Wes Montgomery Relax It’s Friday + Philosophy

I found the following words in my stuff and it hit home with me, maybe with you to.  It is by Sir Laurens van der Post, an anthropologist and author from South Africa. A movie was made about his life in 1996.   The second quote below pertains to happiness and affirms: Meaning is more important than gratification.  Think of Nelson Mandela going through that horrible treatment in prison and yet I believe even then he was doing fine because he knew all along his purpose.

 

The spirit of man is nomad. His blood bedouin, and love is the aboriginal tracker on the faded desert spoor of his lost self; and so I came to live my life not by conscious plan or prearranged design but as someone following the flight of a bird.”

 

“The Bushman in the Kalahari Desert talk about two “hungers”. There is the Great Hunger and there is the Little Hunger. The Little Hunger wants food for the belly; But the Great Hunger, The Greatest hunger of all, is the hunger for meaning…

 

There’s ultimately only one thing that makes Human beings deeply and profoundly bitter, and that is the have thrust upon them

A life without meaning…

There is nothing wrong in searching for happiness….

But of far more comfort to the soul…

Is something greater than happiness

or unhappiness and that is meaning.

Because meaning transfigures all…

Once what you are doing has for you meaning,

It is irrelevant whether you’re happy or unhappy

You are content—you are not alone

In your spirit—you belong”

(Sir Laurens van der Post from Hasten Slowly, a film by Mickey Lemle)

 

 

Charile Haden: You have the history of the world within you. To improvise is to tap into it!

This short talk by great bassist Charlie Haden sums up what I believe about music.  In another interview he says that he plays and records as often as he can to “further the cause” of spreading this deep spirituality.   He explains that each time  someone listens to him play they absorb some of this amazing and enlightened version of what it is to be human.  A version of what is possible to be – when our focus is on loving kindness  beauty, creative pursuits and sharing of all that is pure gold in the human spirit through the history of the ages.

This reminds me of the teaching of Carl Jung about the collective unconscious, that we are all one and not contained within our physical beings….we are so much more that than.  We are not our body, as Depak Chopra said in one of his audio books, you are not this tiny speck in the universe–the entire universe is WITHIN YOU.  You need only to be aware that it is there, allow it to flow through you.  You give up being individual, in a sense, but you don’t loose your sanity, you just walk within the all that is…

Please enjoy Charlie Haden!

The ocean shows me one-ness: This is what I think of while enjoying the waves, sky, sand, birds, plants, cliffs…

The ocean is so vast.  The vastness of all that is–being so huge as it is– does not mean that we are insignificant (i.e. so tiny in comparison to the vast infinity that we don’t matter). Instead, it gives us HUGE significance, to know that in the infinite cosmos, we are the only ones (that we have seen so far) with water, love, flowers, dogs…it means we “hit the jackpot”.

…and we are not in some desolate place with no trees, no dogs, no cats, no sex, no water, no LIFE…. We are the only ones with LIFE and our human habit is– instead of appreciating all this–to suffer by hating people, being scared, thinking every moment about past pain, or fear of pain we may feel in the future, and WE MISS OUR PERFECT HUMAN STATE OF ALIVENESS IN WHICH THERE IS NO SUFFERING. There is no suffering in the here and now. The suffering in only from

  1. Remembering and feeling pain about the past,  or judging and finding fault with the past (I didn’t do good enough, they didn’t respect me…), or from thinking the past was so magic and great and now life sucks in comparison.
  2. Thinking of the future –worrying about it, or doing things (work, paying penance etc.) that we believe will give us happiness at some later time, thinking there is no way to have happiness without doing all these other things first.

We can notice  how vast “all that is” is, and notice that we won the statistically impossible – like that one in a million who get to be a movie star – We won Earth.

Earth is the “movie star” among all the planets and the infinite cosmos, and we have this amazing place–a dream come true of delicious food,fresh fruit,  breathing,  seeing colors, feeling the warmth of the sun, hearing/making great music, laughter, the sound of one another’s voices articulating the beauty of being human, and yet we hang around smack dab in the middle of this heaven we call earth, at this amazing miraculous event called life, and we hate, fear, worry, and conjure up awful versions of what is around us, rather than concentrating on the  999 percent that is all solid gold.

Instead of,  “let’s go enjoy it”—oh no, we can’t do that, first we have to spend a thousand years hating each other because we have different ideas about how it all got here, arguing about god, no god, evolution, intelligent design…..

We  are like a ship or vessel of life forms/humans, that was lost,  got tossed about, and landed in PARADISE – the BEST PLACE with the greatest capacity to feel love, joy, ecstasy, sublime peace and tranquility; to live in the affirmation of the tremendous dignity and sanctity of our own and all other sentient beings lives.  And somehow we as a species got confused, and in our attitudes a glitch came about, the glitch of anger, stress, low self-esteem, fear and confusion and inability to BE HUMAN—and inability to BE in the present moment. We got caught up in a negative loop that goes round and round of;  they are better, I want their car, money, attractive husband, etc,  or I am better, how dare they have part of my stuff (i.e. expect me to pay taxes).

So now what can be done?

How can humans appreciate all the cosmos/life/earth/nature / each other?

By being here and now, by feeling and learning from and releasing traumas, death of loved ones, and old grudges and regrets.

By acknowledging (as explained in the great book, The Tao of Physics), the past, present and future is all right now, not linear. We CAN be in the present:  there is no need for encumbrance from past.  And there is no need to fear the future, or engage in excessive preparation for the future.  Notice people like the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh , many others – joyful in the present.  It is humanly possible to be that way, not based on money or material success, but on noticing our breathing, and living mindfully.

We can embrace the concept that we are the ones that hit the jackpot of life, of nature, of living in this place so well suited to us. We can respect the nature, our part and place in it.  We can ALLOW ourselves to be/feel who we really are, human animals connected with the one-ness of all that is. We can use our intellect to direct us to the feeling place of peace and love and kindness, transcending prior (and current) approaches based on fear, hatred, closing off between groups in various places on earth and closing off between one person and another.

We act like it’s not ok to function as we were designed to function – to pee, poop , have sex –things we all do and pretend we don’t (well SOME of those things)– and we pretend people don’t die, and become sad when they do.  We pretend we can control life, when actually we are here to roll with it–the weather, the change of seasons, the always evolving, living, dying and living and dying of people/plants/animals.

We pretend we are immortal, and thus go for decades and decades without enjoying or feeling happy in life…to perhaps take a 2 week vacation in which we are supposed to get the reward of 20 years of not really being alive while we work at a job that has no meaning, that isn’t using our talents.  Or we  convince ourselves that  “If only I work the next 20 years, or until retirement, at a job that I force myself to go to,  and sacrifice all present enjoyment, I will have lots of money, or the perfect spouse or house, and then I can be happy.”

We pretend we don’t die:  Thus, we often disregard the present moment, acting like it doesn’t matter, imagining that it will matter some other time–tomorrow, or this weekend, or at the holiday break.  Think of a party that we are all invited to, called life, we know that the party is happening, but we don’t go.  We say we will go later. Alternatively, think like a little child who has not yet removed himself from living in the moment.  Someone comes and says lets go see the sights, play, laugh, roll in the grass, stare up into the sky, the kid goes.  He does not say “I can do that later” or I am holding out for a better party later, or the cool people won’t be there so I don’t want to go, or, that party won’t last forever so it isn’t any good.

We can stop pretending that some people are not human, and have compassion for all life, human and other, and build systems that reflect that, systems that foster the state in which we can frequently  EXPERIENCE the ECSTASY of being alive.  Feel our breath, the fresh air on our skin, a breeze caressing our skin when we walk outside in the morning, the lovely laughter of children playing, and cease our habit and systems that wall off our lives into buildings, cities, in which each person is expected to hoard items they “buy” after selling their time at a “job” that is not intrinsic to who they are. We can allow our planet and its humans to blossom out in the intrinsic thing that is who they are.

We can make art and design things that will help the planet heal, find ways to solve problems like garbage floating in the ocean and homelessness…. And base our economy on only things that help heal ourselves and the planet, exchange goods and services that help all, ceasing to run the world using economies that  harm millions while benefiting 10 or 20 wealthy people that own some big corporations.

Quote for the Day…

From The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius   59
  57. The sun appears to be poured down, and in all directions indeed it is diffused, yet it is not effused. For this diffusion is extension: Accordingly its rays are called Extensions [Greek] because they are extended [Greek]. But one may judge what kind of a thing a ray is, if he looks at the sun’s light passing through a narrow opening into a darkened room, for it is extended in a right line, and, as it were,is divided when it meets with any solid body which stands in the way and intercepts the air beyond; but there the light remains fixed and does not glide or fall off.Such then ought to be the outpouring and diffusion of the understanding, and it should in no way be an effusion, but an extension, and it should make no violent or impetuous collision with the obstacles which are in its way; nor yet fall down, but be fixed and enlighten that which receives it. For a body will deprive itself of the illumination, if it does not admit it.Marcus Aureliuss seems to say that showing your light is all that is needed to remove darkness, that you needn’t fight it, or try to prove that your light is right and the dark is wrong, just let that sucker SHINE!

WHAT WILL YOU DO …NO MATTER WHAT?

no matter whatI watched “Draft Day” last night, with Kevin Costner in the lead role as  Sunny, manager of the Cleveland Browns, and was intrigued about a mystery note that he wrote at the start of the movie…more about that later.

As the film evolves, Sunny’s decisions about the draft enrage the whole town–they picket outside his office waving  signs saying “Fire Sunny”, and the coach threatens to quit.

But he keeps making hard and ridiculed choices…particularly his passing up of the ostensible star quarterback, Bo.

At the very end, we see the note — “Pick Vonte (instead of Bo) no matter what”

Well, his strategy pays off and the movie ends with everyone loving him.  But it won’t last…so he has to keep following his own plans and listening to his inner voice, NO MATTER WHAT…

no matter that he feels all is lost

no matter who thinks he’s crazy

no matter who hates him

And WHY do I play jazz guitar NO MATTER WHAT?  No matter whether I have gigs or not, whether my teacher all but gives up on me, no matter that it takes hours, weeks,  months even,  just to acquire basic knowledge and skill necessary for the simplest of jazz tunes…

…no matter that anyone who hears me play right now would most likely think me a deluded middle-aged nut case, making a lame attempt to regain the shimmer of a lost youth.

Because sometimes, in that rare flicker of an instant, I feel and see me in the zone, playing with a style and grace.

Because I honor the pure part of me that loves music, that becomes breathless upon hearing a great player and yearns to make similar sounds come from my instrument, via my heart and soul.

Because I want the daily experience of “pure potentiality”  in which I sometimes dwell, where-in resides  a  good musician, one that is ego-less, fully present in the sound and meaning of music.

Because playing good jazz, even just learning to play, demands that the continual din of voices in my head, chattering and moaning about either the past or the future, cease and desist.

Because it feels great to live in the moment, without those dinny voices…when they stop, the suffering stops. No regrets of the past or worries about he future.

Because if I don’t do this, I will be dead inside, having no dream, no purpose, no vehicle on which to do my part of making the world a better place.

Whatever you are doing, figure out which part of it you will do no matter what, so you’ll be ready when the naysayer in your head or the other nay sayers try to show you how ridiculous what you are doing is.

Now, enjoy Stanley Jordan,

…note how he is like a child digging the music, no judgement., just pure joy..to play jazz you must be “a little child” to quote my teacher.  Today I  will be a little child no matter what