shawn phillips in padmasana - om my!
what would shawn say -
about yoga, chakras, creativity, health, love & clarity?!

Me:  You’ve said that yoga, for you, has evolved beyond the physical. Can you elaborate on how you now incorporate yoga in your life?

SHAWN:   Well, what I say beyond the physical is because at this point I’m having some problems with cholesterol and stuff like that–
simply because of eating road food and this that and the other over all the years, and I’m havin to take a medicine that lowers cholesterol
— and it makes my joints and my muscles ache. But, what I meant by that was once you have done yoga for a period of many, many years–
cause I did yoga for almost 18 years–and what it does is, it not only tunes the organism like you tune a violin or a guitar or something–you tune it up
to where it functions specifically, and I mean your movements are precise– you don’t fool around–you go exactly where your gonna go..but at the same time that it tunes the organism, what it basically does is tunes the mind as well, and you get a focused sense that you never lose from that point, because everyday that you do yoga– it doesn’t matter what kind of yoga, whether it’s hatha or samadhi yoga… which is what I ended up doing in the end–whatever type of yoga you practice, you still end up with a very focused mind, and that stays with you for the rest of your life…and you can go in and out of that state of focused mind. It’s like ..let’s see …what’s a good analogy– it’s like waking up inthe morning and you’re kinda like blurry, you know, for three or four hours (me: at least) really– that’s the one thing I really hate about life. I wish to hell I could wake up just as awake as I was before I went to sleep you know… but, it allows you to develop that focused mind and that’s what I meant by it goes beyond the physical, because I actually don’t ..I very rarely….. occasionally, I’ll sit down and I’ll do some asanas and so forth now… especially when it’s warm or something like that…I don’t exercise that much because I’m always workin in the studio and composing and so forth, but when it’s hot… sooner or later I’m gonna build a swimmin pool here at our house, and that is my favorite exercise, you know–because when you swim you use every single muscle in your body, and that’s why I was saying –that’s what I mean by it goes beyond the physical– it becomes a mental thing. You can do yoga mentally as you as you go through your years.

Me:  Your profound lyrics of peace, love, understanding and healing of the planet, reflect insight and wisdom that most people spend
a lifetime acquiring; yet, you were writing these songs at a very young age. What influenced this introspective nature?

SHAWN: Introspection! drugs…ok, I mean I’m gonna be very straightforward with you…introspection…Who am I? What am I?
Why am I? Why am I here? Why are we here? What the hell’s goin on? All these things are runnin through my head at a very early age because
I had a parental upbringing that caused me to ask these questions. And through two different paths …through the yoga–through the drugs—
through a combination of both and when I say the drugs, all what I mean is… I mean LSD … ok, because it was not only discovered for what it was in1948, but it has been used since the time of the Essenes—because they discovered some of the Dead Sea Scrolls that were translated unbiasedly by some folks in UNESCO and they never got to the Catholic Church, so they did not get diluted as it were and they discovered that the Essenes were people who discovered that the fungus that grows on barley– the erganine and iso-erganine alkaloids–they didn’t know why they were doing it, but all they knew is that when they ate this barley during their sacred rituals, the ergotamine and so forth in there would cause that altered state of consciousness, and it would act as a catalyst for spiritual transformation and so consequently with my experiments– I mean how many millions of people have been out there takin, Indian mescaline you know and stuff like that…and that I’ve had changes in consciousness through that. I had changes, as I was saying before,—everyday you do yoga, you transform your consciousness to a higher level and basically that… you
just arrive at a point to where your consciousness and your whole being just says one word: YES! ok… yes to everything. And when I talk about the
peace and love and so forth like that –because that is our basic state.. our basic state is not a state of aggression… our basic state is a state of ecstatic wonder. That is the basic state of man– not aggression–we are not aggressive when we are born. We’re not like lions or wolverines or the other
predators of the world. A baby is a baby. He’s completely helpless, and if you look in their face that’s all you see— is ecstatic wonder,
and that is our basic state. But when I talk about love in the world, I’mnot talkin about …oh you know, give us a hug blah blah..I’m talkin I’m really talkin about tough love and it’s like I don’t know..uh an analogy to that would be kind of difficult I mean… here’s an analogy!…we’re about to bomb the shit out of Iraq because they’re producing mass destructive weapons ok.. that’s tough love
even though we’re taking life and causing immense amounts of mass physical destruction of buildings and so forth, it’s still..we’re
stopping somebody who is using their consciousness of hate to hurt the world. So we’re using a version of tough love to stop them. And then you go in there and you get Kofi Annan who goes in and he uses a lighter level of tough love, and he goes in there with his diplomatic sources and says ok here’s the deal… we’re gonna bomb the shit out of you if you don’t give in to this. Let them look around because if you guys are doing this nobody in the world is going to support you. And that’s what I mean cause the peacis inherently there. Everybody be runnin round goin oh God I’m lookin for happiness. The minute they stop looking, they’ll be happy..cause it’s already there.

Me:  Yogis use the power of the voice, music, sounds, and tones to activate the chakras. I often detect this same quality in your music.
Was this ever your intention to affect the listener on this level?

SHAWN: Yes! Because when you use the voice …when you and I speak, what we’re doing is– a voice becomes a….every time you speak, it is a complete and total articulation of your consciousness. And what happens is– I know that certain vibrational levels of my voice, or of anybody else’s voice for that matter …certain vibrational levels activate certain things in this world. And… because everything is a vibrationalstate–I mean look at this guy that’s been on Larry King twice now and is quite famous– his name is James Van Praagh - ok, he’s workin at a real high level up there— but I mean he’s—he’s up there boy—it’s like, you know, up in the gigahertz if you wanna put it that way. But he’s workin at a real high level, and you can use a lower level of vibration or modulation if you like, to reach a higher– have somebody achieve a higher vibratory level. And I do that. It’s like I’m starting now to get down to a point to understand it a little better, because I mean.. if you listen to the first few years… I was up there kinda on the edge and almost screeching (me: but I like that…) yea…I know it’s (me: Screamer for Phlyses…I like that)..exactly…ok…well it’s one thing to soar but it’s another thing to have an edge and I’m trying to keep the voice at this point away from an edge and to create a very solid vibratory level with the voice. But it does affect everybody and yourself when you sing it.

Me:  The focus in the medical and spiritual media is on integration of body, mind and spirit. Mind and spirit are evident to everyone touched by your creativity; yet,by your own admission, your physical health suffered due to smoking and stress and resulted in open heart surgery. How has this affected your view, if at all, toward a more holistic way of life?

SHAWN:  I got one answer for you…(me: ok…) ready …(me: yup) …Listen to the tale not the artist. These are the faults and the way that I know that is correct, but I don’t necessarily practice it, you know, because there’s things I enjoy doing in life while I’m alive. That’s all there is to it. There’s things we do and some of these things are harmful to us– that’s all there is to it, and if it’s harmful and we know it… then whatcha gonna do about it (me: hmmmm) you either stop it or you continue (me: so you’re saying you haven’t changed your lifestyle…your stresses…) Oh no, I’ve definitely changed my lifestyle…I mean I…a quad by-pass not exactly an e-ticket ride, you know and I don’t want another one and I mean as we sit here…I’m up front with you, I’m smokin a little cigar, but after we hang up I’m going in to my doctor, Dr. Counts, because I’ve got an appointment today at 3:30 and I’m gonna go into him
and he’s going to prescribe to me the prescription pill that you take to stop smoking— because I have stopped smoking and my voice improved
100%, and then I got back into it because nicotine is one of the worst…it is probably the most nefarious addiction you can have. I mean I’d rather
be addicted to smack than nicotine you know. You can stop smack, but nicotine just drives you… ..Well, anyway right now he’s gonna prescribe
that stuff …..what it does is it…there’s some kind of synthetic reaction that goes on that replaces the nicotine so that you don’t want it anymore. So, I’m gonna get that…I’ll pick that up at the drugstore later this evening…so, we gonna try again. (me:Have you read any of Dr. Dean Ornish’s books on  reversing heart disease through yoga and diet:….) Well, no I haven’t really…What’s that name? Ornish? (uh-huh ) I got it..

Me:  Research has established that music, especially classical, enhances healing, learning and creativity. With your interest in classical music and human development—if given the opportunity, how would you feel about creating material marketed specifically for these purposes? …Would you consider a CD for these reasons?

SHAWN:   Yes! I’ll tell you that right now, as a matter of fact, it’s already in the works (me: oh excellent!) Because as we speak,  the room that I’m sitting in…I have just gotten my big system out of the locker again, and Arlo has made a very good suggestion to me nd I’m gonna continue to write classical music– and I don’t know really why it is…it’s just the vibrational level of classical music and the emotional content of it that creates that…that force of healing. I’ll give you a perfect example. There was a lake in Montana that was poisoned with toxics…they don’t know where it came from but all they knew is that it was killing all the animals that came to drink from it. Well, they tried to stop all the animals with scarecrows and all kinds of stuff and they tried absolutely everything and the animals kept dying…you know how they finally drove the animals away from the lake? They ringed the lake with speakers…they played Motley Crue…this is an absolutely true story—they played Twisted Sister…Motley Crue…all that kind of music…they played it 24 hours a day over that speaker system and not one animal would
come near thatlake (me: that’s incredible) Ah well, it’s absolutely true…it’s an absolutely true story…it’s a fact..and I am going to go ahead and start getting the classical music together, and very shortly here, there’s a possibility that one of my pieces may be performed by a live orchestra…I can’t comment any more than that, but afterwards you guys will find out (me: ok, that’s exciting!)

Me:  Your longtime fans know that your music transcends categorizing; however, when your A& M albums are released on CD, there will be many “seeking” people hearing SP for the very first time. How do you want to be perceived by these new listeners?

SHAWN:  As a composer…as a composer….that’s all there is. I want a box created by the music industry for composer
(me: a composer label!) not New Age…I mean (me: exactly that’s what I was worried…you know…worried that might happen with you…) Absolutely not…you can’t listen to a song like “Share the Wealth” and call it New Age…you know.

Me:  Before concluding….is there anything you’d like to add?

SHAWN: No, not really. What we just said in a nutshell …the only thing I really wanna see in the world right now is some really heavy duty creative economic effort by the new economists of the world coming around. Because what people have to realize …the world is really screwed up now because of the concept of money. What I really want to see…We can’t get rid of greed but what we can get rid of is the acceptance of it, and I wanna see all the new economists that are coming out of the schools now…The London School of Economics…all this stuff…bla bla bla so forth and so on…I wanna see them work out a way where —at this point with 6 billion people in the world your Victorian concepts of competition and so forth are not gonna fly in this world. You can’t pit one individual against the other. Competition is for sports…not for survival.

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