How “letting go” helps us get things done

Woman in a colorful dress, caught in mid-jump, looking like she's hovering restfully over the ocean

Joe, a student in my online class, was worried that meditation would hurt his career. He works in a very competitive business where everyone is single-mindedly pushing and driving hard all the time. The whole idea of “letting go” seemed absurd in that context. But at the same time his stress and anxiety levels were sky high. He knew this wasn’t a sustainable way to live.

Yes it’s true that in meditation, we’re told to drop everything and let go. But that doesn’t mean becoming passive and ineffectual. There’s more to this instruction than meets the eye.

There’s an image that comes to mind for me to illustrate what letting go is like. Imagine we’re kayaking down a river. One way we could do it is to paddle like hell, trying to force our way around, fighting the currents, insisting that the kayak go exactly where I want it to go. And doing it how I want to do it.

Or, we could survey the terrain and current before jumping in. Then we ride the current and let it take us most of the way to where we want to go. We steer to make sure we don’t get dashed against rocks or end up heading down the wrong side of the river. We could also use a calmer bend in the river to stop and look ahead to plan our next stretch. We can steer our course without using nearly as much effort this way, adjusting our path as we go along.

Life can be the same way. We don’t have make all the effort ourselves to make things happen from beginning to end. If we expand our view beyond our self-absorbed need to reach our goal, there’s a whole universe of structures and currents out there that can help us.

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At work for example, if we find people who have common goals and interests as we do, our combined energies can often accomplish more than the sum of us individually could. Involving our boss in our plans sometimes results in him clearing a path in front of us, getting us resources, additional help, budgets, etc. Tagging onto existing workflows and procedures means we don’t have to create everything ourselves.

Letting go can help us in our inner world, too. Have you noticed how creative ideas often pop up when you’re taking a shower or walking the dog? In other words, when you’re not really trying? Recent neuroscientific research suggests that making less effort is what helps. When we become effortful in problem solving, it generally means we’re pushing our way through our old, familiar ways of doing things. And often, those are exactly the ways that haven’t worked, but we keep pounding at them anyway. When we keep repeating the same thing over and over, we become blind to other possibilities. So to be “not effortful” means to inhibit the thoughts that don’t work in order to leave room for something else to emerge.

Not being effortful also means your mind is quieter and more conducive to new ideas. A creative thought is one that brings up a long-forgotten memory or combines some of them in a new way. Neurologically speaking, they involve connections between far fewer neurons than your front-of-mind thoughts. So the signals they emit are much weaker, and generally get drowned out by your much louder, effortful thoughts. To give those quieter thoughts a fighting chance to be noticed, it helps to have a quiet mind. One that has “let go” of jangly discursive thinking.

So letting go doesn’t mean letting go of everything — just the stuff that gets in our way. In this context, it means letting go of our obsessive focus on results, and our inflexible views of how to get there. It doesn’t mean dropping all thoughts about the future, but finding a more open and flexible relationship with them.

The larger perspective of the teaching on “letting go” is an acknowledgment that I am a part of a highly interconnected world. Every time I get hyper-focused on my own little view of the world, I am being blind to the way things really are. To think that I can do things exclusively my way is to be foolish and ignorant. And it’s bound to get me into trouble, or at least cause me a lot of stress.

But at the same time, I’m not a helpless victim either. I am the agent of my own free will, and can use it to steer my path through life. With mindfulness, we can skillfully navigate our way through all these forces to get to a better outcome. And it’s not just me that benefits — because everything I do ultimately benefits everyone.

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Mindful Awareness Research Center event explores neuroscience behind creativity through meditation, song

About 40 people sat calmly with their eyes closed, letting their thoughts drift and their minds settle on the present moment.

In a quiet, steady voice, Diana Winston guided the group into a mode of relaxation.

“Try to soften your stomach,” Winston, director of mindfulness education at the Mindful Awareness Research Center, gently instructed them.

The communal meditation initiated an event about the relationship between creativity, the brain and mental awareness in the Neuroscience Research Building auditorium on Saturday.

“Mindfulness, Neuroscience and Creativity: An Interactive Exploration” was the first workshop of the summer and cost $50 to participate. In addition to classes and daylong programs, a full mindfulness course is also being offered through the center this…

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10 ways to live a better life

A black man and woman, cooking

When we think of changing our lives for the better, we may think of a new job, a new home, a new relationship, or material wealth – more “things” that we think will improve our lives.

Recently I saw a bumper sticker that read “the best things in life are not things” – it made me smile and I started thinking about ways to live a better life without looking for or wanting more stuff.

Here is my list:

1. Simplify – rather than desiring more, find ways to live with less. Bring clothing to Good Will or a charity. Clear away clutter from countertops and tables. If you have not used something or worn something for a year – give it away.

2. Enjoy nature – nature soothes the psyche and lessens stress. If you are fortunate enough to live near nature, do not take it for granted. Rather than rushing to work in the morning, take a moment or two to enjoy the trees, ponds, streams, rivers and the sky. If you do not live near natural beauty, take a drive to a nearby lake or take a walk in the woods.

3. Enjoy the arts – whether you enjoy visual art, performance art or historical art – make it part of your life. Take time to visit museums, see a play, or go to a local gallery.

4. Cook at home – it can become a habit to eat fast food in transit to work or school and at restaurants for business lunches and dinners. Cooking at home is less expensive and often more healthy than food from restaurants.

5. Cook for friends – invite friends and family members to your home and prepare a meal together – it is such a lovely way to spend time with people you care for.

6. Bring mindfulness to work – in this culture of multi-tasking, we rush through our work without really enjoying what we do. Being mindful at work helps us to concentrate on one task at a time, and enjoy the sheer pleasure of being present to what we are doing.

7. Spend time with children. I was washing dishes with a four year old recently. It was fun to watch her enjoy running her hand under the water from the faucet and delighting in the bubbles from the dish washing liquid. Her laugh made me laugh, and we both had fun.

8. Focus on others rather than yourself. It is so easy to get caught up in our own needs. Find ways to help others – shovel snow from an elderly person’s walkway, bring a meal to a neighbor who is not feeling well or volunteer at the local SPCA.

9. Spend time with friends – make a conscious effort to remember this. Write notes in your calendar to call a friend and make time to do something together. Friendship is such a precious thing, so we should not take it for granted.

10. Do something creative – whether it is writing a poem or a short story, painting a picture or a room in your house, or taking a photograph.  Doing something creative is energizing and makes life better.

So there you have it, ten ways to live a better life – non of which are expensive – but which will make you happier and your life better.

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Is there a link between gratitude and happiness?

Woman showing gratitude with a gesture of prayer

Research suggests that people who feel gratitude benefit in the following ways. They’re:

1. happier
2. less depressed
3. less stressed
4. more satisfied with their lives and social relationships
5. aware of their purpose in life
6. self confident
7. positive
8. able to cope with the difficulties in positive ways
9. more likely to seek support from other people, and
10. able to learn and grow from their experiences.

It has been said that gratitude is strongly linked with mental health. Several times in my life I have kept a gratitude journal, in which I have written about five things I was grateful for each day. I kept this journal on my computer in the form of writing an email to a friend each evening with my list of things I was grateful for. Many times I felt grateful for more than five things.

It is so easy to focus on circumstances or people whom we are disappointed in. Continually thinking about negative people and situations results in feeling depressed, angry, annoyed, irritable, and generally cranky. We talk to our friends looking for justification for feeling this negativity which just makes us feel worse.

The habit of writing in a gratitude journal each evening is a way of focusing our attention on what is positive in our lives. It also helps us to look for things to be grateful for during the day. Gratitude enters our consciousness and directs our minds towards positivity.

Some of the items in my gratitude journal are: healthy children, dear friends, a sweet cottage to live in, the pond by my cottage, freedom to explore creativity, work that I have enjoyed or not enjoyed but learned from, finding spiritual practice that inspires me, appreciation for beauty in nature and in people, a sense of aesthetics, enjoying simple pleasures, simplifying my life, taking time to really listen to people, cooking for myself and my friends, good movies, good popcorn to munch while I watch the good movies, instances which have been very difficult that have taught me about myself, kayaking, dancing, sunsets, small acts of kindness, strolling through museums, looking at a photograph of the Dalai Lama, availability of books, the ocean, pristine snow covered woods, giving and receiving gifts and especially gifts from the heart, observed acts of generosity and kindness.

Remembering all these things lifts my heart. It is easy to understand how gratitude is responsible for the positive and healthy characteristics of people who feel it. We spend so much time looking for things to make ourselves happy – and all we really have to do is appreciate what is all around us each and every day.

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Paul Klee: “Everything vanishes around me, and works are born as if out of the void”

Paul Klee, 1927, photo by Hugo Erfurth

Paul Klee, the famous Swiss/German expressionist painter, may seem to be making an almost mystical claim here — that creativity comes from beyond the conscious mind. I think you’d be right in assuming that creative impulses come from unconscious parts of the mind, but not that this is an exclusively mystical state. In fact, all action ultimately has this quality of coming from “beyond,” but we simply fail to notice this most of the time, because we’re in the grip of the illusion that the conscious mind is “us,” that it owns our actions, and that it’s in control.

When I speak, I’m often aware that my words come from what Klee calls “the void.” Words appear as if from nowhere, without conscious intervention. It’s not that my conscious mind is in some way “queueing up” words internally so that I can deliver them a few moments later. Now I used to assume that that’s exactly what did happen, but more and more I’ve realize that that assumption arose because of the conscious mind’s ongoing habit of plagiarism. Let me explain what I mean, using some examples that I cite in my recent book, Living as a River.

Everything vanishes around me, and works are born as if out of the void … My hand has become the obedient instrument of a remote will.

Back in the 1970s, a researcher called Ben Libet asked people to flex their wrist at random times of their own choosing. They were to flex the wrist the very moment that the impulse to do so arose. At the same time, he monitored their brains, and found that the motor cortex of the brain (the part that controls movement) fizzed and popped with electrical activity a full half second before the subjects moved their wrists. That meant that Libet knew, half a second before the subjects did, that they were going to flex their wrists. Now the subjects thought that they were making these movements at exactly the time the impulse arose. But what seems to have gone on is that the conscious mind claimed responsibility for an action that had been initiated outside of consciousness.

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Libet’s findings were controversial, because they seem to undermine our notion of free will. Some said that his equipment was simply picking up on static in the brain. So, fast-forward to today, and to Berlin, Germany, where John-Dylan Haynes, at the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience, used much more sensitive functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to do a similar experiment. fMRI is able to observe, in real time, activity deep in the brain. This time, Haynes asked subjects to randomly press a button either with their right or left hands. And this time, Haynes found that he could predict, six seconds before the subjects were conscious of the desire to act, which button they would press. That’s astonishing, if you think about it. Haynes can tell, six seconds before you do, what you’re going to do. In this experiment, as in life, the conscious mind thinks it’s just made a decision, when in fact it’s more like it’s just become aware of a decision having been made elsewhere, and has claimed responsibility for it.

Now this is all really weird. In fact I’m reminded of a time I had a young man, who I suspect suffered from schizophrenia, come to a meditation class. I was talking to him just before he left the class, and in mid-conversation a house-fly buzzed in between us and smacked into the class door we were standing beside. “I did that,” he said, in an effort to convince me that he not only was sane, but had special powers. Now to you or me, this young man’s inability to distinguish between his own intentions and outside actions is a sign of mental illness. He saw the fly thud against the glass and thought he’d made that event happen. But Libet and Haynes have shown that we ourselves do something similar all the time. Our conscious minds observe an action taking place, and immediately say “I did that.” It’s not that different from what the young man with schizophrenia did. The conscious mind it is a plagiarist, claiming authorship of actions it’s not actually responsible for.

Our sense of self is, in fact, largely to do with this false sense of ownership. We observe thoughts, emotions, and actions emerge into consciousness, and immediately assume, “I did that.” But in the meditation practice I explore in Living as a River — The Six Element Practice — we counteract this tendency to “possess” our actions by noting thoughts, feelings, etc as they pass through the mind, and by repeating “This is not me, this is not mine, I am not this” as we note each one. Eventually, the sense of ownership begins to fade away — or suddenly vanishes. The conscious mind ceases to plagiarize, and we find ourselves simply witnessing our experience coming into being.

This isn’t to say that we don’t have free will, incidentally. It’s just that free will is not something that’s entirely the result of conscious activity. When you “consciously” decide to do something, you are actually making a choice, it’s just that your conscious mind doesn’t seem to do much more than observe the event taking place and claim responsibility for it. If that.

So all the time, our thoughts, emotions, and actions are arising from “the void.” But Klee is talking about the special case where we notice that this is what’s happening, and when we’ve let go of the act of clinging to, and identifying with, our own actions. This is quite a special state. It’s a state of effortless creativity, because there’s nothing standing between your creative energies and their expression. And the plagiaristic conscious mind frequently gets in the way.

Everyone who has experience of writing knows the sheer terror of the blank sheet of paper (or screen). The conscious mind looks at the pristine field in front of it and simply can’t come up with anything that’s good enough to commit to writing. Any thought that emerges is judged to be unsuitable — as a reflection of our own inadequacy. The thing is that the conscious mind is trying to create, which is something it’s incapable of doing. It’s actually standing between our creative energies and their expression. What we need to do, in order to let our creative energies flow freely, is to get ourselves (or the conscious mind) out of the way. We need to set aside judgement, and to allow the conscious mind to have the role only of being an observer, allowing the “remote will” to express itself. Many writing coaches use this approach to “unblock” creativity, for example by setting rules that say that you have to write for a set period of time, without going back and editing.

Through meditation we train ourselves to do something similar. In life we end up proliferating thoughts, so that the mind is jammed with inner talk. In such a state there’s no way for creative impulses to express themselves, because the mind’s “bandwidth” is already being fully used. If a creative impulse were to try to communicate itself, it would get a metaphorical “busy signal.” In meditation we learn to let go of unnecessary thoughts (and 99% of them are not necessary) and this creates a “space” in the mind, opening up channels of communication with our deeper, and more creative impulses.

How does this manifest in real life? It shows up as more authentic, wise, and compassionate communication. Instead of second-guessing ourselves, constantly worrying about what people think of us, we can simply respond to others on a human level. We find that we’re more intuitive. That we’re more playful. That we’re more insightful. We get the conscious mind out of the way, and find we can be more ourselves.

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Are we free?

The more aware we become of ourselves, the more we notice that our minds resort to pre-programmed “scripts” — habitual ways of reacting to the world. Srimati discusses how awareness creates the freedom to choose our responses and free ourselves from our conditioning.

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Mindfulness and authentic creativity

Every time Sunada watches Bobby McFerrin or Yo-Yo Ma perform, she’s left in awe. It’s not just their amazing musicianship, she says. What uniquely comes through in their music is their generosity of spirit and totally engaging way of expressing their individuality. As a musician herself, she muses on what it takes to cultivate that kind of open-hearted spontaneity and creativity.

I recently read an interesting discussion that’s given shape to my thinking on this subject. It was about the difference between spontaneity and impulsivity. While the two terms are often used interchangeably, there are some subtle but important differences.

According to the American Heritage Dictionary, “spontaneous” means

  • Happening or arising without apparent external cause; self-generated.
  • Unconstrained and unstudied in manner or behavior.

To illustrate, it uses this quote from Woodrow Wilson: “The highest and best form of efficiency is the spontaneous cooperation of a free people.” So the implication is that a spontaneous act is something positive that expresses one’s higher nature.

The same dictionary defines “impulsivity” as:

  • …a sudden urge or feeling not governed by reason

Even more telling are the synonyms I found in the related thesaurus: brash, foolhardy, hasty, ill-considered, impetuous, rash, reckless, and unconsidered!

Spontaneity arises out of studied mindfulness.

So, yes, both spontaneity and impulsivity are about unplanned, in-the-moment actions. But the implication is that impulsivity is a reaction to something, and arises from an irrational place ruled by our baser emotions. Spontaneity, on the other hand, arises on its own from a deeper and nobler place. It’s governed by reason and experience, but is still perfectly natural and uncontrived. I get an image of someone who is fully present, and able to marshal his knowledge, skills, experience, and values in the moment as a springboard for a focused and creative response. In short, spontaneity arises out of studied mindfulness.

So there are some clear parallels to meditation here. Impulsivity is the product of our ordinary reactive mind. Anyone who meditates knows that this is what our minds are like more often than we like to admit. It’s like a runaway train, spinning off on its own stories and daydreams, obsessing over self-centered desires and fears, or just plain chattering away for no apparent reason other than to occupy itself. Most of the time it’s operating in this mode without our awareness, sitting in the driver’s seat of our lives! (YIKES!)

Now seriously, would you want to settle for this lesser side of you as the basis for your creative endeavors? For those of us for whom our craft is synonymous with an expression of who we are, we want and expect something much more of ourselves.

I believe that the mind is also inherently creative. The more we can get out of the way, the more it works its own magic.

But how we do that? Obviously it’s a contradiction in terms to TRY to be spontaneous. Again, I see a lot of parallels to meditation. When we meditate, we can’t make our minds calm down on command. But we can set the proper conditions – i.e. step back and allow our minds to return to their natural state of calm. The less we interfere, and the more we trust in the mind’s inherent ability to do its own thing, the better off we are. I believe that the mind is also inherently creative. The more we can get out of the way, the more it works its own magic.

And how do we set conducive conditions? First, it’s really important to start by tuning into our bodies and settling in. Particularly if you’re engaging in a physical activity like playing an instrument or dancing, it’s vitally important to stretch and liven up one’s energy. But there’s another reason. If we slap dash jump right in, we’re still caught up in our reactive, impulsive mind. By taking the time to slow down and mindfully turn our attention to our physical bodies, we bring ourselves more fully into our present experience. We settle into a quieter place beneath the chattering mind and touch a deeper core within us. This brings us closer to our totality as a person – including our bodies, perceptions, and feelings — and all the richness they hold.

Our life experiences and values, and all the intuitions and emotions associated with them reside much more as inchoate inklings and gut feelings, not neat words or concepts. Our hearts and bodies know things at a level that our heads cannot. So creativity needs to begin with a foundation of opening ourselves up to all these things. We’re preparing the fertile soil for our creativity to arise.

Our hearts and bodies know things at a level that our heads cannot. So creativity needs to begin with a foundation of opening ourselves up to all these things.

Next, it’s critical to tune into our hearts. When we sit down to do something creative, chances are we’re arriving with a lot of extraneous baggage. We may be stressed out, maybe anxious over deadline pressures, or perhaps tired, bored, and lethargic about this task that we need to get done. Anyone who practices a musical instrument daily knows that it can seem like a real chore at times.

But these are all objections from our impulsive mind. So let’s stop and ask ourselves why we’re doing this in the first place. I do it because I love it and can’t imagine life without it. How can I reconnect with that inspiration every time I sit down to practice? How can I get back in touch with the warm and vital humanity within me that wants to create? What’s helped me is to shift my thinking from “I have to practice” to “I’m going to sing the music I love.” See the difference?

Thirdly, while practicing I find it really helpful to focus in on my senses and stay as openly curious as I can. As a singer, I can pay attention to the vibrations in my throat and body as I sing, or experience in detail the qualities of sound within my voice. I know a painter who lovingly feels each brush stroke as it works the canvas. The idea is to bring our attention fully into what we’re doing, without adding any extra judgments, interpretations, or effort. Just stay 100% present to what’s happening.

What’s the point? When I stay intimately engaged and yet refrain from trying to “do” anything in particular, a different side of me starts to come forward. I’ve had times when the feeling tone of my voice prompted me to shape my phrases in a new way. Floating the lyrics on top of the natural ebb and flow of my breath gave it more life. Neither of these were conceptual ideas that my mind decided to “do”. It’s as if my body wordlessly and instantaneously knew and just did it.

Paradoxically, it seems that the times I stop trying are the times when I’m at my best. All the ways I struggle — trying to get it right, be perfect, do it beautifully — are ways my impulsive mind muscles in and gets in the way. If I just step back and be simple – i.e. just sing — that’s when things start to happen. I’m told that’s when I’m most engaging, authentic, and seemingly most comfortably who I am. Mistakes and imperfections? Well, that’s all part of the package of who I am right now. It makes me more real and human, I’m told.

Ultimately, I think that any creative endeavor is a form of meditation. It’s about staying completely focused on what you’re doing, free of distractions. But at its best it’s also about being so relaxed and open that your true inner nature shines through. My music and meditation practices have informed each other for years. Both continually challenge me to nurture that higher being within me and bring it more out into the world.

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A creative encounter in the Vortex

Jazz player Vajradaka looks back on a meeting in a smoky Jazz club and explores the mystery of empathetic communication between artist and audience.

I once had a chance encounter with a jazz musician that had a big effect on me and characterized some of the important qualities of living a creative life. At the time I was living up in the hills of Wales and coming down to London periodically. During one such visit I went to a jazz gig at the old Vortex in Stoke Newington, as part of the London Jazz Festival. It was smoky and dark with only a dozen people in the audience. We did not need much empathy to realize that the turnout was dispiriting for the musicians. They were a jazz trio from LA and had just flown over for the jazz festival and a few other gigs.

In the first set it became clear that they were really good musicians, very competent and experienced, but while they were playing it became clear something essential was missing. The way that I thought of it at the time was that there was no creativity in their improvisation or set pieces. At the end of the set the drummer with a tone of desperation pleaded with us not to leave during the interval. I’m sure that quite a few people had thought about it, but everyone stayed.

I went to the bar to get some drinks for my friends and got into conversation with the main man who was a saxophonist. He was English but lived in LA and worked full-time playing music. He had his own trio and also worked as a session musician with some of the big and famous groups. When I told him I lived in a Buddhist retreat centre in North Wales he became quite animated. He sometimes meditated at a Zen Center in LA and went on Zen retreats. He found it made a big difference to his creativity, particularly when he was practicing his instrument or had a gig. He said that when he meditated during the days that he had a performance his jazz was far more fluid and creative.

He said he experienced an important relationship between the discipline of doing the scales diligently day after day and the creativity that happened during improvised performance. Practice and performance were intimately connected, one feeding the other. He was quite clear that his ability to express creativity at the highest level during performance came out of all the hours honing his musical skills and keeping a creative frame of mind.

He started to explain how he experienced creativity in performance. At the actual moment of creativity he didn’t have to try at all, there was effortless effort; it just flowed out of him. It was like being in an open dimension, without limitation, the music just arose and passed away. Nothing was contrived and the notes arose spontaneously within the chosen “tune.” He was there playing but not identifying with himself, nor was he “self-conscious” about playing. The music came through him and used all the skills that he had developed over years of disciplined practice. There was no separation between creativity and him.

When he entered into that state of creativity in a performance, even in a big venue with thousands of people everyone knew when he was there in that creativity. There was something noticeably different in the atmosphere. The audience’s awareness of his creativity affected him, which in turn plunged him deeper into the flow of creativity. At a certain point there would be no difference between him and the audience, it was as if everybody was participating in the creative process. For him this was the greatest prize of being a professional performer and what he valued most was maintaining that creative state of mind and following it wherever it went in the music

He was slightly sad for a moment and said he was aware that he was out of touch with all of that in the last set. It seemed to take a long time for the drinks to come, so we carried on talking about this relationship between the spirit of meditation and creativity. He saw a direct relationship between entering into an open state of mind in meditation and being open to creativity when he played the saxophone. He had a really good feeling for it and as we talked we both entered into that open vibrancy of mind that can happen in both meditation and creativity.

Creative improvisation was happening in communication between us. There was inspiration in our words and we entered into a world of exploring what was of real value and significance to us. A sense of freedom and potential flowed between us. I suppose he felt supported and engaged in what was most important for him and for my part I felt as if I had met a soul brother. The vibrancy and aliveness that existed between us in that moment of communication is also at the heart of both creative improvisation and the spirit of meditation.

At the beginning of the next set when he came on stage he asked for requests I immediately put up my hand and mentioned a tune from one of Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue album. He knew exactly what I was talking about and hummed it to the group and gave them a few instructions. When he started playing everything was different. He had arrived in that creative place where the music just flowed out of him.

I found myself becoming completely captivated, but when early on I took a brief glance at the audience, they were all completely with him. That creative interchange between performer and audience was growing deeper by the moment. He had arrived at the place of creative improvisation that he most valued and we all were right there with him.

The music took me to a place of freedom and infinite possibility that stays with me still. I couldn’t tell how long the set was, as there was no sense of time. It seemed to me that he knew I was there and I was completely there with him, the concept of us being apart dissolved. My whole being seemed to vibrate with the resonance of the saxophone, He was taking me on a long journey through every kind of emotion. It was as if we went everywhere in the universe and then gradually and very gently we came back to earth and the Vortex club. After a pause the audience went ecstatic, he looked directly at me, smiled and winked.

VajradakaVajradaka has been a full-time Dharma practitioner and meditation teacher since the beginning of 1973, and started practicing meditation in Japan in the late 1960’s.

Vajradaka lived for 21 years in a meditation retreat center in Wales called Vajraloka. He recently finished a year-long writing sabbatical and now lives in a Buddhist community in London. You can read Vajradaka’s blog here.

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