It takes a true artist to publicly bare their soul like Sydney-born accomplished musician Ben Lee has over the last two decades. Ben’s artistry has evolved alongside his spirituality; his songs strike a chord with admirably honest, heart-opening messages. Based in Los Angeles with his actress wife, Ione Skye, and their two daughters, this musical genius talked to Diana Timmins about conscious living, love and parenthood.
AYJ: When you first travelled to meet Indian guru, Sri Sakthi Amma, you were contemplating quitting music; how did this influence your approach to music and life thereon in?
Ben: I had to pass though many stages and false paths to arrive to my inner teacher. I think the particular phase you refer to was around 2003. I learned many things from this chapter; most importantly that all gurus are false gurus. Not in the sense that there was overt corruption as many people fear, but simply that the internal path can only be guided by the inner guru. The inner guru is real, it’s not a metaphor. Most people unfortunately don’t bother looking for it. When I met my internal guide a few years ago, I began a new chapter in my spiritual progression and artistic development.
AYJ: Awakening consciousness is one of your common themes; how can this be achieved?
Ben: Many cultures and religions have different modalities for creating amplified states of consciousness, such as; prayer, meditation, dance, plant medicine, chanting. No one tool works for everybody. First, we must understand that we are asleep, machine-like. This sad admission is fundamental; those that believe they are awake are the most asleep! From there, we can begin the process of awakening. Knowledge is vital for awakening, as our sleepy state is primarily a form of ignorance. So, the path of knowledge is the true road to consciousness.
AYJ: What are some main aspects of your spiritual practice?
Ben: I practice The Three Jewels of the Divine Mother: to die, be born, and serve God. The Pneuma System has helped me understand the ancient nature of these teachings. These were described in code by Jesus when he instructed his disciples to “deny thyself, pick up your cross and follow me”. To die is to target our psychological flaws systematically until one day we arrive at the destruction of the ego. To be born is related to sacred sexuality and re-building of the multiple bodies. To serve God is to serve the inner God.
AYJ: ‘Love Is the Great Rebellion’ is your tenth studio album; what does this title imply, and how do you define love?
Ben: Love is the fire that destroys us, and also provides us with the opportunity for a new life. This album was about recognizing my errors and rectifying them. I love the ancient philosophical maxim that tells us it is never too late to begin again, but the rebellion against ourselves is not easy. When we look at our lives honestly and see the wreckage of dishonesty with ourselves and others, it takes a true warrior to stand up, dust themselves off, and begin again on the path to God.
AYJ: What can you tell us about sharing your musical gifts as an ambassador for Edo & Jo’s charity, A Sound Life?
Ben: I like the idea of creating a more tender and humane experience for patients in the medical world, especially children. I have played at Westmead and Randwick Children’s Hospital, and they do a great job of keeping the experience as fun as possible for the kids. Honestly, I‘ve realised it’s as much about the parents as the patients. They often spend months on end being the source of strength for their sick kids, and this is a way of providing them with fun and inspiration.
AYJ: How would you summarise the biggest lesson you have learnt from fatherhood?
Ben: Don’t be a hypocrite; your children learn from your example. If you are teaching your kids the value of being true to their hearts, you can only do it by being true to your own!
Ben Lee tours Australia regularly hosting inspirational workshops and concerts; stay connected via his Facebook page and www.ben-lee.com .
photo credit: Erik Anders Lang
ASL picture to come