Whenever we keep eros confined to one narrow frame of being, while de-eroticzing the rest of the picture – the Shechina remains in exile. Sex is only one of the places where we exile the erotic. There is a wonderful Balinese saying which goes something like, “We do not have art – we do everything as beautifully as we can”. When we build ugly cities where beauty is abused and people are depersonalized and then build a beautiful art museum, the Shechina is in exile. We exile the eros of beauty to the constricted precincts of formal art.
The same is true of music. Music is not limited to symphonies or rock concerts. We are all musicians and life is overflowing with music. Remember the Broadway show “Stomp”? There was no dialogue; it was all music and dance. The catch was that no musical instruments were used. The instruments were adapted from the fabric of everyday living. Pots, pans, brooms, sinks, faucets, garbage can lids, bottles, bags, newspapers, hands, feet, virtually every part of the body – all of these became instruments of music. The implication is stunning; what we usually do is limit art to formal work by people we call artists, just as we limit music to formal instruments. Formal music and art need to model the erotics of sound and beauty in all of our lives and not just in their narrow provinces. Music and art need to pervade all of living. Every moment is a canvas and is possessed of its own melody.
Rumi knowingly instructs us:
Let the beauty that we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the
The Erotic and the Holy