Adam Rafferty – Guitar and Spirit

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

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Introducing the Human Web Browser

I saw a youtube vid the other night which talked about quantum physics, spirituality and self realization.  That’s my late night tv fix…since I have no TV, I tune in youtube.  Sometimes I get very kooky stuff, and sometimes I stumble onto very profound information.

One video dealt with perception.  Let’s say we see a bird out there.  But wait – a small portion of the inside of our brain is showing us a bird.  The eye is a camera lens letting in photons.  So the image of a bird is in our brain, not out there.  Better said if I say “when you think you see a bird out there, you actually see the image of a bird inside your brain.”

Likewise, the words you are reading now are not out there, they are “in your brain.”

Just think, a flavor or odor is not out there.  It is only when it hits your taste buds, it sends a signal “to your brain”. That’s more understandable than sight, in a way.  But  if 2 people smell perfume, or a fart, they think it is out there in the air. Really all they know about is what is in their 2 brains.

Isn’t there something comical about always saying “YOUR BRAIN” over and over ?:-)   Hang in there, let’s see where this goes.

When you hear something molecules move in the air and hit your eardrum.  The sound is in your brain.  And, the sense of distance – like “I hear the bus outside” or “I see the bird 50 feet away” – the sense of distance is – yep, you guessed it – in your brain!

The point is this – we get signals as input – and then de-code them into sights, smells, sounds, flavors and more.  Then from there we experience feelings and emotions based on what we experience.

We know that our senses are limited.  Blow a dog whistle – and to us it is virtually silent, so we see our hearing is deficient.  Examples for all the senses like this could be given.  Just think of how many radio signals and wi-fi networks are going, and we do not have the perception to even know they are there, further proof that there is more out there than “meets the eye”, ear, smell, taste or touch.


Then the thought occurred to me – as a person who has worked with coding for the web, if you look at “the source” of a web page it looks like total gobbledy gook.  Please, do this as an experiment, go to View>Source in your browser menu.  Look at the code.  Then notice how the browser turns “information” into colors, fonts, images and more.

Yet, a web browser is a magical little program that “interprets” or makes sense of this gobbledy gook.

So, if we humans look out there and see shapes, colors, people, hear sounds, etc – that is akin to viewing a web page through a browser.  (By the way, colors exist in our brain – they are not really there)

Just imagine this unbelievable electrical “matrix” out there – and we make sense of it, just the way a web browser makes a page of code intelligible.

You are like a web browser looking out into this unbelievable “field” of energy (code) and in your brain you are able to separate, identify and sense things.  For the sake of total redundance – what you see is interpreted, just like a page of code is interpreted by a web browser.


To see profound truth always sets us a little more free, and to see through the eyes of the creator always makes us more and more blissful.  So, I sit in wonder and awe as I think about this.  And then I sip more coffee….my brain likes that.

Don’t think there is a creator?  Well just think about the incredible engineering it has taken to come up with a MAC G5 computer that can surf the nt and have a web browser.  That was no accident, right?  Can you really say that we are a random accident?  Just as we created computers and are greater than them, something or someone greater than us must have created us.

As well….can a computer know the human?  No.  Imagine, a G5 as complex and unbelievable a piece of machinery as it is, cannot know love. I believe there are many things we can’t know much in the same way.  However, through quiet and meditation we can know much more than what our senses tell us.

The point is this – can we look at our reactions to things and can start to take ownership, and know – beyond the shadow of a doubt that we are responsible for our life experience, out emotions and they are inside us, not outside?

Just like the bird image is in our brain, and sound is in our brain, so are the notions of success, happiness, spiritual connectedness…it’s all an inner game.  Can we take responsibility for interpreting things the way we do and know it is not “out there” but inside us?

Have fun in your brain today.


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Adam Rafferty Gig Review @ Henflings – Ben Lomand,CA 8-21-08

Greetings Friends!

Well, I am back in NY after almost 2 weeks in California. Wow, what a great time, what nice folks and what PERFECT weather!

On the last night of the very successful Cali trip I played at a place in Ben Lomand, CA called “Henflings”. Yep, I scoured the net for venues in the area I knew I’d be…lo and behold they gave me a gig….thanks guys!

One of the tricky things about playing solo is the anticipation of a gig right before load-in, (although I am getting better at anticipating only the best!) When I showed up it was a happy-hour, beer drinkin biker type crowd and I basically hoped they’d dig the music. Ben Lomand is a quiet place so I just hung out on a bench in the great outdoors and warmed the fingers up.

As an audience started to collect and the sun went down it felt more and more like a gig. Here are some of the highlights:

A good friend and fabulous blues player named David Crane stopped by to sit in and play a few tunes. Dave and I were childhood best friends and he came to Cali at age 12….serendipitously he became a guitar player, and it was special to connect with him on a musical level.

Go ahead youtube!!! I was encouraged and delighted by how receptive the audience was. A fellow named John introduced himself and said he’d seen my youtube vids and was excited that I would be in his area! Yeah!

“Billie Jean” had people in the back movin’ & groovin’….I even had a die hard fan on crutches up and dancing during “I Wish”…yes my fans will dance even with broken ankles…that’s dedication!!!

I got to test the waters with some new songs as well…Gershwins “Someone To Watch Over Me” is brand new. I am working on balancing out the firey songs with lush ballads…

The sound system was great. There’s no better feeling for me than to look out and see smiles. Ahh, the curse of the musician! 🙂

And, just when I found myself questioning my own sanity as to why I am shlepping across the country to play there, driving and flying endless hours, John told me that years ago he saw Tommy Emmanuel play there for a small audience.

Cool! I must be doing something right!!! 🙂

P.S. Gig pictures will be up on – just go to pics & look for Henflings…

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Steep into the Blues and then Jazz is Easy – 2008 Bay Area Guitar Workshop

Hey y’all. This week has been really a blast. I have been doing a small guitar workshop with a few students on “blues and jazz”.

I was not quite sure what my students were requesting when they asked for a blues meets jazz type workshop,but we managed to strike gold about 2/3 of the way through the week.

Most guitar players can get a pretty good blues feel happening but experience a “disconnect” when they switch into what they “think” is playing on jazz chord changes.

Here’s what we re-discovered:

What’s getting lost is the basic notion of what a key is. A key is a “central tone around which the others revolve” , not a scale. So, “D Blues” has D as it’s central tone. “D Blues” can be a major or minor key blues.

Now, if you have a ii-v-i in D Major, D major or minor blues could work. In the minor key, D minor blues will work.

Here’s what is important though, and here is the essence of the experience rather than the book smarts – you can get the depth, the nuance and the magic in your blues going and then plop it onto jazz changes.

Doing this and only this is limited – but spiritually, it is more correct than running scales and licks.

Once I was able to get the students into this “place”, or “zone”, or get their playing into the behavior of grooving, soulful blues, I had them play over me playing chord changes to tunes like “Autumn leaves”.

With ear to ear smiles and in a state of utter disbelief, here’s what they said:

“This feels too easy.”
“This feels like cheating.”
“I’m not even thinking.”
“I feel so relaxed.”
“I am not even trying.”

And so while I strongly advocate music school and becoming literate with reading, scales and theory, there is a BIG difference between learning vocabulary and learning how to speak or write with a “flow”. Essentially it’s “book smarts” and “street smarts” on a musical level…

Unless a teacher can take you into that “flow” all the scales and licks (book smarts) don’t mean squat!!!

Until next time…. keep swingin’