(this post was written March 8, 2010)
Greets friends. I am writing to you as I sit on the train to Frankfurt for a solo concert this evening.
A few days ago, I was in Linz, Austria and fell into some delightful, deep contemplation while taking a nice stroll on the Hauptplatz (main square). Linz was one of the first places I ever played on a Europe tour with a jazz trio, and I returned to precisely the same venue and stage, 10 years later for two sold out solo concerts.
Returning to a place I rarely come to after all this time put me in a time warp of sorts! Allow me to digress…
I am fascinated by the idea of what’s “out there” in the world we see vs. what’s “in here” in our minds and bodies.
The more that we look at our own minds and bodies, we see that everything we experience is inside and it is in fact impossible to experience anything outside ourselves.
When you see a bird, what’s actually happening? Actually, light waves zap into your eyes and your brain puts a picture of the bird together. Like it or not, your brain sees the bird. You “see” the image in your brain. You never experience the actual bird.
The same for sounds, smells, tastes, colors, emotions, touch and so on. Our sense organs pick up frequencies and it is our brain that registers them, interprets and assembles them. Past that, the brain can choose to add meaning – but that’s a whole other topic! 🙂
There is a famous story about two Zen monks. One monk looks at a flag waving in the wind one sunny day, and the other monk says “is it the flag that is moving, or is it your mind that is moving?”
In looking at the Linz “Hauptplatz”, seeing in my mind’s eye the memories of years past, remembering the feelings, dreams, loves, ups and downs I saw something that the Zen monk saw. Did I experience Linz? No I experienced my own mind and inner workings.
Sure I experienced events there, but they were the simply the out picturing of precisely what I was looking for due to the Law of Attraction. This experience this time was completely different, because I am looking for new things in music and in life.
The feeling was Merlin-esque. My whole sense of past, present and future somehow felt like it was collapsing on itself. Side note: I also saw that without a doubt any picture I hold in mind comes to fruition. Take time out of the equation and it is as if you can snap your fingers and have anything.
Even when I sit on the meditation cushion and the mind starts to wander, I laugh at myself….in a 20 minute session I can feel the feelings, sight sand sounds of Bangkok, my apartment in NYC, people in my life, my cat, life as a school kid…and physically I am in one place. It’s so easy to see in that setting that it is the “mind moving” and not “the flag”.
The holograph in my mind of course is “inside”, but what must be realized is even when you are “there” and “seeing things for real” the holograph is still an inner experience. So, really no difference between being in Bangkok and seeing things vs seeing the memories in my mind. Why? All I ever saw was my mind anyway…
What’s even more interesting is when two or more people experience something allegedly tangible – for example, attending a concert. For each listener, there is a brain assembling music and meaning and an experience. The music is not an outer experience, even at a concert…it’s an inner experience for each person there.
I dance around this topic without a real conclusion for you in mind. To see that it is all inside me, the entire cosmos, everyone I know, everything I have seen or heard is in me, fills me with wonder.
What, if anything is “out there” past my consciousness? This may be something we’re not allowed to know on this plane of existence. However, knowing that everything is inside is a level of taking responsibility for ones thoughts and life.
You may think that even this blog entry is outside you, but guess what? Everything you are reading and seeing is an inner experience, being put together by your brain. It’s in you.
Cool, huh? Until next time, feel good, love those around you, love yourself and keep swingin’!
interesting thoughts, the more after having listenend to your playing yesterday in Cologne. And it was this very morning when I was thinking, everything passes anyway, which made me kind of sad. But okay: If you take time out of the equation…. I should give it a try.
I really love your CD “Gratitude” and your guitar playing anyway. Thanks, Anne
Yes Anne, but at the same time the things we love are really always present and have not died away. It’s just a dimension we can’t grab so easily!!! It’s the hide-and seek limitations of ordinary awareness…
Enjoy the disc!
Fabrizio Alberico says
Thanks for sharing Adam. Reminds me of the 47th verse of the Tao Te Ching:
Without opening your door,
you can know the whole world.
Without looking out your window,
you can see the way of heaven.
The farther you travel,
the less you know.
The more knowledge you seek,
the less you understand.
The Master understands without leaving,
sees clearly without looking,
accomplishes much without doing anything.
Yep. I believe Rembrant once said that artists need not travel – but just stay in their studio and work 🙂
Roman Age says
I agree that the way you experience something, a place, an event, becomes your own reality of that thing. Talking about places, it’s true that there are places with a particular energy – New York, or great beauty – Paris, or generally fun – London, or remote and authentic – Isle of Mull, Scotland (I’ve only named places I’ve been), and there are places considered to be dull, but ultimately it is the way you feel at the moment you are there that creates your own experience of the place, you can feel good or bad in any place, most of the emotions come from inside, they can merely be triggered by the environment.