The Summerglen Files

Music, Creativity, and Everyday Life at Summerglen Music in Raleigh, NC

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Meditation and Music Makin’ – Leaving our Expectations Behind

March 14th, 2009 · No Comments

At a Buddhist meditation session I attended a couple weeks ago, a fellow participant expressed concern that she wasn’t able to stay as focused as she would have liked during the meditation. She said that the last time she meditated, she was very “in the zone,” so she thought she would have been even further into the zone this time.

The very wise woman who was leading the meditation replied that if we want to find success, we must rid our minds of expectations. When we approach meditation focusing on how we think the experience should be, we prevent ourselves from truly paying attention to what’s really happening. Simple, profound, and true…but not just for meditation.

I’ve had one of those weeks where I just don’t sound the way I think I should. I don’t like what I hear during my practice sessions, not necessarily because I’m playing badly, but because it doesn’t line up with my expectations of how I should sound! I sound like a salsera when I think I should sound like a symphonic trombonist, and like Tommy Dorsey when I think I should be J.J. Johnson. In reality, though, I sound how I sound, and no amount of worrying is going to change that!

When I place too many expectations and worries on how I sound, I tend to frustrate myself out of practicing entirely–an activity that for a musician is beyond counterproductive. In fact, it’s sabotage. When I practice acceptance and gratitude for my playing abilities, however, I get an entirely different result. I’m more excited about practice, so I practice more. I feel more confident in my abilities, so I’m more inclined to be creative and take healthy risks with my playing. I enjoy myself, so I come away from practice fulfilled and happy.

When I leave my expectations at the practice room door, I enable myself to joyfully do what needs to be done: to show up and play. When I set judgments aside, I open the door to making practice an exciting exploration.

My goal for the week is to enter into my practice in an open-minded way! Wanna join me?

Tags: a day in the life · creativity · Practice Tips

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