Added: January 20, 2009
An Introduction to the Description
Here are some thoughts I have about the story of The Empyrean. I don’t think they detract from anyone reading their own things into it, but they provide a guideline through which to see the basic form of the lyrics more clearly. I’m just explaining the way I see the outline, but the contents and the details remain open to interpretation. I avoided discussing any of this in the small amount of press I did. In those I just try to be myself. These ideas are too dear to me to let someone else filter them. I’m posting this only because these ideas may be of some value to some people. Not as a way of trying to inspire interest in my work.
When I buy a record I like, I listen without reading the lyrics the first time. Then I read the lyrics at some point later (maybe on the second listen, maybe months later). Often years later I’ve enjoyed hearing what the artist says about what they’ve done. But to be honest if it was someone I liked I’d want to know the second I could. Anyhow, I suggest using your own discretion in choosing when to read both the lyrics and the following description of them.
Also, throughout the making of this record, I felt that some force was expressing itself through me, and so I don’t claim that my understanding of it is at all definitive. But since a story such as this would have helped me at various times in my life, I figured I’d make it as clear as I think would be necessary for someone else to benefit from its contents, and to possibly outwit fate and conditioning in their own way.
Description to the Story of The Empyrean
The main character is a creative person who experiences the full spectrum of life’s ups and downs. All dialogue takes place in his mind. The other character could accurately be called the creative force, which constantly creates and perpetuates existence. It could also be called the energy which fuels the engine we call the mind, with all of its creative potential. It could also accurately be called ones true self. It sometimes takes the form of a voice in your in your head or voices in your head. The more out of step your actions are with your true self or the creative force, the more disruptive those voices will be. This serves as a guide. This characters action is usually on track enough to where, when he hears the force as a voice, it speaks truth. The main character is, to one degree or another, in a perpetual state of confusion.
On the path to merging with the force, material life and the self (the fluctuating, impermanent self as determined by conditioning and environment) will at times seem meaningless, leaving one feeling stranded. The main character goes through extreme loneliness (in song two and the first half of song five) and at times thinks he can only merge with this force upon dying. In the 8th song of the story, a kind of suicide takes place, which results in a rebirth. It could be actual death or a shedding of the unnecessary parts of the personality. In any case, a rebirth takes place (songs 9 and 10) in which he finds himself filled with wonderment in regards to life. The more someone’s actions are aligned with the creative force inherent in everything we know, the more that persons imagination will become one with that persons surroundings.
He eventually realizes that the highest point in heaven is a potential inside him, and that no thing is any different than anything else. What is beyond him is inside him and inside everyone. And that the feelings within him are perfectly suited to the opportunities to be creative here on earth. The attempt to be one with that force is an ongoing challenge that is such a privilege, the fruits of which make all the confusion of the path part of the privilege. He realizes that the ways in which the imaginations source is hidden from him are guides and road signs to help him become one with that source by means of his own resourcefulness. He realizes that confusion and pain have been as much the cause of what’s made his life meaningful and pleasureful as things he mistook for being pure goodness. Everything here contains its contradiction and so up and down, left and right, forwards and backwards, happy and sad, pleasure and pain, are each two things, which are one. And all things we believe to be separate are one thing. The illusion of separateness is the cause of pain, and it is also part of the cause of all the works of beauty people have created. Things like social position, positions of power, identification of the self with the body, identification of the self with ones thought patterns, are all false (though obviously very conceivable as true). False in that they are useless to the true self. To live by them is like giving in to the illusion of separateness and accepting it as reality. This amounts to nothing and matters only to the transient aspects of what you are. All that matters to your true, permanent self is to do what you are here to do. To establish direct contact with your true self and follow the course of action your heart dictates. Not to say that that means you will always be happy and content, but along the way you will know the meaning of pure happiness at the times when it comes. Not the shallow happiness of satisfaction in feeling you have more possessions than someone else, or have more money and power, or a prettier face, but happiness that comes from living in harmony with the same force that sets possibility into motion to become actuality. Happiness derived from the beauty of the things that come through the channels within you. From listening with your inner ears and seeing with your inner eyes. Happiness in seeing something within you manifest as something around you. Pain sets us to work and gives us a basis out of which to create works, which inspire pleasure, in the same way that darkness gives the sun a basis through which to shine light. The triumphant aspect of feeling great depends on one having absorbed pain. Appreciating your own value can be achieved to whatever degree you have faced feelings of your own worthlessness. Opposites give one another their meaning.
The record documents the ways in which a person strives for what is beyond his reach. In his effort to go higher with every step, he sometimes dives down, only to find that when he reemerges he is always higher than he was before. The musical dynamics work in tandem with these inner rises and falls he experiences. He necessarily remains in a state of confusion and longing but is grateful for that, as without that he would not be becoming anything. Growing and changing is its own reward, and it is sometimes necessary to stop in order to be rejuvenated. It may even be necessary to resent the universe and its creative force from time to time. But meaning is meaning and emptiness is emptiness and a person who can distinguish between them will always come around to embrace the space into which everything is created. And, upon death, this space of complete potential will give everyone a kiss, without exception. The story of this record is one mans reaching for something outside him and finding that it was always within him
* (SENTENCE OMMITED in re-edit: “You can tell who is the man and who is the creative force by the creative force being sure of himself.”)