On the development of a musician

> A butterfly mind is a tremendous asset IF it is grounded in a self-identity that is moving forward in a clear direction. But if the principal focus is lost a person's 'balance of probabilities' gets out of kilter and the result is an airhead. I remind young pianists that if they were training to be a competitive athlete they couldn’t afford to let themselves get out of condition during holidays.

> In my role as a mentor I have two modes: the helpful encourager of those whose 'natural equipment' predisposes them to dabbling: but for those who have the potential to engage more deeply with music I play the trainer who can not only keep them up to the mark, but help them constantly to stretch themselves & thus raise it.
> Now, most teachers fulfil that role by placing rigid structures like exams & curriculums around the child & forcing it along a certain path by means of carrots & whips. [God, do I understand why teachers turn into dragons! - it's much easier to scare children into be(com)ing good than to be constantly having to cajole & woo them.] Just because I don’t, doesn’t mean that I’m not looking for the same pace of development in those who have the potential.

> As a child grows, its consciousness (its spirit, if you will) flutters just ahead of it, drawing it on. In a way that spirit IS its truth, its inner connectedness. I believe that if you can show a child that YOU value that spirit part of hir & show hir how to grow without its intrinsic delight getting trapt in books like a pressed flower, then you’ve fulfilled the real function of education.
> Unfortunately, as we know, schooling tends to beat children around the head with objects (objectivity so-called) which make them lose faith with that pre-verbal world of subjective delight to which music gives pre-eminent access. In state schools it happens 'by accident' because teachers willing to take any real responsibility for pupils' learning are a dying breed. In private schools it happens because they (over?)load pupils with exciting activities.

> The raw material of a pianist is physical dexterity, but the glue that holds hir together is meta-physical - attitude. Keeping a student's attitude focused is not just the glue, it's also the mechanism /the software by which s/he can decode hir experience & integrate it into that exciting sweep of (self-)development which defines achievers from everyonelse.
> Musical excellence does not allow you to idle, 'leisure time' is for people with BORING jobs! You need to keep fit, to keep training - not like a lycra-clad obsessive, but at a reasonable, constant, even pace.


How long can you stay cool?

"Ah my friend, the call to (a fresh) battle fires up your synapses! How long can you remain calm within the action, & not be sucked into surrendering to the excitement so that you lose contact with your angels?"


Transforming energy during aging process

> I was struck by reading articles in the weekend papers on a new book about Robert Graves's amorous relationships with various 'muses' toward the end of his life by the Moral of the situation. It's ironic how, in these accounts, Moral & moral overlap if Moral signifies underlying lesson & moral signifies underlying intention.
> Like many another male creative artist I have had amorous relationships with various 'muses' & know how a trick of the light, 'un certain regard', can bring about an enchantment that serves both parties – indeed I would go so far as to say that it's up there with the other great mysteries of life's profound experiences.
> Having previously made this blog a record of my experience of a transpersonal awareness which I have sensed wishing to use me as a medium to bring into collective consciousness esoteric perceptions about the metaphysical nature of existence, the '3 Blogs' posting I made on New Year's Eve reflects the random conjunction of 3 strands in my life that I have sought to reconcile, that of personal faith, that of personal eroticism, and that of collective spiritual awareness. Those who know me may have heard me say how I found Casanova's Histoire de ma vie an extremely influential book when I read it some 8 years ago. I took two lessons from it, or rather a lesson & a warning, which together exemplify the Moral/moral nexus found in Graves's case.
> I found padre Giacomo's narrative circumstantially convincing. Maybe he exaggerates here & there, but the whole autobiography struck me as among the most vivid evocations of the pre-Revolutionary world I've encountered. You can smell the shit in the alleys. I would regard it as essential reading to any musician who studying historically-informed performance styles. After a couple of volumes of this dazzling account of dedicated priapism I had to ask myself: 'how did he do it? How did he avoid entangling himself with relationships that never got further than talk?' [What follows is every bit as esoteric as my meta-physical reflections. Some people, some women, may be shocked, but I think it worth setting down as it expresses certain profound truths about the perennial riddles that men & women come together in order to resolve.]
> The more I thought about it, the more I attuned to Casanova's unique moral vision & realised two things: he had learnt to spot women who were 'up for it' & simply didn't waste time on the others: & he understood how every princess yearns to play the gipsy. 'It is true that he lived in an age altogether devoid of knowledge of the nobler relation between the sexes,' says the editor of my 19thC edition of Alexander Pope! But Casanova wasn't in search of 'the nobler relation between the sexes'(!) he was out to enjoy himself & the vibration he projected attracted the appropriate partners. So at one level, the Moral is 'if you're clear about the reality you want to create, you will create it.' On the other hand, in Casanova's moral (intentional) world, he had the self-awareness to know that he wasn't The Marrying Kind. He did The Daicent Thing by a couple of women with whom he'd had long (for him) relationships & left them with enough money to live independent lives.
> From these observations I abstracted a further lesson. If you can use your moral vision to decode women's availability -which god forbid I would do, already!- you can use it to decode the intentionality (moral vision) of anyone you meet. From this I have developed a 'second sight' for recognising those who are purposefully engaged on their inner resolution, as opposed to those who are merely pussy-footing around it.
> This brought me to a much more significant lesson: a theory of 'valuable people'. If you wish to build alliances & inspire groups to bring about change it is counterproductive to involve
yourself closely with people whose motivation isn't of the same depth – because when the going gets tough they'll only stand to the depth their foundations equip them for. There's nothing judgmental about this, it's a simple law of karma – & the fault is not theirs, it's that of the 'engineer' who misjudged or misread their stress qualification, albeit due to inexperience.
> 'As gold is tried in the fire, so are the chosen in the furnace of humiliation.' Proverbs. There's much more I could say around this issue, but I have projects needing attention.
> The warning I read in Casanova's memoirs was that here was a man of exceptional mettle who, in Shakespeare's immortal expression, 'melted down his substance in divers beds of lust.' Casanova saw himself as a man of letters and boasted of his reception by Voltaire, yet he left nothing that has stood the test of time except the record of his sexual adventures. He undoubtedly achieved considerable esoteric insight, the Histoire is shot throu with it, but instead of using this for the benefit of humanity he used it for personal gain, to swindle and to seduce – and he paid the price. He missed the mark which he had set himself for his own life ... and ended miserably, a librarian mouldering in a remote country estate among rustic servants ignored by a Count who lived the high life in Viennese society to which Casanova had once prided himself on having entrĂ©.
> His guiding principle 'sequere deum' (follow the god =energy) had been an ignis fatuus, a will o' the wisp, that led him far from his true -divine- nature because Casanova had misidentified the emotional clarity /intensity of erotic encounters with the physical, instead of understanding that it is the meta-physical or spiritual aspects of relationships that are to be worshipped. As a result he had attached his soul irrevocably to the earth plane instead of de-taching it in preparation for departure. These are the lessons which tantra exists to teach.

> Robert Graves too, we are to understand, made this error with appalling consequences for nearly everyone around him. He continued to worship the illusion of eroticism after he could no longer perform its ceremonies – and as a result instead of integrating its lessons into
his life and achieving beauty, he achieved ugliness by disintegrating the lives of his family and those of his lovers.
> Thus the moral intertwines with the Moral. I am not one to speak from high ground, but I have put a great deal of energy into making positive choices in my life designed to avert such gruesome conclusions. Call it soul-preservation if you will – but ultimately, one of the greatest challenge facing men (I cannot speak for women) as we enter that strange 'no man's land' which is old age ['the disaster which occurs to everyone & which noone expects' as I've heard it called, & of which I now have some inkling] is to make the transition to a state where we find /retain the same level energy from somewherelse, which formerly we received from sexuality.
> This tests to destruction those lifestyle decisions we have made throughout our lives. In some future blog I may perhaps speak of this aspect of my own journey.


The right conditions ...

"Intunity is being in the flow, like a ball floating on top of a fountain. Imagine there's a 'forwards' & you fall straight off. It's the fountain of the heart that keeps the ball of intelligence aloft. And it requires all your focus to stay there bouncing gently in the flow. Animals & plants know this; they have no other awareness except their instinctive sense of this intunity. They don't need to call it God, because they know. When they lose it their life-force is extinguished.
"But humans experience duality. Simply to keep love alive seems ridiculously simple – until you try to do it. Keeping your consciousness focused in your sense of truthfulness is no activity for a grown man, you think! No: building an empire, hogging the limelight, driving other people off your patch – that makes sense. But being still, being attentive to 'that of God' within – how much sense does that make when there are mouths to feed & bills to pay & meals to cook? Yet it is in doing this that we experience our ultimate fulfilment, that we experience our greatest intunity with ourselves and our greatest harmony with nature.
"Duality is always present, of course it is. Nothing is static. The (spiritual) weather changes with the seasons (of life) and creates new environments for us to experience ourselves in. This is to be expected. There are eruptions in the heart which vary the fountain's pressure tremendously. Our focus may drift from keeping the ball of intelligent compassion aloft to external scenes or relationships. But we are incredibly privileged, we do not fall sick & die when we lose our sense of inner truth as animals do. We are given time to recover it.
"And what is it for? What is anything for? Everything in the universe exists to serve and to be (ob)served. It cannot predict how it should serve – it fulfils its destiny simply by being utterly & absolutely who & where it is and reacting intuitively & mathematically to its environment. What a lesson that is!
"All life is intelligent. The harmony it creates may be savage and raw but it never loses its intunity. Is the same true of humans? Only if we use our duality to honour the unity which less-evolved life-forms know do we truly become human beings.
"Once we catch an echo of this inner harmony life can never be the same again. Pursuing it matters more than food or relationships – and yet, all the time, there it is within us: the ball of buddhi /intelligence just waiting for our loving attention to reunite it with the fountain of innergy spurting up from the heart – and then, and only then, the true power of evolutionary love is released."
Happy new year.