The Voice of the Spirit in the Night

By Jeff Maziarek - Elmhurst, IL

When you speak with virtually any Todd fan, ultimately the word "spiritual" is used to describe the lyrics contained in some of his music. It is my belief that each of us has experienced the "Spirit" in Todd's songs in one way or another. Moreover, the messages we ultimately received, and continue to receive, have been absolutely essential for the growth of our souls here on this earthy plane.

What I will share with you in the balance of this piece may be somewhat difficult for some of you to grasp, and perhaps some may simply dismiss this information as metaphysical hogwash. Regardless of your personal impression, I felt compelled to share this with you for two reasons. First, because as Todd so eloquently says, "we are all in this together," and second, because I believe that each of us must do whatever we can do on an individual basis to spread the aggregate message that "love is the answer," that we are spiritual beings having a human experience, not human beings having a spiritual experience.

As a matter of background, I have been a Todd fan since 1981 when my neighborhood friend Mark Gaetto introduced me to the Hermit of Mink Hollow. At first, I must admit I didn't really like the music, but the more I listened to it the more it grew on me. For a number of years I would listen to Todd's music primarily because I loved the vocals, but also because I was kind of a sucker for his romantic lyrics. Having been hurt in a number of relationship, I tended to find solace in songs like "Hurting for You" and "Be Nice to Me."

As time passed, I began to listen more closely to Todd's lyrics, and in the process came to the conclusion that a number of Todd's songs had immensely strong spiritual messages. In particular, when the "Nearly Human" CD arrived in 1989, I immediately noticed the spiritual orientation. Listen carefully to the lyrics of "Can't Stop Running" and tell me that it doesn't impart an incredibly powerful spiritual message through the tale that it weaves. Moreover, consider the magnanimous message "Hawking" contains when Todd writes, "I see time without beginning, space without an ending, I see bodies strong and running, but minds not comprehending." For that matter, even the rousing "I Love My Life" speaks to us spiritually with its messages about how meaningless time is, about the control we have of our destiny through our thoughts, and about the beauty that's inherent in every living and non-living thing on this planet if we just open our eyes and hearts.

From my viewpoint, Todd's spiritual message broadened further with the arrival of "No World Order." While there are some songs that don't take a spiritual tack, there are plenty that do. One could say that "Fascist Christ" really isn't spiritual, and more of an attack on fundamental religious principles, but was that all it was? No, it is a brilliant lyrical piece that in a cynical way stated that religion is simply a manmade, bastardized form of Spirit. Also, consider how Todd uses the song "Proactivity" to emphasize, once again, that we create our own destiny through how we choose to think, that the "frightened lizard" is really the dark side of our personality, the fearful side that leads us to think negatively and attract directly to us the things we truly don't want.

Perhaps the most spiritually oriented lyric in "No World Order" is: "Mankind is struggling hard to see the light, to hear the voice of the Spirit in the night, to lay down this heavy burden and pick up the soul power, and build a heaven on earth hour-by-hour-by-hour." Whenever I hear this lyric, I smile and realize that there is so much more to life than we choose to be aware of most of the time we are in our waking, consciousness state. Finally, consider the following statement, "This is the light I stand in the glare of, I'm here and I'm there but I'm always aware of, singing a song in the back of my mind, something mysterious, something divine." It appears Todd is saying that when he creates his music there is a mysterious force, shall we say a higher self, that is actually creating the lyrics and music, and that he is merely a physical instrument for that divine, higher force.

My purpose in writing this article was not simply to discuss the spiritual messages that are pervasive throughout Todd Rundgren's music. I also want to take this opportunity to share a personal story with you, a story of how Todd's music has helped me in my own spiritual growth process.

There was a time a three years ago when I was involved in starting a new company from scratch. Things started out smoothly, but once the egos got inflated conflict developed between myself and my partners. The conflict accelerated to the point where I needed to make a difficult decision, one that was charged with emotion, one with very high stakes. My body reacted to the stress of the situation until I literally became physically ill from the entire process. My heart told me to move on, my mind told me to fight it out and win. I concluded that the only reason I couldn't leave was because I was afraid, and I didn't know how to overcome it.

One night, I went to bed and said what could be called a little prayer, a prayer that asked for some divine guidance through this difficult situation. Lo and behold, in the middle of the night I sat up in bed and the very first thought that entered my mind was this lyric, "I've been trying to get a message through the air to you, put me on your wavelength and I'll tell you which way to go," from the song "Hideaway." I sat there dumbfounded, was this my answer? I hadn't actually heard that song for a long, long time, so I believed that it was, and at that point realized that to get my answer I need to drop all of my ego-centered thoughts and listen to the "quiet voices" that were telling me to move on. In April 1994, I chose to heed the advice of the quiet voices, and after 15 years in the personal computer business I started my own high tech marketing advisory firm. Today, my company is doing very well, I feel no stress and my wife and I are experiencing great joy and satisfaction in our lives. And, just think, it all started from a simple song lyric.

I was so captivated by what happened that night that I spoke with a special friend of min, a Spirit channel who has incredible psychic capabilities to ask her opinion about what happened. Now, six years ago I would have laughed at anyone who mentioned the term Spirit channel, but after getting to know my friend, I became convinced that these people actually do exist, and they are here to help the rest of us figure out what the heck we are here for. In any case, when I asked my friend about this experience, she had two very interesting observations. First, she stated that all of us have Spirit guides, (a.k.a. Guardian Angels) whose purpose is to help us make the right choices to advance our spiritual growth. According to my friend, my Spirit guides know that I love Todd's music, and therefore are aware they can reach me in quiet moments by sending me a message through his song lyrics. That is what happened on the night I described, and it has actually happened several other times over the past year, with different lyrics for different issues.

My friend's second observation was that Todd is, to say the least, a bit more spiritually advanced that the average person. In fact, it was her impression that Todd has difficult time on the earthly plane because he can't figure out how people can be so cruel to each other! Who among you is surprised at this revelation?

Now that I have shared with you what some might consider a controversial personal story, I want to close by saying that all of us are growing spiritually, we just experience the process in different ways. Some of you may have had experiences with a spirit channel, while others receive their spiritual nourishment from more traditional religious practices. Whatever works for each individual is what counts, there is no right way. One thing I want to emphasize here however, is that there are no coincidences in life. There are, as Aristotle once said, "no ordinary moments." This means that man of us Todd fans needed to hear his music in this lifetime to help us grow as spiritual beings. There are no accidents in a perfect universe - we were meant to be associated with one another through Todd's music. This is not to suggest that Todd is some spiritual leader, or that we are his followers. On the contrary, he is a human being just like us, albeit with very special musical and lyrical skills. However, please never forget that you too are a very special individual with unique gifts to bring to the world, no matter what your life circumstances are, you showed up here for a specific mission, and you need to get about accomplishing it. By listening to Todd's music, hopefully you can gain greater insights into what your mission is, and then with that knowledge in hand be proactive enough to accomplish it before you are called from this earthly domain.

Perhaps one way of looking at it is that Todd is another conduit of God's light, a somewhat more advanced soul who is helping us to recognize the Spirit in the Night that lives deep within us all.

Originally published in "Utopia Times" and republished with permission of Jeff Maziarek