Monday, August 31, 2009

Beautiful, Solid, & Free

I began reading a book of Thich Nhat Hahn this week titled "you are here." On the first page he describes how he begins his day offering incense and making "the vow to live each moment of it in a way that is beautiful, solid, and free." I was touched by this beautiful aspiration of this renowned Zen Master.

How to apply to my own practice? Certainly a simple vow for one to undertake, though I am well aware of how formidable the challenge. I practice daily, find a place of peace and serenity, and then as the day progresses' I lose my sense of the breath. Then I remember and return, lose the breath, and again remember. The moments of remembering are what is precious, when I have the opportunity to wake up, to live. But still something about Thay's vow woke a desire in me to practice with this vow.

In my guitar practice I usually have goals, exercises to work with, pieces to learn and polish, and being open to respond to the creative impulse. I center myself at the beginning of my practice period in various way, some of which have been described in previous posts. Tonight I made this vow for the time of my guitar practice. Simply to be alive and to enjoy my passion for music is beautiful.

This vow changed the quality of my work tonight. Changed the quality of my playing. Every note like every breath is beautiful when I am present. To be relatively free of judgements while I learn this piece is precious. I suspect that I may even learn this and any other pieces I approach in this way easier; at the very least more enjoyable and fun.

More soon.

What are you practicing?

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