4'33" by John Cage

This 'silent prayer', as it was referred to by its composer John Cage, is a somewhat different way of looking at prayer and the way we participate in it. It is a musical composition based entirely on silent notes played by any instrument for a timed setting of 4 minutes and 33 seconds. The higher goal of the musician here is to listen rather than to play. One idea being that the silent spaces in life actually form the basis of understanding rather than the sounds. This is a rather bold departure from the general attitude of many people who seem to only be seeking meaning in the sounds of life. The goal of this composition then becomes to bring yourself to it as a performer of life, but without the intention to make anything happen. We are developing a willingness to behold that which is already happening now. We are actually experiencing the purposefulness of a true present moment consciousness and we are doing it without any other motive than that.

Interestingly, John Cage later reworked this composition and entitled it 0'00".

Click here to listen to John Cage's 4'33"


If you have any trouble accessing the audio file simply perform the piece yourself with a stopwatch or clock.

"I have nothing to say / and I am saying it / and that is poetry / as I need it"
--John Cage

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