Reflections on A Love Supreme, Part One


Celebrating Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere – by Marion Atmo.

Spring my Michael Sudheer

Yesterday was officially the first day of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere, the Equinox – equal day and night. And today is the anniversary of Osho’s enlightenment as a young man in 1953.

But why ‘a love supreme’?

For lovers of jazz and soulful music, A Love Supreme is John Coltrane’s masterpiece. I chose this title after last week’s live gig by the ‘Coltrane Dedication Quintet’ in Narberth, Pembrokeshire. Hearing the four notes by the bass player repeated again and again – ‘a love su-preme, a love su-preme’ (“Acknowledgement”, Part I) I was transported back to when I heard this amazing LP decades ago. It is a spiritual work – Coltrane admitted that he didn’t own his talent but was channelling a higher power. He had the discipline, the tools and the technique, but the actual music seemed to happen by itself. This is an example of skill combined with ‘allowing love to happen’, leading to sublime results.

Archie Shepp, who played tenor sax on alternate takes of Acknowledgement, reflects, ‘I see it as a powerful, spiritual work that really confirms John’s connection to the Afro-American church. These things seem to refer to personal commitment to a supreme being.’

John Coltrane was influenced by his second wife, Alice, a wonderful harpist and pianist whose compositions feel divinely inspired. She recalled that one day late in the summer of 1964, John came downstairs in his new house ‘like Moses coming down from the mountain’, holding a complete and formal outline for a new four-part suite. It was the only composition of Coltrane’s that would be that formally prepared. In December 1964, Coltrane’s classic quartet recorded the entirety of the album’s four suites in one day.

Jumping to Spring, where does Spring spring from?

Like enlightenment, it is the flowering of seeds that have grown slowly in the darkness. The winter months – and our seasons of discontent – provide the soil and the challenges for new life to emerge. Spring – like awareness – is a process. It’s not separate from other seasons. It arises out of winter and develops into full flowering in the summer, then contraction and change of form in the autumn. The recycling process is constant.

Spring sends ripples of pleasure and nourishment to all creatures who drink from the blossoms. And to us who stop to admire them, taking time to bathe in their radiance of love.

So an enlightened soul can be a source of joy and nourishment to those who care to linger by his/her side. Transmission can happen – which is felt as love, presence and communication – and it flows from giver to a receiver who is receptive. This exchange of love doesn’t depend on location or being in a physical body. Universal heart and universal mind are the channels outside our everyday time and space boundaries.

A Love Supreme is also balance.

Supreme is not about being ‘higher’ or better. It just is and includes all things – a balance. I used to feel uncomfortable about the meaning of the name Osho gave me – Atmo as ‘Supreme Self’. Issues around appearing superior – maybe something to do with having an English middle-class background? Now, it’s easier to accept that ‘supreme’ is related to the beyond; beyond identities and attachments.

Supreme love knows it has come from darkness, it has undergone a passage. Love does not condemn darkness – simply the light has come in. The Equinox is a reminder of balance in all things with equal day and night hours.

Osho’s lectures and teachings describe the quality of being awake and present to the moment. This is awareness – the key to living life in balance. Love is the blossoming of awareness, love arises like the Spring. And like the music of John and Alice Coltrane and others who bring the divine into their listening, composing and playing.

Published last year on Marion Atmo’s blog: – Image by the wonderful Michael Sudheer:

Marion Atmo

Marion Atmo is a sannyasin since 1981 and now lives in Wales, UK. She played bass guitar and keyboards in the English and Dutch Osho Communes and also in Pune.

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