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The PARABLE of the PIANIST
you were a great concert pianist. In fact, you were one of the best the world
had ever seen. You were famous, and wealthy, and all the world was your oyster-uh,
Then one day you got amnesia and forgot you were a great pianist. It doesn't matter how it happenedit might have been a blow to the head or a bad reaction to some medicationbut the point is you not only don't remember being a pianist, you don't even know how to play the piano at all. You've forgotten.
Now the doctors say the information itselfthe knowledge you've obtained over a lifetime of practiceis still there. There is no brain damage-you simply lack the ability to access the information. Your family, trying to be helpful, decide that your learning this fact might lead to frustration, anger, depressioneven suicide, and so they keep it from youostensibly for your own good. As such, you go around completely unaware of who and what you are.
One day, however, you notice the huge piano sitting in the corner of your livingroom and, bored and curious, you sit down at it and gently stroke a few keys. Consciously, you have no idea how to play, but something about the massive instrument strikes you as familiar. Timidly, you try to play the melody of a tune you heard over the radio by ear, attempting to pick the right notes from a bewildering array of ivory colored keys. To your own surprise, after a few minutes you manage to punch out the proper keys well enough that you can play the simple song. It was almost as if you "knew" some of the notes, at least well enough to play a simple melody, but you're not sure why that is.
Intrigued now, you try a second melody, again with similar results. It almost seems you have a knack for the piano, and you spend the next few days trying to figure out the notes to other little tunes, pounding away at the massive instrument for hours at a time, enjoying yourself immensely.
Finally, your family, noticing your newfound interest in the piano and after consulting with the doctors, agree you are recovered enough that the "secret" of your gifted past can be safely revealed, and you discover the truth about yourself. At first incapable of believing it, it takes some effort on their partincluding showing you the many albums and CDs you have made and even watching a DVD of yourself in concertbefore you are convinced of your previous life. It seems incredible, you decide, considering that you can barely get through Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star without several mistakes, but it must be true. It's a sobering thought.
Later, musing over this revelation and staring at the keys of the piano intensely, you let your mind go blank and poise your fingers over the keyboard, waiting forwhat? Inspiration? Could it be true? Do you really know how to play the piano the way you did in the video? Is that knowledge really still there-somewhere in the recesses of your brain, trying desperately to bubble to the surface? It seems impossible! You can't remember anything! It's all gone.
Just as you're about to give up, however, suddenly a snippet of notes comes to mind and you let your fingers fall effortlessly to the keyboard. Almost without looking, you play several measures from a very complex arrangement-one you have no conscious memory of hearing before-but yet one that seems oddly familiar. You stop and ponder what just happened.
You did it! You played better than you had since the accident, and it felt so natural. Excited now, you strain to remember more of the arrangement and, much to your surprise, it starts coming back to you, one measure at a time. After several hours you not only have recalled the entire arrangement, you begin playing it effortlessly and with increasing proficiency.
Then, like a dam that has burst, it all comes back to you at once. Hundreds of complex compositions that were always there bursting forth as though under high pressure, spewing forth with a new urgency, demanding to be played once again. Your recovery is complete! You're back to being who you were.
A few weeks later you are back on the circuit performing before sold-out houses, your skills undamaged by your illness but your appreciation for your gift more pronounced than ever. You play now with a newfound sense of joy you had not felt for years, and, in stark contrast to the almost resentful, unenthusiastic attitude you displayed before the accident, now you look forward in eager anticipation to every concert. Somehow, in some strange way, the loss of your gift has renewed your love for it. In fact, it has utterly restored it.
This is how it is with us. We have simply "forgotten" we are a manifestation of the divine and all that means. And just as the amnesiac pianist could have gone on the rest of his or her life never remembering their proficiency at the piano and so essentially forgetting who they really are, so the effect is the same for us. Like the forgetful pianist, we, too, will never realize the joy playing the piano brings to us unless we remember that it is a part of who we are. In the same way, it is only as we are convinced of the fact we are God that the true nature of what that means may begin to bubble to the surface. It may not burst forth all at once, and we may never recall all that we were until we leave this planet, but we are on our way.
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