Genius is God's Presence in the world

"Genius is God's Presence in the world" - these words came to me while watching Michael Jackson's "This Is It."

Whatever MJ's eccentricities, adventures and challenges one may perceive he had in this world, his genius is unmistakable.

I had not identified myself as a fan before the film, and though like everyone I knew his music, I did not know his heart which in the film, he sends out to the whole planet.

In the movie, what I see is the way he simply channels genius, the presence of Spirit, through his body and voice. Even the way he places the words in space is highly mystical - he gives words and music physicality. The way he uses silence is also stunning. He speaks at one point about letting the vibration "simmer." Everything has to build. How does he know when to break it and give a cue to the other dancers? He says he will "feel it," sense it, know it, even when that is dependent on images changing on the screen behind him.

He comes off as shy and incredibly sensitive, and as someone who is modest and deflects the enthusiasm for his powerful improvisation by turning around, emphasizing the Love, and blessing everyone else.

The scenes of his environmental message are particularly compelling. Without spoiling the film, imagine a girl, a forest, and a bulldozer. Michael truly cares about the Earth, and he wants everyone to know and to share his love.

In fact, Love is the dominant word in the film, and Michael repeatedly refers to sensing the love in the music and to putting love into the performance. He tells people that love is the entire reason for what they are doing.

He is obviously gifted at extracting the maximum creative performance from everyone around - they call him a perfectionist, but he is also listening to an authentic voice deep within. As such, he is able to channel both his gift with perfection, and the gifts of all the artists around him. That much is inspiring.

At one point, MJ tells the guitarist: "this is your moment to shine." His arms and hands move, whole body moves, it is as if he is summoning the creative Force from the guitar and its player and distributing the energy out into the audience.

So, I have become a fan, not of a personality, but of the great being who emerged and expressed himself through that body.

I was pleased that at the end of the movie, the lettering acknowledged Michael Jackson, King of Pop. It did not give the year of his birth and death. That would have been limiting. Instead, it acknowledged the ever-present eternal in his gift. A great spirit resided in that man - perhaps side-by-side with personality traits, but still the gift expressed itself purely through the lyrics, sounds, and gestures.

At one point Michael Jackson sings "One Bad Apple" and he has to stop because he says it is like a hammer in his ears, and says he has to overcome it. I remember reading that he would be beaten as a child if he messed up during the performance. At any rate, the director asks a very here-and-now, physical question, namely, would Michael like the music softer or louder, how would he like to hear it changed. Michael says to tone it down, but it is more evidently a psychological experience for him - or so I interpreted it - as to how to deal with his traumatic memories of that song and convert these into a more powerfully positive flow from his present experience. Ultimately, he does that. It is amazing though to witness him experience every sound, every movement, on the subtle levels - emotional, psychological, and spiritual.

And in that way, from that place of immense sensitivity to the authentic call of the soul behind the sounds, genius creates the physical manifestation of Spirit's presence in the world.

And so after the movie - moon-walking silently through Irvine Spectrum -- I came home and said to the man in the mirror: what is your genius, and how are you called to express it in the world?

That question will resonate and attract force over the coming days. It is one formulation of perhaps the one true question. May part of the exploration always remain open, so that as with Michael, the gift of the moment reveals itself to me.


This article is for M, because I know she will understand it.