I intend to only write a short entry today…
Spirituality & Art
For those of you that know me personally you will know that I work part-time at a music shop which is owned by my family. I teach guitar there. Although I sort of teach spiritual concepts inadvertently through my guitar teaching. It’s actually a powerful tool – the learning on an instrument or any art form – when it comes to understanding spiritual concepts in a deeper way.
When we understand that the only thing that limits our ability to learn and grow is our mind then suddenly a plethora of pieces of music become more accessible to us. This is not to say that when we accept our mind is all that limits us that we will suddenly become a musician of Mozart or Beethoven’s skill, but it becomes infinitely easier to progress at an exponential pace once we “get out of our own way.” Trust me, I know what I’m talking about here, hahahah. I taught myself guitar (I’ve only ever actually had about 2 real guitar lessons in my entire life) and I am at about a grade 6/7 standard. Though I’ve never taken any grade exams.
The difference between my progress and that of the majority of others (apart from those who have unlocked this idea) is that to be angry with yourself for not succeeding is about as ridiculous as fighting for peace, or fucking for celibacy. It just doesn’t work. Of course if you’re angry, that’s okay and it’s always beneficial to discharge the anger in some way. But if you are able to maintain a calm state of mind while practising the perfection of any art form you will find that it is a hell of a lot easier than it would be if you were throwing your toys out of the pram every time something goes a little pear-shaped.
The Two Most Useful Principles For Learning To Excel At Anything
For me, I have found that the two most useful principles for learning to excel at anything are…
- Practice your art often and in many different ways. For example you could play scales while watching TV, or with a friend playing chords with you, with a backing track on YouTube, with a metronome or just in the quiet confines of your home.
- Believe you can achieve! The main thing that stumps people’s growth within any domain is that they don’t truly believe that they are going to be able to succeed. There might also be a limiting belief there too which suggests that they shouldn’t succeed. Either way, belief in your ability to achieve is important and that is governed by your state of mind relative to failure. If you were to regard failure as a positive thing – in that it provides you with information about how things could sound/look better – then there is nothing wrong with failing.
An artist is never defined by his or her art. The artist is defined by their reaction to it.
What I Really Intended To Write About
What I actually intended to write about when I sat down here today was about how, in a conversation with my Nan today, I learned to see the world in a whole new way. In putting into practice the ideas that I’ve been mulling over with friends, by myself and as a result of watching this weeks Ask Teal episode, I have begun to appreciate some things a little more, and I have begun to love in a whole new way.
I often have debates with my Nan over our differing beliefs. For those of you who haven’t read my blog about Religious Resistance, My Nan and Pap are ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses’ and are very strong-willed when it comes to ‘defending’ their faith. Usually we end up locking antlers on this particular subject, but today was different. Today I went into the conversation with the attitude of, “Everybody is right.” And, although I had to remind myself of this a few times, the conversation panned out incredibly differently to how our chats usually do.
We spoke about lots of things. The most interesting of which was the nature of polarity and the benefit it has for expansion. Expansion is not a concept that is taught within the Jehovah’s Witness religion. My Nan told me how she thought the world would be a wonderful place if it was full of people who believe as she does. And while I agreed on one level, I told her I thought it would be quite boring. I then explained how Earth is desired as a place to live by lifeforms from all over the universe because of it’s potential to provide expansion.
I explained to her how when we have a negative experience it gives rise to a desire within us. This took the conversation down a more personal route for my Nan. She had a rough time of it when she was young. Her Mum and her Step-Mum died before she was 16. Having been brought up as a Catholic, she was naturally looking for something more comforting than Catholicism after this. She didn’t like the idea that God was so cruel that he would take not one but two mothers away from their young children and leave the children motherless. I empathised with this point of view, and it’s for that reason I never deliberately try to destroy her faith like I often find myself doing with others – this is not something that I have ever done deliberately, as I expressed in the ‘Religious Resistance’ blog, however it is a pattern I have developed during my life.
As the conversation progressed my Nan ended up talking about how she wanted to see all the birds in the world, all the animals, all the trees and all the landscapes. And as she expressed her immense appreciation and gratitude for all she has experienced and all the beauty she sees in nature, she began to tear up. As a few tears rolled down her cheek, I thought to myself how wonderful what I just experienced was. It amazing to see somebody so dear to me express so passionately their love for nature and the world we live on.
What was more amazing than that was that I had spent a day or two learning about the nature of appreciation and gratitude, in order to better understand how I might go about cultivating it sustainably. Then first time I go to the family shop in two weeks, within the first hour of me being there my Nan – who was the last person I expected to be my teacher on this subject – showed me what it truly meant to be grateful and appreciative of nature and the world.
I really felt blessed and, funnily enough, tremendously grateful to have been an observer of such a beautiful display of love for life. And from such an unlikely source too! It’s in moments like this that I am so glad I chose Earth this time around.
Earth is so incredibly complex. Only here, at the moment, will you see the vast amount of contrast constantly evolving further complexity – or as Terence McKenna calls it, ‘novelty’.
We have such an amazing experience here on Earth with all the highs and low, the rising and the falling, the ecstasy and the depression, the monotony and the monotony. All of it comes together to knit a truly unique ride every single time.
I think I have found my gratitude.
What I have learned today is… The only thing that ever really gets in the way of our own growth is us. The best teachers often appear in the most unlikely of scenarios. The beauty of life lies just beneath the surface of what we perceive to be mundane, if we shift ourselves and our focus a bit and scratch away the dirt and dust then we will find infinite novelty or complexity, beauty and jaw dropping evidence of the phantasm, enough to shock an ant into being an elephant and enough to really step into our true nature.
I love you.
Andey out xxx