Bon Jovi has attained Nirvana. Don’t tell anyone but these New Jersey rock ambassadors just might have this little thing called Life all figured out. They have been rocking all corners of the world for thirty years, yet keep on smiling and loving the moments with media and fans as though they just charted their first single.
Adoring fans corner them in all manner of private moments, from sharing an elevator in a hotel to knocking over Jon’s glass of cabernet as he chills on that last bar stool to the right…yet they smile at the intrusion, and keep coming back to give us more.
Through it all, the band keeps on going, driven by the irrefutable desire to remain relevant in a world of disposable bubblegum entertainment.
Tico Torres keeps the heartbeat going with tireless Popeye sized arms; David Bryan keeps tinkling the ivories and smiling like he’s having the time of his life; bassist Hugh McDonald revels in his role as Unofficial Thumpmaster of the bass -line; and Richie Sambora continues to sublimate immeasurable talent to be the right hand of a lightning bolt by the name of Jon.
So, Bon Jovi fans, here’s where we get deep:
The Beatles chased what Bon Jovi has all the way to India to meditate with the Maharishi, trying to find a spiritual promised land known to eastern philosophers in the Buddhist way as Nirvana. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards briefly found it in white lines and little yellow pills in and around discos and watering holes of the rich and famous; and Aerosmith crashed and burned in flight several times trying to get to the mountain-top, and stay there.
Bon Jovi may not travel to Indonesia for anything more than a concert, or don Buddhist robes and meditate for their powers of continued attainment and inner satisfaction; hell the closest thing to Yoga this band gets is Jon’s warm-up exercises before each show!
Yet the band has attained their version of Nirvana, and it’s evident in every performance.
Justin Bieber may have glass doors to bump into and forty million Twitter followers and Kanye may have an enormous jaw and Kim K’s enormous booty, but Bon Jovi has attained Nirvana through the very real Zen of their music….and no, I’m not enjoying bath salts as I write this;nor do I intend any disrespect to practicing Buddhists near and far.
The point is their music IS their meditation; intentional or not Bon Jovi displays consistent characteristics of a group of individual musicians that are able to continuously love what they do because of how they interact with their fans and share their music with the world.
In his book ‘The Heart Sutra’s’, the Dalai Lama defines Nirvana as the “state beyond sorrows”, or a “state of freedom from cyclic existence”.
While an over-simplification here, for our purposes this means that the individual has found a way to transcend worldly desires, needs and drives—through such practices as Zen meditation—by getting out of self, being concerned for others, choosing to do no harm, and having right motive while displaying right action most of the time.
Lord knows the band doesn’t walk on water, nor would we want them to; their humanness is what makes each member connect with us on a very intimate level.
We accept them and they us, warts and all, yet they choose to share with us long beyond a period of time in which any concern for us the fans was absolutely logical or even necessary.
That is giving in its’ purest form; and in the absence of the entire band of brothers acting like juvenile blow monkeys on tour consorting with every group and taking a toke from every blunt passed their way, its’ also selflessness to the highest.
Bon Jovi unfailingly gives us happiness, and the fans and the band unconditionally validate one another beyond what most bands can ever hope to achieve; yet its’ more sacred than the most grotesque financial commercial success.
Indeed, this is more than most choose to consider about bands they love. Call it Deep Jovi, but the fact remains that by their music and their actions, this band exemplifies a far deeper human message than just music for the sake of fun and profit.
In his book ‘Awakening The Buddha Within’, Lama Surya Das talks about a ‘Buddha Dharma’ that is called a Lion’s Roar because it rings out throughout the forest, calling all of us to awakening that “challenges us to be wise, sane, loving, and as compassionate as we are able to be—to be all that we are”.
“Not to be somebody else, not to live somebody else’s life, but to awaken and be true to who and what we are, every day—not just in what we think and say, but also in what we do”.
And it is on this very high level that Bon Jovi shares with us the very example of what it means to do all of these things, and keep on doing them with a shrug and a smile and a “Have A Nice Day”, even when the rest of the world won’t cooperate.
Read more articles by National Bon Jovi Examiner Glenn Osrin here.
Love Richie Sambora? Read National Richie Sambora Examiner articles here.
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