Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Thought By Thought
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. ~ Marcel Proust
Observing the thinking process can be enlightening, but more often is frustrating, elusive, and challenging. Most of the time observation is absent, going about my day, my habits keeping me going on auto-pilot. Occasionally what I see is downright terrifying.
I have been away from the guitar since Sunday morning which is rare for me. Family obligations and personal choices were attended to yielding much joy. Monday evening I wrote in my journal - No Guitar and No Guilt. This is good, the brief holiday from music making. I was contemplating what to work on with the guitar. Would I incorporate some principal of AT and write an insightful post. Laughing, I knew I must just play. Leave the profundity for greater minds. Is the blog now driving my guitar practice I wondered?
My thinking was active as I took my instrument in hand. Playing a few phrases, I paused to begin again, and notice my breath. My mental chatter increased again as I began to play. I heard myself thinking "it's going to be one of those nights." I chose to just play one note, an Eb, and listen to this in various octaves. Next I decided to focus on one phrase that I am in the process of learning. After a few passes, I narrowed my work to three arpeggios and then I noticed how I was leaning into my guitar.
As I directed my thinking via AT, I noticed a slight release in my back or spine. My chatter slowing as I came into the moment. Thinking I am free, I played with this thought as being enough to maintain my good use in and Alexander sense. I must credit Jennifer Roig-Francoli's recent blog post for inspiring this. Frequently in my mindfulness meditation practice I have used "I am free" at the suggestion of the Zen Master Thich Nhat Hahn, but after reading Jennifer's post the flavor of this changed subtly. Certainly the use of this thought tonight, kept me coming back to the moment, and in that very indirect Alexander Technique way introduced freedom in my playing. What more can I ask for?
And then the idea that Thought by Thought we change ourselves and hence the world arrived. What are you thinking right now? How might you direct your thinking right now?
Photo by Joost J Bakker