Deep Insights Through Alice Coltrane’s Spiritual Jazz

In the resonance of spiritual jazz,  every moment is an opportunity to reconnect, listen deeply, and cultivate a tranquil mind amidst life’s cacophonies. The Meditativist.

On April 17, 2024, at our “Spiritual Jazz Listening and Meditation Jam Session,” co-facilitated by me, The Meditativist, and Tynisha Brooks, we delved into the interplay between meditation and the profound sounds of Alice Coltrane’s 1971 spiritual jazz masterpiece, “Journey Into Satchidananda.” We embarked on a mindfulness journey, entwining our awareness with the ethereal layers of Alice Coltrane’s music. 

Fortuitously, while we were planning our session in March 2024, a first-time release of her performing her composition live in 1970 was released. Also, we found out that 2024-2025 is “The Year of Alice Coltrane.”

During our session, we discovered that Coltrane’s music, with its transcendent qualities, is an ideal match for meditation. Our Jam Session was a deep dive into how her intricate compositions combined with meditation enriched our awareness. We “tasted” the wisdom woven into her melodies and harmonies.

Throughout our Jam Session, Tynisha and I guided participants through meditation exercises focused on the present moment, tuning into the sensations elicited by Coltrane’s music. We cultivated the skill of being fully aware, observing the ebb and flow of thoughts and feelings in our mind and body, and embracing all the positive, negative, and neutral experiences that emerged.

We encouraged focused listening, prompting attendees to select a specific element of the music, such as the harp or bass, and let it be the anchor for their meditation. By doing so, we re-emphasized that any object can be a focus of our meditation. In this session, we highlighted how Coltrane’s music could enhance the sensory experience, elicit a profound emotional response, and lead to “insights.”

Participants reported a wide range of emotions from their meditative listening—some experienced peace and tranquility, some discordance and disjointedness, while others felt a heightened connection with the universe. These reflections demonstrated the powerful role of spiritual jazz as a tool for personal and communal exploration, revealing how meditation can deepen the music-listening experience, how music can deepen the meditation experience, and how the combined effects of music and meditation can unlock deep understanding.

As we wrapped up, we challenged everyone to take the practices from our Jam Session into their everyday lives. We suggested revisiting Alice Coltrane’s albums with a renewed focus on moment-by-moment awareness and using that awareness to enrich their listening and daily experiences.

We invite you to join us on May 15, 2024, to explore Gary Bartz and his 1969 album “Universe.” Together, we’ll experiment with making liberation and freedom a tangible reality through the boundless realm of spiritual jazz. We’ll experiment with Making Liberation and Freedom Happen in Music, Meditation Movement, and Life. The spirit sings through the strings of the harp; in the silence of the soul, wisdom rings. The Meditativist.

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