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Persuading with the power of music

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As I have said before, I did not come to the path of compassion, t’ai chi, and peacefulness from any touchy-feely Southern California sunny disposition, but instead from necessity, having too often over-dwelled on the apparently excessive darkness in life and the seemingly limitless depths of rottenness that too many people are capable of and actually engage in. For my to continue dwelling so darkly did not make me a particularly productive or happy human being, nor was it beneficial for those around me.

I have spoken of inspiration on this path from spiritual devotees, t’ai chi masters and trial lawyers, among others. Now I add to that list a World War II soldier, Jack Tueller, who recounts convincing a German sniper not to shoot, through nothing more than capturing the sniper’s heart with passionate playing of his trumpet, which is the instrument that I played for many years.

Then a young soldier around 23-years-old, Tueller instinctively realized how much he had in common with the sniper, including the sniper’s fear.

Behind the seemingly confident and self-assured exterior of so many people is deep, wide and decades-long fear, pain, and fear of that fear and pain being discovered by others and by themselves. In persuading them, that fear is not to be manipulated, but to be understood with compassion on the way to persuading them.

Without making any argument or threat, Tueller convinced the sniper not to shoot. The sniper later told Tueller that with that music, he was unable to shoot; the sniper had thusly recognized the humanity he shared with the opposing soldiers. Tueller calls it the power of music.

Regardless of who coined the phrase “If you are arguing, you are losing”, it makes sense in many ways. We connect most powerfully with those we are trying to persuade less through argument than by connecting with the very core of their being and essence.