Tuesday, January 19, 2010

You Are Here

Last night I was reading You Are Here by Thich Nhat Hahn before going to bed. He was talking about death and how when we really face our impermanence we can become truly alive in this precious moment. As I read this I looked at my wife and was happy. Knowing that one day we will be separated by death, I took a moment to tell her what she means to me. I smiled as I meditated on death. This was joyful for you see I was alive. When I can let go of my fears, as in dying, and just be right here, right now, life is real.

I had an interchange with a friend who is a professional classical guitarist. He has been "zoning out" while practicing his repretroire which he has been playing for years. I shared with him that when I notice myself "zoning out" I return to my breath or come back to my body. I may even totally stop playing and do Qi Gong as this quickly quiets my mind and brings me back to my body. The key is first noticing and then acting in a manner that harmonizes what I am actually doing with how I wish to be.

While taking a walk after work I was thinking about my guitar practice and meditation practice and how they inter-are. Really is just one practice, the meditation practice being a prerequisite to the guitar practice.  They each inform the other. While enjoying my legs moving me through the warm twilight I imagined what it would be like to play my guitar as if it was the final time. I had a taste of this months back the evening the John Allen Muhammed was executed. Could I bring this alive in my practice regularly? As Meursault in Albert Camus's The Stranger became truly alive when he knew his execution was in three days, can I truly become alive when I reflect on my own impermanence? Relish each moment; every note.

When ending my practice this evening I picked up my guitar one more time, holding it gently, wondering if this was the last time I might play. I improvised a night time lullaby, it was sweet and short, just like life.

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