Smoke of Ages Past

by Michael McGinnis

My taste in music has developed with time. I still listen to some popular music from the last forty years, but increasingly I prefer classical. For the last fifteen years I had been using a second hand amplifier of great age. Though the amplifier did not quite hearken back to the era of vacuum tubes, it became quite warm when it operated and the grey, polished metal case of the unit had many skinny, vertical, ventilation holes in its back and sides.

My stereo system has served me well over the years and has treated me to much delightful if perhaps a little stodgy music. In the last few years though, it has been getting harder to find recordings on tape as music is increasingly available only on CD. I finally got a CD player so I could continue to expand my classical collection. The old amplifier very obligingly worked with the CD player that wasn't even invented until many years after the amplifier was built.

Last month a friend gave me a CD by a modern Yukon composer, Matthew Lien. I found it interesting to listen to, but quite different from anything I already had. When a song came on that had a quite loud bass sound I thought I should go to the stereo and turn down the bass. I am more used to the higher pitched sounds of horns, flutes or violins. However as I was reaching towards the stereo, there was a short, sharp sound from inside the amplifier, like a small firecracker going off.

The sound drew my attention to the amplifier, and to my surprise I saw a cloud of smoke drift reluctantly out of the vents, writhing feebly and sluggishly expanding. The smoke seemed unusually solid, dark and dense, and was barely able to rise above the back of the amplifier case. Apparently, this new music had overwhelmed my faithful old amplifier, for so long my consistent companion in classical music.

What was this strange smoke and what did it mean to me? From a strictly physical point of view I realized that the inside of my stereo was open to the air, and the household dust of about 20 years had accumulated in it. When an electrical component failed in my stereo, there was a short circuit and a spark inside the console. The hot component produced normal smoke which lifted off decades of grey dust to form the unusual geriatric smoke—the smoke of ages past.

But from a spiritual perspective I realized that this new CD represented a new kind of energy in my house, and therefore, in my life. It could point the way to my acceptance of new kinds of energy, sound and vibration. The smoke of ages past was a kindly pointer from the ECK using light and sound to show me that the music and energy that had been such a comfort to me in the past were no longer enough. Here was a new energy that could break up old tired patterns and add something completely new. The dust of my old life was invisible and unnoticed until Matthew Lien's music came and stirred it up. The new music gave my system a jolt and raised the dust, disrupting my old ways. I needed to upgrade my stereo equipment as well as my life to handle the new energy.

I feel that the Holy Spirit, or the ECK, is always communicating with me through events in my daily life. Incidents stand out and catch my attention in order to get a message across. Looking carefully at the exceptional smoke helped me understand its spiritual significance more clearly. I accepted the opportunity to recognize the message which Divine Spirit was giving me. As time goes by I get better able to recognize and interpret these messages for myself. Writing them down can be part of the process of recognition, acceptance and understanding of Spirit's communication. And very often the place to start is with an exceptional experience, that leaves me asking, "Why did that just happen?" The heavy, grey smoke was one of those events for me.

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