“Seven Sacred Names” Album by Michael Harrison

Hayy

“Seven Sacred Names” by composer Michael Harrison is a companion album to the book Nature’s Hidden Dimension by W.H.S. Gebel. The book suggests that the Universe has an inner as well as an outer life, intelligence has always existed, and the unfolding and evolution of the Universe is a sign of universal intelligence wishing to know itself. 


Discoveries in cosmology and biology have sparked our imagination with a fascinating story of the origin and evolution of the Universe. We understand through science much about the outer workings of nature. However, there is another dimension of our experience that science hasn’t been able to touch—our inner life. Despite scientific advances, intelligence and consciousness remain mysteries along with some of their experiential implications such as love and a sense of right and wrong. 


Mystics from all cultural and religious traditions have made discoveries that penetrate the mysteries of inner life. As they delved deeper, they discovered that our identity as individuals separated from others is an illusion. Our inner life merges in its depth into the universal inner life. What story, then, do mystics tell about the origins and evolution of the inner life of the Universe? 


The mystical story begins with vibration. One could even say that at the origin of the inner life of the Universe, what first emerged was music. According to the mystical cosmology of Sufism, the Absolute, the Hidden Treasure longing to be known, created the World that it might know itself. To know itself, the Absolute awakened in manifestation through the perfect divine qualities known as the Beautiful Names of God.

 

Seven of these names, known as the Seven Leading Names, tell the story of the first steps in the awakening of the Absolute. The compositions in Michael Harrison’s album reflect these divine qualities and stages of awakening. 


• “Al Hayy” signals the realization that “I exist” when nothing else is known.

• “Al Alim” is a recognition of self with the discovery “I know I exist.”

• “Al Qadr” is an awakening of agency, “I have the power and will to do something.”

• “Al Mureed” signifies the birth of desire, the motivation needed to direct the will, “I desire for something.”

• “Al Sami” is an awakening to an innate capacity for self-discovery, in this case, an ability to detect vibration, “I have the capacity of hearing.”

• “Al Basir” is the second capacity of discovery to awaken, the ability to detect light, “I have the capacity of seeing.”

• “Al Kalim” is the culminating capacity needed to fulfill the desire for self-knowledge. In order to know oneself, one must have the capacity to express what one contains, “I have the capacity to express all that is within me.”