Performance as Spiritual Practice

From stillness and silence, rises sound. 

When we put mallet to Gong, Bell, Bowl, we reenact the creation myth. We bring forth something out of nothing. There is a movement of air molecules that we sense as both vibration and sound. And for many of us, this is something we deeply feel. Feel in the non-physical sense. Feel as a Spiritual practice.

And so, we can be as monks, devoting ourselves to the sound, the vibrations we bring forth. But how do we get past ourselves and our own innate fascination with the sound? How do we get past the distractions that are both around us, and in us?

John Cage, perhaps the greatest composer of the last 100 years, was also a great philosopher. As much as he thought about his music, he thought about all things around his music. He also thought about music being all around him, as all sounds were equally musical in his eyes/ears. He was a great practitioner of Zen and its principles. These words, which he wrote on painting (Cage was also a keen artist), are a perfect preface to performance becoming a spiritual practice:

“When you start working, everybody is in your studio—the past, your friends, enemies, the art world, and above all, your own ideas—all are there. But as you continue painting, they start leaving, one by one, and you are left completely alone. Then, if you are lucky, even you leave.” 

John Cage

Start working. Don't worry about distractions or monkey mind. Keep going and let things around you disappear. Keep going and hopefully even you, will disappear, leaving only the vibrations.

~ MB

Chop Wood | Carry Water | Play Gongs™    















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