Prayer and meditation appear to be at odds in the Western world. The two contemplative traditions are fundamentally different in popular understanding. Prayer is associated with the religious traditions derived from Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions, while mindfulness meditation, secularized from Eastern and Buddhist traditions, seems to be growing in popularity amongst a cornucopia of stress-management and self-improvement tools.
When I was eight years old I had a profound experience that opened a door to music as a transcendental medium. It was a beautiful Texas afternoon and I was lying on my back in my front yard looking at the clouds moving gently across the sky. As I lay there, not really thinking, I experienced a burst of clarity and awareness, much like the feeling I got when I was singing. I knew that I was connected to those clouds above me. I was in awe of some profound mystery that unfolded at that moment, a feeling of unity that was familiar but more powerful that I had ever experienced.