Sail Away or Transcend Away?

About a year ago, I was sitting in the car listening to 107.3—the oldie’s station—when I heard a melodic voice come on.  All of a sudden, I was swept by the powerful voice of a woman who, in her own musical genius, was able to create the sound of a hundred choir singers.  Have you guessed her name yet? It’s Enya.  Admittedly, she’s had her critics.  Many question her ability, citing that she has never performed live in any real capacity.  However, for me, she represents the epitome of musical symbiosis with nature.  As a kid, I remember listening to a cassette of her’s in the car, and looking out of the windows, everything seemed more beautiful.  Alright, I know.  Enya’s pretty corny in her own way too.   You can’t really dance to her songs.  Singing to them would be almost impossible.  So, instead, you kind of just lay there or sway awkwardly.  As a result, I’ve never been able to get my family or friends as “in” to Enya as I am.  Even while have to embrace all of the awkward wavelike movements that I inevitably do when listening, I’m still a fan.

So when we were given this blog post, her name immediately came into my head.  Her music is transcendent, but it also sounds like transcendentalism.  It’s not psychedelic rock-n-roll, nor is it Bob Marley’s music championing oneness with the herb, but it does sound like the sort of melodic fluidity that is the philosophy of transcendentalism.  That’s how I would describe transcendentalism: melodic oneness with the surrounding world.  As a listener to Enya, we are rendered motionless, melting into the surrounding space as we become a part of the world around us.  To dance or sing to her would disrupt the point.  We are supposed to be speechless, motionless,  and one with the inanimate.   Her music makes us Emerson’s “transparent eyeball” more than any other tunes I can recall are able to.

Still confused about what transcendentalism is?  I sort of think it’s whatever you want it to be; after all, the philosophy’s adherents were anti-establishment themselves.  But to give a brief summary of Thoreau, Whitman, and Emerson’s basic beliefs, I’ve decided to confine the definition to three phrases: self-reliance, appreciation for nature, and meditative calmness about life’s challenges.  Enya’s music parallels all of these ideas so here’s her most transcendent song:

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