Sunday, January 31, 2010
Friday, January 29, 2010
Living a life of creativity brings tremendous satisfaction in a way nothing else can. A creative person is a happy person - especially when engaged in a creative project. All useless thoughts cease when focused on the task at hand and one's feelings are elevated for the duration of the creative experience. This is actually one of the tests to see whether the project is really creative. Artists generally know this but perhaps this is why others are drawn to the arts. They know it intuitively but haven't yet made the creative experience an integral part of their lives...
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
As a musician I know that in order to really reach your listeners you have to be able to say something in your music that touches people in a way that everyday experience doesn't provide. In order to do that, you have to be willing to have experiences that create a need for expression, and that remind you of your connection with life and other people. This means you have to really immerse yourself in life and allow yourself to be touched by it, in the same way that you want to touch your listeners (or viewers if you're a sculpturer/painter/writer). This isn't always easy. It takes constant awareness to remind ourselves that our experiences are more than just "another Monday". The would-be artist asks "What was special about today?" "What made this day unlike any other? Sometimes this takes work. It's an effort - but well worth the trouble, for herein we find the material for our next song/painting/book, etc.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Friday, January 22, 2010
What are some of the things that try to prevent of us from living in harmony with life? Some people aren't happy unless they feel they're better than others at what they do, and are miserable if someone else's life or work appears better than their own. This craving to be "top dog" leaves them in a very poor inner state rather than with the ability to appreciate the wonderful variety in people's lives and work. The one that struggles to be THE best rather than the INDIVIDUAL'S best leaves it very diffficult for that one to enjoy life.
When I stop to think about it, some of the most inspired music I've ever written sprung from the depth of countless experiences that touched, moved, or transformed me in some way. Life was always the artist - the creator - I was merely the student doing my homework - so to speak - perfecting my technique, going through my experiences - so that I could be the best vehicle for that "artistic" expression. Funny thing is I had no idea it would end up that way. Makes one want to hang in there - even through difficult experiences just to see what waits on the other side -one never knows...
How many of us really know how to enjoy life - and I mean under all circumstances. I'm not talking about the kind of exciting thrills one gets on a ride at Disneyland. I'm talking about the ability to derive meaning and interest and sometimes joy from the simplest tasks, from the ones that are easy to enjoy,to the ones we put off as long as possible - in other words the whole range of experiences. What is the secret to maintaining a state of serenity and interest in everything we do? There are many elements, but here are some of the ones I've discovered: Start by finding (if you haven't already) something you really love to do and make time for it (even a little time at it is better than not at all). Be disciplined about keeping up with it,since the more you do it the more enjoyment you generate for yourself. This activity eventually builds up a resevoir of good feeling that can spill out into the areas of life we tend not to enjoy so much. Appreciate your experiences as you go and realize you wouldn't be having them unless you needed them in some way. Develop a love for learning if you don't have it already, and adopt the attitude that there is something to be learned from every experience - something that will help me in some way - in one or more aspects of my life. Life then sort of becomes like a treasure hunt, and becomes much more fun!
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Part of being a good artist is being able to be emotionally honest in our work. Of course this means we need to be that way in the rest of our life so that we become skilled at being true to ourselves. Then our art has a better chance of touching someone else in a meaningful way. The more authentic we are the better chance we have of striking a chord in another. Then our art becomes a vehicle of expression for not just ourselves, but for those that view/experience it.
One of the comments I remember hearing from a music teacher when I was a child was the quote "genius is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration." For some reason this stuck with me and still echoes in the background of my thoughts in relation to creativity. I think about almost all the music I've written over the years and realize it would never have manifested had I not "made an appointment" to sit and write every week - the same as we make scheduled appointments with others in our lives. This aspect of discipline is crucial for creative people of all walks of life. If we wait until we are "inspired", the creative act may never come about and we miss the joy of creation and sharing that joy with others.
"The true kingdom is that world beyond all worlds, the Ocean of Love and Mercy, the Absolute Reality. It is so far above all mankind that the very ken of thought cannot even imagine what it might be. Seek nothing but the true kingdom, for it is the great void of all. The realm of God." (from the book "Stranger By The River" by Paul Twitchell)
Monday, January 18, 2010
Try living a day just for love. Find a way (you're in harmony with) to express love either to someone else or to yourself or to something you love. Ask the question what do I need to change within myself so that I can dwell in a state of love? Love is the thing that all men seek (ask any wise man), but few realize this state exists within themselves independent of outer circumstances.
In the following quote the term SUGMAD means God:
"For each step taken in the spirit of freedom and love, whether it be in the writing of a piece of music or to learn survival on the higher planes of consciousness, is a step in the direction of the true home, the SUGMAD." - (from the book "In The Company of ECK Masters" by Phil Morimitsu)
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
Musicians are performers...right? Maybe not, maybe they're really listeners. I remember when I used to perform live people would say to me "Where do you go?" They were referring to the silence that always preceded the concert. I was totally focused on the music I was about to play, and not just the music itself, but to the ideal of giving it my utmost, and I wasn't afraid to take the few moments I needed before I started to play. It always payed off for me. From the point of vew of the audience I sort of disappeared (though physically present on stage). What was I doing? I was tuning into what was the very highest part of myself, so that I could then give that to my listeners. There's a musician in all of us. It's that part of us that hears "life" in our own unique way, and then expresses what we've heard to others.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
One usually thinks of success in terms of how much money one is making, and/or social contacts one has. Perhaps there is another way to view success. This lesson really hit home for me when I was trying to get some printing work done. The job was rather intricate, and required a professional eye. I needed lots of help and someone who was very patient. The worker who helped me was kind and patient to the extreme. He had absolutely no apparent motive for being so. There was no cash reward offered in any way. It was a rather large copy shop, and I'm sure his superior would rather that he had helped me quickly and moved on. However this man took 2 hrs. to help me get this job done. I had already been to other print shops and gotten the quick brush-off treatment. Somehow this man knew how important this job was to me, and kept at it without showing any sign of impatience. I left that store feeling in total awe. In retrospect I realized that man had shown me the real meaning of success. Three aspects showed up clearly for me. If one wanted to be successful, three things were needed - First - a love of freedom (not driven by fear of what others might think - ie one's boss, etc.), then a love for one's fellow man, and finally - a willingness to do whatever necessary to be in harmony with expressing that love to others.
Learning to welcome change in our lives is a matter of recognizing that with change comes development, the potential for growth, and that it keeps life interesting, creative, and dynamic. These aspects of living and viewing/experiencing life are important for the artist - as WE develop and grow as individuals, so does our art...
Saturday, January 2, 2010
Every loss in life has a gain. Society applauds victory, winning, material, and or personal wealth, but has less time - or maybe no time - for those who in one way or another are experiencing loss. People learn and grow just as much from so called failing than from the appearances of success. There is a balance in life, and gracefulness of being and character is often produced by one's failures rather than successes. How does one really acquire humility anyway? Do we ever ask ourselves? While there is nothing wrong with success or "winning" in the various ways we can, we, ourselves are the only ones who can make room for our "failures". Society, for some reason, has chosen to leave out the importance of losing. It may in some ways be more important than winning. Maybe the next time we lose or fail in some way, we could also ask the question "what have I now gained that I didn't have before?" Am I more compassionate of others who "fail"? If so I have gained a degree of something I didn't have before, and we know that the more we love and understand our fellow beings the better.
It's time for my periodical gratitude list. It definitely keeps my attitude in check - so here goes: My computer is gone, but was replaced without much ado. My car still works. My cat is well. I still have an income, roof over my head, food on the table, a place to lay my head at night, I'm surrounded by people who are able to smile easily - it warms my heart - I still believe there is goodness, love, and kindness in the universe, and am able to experience it in my life. I am able to see, hear, know, be and do. I am still able to wonder at the miracle of life and intelligence, and am still able to experience real joy and love in the presence and life of my fellow beings.
Friday, January 1, 2010
The less care and effort we put into projects that concern more than ourselves, the more the other members involved take the load, and vice-versa. Harmonious. balanced situations in groups exist where EVERYONE involved puts forth their very best effort. This system of values includes children. How do we convey these values to future generations - that the more care you put into your own work the better?
Why is it that our subconscious desires and feelings seem to be such know-it-alls, but when we stop to really think through what it says is so desirable, we find that it's not nearly so ideal as it makes the situation or person out to be? Or - we may NOT think it through, and find out through experience (and sometimes suffering) that it's not nearly as wonderful as what we felt it would be. The perfect example of this can be seen in advertising. The adverstisers make out the product and or situation to be of much greater value than it really is - like the car or travel agency for example that will take us to destinations unknown and fill our lives with excitement, romance, you-name-it pleasures we've never known. This works on the subconscious mind - implying that we need to spend our time, energy, and bucks on what they're offering if we really want to be alive, fulfilled, etc. (any adjective that sounds good!) But situations on the surface - or even in the moment - are rarely what they seem, and keep us from thinking and looking more deeply into the matter. We are all participants in life's illusions - knowingly or unknowingly. We have the choice to keep our attention on life's blessings, stay creative, and experience a state of contentment and fulfillment without falling prey to a million distractions that only serve to keep us from being of service to life. The life of the artist...