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The Channeling (Ways to reach your Muse)
Knowledge & Wisdom (or knowing & 'knowing ')
By Shaman Sean
1999-2001 Shaman Sean. All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission.

Some songwriters seem to forget a few things somewhere along the way. There's no other way to describe it except that they 'lose touch' with reality. The reality is this: If songwriting was as easy as picking up a book that tells you how, then everyone would be the Beatles. They forget that what makes songwriting so magical and alive is the fact that it's not that simple. The 'how' can't be written down that well. No article I write, and no book or article that someone else writes, will ever be 100% 'how' to write a song. So if you're looking for the right book, you will be looking for a while.

Songwriting is about people and communication. Songwriting is about expression. The example I always use is the fact that songwriting is invention. You're trying to 'invent' something when it seems that everything has been 'invented' already. I have a laugh of disbelief when I see someone pick up a book or go to a lesson while they think that this is what songwriting is about.

One of the things in common with people that do this, it seems, is their lack of understanding the difference between knowing, and 'knowing'. Its not a misprint. You read it correctly, I said: knowing & 'knowing'.

For a moment, I'm going to refer to the good old book, the Bible. In the Bible, there are two words that are mentioned in English that for the longest time I thought meant the same thing. The words are 'soul' and 'spirit'. Then I was researching the ancient Hebrew of them, and found that they are entirely different words. I discovered this when I was researching what I refer to as the 'trinity of human make-up': soul, spirit, and body. The 'spirit' is the part that we usually think of when we die; that part invisible to the eye. This may sound funny, but when I picture it, I always see it like an outline of my body kind of superimposed over my actual body. And when I die, that invisible spirit separates from it.

Well, I always thought that the 'soul' was referring to the same concept,?? and its not. It turns out that the ancient Hebrew word for 'soul' was actually referring to a different part of the human. Kind of the 'heart' and 'mind' combined. (And I don't mean the physical heart and brain.) So there's this third invisible piece that has to do with being human.

What does all this have to do with songwriting?

Well, I view the difference between "knowing" and 'knowing ' in a similar way. "Knowing" is when you understand something with your mind. You could reproduce it. Pass a test on it. Whatever. 'Knowing ' is actually understanding more than what you learned about it. Understanding how to use the information; when its wrong, when its right??..what is missing, etc. I actually have a hand-signal that I use whenever I describe the difference to someone. When I say, "knowing", I tap my finger on my temple; pointing to my brain. When I say 'knowing ', I then open my hand and do a downward motion starting at my head; and then making a downward motion over my face and chest, etc. The motion implies, "knowing" with just your brain; and 'knowing ' with your entire being.

To me, songwriters who restrict themselves to what a book or person says about 'how' to write songs, have missed the entire point. And no longer 'know ' songwriting.

The only way to really 'know ' something, is to test and work with it. To fail at it, and learn from your mistakes. To be extremely familiar with the 'head-knowledge', but also its application. Some people use the word, 'wisdom '. So in our case it would be called 'songwriting wisdom'. But still, no matter how much wisdom someone writes down for someone else, it can't be transmitted perfectly to a reader. The reader still has to go out and experience the "knowledge", and turn it into 'knowledge '. Like planting a seed. Plant the "knowledge", and water it with experience. Out comes 'wisdom ' (if the soil is good)!

Both knowledge and wisdom are essential. Some people get tons of wisdom without much knowledge. Others have tons of knowledge and no wisdom to use it. But whatever you do, make no mistake; the difference between knowledge and wisdom is like the difference between the spirit and soul.

I get so sad watching songwriters that I like to support, get themselves sidetracked into the halls of head-knowledge. They start getting farther from their goals and they are clueless as to what went wrong. It really saddens me. Please don't let this be you.

Keep yourself ALIVE. Keep your songwriting, connected. Otherwise, you will wake up one day, and realize that everything that comes out of you is just lifeless math. And I personally would like to see you achieve your goals. You need to offer the world more than songwriting rules, you need to give them an experience.

Thank you for reading.

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