Instant DharmaBill Merklee

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Songs along the path.

About Bill Merklee

Music has always been more than a passive, background thing for me. It's been a constant source of inspiration. John Lennon's "Mind Games" is still one of the most stirring things I've ever heard.


As I've mentioned on the station page, there are an awful lot of songs that seem to have pointed me in the direction of Buddhism and Taoism, regardless of whether that was the artists' intention. So I've decided to share some of them here. Please drop me a note and let me know what you think. Peace.

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Over the years, I have found my thoughts and feelings about things spiritual are closest to Taoism and Buddhism, but without the metaphysical trappings.

I've also realized that many of the songs I've listened to since my youth were, to varying degrees, pointing me in that direction. Or maybe I was already on that path, and that's why the songs resonated with me. Who can say?

So I've taken more than 200 of those songs and put them in rotation on Live365 as a kind of "Dharma Box Set" or "Taoist Anthology."

The name Instant Dharma, aside from the obvious reference to John Lennon's Instant Karma, is a gentle poke at America's obsession with instant gratification, instant results, instant everything. While I think that any kind of spiritual insight takes time, I also think there are regular "aha" moments throughout our lives, glimpses into the universal, that can come from nature, books, conversation, movies, people's faces, children's laughter. And yes, pop songs.

Now, there's nothing here like "My Sweet Buddha" or "Bodhidharma's Blues." Some of the songs do have overt references: the aforementioned Instant Karma, Three Dog Night's Shambala, Steely Dan's Bodhisattva, Alex Chilton's Dalai Lama. Mostly, the songs contain a feeling, theme, or even just one line of lyric that got me to consider the bigger picture, or seemed to affirm something I was already feeling.

They may or may not do the same for you. We each need to follow our own path. Wherever yours takes you, I wish you well. Thanks for visiting.

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