Friday, November 14, 2008

Climbing the Mountain with a Piano on your Back

What I am about to say has been said before. Anything that can be said has been said before... ignored before and understood before. One thing that confuses a great many people is; how do you approach that which is everywhere and everything, is both the creator and the product, is you and everything that surrounds you and which creates, sustains and destroys every temporary thing while remaining unchanged itself?

Every religious text concerns itself with this. You’ve got more guidelines; rules of conduct, points of focus and forms of worship than you could possibly use and the more you tried, the more confusing it would become. Scholars immerse themselves in information their whole lives and wind up knowing less than they did when they began. The chaos and confusion in the ever changing world, with its myriad attractions and electro-magnetic impact on the senses and then upon the mind, makes for a real circus.

What to do... what to do if you really do want to achieve self-realization. Let’s take self-realization as the catch-all term for however anyone and everyone define that state which is union with the all pervasive unknowable. Let’s assume that following a religion can eventually take you to a point of better understanding. Let’s also assume that following a religion can also take you into a greater darkness. We have ample proof of this by looking at what history shows us. I do not need to elaborate here. I do not mean to diminish religion and what may or may not be possible. I take it for granted that many hearts have found succor there.

What is written here is not intended as a criticism of religion or a replacement. It’s another way up a common mountain. It’s a direct route and therefore it requires more intensity and focus. It requires unrelenting energy and enthusiasm. It requires certitude. I need to talk about the mountain first and then I need to talk about how one learns to play a musical instrument or how one masters any discipline and whether they do so or they don’t and why either case might prevail.

First, the mountain; let’s think of a snow-capped mountain and imagine that when the snow melts and flows down the mountain that the water is the cause of all the riot of color in the valley below. Let us assume that the water is more pure the closer it is to the source. Let us assume that there are a number of ways up the mountain and that some will take longer than others and that those which take longer are more easily traveled. Let’s also assume that once achieving the top of this particular mountain that you can see all of the ways down.

It’s a given that the higher you ascend on the mountain, the stronger the winds become and the rougher the terrain. I can’t say whether or not the path is easier in the beginning due to the number of feet which have prepared the ground before (coming and going) or whether the increasing difficulty to the terrain further up is due to less traffic. Let’s assume that may have something to do with it. Let’s also assume that this is a metaphorical mountain that exists within your mind and that the real mountain is Life and the conditions it presents.

Let’s consider learning a musical instrument or mastering any particular discipline and let’s assume that the more you practice the quicker you learn. Why is it that some will be more inclined to practice and some less so? It must have something to do with enthusiasm and something to do with the ability to see the end result. It’s obvious that if you love what you are doing you will be more inclined to keep doing it. Still... there has to be some objective in mind. With an instrument or a discipline it’s not so difficult to do this because it is there in front of you. It’s not as easy to imagine what you will find on the top of the mountain under discussion or what you will do when you get there. This is the sort of thing that sends so many climbers back to the valley and into the land of the familiar.

It seems to me that some people have more assurance than others about what is unknown. It is difficult to find the words to treat with this. Is it faith? Is it some faint remembering? Is it some resonance between the seeker and that which calls? Does it matter?

I have looked at this matter in a great many ways and I have been deceived and victimized in my efforts at continuing and understanding... by myself and by the external world. I’ve looked at the scriptures and the costumes. I’ve looked at the rituals and routines. I’ve looked at the fundamental and the mystical aspects. I’ve looked at the world and what it gives and takes and I’ve looked at the promise of doorways out of the world by those who profess to know their location. From everything that I have studied, I have come to a particular conclusion about a particular process whose requirements do not demand any special understanding of complex mathematics or intricate magical or mystical systems.

I suppose at this point you’ll either have to take what I say on faith or move on to something that strikes your fancy more, like another instrument or another way up the mountain or something you forgot back in the valley below. Here is a way up the mountain and you cannot fail if you are persistent and if the objective holds more appeal than the options otherwise which, will certainly be presented for your consideration as you go. If you apply what I am about to outline you will succeed no less than anyone ever has.

There is a book by one Brother Lawrence which is called “The Practice of the Presence of God”. In Russia there was a technique given where one ‘prays without ceasing’. This could be likened to those who chant continuously. There are other books with similar intent such as “The Impersonal Life” and other mindsets which employ similar means. You might find it more to your liking there than here. In any case let us begin.

You are here in this moment reading these words. What ever you will do, can only be accomplished from here and no matter what you do, you will always be doing it now. You will not be doing it in the past and it would be best to let the past go altogether right now. You will not arrive at the future. You will only ever be here. So it is in the ‘here’ that everything will occur.

No matter who you are you will engage in common, repetitive experiences. You will eat and sleep. You will excrete. You will engage in sex of some kind regardless of whether you think you never had sex at all. You will think and feel. You will be employed at something. You can look around you and see what things are common to us all. You will seem to be here and then you will seem not to be here. You will seem to age. You will seem to be ill and you will seem to be well. Conditions may vary according to the individual and according to one’s perception of oneself as an individual to begin with.

Here is what you do. Whatever you are doing, you accept it as a divine process. When you eat; when you go to the bathroom, when you engage in sex, when you work, when you think or feel, you remind yourself that it is divine. You remind yourself that you are already at one; you are already at the top of the mountain. You are already where you wish to be.

How you go about this is a personal affair. I have the tendency to say, “I love you.” over and over and over. The idea is to be able to consciously imagine and to see the divine performing all of the acts you think you are performing when in fact you are doing nothing. The only thing that ‘you’ have ever done is to interfere. You can either oppose the symmetry of the universe or you can cooperate. There is no other alternative. This is all there is to free will. So... what you do is, you spiritualize the ordinary and mundane. When you eat you are eating with God and eating God and are engaged in the presence of God performing the operation and that extends to everything you do... all day and all night long, forever and ever in this moment, which is the only moment you will ever inhabit.

As you continue with this... constantly pulling your mind back to an awareness of this, you will find that the mysterious kingdom begins to materialize within and around you. Spiritualize everything you do. Live this moment in the constant awareness that the divine is living your life in you. Do not concern yourself with analyzing it... experience it. When you eat, you understand that the divine is becoming more and more a part of you. When you excrete you are letting go of what is not really you. You are constantly gaining and ridding yourself in this moment and the only reason you do not progress is because you keep adding your personal version back again. Let go of it. Be careful of what you think in everything you do because that defines what it becomes.

You can’t go to church or read a book or pray before you go to sleep and expect that you will wake up and be able to play the piano that you are attempting to carry up the mountain under your own power. You will become discouraged and you will not make it up the mountain, nor will you be able to play the piano when you are carrying it on your back. If you are not living in the divine in everything you do then you are somewhere else doing something else as someone else.

I’m going on longer than I usually do here but what difference does it make? The moment goes on forever. Get used to it. Associate with temporary things and you will find that everything is temporary. Associate with a mortal mindset and you will find that you are mortal. It’s easy to do because the entire world is engaged in it. You will seem to be crazy but then again, why should anyone notice what you are doing? It’s an invisible thing, unless you think you have to call attention to it. Act as if God is doing everything you think you are doing and you are going to get a big surprise.

The universe is entirely spiritual. You are entirely spiritual. Thinking makes it so. You will quickly see what opposes your efforts to accomplish this if you set about it whole-heartedly. All of the power of the universe is at your disposal. You are the Crown of Creation. Act like it. This will of course require great humility and a continuous sense of awe and you can only get that by being in a state of continuous surrender to that which is eternally in action and eternally still and which ‘thought’ you into being.

It’s here right now. It’s not in the future somewhere. What happens is that the moment begins to expand until it encompasses everything. You will find that you are living in every heart. You will find empathy for every living thing. You will find God. You will not find it in a church when you are the adytum. You will not find it in a book or anywhere, when he is everywhere. You will find it in the practice of it and by living it; not later on this evening and not tomorrow at some specific location. It is a state of mind. It is a state of being and you are so close to it right now. It is holding you in place. It is reading these words with you. It is right there with you. Take it on faith, for it is truly said that, “Faith is the substance of things unseen.” Carry on.

Visible sings: God in Country by Les Visible♫ God's Not Dead ♫
'God's Not Dead' is track no. 3 of 11 on Visible's 2001 album 'God in Country'
Lyrics (pops up)

God in Country by Les Visible


Anonymous said...

Great post Les, got halfway throughand remembered seeing this-
3D-TV without 3D glasses!! Wow! Unreal.

Anonymous said...

Well this is exactly (kinda) what my sexy 20-year-old priestesses from the Children of God were teaching me this afternoon at Bible study!

The Divine One has a whip-crakkin` sense o` humor.

Well-written, Les.

kikz said...

thank you...


Anonymous said...

It’s always the mountain we look up at dauntingly. We have a picture given to us in our minds of the “battle” being uphill, dangerous, treacherous --the proverbial slippery slope.

There is a journey up the mountain so to speak but that is not where the “salvation” lies. That there is even a mountain made of atoms and molecules stacked and held together in a certain way as to look formidable is even an illusion. There is a power that creates form out of nothing we can see, but don’t get caught up in the form—most of it is in your mind.

The reason for going up the mountain is so that you can come back down and be in the valley and know the source of the life giving water. You are, at that point, also closer to the warmth of the sun but it is colder, and barren on the top of the mountain—interesting yes?

You are going uphill with a mind packed full of your life, your perceptions and past, weighing heavily. The only way to get to the top is to cast off that which is weighing you down. It’s the only way you’ll get there. Unlike Everest, there are no oxygen bottles strewn about. The weight you carry is simply memories and illusions—they are weightless, and formless—they are the illusions and misperceptions of a programmed mind.

The side of this mountain shows no discarded trash. What the mountain does have, is a few shelters made by those who have gone before you on the same journey--the shelters are hard to find because they have been made out of the rocks of the mountain and as of now, they are few and far between—but they are there. You are in one now—Visible Origami-

A single person does not build them. It takes many to stack a few rocks at a time—over “time”. But someone always starts the circle. Perhaps the one you are helping to build was started by the words of another many years ago and you have found your way to it. Perhaps you stack a few rocks on others as you go by.

The mountain gets more barren as you go “up”— as you let them go, the things you are familiar with, and are programmed with, can no longer be seen. Nor are they weighing you down— your load gets lighter until you see the top.

You laugh at this point because the “top” is an illusion that you have created, or has been created for you—and the mountain laughs with you. This “top” is the same as the end of the rainbow—the same as heaven—the same as, well, whatever. You want to see the source of the water? Climb into the clouds. Yet where does that water come from? It comes from where you were already. Where the water is depends on where you see it as being in its continual cycle.

Why don’t we just honor that it is simply there and sustains life?

It is at this point that you start the journey down and realize that you never had to leave where you were to begin with—you actually never did “leave”. You can feel the same sun on your face here as you can at the top. The same water that starts in the sea goes up into the clouds, and falls on the mountain and comes to where you are now—is felt equally here as at the top. You don’t need to be at the top—there is no top—unless you want there to be one. Where the water is in its cycle, or what the source of the water is, is inconsequential…. that there IS water is the miracle—HONOR IT.

The mountain is a story you have heard about the same as the ladder of success, the levels of enlightenment…they are all there to make you think you should be somewhere else, higher up than you are because height (as in climbing a mountain) means difficulty and struggle. It means barren…cold…alone. It means looking up at a huge pile of slippery rocks stacked one on top of the other—it’s meant to look that way.

It means everything. It means nothing. It means what you decide it means.

If each one of us brings down one rock from where we are now we can put them in a circle and start a fire within that will provide a signal, as well as a light and warmth for ourselves and others.

I place mine next to yours --and it becomes ours—yet it belongs to no man, yet all men.

Much Joy

m_astera said...

Nicely done, Les, and Jj too.

While I am busy writing the Handbook for the New Agriculture, you are writing the Handbook for the New Enlightenment. My job is easier.

Reading this I was reminded of a letter to the editor in Fine Woodworking magazine a while back. The writer told of a visitor, a stranger, coming into his woodworking shop. The visitor proved to be very knowledgeable about all of the machinery in the shop, all of the different types and brands available and their good and bad points, all the different woods and processes. The letter writer was quite amazed and impressed, and asked the visitor where his shop was and what sort of woodworking he did. The visitor replied "Oh, I don't have a shop. I'm reading up about all of the machinery and skills and saving my money and one day when I retire I'll be able to do woodworking". He had never done any at all, only read and talked about it.

As the visitor was leaving, the writer suggested "Maybe you should go buy a pocketknife and give woodworking a try".

Ben There said...

Mind activity can never grasp what you are talking about here and I think that's where the difficulty lies. It can't be thought but it can be instantly experienced the moment awareness steps out of the overwhelming inertia of mind activity. The mind wants some system, some methodology, some logical sequence of steps to take with the idea of "arriving" profoundly difficult it is to overcome this!

"Spiritualize everything you do"

I love it. I submit that we do this by just being fully present in everything that we do, out of the mind and into the pure experience.

Thank you for this wonderful reminder Les.

A. Peasant said...

Thanks, Les. Brother Lawrence is one of my best 'dead' friends, along with Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross and Thomas Merton. They all say the same thing you just said. I especially like St. Teresa's advice to pay attention to these things: 1) love for one another, 2) the absence of desire to be thought of as someone special, and 3) the impeccable performance of mundane tasks. It's all about humility.

Greg Bacon said...

It’s a given that the higher you ascend on the mountain, the stronger the winds become and the rougher the terrain.

Why are you fighting yourself? It's a battle you can never win.

It's an ancient trick, put forth by those who delight in tormenting people.

As for religion, I like what Alvin Lee and Ten Years After said about that ages old con job:


I never really understood religion
Except it seems a good excuse to kill.
I never really could make a decision,
I don't suppose I ever really will.

I can't relate to any power structure
Where ego is the driving energy;
I let mine go a long, long time ago, now,
When I decided that I would be free.

The only thing I understand is living;
The biggest sacrifice to make is death.
And once you're dead there's nothing left for giving,
So life means fighting for your every breath.

Best understood with a headfull of beauty, love and understanding.

And that ain't available at Wal Mart.

Visible said...

The very pretty Alvin Lee who was the inspiration for Peter Frampton ten years after does not do much for my sense of reality given that I can out play and certainly out write him while I'm sleeping, much less when I am awake. The only difference is that he is pretty and I am not.

Throw someone better at me, especially given what Al is now.

I'll refer you to the A.E. Housmann poen and you can take it from there; golden lads and lasses et al.

Visible said...

"I never really understood religion
Except it seems a good excuse to kill.
I never really could make a decision,
I don't suppose I ever really will.

I can't relate to any power structure
Where ego is the driving energy;
I let mine go a long, long time ago, now,
When I decided that I would be free.

The only thing I understand is living;
The biggest sacrifice to make is death.
And once you're dead there's nothing left for giving,
So life means fighting for your every breath."

By the way... explore those lyrics, they make no fucking sense and they contradict themselves to the point that it's only permissible when guitars are screaming to the extent that no one is paying attention.

life is not fighting for your every breath. Life is not fighting so that you can catch a breath. If life were fighting in that bogus Darwinian sense you would soon not be able to catch your breath...naked, defenseless, white monkey.

Anonymous said...

Out TV society has reduced us all to the lowest common denominator- one size fits all.
Think outside the dot- you're a troublemaker, a revolutionary, a terrorist, aghhh! A conspiracy theorist even! To be shunned or locked up and beaten - forever.
No room for common sense, logic, decency, spirituality, striving to be better than you thought you could be; to be like everyone else is the mantra.

notamobster said...

Vis- I usually try to speak clearly and get an idea or point across...Not so much this time.

I commented a while back on a blog (yours, mine, someone's???) That I have tried various religions without much result. It always becomes academic and I spin my mind recklessy until I've absorbed ridiculous amounts of information, and gained nothing spiritually. I always feel most at peace though, when I'm alone. Isolated.

So, I had a conversation today with a fundamentalist Christian who was leaving a 70K a year job as one of my technicians, to spend more time in the ministry. (I only mention the money aspect to illustrate how important his faith is to him)He felt that due to the 'field work' nature of the job, and the constant chasing of the dollar, he wasn't getting enough fellowship time. I don't fault him in any way for making a decision to better himself.

Well anyway, we have never discussed religion/faith, etc other than casually (and briefly).

We spoke for 2.5 hours today about the subject. He was not attempting to convert me, it just came up.

Well, I shared the journey I've taken (which ultimately led me through the study of a vast number of the worlds faiths/views to active involvement in Christianity, then devout submission to Islam,and total abandonment of all faith after my daughter died, and now deism- which is to say I've become disgruntled with the whole ordeal). I tend to stay away from the spiritual blog, but something kept bringing me to this post today.

I promise this is leading somewhere...our conversation revealed some interesting things to me today. He went through much of the same process as I had. He finally said 'God help me'. He said immediately that something told him to "abandon yourself"."Make a conscious choice everyday to abandon yourself and become a part of me". While I'll no sooner convert to any religious system than I will cut out my own tongue, the magnitude of it all really hit home - after reading this article of yours and the comments.

My daughter sent me an odd text message 2 days ago: "stop worrying about that which you are trying to figure out and it will come. It'll all work itself out".

My mind started racing with the possibilities of what you wrote (and the other stuff)- then, my electrical background kicked in - universe/energy/electricity/'physic'al
Law, etc...
All of this stuff has been in my head, but I guess it took the right combination of timing/components, for it to click together(like a Reuben sandwich - I hate all the individual ingredients - but combined - they make a helluva sandwich!)

So I believe I will strive to do just as you suggest and live more in the divine, than looking for it (or in my case; not looking for it), carrying the aforementioned piano...

I'm sorry for the immensely high level of discombobulation... Just trying to fit it all together. Tap into the source, if I can. We'll see.

Thanks again, again!


susana said...

Brilliant post.
As a wise being (Randall Friend) reminded me yesterday "You are not a human by the name of susana you are god experiencing itself through the prism of susana, which altough limited in perception is part of the totality of what is".

Visible said...

Where to begin. First off, Greg...sorry about the rant. I knew when I did it that it was over the top. It was around midnight and I'd just had a bottle of red. I don't drink wine generally because it makes me combative (I've still got some of that- don't want to lose it all before I can be completely graceful in surrender). I don't know why wine does that... no other drink does.

I knew when I was writing it that I could just as well not post it. And the vanity mind said, "This won't make you look good. However, the honest self said, 'You can't hide these things and trying too will expose you in the wrong way, so I did post it because it was real at the moment even though it wasn't necessary. I doubt I can outplay Alvin Lee. I'm not a very good guitar player. I will stick by the rest of it though. the problem with my music is that I am a piss poor engineer and my mixes are amateur and my arrangements juvenile.

You might not even have been talking to me anyway. It just gets to me when people say things like that as if they are saying, "Hey... I have all of that handled, why don't you?" Anyway...

Notamobster... I try to remember not to throw the baby out with the bath water. I think that's an important point. As for God and spirituality... that's essentially you anyway... all that other stuff and the concept that 'it' is 'other' is what is known as the devil in any case and it's fine to reject it as long as you don't reject the essence because the essence is you.

Susana... thanks for posting that by Randall. That's brilliant, really brilliant. The prism thing is one of my favorite images so it dovetailed right into my perspective and it was elegantly said... very.

notamobster said...

vis - I absolutely don't reject the essence (maybe I did for a while, but it was part of a natural progression of grief, me thinks).

There has been enough proof to me of the essence, I just spent so much time trying to 'figure out' that essence, that I got tired of the whole thing, and resigned myself to the fact that 'there is a god'.

All of these things coming so close together, make me think you're right and I should stop seeking and just 'be' in the 'essence'. Live as if I'm always in or even, a-part-of that essence.

Visible said...

There's a new post at Reflections in a Petri Dish, Something We Saw on a Mountain Path

nina said...

Before everybody takes off for Petri Dish I just want to say thank you Visible.

m_astera, did you read The Drifters? Do you remember the Ceylon Room?

m_astera said...

Nina, I didn't read The Drifters. Can you give me the brief version or should I read the book?

NOTA, I also gave up on the quest for spirit for some years. Not that I decided it wasn't real or worthwhile, but that every teacher, group, organization etc. that I had found in the physical world was either corrupted or clueless; preaching dogma they didn't understand or looking to worship someone and give their power to them. I just quit looking out of discouragement, and for a long time. Grief and loss had a lot to do with it in my case too.

But after a while I started getting nudges again. I read about a book called "The Lazy Man's Guide to Riches" that fascinated me. I didn't order it, but it stayed in my head. Six months later I found it at a garage sale for 25 cents. That's a wonderful book, BTW, and only incidentally about material success; it's really about working on yourself and using positive focus to draw what you want and need into your life. It's what I needed at the time, and started me on the path again.

One thing I discovered is that most people are looking for a savior, and there are any number of others offering to be that savior or mediate for them; that ends up a dead end as no one can save you; it's a lone journey. You will find help along the way, but the work is personal and individual.

Another serious stumbling block is to demand some ideal of enlightened perfection from one's teachers. Culture and society have given us these airy-fairy ideals of what an enlightened or self-realized being is supposed to be: All loving, all knowing, without faults and foibles, never just plain wrong, petty, angry or subject to carnal desires. This ideal has been presented to us, and of course no human is going to live up to it, no matter how far along the path they are, so we tend to reject what they have to offer that is of value because they don't act like Jesus or Buddha is supposed to.

I decided early on that all I needed from a teacher was that they knew what it was that I wanted to learn, and could teach it to me. Forget the perfection. If I want to learn how to wire a house I don't need a saint, I just need to find someone who knows how to wire a house and can explain it and show me how. This really goes for everything in life that one wants to learn, but especially things of spirit. If one waits for the perfect teacher one will be waiting forever.

Les knows what he knows and can share the information with you in a simple and practical way. I'm pretty sure he has no desire to be anyone's savior or object of veneration and would run from that as fast as he could. If you wanted to know how to play a Dm7 chord he could show you that too without expecting adulation, and you wouldn't expect him to be a saint just because he knew how to do that. Keep in mind that there are a number of different ways to play a Dm7 chord, too.

What I'm rambling on about here is that even the esoteric things of spirit have practical roots, the path is your own, and knowledge and enlightenment are where you find them. Robert de Ropp called it "The Master Game" and it's the toughest path of all, but the only one that leads to the peace that passeth all understanding, and the only one whose fruits can't be taken away from you. Even the hard-won knowledge stored in the chemical brain will fail as the body ages; the gains of spirit are not subject to that decay.

Les uses love; my mantra is gratitude, pretty much the same thing. Our society and education doesn't do a very good job of teaching us to focus. When one begins an exercise like bringing the divine into every thought, breath, and action the monkey mind will fight it. No use in beating up yourself or the monkey mind; when you remember what it is you are trying to do, pull the thoughts back to the task and persevere.

I'm reminded here of a story told in a book by a jiu-jitsu master. When he started taking lessons, the first week the class learned several different movements, and the next week several more. The third week the teacher started again with a movement from the first class, and our student raised his hand and said "But we already learned this one two weeks ago". The teacher just smiled. The writer then went on to say that he had since practiced that movement more than 100,000 times and was getting pretty good at it.

I'm very pleased to see you on this thread, my friend. If the path wasn't for you, you would not be drawn to

Visible said...

Thanks for that jj

You have a rare eloquence and make a remarkable contribution to these sites.

Anonymous said...

I wrote a heap of stuff before this but the only significant piece was at the end...

Les’ writings are good for the spirit.


notamobster said...

Thanks master_a.

And trust, I don't expect anything but human behavior from ANY human. Les has an amazing way of explaining things for those of us who are of simple mind. It really struck me - the simplicity of the idea - though the practical application seems to certainly be met with violent opposition from the mind, for sure.

I don't know what's been happening these past many months. My mind was extremely sharp when I was younger (childhood/teen years) but that sharpness wained in my 20's. It was quite dull for some years. For some reason, though - god has given it back in spades! My mind is sharper than ever. I can't absorb enough information.

I now have vivid dreams (never been much of a dreamer), I feel the need to volunteer and work on stuff all the time, learn how to do new things, eliminate sources of confusion, and better manage all of my personal relationships - while developing new ones.

I don't know what it is, but it makes everything seem urgent, while I only seem to have more and more time to relax and contemplate. Its not anxiety/nervousness... Those things have never happened to me. Stress just disappears (I have an innate ability to let things roll off -stress wise - and I adapt rather well).I do allow mental sparring to get me wound up, especially good dialogue, but all the shit that stresses people out - doesn't bother me.

Never has.

Seems like the more I take on recently, the more quality time I have. Strange...

Rambling apparently seems to be up as well.

Visible said...

Something new at Visible Stream of Consciousness

His Rachel Corrie Moment

in memory of Asma al-Mughayr

Anonymous said...

A little late to this party, but I'm glad I stopped here for a quick dip - it felt fantastic.

It's funny how the message is so simply, really, but so many folks seem to want to have someone else do the lifting for them or make it seem so mysterious and complicated. Hiring a moving company to take the piano up (or in my case, a full Marshall stack, pedalboard, and a few guitars for open tunings and such) is the preferred method I think. Plus it's good for the economy, spending that cash to have someone else do the work.

Someone at Smoking Mirrors actually said explicitly that you CAN'T do it yourself - that you NEED to have your eyes opened for you. Hmmm.

I have to comment on the song as well. The chorus line was stuck in my head for the whole time I went off into the woods to try to find something.

"God's not dead, he's merely hiding,
you can see him in the morning
when the sun is rising"

Over and over again in my head. Thanks for that. Seriously. Thank you. That is a beautiful song, man. Just beautiful!