|Living Nutrition Interview
Divining the music of the soul
An interview with Patrick Bernard by David Klein
|INSET: Spiritual Nutrition
As we have seen, virtuous nutrition can facilitate clear hearing. The Vedic text of the Bhagavad-Gita goes even further, stipulating that a spiritual nutrition has the power to purify the sensory organs, to produce finer cerebral tissues and to clarify thoughts. Chapter 9 verse 26 goes beyond simple vegetarianism and lays claim to the purifying power of love:
SRI BHAGAVAN SAYS;
"If, with love and devotion, I am offered a leaf, a flower, a fruit or some water, I will accept it."
From The Secret Music of the Soul by Patrick Bernard (nee Bernhardt)
DK: Patrick, listening to your musical recordings and reading your Secret Music of the Soul book have [specially moving spiritual effects on me ] been deeply moving spiritual experiences for me-- [they are they are] they are magically vibrant and soothing. When did you first notice that music stirs your soul and your passion?
PB: It was quite obvious toward the end of the 1960s and at the beginning of the 1970s that music was changing something in the behavior of human beings and society as a whole. Interestingly, at that time, music was not thought to be simply entertainment. We had protest songs and counterculture music, which was a big thing back then, and it was the first time I became aware of just how much music can affect our inner beings.
DK: Did you already have a musical background or know that you were headed toward becoming a musician?
PB: Well basically, I'm a very simple musician. I'm just a natural musician, although I took some classical courses in piano, guitar, and composition. Actually I have to admit that I had to forget everything I was taught, and this was not easy. I made an effort, especially in the beginning of the 1980s, to try to forget what I knew about the normal classical approach to music, because I'm on a quest. I'm looking for something, and I'm always trying to use music in a certain way. Even though I had little classical knowledge of music, I'm always trying to find new arrangements to better express the energy of the SPIRITUAL SOUND VIBRATIONS. According to the usual classical approach in music, you're not supposed to use CERTAIN HARMANIC PROGRESSIONS, but really I don't mind, I just want to get rid of this academic musical approach and find my own way.
DK: It seems evident to me that each of your CDs does have a different purpose and that there is a constant evolution and exploration. Is it true that each has a different purpose?
PB: Yes, my CDs are quite different from one another, and this has been a big problem in my career because when you're accepted for a SPECIFIC kind of music and the public identifies you with that, they don't NECESSARILY FOLLOW YOU when you take a different approach. For example, at the end of the 1980s, my first two albums including Atlantis Angelis were dedicated to relaxation and meditation, the awakening of the emotional divine love in the human consciousness and the opening of the heart through relaxing, low-key music. After that, I just wanted to do something different and I used some special sound invocations from different areas of the world, with the intention of giving and sharing SHAMANIC energies. So, this was not just simple relaxation, but active meditation. That was 10 years ago. It was a big SHOCK for my followers, and at the time, they REJECTED IT. They did not support me. Now, everybody is doing the active, dancing meditation, and it's well known and it's well accepted, but 10 years ago, it was A THANKLESS TASK to do this kind of music in the alternative market.
DK: Are you referring to THE MANTRA ROCK PROJECT ALBUM?
PB: Yes, MIXING RHYTHM AND MANTRA. Ten years ago, everybody was expecting some sort of relaxing, ETHEREAL music and when I introduced percussion from Africa, it was a big surprise in this field.
DK: I think most people assume that the art of song writing starts from a feeling and working it out in the head. In your book, you talk about the universe of profound listening, of listening to yourself where we perceive the finest form of music: the music of the soul. It seems that your music is originating from a deep place within and that you're consciously bringing that forth in your craft. Could you talk about the music of the soul?
PB: Yes, I believe and I know that it is not necessarily good to try to control music. There are ways to exploit music; alternatively, we can be dedicated to music for higher purposes. If we try to compose music according to intellect and logic, we can create ESTHETICALLY PLEASING music, but it won't affect the heart. If we want to transform the consciousness in the heart we need to listen to music coming from the heart. Life comes from life and this is what I'm trying to do when I produce music. I meditate, I try to contact and unite with my soul--the universal aspect of myself that survives the death of the body. I'm trying to find that part in me. This part is beautiful. This part is QUALITATIVELY one with God, one with the divine spirit, and one with the source of beauty and the source of life. This part is conscious, BLISSFUL and eternal. By contacting this part directly we are able to detect this beauty and inject this HARMONY. Really, it's a self manifestation.
I don't compose music, I am composed by music. It's a service. If you are looking for name and fame and having many followers through this work, you won't be able to feel anything TRANSCENDENTAL. It's a yoga and it's a service; you put yourself into this beauty, and that manifests itself through yoga OR ACTUAL COMMUNION WITH THE SUPREME HARMONY. This way of creating music is not something that can be done at will. I'm feeling insecure and helpless, meaning that in this work I cannot rely on my musical abilities. It's a prayer. I don't hope anything, I don't ask for anything, so this is why it's a little insecure because you go to the unknown and this is why it's always fresh. It's always new. The more you feel helpless, the more this beauty manifests in you. Just let it go, let it flow and you become an instrument. IN THIS WAY THE FALSE MOTIVATIONS GRADUALY DISAPPEAR AND YOU JUST CREATE MUSIC IN ORDER TO PLEASE GOD IN YOU AND EVERYWHERE.
DK: In your book, you talk about the vegetarian diet and how it enhances our ability to listen and to bring forth more beautiful music. When did you first make that connection, who influenced you, and how did that change your life and musical creativity?
PB: During the EARLY 1970s I was strongly guided to become a vegetarian for many reasons. At the same time, having come from a meat-eating family, I was concerned about getting enough protein, and even thought I might die if I didn't eat meat. So, I started to gather some information on the whole idea. I saw this book in France from Louis Kuhne titled New SCIENCE of Healing. This book really changed my life. This German naturalist doctor showed me that what you eat can create morbid substances in the body. After a while this accumulation of substances goes into your head and your ears. The first year when I followed this new way of eating, I ate no meat, only fruit and vegetables. So after a few months my ears opened. It was a really incredible experience.
I remember I was walking on the road and my ears just opened. I realized that previously, I had been almost deaf. I couldn't hear the simple sounds of the mountains. Since I was outside, I could hear the sounds of many birds. I was conscious of so many sounds. There are so many sounds that I couldn't hear before, like the SUBBTLE VIBATIONS OF THE stars. Do you know that stars have some sounds? If you listen carefully, there is a special movement in the air and you can listen to that. By eating meat, gradually both our physical and psychic hearing, or consciousness, becomes blocked, BECAUSE WE ALSO EAT AT THE SAME TIME THE AGONY OF THE ANIMALS AND AS THE RESULT WE LIVE IN A SEVERE STATE OF UNCONSCIOUS ANXIETY.
DK: Did your music improve dramatically as soon as you changed your diet?
PB: Yes, especially in the stillness. Before, I didn't know the meaning of the word stillness. I was always nervous, or anxious. There is a direct connection between what people eat and the state of society. I read something from Paul CARTON PHD, "When men slaughter animals, then they will begin to kill each other." It's a very important issue right now because we are at war and this war is simply a reflection of what we do to nature and living things. It's a very important issue to understand that those disasters in society, diseases and wars, don't happen by chance. They are only reflections of our own actions. SLAUGHTERHOUSE AND COMPASSION DO NOT GO TOGETHER.
DK: In your book you wrote that a lack of well being can be healed by profound listening to all that is related to absolute truth, and in order to listen we have to be still. This is so true!
PB: Indeed, to listen is an act of love. To listen is a gift, you give yourself and you become the listener. We don't take the time to listen. It's obvious that if you eat in a state of agony and fear, you will become fearful and you will know agony, because we are what we eat and we are what we listen to. If we eat animals that were slaughtered and listen to fearful sounds, we become fearful. LISTEN TO NATURE. EVERYTHING IS THERE. TO LISTEN IS A WONDERFUL MEANS OF MEDITATION.
DK: In your book you talk about imagination as our primary human faculty. You write that this power has always existed and will always exist, and we have the right and the duty to develop it and to use it in a beneficial sense. Could you talk about this power?
PB: Imagination is different from will. For example, if you have insomnia, willpower won't help you to sleep. If you just relax yourself and imagine that you are in the sleeping state, then it will be easy for you to sleep. So imagination is a more powerful tool than will in this sense. Everything you imagine will gradually become true in your life. Imagination is a gradual process. Imagination is related to the physiological activity, not of the brain, but of the mind. The mind is different from the brain. The mind creates imagination and the mind will survive the death of the body. The brain will die, but the mind will carry on. In this life what we do and what we think is just the preparation for the continuation of life. In this sense, imagination will become a reality in due course of time. When you imagine something, it's like sowing the seeds. IMAGINE PEACE. IMAGINE HEALTH, HARMONY.
DK: When you see something beautiful, does your imagination start working, sometimes leading you to go home and write a composition and try to develop something?
PB: I don't know really because INSPIRATION is a mystery. It's a source of divine power. It's a grace really. But of course, free will is important in determining what kind of INSPIRATION you want to receive. There are three different energies, GOODNESS, PASSION AND IGNORANCE.. These energies control everything, MUSIC AS WELL AS FOOD. Because I want to create music IN THE MODE OF GOODNESS, , I eat food IN THE MODE OF GOODNESS, and I read and listen to good books and music. Thus, my intuition is influenced by reading, listening and eating leading to good results, but you can eat passionate food, or ignorant food and it will also create some RESULT ACCORDINGLY. Everyday you have to think about it and discipline yourself.
DK: You wrote that "healing is the goal, sincerity is the force, universal vibration is the tool and second birth is the fruit.² You certainly use the fruit metaphor and imagery a lot. Do you believe that fruit is the best source of food for the soul?
PB: Yes, for the soul, the body and the mind. We must keep in mind the reality that humans are naturally fruit-eaters. We have the teeth of the fruit eaters--we don't have the teeth of the meat eaters. We also have the instincts of the fruit eaters. It's very difficult for us to digest meat. This is why almost everybody is sick right now. WE don't know what to eat. So this is the physical reality. But you also have the spiritual reality. In the Bhagavad-Gita, SRI BHAGAVAN says: "If with love and devotion, I am offered a leaf, a flower, a fruit or some water, I will accept it.² it’s A WAY TO DIVINITY, the ultimate health. The ultimate beauty is becoming the food itself. The REVEALED SCRIPTURES DO NOT say if you offer me a cow, a steak, a bloody piece of meat that GOD WILL accept that. So naturally on the physical side and on the spiritual side too, fruit is the perfect food.
DK: Please tell us about any new projects that you're working on.
PB: I AM CURRENTLY WORKING ON MY FIRST COMPILATION “SUPREME MOMENT” A SPIRITUAL JOURNEY THROUGH SOUND. ALL MY BEST COMPOSITIONS IN ONE ALBUM. SUPREME MOMENT WILL BE AVAILABLE SEPTEMBER 2003. ALSO I am working with Gabrielle Young ON A CD of Rumi poetry. I am also doing the musical background for a mystical poetry project. . It's interesting because I had to do some research on the poetry itself. I ALSO COMPOSE QUIET A LOT FOR DIFFERENT SPOKEN-WORD RECORDING ARTISTS AS THEY APPROACH ME TO CREATE THE MUSICAL BACKGROUND OF THEIR POETRY AND GUIDED MEDITATIONS. I AM ALSO FINISHING THE PRODUCTION OF A DVD WHICH INCLUDES BEAUTIFUL IMAGES OF NATURE.
DK: By the time this magazine comes out, I think Rawstock will already be over with, but I thought I'd just ask you anyway. I'm ecstatically grateful that you will be performing for us in such a beautiful setting and it should be such a joyous festival. I just wanted to know your thoughts about Rawstock .
PB: The way we act is the way we think and this kind of celebration, to my thinking, is very important because it's a question of finding peace, in us first, but also between the nations. Showing the right way to eat is also showing people the way to harmony and peace. If we don't have peace, then we cannot be happy. In my vision, this kind of celebration is important, especially in a time like this.
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