Singled Out: Noah Hoffeld's Stop Slow Down
It was at this spot in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, that I had a strange experience a few years back. Today I find myself here again, strangely enough at the time of this writing. Taking refuge from the crowded city, I had found a lone tree overlooking a sprawling meadow. A great stand of oak and pine bordered a long spread of grass. The hot New York Summer was in full bloom and I needed some shade to cool off and collect my thoughts.
I sat back against the big oak trunk and tried to think. The school year would soon begin again and with it my teaching and 'real life.' I needed to start planning. But I couldn't bring a single thought into focus. I was pooped. All I could feel was a big blank staring back at me from within.
All of a sudden though I began to feel a strange surge of energy in my chest. A subtle sense of connecting with something bigger than myself. I was accustomed to having similar experiences while meditating or doing yoga but never while just hanging out. What was going on with me? Too much heat I figured. But then a new phenomenon joined the energy boost. I heard some words inside my head. I couldn't call them thoughts, because I wasn't thinking them! I felt totally divorced from any sense of making them happen and didn't have the usual sensation of 'this is me' that usually accompanies thinking. Instead, I had the opposite experience- that these words came from somewhere outside myself, or if not outside, from someone deep inside that I hadn't ever met before.
"Stop. Slow down. Remember who you are."
Those were the first words I heard. Then, the stream continued, "we came to be totally free, exactly who we are." This was getting weird. I wrote down what I was hearing on my phone. It was like a passage from a book on metaphysics or philosophy, only I wasn't reading it in a book. And It wasn't written by any author. The words were somehow coming to me from an unknown source, beyond my understanding.
When I got home that evening, I realized that I'd received a long chunk of text, almost like a poem. I was amazed by the knowledge that I could never have come up with such poetry- it was much deeper than I normally think or write and carried an authority I don't claim to have. Keeping an open mind and allowing myself to think outside my normal boundaries had led me to an altogether new mental or even what you might call a spiritual experience.
It wasn't long before I had set the words to a melody and chords on the piano. 'Stop Slow Down' was born, and in a short while I began to cast the song in sound in the studio, creating the third track for my new album, Play Human. The song fit right in with the many other rock tracks on the album also dedicated to a spiritual or humanitarian message- 'Let's get ourselves right so we can get the world right.' Little did I know it that day in Prospect Park, but I was given a precious gift. Whether it came from someone outside, like a spirit from another plane, or from somewhere deep inside myself, a layer I hadn't known before, I will maybe never know.