Harmony of Saints and Sounds: Assisi, Coltrane, and the Cosmic Force

St. Francis of Assisi, born in 1182 as Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone, hailed from a wealthy family. Despite his early life of privilege, he eventually realized the emptiness of material wealth and chose a life of simplicity and poverty to fully embrace his Divine calling.

The Potential for Divine Fulfillment

We all have the capacity to be fully Divine. But we must see it, feel it, desire it, be fearless, and have the courage to live this divinity in our own unique and authentic way. When we find this courage, our lives become a testament to kindness, and we spend our time on Earth spreading God’s goodness to all.

Helen Keller said it beautifully: “It all comes to this: The simplest way to be happy is to do good.”

The Awe of God’s Goodness

St. Francis was profoundly moved by God’s goodness and love. His prayers overflowed with reverence for the Supreme Being who embodies all that is good. In one of his famous prayers, he said: “All powerful, all holy, most high and supreme God, sovereign good, all good, every good, you who alone are good, it is to you we must give all praise, all glory, all thanks, all honor, all blessing; to you we must refer all good always. Amen.”

Cosmic Consciousness

St. Francis understood the concept of “Cosmic Consciousness” within the human spirit—a higher, more spiritual level of awareness and understanding of “knowing God”. This knowledge goes beyond our ordinary sensory perception, connecting us to a hidden consciousness beyond the material world.

In a time when a spiritual Christian life typically meant asceticism and isolation, Francis was revolutionary. He urged his followers to be like Jesus by actively engaging with people, living the gospel, and being Christ in action. “You only know as much as you do,” he declared.

Living a life modeled after Jesus demands both Cosmic Consciousness and tremendous courage, curiosity, insight, and faith. In my view, insight and faith are like two sides of a coin; When the heart opens, you gather insight. From this insight, your faith strengthens. As your faith strengthens, your insight sharpens.

John Coltrane and Cosmic Music

As part of a poem he called “A Love Supreme,” John Coltrane famously said: “I have seen God – I have seen ungodly – none can be greater – none can compare to God.”

John Coltrane, a man of few words but immense talent, expressed his spiritual journey through music. He believed he had seen and connected with God in a profound way. His music, often referred to as “free jazz,” carried an otherworldly quality that still mystifies listeners today. [1]

Bringing Love and Goodness to the World

In 1968, six months after Coltrane’s death,  Alice Coltrane, John’s wife decided to pair two unreleased recordings with two tracks she had recorded with her own group: “Lord, Help Me to Be” and “The Sun”, with Coltrane’s tracks of “Manifestation” and “Reverend King”.

“The Sun” begins with a recording of John Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders chanting “May there be peace and love and perfection throughout all creation.”

Coltrane’s dedication to this mission to spread goodness and love was not without risk, as it challenged conventions and norms.

Perhaps writer Mark Popova said it best, “To create anything of beauty, daring, and substance that makes the world see itself afresh — be it a revolutionary law of planetary motion or the Starry Night — is the work of lonely persistence against the tides of convention and conformity, often at the cost of the visionary’s aching ostracism from the status quo.”[2]

Cosmic Force

By day, I immerse myself in healing research, using botanical medicine to help people overcome various illnesses including cancer, long COVID, and Parkinson’s disease. Often, by night, I am a jazz musician.

My upcoming album, “Cosmic Force,” celebrates the cosmos—the universe both above and within us. The cover piece, by the same name, is a high-energy song that invokes a sense of the cosmos.

The cosmos.

It’s both what we gaze upon when we look up at the stars with a feeling of awe and what is inside of us.

The Cosmic Force represents a loving and creative energy that, when tapped into, fuels our journey, and infuses us with the determination to see the world in a new light.

Some call it “God”, others the “One,” and some simply refer to it as the “Great Unknown.” I believe this force resides both in the vastness of the cosmos and within each of us.

God Within and Without

To me, this duality of God means that the divine exists both in the heavens above as the Great Unknown and as a tangible, ever-present force within and around us.

When St. Francis discovered this profound truth, he underwent a radical transformation, living a godly life with desire and courage.

Becoming Renewed

Remaking and awakening ourselves opens up new perspectives, connecting us to the Divine and Agape Love—an unwavering selfless love. “All Things New” is the title of another song on my new album “Cosmic Force.”  The song is a prayer. It evokes a sense of awakening over and over again.

The Expanding Universe

In 1927, Georges Lemaître proposed the theory that the universe began as a single point and has been expanding ever since. Edwin Hubble’s observations in 1929 supported this theory, revealing that galaxies were moving away from us, with the farther ones receding faster.


The expanding universe- an illustration
(Image credit: Getty)

What Does the Universe Have to Do With Me?

I believe we all carry a cosmic consciousness—our soul—that transcends our physical existence. When our bodies wear out, this consciousness returns to the universe, for eternity.

In 1996, an American physicist named Stuart Hameroff and his colleague Sir Roger Penrose, a mathematical physicist at Oxford University, developed the  Quantum Theory of Consciousness.

These two scientists—who are not theologians—came to believe that what humans understand as consciousness is actually the result of quantum gravity’s effects within the brain’s microtubules. During what we call ‘clinical death,’ these microtubules lose their quantum state, but their information persists and gets dispersed into the universe.[4]

Living with Purpose

What does all this mean? It means that how we live and think profoundly matters. Our purpose in life is to discover and share our unique gifts, spreading love and goodness.

Prayer and reflection help us make better choices in every aspect of our lives, whether we believe in God or not. Prioritizing love over the rat race reveals a deeper balance in the modern world.

The Thirst for God-Like Goodness

The Cosmic Force inspires us to be God-like, seeking agape love. As we embrace this search, we find ourselves living as if we are already in heaven.

Reflective prayer changes our perspective, enhancing our awareness of the world’s beauty. This newfound awe fuels passion and further introspection.

A Journey of Awe and Newness

When we set aside a little time every day for reflective prayer life flows differently. Now, we see the world with fresh eyes, finding wonder in everyday moments.

Reflection and awareness lead to a sacred and holy sense of newness, allowing us to enjoy every stage of life with a sense of awe.

Now, we see the sunset and the moon rise with our new eyes. The birds and the flowers, the growth of your garden, the sharing of a meal—even the simple act of listening to music—all become much more alive. Reflection and awareness lead to a newness that is sacred and holy. It’s not about anti-aging. It’s about enjoying every stage of the journey, facing life with a sense of awe, and striving to be alive.

Inspired by St. Francis

Studying St. Francis’s life inspires us to believe that such a transformation is possible, though not without its challenges. The practice of Phronesis, removing obstacles that hinder our Divinity, is key to this transformation. 

Stay Awake and Serve

Life often follows patterns, but God is often found in the interruptions and surprises that defy routine, as Father Richard Rohr reminds us. He explained: “Most of us just repeat the same routines every day, and we’re upset if there are any interruptions to our patterns. Yet God is invariably and ironically found in the interruptions, the discontinuities, the exceptions, the surprises—and seldom in the patterns. God has to catch us literally ‘off guard!’”[5] 

In the Garden of Gethsemane, the last words Jesus spoke to his apostles were, “Stay awake.”

Brother Lawrence was a lay brother in a Carmelite monastery. His reflections, Practice of the Presence of God, begins by encouraging us to take brief moments of pause during our busy days to enhance our awareness of God’s presence. A life lived with this awareness is one of faith, honor, love, and service.

The Divine Within and All-Around

God resides both within us and in the world around us, encompassing everything in heaven and on earth.

The spirit of St. Francis and all who lived by the Divine strengthens us. Let’s put Cosmic Force, Cosmic Love, and Divinity into practice, spreading love and goodness wherever we go.[6] 

About the Author:

Donald R. Yance is the founder of the Mederi Center. A Clinical Master Herbalist and Certified Nutritionist, Donnie is renowned for his extraordinary knowledge and deep understanding of the healing properties of plants and nutrition, as well as of epigenetics, laboratory medicine, oncologic pathology, and molecular oncology. He is a professional member of the American Herbalists Guild, National Association of Nutrition Professionals, Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine, and the Society for Integrative Oncology.

[1] https://www.vice.com/en/article/nemw88/john-coltrane-guide-essay-streaming

[2] https://www.themarginalian.org/2021/07/06/john-coltrane-creative-urge/

[3] https://spaceplace.nasa.gov/big-bang/en/

[4] https://curiosmos.com/scientists-say-the-soul-does-not-die-it-returns-to-the-universe/

[5] Rohr, Richard, Just This (Albuquerque, NM: CAC Publishing, 2017), 37–38. 

[6] Nicolas Herman, Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, Practice of the Presence, trans. Carmen Acevedo Butcher (Minneapolis, MN: Broadleaf Books, 2022), 48–49

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5 Replies to “Harmony of Saints and Sounds: Assisi, Coltrane, and the Cosmic Force”

  1. Beautifully expressed and inspiring! Where can we hear your latest album? I normally listen to music on Pandora so I will try it there. I heard you speak at the Medicine’s of the Earth conference and bought some bottles of your mushroom formula. Feeling energetic and healthy at 81 next week. So glad that you are writing these blogs as you have been an inspiration for years!

  2. Thank you for this article. I sincerely appreciate what you are writing about. I try to sit quietly each day whether for a few minutes or an hour. It is so wonderful to have God on my side! I was ill for 4 years where I could hardly leave home. After 11 medical doctors could do nothing for me I sought out an integrative doctor and with her help my prayers were answered. I am pretty well most days now as I take the supplements and continue to be careful of what I eat.
    Thank you,

  3. Beautiful. God is found in the interruptions, the discontinuities, the exceptions, the surprises, not in the patterns. Well said. Let’s stay awake. Let’s put divinity into practice.
    Thank you 🙏

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