147: art that facilitates as well as stimulates

Art - the aesthetic object, whether music, poetry, painting, landscape - stimulates a wide range of responses in us.  What about art that needs to teach us what the response could be?  Art that facilitates the response.  

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146: meditation notes - the importance of a teacher ( what would Socrates do?)

What I've been thinking about lately is the formulation "What Would <fill in the name of your teacher> do?". It's important to have a teacher in spiritual practice.  The experience, direction, instruction, guidance, support are essential.  But who - or what - is that teacher?   We're accustomed in America to seeing spiritual leadership corrupted by materialism, sex and greed.  What if the teacher here can be anybody....a monk, sure, but maybe also a martial artist, a piano teacher, a leader at work. Anyone - - in this particular point, I'm more interested in being able to create that moment of cognitive distance.

So the question "What Would <fill in the blank> do?" is a cue for each moment and not necessarily asking for a prescriptive list of required responses.  Rather, asking the question "What Would Socrates Do?" (for example) gives me that immediate second opinion about what is actually happening in the moment. Maybe I am reacting with anger, and taking the second to consider Socrates would allow me to realize that this anger is actually more like hurt pride...that perhaps some humility and gratitude in the moment would transform everything.   

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145: New Years Eve, Notre-Dame and Jean-Michel Jarre

Welcome back to a new season of the podcast.  On New Years Eve, Jean-Michel Jarre broadcast a concert set in a Virtual Reality Notre-Dame Cathedral.  It was a wonderful show and resonated with the ancient, mystical architectonics of the space.  

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144: meditation notes - the availability of authentic action , immediately

There are no requirements to meet or hurdles that need to be overcome before we can choose to interject compassion into the immediate moment.  I'll be taking a break for the end of year and I hope you are all able to enjoy some time off.  There may be an intermittent podcast, or a livestream from the studio but otherwise I'm going to be dug in and writing.  Cheers, all.

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143: reading Sylvia Plath

I  finished reading Red Comet: The short life and blazing art of Sylvia Plath , a recent biography written by Heather Clark.  Reading Plath's poetry  is like being alive:  strange, beautiful, elegant, upsetting.  Tragic. Ecstatic.   

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142: a leap of faith?

A leap of faith? Or should it be a leap from faith?  What about a leap from Realisation?  A leap into what?  Towards what?  Is it a leap, or are we pushed?

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141: meditation notes - thoughts on Bodhicitta

The Bodhicitta vow is the aspiration to bring compassion and empathy in all action of body, speech and mind.  I like the 'planetary gravity' metaphor.  Some anomaly in the gravitational continuum causes the accretion of atomic material leading eventually to suns and planets.  When we sit on a cushion and consider the Bodhicita vow, it is like a gentle indentation in  space-time which over the course of lifetimes causes the accretion of compassion and empathy.  

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140: quotidien sounds - daily life remix

We are surrounded by noise, just about all of which we filter out either mechanically or mentally.  But when I  made note of unexpected and beautiful noises that arose throughout a day, in short order I started to have a sonic journal of surprising delicacy and emotion.  Just using the recorder directly on my phone to capture anything that struck me as beautiful or unusual.  Then I mixed it together for a short ( 1 minute) piece....but maybe over the weekend I'll get in the studio and work more with these sounds ( or others).

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139: Magic space rockets, and an update on my opera.

Picking back up on my opera ("Love,Love,Bing,Bing"  an opera about the Soviet Space Dog program).  Focusing for now on the text and trying to figure out some more details about the characters, specifically the character of The Program Director.  There's a history of bizarre occult influences on early Russian rocket science, and I'm digging up articles on Konstantin Tsiolkovskii -  self-taught, possibly Theosophist, certainly eccentric and now recognized as the 'grandfather of Russian space travel'.  

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138: meditation notes - a timer or a stopwatch?

It's time for my meditation practice to shift gears.  The last several months have been a focus on a certain set of prayers and chants...I'm feeling like a shift to more open-ended insight practice.  It occurred to me that my entire practicing life, I've started a meditation session with a timer set to some pre-defined amount.  Could be 2 minutes (short, good meditation is excellent);  20 minutes ( a nice strong stable practice) or 40 minutes ( probably the longest I've ever sat in a single sitting).  But what if I turned off the timer and set a stopwatch instead?    As part of the observation, observe only when my session ends....not whether it's lasted a set duration?  It's such a simple and obvious question that I'm eager to see where it leads. 

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