Adam Rafferty – Guitar and Spirit

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




A few days ago I found myself asking someone in my life to listen to me better.  I felt as though I was being interrupted, misunderstood, and all around felt uncomfortable and dissatisfied.  Not a nice feeling!

I found a wonderful article on listening, and sent this person the link I highly recommend it!  You’ll love it:

I also reflected on how as a musician my experience playing is radically altered if I have an audience that is listening.  Some magic happens, and there is this wonderful space in which the one who is speaking or playing can hear themselves through the “ears” of the listener.  Attentiveness and attention are present.

What then happens is the conversation (or music) unfolds based on the listening.  Awareness and present moment deliciousness are the fabric upon which the words or notes are woven.

Interruption is resistance against the present moment, essentially.   Interruption can also mean “zoning out” in a conversation – turning one’s attention elsewhere as a form of resistance against the moment.  The person who is allegedly the listener is saying “no, I resist this moment and what it is offering”.

Here’s the clincher though.  In all my personal dissatisfaction, irritation and anger that arises when I feel that I am not listened to, I must ask “where is this anger?”.  In me of course, so I must take responsibility and look deeper.

I then took stock of several people who I felt were not listening to me well and noticed that I had built resistance against them, and did not listen well to them.

I found that when they spoke to me, t was a feeling I had of “oh they’re just saying the same old thing” or “here they go again” or if it were directed at them as a verbal interruption I’d say “wait – I know the answer and I just don’t have the time to listen to the end of your sentence!”

Feeling these feelings is ok.  But having the inner space around these feelings,  to see them arise and not necessarily react by zoning out or interrupting, is what makes all the difference.  So, in spite of wanting to resist the moment somehow, could I see my feeling, allow the feeling to be, and redirect attention to the speaker?

So has this just been projection on my part? Maybe I  have not been listening so well!

I decided to listen to them, for myself and for the relationships.  I decided that I’d hold myself to my standard – tuning out and interruptions were and are not allowed.  It became my vow to give full attentiveness to them.

Yes, and just as you probably thought I’d say – the dynamic changed completely.  They didn’t know what hit ’em.  Peace and presence arrived not just for me, but for us all.

Change yourself and the world changes.  It never fails.

Even cooler than that, I found myself walking alone down my street the other day lost in thought and drama.  I then wondered, “Can I listen even when there is no one talking?  Can I simply engage in the act of listening, all by myself?”

So there alone, I started to listen to the wind, the street, and the silence – and my world transformed on the spot.

Shhh….Listen to the sound around you right now as you finish reading this.

Here you are.


1 Comment

The Gimme Trap

Greetings friends.It is 7 am in NYC and I have just emerged from my morning meditation.  No it was not mellow, it was a distracted mind, but I sat there anyway!

Late last night I listened to one of my favorite “modern day” spiritual teachers – Marianne Williamson, and was reminded of a simple but important message. 

The more “wanting” and “gimme” you have in your attitude – the more of that you experience in life –  and you feel like the world is saying “gimme” to you.  The more “abundance”, “having” and “gratitude” you have the more you experience and the more you feel as though the world is giving to you.

A wanting state implies that “I lack” or I don’t have.  I think this is what one of my favorite teachers, Lester Levenson actually meant when he said “want equals lack”.

At first it is counter-intuitive, but through insight you can see that our psycho-spiritual “mechanism” operates this way.

Deep, huh? 🙂

Seriously though, as a musician freelancer there is always a dialogue inside me of how I want more, how can I get more? How can I get more gigs? How can I sell more CDs, more books?  What tunes can I learn and re-arrange to get more of an audience?  What instructional videos would sell…and so on.  I need to be extremely careful regarding this dialogue.

While this kind of mentality is praised and honored as industrious and clever, it is not a very “high up there” kind of mind.

I tell you – the most blissful, most sweet, most delectable experiences and states I have had in recent years were in the writing of the music for “Gratitude”. I remember   sitting and “receiving” tunes and melodies from “source” or God or whatever you want to call it – and literally being brought to tears by the sheer beauty.

That’s right – no cleverness, no “how can I get ahead”, none of that crap.  The gift was given to me, and I made a commitment to give it back to listeners and the utter joy, through and though was unreal.

I am very thankful for having experienced this good that life has to offer, and I am thankful to see when I have steered in a wrong direction. 

And now as I leave you to go about  my week I ask the question, “what can I give?” and from there I will practice music, email people and act.

Keep Swingin’