I’ve been practicing meditation in one form or another for a few years now. Whenever I mention it, I usually get an odd look. There is a certain unspoken need to explain it, yet the more I do it, the more obvious it seems to me are its benefits. At the same time, paradoxically, it seems harder to explain.
For the most part, I feel the music I perform is its best explanation since I attempt to be in a state of meditation as I practice and play. But, I thought it deserved another attempt at description:
There is a certain creative voice that emanates from some place within ourselves. For whatever reason, we guard against it. We see it as scary and threatening. It culminates in a fear that reduces a natural creative potential.
There is an attempt to release this voice. We do so by paving the channels through the self’s inherent fear via practice, determination and attempts at understanding the sources of anxiety.
Miles Davis once said, “Do not fear mistakes, there are none.” Of course, he must have been right – after all, he’s Miles. But how does one reconcile this statement with the fact that approaching a new craft seemingly presents so many opportunities for “mistakes”?
But, it is in this very approach of expecting mistakes that fear damages the voice.
To simply say “I am not afraid” may not be enough. There must be some intrapsychic charting and navigation to understand the very personal geography of fear and creativity that has been carved within throughout the years.
The very meditation inherent to a craft is the act of sailing these waters. If one approaches a craft with the soul of a playful mind – ready to learn, ready to absorb, and ready to Play – then a certain mastery of the internal geography presents itself without even noticing. At this point Creativity is at its fullest potential.
Mastery and Creativity comprise the ability to allow this inner voice to come to fruition unencumbered. This is the case for either art or daily life.
Meditation is one of the things that I do to attempt mastery of this creative potential.
As an example, when I am particularly anxious, I can definitely hear it in the music. Sometimes it just plain gives me a headache to listen to a performance I did in this anxious state. But, when I am able to attain a certain state of meditation, this anxiety dissipates, the music seemingly plays itself, and becomes much more enjoyable. I feel it connects with something much deeper that I do not quite understand, but of which I am happy to be a part.
There are several books that I have read that have contributed strongly to my understanding as I write it here. I can recommend any and all of them:
How to Meditate – Lawrence LeShan
Mastery – George Leonard
Effortless Mastery – Kenny Werner
Zen in the Art of Archery – Eugen Herrigel