David Helfgott Shines me
Rowland Barkley, 1997
David Helfgott performs tangibly with soul, caressing the keys, touching the emotional fabric of the universe while he plays, creating much more than sound. He accesses something Divine and something human, linking them in a flow through sound. In keeping with his own enigmatic depth, his grand piano sits on a grand piano shaped stage in his lounge room, situated in Promised Land, Australia.
He recently (February 1997) sat at the piano with me muttering: "It's all image, all image, if one image doesn't work, try another image and pianist is the image." My experience was as if he, as someone small and weak, caressing the keys lightly and seductively, was constructing an image as a focusing system. Then this enormous Divine power flooded through him, striking me with a blissful artistic shock that can never be put to sleep, but possibly can be tamed by artistic expression.
Is there a Deep Self in the belly in each of us with the power and wisdom to shine inexplicably and powerfully beyond the cognitive self of the head? Is that what great artists are here to stir within us?
David is fortunate that his upbringing encoded motivation for his whole range of power to come through, with performing and excelling instilled as high values. Unfortunately he was pressured to excel to make "father" look good, so his human personality was not structured to incorporate the joy of his own soul.
Where there is a piano and an audience, he sets up the parameters of artistic evocation, and the Divine David shines through. Could there also be there genius in each of you, craving expression?
He was locked up, he was drugged, and punished with Electro-convulsive Torture for speaking in unexpected patterns. Yet his artistic self survived: give him a piano, an audience, and love flows in every note.
In the same way as Nelson Mandela's jail cell is now a tourist attraction for freedom, may David's past mental hospital rooms become an ancient museum to the scarcely believable days when psychology hadn't yet remembered the Soul. What is in question here is not the dedication of the doctors in carrying out what they were taught at university. What is in question is, is there any meaningful "treatment" whatsoever for pain of the human soul that can work in the absence of unconditional love? What is the function of the political approach to the mind, prescribing addictive drugs to "normalize" behavior? These are major questions considering in many countries, over 30% of prescriptions written by doctors fit it this category.
While I certainly have been privileged to experience how David communicates differently than in a "normal" linear fashion, it was patently invalid for psychiatrists to hallucinate from that that he was out of touch. His auditory skills are far more developed than anyone I have ever encountered. He listens to the TV and the radio while practicing the grand piano while talking in a different rhythm, responding to what is said in quiet voices way out of the range of normal hearing, even if there weren't several other sounds occupying his acute sensory attention.
The most common reason people have to label others "stupid" "insane" or other such terms, is that the other person does not look at the world the way you "know" it should be looked at. From an artist's viewpoint, the world often seems quite insane. The artist can see creative power in a person's eyes, a flash that they could create something awesome, then if they don't, they have failed to be able to sustain the consciousness that is a normal ability for the artist.
Most people out of habitual familiarity use the consensus reality to hold themselves in pain, fixated upon the beliefs that sustain warlike worldviews, holding themselves down in spiritual infancy and antiquated thinking styles. From a great artists perspective, it can be very painful to see the soul disappearing from somebody's eyes as they withdraw from artistic action.
For me, David Helfgott's entire life questions the very notion of anyone judging anyone's sanity.
Shine is a masterpiece, in that your creative drive has little choice but to identify with "David Helfgott" as an archetype, and demand expression. Much of the excitement in watching any movie is going into DTI (deep trance identification) with the principal characters. The hero escapes danger and you feel relieved, and even if he is killed you metaphorically sense that there is a way out ending situations you have finished with. I have been simply irritated by many movies supposedly about a creative person's life, as there is rarely any semblance to the inner world of the artist.
In Shine, artistry has finally been genuinely portrayed. It is fascinating that Shine has 7 Oscar nominations for a good news story about a real artist who is alive, who is actually doing the work shown in the movie. I wonder which art form might be portrayed next?
Few people consciously realize how they set up the patterns in their mind that invites incoming energy. What is a very rare opportunity with David is the patterns he uses for focusing the power of genius are audible, making him wonderful for studying this rare skill.
My practicing some of David's language patterns has already been creating the ability to clearly hear several simultaneous musical styles in my head. Within David's language patterns are very powerful forms of artistic motivation which I intend to master.
The conscious mind would seem to be merely a tiny window on all of that you are. If your mind were 50 feet tall, the conscious mind may be a 1 inch window on it. David, in this metaphor has a whole five feet open, a rarely developed skill, and not always troubling himself with fully overlapping the consensus reality inch wide window on reality.
David verbalizations encompass a level of being well worth exploring. The biggest question of my life personally was why is it that sometimes I perform my Psychic Jazz in a way that is considered brilliant, and usually way inferior to what I know is possible. I wanted to know the difference, and with David, you can listen to his voice and hear what makes the difference. He lays wisdom out on a plate for you, deeply disturbing your complacency, awakening your motivation to get up and do things. Now, and fast. If you prefer to sit down on your backside and forget who you really are and not bother to do anything creative, you might for a time find this man particularly irritating.
Helfgott's Rachmaninov CD demonstrates some Awesome power in gentleness. He described the "Rach III" to me as the struggle between life and death. Normally it is a piece of music played differently, struggle as a victim rather than struggle as an adventurer. Never before has it been played with such gentleness, yet it has more power. Each time I hear it, the depth of tears increases, yet I have no pictures, memories, just a powerful awareness as the matrix of existence.
He was asked on an Australian TV program what piece he plays when angry. He played an angry piece, and said "Of corse, you never play the piano when you're angry, you love and caress every key."
A genuine artist's abilities are uncontrollable, completely and utterly, and delightfully inexplicably. When the social personality has appropriate access patterns, and when the fingers are trained in enough skill patterns, a channel is opened for power to flood through. Letting go of attempting to control it permits beauty to flow through in ways that are healing for society.
When enough people rehabilitate their artistic abilities, then it will take off as a chain reaction. Before leaving Australia on tour a few weeks ago, Gillian Helfgott had a half meter pile of inspirational testimonials to her book about David "Love you to Bits and Pieces."
True genius is dangerous to the entire consensus reality of humanity. Another way to say exactly the same thing is that real Love has power to dissolve all illusions and barriers, even if the illusion that is all fear has to be liberated first. People say the Earth is in danger, She's not. At any time She could scratch her back, and shake us off like fleas. The Earth is in no trouble, and never will be. However, history as written by humans is in great doubt unless artists rehabilitate now, and that's why it's happening now.
David Helfgott's 50th birthday concert is in the Tivoli in Copenhagen on the 19th May this year, and all tickets were sold out in 2 hours. I believe this popularity is based on his soul emanating pure love in every note, and the audience' unconscious minds have chosen to use this as a teaching experience to the conscious mind, delivering their message "I too can make a comeback. A comeback artistically, and a comeback to who I really am."
Copyright © 1997 Rowland Barkley.