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Meditation and performance
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Christian Grobmeier


Joined: 22 Mar 2011
Posts: 62
Localisation: Near Augsburg/Munich, Germany

PostPosted: 2011-04-15, 17:23    Post subject: Meditation and performance Reply with quote

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My Sensei can identify my mood on my playing. And some more, I guess. He is a wise man.

On meditation: I was on Shakuhachi Sesshin with a few fellows and Sensei before a year and there we did meditation before we practiced. Since then I cannot imagine to play without meditation at least for 10 minutes. It helps me to get my ego and problems out of my playing (or helps for trying to do so).

And I never felt it was difficult to get from meditation into playing. In fact I am very surprised
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Kiku Day


Joined: 20 Mar 2011
Posts: 877
Localisation: Nr Snede, DK/London UK

PostPosted: 2011-04-15, 20:01    Post subject: Meditation and performance Reply with quote

I don't think it is difficult to go from meditation into honkyoku myself - for honkyoku meditation is just great! But from meditation into strictly notated new music - yes.
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C. Yeatman


Joined: 07 Apr 2011
Posts: 2
Localisation: Btooklyn, New York

PostPosted: 2011-04-16, 21:43    Post subject: Meditation and performance Reply with quote

My first thoughts are that the term "Meditation" does not signify 1 state as there are many many practices that fall under the heading of "Meditation". For example Astanga yoga is very different from zen sitting which is different from suizen which is different from contemplation in high mathematics etc.

Performance is a material process in my opinion. The performer tries to transmit the subject matter with sound, light, movement, technology and so on to other people, usually in a room. The performance I have engaged in depends profoundly on repetition of the actions one hopes to present. As much as one tries to present a sequence of actions to achieve preconceived result of studied and practiced intentions on the part of the performer, director, teacher, technician etc, the result is always different and fresh beyond preconception. Sometimes a "good" performance from the audience point of view comes from a dead personal experience and vice versa. My experience has shown that I can experience a deep connection to the subject matter and the audience sometimes. I never know when that will happen. When it does happen the experience is wonderful. The danger is that this experience forms attachment and therefore expectations, making big emotional problems for me as a person.

Performance is a big gamble. "Failure" seems to present the best opportunity to learn. Each performance seems to provide fresh opportunities to experience success and failure in surprising places, so I try to pay attention and return to the work with the insight that only performance seems to give. Last time I played shakuhachi for people I reasoned that a warm and active physical state would work to my advantage so the usual round of exercises from yoga, ballet and theater etc. so I ended up too agitated to play shakuhachi and completely butchered the first piece. Definitely not what I intended. Next time I will try to be warm and calm. Not so easy!

"All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again, Fail again, Fail better." Samuel Beckett

"All of old. Nothing else ever. But never so failed. Worse failed. With care never worse failed." Samuel Beckett

Maybe the relationship between meditation and performance is that both seem to rely on repetition. One may or may not be good for the other because they do or do not share the same intention.

Thanks Kiku for bringing up this subject.

lots to wonder about
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Daniel Ryudo
Professional Member


Joined: 24 Mar 2011
Posts: 50
Localisation: Kochi, Japan

PostPosted: 2011-04-18, 16:42    Post subject: Meditation and performance Reply with quote

Interesting posts. I've noticed that an hour of fairly vigorous ashtanga yoga -- perhaps the equivalent to your round of serious stretching -- before playing definitely boosted my playing ability; have only done that when playing honkyoku for the ending meditation at yoga events, probably should try it more often.
"Life is a train of moods like a string of beads, and as we pass through them they prove to be many-colored lenses which paint the world their own hue, and each shows only what lies in its focus"
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