Does the coffee exist yet? No. Ok, it is an idea, a mental picture. Can we agree on that?

Assuming I want it bad enough, I go to the fridge, get the ground coffee, clean the French press and boil water. Take out the milk, take out a mug…and in about 10 minutes I got from the idea of coffee to a manifestation of coffee.

I am not a pro philosopher by any stretch, but I am deeply fascinated by this.

The thought or image—> Buffer —-> Manifestation

Let’s look and imagine further:

The coffee could be anything – money, a car, a dog, a house, a mate – you name it.

The 10 minutes could be 2 seconds (I want a pretzel from the snack bowl) or 10 years (I want a career as a dentist )

AND – the work to do it can happen by itself, once the desire is launched. For example, you are seeking a pair of olive PUMA sneakers with an orange stripe. You don’t go out looking actively for the shoes, but the desire is launched.

You are out on a nice day, strolling past a store you’ve never seen, and BANG! There are the sneakers, exactly as you had envisioned them. They didn’t find you by magic – you are simply “tuned into” them and out of the 1000 varieties at that store, you found exactly what you sought. The sneakers appeared effortlessly. Your radar was up for those sneakers and you did not have to “go out there and get ’em!!”.

The key of course is that you are in a state of allowing what you have asked for, into your life.

So if you say “I want these shoes, but they are much too expensive” – you hold yourself apart from the shoes’ manifestation and they don’t appear. This is a subject unto itself – the undoing of disallowing factors due to emotional buttons getting pushed (survival, approval, control) in order to allow our desires in. Thinking the sneakers are too expensive would be you holding yourself out of vibrational alignment with your desire.

Now if we go back to the notion that time is simply a buffer, there is only a NOW moment – do you see that you can have anything you ask for, instantly? I know this may seem like a stretch, so let’s back up a notch say you can have anything you desire – with absolute certainty.

It is an amazing notion. And I am finding that I can notice something, imagine it, taste it – even before it is here, and know that it is coming, it is on the way and it is certain.

It is personally very interesting indeed to have this knowledge and be launching a new career direction.

Start with something really small – a cup of coffee, a pencil, a newspaper, and go buy it or make it or find it. Next, take note of how a mental image manifested. Then know that you can expand and apply the same law to your wildest hugest desires that you did to the cup of coffee or whatever you manifested.

(This blog started as an idea!)

Look around you. Look at what you are wearing, what you have and so on. Didn’t everything in your life start with an idea?

All that we experience starts in the mind with the image. Thoughts preceed action, and the realm of thought and imagination is key to having the life we desire.

My coffee is done (for real – it’s on the kitchen counter).


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The Benefit of Welcoming Unwanted Feelings

This has a happy ending…..

Yesterday was a tough day – meaning, very intense work which churned up a lot of emotion, some being negative . The emotions made it harder than it had to be!

I worked a couple days straight on these 2 little You Tube videos and was messing around all day yesterday with file formats. That type of thing is maddening, if you are in the mode of getting it done. Fun if you are in geek mode and someone else is paying for you to learn.

And to match it, I had to rush out to a photo shoot that a good buddy kindly offered me. So, here I found myself getting a knot in my stomach, and another knot. Only later in the day to find out that my web server OS is out of date and I may have to bag either my website or bag the server totally.


Can you see what I am getting at? Let me delve deeper to show you the unwanted feelings that churned up – and these are embarrassingly honest. Remember, they are my experience – but your feelings are YOUR experience and that’s what we are talking about.

So here I am making these vids. In case you don’t know, I have been out there as a jazz guitarist for years (CDs, tours, as a sideman, as a leader) and have recently caught the acoustic bug.

I am enthused but here is the resistance, the little thoughts echoing in my head, and it is just the beginning:

What will my jazz mentor think? (wanting approval)
What will my other band leaders think? (wanting approval)
Will I make less money? (wanting survival)
Will I lose credibility?(wanting approval)
Will fans / everyone think I am selling out?(wanting approval)
Am I dumbing down my music?(wanting approval)
Am I starting something new instead of paying the dues I previously committed to?(wanting control)
Other people go to work and here I am messing with you tube all day?(wanting survival)
Will anyone even care?(wanting approval)
Will my mentors / peers read this blog and think I am a nut? (wanting approval)

During my intense workday, these thoughts (which I am sure are common) crept in here and there. The pressure mounted. Notice how I labeled each emotion as wanting one of 3 things:

wanting control
wanting safety / survival
wanting approval

I was introduced to this idea from studying The Release Technique and the Sedona Method. All the emotional buttons that get pushed come down to these 3 wants. Check it out! And sometimes an issue can have many facets, and feelings and thoughts can get muddled, and make us act in ways in which we later regret.

Or, these little emotions can stop us from having the things we really want. They can make us “get in our own way” and disallow the receiving of what is coming to us naturally.

Here’s the crux: the more we push against those unwanted feelings, the more we have them!

Our brains don’t hear “”don’t”.

When we say or think:

Don’t spill the milk.
Don’t waste time.
There shouldn’t be violence.
Don’t chew with your mouth open.

The brain hears, or better yet – is led to envision:

Spill the milk.
Waste time.
Violence is.
Chew with your mouth open.

The brain sees images, not words.

The Sedona Method says “Can you welcome the feeling” as the first step. This is huge. Just think – when you really feel that resistance, and now that you know resisting or putting a “don’t” in front will amplify it, you are actually better off welcoming the feeling.

By welcoming you instantly offer the opposite of resistance, and that is the first step towards dropping the feeling. Upside down, but ingenious!

It takes some courageousness to in that moment welcome an unwanted emotion.

Here goes:

Thought: “Geez I hope the people in my life approve of my new artistic direction.” (Wanting approval, envisioning their disapproval.)

Can I welcome the feeling of wanting approval? Can I allow it to just be here? Can I allow everything to be as it is?

Could I let go of the feeling of wanting approval?
Would I?

And I notice a slightly improved emotion. By not fighting back, I am not creating more of the emotion. A feeling of lightness dawns, and that’s the bad emotion evaporating. Hence the name “Release Technique”.

This simple idea and technique has changed my life dramatically.

We all (except for an enlightened few) have scenarios in which emotions get stirred up, and more often react instead of “release”.

I encourage you to check it out, since your life is seen out of your own eyeballs and felt in your own body and mind.

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Technically Correct vs. Spiritually Correct (Music)

Yesterday I spent the greater part of the day tackling making my first Youtube videos. As soon as I post them, I will of course embed or link them here.

It took longer than suspected. I’m sure any video buff could have told me that, but I am a musician so I thought – “Hey, I’ll just play guitar and that’s that”.

Oh yeah? The sound on the camera sucked so I tried using a mini disc mic into the camera directly. Better, but not great.

“But wait”, I thought. “I can record like I am making a real record right?” So that’s what I did – I used a good condenser mic, Digital Performer and the cam was separate.

So I got a great mono sound (wasn’t sure if the file would get too big using stereo) and synced it up using Imovie (which is cool, but it is a dog and slow).

I recorded / videotaped 2 of my new acoustic tunes – “I Wish” by Stevie Wonder, and “Machine Gun”, a bluegrassy fast flatpicking original that could be on “The Dukes of Hazzard”. Or, be a perfect soundtrack to Don Knotts getting a chicken bone stuck in his throat at a barbecue!! 🙂

So I went on Youtube a few minutes ago, never having looked at uploading, and I was drawn to other guitarists playing Tuck Andress’ version of “I Wish”.

I had no idea that he did this tune when I decided to learn it. Great Wwarped minds think alike, I suppose.

Tuck is the ultimate “squeeze it onto a guitar” kind of player. His arrangement is actually truer to Stevie’s version.

(Tuck’s live version had not-so-great sound so as far as I am concerned I still have yet to hear him play it. I am sure it is awesome)

What I noticed was that several people played little arrangements that were “technically correct”. I have had great mentor / teachers – Mike Longo, Alvin Queen, Lonnie Smith, Bennie Wallace – and they have across the board told me “f— being technical. Give me dirt, give me feel, play with some balls! I wantt to be entertained. Music is NOT something you get a grade in.”

I can remember playing at a classical guitar lesson 20 years ago so correct and ice cold that my classical guitar teacher, Pat O’Brien grabbed the guitar and threatened to hit me, and throw me out of his studio if I didn’t start playing music. He told me “I have had enough of your New York melodrama. Play the f—-n guitar or get out!”

Whoa! More than one would bargain for at a guitar lesson. But did I learn? Yes. Was it pleasant? No!

Same thing studying counterpoint with Mike Longo, but he was gentler. There’s always a technically correct answer to a musical problem, but there is also always a solution that will make you smile, tickle you and surprise you – the spiritually correct, or intuitive answer. He’d correct my counerpoint and show me!

That’s the genius of a great composer!

So in my little world I have poured everything I’ve got into telling the best story I can with these two guitar pieces, and I know in time they’ll get technically better. There is dirt, there are mistakes.

But what does perfection really mean? That we pass a test? That we get the approval of someone “higher up” than us? That we don’t screw up? That we get a degree or pass a jury? That we make money?

Or that we give some soul, some great feeling to the listener. our fellow man, and those in our life?

I like the last choice best, and I am eager to find truly correct solutions everywhere, not just music. Music is the ultimate life microcosm – and lessons learned here apply everywhere else.

Farewell until tomorrow!

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The Better it Gets, The Better it Gets

Hi everyone, hope you are having a fabulous day!

I am always amazed at the resiliency of the human spirit. The possibility that every moment one can start new, start fresh. Today is the start of a new dedication for me – to take on a day by day task of blogging, you-tubing, myspacing, podcasting, and all the “current” web stuff. I am an old HTML dog and must learn new tricks.

I am inspired!

But why? For the money? To be cool or hip? To be loved by others? To feel in control?

None of the above – right answer!

I hit a point a year ago where desire in one realm of life, well – took a shift. And the reason I am writing about it is because we all have our own personal “versions” of this story: toiling, hitting “the wall”, and finding a fresh outlook and a new beginning.

Approximately 18 months ago (I can’t believe I am about to plug this stuff) a friend recommended “The Secret”, and prior to that another friend recommended “The Release Technique”. Uh-oh, here we go with “religion and inner” stuff.

Regardless of what you have read, heard, said – these materials started a chain of events for me. Since then I have discovered more fabulous self-help / personal development materials which I’ll discuss later.

I had been playing jazz guitar seriously now for 20 years and had been plugging away at a career the way a ggod little jazz student of the 90’s should: Produce CD’s, tour some, take a jillion gigs, and join the army of musicians toiling away. I enjoyed the great gigs with jazz luminaries too.

Just from re-reading the paragraph above, I can see, there was a sense of duty, a sense of “I should hang in” and all that.

And then I learned that “I can be, do or have anything”. Holy s–t!! What?

I realized that these hardships, tests, dues paying, plugging, struggling – were my experience only and I was creating it. I could simply let go. And this was a scary proposition because my identity, career, personal relationships – were all built around my beliefs like a house of cards.

While teaching a workshop, my good friend Frank popped in a DVD of a guitarist named Tommy Emmanuel, and when I saw Tommy grooving and so in love with his playing – it was a cosmic reminder – that’s what I am too. Understand me, I did not say “who I am” and Tommy followers would crucify me – because I am not as good, yet. I love him, he is my new favorite guitar player, but my experience was “I am that too – now do the work to manifest that greatness”.


So there I was looking at what I’d built, and I see somewhere radically different I’d like to go. This is the crux of why I am writing this for you to read. We all have different stories, but isn’t it really all the same?

“The Law of Attraction” was now at work. I saw something, and would now materialize it. The thoughts snowballed, and old memories of guitar lessons as a child came back. I felt the joy, the enthusiasm, the urge to play the guitar again. I watched youtube for a week – always finding what I was attracted to.

The jazz guitar’s achilles heel for me had always been the sound. You can play any string of notes you can think of, however. That’s the trade off. Great notes or great sound. So it gets down to a matter of vibration, and where you are at in life.

I went to the music store and asked to play a Taylor acoustic…and I strummed just a G chord. Upon hearing and feeling a great acoustic guitar, heaven opened up, my heart sang. Done!

The ”vibration” of the guitar – the brassy bronze strings, the squeaks, the open strings – evoked images of sunsets and stirred me. Maybe Giant Steps won’t be in my repertoire for a while, but I need to go where the soul stirring tells me to go.

And as of this writing I have just finished recording a new solo project which I think I will be calling “Gratitude”. It’s 14 tunes of solo acoustic guitar – 7 originals and 7 covers. It is a pop recording practically – very little improvisation.

There was no rush or sense of duty in doing this. I have waited for years now to record, sensing the right project would come to me. In the past, recording had been a compulsion, fueled by caffeine, fear of a disappearing presence, and wanting approval from my mentor. Sounds fun, huh?

Esther and Gerry Hicks, with Abraham ( have an axiom in their Law of Attraction teachings, and they are becoming my favorites. The axiom is that the most important thing to manifest one’s desires is to feel good. we offer less resistance in a feeling good state and allow all the good things we want to come on in to our experience.

The idea is this – when you are anticipating eagerly the delicious arrival of new desires, with no worry that it is not yet here, and a certainty that it is coming, you are planning something you want. When you worry about something you are planning what you don’t want.

Delicious anticipation is planning; worrying, dread and stress is planning; looking at what is currently in our life is simply planning more of the same, which is why “the better it gets, the better it gets” and “the worse it gets, the worse it gets” and “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer”;

The first process they give in their 22 processes for attracting the things we want is called “The Rampage of Appreciation”. That’s right – when we appreciate and love and feel truly grateful, we offer little or no resistance, and allow in all we have asked for.

So, by appreciating Tommy, by appreciating the glorious G chord on the Taylor, by appreciating my teachers, and all that has led up to this moment – a whole new angle on life, music and spirituality has opened up for me. This stuff works.

This is why I am calling this music project “Gratitude”. To get the word out that Gratitude is the key!

And, to get it “out there” I am embracing these new (for me) technologies (blogging, youtube, myspace, podcasting) so if you know of any great [places to read up, please let me know.