In Service Of Other Beings And In Service Of The Earth

by Paul Barton

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This music tells the story of how I grew up and formed my current worldview. You may want to just listen to it without any expectations, but if you want some more guidance as you listen, read below.

It starts with the sound of a stream. I'm not sure why. I went for a walk one day and recorded a stream and I guess it felt right.

Then it's an Om circle. Many voices layered on top of each other. I think this sounds cool. Listen to the overtones and meditate.

Guitar, banjo, and ukulele creep in. This is childhood. I tried to convey an innocence but also an ignorance of the world. This is a privileged childhood of a white middle class dude growing up in the Canadian suburbs. Childhood ended when I learned about the world and all of the problems it has. You'll hear sounds of a big city, and all the sounds of childhood dissolve into some muddled mess. The clock strikes 11pm.

Why. Why is the world like this? Why is there suffering? Why are we wrecking the planet? Why is life hard?

I try to battle against the forces that are causing the world to be like this. The rhythm you hear is the rhythm of the punches from a UFC fight. Conor Mcgregor v Marcus Brimage. The voices in the background are naming global problems like climate change, deforestation, extinction, racism, sexism, colonialism, etc. There's a weird voice telling me to “get to work, earn a living, save the world, fight the evil.” In the end I lose the battle.

I enter a space of unknowing. Of not knowing what's real, not knowing who I am, and not knowing what to do. I feel alone in this. I'm imagining myself walking through a forest at night in a storm, and I don't even care about finding help. But help comes anyway.

Help comes in the form of someone asking me for help. This person doesn't know that they are helping me, they think I'm helping them. By asking me for help, they give me something important to do, and they show me I'm not alone, and it feels right. I'm imagining someone on a farm who is asking me to help them move something. And the choir sings “We save each other from despair. We are not alone”

Then Charles Eisenstien gives me an intellectual understanding of what the world and I have been experiencing. I spent a few months listening to lectures he has on youtube. Everything I heard him say just felt right to me, so I had to include him in this piece of music. When Charles finishes, I rejoice, singing “Oh! It's okay to love! Yes! It's okay to sing about it too!” I've found my new story of being, my new worldview. The joy fades away, as emotions do, and an awareness of peace is restored. The Om voices return. The end.

If you want to talk more about this, just call me if you have my phone number. Or find me on facebook. Or email me


released September 12, 2016

Paul Barton - composition and various instruments
Mara Nesrallah - soprano and alto voice
Alina Kouvchinova - voice acting
I used audio from a talk given by Charles Eisenstien in 2012 at The Hive in Vancouver. Listen to the full talk here


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