Archive for January, 2012

Freedom from Comparison

January 14, 2012

People hear me perform, and they wish they had a life like mine. Only you mostly see me with the bowls doing what I love. What about me driving my car in bad traffic, or having a pile of dishes in the sink that need washing, or wanting just a little free time to myself?

In so many ways, I have the same life as everyone else. But I do keep changing what happens, reinventing myself, exploring. I haven’t had a real full-time job in 20 years. I’ve been a metalsmith, a writer in more businesses than I remember, an artist, a gardener, and those are just the jobs. What about the family, friends, relationships I’ve had and have?

What defines me? What do you think is most significant about me? And the answer to that is nothing. Nothing is significant about me. Nothing exists, nothing lives, nothing is; whereas comparison wears itself out leading us on a wild goose chase — who’s smarter, more loved, better looking, richer?

But if I cling to nothing, then I am fine. No comparisons, no fear. Nothing to be attached to, nothing to avoid. Nothing, but freedom.

Join me in freedom. Let’s make it this year’s resolution to live there. Because, like you, I’ve known it. And since we do know it, we’ve obviously got the blueprint. We just have to build it by living it — offering it to ourselves and others. Doing so together would work well, don’t you think?

Do you play the bowls every day?

January 9, 2012

Others are as enchanted by the bowls as much as I am. Often, someone asks, “Do you play the bowls every day?” The truth is, I don’t play them every day. Or I may only play one bowl, or I may just walk into the room where they sit in the open and enjoy their presence.

But this morning was one of those times when I did get to play them , and that is always great fun.

I was trying to re-learn some sound mandalas I had created weeks or even months ago. I have about 35 written down. Now, as some of you know, I have no musical background. So I create a shorthand of the bowls’ names in the order I play them and write the mandala (musical sequence) in a vertical list.  Don’t ask me why it’s vertical and not horizontal; it seems easy to follow it this way.

So, a mandala may look like this:

Well, today I couldn’t remember all of one that I really liked, and I didn’t see it written down. This particular mandala had shown up the day I was to play for a cancer group’s retreat. I don’t recall a mandala appearing like that before, but when it did I knew it was for the group. The mandala begins with a sort of a soothing melody like a lullaby of three notes that repeat three times. That much I could remember, then it moves into another sequence, which was the part that stumped me. Well, I kept playing until I really liked it.

Then I looked at this one page that had all of these notations and I realized that those were the configurations for this second part that I had been working through all over again!

It was pretty delightful to see that history before me. The results were somewhat different, and I wouldn’t have changed the exploration for anything.