February 19, 1964.
Amid the ceaseless noise of a city that doesn't sleep, a Yankee fan named Paulie heads to his quiet place.
With his guitar.
"I was able to sit by myself and play and dream. And I was always happy doing that. I used to go off in the bathroom, because the bathroom had tiles, so it was a slight echo chamber. I'd turn on the faucet so that water would run — I like that sound, it's very soothing to me — and I'd play. In the dark. 'Hello darkness, my old friend / I've come to talk with you again".
Paulie wasn't aware back then, but he was actually practicing what Deepak Chopra refers to as The Law of Pure Potentiality. Think of it like tossing a tiny stone into a still pond and watching it ripple. When the ripples settle down, you toss another little stone as you enter a field of pure silence where even the faintest intention ripples through the universe. This is the field of all possibilities and infinite creativity, where anything you imagine can be manifested into reality. But, it's impossible to enter that field and experience that level of stillness if your mind is constantly churning like an angry, turbulent ocean that would never notice if you heaved in the Empire State Building.
It is in his quiet place, that Paulie becomes still and taps into the field of pure potentiality, sharing it later that day with his buddy Artie. The pair grew up about three blocks from each other in Queens, and started hanging out in the 6th grade but now they're doing the odd gig as a folk duo in Greenwich Village coffee shops.
When Artie first heard the song, he was immediately excited by it.
"It was clearly the product of considerable talent".
They eventually recorded Paulie's song, using nothing more than a single guitar and the sounds of their own voices. It was included on their debut album, released in October of that year, but, the record flopped and their musical partnership came to an end.
Paulie split and headed for England.
Artie went back to school to study architecture
About 18-months later, a producer at Columbia Records noticed the song was getting airplay on radio stations in Boston and Cocoa Beach, Florida. He took the original recording, added some overdubs with drums, bass and electric guitar and released it as a single. Two years after Paulie had composed this masterpiece in the darkness of his bathroom, it hit #1 on the U.S. charts, causing him to reunite with Artie as a musical act destined for stardom.
In 1999, BMI named "Sound of Silence" as the 18th-most performed song of the 20th century. In 2004 it was ranked #156 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, one of Simon and Garfunkel's three songs on the list.
But as Artie alluded to, by using imagery of light and darkness, "Sound of Silence" shows how ignorance and apathy destroys our ability to communicate on even a simple level.
Lacking stillness in our internal dialogue, we tend to constantly evaluate, classify, label, analyze and judge people and situations. This inner turbulence blocks the flow of energy required to tap into the field of pure potentiality that Paulie experienced on this day in 1964.
Pure potential is everywhere and anywhere around you.
Pure potentiality is a state of pure awareness, that inner stillness connecting you to infinite creativity.
Where all things are possible.
Once you experience and celebrate silence.
"I try to open up my heart as much as I can and keep a real keen eye out that I don't get sentimental. I think we're all afraid to reveal our hearts. It's not at all in fashion"
p.s... Four decades after the fact, isn't it great to see Paulie and Artie still bringing it with nothing more than a single suitar and the sounds of their own voices?
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