Alpha and Omega
About Sacred Vision Productions The CD titled 'Alpha and Omega' consists of 5 tracks, with a total playing time of over 75 minutes. It is Dan's first CD and includes three new works which were written between 2001-2003. He ceased writing for 15 years while pursuing a spiritual path of Kriya Yoga after joining Self-Realization Fellowship in February of 1987. He fully intended to devote himself to a life of meditation and profound silence through yogic techniques of spiritual advancement. Dan has two degrees in music and taught instrumental and vocal music in the public schools for four years in Kansas; nevertheless, he felt drawn to the path of seclusion and silence. Dan has been a vegetarian since l978 and intensified his search for the ultimate answers of life through studying metaphysics and Eastern teachings which shed much light on esoteric passages in the Bible which had always been so enigmatic. The Sacred Vision Productions logo is highly symbolic: the primary colors are gold, blue and white which correspond to the colors of the Spiritual or Third Eye that may be seen in deep meditation. This is what Jesus was referring to when He said, 'If your eye be single, then will your whole body be full of light'. The six discs of light leading upwards to the sun represent the seven shining places in the astral body which was seen by St. John in his Revelation. These are the chakras or vortices mentioned in yogic teachings (St. John's 'seven golden candlesticks') that line the cerebro-spinal axis, with the seventh one, the crown chakra, located at the top of the head. The sun in the logo depicts the final and highest illumination when all chakras, including the crown ( the 'sun') are fully activated through intense devotion to God and interiorization of the mind. The leaping dolphin represents mankind and all sentient beings rising upward out of the watery grave of spiritual ignorance and into the illumined state where one is completely awake and alive. Dan started singing solos and directing choir again and at that time also felt a strong urge to compose music that incorporated mystical texts from the Bible which made much more sense to him after studying Eastern concepts. The first work completed was 'Ye Are Gods'. The title is derived from Psalm 82:6 ('I have said, 'ye are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High' '). 'I am Alpha and Omega' and 'The Great Invocation' followed during the years 2001-2002. Even though the music is written for common instruments of the Western world, there is a mild Eastern ambience in most of these writings. The use of parallel intervals such as fourths and fifths, as well as modal melodies and harmonies, create an Eastern, ancient feeling. Most of the music does not employ a key signature, because it will not fit neatly into a fixed harmonic scheme. The music floats in and out of major and minor keys, in addition to the ancient church modes. This music has been inspired by the composer's strong feelings concerning the nature of God and of man. The latest three works reveal an interest in visionary, cosmic literature. 'I am Alpha and Omega' is based upon St. John's Revelation and Ezekiel of the Old Testament. It is intended for the Easter season, for it has a strong resurrection theme, but it also describes the visionary experience of Ezekiel and John as they undergo powerful spiritual transformations. The essence of religion is what provided the impetus for the composer's endeavor. And the essence of religion, and all of life, is spiritual transformation. Therein lies the hope of and for this world. Each individual must express the divinity within, according to his or her vision. Dan states that while these writings are quite personal and intimately connected to him, nevertheless he feels that it has little to do with his personality. It emanates from beyond the scope of the historical, human self. It's not the Dan Jones identity, born in Neosho, Mo. on December 23, 1952, that created these compositions. Rather, it is the feeling of being created, while attempting to create. Dan's first experience of this was when he sat down to choose a text from the Bible for a composition around 1975. Actually, he had in mind a mere composition exercise, as practice or training for later writing. His eyes fell on the second chapter of the Song of Solomon: 'Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away...'. Immediately he felt at home, as though returning from a distant journey and being once again in familiar and intimate company. He began writing the themes down for each verse, but it was not 'conscious' writing in the usual sense. It was more like being outside of time and listening to a conversation in the distance and then merely writing down what was heard. It was absolutely effortless: it was joy, lightness, timelessness, beyond birth and death. The text and music seemed ancient, yet deeply familiar... very personal but beyond all personalities. After finishing the music, he went to the piano and played what had been written. Even though some mistakes had occurred in the notation, Dan found himself playing it without mistakes; some part of his consciousness knew the correct version as though this project had begun long ago and was finally being completed. This was his first experience of 'creating but not creating,' of living but also dying, of touching something infinitely Light, because it had not the weight of time and space upon it. Dan mentions here that it was very similar to the time when he was around seven or eight years old, living in the country in Missouri. It was a beautiful spring day and he was basking in the sun on an old couch outside the house, with his arms wrapped around the pet cat. There was no concern for the future and no burdens of the past. The present moment was the only concern, and that was of no concern whatsoever. The little boy and his cat existed only as ideas floating like a nebula through infinite space, neither supported by intentions nor needing a future to fear or a past to regret. The deep feeling eventually surfaced that we have always existed, with and in God. The poet Rainer Maria Rilke expressed it succinctly: '...But in you is the presence that will be, when all the stars are dead.' Dan describes the experience of writing music as being the essence of the scriptural command: 'Be still, and know that I am God' (Psalm 46:10). The body and mind must become very still: poised on the precipice of a timeless, spaceless world. When time and space are forgotten, you enter the Eternal Now. You then just relax the tensions induced by time, allowing the 'lens' of consciousness to cleanse itself in order that the Eternal Light might shine through your 'lens' without impediment. This is the ideal state for writing music, or for all of living, but it isn't always easy to attain. But the stillness is the matrix, which gives birth to the music generated by the human desire to create. It is also Dan's belief that only through calming body and mind deeply, can one peer into the Eternity where God resides: undiluted, pure and without distortion. This is what the composer is attempting to express through music; that which is beyond the tempo-spatial threshold: that matrix which, once again gives birth to mortal existence but lies outside it's boundaries. 'We are immortals dreaming of mortality,' Dan states. Any music, any experience that helps us remember who we are will enable us to stir ourselves out of the mortal dream. Plato said that each of us must 'know thyself,' but to do that we must remember the God within us all. That is the Great Self of which Plato spoke. He was not speaking of the frail ego, which tends to be neurotic or even psychotic. From the Divine perspective, humans may be seen as mentally ill, for they mistake the real for the unreal and the unreal for the real. References to this abound in both Old and New Testaments as well as in sacred scriptures of East and West. The composer believes these experiences of Ezekiel and John (recounted in his work, 'I am Alpha and Omega') are not emanating from a past time but from the Eternal Now. All of us can access that state of consciousness, not just the prophets, saints or visionaries of the distant past. That is the entire purpose of religion: to enter the Kingdom of God while still on earth. These last three works were written because of the composer's belief that God, as Infinite Intelligence and Energy, resides in each of us as 'Alpha and Omega'. The scriptures of East and West symbolize the human condition as being 'dead' or 'asleep and dreaming'. Our task is to become truly awake and alive. Scriptural literature such as the Bible depicts various stages of 'becoming awake' spiritually. The goal of all awakened Artists and Masters is to assist in this planetary transformation. Although Dan feels he has just begun as a composer and human being, to strive for these lofty ideals, there is the hope that these insignificant writings will be of use to a few. He states that the music is not his to claim; rather it is the innate Divinity we all have which is stirring within him, and indeed, the entire planet. If the music is seen as deficient, don't blame the Infinite Power for the imperfection; rather place the blame on the limited, obscured 'lens' that the Light attempted to penetrate. Dan graduated from Wellington High School in 1971, attended Southwestern College in Winfield, Ks., graduating in l975 with a Bachelor of Music Education degree. He taught for several years in the public schools of Kansas and directed choirs in various churches, writing music for his students as well as church choirs. The 'Psalm 100' work on his first CD was written at a Methodist church camp (Camp Horizon, near Ark City). As a teacher/counselor in the summer of 1980, he had an interest group centered around composing music for the talent presentation at the end of the week. This is when he received the suggestion from a fifth grader, Danette Parslow, to work together on a song based on psalm 100. Her enthusiasm and initiative made that composition possible. It was written as a two-part work, but later Dan arranged it for SATB. This is the version you will hear on the CD. He then returned to school, as a student, at Wichita State University in l981. He studied under several teachers, primarily Dr. Dorothy Crum, and presented a voice recital, graduating from W.S.U. with a Master of Music Education degree in l986. Dan is a member of the First United Methodist Church in Wellington, Ks. (singing in the choir), and has been a soloist/director of the Presbyterian, Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist, Episcopal and Christian churches. Dan frequently sings at weddings and funerals and special holiday services. He lives with his 'three sons': Alpha, Omega and Spiritus. They are Shih Tzu dogs: three brothers that are 7years old. They are named after the works of the composer, which were written the same year they were 'adopted'. Although Dan was involved for fifteen years in a path of relative seclusion and silence with no composing, he feels successful at reconciling the two paths of Sound and Silence. They are mutually beneficial in that silence is necessary to forge sound that has a powerful Spiritual Presence. It is another example of the endless dualities we experience on Earth. He truly was convinced that for him, music was dead: he would have a new life saturated in profound silence, never to 'speak again' (as a composer). This decision to produce CDs created great complications in his life and increased his needs for computers (which he thought he would never own), performers, recording studios, money, time, energy, all for rehearsing and recording sessions which were often difficult to schedule. Nevertheless, though it has been at times an uneasy alliance between two opposite forces, they are increasingly perceived now as one force: the dancer as one with the dance. Significant silences sometimes manifest during the music so that the listener may have time to assimilate what was just heard. Music may point to a hidden realm and unlock the door of perception, but silence allows the door to open a bit further. The current time is a crucial one for our planet: doom and gloom or transformation into a more enlightened species, both technologically and spiritually. The arts are here, ideally, to remember who and what we are and what we inevitably must become, regardless of setbacks or cosmic catastrophies. That wholeness of perception will defragment our view of the universe and unify all things. Sacred Vision Productions has been created for this purpose: to at least attempt to stir within those receptive, the subtle emanations of the Eternal One, the stirring of ancient memories and insights that have been veiled for far too long. In One and as One we will overcome our penchant for brutal violence against each other and this planet. The Sacred Vision must replace the myopic one. Music, as well as technology, can elevate man's consciousness, or degrade it. We use these countless options to either choose the higher path of spiritual transformation or the lower one of descent into anarchy and darkness. The year 2012 is supposed to be an eye-opener: the end of the world or possibly the start of a new one. Perhaps all is for naught, but hope and understanding of how the universe and it's life forms continually strive for perfection and increased ability to know itself, leads one to suspect we, as a species, will develop far greater civilizations than we have known. Optimism seems more useful than despair. March 10, 2009.