I listened to John Coltrane all night …and woke up singing the old gospel song, “I Hasten to His Throne.” I didn’t fully understand the connection until now. Isn’t that what this is all about? Hastening to what is greater?
Spiritual Warriors of the Day:
For John Coltrane, it was at his lowest moment, in a cold fight against heroin, on his bedroom floor, he experienced God’s Love. From that moment, he dedicated his life to a fervent practice of spiritual awakening. And because God is good, this awakening came with a spiritual guide from Detroit, a woman named Alice. Together, they created A Love Supreme. More than a ground-breaking album, it was an ethos. A dissertation on love. They improvised connecting with God day after day. She once meditated continually for weeks. It was this devotion and discipline that gave the world one of the purest languages of love imaginable.
Love, for them, was not a falling. No. It was a practice. A habit. A discipline. A lifestyle. Maybe even a religion. It was a love note on the kitchen table kind of love. A harp for Christmas kind of love. Four babies in four years kind of love. Be still and hear God speak kind of love. And when John was in deep, delivering his 4-part musical masterpiece, Alice was meditating, raising the boys and beaming with anticipation. She said, “Before I even met John, there was something in me that knew there was a divine connection – there were things that he said to me, they weren’t spoken with the human voice.”
The Coltranes lived with edgelessness. They were expensive. Their music, healing. In one of the most beautiful articles I’ve ever read, Carvell Wallace said that John gave the soul a place to sing. He writes, “There is something about a saint that makes it safe for all of us to get lost in the swell of being human.” And in a brilliant story for NPR, Sydnee Monday called Alice’s music “spiritual preservation.” She became the matriarch of Black meditation. Her transcendental music helped millions of us find enlightenment. And he is arguably the greatest musician to ever live. Together, they transformed the world.
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